A Midwifes Birth Story
I’m so excited to share the birth story of my daughter Lynnon! Born the 22nd of Jan, the birth itself was very short, and if this post was just about the birth itself, we would probably only have a few more paragraphs to go. However, the preparation it took to get to my birth was anything but short.
She’s my 3rd baby, and as we midwives say “the 3rd baby is the wildcard”. In my experience 1st babies can often have longer labors since no other baby has paved the way. My theory is that second babies come fast because not only did #1 pave the way, but because most moms are in denial that labor is labor since it’s not as hard as the first time. Also, I feel that the “normalcy” of the first labor length doesn’t cause as much damage resulting in scar tissue to the pelvic floor, ect. Therefore, the second baby has no hold ups (just my theory).
But that third one – it’s the wild card! It will either come so fast your doctor/midwife barely make it, or baby will have some weird mal-position, making labor either harder, longer, or stalling. Again, my theory is that the second one comes so fast it can cause damage.
Well…I was not about to let that be me! Even though I know you cannot control labor, I went after the goal of a fast and efficient birth…and I got it! However I wasn’t prepared for how fast it happened.
So here is the path! Before I even began to try and conceive, I was regularly seeing my chiropractor, massage therapist, and Sobadora (a traditional womb specialist) in preparation for conception. In addition, after I became pregnant, I began the Spinning Babies daily essentials. I absolutely never crossed my legs, gave up heels, and began seeing a pelvic floor therapist. Basically, I was at some sort of preparation appointment twice a week, and then three times a week at the end.
All of this was done in order to create the most amount of space for baby. Specifically so baby can easily navigate your pelvis and turn to come out. Did you know that babies have to make 14 movements/turns to make their way out? Crazy huh?
I also incorporated good fats, collagen, and liver into my diet to help with healthier bones, joints, and ligaments. Lastly, but most important to me – I prayed! I prayed specifically for a fast, efficient, and safe birth at home. It is not lost on me what a privilege it is to have your baby at home.
In the past I have had prodromal labor. This is a fun game where you think you are going into labor, but then it’s not real labor. My mom and sisters have it as well, and interestingly enough we all have fast births. My family also seems to have OP babies. OP stands for occiput posterior, ie. “sunny side up” or most commonly you would feel back labor. I did not have this with my second baby, but then I had consistent chiropractic care.
I was my sisters midwife a few months ago with her fourth baby, and I discovered that she had a smaller pelvis, or specifically, a small pelvic outlet. To say I was surprised is an understatement! I can only assume my mom does too, and I thought I might as well with my history of OP babies. All this had been in the back of my head since my sisters birth, along with knowing that she has never had a problem having a great birth (more on that later).
So on to the birth day! That morning I was having good strong contractions about every 15-20 min. But this was nothing new, and had been happening on and off for several weeks. I was just SO over it and really felt I would continue this prodromal pattern for another few weeks. So in order to distract myself, I offered to run errands with my husband, and go on a lunch date after.
By the time we sat down for my carb load of an enchilada platter, I was having quite strong contractions, but still they were not close together. I decided to take a nap when we got home and then take the boys out to ride their bikes. While they rode, I curb walked (this can help move the baby into an optimal position). I had a feeling she was on my right side in an (you guessed it) OP position. Usually if contractions are being caused by a baby in a less than optimal position, this will help the baby straighten up. The contractions then turn into labor, or they go away. I just assumed they would go away.
We arrived home about 7:30pm, and as I was walking around the house, my husband noticed my contractions getting closer. First 7 min apart, and then by 8:15 they were 3-5min. I was not convinced this was real labor, as I had a similar episode of 3-5 apart just a few days before and it went away. I told him if they did this for 30 more min then I would call the midwife.
Well they lasted and I called her, but was still not sure it was labor so we decided to give it 30 more min. Around 8:45 we decided she should come check me, but I didn’t want my doula or photographer there yet because I was a still doubtful it was real. Then about 9:15 with one powerful contraction I said “I change my mind, everyone needs to come!”
My midwife arrived shortly after to check me, and I was 7-8 cm. From that point on it was all a blur. Each contraction became significantly more intense than the last. I have seen women appear to dilate before my very eyes, but never fully understood the intensity they were experiencing. The doula and photographer had now arrived and everyone worked to set up a calming space, and attempted to get the birth tub ready. My boys were so excited they could hardly stand it!
What surprised me most about this birth was just how hard it was to cope in the last 20 min! With my last natural birth, each contraction was like a wave I rode and, while hard, there was a rhythm. Not this time! Each contraction did its job so well that the next was significantly stronger. I needed my husband to hold on to for physical and mental support, and he was the only thing that made me feel strong in those hard moments of brutal contractions.
We turned on the birth playlist I had listened to for the last 6 months at a good volume. That rhythm allowed me to breathe as much as I could while singing the songs to keep some sort of focus. I was not making the low, moaning sounds I know so well, rather I was almost screaming (I should note that it still felt natural for me to do this for this specific birth). As I was standing, my arms draped over my husband, the birth tub still not ready, I thought “oh I can’t do this much longer.” But I also knew that having that thought meant I was almost done.
With the next contraction I let out a big instinctual push. It felt right but I knew there was a block. As a midwife I knew I had what is called a “cervical lip.” When you have a cervical lip, you are not completely dilated. You are basically 9.5 centimeters. Now – there are a few ways to manage this, and one is just giving it time. Another way is to have your midwife or doctor hold the lip back while you push to move it (if appropriate).
As soon as that contraction ended, I looked at my midwives and said “I feel a lip, I want it gone. Move it. Get on a glove” (I might have midwifed my midwife, bless her and her patience). She gently asked “ do you want some arnica?” This helps with cervical lips. I replied “sure but get on a glove, I’m not doing that again.” I hopped on the bed, she moved the lip, and Lynnon began to make her way out!
As I was pushing I reached down to feel her head as it came out and realized “oh my goodness I have my sisters pelvis!” So again, using my training, I created space to help her come out with my hands and the help of my midwife. It was a wild thing to be in such a fast and furious state, with my midwife brain still running at full speed. Either way, it helped and Lynnon was here.
Surrounded by her daddy and brothers, I pulled her out and into my arms. It was not the calm water birth I had imagined, or what I prepared the kids for (poor things, and thank goodness my doula helped manage that), but it was perfect! The kids said “mommy you never showed us a video like that!”
To be fair, I had never experienced a birth like that! All and all the kids say it was such a cool experience, and Jude says it was the best day of his life. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. She came fast, efficiently, and safely at home – just as I prayed.
The sweetest memory I have was just after I knew everyone needed to come, when I asked the boys to pray with me. They prayed specifically, each in their own way for safety and thanked God for their new baby sister. God answered each of our specific prayers, making for a very speedy delivery. Lynnon was here just 2 hours after calling my midwife. But girl…was that a fast ride!