Kieren’s Family Birth Story
This is the story of Clara’s birth.
For a few weeks, I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions and a few, on random nights, were strong enough to wake me from my sleep. My mom delivered all of her kids between 36-38 weeks, so I thought I would go early, too. I was 40+4 on the day that I gave birth. On Sunday night, Husband and I had dinner (a delicious pot roast) with my in-laws and I ate more at that meal than ever before. I think it was my body’s way of preparing. I had the feeling that I would be giving birth soon, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Mildly painful contractions started at dinner at around 7:00 pm.
When we got home, I took a long shower, shaved, and gave myself a facial. Again, I think I knew that the baby was coming. I laid down in bed that night and said a prayer that I would be strong enough to bring the baby to Earth, the way that God had intended me to. Starting at about 11:00 pm, painful contractions began waking me from my sleep. When I didn’t have a chance to feel them building (because I was asleep), they scared me and hurt much more. I eventually decided to stay up and time a few of them. Soon, they were 8-10 minutes apart and I was breathing through them, silently repeating to myself, “Cervix open, baby come out.” That ended up being my silent mantra throughout the whole birth process.
I labored in my dark, quiet house on my birth ball, on the toilet, and swaying/walking/dancing around. I didn’t want to wake Husband or show up to the birth center too early, so I tried to start a new book (the second book in the Hunger Games series) at 4:00 am, on the toilet. Pretty soon, I realized that things were getting too intense for a novel. The contractions were 6 minutes apart and that’s when I woke up Husband.
Husband called Nichelle at 4:30 am and she told him to run me a bath, make me breakfast, and pack the car. The tub didn’t give me as much relief as I expected, but I think it’s because the water didn’t cover my belly. I did my best to eat scrambled eggs and toast, but things were getting serious. Husband called my mom and told her to head to the birth center (she lives an hour away) and invited his dad over to give me a blessing. As soon as my blessing was finished, we got in the car.
Again, I was expecting the car ride to be awful. My contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, but they were still manageable, as long as I breathed and repeated my mantra in my head. Husband told me to look back at the sun rising and that moment made everything seem perfect, like my experience was only one piece of a much bigger puzzle.
Nichelle was filling the tub at the birth center when we arrived. Everything felt so real when I had that first contraction in the lobby. She decided to check me and I was hoping that I was at least 4 cm and in active labor. To my surprise, I heard her say, “3, 4, 5, 6, 7… and I could probably stretch you to a 9. I don’t like to overestimate, so I’ll say you’re a 7.” I was so happy!! Still, I tried not too get too excited, thinking that there might be a long and bumpy road ahead of me.
I got in the tub with Husband and it was very relaxing. I kneeled and laid my head on his chest. At this point, I began thinking about Ina May’s Sphincter Law, so I started doing horsey lips through the contractions. Nichelle would come in occasionally to check the baby with the doppler and feed us eggs and grapes. Every time I heard the baby’s heartbeat, I gained a little bit of strength. Husband was awesome at telling me to relax certain parts of my body and giving me sips of water in between contractions.
Next, I was encouraged to try some different positions: leaning over my birth ball on the bed, “dancing” with Husband, and sitting on the birth stool. Nichelle told me to feel inside for my baby’s head. I did and it gave me so much courage and optimism! I started feeling pressure, so I would give little pushes during the contractions to see if anything happened.
Something did happen, because as I was standing up, I pushed something out! Husband and I both felt it and he went running for Nichelle. We both thought it was the head, but it was only the bag of waters. (In my mind, I remember thinking that, if that was the head, then labor was a piece of cake… little did I know, the worst was still around the corner!)
At this point, Nichelle suggested I get back on my knees in bed. I took a few contractions like that, but when I stood up and felt myself again, the head was gone!! It was a huge blow to my confidence and I felt like crying. I was so frustrated that my “progress” had been lost.
At this point, I really had to work to keep my head together. Part of me wanted to just freak out, but I knew that the contractions would probably hurt worse if I did that. Nichelle checked me and pushed back the lip of the cervix, which hurt like heck. Eventually, the baby’s head came down again and I could feel everything begin to bulge.
Looking back, I don’t think I ever got the physical urge to push like I’d read about in so many books; it was all in my head. I wanted the baby out so bad, so I began pushing with all my might while sitting on the birth stool. It wasn’t anything like I expected it to be. I felt like I was incapable of birthing the head and I started crying and saying that I couldn’t do it, asking someone to get the baby out of me.
But, then, I did it!! All of a sudden, the head was out and the baby was on my stomach. All I could do was cry. Husband was behind me, holding me, and crying. Our new little family stayed like that for a few minutes, all three of us crying with such joy and happiness (and one trying to get the amniotic fluid out of their lungs). Eventually, Husband looked down and announced that we had a little girl, just as I had imagined he would. Then, I was lifted up onto the bed.
Husband cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and I finally took my first look at my little girl. (She had a short cord, plus I was too busy crying my eyes out!) She was so incredibly beautiful, perfect, and pink.
I was forced to drink a nasty tea (to prevent bleeding) and the placenta was delivered quickly and without any pain; I didn’t even feel it. I was stitched up in bed because Clara came out with her hand near her face. After that, we were left alone to get to know one another, only interrupted a few times for the taking of mine and Clara’s vitals, which were perfect.
I was in labor from 7:00 pm – 10:40 am. It was an amazing, spiritual experience. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to birth in the way that I dreamed. I love my little girl so much.
(She is so worth that awful pushing stage!)