It has taken me a while to write out my latest birth story because I feel like none of the words I choose will do it justice. It wasn’t just a “push the baby out and celebrate” kind of birth. I have been thinking about what to write over the last few months about a truly spiritual home birth and I finally feel like I’m ready to process the journey on paper…
When I first saw the positive test, I wondered if I should prepare for a miscarriage. I had miscarried before each of my other sons and figured that pattern might continue. I stood in the bathroom, excited and nervous, and God said: Trust Me. I had the reassurance from day one that my pregnancy was in His hands.
I live in an area with below average care for pregnant women. The local c-section rate is atrocious and the hospital doesn’t even accept VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) patients. (I will be considered a VBAC for the rest of my life, in spite of the fact that my second son was my official VBAC.) There are no midwives for more than 2 hours and, even if I was willing to drive to them for care, they would not accept me because of the distance. I would have had to drive over an hour to see a Dr, who I would likely have to battle with every step of the way to get the low intervention prenatal care and birth that I wanted. So we chose not to have conventional prenatal care. It wasn’t a decision made lightly and we didn’t get any support from loved ones (other than a few close friends) but, once again, God said: Trust Me. And we did.
The first trimester brought a lot of fatigue. I dozed on an off nearly all day. My boys spent a lot of time playing outside in the dirt or accompanying their dad or my dad with various farm chores. I felt the baby move, every so slightly, at about 9 weeks (around the same time I felt my first son move). It brought tears to my eyes. I still wasn’t ready to share the news with anyone other than my husband and one close friend.
The second trimester brought strange bouts of nausea (the first time I woke up at 2am, I thought I had food poisoning) and the start of braxton hicks contractions. I also started to gain weight to the point that it was becoming more difficult to hide the pregnancy (I gain a lot of weight during pregnancy. A lot.) so we told our families at around 12-13 weeks. I still didn’t want to tell anyone but duty called. Everyone was thrilled and nearly all were convinced that, after two boys, this one would be the girl they have all been waiting for.
There were a number of instances when I would put my hand on my belly just waiting for the baby to move. He didn’t move often. Sometimes he would only kick once or twice all day. The day of my sister-in-law’s wedding was one of those days. The baby didn’t move at all. Not even a niggle. I drank a coffee and an iced cappuccino on the 3.5 hour drive home and, still, no movement. I woke up several times through the night and still, no movement. God kept saying “trust me.” That was probably the hardest day to trust. I decided that if the baby didn’t move the next day that we would pray seriously about going in. He moved at about 8am. Just a couple little kicks to let me know he was still there, he was just tired from the busy days we had.
The weight and relaxin got tough on my body and started to cause a fair amount of pain. I was so relieved when a friend came to work on the farm with my husband so I no longer had to do the chores that felt like they were pulling my body apart. I essentially put myself on bedrest for the last couple of months. I would get up to do housework in spurts but, mostly, I sat on the couch and read.
I was due in the middle of November but I just had a gut feeling that the baby would come early. My other two were born at 40 weeks and 2 days so I told people that this one would probably be the same. But I knew, in my heart, that he wouldn’t be able to wait that long to meet us. Not having to worry about appointments and weight checks and belly measurements meant that I got a lot more connected to my baby during the pregnancy. I bonded so much with this baby in utero. I felt like I truly knew him and he resided in my heart just as completely as he resided in my body.
Braxton hicks contractions had been my constant companion since about 12 weeks and I could literally feel them start pushing the baby down starting around 36 weeks. Practice contractions. Practice for my body and practice for my mind. I would stop, breath, pray, and love the little baby growing in me. They started become more intense on a Thursday, at about 38.5 weeks. I sat on the ball and swayed. I prayed and sang hymns and listened to the laughter of my boys playing outside and felt closer to God than I had in a very long time. I contracted all night but woke up to calm.
Friday afternoon brought more contractions. About 5-7 minutes apart and definitely more intense. My body was working. I walked a lot that afternoon and prayed and breathed and, once again, placed the birth in God’s capable hands. I joked with a friend that I would probably have the baby on Monday. I contracted all day Saturday. My sister-in-law, who lives about 5 hours away, was visiting her husband who works nearby (oil rig life!) so she came to visit us and cleaned my house and played with the kids all day. I sat still enjoying the contractions that rushed over me. My body was calm again on Sunday morning. She came over again for a bit and we enjoyed the extra day of visiting (because Monday was a holiday) before she headed back to work.
Sunday evening brought contractions anywhere from 2-7 minutes apart and I was nearly in tears telling my husband that I just wanted to meet this little one and be done with all this waiting and the emotional roller coaster that goes along with it. But, alas, the contractions stopped. I went to bed early and woke up a few times through the night to help Biscuit fall asleep again. Each time I awoke, I waited for the contractions. Nothing.
Until about 3:30am, when I woke up to pee. By the time I went downstairs to the bathroom and back up, I had about 3 contractions.
I knew it was time.
I’m putting the finishing touches on part two so check back tomorrow to read the rest. In the meantime, read my guest post on the True Journey of Natural Birth.
UPDATE: Part 2 has been published! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed experiencing it.
Make sure you don’t miss any posts by subscribing to my weekly blog newsletter!