Lauren's Birth Story
Nora Marie was due on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. That morning, I went to Bozeman Birth Center for a quick check-up to see if I was dilated at all, check Nora’s heart rate, and discuss some things I could possibly do to get her to make her appearance. I thought that my water had possibly broken the night before, but turns out- it was either a very slow leak, or I just peed the bed a little haha pregnancy… such a beautiful experience. Anyway, I was 3 cm dilated, but had quite a way to go in the “effacement” department… We chose to go ahead and strip my membranes to see if we could spark things up a bit. (I had also been using “evening primrose oil” for a few days to help soften my cervix.)
I left the birth center and went about that Wednesday just like any other- hung out with Aeva, ran errands, etc. Aeva often spends Wednesday nights with Grammy, so I dropped her off that afternoon; we joked about her coming home to a sister the next morning. After dropping Aeva off, I stopped by to do a walk-through and check on the progress of one of my client’s job sites; I was having light contractions at that time, but chalked it up to cramps from having my membranes stripped. However, just in case it was the onset of labor- I figured I’d better go get my nails done because I knew I wouldn’t have the chance anytime soon with a newborn! Haha While sitting through my manicure, silent and bored, I began mentally tracking my contractions… They were certainly consistent, but “annoying” at most- not painful.
Michael cooked dinner for us that night, and I shared with him that I thought MAYBE labor was sneaking up on us, but I wasn’t totally sure… I took a bubble bath after dinner to see if the contractions would subside; they didn’t. Mike and I laid in bed counting contractions for a while, and they were slowly getting stronger, but I still wasn’t convinced that this was the real thing, so I took a shower. (If you’re wondering why I was in and out of the water so much… Dr. Google says that if you take a bath, shower, change activities, etc. and your contractions go away- then they’re Braxton Hick’s, not the REAL thing.) Well, the contractions held strong throughout the shower. Mike stood in the bathroom and continued to track them. When I got out, I asked him what they were measuring, and he said “about 45 seconds long and three minutes apart, so we’re not quite there yet.” I said, “what do you mean?” He responded with “well, they’re not 5 minutes apart yet, so we’ve got a way to go, right?” haha I had to explain to him that we were past that, and that things moved the OPPOSITE direction. Heck, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart when I was getting my nails done! Haha at that point, I think Mike’s mind got a little more serious, like, wait… is this happening!?
Finally, around 11 PM, I told Mike to get some sleep and that I would try to do the same. I thought if I could sleep through the contractions that they must be a false alarm. Well, sure enough, I couldn’t sleep through them. I woke Mike up around 1/1:30 AM, and told him we were legit in labor. At that point, I called our midwife, Kayla, so that she could drive over to the birth center and get prepared to help guide this little lady into the world. Over the next hour or so, Mike and I made sure we had everything we needed, loaded up, and left! On the way, Mike stopped at a gas station to get a coffee; when he got back in the car, he was so excited! He said, “I wanted literally any excuse to tell the cashier lady that I was having a baby, but she didn’t even ask me how my night was, so I didn’t get to.” Hahaha
We got to the birth center between 2/2:30 AM… We got comfy, turned the heat up/fireplace on (I had the chills for some reason), and set the speaker to “Norah Jones” radio because what’s more peaceful than Norah Jones’ voice??? Kayla checked me once we got settled, and I was 5 cm dilated. Mike and I laid in bed talking, and he did his fair share of talking to Nora through my stomach too, as I labored away. Kayla came to check Nora’s heartrate and my progression about once per hour. (Give, or take.) Things stayed pretty mellow until about 5 AM- at that point, contractions were noticeably stronger; I was no longer in a super chatty mood or willing to pretend that Mike’s “dad jokes” were funny. Haha I was just over 6cm dilated and almost fully effaced! I decided to get in the bath as an attempt to relax and help with pain. I didn’t last terribly long in there before I changed my scenery back to the bed. A couple hours passed, and the contractions were strong to the point of my entire mind and body being consumed by the intervals of pain. I don’t mean this in a negative way, but that my focus was required, trusting my body was essential, breathing was important, oh, and relaxing my jaw haha as Kayla had to remind me to do that a few times. While Kayla was out of the room, I looked at Mike during one of my contractions, and told him that I felt like I needed to push. Sure enough, when Kayla came back in and witnessed one of my next contractions, she said, “that seemed a little pushy”.
I chose to go back in the tub as I was hoping that the warm water would offer some sort of pain relief. (Whether it’s a mind over matter thing, or not, I don’t know… but it seems to help.) Shortly after entering the tub, it was pushing time. Mike was amazing… his subtle coaching helped ease my mind and my pain (believe it, or not) much more than he probably realized. Having his calm direction made me feel safe, encouraged, and strong. Much like with my first birth experience, I couldn’t quite get the leverage I wanted and needed in the tub (short girl problems), so I got out once again. This time, we used a birthing stool that allows you to be in the squat position while pushing. Mike sat behind me leaning against the bed to help stabilize me, because I promise- holding the squat position was the LAST thing my body was capable of at this point. Mike was originally planning on delivering Nora, but in that moment, I needed him to help hold me as my body was exhausted. I pushed a couple of times, listening to Kayla’s direction to hold and ease off when necessary to allow my body to stretch without trauma. This is such an important part, to me! And this is one of the many reasons I feel it is so important to be able to feel your body during labor- so that you’re able to acknowledge your body’s needs and be patient with the process. Forcing your body to push a baby fully out before it’s ready can lead to unnecessary tearing, which I think we’d all like to avoid, right? And thanks to Kayla’s direction and patience, Nora was born in just a couple more pushes- not a single tear, and she even came out with both hands up beside her face. I pushed for about 13 minutes (felt like forever haha intense pain does weird things to your brain when it comes to awareness of time). As she was coming, Kayla directed me to “grab my baby”. My exhausted arms grabbed her and slowly pulled her close to my body. I looked at Michael with tears of ABSOLUTE JOY in my eyes, and said “Babe, we did it!” The kiss we shared at that moment was more special than any other. Born at 8:31 AM on May 28, 2020- she was letting out the sweetest little cry, and at that moment- all pain subsided, our hearts were overflowing, and we finally had our sweet, healthy baby girl in our arms. What a blessing! I prayed throughout my entire pregnancy for God’s hand over my labor and delivery, to give wisdom and guidance to the midwife and Michael as they coached me through labor, and that Nora would be born healthily and safely… We had a lot of thanks to give to God because he honored each and every one of my prayers.
Michael cut her umbilical cord, and all that was left of “labor” was to deliver the placenta, which seems like a cake-walk compared to everything else haha Minutes after birth and settling into bed, Nora took to nursing right away! It’s amazing how they’re born with such incredible instincts. Shortly after her first feeding, Kayla helped me to the shower while Mike snuggled his daughter for the first time. I stood in the shower with a smile on my face, thanking God for a wonderful experience and for hearing my prayers. I was humbled by His blessings. After showering, they had me eat something because it turns out- you burn through quite a few calories during labor and need some replenishment haha! During that time, Nora got her measurements, foot prints, and all that good stuff; 7lbs, 20 inches, red hair, and blue eyes- she’s perfect! Mike and I were counting down the minutes until we were able to get home and introduce Nora to her sister, Aeva! (Bozeman Birth Center has a policy that you have to stay for at least two hours after birth to make sure bleeding is manageable and vitals are good for both mom and baby.) Well, when the two-hour mark approached, we packed up, took our “welcome to the world” photo, said our thank you’s and goodbye’s, and loaded our little family into the car to make our way home. Mike said he’d never driven so cautious in his whole life. Precious cargo!!
We arrived home around 11:30 AM where Mike’s mom greeted us and her first grandbaby for the first time! Tears filled both Christine and I’s eyes in that special moment. It wasn’t long until my mom, dad, and Aeva arrived! Aeva meeting her baby sister will be at the top of the list for “precious moments” in my life, forever.
Nora is finally here, and I couldn’t have done it without the unwavering support of Michael and the wisdom of Kayla throughout the process. I’m so grateful for both of my natural birthing experiences, the midwives alongside of me, and the healthy babies I’ve been blessed with!