Lauren's Birth Story
9 months is a long time… when you’re pregnant. This pregnancy mirrored my others, physically- not much to complain about. But emotionally and mentally, this pregnancy had its major ups and downs. Harvey was not planned. In fact, I spent a solid amount of time bawling my eyes out on the bathroom floor when I saw those two pink lines. Not only were Mike and I battling our own demons, but our relationship was neck deep in struggles that hardly anyone was aware of, AND I had just started my own brokerage. What in the world was God doing!? Turning 30 was supposed to be “my year”. Instead, it felt like my whole world turned upside down. I made the hard decision to move out, despite discovering there was new life coming. I knew, deep down, if Mike and I were going to come out of this battlefield on the winning side- that we needed space to heal and grow. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I knew that I WANTED resolution to be the outcome, but had to be okay with the alternative if I left. It was time (long overdue, actually) to go all in with God and let Him guide the way, trust His plan, His timing, and His guidance. Easier said than done for a control freak like me, and I was scared.
I can’t really fully explain the sense of comfort I felt in the midst of heartbreak, loneliness and uncertainty when I found out I was carrying a baby boy. It sounds crazy, but I felt an instant sense of protection, loyalty and love. I was facing this pregnancy very much so independently, but discovered an indescribable sense of companionship in my unborn son.
40 weeks came and went. I had months to mentally prepare for delivering my son independently, with the company of my midwives, of course, but if I told you I wasn’t nervous up until his successful delivery- it would be a bold faced lie. Harvey was due Friday, November 3rd. Surprise! He did not come quite on time. That Saturday, I went to the annual Realtor charitable foundation gala and was determined to dance my way into labor, so I got all dressed up, 6 inch heels and all, and danced the night away with my team. That night, I was home alone as both girls were with their dads. At around 3:30 AM I woke up to some mild cramping; as I was laying there trying to analyze whether this was early labor, I felt a slight popping sensation and my water broke/begin to leak. Contractions started becoming consistent, but mellow enough for me to rest through them. I didn’t get much solid sleep, but I tried to at least let my body rest so that I had some energy stored up for the grand finale! At 9 AM Sunday morning my mom drove me to the Birth Center to check on Harvey; since my water had broken, we wanted to make sure his heart rate was good and that he was in proper birthing position! All was good so they sent me on my way to labor at home for the time being. I sent my mom on to church around 10:30 AM so I could get in my zone and prepare my mind and body for what was coming. Contractions were growing stronger, but I thought (based on my previous labors) I still had a long road ahead of me… not the case! Haha By 11:30ish I was starting to have contractions that stopped me in my tracks and demanded my full focus. (They were about two minutes apart at this point.) After feeling some borderline “pushy” pressure, I texted my mom that she was gonna need to dip out of church and give me a ride to the Birth Center. I was starting to get a little nervous that I had waited too long and things were progressing quicker than expected! As I was walking to my car, my dad pulled in the driveway and dropped my mom off. I hopped in the passenger side of my car and my mom jumped in the driver’s seat; I’m not sure that a word was even spoken. As we pulled out of the garage, a tear of relief started rolling down my face. We rolled up to the Birth Center right at noon where we were met by Lainey (midwife) and Jen (nurse). Jen, Lainey and I walked back to the birth suite that both of my girls were born in and my mom went to the sitting room. I remember Jen’s comforting voice saying something along the lines of “you’re here now- you can surrender your body and welcome this baby”. I changed out of my sweats and into a loose gown and it was pretty much game on. Jen and Lainey were accompanied by Amy (midwife) and Sandy (nurse), but to be honest, Amy and Sandy made their peaceful presence so quiet that I barely even noticed them… which, if you know me, that was a good thing! I can become overwhelmed by too many bodies and voices, so their calm presence was exactly what I would have wanted. They were all patient with me in trying different positions to get “comfortable”, and while Jen and Lainey offered guidance- they never tried to tell me what to do or control my positioning. I went from walking, to sitting, to standing, to squatting, to laying down… at one point, I looked at Jen and said “I forgot how fun this is”. Haha A little humor was needed. With each contraction came a stronger urge to push. I stood leaning over the bed, semi-squatting, hoping that gravity would do most of the work, but my legs became pretty numb and shaky. I knew I had several more pushes before I met my baby boy, so I relocated to the bed on my back in hopes of regaining some energy and strength. Jen was off to one side of the bed, Lainey on the other, and I could see, from the corners of my eyes, them praying over me and my unborn son. The level of peace and comfort that brought me in the midst of intense pain is indescribable. I, too, was saying my own prayers in between contractions. The presence of God was dominant in that room. After a few minutes, Jen lightly suggested that I lean over a birthing ball on the bed and bring my left leg into a lunge position; I was no longer shaky, so I switched positions knowing that it would likely be my last switcharoo before meeting sweet Harvey. I had been keeping my hand on the opening and had been able to feel his head for several pushes at this point. Lainey encouragingly said “we can see him, you’re gonna meet your baby soon”. My eyes welled up with tears and I responded, “I’m so excited!” I knew it was only a couple more pushes, but I was pushing gently and slowly allowing my body the time and ability to stretch without trauma. As you’re in the peak of a push, it’s very tempting to just go full force. The baby is RIGHT THERE and you want it to be over- you want that baby in your arms… but being able to feel and evaluate your body’s needs is so crucial for a smooth and trauma-free delivery! I firmly believe in this, and it has had major influence in why I’ve chosen natural birth for all three babies. After a few more steady, non-forceful pushes, Harvey’s head was in my hand! I asked “is he okay, is he good?” And they reassured me that he was perfect and his color was nice and pink. With one more push, he’d be in my arms for the very first time. Jen asked if I was ready to catch my baby, and I excitedly/nervously responded- I don’t know if I can reach him like this! On the next push, at 1:00 PM, Jen helped catch my baby boy and guide him under me and up to my chest as I sat back in pure joy and relief. We did it! Harvey and I shared the most intimate and special first moments of his life together; I was in pure heaven and filled with so much love and gratitude.
The trust that filled the room was truly beautiful. There was trust in God, there was trust between myself and the midwives/nurses, and there was trust between Harvey and I and my body. Ironically, Lainey put some music on during my labor and the first song that played was “Trust in God” by Elevation Worship. It almost brought me to tears because it was the gentle reminder that I needed in the midst of pain and feeling overwhelmed with emotion, that God was in control, that He was present, and that He never fails.
This experience was also a beautiful demonstration that birth can (and will happen) without intervention; other than lending a little lower back massage and a hand to squeeze while pushing- there was no intervention from the midwives. Not once did we check my cervix, there was no medical intervention, no medications, no sense of urgency or chaos, no “theatrics”, we never stripped my membranes or broke my water to kickstart labor, nothing. Now, of course, sometimes medical intervention is the only way, and thankfully we have advances that can be used to save the day, but in my experience (having healthy pregnancies), the less intervention- the smoother the birth and the quicker the recovery. Our bodies were meticulously designed to bring new life into this world and while it’s not “fun”- we are stronger and more capable than we give ourselves credit for, and often times- more capable than our providers give us credit for as well; that is why I’m so grateful for the trust that existed in that room. They believed in me and what my body was capable of on its own. There is immeasurable value in that.
We delayed Harvey’s cord cutting for quite a while so that he was able to receive all of his cord blood; that was my first time cutting a cord. After we severed the anatomical connection between us, we got our last few snuggles in between just the two of us, and then Harvey met his amazing daddy for the first time. Mike walked in with happy tears in his eyes and a smile that he couldn’t shake if his life depended on it. He took his shirt off and I handed him his son that he held close to his chest, beaming with pride and joy. It was just the three of us in the room, and it was so sweet and special. I’ve spoken about trust a lot, and I also want to acknowledge the trust and faith that Mike had in me to bring our son into this world on my own. He never doubted my ability, and I am so grateful for that. He respected my needs, my space and my strength. After a few minutes with dad, Harvey came back to my arms and took to nursing right away! After getting a little snack, he met his sisters for the first time, which is hands down in my “favorite memories folder”. The smiles radiating from their faces were heart-melting. We played “pass the baby” for a few minutes while vitals were checked, measurements were recorded and mom got to rinse off in the shower- then, as a family of 5, we were headed home sweet home! Arrived at noon, home by 4:00 PM. What an afternoon!Harvey wasted no time and took it pretty easy on mom in the grand scheme of things, which was one of many answered prayers. I left feeling nothing but gratitude, joy and peace.
Harvey means “battle worthy” or “strong in battle”. I did not choose his name because of this, but after discovering the meaning, it became very special to me because while he didn’t know it (obviously)- he played a major role in helping me conquer some of the mental, emotional, and spiritual battles I had been facing for a very long time. It’s hard to put into words, but he had my back from within my womb. It had been the hardest year of my life, but he helped me discover a different version of myself as a woman, as a mom, and he even helped in encouraging me on my walk with God; something about having a little piece of heaven inside of you, brings forth a desire to have a stronger faith in the One who created that life. He helped me achieve a healthier work/home life balance, he helped me discover a softer side of myself, but also a strength inside of me that I didn’t know I had. And most importantly, he helped me be reminded that God has a much bigger and better plan for our lives than we often have for ourselves.
30 was supposed to by “my year”… it wasn’t; it was ours, Harvey, and I’m so grateful for that. Thank you, my little warrior. I am so honored to be your mom. Praise God!!