Lady Flora’s Story

February 29, 2016

A Wondrous Natural Birth

I knew I didn’t want to give birth in a hospital but I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to go drug free. I spent a lot of time weighing my options, talking with a friend who had two natural births and watching “The Business of Being Born”. My husband and I went to tour a birth center and I knew that was where I wanted to be when our baby was born. We took an awesome Bradley Method Class and I read lots of positive birth stories. I came to believe that natural child birth was something my body was made to do, something I wanted to be present for and that I could do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

My due date had come and gone and I was 41 weeks. I had a membrane sweeping done a few days earlier. It was a Saturday, January 26 about 6am when I woke up with cramps that I thought might be contractions, as instructed, I tried to ignore them and went back to sleep. Around 8am I got up and showered to try to stop them if they were false. They got a little stronger and more centered in my back. As I tried to dry off I had one that was so uncomfortable I just stopped what I was doing and knelt down on all fours. Then I knew it really was early labor. Husband woke up and asked me what was going on. When I shyly told him I was having contractions he got really excited. He started getting everything ready and running around like we were decorating for a birthday party.  I watched a birth affirmations video I had made and I tried breathing slowly. I did everything I could to relax into the contractions and it was very helpful. I tried sitting on the birth ball but that was very uncomfortable. The only thing that worked was leaning forward on all fours. I was having back labor! The contractions were all over the place. Some were ten minutes apart some were five and then seven. I started to wonder if we had enough gas in the car since the birth center was 25 minutes away. Hubby installed a light fixture and hung some art work. Time seemed to fly by. At exactly 1:58 we called the Birth Center and got a hold of Midwife Chris we told her about my contractions and she said to come in.

No one was there but her. It was very quiet. My husband played the birth mix he made for me and it was very soothing. We opened the door to the garden and stood there looking at the plants and trees. It was perfect Florida weather and so peaceful. I had a contraction outside leaning over a bench. The contractions intensified and Chris came back in and I got in the tub. I labored in there for a while and the contractions were really rough. I leaned back but felt more in control of the pain when I was on all fours. Chris checked me and said she could feel the bag of waters. I was slightly surprised when I realized that my water hadn’t broken yet. Hubby told me I was doing a great job and that we were going to see our baby soon. As I started to have another contraction he said I was strong like a lioness and I felt so encouraged. The water was lit blue and the lighting was low with candles all around, it was very soothing. I started to feel tingly after each contraction and I asked Chris why. Mary, the birth assistant came in but I didn’t see her I was so out of it, I was almost sleeping between contractions. Someone said that our parents were there, waiting in the family room and I noticed the clock said 6pm which was really confusing because I couldn’t believe so much time had passed. I was in a daze.

Then Chris said in a very calm voice lets get some o’s on her. Which turned out to be an oxygen mask. I found out later I had been breathing very shallow even though I didn’t feel out of breath and that was why I felt tingly. At some point Chris told me to get out of the tub and on to the bed so I got on all fours (the only position that was comfortable) and pushed a little and apparently my water broke all over her which was kind of embarrassing, but my husband swears it was awesome. I pushed in this position a few times and it was very difficult. My amazing husband was at my head constantly offering me water and encouraging me. At one point I threw up but they rushed to clean it up.  The pushing seemed to go on forever. Everyone was being encouraging but I could tell there was little progress. Chris told me to get on my side and I told her that sounded uncomfortable but I did it. They had me pull my legs up while pushing. Mary told me to hold my breath while pushing which seemed counter intuitive but I did it and it really helped me focus. I went from side to side doing this. Then Chris said “I don’t normally do this but I’m going to have you lie on your back and pull your legs up.” I had heard that this position opened up the pelvis more so I did it but it really hurt my back. They put oxygen on me again. I pushed more and it was still very hard and I started to feel discouraged. I had been pushing for four hours! At some point Chris prayed out loud and I was so grateful. A song on the birth mix was playing with the lyrics “We seek Mercy” and I prayed out loud that God would have mercy on me!

At some point after that they started to see her head and they got excited and told me to keep pushing but I was getting tired. Chris asked my husband to come over to her side if he wanted to catch the baby. There was more pushing and I watched his face the whole time. He was unflinching and handled the whole thing like a pro. Finally hubby started getting excited and I knew something was really happening. They asked me to feel her head and I reached down and felt her soft fuzzy little head and it gave me courage. More pushing. Two steps forward one step back. Suddenly I felt burning and warmth and knew there was tearing but I didn’t care because finally her head was out! Everyone was very excited. Chris said “Oh, that’s what it was!” and then explained that her arm was wrapped around her neck like a scarf. Her elbow had been pushing into my back which was the reason for back labor. She skillfully moved her arm and told my husband to get ready. I pushed some more and saw him holding her as her whole long body came out. Then it seemed like they tossed her to me and I saw her long arms and legs stretching out to me and her long fingers all extended and her dark brown hair was spikey and all over the place. It was perfect.

They rubbed her down while she was still on my chest and she started coughing and crying. After a while hubby cut the umbilical cord. At some point I took off the oxygen, she stopped crying and we just stared at each other her while Mary pressed on my uterus to loosen the placenta, which was uncomfortable, but nothing compared to what I just went through. They told me to keep pushing to get the placenta out and I didn’t think I could feel my pushing muscles any more but Chris said I would feel relief if I did and suddenly it came out and what a relief! The rest was a bit of a blur as they cleaned me up. My daughter and I just stared at each other and I congratulated her on being born and breathing air for the first time. She seemed to grin at me, her eyes were so dark and alert and her breathing was ragged from a bit of meconium she had gotten in her lungs. But Mary assured us this was not serious and would only last a few days.

My husband took photos of us and helped me drink orange juice and cocoanut water and fed me the quinoa, broccoli & beef dish that we had made. Then we let our Moms in and they were so excited and sweet. They took photos and hugged me. I looked at my Mom and said “Now we both have daughters!” Later I covered up more and we brought in our Dads who were very proud.

Then I was given a few shots of lidocaine as Chris gave me stitches to help the minor tearing. At some point my daughter latched on and nursed a little. Then Mary talked to us about babies and recovering moms and taking temperatures and the complicated dance of nursing. We packed up the car and put our pearl of great price in her car seat. We hugged Mary and went home with our baby, completely mystified with wonder and love.

~ Lady Flora,

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