Updated: Jan 29, 2019
We love a good story, we especially love birth stories, telling them and hearing them! We love YOUR story, but we know you want to hear our stories sometimes too.
I’ve got three super distinct birth experiences under my belt (literally and figuratively, I suppose), ranging from literally right out of a textbook of normal birth, to the speediest and easiest birth I could have ever dreamed up, to my most intense labor with my smallest babe (3lbs less than her siblings!). I don’t think I could accurately give you a story for each of them without writing a novella, so let’s go to the highlight reel…
Keaton, 2010: Not a birth worker yet. Wanted a natural birth. 41 weeks and 6 days I had an OB appointment and got checked- my cervix was high and closed, was not lookin so good. Water broke later that night and contractions started, increasing in intensity and frequency and duration over the first handful of hours. Felt like it was out of the textbook in terms of each milestone hit along the way and how “they” say labor will look. Hit transition while in the shower at home and told my husband he was either going to catch our baby or we needed to leave. He wasn’t down for that, so we left. Drove 110mph on the freeway. Our receiving hospital staff was rude and condescending, I felt alone. My husband felt alone. We needed them to talk us through things and no one did. But after only about an hour there, my biggest babe- 9lb 7oz- was born. It was the best relief, the sweetest first meeting, and my husband and I couldn’t handle ourselves amidst all the oohing and aahing over precious toes and chin(s!!). It was the absolute best, but it also felt like a battle for every. Little. Thing we wanted or didn’t want. My husband was tired of having to constantly protect our space, we were so happy when we got home. I’m not anti-hospital birth by any means whatsoever, I’ve witnessed some wonderfully supportive ones, and although the birth itself was just wonderful- the care (or lack thereof) I experienced during my stay at the hospital left us wanting. But the high of meeting our little dude was just unlike anything else.
Selah, 2013: Had been a doula for a couple years. 41 weeks. Planned a homebirth. My water broke. Okay, I guess that’s my “thing”...water breaking and bringing on labor. Contractions started very mildly within 30 minutes of my water breaking. About 30 minutes more of contractions that increased in intensity, but were not painful. I moaned lightly through them to release some energy, that felt good. Spoke with my doula (another lesson we learned from our first birth and not having one- doulas are SO helpful) who thankfully could hear in my moans what was happening, as I was blissfully unaware in laborland. She had me call my midwives. Everyone came. I felt so bad and told them that they were in for a long night and that I was sorry they were there so early. 40 minutes later I had a vaginal exam, 8cm. Okay I thought, I can do this for a few more hours, no worries. I stood up, grabbed onto my doula’s neck, and started pushing. 4 minutes after that vaginal exam I was holding my daughter. The sweetest and best whirlwind I could have ever experienced. It was fast, but I didn’t feel train wrecked by it. It was dreamy in every single sense of the word. It solidified my midwife aspirations. And if I'm being honest, it also puffed up a bit of pride in me that I realized only after the fact- birth had been pretty easy for me, guys!
Gemma, 2018: Our surprise caboose baby. I had become a Licensed Midwife. 37 weeks 3 days. Almost a month earlier than my first two, my water broke. What the heck?! In denial at first, but so much fluid, this was happening. No contractions for a few hours. Watched The Office. Put the kids to bed. Started feeling some things, was so thankful. Called my birth team over (Tiffany was in that crew, of course) because I knew what happened last time. But this wasn’t last time. Lots of intensity increasing over time, so much more than the last labor- more than I had experienced in either labor- but this didn’t feel productive, it just felt painful. It would come and go, giving me time to rest- which was helpful but also a bit crazy making, too. C'mon body, you know how to do this easily and quickly, just do it! After months of saying I didn’t want a vaginal exam in labor, I asked for one. I instinctively knew this information would help me get into a better and more productive labor pattern. 5cm, posterior cervix. I cried a bit. Had to just let. It. all. Go. Before my midwife said anything else I knew I’d have to do some Lift and Tucks (a la Spinning Babies), and I’d never done them myself before but have had moms of mine do them- always sounding a bit brutal by their responses, but mostly seeing them be super efficient. My understanding was correct. They were gnarly. Gnarly! But so. Dang. efficient. I labored in bed and on the ground a bit longer- I could feel baby inside trying to figure out the right way to move their head down- I could feel it in my hips, in my pelvis. Whew. My big babies just had one way to choose to go, this small one felt lost in there. We bound up my belly with a rebozo for a few contractions- this was a great help in helping babe choose a position, I went to the toilet and pretty soon couldn’t stop pushing. I waddled over to my bed, pushed my babe out in a couple pushes, and had thee sweetest birth pause before picking her up into my arms. Exhaling the intensity of that labor, inhaling the sweetness of our new little girl. I wish I could bottle that moment. Relief, joy, disbelief, more relief. Older two were there to witness the birth, made it that much sweeter. 5cm to baby in my arms was only a couple hours, but those were some serious hours where some hard hard work was done. Taught me a lot, humbled me, and made me a better _______. (person, wife, mom, midwife…) Was a prelude to the month of breastfeeding struggles we underwent together as well, which were also so unexpected and so different. But again, the humbling and the growth that came from it was hard and beautiful all rolled into one. The lessons I learned about my identity, my worth, my strength, my weakness...I don't think I could have learned them to the degree I did without the hard stuff.
Every birth of mine is so different, every birth I’ve attended is so different, and your birth will be so different. But the common thread that links them all together is a sacrificial love that knows no bounds, and that...that is something that makes all of it so well worth it.