To celebrate our oldest daughter turning 4 this week, I’ll be posting some little stories about her life. Here is part 2 of her birth story. To read part 1, click here.
….It was now 6:20. I had one more contraction in the car, and practically ran into the birth center, bee lining for the room they pointed me to. I barely made it in there before the next contraction hit, and there I was leaning on the bed, moaning, and having Nathanael press my hips again.
I was Group B Strep positive, and had planned to have an IV of antibiotics, but because of how quickly I was seeming to progress, A asked if she could check my cervix and see how far I had to go, to see if the antibiotic would even do any good (it had to be in my body for about 2 hours to be effective). I laid down on the bed, and when she checked me, she said, “Well, your cervix is practically gone!” Because of the imminence of the birth, we decided to forgo the antibiotics after all.
I had a few contractions side-lying on the bed, and then they told me I could get in the tub if I wanted to. I got in and ended up being in the tub for about an hour, but it wasn’t really as soothing for me as I thought it would be. I still had Nathanael press my hips, and was moaning and casting pitches with my voice, trying not to wear my vocal cords out. The hot water felt good on my back (I had them put towels on me so I wouldn’t get cold). It’s kind of funny, because I was laboring hard, and was sweating so much, but I still felt annoyed if my back got cold.
I was feeling so much pressure and bulging inside of me, and occasionally having the urge to push. A checked me again, and finally my water broke! Wow, that was such a relief, I couldn’t believe it. For some reason things seemed to get much clearer after that. I had much more definite sensation of where the baby was, and more of a feel of how to get it out. I started pushing, but was having a hard time in the tub, because I didn’t feel I could get in the position I needed to be in. Nathanael suggested trying the birthing stool, and that sounded good, so I got out of the tub and onto the stool.
Now I was pushing like crazy. With every contraction came the urge to push, and push I did! Nathanael was sitting behind me, and I leaned against him and held his hands. Well, that sounds exaggeratedly relaxed. Ha! Basically I held on to him for dear life, squeezed his hands and braced myself on his arms. He got quite the workout that day!
The whole pushing stage felt like it went very fast, and like it took forever. Time was very foggy to me. Once on the birth stool, though, I felt better able to focus and could feel the baby moving down the birth canal, which was so encouraging! Soon, I could reach and feel the baby’s head coming closer and closer to the outside of my body. About at this point, they put a mirror on the floor so I could see the progress, and this helped me tremendously too. I was able to put all my focus on moving the little dark head I was starting to see down and out.
The most intense time was just as the baby crowned. Of course, that means the widest part of the baby is coming out of a small, stretching hole in me. The level of pain didn’t increase, I was just more keenly aware of every sensation. As the head came to the verge of crowning, there was so much intense pressure on everything “down there”, it didn’t seem possible to get the baby out without me ripping in two. As the head crowned, the burning was enough to make me want to pull all my muscles in to avoid pushing against the burn, but the midwives were encouraging me to push into it, and I was thinking, “The harder I push now, the quicker it will be over,” so I just kept at it.
Almost before I knew it the head was out and I felt so much relief. I was panting, and said, “I need a little break!” The pushing urge totally went away for a minute, and I just leaned on Nathanael and relaxed a little and caught my breath. Suddenly I was ready again, and after just a couple more pushes, my baby was out and they put it in my arms! The feeling of the whole body of that little baby slipping out of me was more amazing than almost anything I have ever experienced. Plus, at that moment, all pain and discomfort was absolutely gone! (Yet another thing I had heard, but wasn’t sure I believed. What a skeptic I am!)
The baby wasn’t crying, and when we looked at it, we realized the baby was fast asleep! A was a little concerned because it wasn’t making noise, but she checked the heart and lungs and everything was totally perfect. The APGAR scores were 7 and 10. A said, “I keep wanting to say ‘he or she’, but I don’t know which it is.” So I took a little peek and said, “It’s a girl!” Soon Nathanael announced, “This is Sara Chantelle.” She was born at 8:19 a.m., making it just shy of 5 hours from the time my labor had started.
Sara continued to sleep peacefully for about an hour and a half. The midwives were amazed at her. A said it happened about once in five years to have a baby born asleep. Sara had an incredible cone head when she was born, and a little bruising on the top of her head, but her head quickly returned to normal shape (practically within hours).
Pushing the placenta out was another really interesting experience. I had a couple little contractions that didn’t really even hurt, and after one push it slid right out of me. When that was done, my whole body felt so much relief. When they checked me out, the midwives found no tearing at all, not even little “skid marks”, so I did not need any stitches.
The student midwives joked with Nathanael after Sara’s birth that he’d better learn to catch babies, and maybe if we have very many kids we should just have home births. J
Soon we moved to the bed to relax, enjoy our baby and get her started on nursing. She was so sleepy she wasn’t really even interested in eating! Sara did finally latch on and nurse, and with the help of a nipple shield to shape my nipple better, she nursed like a pro. After a couple of days she didn’t even need the shield any more. About 1:30 p.m. we were ready to go home, so we packed up all our stuff and our new baby and drove home! What a day!
I am so grateful for the opportunity to give birth at the Puget Sound Birth Center. After this experience, I could not imagine giving birth any other way. The midwives were so supportive, and helped me by giving me just the right amount of information at each stage. It was also great to have Mom, L, and T there, as they helped set such a peaceful atmosphere and I knew they were covering me in prayer. There is no way I could have given birth without my husband, Nathanael. He supported me from the beginning to the end, pressed my hips through every single contraction, and constantly encouraged me.
The whole birth experience was absolutely amazing for me. Such a miracle. We had put much time, thought, and prayer into preparing for Sara’s birth. I read just about everything I could get my hands on regarding birth, and we took a birth class. The best preparation I did was to read Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. I was believing in and preparing for a supernatural, pain-free birth, with a fast, easy delivery. While this birth was not pain-free, it was supernatural. The fact that for my first baby labor was only 5 hours start to finish, I was completely dilated when I got to the birth center only 3 hours into it, and I had no tearing at all is a great testimony to this. Plus Sara was born sleeping, and the whole process of labor and delivery was filled with peace and no fear, even though it was intense.
Our pastor’s wife had prayed over me for supernatural childbirth a couple of weeks before Sara was born, and encouraged me to go for the platinum, but be so grateful if God gave us gold. She encouraged me to not beat up on myself no matter how it turned out, but just to be thankful for what happened, and know that the next one can be even better. We had many others supporting us in prayer too, before and during labor. Praise the Lord!
Sara’s name is based on 1Peter 2:9. “For you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” Sara means Princess, and Chantelle means Spirit of Worship.
More birthday goodness coming tomorrow!