I wouldn’t change a single thing about my labor and birth of our son, Preston; my 36 hour, OP positioned, back labor, start-and-stop labor! If it hadn’t been for the grace of God and Jaelin and her team at Nativiti, I can honestly say this birth story would have a much different tone.
My labor started somewhere around 2 in the morning on a Saturday. I kept waking up every hour feeling a bit like I needed to vomit or something, which I thought I for sure had gotten sick from going out on a date with my husband the day before. (Turns out the old wive’s tales about eating a lot and having a good time with your spouse worked) It was probably a good thing I didn’t know I was in labor yet so that I could get some good sleep. At around 5:30 am things changed. When I went to the bathroom, there it was, the “show” to confirm for sure I was in labor.
I’ll admit, once I realized I was in labor, I was a bit terrified. Those thoughts of “Can I do this?” and “What if I can’t do this?” were pretty strong in the beginning.
My contractions started out long and very close together, so my midwife, Jaelin, told us to go ahead and get to the birthing center because it seemed baby was coming fast. To our luck (which it really was), the highway was closed, causing us to need to take the longer scenic route to get to Nativiti. I had been terrified of having to give birth in the car, so I was praying through each contraction.
Now, I am a very short person, which means there was not a lot of room for baby in my belly. I also had gestational diabetes, and it seemed baby was going to be huge because my belly was nearly to the bursting point. (It felt like he would “Alien” out of my stomach any day.) We had to do a sonogram to check baby’s position because my belly was so tight making it hard to tell his position. Unfortunately, he was in the OP position, which means his back was towards my back. While breathing through each contraction, which started off very strong, Jaelin led us through many exercises to try and get baby to turn around, but he stayed put. Labor slowed, so she had us take a nap and try to rest until it picked back up again. Normally, we would have gone home, but since the highway was closed we were afraid to take that risk.
My labor had a bad habit of starting super strong and fast, and then stopping, just to start up super strong and fast again before stopping. During all of this we went out to eat (I discovered an amazing place that day called Hello Taco), walked around two HEBs and a used book store, and performed exercises to try and turn baby. After a while, during which Jaelin contacted everyone she could think of for advice to turn baby, she asked a chiropractor friend if he would be willing to see us. We went to Foundation Chiropractic and Dr. Evan Pulver, who is a pretty amazing person, adjusted me and sent us to walk around HEB. Soon after we started walking the aisles, my contractions became strong enough for people to give me strange looks, so we figured it was time to head back to Nativiti. (Thank God Dr. Evan was willing to meet us at his office on his day off!)
This is the part that is hazy to me. I remember contractions and having to focus my mind of God, scriptures and old school hymns to keep the frustration away. Apparently during this time my husband felt like I was dying (he hid his fear very well from me), and I got zombie-eyed focus and couldn’t speak. Also, some weird monster noises were coming out of me. I was way past low moaning. Baby still didn’t turn around, so we all just conceded and realized that way the way he was coming out. He was too comfy in his little watery cocoon, so eventually my water had to be broken. I was nervous because I had only heard of how movies make this part out to be; I was afraid it was going to make my contractions incredibly painful and unbearable. It didn’t. It just helped baby decide to come out. After a little bit, I was able to get in the soaking tub.
Oh, the glorious soaking tub! I could have stayed in that thing forever. It definitely made things much more comfortable, and I started to fall into deep sleep (with incredibly crazy dreams) in between contractions. After hours upon hours of pushing, our sweet baby, Preston, of 6 lbs 12 oz finally came out…with a hand up (ouch) and turning to the right direction on his way (double ouch). I remember seeing him under the water and thinking he looked like my dad. He was so calm and alert and warm. They put him on my chest and it was like none of that exhausting work had ever even happened, it was all a dream, and I was so full of excitement and energy!
When it was time to deliver the placenta, we realized why our baby could not turn to the correct position in the womb. It was HUGE!!!! It weighed 2.5 lbs and was just as big as our baby. It felt like weird jello coming out. Gross. Then, they gave Preston to his daddy for some skin to skin time while they tended to me in the tub. At first, Preston was crying, but once he heard Josh’s voice he looked up at him and was calm. After some good Daddy time, Preston and I took an herbal bath together. By then, Jaelin needed to eat and rest, so Jami, our other amazing midwife, came to tend to us. I was really happy to have gotten to see both of them that day. After the bath, Josh, Preston and I rested in the bed for some family time alone.
We watched Preston crawl and root on my chest, finding his way for our first nursing experience. He was so alert and strong and could already lift his head high! All was perfect. After about an hour, we headed home to greet awaiting family and had an amazing time resting and celebrating. I was so happy I had a hard time sleeping.
I am truly convinced that God led us to Nativiti to give us such a wonderful birth experience. I would have been terrified (and rushed) had we been in a hospital setting with such a hard labor, and all of the interventions may have left baby and me too drowsy afterwards to be able to bond and nurse as successfully as we did that first day. Our midwife and her team was absolutely amazing, I never once felt afraid and couldn’t help but feel encouraged and empowered through it all. To top it all off, a few days later I learned Jaelin had a fractured arm and had been powering through the pain the whole time I was in labor. Now that is absolute dedication! God willing, I hope to have all of my children with these wonderful ladies. I plan to have our next son (due end of September) at the Nativiti birthing center.
For every woman who is afraid of natural birth, I would encourage you to step past that fear and research and reach out for more information. It’s definitely not for everyone, especially not for women who are high risk, but for the low risk cases, it is an amazing experience. I came out feeling so empowered that I had labored and I had delivered our baby, and no one delivered our baby for me. I am feel so much stronger now than I ever thought possible.