Hattie's Birth Story
My firstborn son’s birth was relatively straightforward and quick. Even with all the blessings involved in his birth, I ended up at the hospital shortly after with immense swelling. 11 months later, I found myself pregnant yet again. My pregnancy was uneventful and our second babe grew big and strong. About a month before my due date, I found my heart unsettled. Waves of fear surrounding labor and delivery swept over me, specifically at night when I was already having trouble sleeping from being enormous. Several mornings before the sun had yet to rise, I found myself on my knees - surrendering the fear and reminding myself of the truth; My God was with me. My body and baby knew what to do. I didn’t need to strive and strain, birth would find me.
On Tuesday, February 8th, I felt a small gush in the morning. At first I doubted that it was my water breaking.. Surely there wasn’t enough water? Maybe it was just the normal state of things “down there”.. But within a few hours, larger gushes had me convinced. I texted my husband, midwife and doula. Then, we waited. And waited, and waited. Nothing happened for an entire 24 hours. The next morning at 11am on Wednesday, the 9th, I went into the Birth Center for an appointment. At that point we had another 24 hours to go into labor before a transfer to the hospital was necessary. Amy suggested potentially giving my body a nudge through the dreaded midwives brew.. Castor oil. Nothing but 39 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy can induce a woman to agree to such a thing. My husband and I drove over to Walmart and I threw back 2 ounces in the parking lot around 1 pm. The taste was mild but the texture was similar to a melty lip smackers. Delicious. Then some more waiting. I went to my parents house with my son. Around 4 pm, I felt the castor oil start to work its magic. Goodness - what a messy affair.
Around 5pm, I thought I started to feel some twinges. They were about 6 minutes apart and completely manageable. I texted my husband to head over to my parents house. 5 minutes, 4 minutes, and by 7 pm they were nearing 3 minutes apart. I was managing well, swaying and breathing through each mild wave. We called Averee, my doula, just to check in because the timing of the contractions was so close. Upon hearing my voice, she strongly recommended heading to the birth center. Drawing from the experience of my first born's birth, I wasn’t quite convinced. “Are you sure?” I asked. “Do you want to have that baby at home!?” she asked. “And bring some towels, too. Just in case.” Off we went. I had one wave while hopping into the pickup and then just one more towards the end of the 10 minute drive. “Oh my lands, we stalled labor. I called everyone here for nothing,” I inwardly moaned.
We arrived to a lit candle, the coziest room, the sweetest smiles and reassuring hugs. Safety enveloped me. I slipped into intense labor within minutes. We had arrived at the birth center just before 8 pm and I was in the bath within twenty minutes, mooing and swaying through the contractions. Worship music floated through the room. I heard the voices of my birth team quietly singing along. I felt their prayers, their hands supporting me, their hearts being so for me and my baby. The environment was one that enabled me to labor in freedom, completely uninhibited. I felt loose, noisy, silly, almost like I was high on some sort of enchanting, hormonal concoction. The oxytocin was flowing.
Probably around 8:30pm, the waves started to get intense. I would plant my butt into the tub and try to ride them out. I clutched my doula as she encouraged me to give into them. Melt in. Let them work. I felt my baby’s head move down and open me wide. I suddenly had this crazy urge to escape my own body, to run, to jump out of the tub, to squeeze my legs together. The sensation of a baby coming out is otherworldly and I have never really known how to just let it happen ( my transition maybe..?) My husband hopped into the tub in a flurry of socks and undies. Slowly her head started to come and I breathed short, fierce puffs out into the room, “blowing out the birthday candles” as Averee would say. With every contraction I let my uterus do it’s job. It brought my baby’s head out and within a few contractions her body too. I scooped her through my legs and fell back into my husband in joyful relief. SHE WAS HERE. “That was so good!” I kept saying. “That was amazing! We did it!” At this point we didn’t know the gender. We glanced and cried out with laughter. A delightful, little girl! Luna Carol had stormed into our world at 9:02 pm, weighing 8 lbs 11.5 ounces. After a postpartum herbal bath and routine checks, we lounged in a happy haze, chatting with our birth team, kissing our new baby and praising our gracious God. We were tucked into our own bed just after midnight. “It feels like a dream, doesn’t it?” my husband asked me. “Yes! It was so fast and almost fun..” I said.
Luna’s birth was redemptive and celebratory, absolutely everything we had prayed for. In His kindness, Jesus answered both the little, seemingly silly prayers (timing, no tearing, etc.) and the big ones (constructing the perfect birth team, no hospital induction, healthy babe and momma). We couldn’t be more grateful!