Birth stories? I’m not one to share my own in a public arena like this one, but you are friends and I feel it’s worth sharing this story to help encourage other mothers out there who are starting to sweat as they go beyond their long awaited “due date.” Can we just call it “anticipated date” because that’s more accurate. In my case I’ve been five, twelve, and twenty-one days past my “anticipated date” with my three children. Let me tell you about that last one…
First, I don’t think I have the best way when it comes to birthing. I chose to do what was most comfortable to my husband and me. While I believe in natural methods being optimal, I recognize that there are many ways in which babies are born and all of them are as they should be as long as mom and baby are safe. I have always held my “birth plans” with an open hand because I know many things could alter my plans for natural birth and, at the end of the day, if the baby is born that is what really matters. It is a loaded topic. I recognize that. Please don’t send me hate mail for something I said. I don’t judge you. This is a no judge zone.
Secondly, I did not put myself or my baby at risk when I decided to push off induction and wait until forty-three weeks to have my baby, We were closely monitored by caring professionals. I was past my “expectant date” and both myself and my baby were thriving.
Yes, you read that correctly. I was forty-three weeks pregnant when my sweet baby girl finally made her arrival. That is two weeks past what is considered full-term and one week past what is allowed by hospitals here in the states.
At my last post-natal appointment in the care of the medical team at the hospital where I was to deliver I began to feel very uneasy. I typically feel uncomfortable in medical situations so this visit was really not out of the ordinary, except I was hooked up to a non-stress test for over an hour where I felt forgotten about in this tiny little windowless room with wires from my belly to a primitive looking typewriter-thing spitting out white pages of inconsistent heart rhythms. The longer the time went on the more I felt we were forgotten about, and the more anxiety grew in me at the thought of having my baby at the hospital. I wanted out of that room so badly that everything in me wanted to rip the wires off, run like heck out of there, and never come back. So much for a “non-stress test.” I pictured it like the scene from Runaway Bride, except I didn’t have a horse and I would have had to waddle out clutching my husbands arm to escape the glares of the waiting room while we made little progress to near the elevator in short time. It wouldn’t have been a sight.
When the nurse finally came back in she said everything looked great and they just took so long because the baby seemed to be sleeping most of that time.
Hungry, cranky, and uneasy about delivery going as I hoped, I called my cousin and asked for her midwife’s phone number. I called the midwife. She spoke with care. She spoke calmly and assuringly, making me feel at peace with where I was in my pregnancy. She didn’t try to convince me that a home birth was right for me, but she listened and encouraged me. After I finished talking with her, I felt so at ease to trust my body and the birth process again that I knew what I wanted to do. I decided then that I wanted to have my baby at home. This midwife that I called happened to be a renowned home birth expert and with over two thousand births she has attended. I felt sure I wanted her to be with me through this process. In a crazy turn of events, that I’m sure only God could have orchestrated, she just happened to have the weeks at that time available (even though she is highly sought after and only takes two births each month). My birth was falling between the two and perfectly fit in her schedule.
Even though it was my immediate desire to have the baby at home, I knew I needed The Mister to be on board with the plan, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. After much prayer, he did get on board and, not only was in agreement that it was the right thing for us, he was also at ease with the idea. Our two sons were born at Ronald Reagan UCLA Hospital so this idea of birthing at home was entirely different. I had the comfort of knowing that my other births went routinely, without the aide of medical interventions, so I planned (and prayed) that this one would as well. Yes, that means zero drugs. That doesn’t make me tougher. In my mind I’m more fearful of people messing with me, so epidurals and medical teams make me sweat more than labor and the idea of having a baby naturally.
So, after forty-three long, trying weeks. And I mean it people. Those final weeks were the most trying on my patience as well as my faith that God is in control of everything. Even my best plans. She finally came. SHE! We hadn’t known what we were having so it was the most wonderful surprise when, there in my bedroom, she was delivered and I held her in my arms for the first time.
It must be the third time is the charm deal because after only seven hours from the first sign of labor, two hours from when I called the midwife team to come, one hour after they arrived and two pushes, she came out. Nine pounds six ounces of perfectly pink, plump, babe. That was at 10:15pm. By midnight we went back to sleep and rested peacefully in our bed undisturbed for the rest of the night. It was unbelievable. We were in awe of how natural and simple it all was. When you take away all the medical context for birth, it really is simple, natural and beautiful. Nothing about my birth at home was scary, shocking, or traumatic. As I put it to one person, in thinking about the events, it would have seemed unnecessary to go to the hospital for such a quick and routine delivery. I’m so thankful and blessed that it went as I had prayed. It was an amazing experience. The midwives were so knowledgeable and I felt I was in the best possible care. I loved knowing that they were always there for me at any moment and that their only focus was me and my baby. That’s the best part of having a team of midwives supporting you. You are their only concern.
Now here we are. Fast forward over a short stint in the hospital after she was born due to an infant infection unrelated to birth, and moving into our new home when she was just one month old, we are settling into life again. Life with three kiddos, living on a farm, in our new home and adjusting to all the changes through and by God’s grace alone. Until next time.