Note from Amber: Everyone loves a good birth story, so we are excited and privileged to be sharing some of our clients' birth stories on the blog! We hope it will become a regular thing, so be on the lookout for more BTC Birth Stories in the coming weeks and months. All stories are written by the birthing mother, and as such belong to the birthing mother and should not be copied or reproduced elsewhere. All details and pictures are shared with permission. The pictures in this story were taken Against the Grain Photography and should also not be shared elsewhere. Thank you, Heidi, for sharing your amazing story with us!
I was sure Lydia would come in my 39th week because my other girls came at that time. I was having prodromal labor and had several false starts. I was listening to my Hypnobabies tracks to keep my attitude positive. At my 39 week appointment I was 70% effaced and dilated 2.5 centimeters. As my due date approached I began to get disappointed. I went to my 40 week appointment begrudgingly. I even took a wrong turn because I just couldn’t keep focused. Dr. Andrews said Lydia’s head had moved down and was in a good position. (She had kept me up the night before banging her head around!) He offered to sweep my membranes. I decided to let him do that. I didn’t think it would work and was at peace with waiting until 42 weeks if need be. Still I thought, well, why not give it a try? It did not produce any pressure waves (contractions) that day, but I did have a TON of pelvic pressure. I almost couldn’t walk around because of it. I went to bed that night appreciating one more night of sleep without a newborn.
At 2:45 am on May 11th I woke up out of a very deep sleep to use the bathroom. I had a pressure wave as I woke up, another one on the toilet and then another by the time I got back to the bed. I was disoriented from sleeping and just wanted to go back to sleep! I decided to listen to my Hypnobabies affirmations and see if they were going to pass like the other times. It only took a few more waves for me to realize that they were getting intense very fast. I timed a few and they were about 2 minutes apart and lasted about a minute. I decided I would pack the last few items in my bag and wake up Billy just in case. (He didn’t have the first thing packed!) I thought it might be the real thing and I felt anxious. I wasn’t as calm as I had been earlier in the week. I decided to stop packing and just listen to my track. I wanted to wait at least an hour before calling anyone to make sure it was actually TIME.
Eventually we were sure Lydia was on her way and Billy decided to call my mom and Amber. He couldn’t get my mom on the phone and I started to worry. We couldn’t leave for the hospital until Dad came to be with my sleeping girls. We couldn’t believe they weren’t answering their phones. Thankfully we are neighbors! He sent our other neighbor to knock on their door, but they still didn’t answer. Amber arrived at our house around 5 AM. When she arrived Billy went over to my parents and got them out of bed. I was having really intense back labor and was so thankful for Amber’s counter pressure! I didn’t want to go to the hospital too early, but the waves were so intense I started thinking it might be time. I was trying to keep Lydia in a good position, but couldn’t completely relax on my hands and knees. I found the easiest way to relax was to lean over onto Billy and relax my upper body completely. He got a good arm workout that way!
We left for the hospital around 6 AM. Billy drove and my mom sat behind me. The car ride was hard, really hard. It was much calmer than the car ride to the hospital when Elena was born though! I had my hypnobabies tracks playing in my ear buds, and my mom rubbing my back. My body stayed pretty relaxed and calm. I didn’t say much, but I was thinking about getting to the hospital, the land of epidurals!! I was watching the clock between contractions and got pretty irritated that Billy and mom didn’t seem to know how to get to the hospital. They even took a wrong turn a block from Baptist Hospital. I was thinking “NOOO! That way! We are so close get me there NOW." I mean seriously, you have one job, people. Get the birthing lady to the hospital! Finally, we made it!
I was worried I hadn’t progressed into active labor. I just KNEW the nurse would say I was a 3 or 4. After all, I hadn’t been in labor for very long. We got settled into a room (thank goodness we didn’t have to wait in triage like at Sacred Heart). The nurse checked me and I was 6 cm! The thought of an epidural left my mind. Once, I knew labor was progressing nicely I didn’t consider it again. I handled my pressure waves much better when I could stay “in the zone”. I didn’t mind people talking or working around me, but answering questions and being forced into uncomfortable positions made me really frustrated. I remember thinking, “You can NOT slap the nice nurse.” Laying on my back in the bed felt like torture. I needed the time between contractions to collect myself, relax and get ready for the next one. I also found humming or vocalizing helped me quite a bit.
By about 7:15 I was hooked up to monitors and IVs. Shortly after that Dr. Andrews came to visit me. He was usual light hearted self. I remember him remarking on my “fake labor calm”. By about 8 o’clock I was ready to try the labor tub. Right before I was getting in I had a crazy intense wave. I remember feeling a sensation like a spasm and trying so hard to stay relaxed. Then my water broke in a huge gush! It felt like such a relief I thought I had just peed everywhere. After I realized that it was my bag of waters not urine I wanted to get in that tub. I think my mom went to ask if it was still OK for me to get in. I was NOT going to wait around for the nurse to say no. I got my tail in that water as fast as a someone the size of a beached whale can! It felt too hot at first, then the next pressure wave hit and it felt amazing!
Sadly, my time in the tub didn’t last long. I felt my first urge to push very quickly after getting in, so out I came. The nurse was very adamant about one thing. Lydia would NOT be born in the tub. Once in the bed she checked my dilation. I was 8 centimeters and the urge to push has passed. She let me go back to the tub thankfully. According to Amber, I spent about 20 more minutes in the tub even though it felt like seconds to me. ***Once I am in active labor time ceases to be. There is work (pressure waves) and there is rest. I have no idea how much time is passing in the moment.*** I felt the urge to push again so out I came!! This time I was 9 centimeters.
I decided to sit on the squatty potty and let my body push when I felt the urge. I think at this point I stopped listening to my Hypnobabies tracks. The earbuds and phone had fallen by the wayside while getting in and out of the tub. I believe they were playing in the background from my computer during the pushing phase. I just couldn’t concentrate on the messages with all the other distractions. In some ways that was good because I felt more present and talkative. On the other hand, I think I would have listened to my body a bit more if I was focused solely on the positive messages. I was pretty tired at this point. From the beginning of labor all I wanted was to go back to sleep! I could see the end in sight now. As I sat on the stool I let my body do what felt natural. I was bearing down and grunting a lot. I couldn’t stop myself and it felt good to follow my body.
I remember two things from this time period. Amber reminded me how great it was that I was getting to push the way I wanted! My thought was, “Yeah, whoop-di-doo. It doesn’t seem that great right now." Even so, her comment brought me back to my goals. As hard as this was, I was getting to experience something amazing. My body was working to bring my baby into the world all on its own! Not surprisingly, my other thought during this time was about food. It was around 9:30 when I asked the time. I was so surprised and encouraged! I was going to have a baby before lunch time! YAY! My baby was coming so soon and double YAY because I was going to get to eat lunch! SCORE!
Eventually it became obvious to my entourage that I was actively pushing so they called the nurse. She wanted me on the bed so I complied. I tried to get into a squat position using the squat bar, but I couldn’t get comfortable in a way that satisfied my nurse. She asked me to lie on back and use the squat bar to prop my feet. I wanted to avoid being on my back, but at that point I was just tired. I didn’t mind trying it her way. Dr. Andrews came in at some point as well. It only seemed like a few pushes and I felt a lot of stinging down there! OW! I remember announcing to everyone in the room “Guys! This really hurts!” The crowd at my crotch informed me there was a not so tiny baby crowning--I was shocked. I mean I was aware that I was having a baby today, but I didn’t know it was like right NOW! I didn’t experience the ring of fire with Elena so I didn’t put two and two together.
With their encouragement I put my hand down there to feel her head. WOW! I was shocked, overjoyed, and tired silly all at once. I’m so glad my photographer got my reaction on camera. I remember saying, “I’m going to have a baby today!!!” Like that was new information to the hospital staff! It felt real for the first time though. That was the push I needed to get her all the way out. I left my hand there for a moment to rest, then out she came in another push or two. One moment you are one sharing the same body and then suddenly your are separate. Seeing your baby, your tiny companion out in the world is breathtaking. I had a second where I just felt in awe, and then someone said, “take your baby”. There she was a sweet, slippery bundle.
This pregnancy I had more conflicting emotions that with the others. Miss Lydia was a big surprise. Even though I always wanted her, I worried about the challenge it would be. That moment though, that moment when you hold your child in your arms it all becomes clear. When I held her I said, “ We didn’t know we needed you, but we did. We did need you!” In that moment I knew. I knew my heart had an empty space and she filled it. God gave us such a gift when he surprised us with Lydia.
Of course the not so fun parts come after I held my bundle of joy. We waited to cut the cord and the placenta took a bit to come. I had some stitches so I needed some shots. That is worse than birth in my opinion. I did not pass out after this birth (like Elena’s), but I had one close call. The nurses were ready and kept me alert. The rest of the family began to arrive, but Lydia didn’t want to stop nursing. She wasn’t going to sleep and be passed around for pictures! We knew right then she had a little spunk in her. We did finally get her weighed, swaddled and passed around. She was a healthy 8lbs. 7.8 oz. and 20 inches long. I feel so blessed that I had another routine, healthy labor with another healthy baby. I’m also beyond grateful to my birth team for all their help. Bringing new life into the world is a crazy hard, amazing process. I’m always humbled to get to experience it.
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