Ezra Wilder

and his wild debut…

The days before Ezra was born I had been having consistent Braxton hicks for days. I couldn’t feel pain with them but I felt the tightening every 6-8 minutes. I had just hit 39 weeks and I was ready. Friday night we went for a walk with the boys and I started having contractions every 5 minutes while I was walking that were mild and I could feel a little twinge of pain. I got excited, but not too excited because I didn’t want to think I was going into labor but then come to find out I wasn’t. As the evening progressed the contractions (which at this point I figured were “real”) hadn’t slowed down or stopped but they had not increased in strength, length of time or consistency. So I sent Joan my midwife a text around 9 pm just letting her know what was going on and to be ready if I called her that night. She told me to rest, and have a glass of wine. So that’s what I did. I went to bed at 10:30 and slept uninterrupted until 7 am. The contractions had stopped overnight completely - one of my prayers for my labor was that I labor during the day and not at night. Right when I got up on Saturday morning at 7 am the contractions picked right back up, same frequency/duration/strength. And they stayed the same… for hours… I was getting super annoyed. I didn’t want to get excited, I didn’t want to tell anyone I thought I was in labor because I was afraid as soon as I did they were going to stop! Finally around 12 pm I texted Joan and my friend Rachel who was the midwife assistant and happened to live 2 blocks from me. I told them I had been having these contractions all morning but they were not progressing, they were just annoying me. So Rachel headed over to my place and checked Ezras position, I was not ready to have a cervical check done yet because I didn’t want to be disappointed and hear I wasn’t dilated at all or something lol! He was head down and in position but he was still kind of high. So Rachel suggested I get on Spinning babies and try the pelvic tilt exercises and also bind my belly some so that Ezra could get farther down into my pelvis and hopefully get some good contractions going. So that’s what I did from about 1 to 1:30 pm, I did pelvic tilts through a total of 10 contractions. Right after that we went on a walk as a family. While we were at the park by our house I was walking the trail while the boys played and man - those contractions started picking up! 

At that point I know I am in labor but I know its going to be FOREVER before he is born, so I didn’t want my mom or mom in law to come to my house yet. I didn’t even want my mom to leave from Wichita Falls to drive to my house yet (it’s a 4 hour drive!). I was just convinced it was going to be forever. I ended up telling her to come around 3 pm even though I thought it was too early. 

Then Joan texts me and says she’s coming to check on me. So I give in and tell her to go ahead and come. It’s around 4 pm. Contractions are coming every 4-5 minutes but they are not long, only around 45 seconds and they are not super strong, they are very bearable. I was so unfocused though I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Joan gets there and I let her do a cervical check and I am at a 3 - okay cool, now I’m really convinced I will be laboring late into the night and exhausted! Hah, I was very negative about the whole situation. She tells me to lay with the peanut ball between my legs - first off I HATE laying when I am in labor (gravity helps, duh!) and second of all it wasn’t the most comfortable position for trying to sleep. Nevertheless I trusted my Joans midwife wisdom. So I labored. At one point I came out maybe around 5:30 and got a snack for Eli and Isaiah and just took some contractions in the kitchen. 

I labored in my room by myself while Zac took care of the boys. I took a shower to help stimulate labor, I got out and got right back in bed with my peanut ball and heated sock. Then things started picking up, but I’m not sure when exactly, thankfully Joan decided to come back and check on me at 6:20 pm. I hadn’t texted Tina my mom in law yet mind you, she hardly knew I was in labor, I still thought I had hours! When Joan walked in I am leaning over the edge of the table moaning through a contraction, once it ended we talked for a minute and then I have another one swiftly after that one, it was almost as if they became more intense right when Joan got there. She told me as soon as I was ready we could check and see where I was. Once I got through another contraction I laid on the couch as she checked me. She said I was at a 6 ‘cool, he’s going to be in there forever and this is going to be really really hard for a long time’ those were the thoughts in my head. I remember telling Joan that I needed to change my labor management techniques up because what I had been doing, leaning and moaning was no longer working well, SO I decided I would take a shower (mind you remember me saying the shower STIMULATES labor??). So I slowly make my way to the shower and get in. I did text Tina right as I was getting into the shower and told her to come, I texted her at 6:29 pm. It was like right when I got in the shower my body took over - labor OVERCAME me. I started crying wondering why I felt so alone and thinking I couldn’t do this, it was too much, the pain, the pressure, the overwhelm of bringing this baby in the world. I had two of the worst contractions I have ever had, literally NOTHING helped, I just had to moan from deep within, it was almost as if I had no control but only to moan. I got on my hands and knees during the shower thinking it might help as the next contraction came over me but it didn’t, actually it was worse. That was when said screw it and got out of the shower as fast as possible before the next one came. I needed HELP.  Joan walked back into my room as looked at me and asked why I had gotten out so fast and I told her I just couldn’t do it anymore blah blah blah - it was transition talking! Then I said “I I haven’t put the waterproof plastic mattress pad on yet”, now heres the question - WHY did I not do that yet? I only had oh like ALL DAY to put that on lol. So Joan runs out of the room to find the mattress pad. As she is looking for the mattress pad in the back room and while Zac is still trying to figure out the birth tub - I start having another contraction and while I am starting to lean over my bed and sway my hips MY WATER JUST GUSHES OUT AND BREAKS all over the floor. Let me tell you, If you’ve never had your water break spontaneously while standing up buck naked, it is a WEIRD AS ALL GET OUT feeling. I IMMEDIATELY had to push.  I yelled HELP ME!!!!! In my most primal voice during the urge to push. Joan and Zac run back into the room and Joan says “We’re just gonna have a baby right here!”. So right there on the corner of the bed I started to push. I am in disbelief through the urge to push. Already?! He’s going to be born already?!? Zac told me later on after the birth that Ezra was crowning when him and Joan ran back into our room. So there we were, Joan, Zac and I - Netflix babysitting Eli and Isaiah. Joan says you can push! So I push, well really my body pushes him out, Ezra was ready to be out! Rachel walks in at 6:39 pm and get there basically as Ezra is already out - He was officially born at 6:41. Whew. All I could say is HOLY SH** over and over a few times. I went from not being convinced he was going to be born that day to actually holding him in my arms 15 minutes later. It was a WILD 15-20 minutes. Went from a 6 to a baby in 15 minutes. 

So I got two prayers answered, a relatively easy labor and not having to labor at night. The female body is a force to be reckoned with! Also, I cannot recommend a homebirth experience more. It was wonderful, empowering, beautiful. I had an amazing team.

Ezra Wilder Brown born on September 15, 2018 at 6:41 pm, 20 inches and 7.5 pounds <3

BIRTH IS AMAZING.

Also, I have no photos of my labor, we had been planning on doing photos AND a video of the birth, neither happened, Ezra had other plans :) So here’s some post birth photos once Zac was able to leave the room and grab the camera haha:

Ezra shortly after birth &lt;3

Ezra shortly after birth <3

Ezra at 2 hours old &lt;3

Ezra at 2 hours old <3

Ezra at 2 days old &lt;3

Ezra at 2 days old <3

Jacki Brown
Padsicles!

Here I am, prepping for my own birth at home (I'm due next month!), writing down things to do and get on the list and thankfully this week I finished one thing I feel is going to be important post birth for a few days and that is Padsicles! 

What is a Padsicles? Well my friends it is a maxi pad with witch hazel, Aloe Vera and a couple of essential oils - all put together on the pad and put in the freezer to grab out after birth for a nice cooling sensation after all the work of birthing baby on your lady bits! 

I'm going to show you how to make them step by step! 

What you'll need:

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  • Maxi pads - I got some overnight size maxi's, but really get whatever size you want or have on hand.
  • Witch Hazel - I used Thayer's Witch Hazel Alcohol Free Toner with Lavender, I have heard it is best to go with a witch hazel that does not contain alcohol so that is the direction I went! 
  • Aloe Vera Gel - I tried to find a relatively pure kind and went with Fruit of the Earth.
  • Lavender and/or Tea Tree Essential oil - I used what I had on hand already but NOW brand EO's is a good option and here is a pack with both Lavender and Tea Tree EO's if you need some. 
  • 1 plastic freezer gallon baggie.

Now that you've got all that, here's how you put em' together! 

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Step 1: Unfold the pad keeping the plastic on the back and wings it so you can roll it back up then pour the witch hazel on the pad - I just eyed it, but it was probably somewhere around 2 tablespoons, maybe a bit more. 

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Step 2: Squeeze out a liberal amount of aloe over the pad, but don't worry about spreading it out just yet. 

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Step 3: Add a few drops of each essential oil on top of the aloe. 

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Step 4: Mix it all and spread it out with a spoon! I spread all of the aloe/EO mixture over the whole pad. 

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Step 5: Fold the pads back up gently, I did mine pretty loosely and I left the wings out to the side so they wouldn't get the mixture on them. Throw them in your gallon baggie and put them in the freezer so they are ready to grab for when you head to the hospital or birthing center or ready to grab after giving birth at home. I made about 10 Padsicles and could have fit a couple more in the baggie. I do still have some leftover ingredients so if I feel like I need to make some more after I run out I will be able to do so. I am thinking 10 will be plenty though! When you're ready to use them make sure you let them thaw 5-10 min before you use them. 

So there you have it! Padsicles. I hope this helps you prep a little bit for after birth and that they feel amazing on your lady parts after you birth your baby! 

Happy brave birthing! 

Jacki Brown
The Birth of Halen

This is written by Megan, a client of mine from a few months ago, telling the story of her and her husband Evan's first son Halen's birth. She was incredible at birthing her baby and trusting the process of birth itself! So excited she has given me this story to share on the blog! 

On the night before my due date I decided I was going to try and induce this boy out. So I put the breast pump on for 30 minutes. I started to get some very light contractions that were different from Braxton hicks but not painful or intense. They were just different. Once I finished with the pump they totally stopped. I was able to pump out a full ounce of colostrum though! After that I went to bed and was actually able to get a full nights sleep with only 4-5 bathroom breaks. When I woke up in the morning I decided to try the pump again around 930am. This time after only 5 minutes I started to get some intense squeezing on my lower belly that made me stop and take a deep breath. After 2 or 3 we decided I better start timing them. They were coming every 5-7 minutes or so lasting 30-40 seconds and would make me stop and take some deep breaths.  As soon as I had a few I took the pump off. Once I stopped pumping though they broke up to be 25-40 minutes apart. At that point my husband was scrambling to finish work emails and I was trying to get the house as clean and ready as I could because this could be it! After a few hours of spaced out contractions I started to get discouraged. Since the pump had worked earlier I decided to try it again! This time after a few minutes the contractions started coming again and were really intense and only about 2 minutes apart. So I took it off after 10 minutes and decided to call the midwives. Meg was on call at the birth center and called me back and told me to take a shower or go for a walk and to call her back in 30 minutes if they were getting longer in duration. They were only lasting 20-40 seconds at this point. This all started happening around 130pm that afternoon. I had my 40 week appointment scheduled for 4pm that afternoon, so if I could hold out until then I was going to be checked to see if things were happening or not. At my 39 week appointment I was already 3cm. I started texting Jacki and telling her things were starting to move along and that today could be the day! We had been chatting that week because I would get light contractions, then nothing. The waiting game is no fun when when you feel so ready to meet your baby. Jacki was great and gave me space but was there to talk if I needed to about my fears or frustrations.

After I spoke to Meg my contractions slowed down again. We decided to take a walk at 3pm to try and get them to pick up again but 2 minutes in the contractions were getting so intense they almost brought me to my knees. We turned back and went in for our appointment. I saw another midwife names Erin and she checked me and I was 4cm! She said this was the real deal and to go home and eat and when the contractions were 60 seconds or longer for an entire hour to high tail it back. The on call midwife Meg was informed that I was in active labor and we headed home to eat and grab our bags. I was able to eat some grilled chicken and a kale salad before the contractions started to take over. There is really no way to describe contractions. They had peaks and valleys with each one. They would get intense, ease off then get intense again before being over. When I would feel one coming on I would have to bend my knees and start to moan. When they started gaining intensity my husband Evan would sit on the counter and I would dangle between his legs and sway while I moaned. I tried the birth ball but it put too much pressure on my lower belly. We then tried some hip compressions that Jacki had taught us. That was a huge help when the contractions started lasting longer and longer.  I was starting to have a hard time talking through them and they were now lasting 55- 90 seconds each and coming every 2 minutes by 7pm. It had only been about 20 minutes of long consistent contractions before I really started to struggle and needed a change to find relief. I got in the shower to try and ease them but they were so intense I could only lean on the wall, bend my knees and moan. By 720pm I told Evan to call Meg. I couldn't handle them anymore. So we called Meg and she was waiting for us. This was also when we called Jacki and she was racing to meet us. I was ready for an all night labor and birth but it was starting to feel like this baby was going to make an earlier appearance.

The car ride sucked. We live 10 minutes away from the Austin Area Birth Center and I had 4 contractions on the way. At this point I was starting to feel out of control when the contractions would peak. All I could do was grab my husband and moan. Moan very loudly. My moan matched the intensity of the contractions. Once we arrived at 8pm Meg checked me and I was at 7cm! I went to the bathroom while she got the tub ready. Once I got in the tub these contractions came faster and faster. Jacki arrived shortly after and dove right in. I was totally consumed by the intensity of the contractions and she sat with me helping me breath as they washed over me. She had a popsicle for me in between contractions and her and Evan rubbed my hands as I rested. The hand rubs were exactly what I needed to help my body rest when given the chance. She was so calm and present and was giving me encouraging words and ideas on ways to move to help get through the next contraction. The water in the tub worked well with my body and they could all tell I was thick in transition. My husband got in the tub with me to help support me as our son came closer and closer to making his appearance. With each contraction I would close my eyes and moan. When they were at their peak I would increase my volume and I would hear Jacki and my husband softly moaning along side me, gently encouraging me to follow them to keep my body loose so our son could descend. My water had not broken yet so after an hour in the tub Meg checked me again and I was 8cm and my bag was bulging because he was coming.

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She asked if I wanted to try and have an en cal baby or she could break my water and his head would create more pressure for him to get out sooner. I was so overwhelmed by each contraction I NEEDED him out, so I told her to break it on my next contraction. 2 or 3 contractions after they broke my water they told me to push it I felt like it. I was leaning on my husband and he was holding my legs back for each contraction and I started to push. The midwives would check the babies heart each contraction and they discovered that his was dropping with each push. Meg told me she wanted me out of the tub to monitor my bleeding and to help baby relax by laying me on my left side for a few contractions. At this point the contractions were not giving me a break. They were basically constant. I was so overwhelmed I just looked at them and asked how the hell I was supposed to get out of the tub. They grabbed my hand and told me that my legs are mine, my arms are mine, and I still control them. So when I was in a low point in my next contraction I waddled to the bed. Once on my side they told me to put my chin to my chest and push with all I had into my bottom. At first I was holding my legs, but I quickly became too hot and tired and Jacki and a midwife took over for me. I was so overwhelmed with the intensity of contractions that all I wanted was to be done. I pushed with all I had to the point that I felt I was going to pass out. They gave me oxygen and Jacki would put cold rags on my head and chest every few minutes. The cold rags were such a comfort and a small pleasure as I was working to get my son out. Unfortunately my little man's heart rate was still getting low with each push. I could hear the midwives talking and I began to get worried that there was a problem. I turned to Jacki and asked her if everything was ok. She very calm told me that everything was fine and that my son was very close and I just had to breath and push. Her words, voice, and demeanor made me feel confident that everything was ok and my son was not in jeopardy. His little head kept crowning then going an inch or so back in. Everyone was so excited and kept telling me how close he was. So after only 25 minutes or so of pushing I just gave it all I had and felt his head come about half way out, then I took a quick breath and kept pushing until his head was out. That's when we discovered his cord was around his neck and that was the issue with his heart rate. At this point everyone was cheering me on and told me one more push and he would be here. So I pushed as hard as I could and felt this huge gush and Meg put this little body right on my chest. He was born at 10:11pm. I was seeing stars from pushing and just wrapped my arms around him as he screamed as they cleaned him off. Poor little dude had the cord around his neck and across his shoulder and chest like Rambo. My contractions kept going until I delivered the placenta which was thankfully only a few minutes after he was born. Then relief set in. My son Halen was here with a score of 9 on his APGAR and I was DONE! I probably said 50 times “I'm so glad that's over".

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After Meg put a few stitches in we had our time with Halen. He took a while to start nursing but once did he was there for 30 minutes or so. I couldn't sleep or move really. We just stared at him. Jacki gave me some coconut water and made sure we were well taken care of before she quietly slipped out. When I needed to use the bathroom Meg did his exam. He was 8.2lbs, 19.5 inch long! He was also showing signs of being overdue. Almost no vernix, no body hair, and the wrinkles on his feet were lower than on an on time baby. We stayed at the center resting until 415 am then we loaded up and went home. It was such an intense and overwhelming experience. For the first 3 days I kept saying “ I can't do that again, that was so hard" but by day 4 I was so in love with Halen that I would do it 100x again. It is such hard work, and there is really no way to prepare for contractions. They are unlike anything you have ever felt. They take over and you just have to give in and let them work. I was very lucky and my total labor was 13 hrs but only consistent for about 5 hrs. I felt so safe and loved and in the right place with my birth team. Jacki was invaluable and exactly what I needed in my transition. She kept me as grounded and comfortable as I could be and she cheered me on when the end was near. We are so grateful to have had her present for our first babies birth. Her knowledge and coaching kept my head above water in my inexperience with labor, and she gave me the peace I needed through completion.

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Jacki Brown
Tips + Tricks to Combat Morning Sickness

Here I am, 17 weeks pregnant myself just getting past the dreaded morning sickness (that should be named "all day sickness"). I thought I'd put together a list of tips and tricks to combat morning sickness! 

1. Don't drink water on an empty stomach.

With my first pregnancy and at the beginning of my second my go to in the dreaded mornings of sickness, I would go straight to a piece of toast and a big ol' glass of water (because I was sooo thirsty, I mean growing a human here!). Eventually (after a pregnancy and a half) I figured out some sort of correlation between the water and being sick as a dog about 10 minutes after I drank it and ate my toast, so I started starting out my mornings with gatorade and while it did not take away the sickness, it helped TREMENDOUSLY. During this 3rd pregnancy of mine, my choice of morning drink has been lemonade or Honest juice boxes. Something about mixing water and an empty stomach that just didn't work for me early on in my pregnancies. Now that I am 17 weeks I'm back to drinking water first thing in the morning and things seems to be fine. 

2. Eat all the time.

Basically all the time. Anytime I felt/feel an inkling of nausea coming on I grab a bite of a cracker, or really whatever is closest to me! Using food as a fighter against nausea is key to keeping the morning sickness under control this is because your blood sugar needs to stay up, avoid letting your sugar drop. At one point in my pregnancy I was having a bit or even drink of a juice every 10-15 minutes to keep the nausea away. Also, eating 4 or 5 small meals a day is a good idea along with all the snacks. Making sure I have healthy and hearty meals is a big deal too. Side note story: with my first son I decided anytime I was feeling nauseous I WOULDN'T eat because well I was nauseous, it was a vicious cycle. This led to awful, awful nausea, I would hardly eat anything during a day (maybe some chicken noodle soup or crackers sporadically through the day). I was miserable til like week 15. I eventually figured it out the farther in pregnancy and realized I needed to eat! The moral of the story - eat all the time! 

3. Sea Bands.

This pregnancy is the first time I used these, they're like $7 so definitely worth a try. I used them some, not a whole, whole lot but the days I did use them they seemed to help, so whether it was placebo or for real I'm not sure but I'll take it and like I said worth a try!

4. Don't give up coffee cold turkey.

This might be a no brainer, but with my first I thought I would just cut my morning coffee to keep my baby away from extra caffeine. Well, I was sick with a headache on top of the nausea for probably close to a week. So I added some back in, eventually I weaned myself off of morning coffee SLOWLY. Lesson learned. And with this pregnancy I enjoy a caffeinated cup of joe every morning, as I learned later that 200 mg is completely safe for baby. So enjoy that cup ladies! 

5. Take your prenatal vitamin at night rather than in the morning. 

My prenatal vitamin never sits well with me when I take it in the morning so I moved it to taking it at night. It's worth a try, even if it only helps a little!

6. Take your mornings slowww.

You may be thinking - how?!? I will admit to letting my kids watch plentiful amounts of cartoons in the morning, making them easy breakfasts like cereal and microwavable pancakes this time. After I got them sat down, I'd grab my toast and lemonade and sit on the couch to let that first wave of nausea go away. Also if I had kept standing up I started feeling weak so most of the time I had to sit down! Usually it would take 15ish minutes after I woke up to start feeling pretty good. Just try to take it slow, whatever that looks like for you. 

Now, keep in mind these suggestions are not medical advice by any means and those of you who actually cannot keep anything down should definitely talk to your midwife/OB, but these things worked for me with my pregnancies and I wanted to share them, I hope they might help you too! Growing humans is hard and fullfilling (literally and figuratively) work but you've can do it, your body was made to do it! You've got this mamas! 

If you've got more tricks of the trade, share em'! I'd love to hear!

Jacki BrownComment
The Drug-Free Hospital Birth Of Elijah

*This is the story of my first son's birth who was born on January 10, 2014, it's been minimally edited for this post from when I first wrote it out. There is one photo of me during labor (which is a huge contrast to my second birth!) but it is one that I treasure, you'll see if as you read! I felt that a good way to kick of A Brave Birth would be the birth story that started my journey into the wonder of birth and changed me mentally, physically and emotionally forever. 


Elijah's Birth Story

Written a week after his birth


    Oh Elijah! He has made me a mama. I’m writing this as he is sitting in the swing in front of me sleeping sweetly. The love I feel for him is immense, like no other love I have ever felt for anything or anyone before. His birth was the hardest and at the same time the easiest thing I have ever done. God women’s bodies to birth babies and the process is incredible. In so many ways the labor process resembles our failures and God’s immense grace. My desire throughout my pregnancy was to have a natural childbirth without pain intervention in a hospital setting and this is how it happened. This is Elijah’s birth story.

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    I started going into labor on Tuesday, January 7, 2014. The contractions pain started in my back, the pain was mild and the anticipation was incredible. I was able to sleep through the night Tuesday night. The contractions stayed the same through Wednesday night. Wednesday night we finally decided we were going to name our baby boy Elijah. That evening the contractions started getting more intense than they had been, I wasn’t sure when to call my parents to make the 6 hour drive down to SA but ended up calling them at 2 am on Thursday the 8th. The contractions had intensified and were coming every 5 minutes but only lasting about 30 seconds. I was just sure that would be the day he was born. I stayed up til 4 am cleaning and getting the house ready for my parents and for our little one who’s arrival was coming very soon. I was able to fall back asleep until around 7. I woke up, got dressed, did my hair and makeup, being sure that the baby was coming that day I wanted to look good and feel good. My contractions were getting more intense but the times weren't getting longer and the duration was the same. I called the time between the contractions my “breaks”. Those “breaks” carried me all the way through labor. By the time my parents arrived around 10 am on that Thursday morning I was feeling good an was able to visit and have a good time between contractions. Zac and I went on a walk around 1 pm and his mom and my mom went on another walk with me after that. The contractions were intensifying and getting longer and closer together so we decided to call the doctors office. We then went to the triage center at the hospital and there I was checked. I was only at a 3 but I was 90% effaced, the progress made me happy. We stayed and walked around and then I was checked again with no progress. While at the triage I had to lay in a bed and be still through my contractions so they could monitor Eli’s heartbeat. It was exhausting taking my contractions laying on a bed. My doctor, knowing that my desire was to go natural without intervention gave me the option to go home and labor there. I went home to labor because I could move around there and eat it if I was hungry. We finally made it home around 7:30 pm, I had two bowls of cereal and P.F. Changs for dinner. I then went to bed around 9 and was able to sleep til 12 am.

     At 12 am I woke up and instead of having back labor contractions, I’m guessing Elijah shifted and the pain went to my abdomen and I was no longer able to sleep through the contractions. In a way I was thankful that the pain had shifted because it was something different than the back pain. My mom labored with me in Elijah’s room for a good few hours. I pretty much lost all sense of time, my time was defined by those breaks in between the contractions. The contractions that started around 12 brought me to all fours, and I just swayed back and forth and focused on a breathing technique that my body really developed on it’s own. Focusing on the breathing really did help me get through the contractions. My mom decided to go lay back down to get some sleep around 5 am. About 30 minutes after she did that it was around 5:30 am I began having really long contractions that were very close. I felt different, the contractions felt different, I felt like he was getting very close. When I timed a 2 minute 15 second contractions that was when I decided it was time to wake everyone up and head to the hospital. I was absolutely dreading the drive to the hospital. Having to sit in a seat with a seatbelt for 15 minutes not being able to move around through the contractions was miserable. My husband did a great job driving to the hospital and tried to help me through the contractions.

     When we finally got to the hospital we pulled up to the emergency entrance. Right when I got out of the truck I began to have an intense contraction, I just leaned on the truck until it was over. We walked in and I decided to walk up the big staircase to labor and delivery. When we reached L&D I had to fill out a little bit of paperwork and then immediately was put in a room. I had to change into a gown and once again lay on the bed so that the baby’s heart rate could be monitored for a full 20 minutes. They also checked me right when I got there and I was only at a 5. This was the point where I doubted then pushed through. I said to my mom and Tina that if I didn’t keep progressing fast I didn’t know if I could do it without pain intervention. After I said that I then started to think about how terrible it would be to get an epidural because have to stay still while they put the epidural in. That moment was my moment that most women come to, thinking that they can’t do it and it is usually a sign of transition, I stuck to my guns and pushed through the doubt. As I started another contraction I forgot about the fact that I was considering pain meds, I was able to push through, I’d come this far might as well keep going.

I thought laying on my back in the triage was bad but having to take the contractions I was laying  in the L&D room was excruciating. I just kept saying I needed to get up, I couldn't lay there. Finally I was able to get up and move about the room. Being able to move around and get on my birthing ball helped me mentally and physically get through the contractions. A few contractions after I found out I was a 5, I thought I had to go number 2, I was getting an intense urge to push. I went into the bathroom and took a terrible contraction leaning on and swaying from the safety handle bar by the toilet. This is when I realized I didn’t need to go to the bathroom, I felt like I needed to push because I needed to push the baby out! I remember thinking that this is not good that I need to push because I was only at a 5. When I got out of the bathroom I had a very intense contraction and I just dropped to  my knees and leaned on my birthing ball. Zac was rubbing my back. I actually have a picture of that contraction. Once again after this one I went in the bathroom and from the bathroom told my mom I needed to push. The nurse said she had to put the heplock in my arm and then she could check me again. I came out of the bathroom, by this time the contractions were completely blended together, and I leaned over the bed and laid there while my nurse, Ann, put the heplock in. She then checked me and I was at an 8! I started crying out of relief that I had made huge progress since I had been check just probably a half an hour earlier. I really felt like God knew my desire to have a natural childbirth and honored that by helping my body progress quickly.

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At that point everything went really fast, most of it is a blur to me, I was focused on getting through the pain so I had my eyes closed nearly the rest of the delivery. My doctor came in and asked me if I wanted her to break my water. Being dilated so much my bag was bulging. Although I didn’t want intervention, my goal was to not have any pain intervention and at the point I was at I told her I wanted her to break my water. After she broke it, she said I needed to take a couple more contractions and then I could push! By that time the urge to push covered all the pain I had been feeling. It was the deepest most primal feeling I have ever felt - the need to push the baby out. Having to make it through those few contractions was the hardest. Like I said I didn’t notice the pain, having to hold back the need to push was much worse than the pain, it literally took my breath away. After a few contractions she checked me again and I was at a 9.5! I could push! Everyone grabbed my legs and when the contractions were taking place I had to hold my breath and push for 10 seconds over and over. Between contractions I was the most exhausted I have ever been. I actually dozed off one time between a contraction! I had my eyes closed and I was focused on breathing and getting this baby out. I didn’t have the energy to scream or yell, all I could do was lay there. When I did get to push the release of pressure felt so good. After a few minutes of pushing the nurse said the baby’s heart rate was dropping a little bit and we should get him out pretty fast. Her saying that brought a renewed energy to me and I was able to push through and give those push’s everything I had. When he was almost out my doctor said the only thing holding him back was space, she recommended an episiotomy, a small one. I had previously been against having one but at that point I wanted baby boy out! I said yes and after that it was only a few more pushes… I could hear everyone saying they could see his head and to keep pushing! His head finally came out and it was just one more push for his little body! Immediately they laid him on top of me, I opened my eyes and all my exhaustion went away. Seeing his little body was all I needed. Elijah.

    They had to take him off of me fast because the cord had been wrapped around his head and he was pretty purple so they needed to stimulate him. Daddy got to cut the cord. They wrapped him up and gave him back to me. The most beautiful little human I had ever seen was in my arms. Even more amazing was the fact that my body birthed this little human and it felt every twinge of pain and contractions for days and I felt every need to push. My body birthed Elijah! I did it! Giving birth was the most empowering and beautiful thing I have ever done and ever will do. Elijah latched on immediately when I introduced my breast to him. He was so alert after his birth. So empowering.