Hi! Yes, this is a birth story so feel free to pass if that’s not your thing. It definitely wasn’t mine before oh, say, last Thursday? Haha. It’s also very lengthy so good luck with that! However, I won’t be over sharing or using very specific language, because even I don’t want to know or remember every physical detail about my son’s birth.
Choosing (to try) natural birth. I chose to try natural birth at a birth center because, for me, it seemed to be the most manageable and least scary route. I was blessed to be able to have all the perks of labor & delivery with a midwife in a homelike atmosphere, but I was also just blocks away from a modern hospital where women routinely transfer for any unforeseen complications. Surprisingly, the actual labor & delivery part is never what scared me about childbirth. I figured it’s a natural process that women have been doing forever… if they could do it, so could I! Just ask Kevin, I got more nervous about the thought of getting my blood drawn or a possible iv if I tested GBS positive than I ever did about childbirth. So for us, it was a great blessing to have the option to deliver at Mountain Midwifery, even though we are not super crunchy types. Spoiler: I didn’t even look at my placenta, let alone eat it or make necklace out of it. ;) Our natural childbirth classes also really educated us on any medical interventions that might be needed. They were not anti-epidural or anti-c-section by any means, but just taught us about when they might provide unnecessary risks or when they might be the best option for the health of the mother and baby.
Overdue… 10+ months! Because the birth center only allows low-risk women to deliver there, the clock was ticking for when I’d have to transfer to the hospital for the dreaded pitocin induction. I always had a feeling this baby would come late, but not this late! So during the last week, I just gritted my teeth and took advantage of any natural labor induction techniques the midwives had to offer. None of the super easy things (walking, squatting, spicy food, etc.) were likely to do much for this baby since he was very comfortable during 9 months of CrossFit!
Kevin worked from home to support me during these last few days… it was a little miserable, but at least we had Starbucks!
I started off with the foley balloon procedure…. which I have to say I would probably never do again. That’s one of those things I won’t go into detail about. But it was worth a shot as a first-time mom, and it may have done something to speed things up. We’ll never know exactly what caused me to finally go into labor.
Next up: shots of cotton root bark. It tasted like dirty garbage. Plus I was home schooled. I have no idea how to take a shot. Drink a shot? I don’t even know… hah.
And finally, castor oil! People say terrible things on the internet about castor oil, but I trusted the midwives. That doesn’t mean I didn’t cry a little before I took the first gulp.
1/2 a bottle of castor oil.
Plus some 7/11 slurpee!! Haha. I did some research at what might be the easiest thing to gulp it down with.
So gross. The consistency of castor oil is really weird so we had a hard time getting it to mix well. But I managed to chug it down. It really wasn’t as bad as I was expecting… I think because I’ve tried oil pulling with coconut oil before, I just wasn’t so freaked out by the oily consistency. It was still nasty.
Kevin and I were very skeptical that castor oil would work for me. Basically it’s supposed to upset your stomach to the point where your body goes into labor. But my stomach does not get upset easily. I lived in the Dominican Republic for three years, and I was about the only American I know of that never caught parasites (unless they’re still in there!!) or had other stomach issues. I didn’t get sick at all during pregnancy except for that one instance of taking prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach (oops). So we were very doubtful.
So I did a little cleaning (none of that extreme nesting though) and actually took a nap.
Maybe it was cuddles from these two that actually induced labor…
I woke up at around 6:30PM. At that point it had been 4+ hours since taking the castor oil which was supposed to work in 1-3 hours. Oh well. Kevin started to talk about me taking another dose. Easy for him to say! But then I had to run to the bathroom, so that was a good sign! And then it finally started. I was all like… was that a contraction? I don’t know if that was a contraction! My stomach feels hard, but I don’t know. My stomach had pretty much been rock hard during the last week when Baby E finally migrated over from the right to absolute front and center. You could pretty much see where his tiny little back was pressing against my belly button, even flattening it a little bit. So I tried pacing around in the house to see if I could get myself to have more contractions. I was definitely still in denial, but I was like maybeee??? Whatever just happened brought a few tears to my eyes so maybe it was something?!
Finally, I pretty much locked myself in the bathroom and was in serious labor. My inner animal apparently came out, and I just wanted to be left alone. Kevin called the midwife and told her he thought the castor oil was kicking in. This is so funny… I remember being embarrassed when he asked her if he should start timing contractions. TOO SOON, KEVIN! Don’t make us look like the rookie parents!! From everything we learned in our classes, I thought I should be having early labor and still be able to do things. I always thought I would take a shower and make sure my hair was clean, etc. That wasn’t going to happen at this point. Although I still wouldn’t commit to the fact that I was having contractions, they were less than 2 minutes apart almost immediately. But what does this mean?!?!! We were told to wait for 3-1-1. Contractions that were 3 minutes part, lasted 1 minute, and going on for one hour. So what does it mean when you have contractions every two minutes (or less!) lasting 30 seconds or so??? Seriously, thank God that Kevin had to take all those natural childbirth classes with me or the baby definitely would have been born in the bathroom or in the backseat of the car. Although I was reluctant, he called the midwife again. She listened to a contraction over the phone, and I was like, yes, come in right now! At some point, he also texted our doula so she was ready to go as well.
Okay then! It was go time! Kevin was very calm, and he even let the dogs out before we left. At that point, I think my body realized what was happening even though my brain still wasn’t sure. So I was panicking that he was taking the time do that!!! I remember having a contraction as we walked out to the car and trying to keep it quiet so the neighbors wouldn’t hear me. Ha ha. Kevin had actually put the car seat in the trunk so I’d have space to move around in the backseat, but as it turned out, I pretty much sat with my legs crossed the entire time. I also did what I could mentally to calm down the contractions a little bit. It sort of worked. All the while, I was thinking, maybe they’re going to send us back home? How will I do this car ride again?? Ha ha ha. Of course, we went past a police car who ended up following us for a while. So funny. But we made it to the birth center very quickly since there was no traffic and arrived around 11:15PM.
Baby break!! Because he’s sooooooo cute! Is this a spoiler???? Haha. :)
I will never forget the moment I walked into the birth center.
This sounds TOTALLY crazy (and it is), but sometimes before I go to sleep at night, I find myself remembering this moment.
Immediately, as I arrived at the birth center, three sweet and incredible women just descended upon me, and I knew everything was going to be okay. I had a contraction right away when I got in the door, and they stood with me, encouraging me and just letting me do my thing. The environment was just completely serene, and calming. The lights were dim and the midwife was turning on all the little LED candles. Later, I realized that I had been fighting the contractions because I was in denial that I was actually in labor, but at the same time I was afraid the baby was going to come before we got there!
The midwife checked things out, and it turned out that I was already “complete”… ready to push? What????? I was not expecting that at all, and I was totally in shock. They hustled me over to the birth stool and started giving me directions on pushing. I tried it a few times. Haha. I thought we were just warming up. I seriously had no clue what was going on. I just knew that Kevin was sitting right behind me, and it seemed like the midwife, nurse, and my doula had things under control. So I just went with whatever they were telling me. I actually told them that I felt a lot better than I had been feeling at home, just because I had finally stopped resisting the urge to push. Because I was delivering a baby, I have no concept of time, but the baby was born less than 10 contractions later. My sweet doula was making jokes that I hadn’t even broken a sweat, and the nurse was reminding me that I was going to need to finish undressing! Haha. All of a sudden the midwife was like, alright, one more push and the head is coming out. I didn’t really believe her. The nurse was pretty much constantly checking the baby’s vitals and had mentioned that his heart rate had dropped a little bit. They assured me that was this was pretty normal, but it gave me that extra little bit of determination I needed to not waste anytime getting him into this world. Edmund James was born at 12:12AM!
I have to admit that I definitely did not immediately have that beautiful mother-son moment that you see in natural birth pictures. I was more in shock that he had come so quickly, and I just kept on following directions. Can you believe that they let me carry a baby who was about 2 seconds old???? I had to walk with him back to bed so he could be attended to by the nurse while I delivered the placenta. Meanwhile, Edmund let out his first cry. Hooray!! Even my clueless self could tell that he looked perfectly fine, and I felt better right away. But I was just lying there, chatting with Kevin and my doula as the nurse and midwife did some checking on both the baby and me. They brought me snacks!!!! Apples, nuts, cheese, yogurt, and crackers. Kevin fed some of it to me… and of course ate some himself. Kevin can’t pass up a good snack!!!! I was pretty hungry because I hadn’t eaten dinner so I ate a decent amount and started feeling better fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the midwife had some bad news for me. I was going to need some stitches. Boooo!!!! I braved up and, shockingly, didn’t even cry as she explained to me what was going to happen next. She and my doula accompanied me to the hospital to get the extra care that I needed while Kevin stayed at the birth center with Baby Edmund while they finished checking him out.
Here we are, shortly after birth. Do I know how to hold a baby????? Not really!! Do you notice Kevin’s shirt??? That was his labor outfit, but he didn’t get to change until after the birth. Oh well. Nobody wants to hear A Stitches Story, so I’ll just say that I’m so thankful my doula and the midwife were there with me. I didn’t have to worry about a thing except, well, continuing to breathe. The stitches were pretty much the most difficult part of the whole process for me, but, hey, it’s over now. Kevin, Best Dad Ever, was the one to discharge Edmund from the birth center and drove him over all by himself to meet me at the hospital. I found that impressive. A brand new baby!!! I thought it was hilarious that Kevin was super anxious to leave the hospital after about 30 minutes. They were just holding me there a little bit to make sure the bleeding was under control. But we were on the road soon enough, just as the sun was coming up. We made it home by 7AM on the day of our son’s birth, and we went straight to bed. Of course, Edmund promptly woke up because he’d just had a very long nap! Welcome to parenthood!!!!!
My Little Prince. 6 days old.
Recovery totally sucks, but my baby is sweet and precious and wonderful! We love him so much!! I can hardly stand it!!! <3 And I have to reiterate that my husband is our hero. He was so positive, calm, involved, and always knew just what to do. He took such loving and tender care of us during our first days home together as a family. He’s the best! Thank you again to all of you who were thinking of us and praying for us during this amazing and crazy time of life. We love you!!
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. Psalm 139:13-14
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