In honor of Labor Day, what better way to start off the week than with a labor and birth story! I love what I do and am so honored that I get to be a part of these mommas lives! Thank you Emily for sharing your story with the world!
Madelyn’s Birth Story:
On May 5th, I was exactly 41 weeks pregnant. Having thought I was going to go early, we will just say, I was pretty miserable. I was tired, overwhelmed, and MORE than ready. We had tried all the “natural-induction” old-wives tales for weeks: Pineapple, eggplant, pedicures, walking, etc with NO LUCK. So, at 41 weeks, I went to get my BPP ultrasound to make sure fluids and baby were doing well. I had been preparing my whole pregnancy to do an unmedicated, natural childbirth. So, to my surprise, they told me my baby was HUGE and was measuring close to 10 pounds.
HELLO PANIC MODE.
I had major anxiety that I would not be able to do what I had planned to do the entire time.
What if I went another week and the baby got even bigger!?
What if I had to be induced?!
What if I couldn't birth at the birth center because she was so big?!
What if I needed an ER cesarean?!
THIS IS NOT WHAT I PLANNED!!
I called the birth center and asked the midwife on-call if I could get a membrane sweep to try and get things started. She told me she would only do the sweep if I did castor oil as well. I had decided well before then that if it came down to waiting or castor oil, I would wait. I did NOT want to be stuck on the toilet forever before going into labor. That made me more anxious and scared. I was torn because I didn't want to wait but I also was feeling more anxious about going in than I was about waiting. After talking to Courtney and her calming me down; she just listened to me talk through everything and realize what it was that I ORIGINALLY wanted… not what I was freaking out about in the emotion-crazed post-ultrasound anxiety. I spent some time praying and asking the Lord for wisdom. He reminded me of a promise that he will strengthen me if I release it to Him. So I did. I released it and said, “Lord, I trust you”.
I’d been having a lot of braxton-hicks, so my mom and husband decided to take off work and spend a day walking the mall with me to try and naturally get things going. We walked and walked and walked and walked. I got two acupressure massages, ate eggplant parmesan (again), and spicy mexican food for dinner. Contractions were getting closer together and getting harder, but that had happened before, so I didn't get my hopes up. I went to bed thinking they would fade away like usual.
Around 1230am, i noticed that my contractions were waking me up from my sleep. I figured it was nothing, so I kept trying to go back to sleep and not worry about it. They continued for the next 30 mins or so, coming about every 6 minutes, so I woke up Sean and said “ITS HAPPENING, IM IN LABOR!” Sean texted Courtney and told her what was up and let her know that we will text/call when we need her. She ended up coming around 230am. I labored at home, mostly hanging out on my birth ball, standing/swaying. They were definitely increasing in pain and getting closer together. Around 530am, my contractions were about 4-5 mins apart and I had to stop & concentrate to get through them. Courtney said it was probably a good time to pack up and head to birth center.
AT THE BIRTH CENTER:
We got to the birth center around 615-630, Mandesa checked me and I was 5cm. I was a little frustrated that I was only 5, but I just went with it. She did a membrane sweep to kick things into gear a little better. I got to the room, hung out on the birth ball and just started moving through my contractions. Not too long after being there, Mandesa started the tub and I got in.
OH MY WORD. I LOVED THAT TUB.
Things started getting a little harder. I had to start moaning through my contractions. It felt so weird moaning… like, I couldn't NOT do it. I HAD to. Around 8am, Mandesa checked me again and she was quiet. She didn't seem happy with where I was at (found out later I had only progressed to 6cm…boo). She said that I had an anterior cervical lip?? I think that is what it was. Basically Madelyn’s head was stuck and it was keeping my cervix from opening up. So they had me get on my hands and knees. Which, let me just say, I hated. I wanted to squat…in the tub, out of the tub. All I wanted was to squat. I got on the bed, on my hands and knees and Courtney jumped up and used her rebozo on me. She was a saint! She knew exactly how to help me. When I was sick of the bed, I moved back to the tub. Courtney was applying counterpressure, rotating my ice-cold washcloths, reminding me to relax (which was KEY because I kept tensing up). In this time, there was a shift change and in walked the one midwife I had PRAYED to have, Angela! I was so thankful and was just reminded by the Lord, that He had my whole labor planned and knew when I needed to go into labor in order for Angela to be my midwife.
Throughout labor, I had my amazing birth playlist going which really helped. I wanted my birth to be a spiritual experience, and that it was. I prayed, I worshiped, I cried, I called out to Jesus. He was so present in my birth experience. Hallelujah!
I started feeling like I couldn't do these contractions much longer because they hurt SO BAD. I kept thinking, “I want to be transferred and I want an epidural. I don't want to be in pain anymore. I can’t do this”. Sean recommended a change of environment and had me get into the shower. I remember marching in place and squatting because it seemed to be the only thing to help me through the pain. I loved the shower though. It really helped get me focused for the hardest part of labor. I remember staring at the little rocks on the wall, thinking to myself, “You can’t do this. You hurt too much. Just ask to be transferred.” In that moment, I realized “THIS IS TRANSITION, EMILY, YOU ARE ALMOST THERE!” I started to pray for strength, and the Lord gently reminded me again to release the pain and the entire labor to Him and He will strengthen me. I decided in that moment to “take every thought captive” and not allow the enemy to speak weakness over me.
So, around 1030, I noticed that my contractions kept getting stronger, harder, and closer and I started to panic. Last I knew, I wasn't progressing well and I did not know if I had progressed at all since they last checked. At that moment, my mom and Courtney noticed my panic. They started encouraging me and got Angela to check me again to help put me at ease. I got out of the tub, into the bed and Angela checked me. She said I still had the lip and her head was still stuck, but I was 8.5-9cm. She said she was going to try and move Madelyn’s head out from behind the lip, and she might accidentally break my water. Well, she did break my water, but as soon as that happened, Madelyn fell into place. YAY!
I remembered again to take every thought captive and rest assured that the Lord would give me the strength.
I immediately felt a peace wash over me.
I got back into the tub. I just laid there. Breathing in and out. My contractions slowed down! Like, what? They were coming like every 5 mins, in waves. I remember a moment in that time where the song “Break Every Chain” came on and I just started praying out loud and crying out to the Lord for strength to get through labor. It was amazing how He just did it. He helped me get through it. I was SO aware of myself in those moments. I remember when a contraction would come, I would grab Sean’s wrists, stare into his eyes, moan and breathe and then it would go away and I would drift into an almost sleep for a few minutes.
Then, I realized I had to pee. Haha.
So, I got out. Went pee. As I was walking back to the tub, I just had a hard contraction, squatted and used the swedish bars and said “I need to push”. Angela checked me and I was almost 10cm- she had me move to the birthing stool. Sean sat behind me and I started pushing. She said Madelyn’s head was still pretty high, but to just follow my body and push when I needed to. I remember a distinct moment where I felt Madelyn fall down into place, and Angela said “oh, there is her head!” I pushed her head out in about 5 mins. Her cord was wrapped around her neck and her shoulders were stuck, so she quickly unwrapped the cord, had me get on my hands and knees and told me to push with everything I had. She had a controlled urgency. I knew that if I didn't get Madelyn out, something bad was going to happen. I pushed her out 3 minutes later (total of 8 minutes pushing)! Hollllaaaa!! She was born May 6th at 11:44am, 9lbs, 21.5inches!
It was such an amazing and empowering experience. I am so thankful for the support system I had in place. My husband was my rock. He stayed by my side the entire time. He moved when I moved, he stared into my crazy eyes whenever I needed him. He encouraged me to be strong and that I was doing an amazing job.
Courtney was SO NECESSARY. She helped with the rebozo, using counter-pressure, explaining things to my mom and Sean as necessary, helping my mom and husband know how to help me, stepping in and helping Angela with towels and things when needed, getting me ice-cold washcloths, making sure I stayed hydrated, getting me relaxed anytime I would tense up (which was basically every contraction), and encouraging me whenever I got discouraged. She was amazing.
My momma was such a great support. Having her be my voice when I was unsure of what I wanted was so helpful. She knew what to ask and when. She knew when to just sit back and let Sean or Courtney do their thing. She knew when to step in and encourage me. Oh, and she was a great photographer. She got everything. She was amazing.
It was amazing. You should do it. <3