Kirsten is a mama who answered my call for doula-attended birth stories. She sent me her beautiful story by email, such a wonderful testament to the powerful bond between a strong and capable laboring woman, Kirsten, and her attentive and intuitive doula, Delilah. Her birth story brought me to tears, there is such emotion and intensity, raw honesty, and power in her retelling. Thank you, Kirsten, for sharing!
Hannah Kate Brooks
Born November 2nd, 2009 @ 42 weeks & 2 days
9 pounds, 14 ounces
The night before Hannah was born I felt so defeated. I was heading into an induction the next morning. One I didn‘t want. I believed my body knew how to go into labor on its own…but… it hadn‘t… and I didn‘t really have any other options at this point. I was 42weeks and 2 days, 16 days post date, and my baby just wouldn’t come out. We had tried EVERYTHING. I put off going to bed, holding out to go into labor sometime before my 6am date with Pitocin. I didn’t go to bed until after midnight, and when I did, I went and got my sweet sleeping Jaron out of his bed and snuggled him up in mine. I don’t think I prayed anything. I’d prayed for most of my pregnancy that God would prepare my heart for the birth I would have, and I sure didn’t feel peaceful about what was about to happen. I had a heavy dreadful feeling that I would end up with another c-section, and I’d be the one to blame, for going into an induction I didn’t want to have.
I don’t know when I went to sleep, but I woke up at 3am and realized that I’d forgotten to print out my bible verses I’d collected a couple of months before. My intention had been to have them to meditate on during labor, and I knew now more than ever I’d need them. I was surprised that in all my planning and preparing over the last month, that I hadn’t thought to print them.
Since my mom was asleep in the room where the printer is, I decided to write them out on post-its. That would be easier to use at the hospital anyway. As I pulled them up in the quiet, I willed the clock to stop or my water to break- something. I didn’t want to be in this day, in this situation.
As I started reading the verses, praying them, I realized that all of them were perfect for how I was feeling. They were about not being fearful, how we’re alone in time of trouble, etc...I stopped and wondered: why would I have chosen these? Months ago I was certain that I’d have a beautiful home birth. I wasn’t afraid of that. I hadn’t anticipated being fearful or having things go wrong. I had been encouraged, empowered, and certain. Why would I have chosen these? I just kept reading them, writing them, praying them. It became clear to me that these verses had been chosen with this very situation in mind. I hadn’t known that I’d be here, but Someone had. When I finished, I tucked my tear stained post-its into my purse, knowing that they had already served their purpose, and probably wouldn’t be needed again today. I went and got in the shower, feeling peaceful. I wasn’t excited that this was what I had to do. I wasn’t glad. I wished it wasn’t. But it was, and somehow, I would get through it. I wasn’t alone.
5:35am - I kissed Jaron’s sweaty sleepy head, and we left. I texted Delilah to tell her we were on our way after we picked up some breakfast. She said she’d meet us there. TJ and I chatted on the ride. It wasn’t the “dead man walking” atmosphere I had imagined the night before, or even that I’d felt when I’d first awoke. We talked about what the baby would look like, how big she would be, what we might name her; we even joked about what the hospital would say if we showed up late: “Oh sorry, you can’t have your baby today. Go home.” Wouldn’t that be nice?
6:05- When we got to the hospital we had no idea which entrance to go into, where to go, etc… TJ suggested going to admissions, but I knew better and led us to L&D. We were quickly ushered into a room, and I had an I-told-you-so comment for TJ. They must not have been busy because 3 nurses came and hung out in the room with us, joking about how big I was and was I sure it wasn‘t twins. They poked fun that I’d chosen an orange shirt, and didn’t I know Halloween had already passed? We all laughed that my October baby would be a November baby. Then they realized we hadn’t pre-registered, so they sent us back down to do that. TJ’s I-told-you-so moment. While we filled out paper work, Delilah texted that she was in the parking lot, going over my birth plan and praying, and would be right up. My spirits rose a little remembering that I wasn’t the only one praying, and so thankful that she would be here. I remember being highly annoyed that the girl at the desk sounded like she was coughing up a lung. I bathed T and I both in hand sanitizer when we left her desk. When we got back to the room, Delilah was on her way up. The nurse handed me the hospital gown and pointed to the bathroom. I took a breath, knowing that this would be the first of many “battles” today. I felt like I’d have to have my guard up all day, ready to fight for any shred of the birth that I wanted. I calmly said that I would prefer to stay in my own clothes for a while, expecting an argument. To my surprise, she said “Okay!” and that was it. I felt myself relax just a little… maybe this wouldn’t be quite so bad… In the next hour I answered questions, signed forms, got blood drawn, got hooked to monitors, etc...
7:15- Dr. Downey came in. He suggested breaking my water to start things off, but I just didn’t feel at peace about that yet. He was agreeable, much to my relief. We agreed to start the Pitocin at 1, and go up by 1 every half hour, and I said I’d probably be ready to break my water after I had a good contraction pattern going. He agreed with my request to try and turn Pit off once contractions were coming good. Off he went.
7:40- Got my IV. Ouch. It bothered me ALL DAY. We had to send TJ out to the car to bring up my stuff so I could put on my nursing bra and strapless wrap top before they could start the IV. Something about since my tank didn’t open in the back and would have to go over my head and we wouldn’t be able to get it off if we needed to. Ok.
8:02- Pit started at 1. Now we wait. Nurse Alice checked me and she thought I was 2cm, 70% effaced. I started to get upset since Kathleen had thought I was 3cm, 90% for the last 2 weeks, but Delilah assured me that it’s just a difference in the person that’s checking, and that it didn’t really matter.
8:55- Had the first contraction of the day. I was not optimistic. It was much milder than those that I’d been having at home for the last several weeks.
For the next several hours we just sat around, watching TV, chatting, and me sneaking bites of whatever T was snacking on. I tried not to be discouraged, but the contractions that I had were not nearly as strong, or close together, or consistent, as they’d been at home. I tried to not think about it. Mostly, we were just bored.
12:35- Dr. Downey stopped by. He checked me, 3cm, 80%, 0 station. Pretty much the same as Kat had said for weeks. I realized that my hope for a late afternoon baby and a visit from Jaron in the evening was probably not going to happen. Still didn’t want to break my water, and he was fine with that. At this point the Pit was at 10 and contractions were about 3 minutes apart, but very mild. I decided to try and nap while I could. Delilah agreed and laughed since the IV was still bothering me more than the contractions.
Around 2pm the contractions were 4 minutes apart, and Alice came in and upped my Pitocin to 11. That’s as high as it would ever go. Apparently, a typical non-VBAC induction starts at 6 and goes up by 6 every 20 minutes, so at the end of the first hour, the typical inductee is at 24. It took 6 hours to get me to 11, and that‘s all it took. I feel like that’s another affirmation that my body was SO close to doing this on its own. The contractions were getting un-comfy, mostly in my low back, but I was still talking and texting during them. I was in the rocking chair now, and T was napping on the bed. Delilah was on the couch. We alternated between chatting, and sitting in the quiet, me on Facebook, and she, I think, was reading.
2:45- Delilah points out that during contractions I’ve started closing my eyes and breathing, and I stop rocking. She’s right, and I start to wonder if maybe things are finally starting to get somewhere. It’s very calm and quiet in the room, and I like it. I wish that the baby would stay on the monitor so Alice wouldn’t have to keep coming in and messing with me. Actually, what I really wished was that I didn’t have the stupid things on in the first place.
2:53- Alice comes in and is happy with contraction pattern. Baby looks great, and we talk about that blood pressure cuff that keeps cutting off the circulation to my arm ever 15 minutes. T is still snoozing. I take a picture of him with my phone and send it to Ashley. She sends back a text joking about him being a great coach-Ha!
About 3:30 I tell Delilah we should play cards or something. Sitting around all day has gotten boring; I’m getting antsy, and trying not to get emotional. I get up to go pee, and when I get back I’m feeling shaky, so I decide to eat a granola bar. I still am not sure why we didn’t get the cards out! That would have been a cute picture…
About 4pm. I’m stopping and breathing during contractions. They’re hurting my back. I still know that I’ve had stronger ones at home, but these are more consistent, and maybe, just maybe, they mean we’re getting somewhere. Delilah starts talking about whether or not she should go get food now, or later. After a contraction, I just start crying. I’m not going to see Jaron until tomorrow. We’ve never been apart for this long, and never overnight. I miss him. Then I feel silly for crying about it and laugh. Delilah comments to TJ that irrationally emotional is a great sign, and she’s going to get food now rather than later.
4:42- Delilah is back with.. I can‘t remember what it was, but it smelled yummy. Kind of want to fight her for it, but I restrain myself. J
4:50-Kathleen arrives. I’m on the bed again, trying to rest. We all chat for a few minutes, and Kat messes with the monitors trying to get baby to show up better so that the nurse will leave us alone.
5:28- Dr. Downey is here. I am hopeful that we’ve had some change since the last hour or so has been getting increasingly more convincing. We talk about breaking my water, and I say let’s see where my cervix is. I was SO disappointed to hear that it had made NO change! I’d been here for almost 12 hours and I was still exactly where I was 2 weeks ago. I want to cry. I want to go home. Mostly, I want to scream at my baby “GET OUT!” I’m becoming afraid that I’m looking at a failed induction, even though no one acts worried in the slightest. I’m pretty sure that everyone was hoping I’d let him break my water though. Nobody wanted to sit here for 4 days waiting for my cervix to decide to do anything. Kathleen says she thinks it’s a good idea. Dr. Downey thinks it’s a good idea. I think I probably should want to. But I just am not ready. My heart is not ready to do that. I wanted to feel the peace about it that I’d felt this morning about the Pitocin, and I didn’t feel that yet. I was certain that when the time was right, God would show me. Dr. Downey agrees, but I can tell he thinks I’m being silly. When he leaves, Kathleen goes with him. She told me later that he told her he’d let me go all night like this if that’s what I want. I’m so incredibly grateful for his patience and calm presence. It was such a blessing to not feel pressured. She told him that we had to have a vaginal birth, and he said he knew and that he felt like we would. Kathleen told him to say a prayer that my water breaks on its own.
5:51- I’m laying on the bed, talking to Delilah, Kat, and TJ about the pros and cons of having my water broken. All of a sudden I feel a POP, and I yell out and grab my belly. For a split second I thought that my scar had popped open, but I had no pain so I immediately threw that thought out. Nothing happened. Everyone in the room had jumped up and was asking me if it were my water, did I have pain, etc… I assured them it wasn’t my water because nothing was coming out. Nothing had happened. We decided that it must have been a really strong punch or something. Very weird. I chuckle and start to sit up, and GUSH; there is a TON of warm fluid. I laugh and say “Oh, I guess it was my water! There’s a ton of it!” Everyone jumps up and wants to see! MUCH to my surprise the fluid was clear! I’d been told to expect Meconium from my 42+ week baby, but there wasn’t. That really made me feel good because I knew that’d let the staff relax a little. I’d been worried about it. God is merciful.
-Next contraction- WHOA. Big difference. Delilah jumped up and said “NOW we’re in labor!!”
5:58- I’d had two contractions post rupture of membranes and I said “Okay. Now they hurt.” I even sent a text to Ashley and my mom “Okay, they just went from ‘eh, that kinda hurts’ to ‘holy crap that hurts’”
6:01- Kat set the head of the bed up at a 90 degree angle and I leaned over that on my knees. I think that was probably my favorite position the whole birth, as I kept going back to it. I was surprised at how little I noticed pain in my belly, where I’d expected it, and how much my back hurt. I was feeling shaky and just really overwhelmed with the sudden change. In a matter of minutes we’d gone from laying around chatting and watching TV to being in active labor. I felt SUCH relief that I hadn’t let Dr. Downey break my water. We all knew that God had just worked in the room, and that‘s a cool feeling. I feel like He had said “Hey! I‘m here! Let’s have a baby! “Delilah came over, gave me a hug, and said, “This is what we’ve been waiting for, this is what we wanted!” So I cried happy and relieved tears, and then got on with the job at hand- I was having a baby today!
6:17- Someone suggested a popsicle, and I decided that sounded pretty good. Delilah asked me who leave the room for it, and my response was “NOT YOU,” I don’t even know who she sent…but she was such a calm and reassuring presence, I needed her to not leave me. I had a red popsicle. It was cold, which I liked. I don’t know how many contractions it took to eat the thing, but I remember TJ holding a Styrofoam cup in one hand, and was feeding me the popsicle with the other hand. Then he’d put it in the cup during contractions. Good system babe!
6:23- Now I was leaning over the end of the bed and Delilah and TJ were really working at trying to help with my back. Delilah was great about doing counter pressure. TJ really wanted to help, but so far, he hadn’t caught on. I really wanted to tell him to just leave me alone because he was doing it wrong, but I appreciated his effort, so I tried to coach in between contractions what wasn’t working, what might help, etc… I think Delilah finally told him to stop asking me “Like that? Right there? Higher? Lower? Am I hurting you?” Thank goodness. TJ just didn’t want to push as hard as he needed to I think, or his hands were too big, or something, but bless his heart he was trying so hard. She was so patient with him, trying to help him figure out what I needed, and balancing that with wanting to help me too. I just wanted to cry. While they were messing around back there trying to figure out what they were doing, I was having contractions. Hello! Would he just let her do it already? Even in the middle of being frustrated, I was taken aback by his willingness and desire to help. That’s love, and I thought distinctly “He really does love me a lot!” Ha, what a strange thing to think mid labor, right?
6:30- the new nurse Rachel came in and disconnected the Pit line and gave me a saline lock. It didn’t stop the annoying pain in my arm, but it was one less wire to drag around, so I was thankful!
6:35- Up until about now I’d been texting (mom and Ashley and maybe Jena? I can’t remember) between contractions. They were so excited to FINALLY know that something was happening. I am not sure when I stopped responding and someone took my phone and put it on silent, but my guess is around this point because I also ordered the TV turned off. It was awfully noisy in my room, and My Name Is Earl is a really obnoxious show, and I just wanted it off. In my head my request sounded like “Hey, can we turn that off please?” but it came out more like “Teej. Turn THAT off.” Whoops…
6:48- Kathleen left to meet… her sister I think?… for dinner. It was Kathleen’s birthday, and she was pretty excited to possibly share her birthday with this much awaited baby! I don’t know that anyone expected a baby before midnight. After all, I’d been that same 3cm for weeks. I expected early next morning.
6:53-I tried squatting. It really didn’t feel great, but I thought it might help push her down more, which after all is the goal right? I did that for about 2 contractions and then was done with that. Ha. I tried kneeling on the floor instead and leaning over the foot of the bed… Why I didn’t just climb onto the bed and lean over the head of the bed like I’d been doing, I don’t know. TJ and Delilah rushing around to get a pillow for my knees, or something to kneel on so I wasn’t on the germy floor, and I was thinking that I could care less about the floor right now. Like I cared about germs right now? And I KNEW they were doing that because I’m typically such a germ freak and had even talked about it in my birth plan…but man, I was SO did not care. I appreciated their vigilance though, because probably looking back I would have been totally grossed out if they hadn’t done that. I laugh now, but at the time that I’d thought that I would care… I really didn’t. When they got that settled they went back to the counter pressure. They seemed to have a system figured out where they both were doing something, and it was working for me. Whoo hoo!
7:18- Now this cracks me up. I have no memory of this, but Delilah’s notes say that the nurse came in and was talking about forceps and rectal tears? HA! SO glad I didn’t hear that!! I would have run for the hills I think!
7:39- I was leaning on TJ. He was kneeling on the floor and I was basically hanging over his head. He didn’t complain then (smart man), but later when he saw the picture of us like that he said “THAT HURT SO BAD!” Ha, sorry babe! After we abandoned that, Delilah was trying to figure out where I needed the pressure now (it kept moving, darn it!) on my back. Basically she ended up pushing on either side of my tailbone. It really helped, and bless her for being willing to do it. After that contraction we had a good laugh about how in her next childbirth class she would say “And then there was this weird lady who wanted me to push my fists up her butt!” Hahaha….maybe you had to be there. I still to this day do not know why my back hurt so much. Kathleen assures me that Hannah was in perfect position. Who knows, but that’s the only thing I remember about the contractions. I don’t remember them feeling like cramps. I don’t remember noticing anything up front. It was all in my low back/sacrum/tail bone area. My guess is that I had a 10 pound baby head butting her way through there? J
7:50- I moved back to the kneeling position over the head of the bed.
8:02- Kat got back from dinner.
8:06- I decided I was cold, so they put a blanket around my shoulders. I think we ended up pulling it off during contractions, and then putting it back between. I realized I was TIRED and thirsty. It was quiet in the room and I announced “I want Pepsi!” Everyone laughed, Kathleen teased that TJ looked like he needed a Pepsi…with a straw… and I snuck a few sips of Pepsi. Ahhhh… it was awesome.
8:18- Delilah suggested that even though this position was working for me, maybe I should try side lying again so I could rest, and Kathleen could assess the position of the baby. I REALLY didn’t want to. Laying down hurt! But she assured me that I’d find my groove after a few contractions… so I slowly complied. I moved so slowly in labor. It did feel good to rest in between, but the contractions were definitely harder that way. I felt myself start to get a little discouraged because it was only 8, only 2 hours since my water broke, and I was working really hard. I knew I was tired and I probably had many many hours left to go. So I did my best to rest between the contractions, and to try and calm my mind. Over the next 30 minutes things got harder and more intense. I thought it was my position maybe. I remember at one point hearing Delilah and TJ say that the last 2 hours had gone by really fast, and I just thought “yea, but we have a long way to go, so don’t get too excited there.”
8:50- TJ got the rice sock and they tried that on my back. The warmth felt good, but really, nothing was helping much anymore. I was feeling increasingly overwhelmed. This had gotten really intense, and I was so tired. I recognized my emotions as looking a lot like transition, but I knew it had only been a few hours, and after weeks of being 3cm, there was no way I was actually that far already. I knew I just must be a big wimp and I really needed to get it together or I would never survive this. I had to get up off that blasted bed so I decided it was time for a pee break. On my way up (why is it so hard to MOVE when you’re in labor? It was such an effort to get up…) I had 2 contractions, and ended up back to my favorite, kneeling over the head of the bed. Being upright like that made the contractions more intense, and I was shocked to feel my body try and give a little push at the peak of the contraction! I didn’t tell anyone, certain they’d tell me it was too soon. I was in my head: Okay really Kirst. Get a grip! You can NOT let your body do that. You’ll swell your cervix and then the baby will never come out and you’ll have a C-Section, so get a grip already! Things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. Get a hold of yourself!
9:02-TJ got me to the bathroom. I made him shut the door best he could. He said “You’re doing so good babe.” I said “How do you know?? No I’m not. I’m losing it! This is hard. I don’t want to do this anymore. I just want her to get OUT.” (Again… Transition anyone? Nah, not me…). TJ told me later that even HE recognized that I was in transition… I’m pretty sure everyone knew it but me. A few contractions later (and no pee), Delilah stuck her head around the door and said “Kirst? Are you feeling like you want to push?” I knew they‘d heard me grunting at the top of contractions, trying my best to calm myself down, knowing that if I‘d just get a grip, my body would stop trying to do that. I answered. “Yes! *crying* and it’s too soon!” Kathleen checked me on the toilet and said her guess was 7-8cm. I thought “yea right.” Ha! I was holding on to that denial for all it was worth.
9:26- I was doing the slow dancing thing with Delilah. I’m so sad I don’t have a picture of her and me working together, because she was so much a part of this birth. I said something about thank goodness she was short like me so we could do that. TJ is way too tall for that. They were trying to convince me that it was okay to let my body push if it wanted to, and that maybe I should get checked. They were all sure I was farther than I thought I was. I protested, but finally said ok.
9:29- Nurse Rolanda checked. She said 8cm. Everyone else thought that was great. In my mind I was thinking 2 WHOLE MORE CM TO GO. I don’t want to. I want to go home. I changed my mind; I don’t want to have a baby anymore. She said something about getting in stirrups to push because if I wasn’t the shoulders would get stuck. WHY do nurses say such negative things like that to women in labor? So stupid. And furthermore, why do they wear so much perfume? Good golly. I decided then and there I wasn’t getting in that bed. Ha. I was so in my head.
9:35- It seemed like a crew of people showed up, started making noise, turning on lights, setting things up, etc… I was still just working contraction to contraction, appreciating the fact that I thought it seemed like the breaks between were getting a little longer. I kind of wondered why they were all in there already… didn’t they know we had all night? They must still not be busy. I wanted to kneel over the head of the bed again.
9:45- Somehow they convinced me to get on my left side. I really didn’t want to. I think the nurse wanted to see me push. Then she announced she was calling Dr. Downey. I was still in denial, thinking it couldn’t possibly be time to be feeling like pushing, but by golly, it was getting really hard to fight it. Delilah started the perineal herbs. I just kept saying I wanted off the bed because I didn’t want to tear.
10:09- Dr. Downey was there.
10:12- He wanted me to bear down while lying on my side. I did halfheartedly. I didn’t want to tear, and really? It’s only been 5 hours. They must have all lost their minds… but you know, the breaks between contractions ARE longer. I heard myself snore in between contractions once! I realized I was listening to a conversation about my needing to pee, or my bladder being in the way, maybe they’d do a catheter? Heck no! I’ll go to the bathroom thankyouverymuch. Delilah announced we were going to the bathroom, alone, and shut the door behind her.
Delilah’s Ultimate Pep-Talk. It went something like this: “Kirst. Did you see everyone out there? They’re all out there getting stuff ready because they’re expecting you to come out of here and push your baby out. Vaginally. This is what you want. You’re getting it! Your baby is coming out. Your body is telling you it’s time, it’s telling you to push. I know your back hurts, so push her out. Then your back won’t hurt anymore! So let’s have a baby!”
Bless her for knowing that that was what I needed; something to calm me and focus me. There was so much going on out there, and so much in my head, but when she took me in the bathroom, everything finally got quiet, and I could focus, and breathe a little, and wrap my brain around what I needed to do. I finally let myself believe that this was actually happening. It felt surreal. I let my body push, and man did it ever push. I’m still amazed at how intense that feeling was. I’d always thought the “urge to push” probably felt like, hmm, I feel like I need to bear down. But it was so involuntary and intense. I don’t really know how people can be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ pushers… I didn’t feel like I had any control over it, which was another reason I was so afraid I was going to tear. I thought to myself, if I could keep myself quieter, they wouldn’t realize what was going on, and maybe I could just push her out in the bathroom, and Delilah could catch her, and we would just sit in here, holding the baby in the quiet. It’d be our little secret. After a few contractions, and obvious pushing sounds coming from the bathroom, someone came and told us to get off the toilet. I think it was Kathleen, but I don’t remember. I think it was about 10:30. It was slow moving from the bathroom to the bed. I wanted to delay that as long as possible.
10:36- As I got to the foot of the bed, pushing, Kathleen looked and said “OH yea we have a head!” Crowning!? Already!? Awesome! That means I’m almost done! That made the climb onto the bed rather interesting though! It seems like I pushed twice once I was on the bed (and no my feet weren’t in stirrups- so there nurse.) I KNEW I was going to tear. I even tried to reach down there and help them hold everything together. Ha! They asked me if I wanted a mirror and I said, “NO!“ thinking that there was no way I wanted to watch myself rip in half. Looking back now I think that’s something I would like to do next time. TJ says it was really cool to watch her slowly emerge, and I am sorry I declined the chance to see it. I looked up and saw Delilah standing behind Kathleen, camera in air, aimed and ready. Wow, everyone can see my bits can’t they? D smiled and nodded at me, and I pushed again. As always, calm and reassuring. She was like my security blanket. TJ said, “I can see her head babe! It’s so cool! You’re almost there! “
Once her head came out, they laid the head of the bed back and Dr. Downey looked and me and very calmly said “Push.”
So I did! Kathleen was pushing up by my pubic bone, and Dr. Downey was maneuvering her shoulders. She wasn’t stuck, but she was a big baby. I remember surprising myself with a final roar as she slithered out! I did end up with a 2nd degree tear that Kathleen said was caused by her shoulders, not her head. TJ seemed so amazed at what had just happened, as was I!
Hannah started rooting around and latched within 15 minutes of her birth. I was amazed! She never left my chest. The nursery Nazi, as I lovingly called her behind her back (really…she was intense. She said things like the baby was “bigger than normal“and she had “been in too long“… as if Hannah had some sort of issue or problem, which she didn’t. She was PERFECT), kept trying to take Hannah because she thought she was “cold” but I assured her I would keep her warm, and Kathleen told her to go get some warm blankets instead of taking her. Kathleen was great at redirecting the nurses and keeping them away as much as possible. I’m glad she was there to help deliver, and to help run interference with the nurses who acted pretty annoyed that Kat was there.
Hannah was, and is, PERFECT. I held her and she nursed until 11:09 when I told Kathleen I was ready for HER to get her weight- another thing that annoyed the nursery Nazi I‘m sure. But I was in love with the control I had. It was MY baby and no one was doing anything to her that I didn’t agree to or supervise. It was my idea, and it only happened when I was ready to let her go. We all took guesses about her weight. Everyone was saying she was so big, but she seemed so tiny to me. My guess was about 8pounds3oz. TJ guessed 8. When Kathleen put her on the scale she laughed,
“Oh my! Nine Fourteen!”
I said, “No way!” I made them show me the scale; I didn’t believe her! Then I got Hannah back and she nursed (even though the nursery Nazi said I needed to be careful and nurse her too much?) until TJ gave her a bath at 12:10am. It was so cool to watch that too and funny to listen to the nursery Nazi tell TJ about the perils of not vaccinating your hour-old infant. Hannah never left our room, and either TJ or I had her the entire time, except when Kathleen and Delilah had their brief turns before they left. I just was amazed at all the things I was experiencing with her that I’d missed with Jaron, and was SO thankful that I’d just VBAC’d a 10 pound baby! I was also really impressed that I got up, went to the rest room, walked around the room, took a shower, etc… I’d JUST had a baby! It was amazing, and an overwhelming feeling of thankfulness and peace surrounded us. I’m so blessed that the Lord delivered exactly what my heart desired, a healthy normal vaginal birth. He did exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it, and He got me through.
When I started planning my VBAC, I think I expected it to “heal” me from my C-Section, but along the way, in great part due to Delilah being an amazing friend and support, I let go of that. I didn’t need one birth to heal another. Jaron’s birth was what it was, as would this one be whatever it was. The things that I missed out on with Jaron, and the pain that those things left, was real, but I came to a place where I could let myself be disappointed about it, but let it go. I came to realize that what bothered me about my cesarean wasn’t the surgery itself, or even the recovery. It was the fact that I missed out on the first 2 hours of my baby’s life. I didn’t even hold him until he was 2 hours old. Planning my VBAC became about not letting that happen again if it didn’t have to. And when I had those moments with Hannah, I knew that I’d been right in being sad to have missed out on those things with Jaron, and was so thankful to have those moments this time.
If anything, my VBAC helped me appreciate my C-Section more. I know that sounds crazy, but I feel like now I can fully appreciate that there is no EASY way to have a baby. Both experiences were hard, and had things that were disappointments (who wants a tear?). Both had recovery time. My C-Section was a hard experience to go through, and I‘m not discounting that. But by golly, my vaginal birth was hard work. They were hard in very different ways of course, but they were both beautiful too in that I was able to learn and grow from them, and, of course, they both resulted in a perfect and beautiful blessing. I can let them both be what they were, and move forward. I’d still pick vaginal birth over surgical birth any day though. On this side of both experiences, I feel stronger. Empowered. Faithful. And loved.
Next time I fully intend on planning another homebirth, and I hope that we get it. But I also know that I’ll go into that birth knowing that it will be what it will be, and God will give me what I need to get through it, just as He always has. I can’t wait to do it again!
I cannot even begin to know the words that could fully convey the tremendous amount of love and gratitude that I have for you.
You are an angel. I truly believe that God is working through you. I see Him in you; I feel His love in you. Your kindness, humility, courage, and spirit to serve others are inspiring. Your counsel and friendship is uplifting and encouraging. We are called to be the hands and feet of Christ, and you have answered the call enthusiastically. Thank you for having the heart for service that you do. Not only does it make you great at what you do, it makes you an inspiration to those around you.
What you did for me in the last year was so beyond the call of “doula services,” but you were willing to do it, and you did it with grace. During Hannah’s birth you were invaluable; a calm and steady presence, a knowing, encouraging, and skilled support. In the months leading to her birth, you were a counselor, a researcher, a teacher, and a friend. Thank you for always making me feel that you were emotionally invested in my family. I always felt like you wanted this as much as I did, and I believe that you did. I never once felt like you were there because you were payed to be. It felt natural for you to be there, like an old friend one desires to share the special moments with. You helped me see things I needed to see, understand things that I hadn’t before, and even helped me know what to pray, when the tears had run my words dry. Most of all, thank you for always praying. That meant more than anything else. I am so thankful that you were willing to walk this journey with me. It was an amazing journey, though a hard one, and it was a blessing to have such a beautiful friend join me.
On your hard days, I hope you will remember that you are helping people in more ways than you know. You are truly an amazing woman.
The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
~ Proverbs 27:9