Winter’s Natural Birth Story
Two months ago, on May 29, 2017, our daughter, Winter Lillian Hoose, came into the world at Blossom Birth Center. Our first child, Eden, was born there almost four years ago, and from the first moment we walked into Blossom when I was seven weeks pregnant with her, we knew that this was where we wanted all our babies to be born.
That first birth was the hardest thing I had done, but it was a wonderful experience, and when I got pregnant with our second, Ander, we immediately went back to Blossom. However, toward the end of that pregnancy, I developed a rare and serious complication, and ended up having an emergency induction at St. Joseph’s Hospital. It was not the birth I wanted, but Kelly stayed with me as a birth assistant the entire time I was in the hospital, advocating and watching over me, and Nichelle oversaw the entire process and was there to deliver Ander as he came screaming into the world. It was a scary birth for me, as there were so many things that could have gone wrong. But God was watching over us. I felt Him there, and I fully believe that He guided the events that brought Ander to us. I also know that Nichelle saved my son’s life with her quick diagnosis, thorough treatment, and capable delivery. And with their support I was still able to have as natural a delivery as possible, for which I will always be grateful.
Going into this pregnancy, I had a lot of anxiety about whether the condition I had had with Ander would resurface. I desperately wanted a peaceful birth and a healthy baby, and I worked tirelessly on my own health, both physical and spiritual. I prayed daily for the baby I carried and I talked at length with Amy, Mary, and Nichelle about my hopes and fears for this birth. They kept an eye on my health, helped me work through my fears, and tested me regularly to make sure that my body was handling the pregnancy normally. They were always optimistic, reminding me that every baby was different, and that this birth would not be like the last. They encouraged me to be at peace, and they were right. Through counsel with Diane, their herbalist, and a lot of work and prayer, it was a healthy pregnancy.
Then, starting at about 35 weeks, I began having a lot of prodromal labor. Episodes would generally occur at night, with contractions about 3-4 minutes apart, and too uncomfortable to sleep through. It would go on for 6-8 hours before petering out. A couple of days before my due date, we thought the contractions were for sure the real deal, and headed to Blossom at about 2:30 am. It was a 40-minute drive, and by the time we got there the contractions were dying out again, so I know it was another false alarm. They wanted to go ahead and check me. I was only 1cm dilated, with a very posterior cervix. I went home, disappointed that all the prodromal labor didn’t seem to really be prepping my body much for birth.
A week later, on Memorial Day, I was 40 weeks and 5 days and super uncomfortable. This was my first time going over my due date. I had an appointment at Blossom that day. We arrived and they gave me a referral for a BPP and NST to monitor the baby a little, since I was “overdue.” I was exhausted by all the false labor, and starting to have a lot of anxiety about the birth. Flashbacks from Ander’s birth kept coming to me, and fear would just overwhelm my body. Even though I logically knew that this birth would be very different, I couldn’t seem to get my emotions on board. Mary was the one who met with me that day, and she recommended that I talk to Diane, have her do some body work on me, and give me some recommendations for the anxiety. She came down to Blossom within the hour, and did a little work on my hips, as well as a massage with essential oils. She also checked me and said that I was 4cm, and the baby’s head was pressing down. She told me that the baby would come that night or the next day, and readjusted some ligaments that she said were tying things up. Then she gave me recommendations for some natural anxiety remedies.
Jon and I left Blossom and headed to the store to grab those things. It was 5:30pm when we headed out. The contractions started up as we walked out the door, but were no worse than the mildly painful ones I had been having for weeks. By the time we were leaving the second store, it was 6:30 and I knew we had to head back to the birth center. The contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, and difficult enough to make me stop and breathe. We arrived at 6:40, and I labored on the birth ball for about 45 minutes. Jon sat across from me, knees together, foreheads touching as he pushed the pressure points on my hands and breathed with me. In those moments, and for the remainder of my labor, the anxiety was gone. Though some part of me knew the contractions were pretty hard, all I felt was peace and connection—connection with my husband, and a tender connection with our baby. She was my third, but it felt like my first all over again. I felt her near us. I could almost feel her joy.
After some time, I instinctively knew I needed to move. I wanted to be in the tub, but I knew from previous experience that if I went in too early, it would slow things down. I looked at the clock. It was 7:30. We’d been there less than an hour. But I decided to go ahead and get in the tub. It was heavenly. Jon was right there in the water with me, holding my hands, helping me breathe, and encouraging me as he has always done.
Mary and Kelly were there also, bringing me water and tea and telling me how amazing I was doing. By 8:15, the intensity was so strong, I began to doubt whether I could do it much longer. Mary checked me and I was still 4 cm! I felt a crushing weight of discouragement. This felt like transition, and I wanted to be done. But Mary’s calm voice reminded me that it could still go so fast, and that my baby knew what she was doing. She knew when and how to come and I had to trust that. It took a lot of faith to hold onto those words and to just let go, but I did.
Less than 20 minutes later, my body started pushing. I started freaking out, thinking there was no way it was time yet! But the pushing was a relief, so much easier than the contractions, and there was no way I could stop it anyway, so I just let it happen. At 8:47, I stood up and my water broke. Thirty seconds later, at 8:48pm, my little girl slid out of me and into the world, pink and crying and beautiful.
I couldn’t believe it had all happened so fast. There was only about an hour of really difficult labor, and only about a half hour to get from 4cm to holding my baby. It was fast, intense, and so very peaceful, right up until the end. And as I held her, I realized that for the first time since my last birth, I felt whole. This beautiful birth healed me, and I felt a tremendous connection with heaven. Though each of my births has had strong spiritual elements, this one was different. Throughout this pregnancy, whenever I thought of our baby, I felt stillness, beauty, and peace, like a forest after a snowfall. We named her Winter, and her peaceful, calm nature has brought a unique fullness and joy to our home. We are so grateful for the perfect experience that Blossom gave us as we became a family of five.