It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and while this is not yet finishing my series or theological, I still want to put it in words for the glory of God. I want to share my birth story.
First, some back story would be helpful to understand why my husband and I made the decision for the birth that we had. We were overjoyed in late March when we found out we were pregnant. Yet, though I loved the idea of a home birth and that was my dream birth, I immediately became extremely fearful of it. I was afraid my body wasn’t equipped to have a natural birth or that I wouldn’t be able to withstand the pain of labor. I feared paying for a home birth then having to transfer to the hospital therefore paying for two births. I couldn’t justify it. In addition to my own fears, my husband was not in favor of a home birth for our first birth. He feared something going wrong and he wasn’t sure he was personally able to handle seeing me go through labor. Because of these fears, we opted for a hospital birth with a midwife.
Because I take thyroid medicine per prescribed by my functional medicine doctor due to not necessarily low thyroid but not optimal levels, they labeled me mildly high risk due to this. Then at 28 weeks, I failed the one hour glucose test by being one point too high. I had to do a longer glucose test to determine if I had gestational diabetes. In the three hour test, I was just barely high for the first two hours then dropped extremely low in the third hour. Because of this, they said I had gestational diabetes. Between the diet and being sick a good chunk of my second and third trimesters, I hadn’t gained weight since August and actually lost a couple pounds.
Because of now being truly high risk I had to see an OB doctor every third appointment after the gestational diabetes diagnosis. I went to see the doctor at 34 weeks pregnant. He spent barely any time with me, wouldn’t answer any of my questions definitively, and scared me with what he did say. He said my belly was measuring too small and I had to get an in for an emergency ultrasound. He made it seem like something was wrong with my baby. I went in that afternoon. From talking with the ultrasound tech and what I understood from the result I got back, she was healthy, just small. I was relieved. Until the doctor’s offive called me back. They didn’t explain why but said I would need to have weekly ultrasounds and twice a week non stress tests for the remainder of the pregnancy.
At this point my husband and I were frustrated. We truly believed our baby was healthy and perhaps I was misdiagnosed with gestational diabetes which was what caused our child to be measuring in the 5th percentile. We talked to our doula and she recommended a home birth midwife that we could talk to for a second opinion. We called her and at 35 weeks changed all our plans. We went with her and planned to have the baby at an Amish birthing center that was about 45 minutes away.
At 38+3, Tuesday November 17, I had consistent contractions. I went to bed and they didn’t amount to anything, but the remainder of the week I felt like I was having a bad period with contractions on and off. The chiropractor on Wednesday told me to come back if needed because he had a feeling that I would be having a baby that weekend. I went to the chiropractor Friday hoping he could relieve my pelvic bone pain. He said it was just that the baby was so low and that’s why I was having pain. I texted my doula to see if that meant she was coming soon or if I had to deal with this for a couple weeks. She said I may have to deal. I was so discouraged and in a lot of pain. I prayed that evening in between tears for encouragement. Right after praying I went to the bathroom and saw that I had started to bleed. I cried again but this time for joy.
Saturday morning I was up early for work. I had a women’s Bible study I hosted and frankly didn’t want to because I felt off. But we met and talked about Jesus and I started having contractions throughout the group. I didn’t tell anyone but asked for prayers that the baby would come quickly.
That afternoon I went back to work (I’m a dairy farmer on my family farm) after a short nap. We were trying to knock out combining soybeans before my sister (who was due 12 days after me) and I went into labor. I decided to start tracking my contractions while I was combining. For a few hours they were 20-45 seconds long and 6 minutes apart. They weren’t intense but I did finally did tell my dad around 4:30-5 pm that I was going to call it quits when I finished that field because I thought I might be in labor. Wnile I said that, it had been such a long week of contractions that amounted to nothing that I didn’t really belive it.
I went home and made dinner for my husband Around 8 pm. I started to lose my mucous plug, I became shaky, and my contractions were 2-4 minutes apart. Our doula came and said we may not make it to the birth center! My sister and mom had fast labors and she thought I was on track for a quick delivery too. She asked us if we were open to a home birth. My husband said yes! So the midwife came up that evening.
Contractions and intensity stayed about the same rate. I hopped in the shower to help ease the contractions. My doula got called away to another birth (she committed to this lady at 5 weeks and we got her at 33 weeks so we knew this was a possibility and we’re okay with it). Labor stalled. The contractions stayed consistent and intense but nothing happened. Everyone slept but I couldn’t. I walked through the house praying. I finally got in the tub at 4 to hopefully get some sleep. I slept between contractions until 5. I got out and threw up. The midwife asked if I wanted to be checked. I said sure. I was only dilated to a 3 and was 100% effaced. Our baby was at 0 station. My doula came back from her other birth at 6 am.
Everything stayed the same. Mid morning I was checked again. I think I was only a 4 or so. Late morning I think I broke my water. Honestly I’m not sure. I had a contraction and thought I just peed a lot through it since I was dripping with each contraction. The midwife asked if I water broke and I said probably not. But most likely from what I can tell, this was when it happened since at the mid morning check my midwife still felt a water bag.
Around 1 pm, we went to my parents farm with our doula because she thought I might need to relax and have some encouragement. When we got back I was checked again and the midwife said she couldn’t feel a bag but felt the baby’s hair! I was a 5 that could stretch to a 6.
My cervix was posterior so it made things go slowly. They had me do something called the miles circuit to try to help me dilate. I was getting exhausted. I couldn’t eat much and was continually throwing up from pain (I puked 5 times total). I kept walking through the house praying.
At 9 in the evening on Sunday, I was exhausted and discouraged. I prayed again for encouragement of some sort. I asked to be checked. I was at an 8 that stretched to a 9 and she was at a +2 station! I cried and praised God. Because of the posterior cervix, my midwife asked to stretch the cervix while I had a few contractions. That hurt! I sobbed and yelled and threw up. I started feeling pushy probably around 9:30, and she stretched it through a couple pushes on my back. We moved to the bathroom.
I wasn’t doing well. I yelled and cried a lot though they told me to be calm and focus all my energy on pushing. Everyone encouraged me so much and believed in me when I stopped believing in myself. My husband stepped up and was such an incredible support person through it all. On the toilet I asked my birth team to pray for me. They laid hands on me and prayed. That gave me encouragement and a bit more strength to keep going.
Then we switched to the birthing stool. I yelled during one of the contractions for the midwife to not touch me. She said no one was touching me and it was the baby moving down! Finally I felt her head crown. It was the most uncomfortable thing waiting in between contractions as a head stuck out of me: lots of stinging and burning. But my midwife told me later on that waiting for contractions to push is what saved me from tearing. Feeling her little head crown also encouraged me. I knew we were close and I had to keep going to meet my baby.
Once her head came out the rest of her literally fell out she was so tiny!! At 10:45 pm Natalie Margaret made her way into the world. I yelled to my husband “Oh my God it’s a baby!! We had a baby!” My husband and doula were cracking up at that reaction. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice and she didn’t breathe for a few seconds. But with the stimulation from the midwife, she quickly took her first breaths and she was so healthy! My sweet little girl weighed in at 5 pounds 8 ounces and was 19 inches long.
I can’t imagine how differently things would have gone at a hospital. I’m not anti hospital births by any means. I believe women need to go where they’re most comfortable. But I am beyond grateful for a phenomenal birth team that believed in me when I didn’t. It was long! It was hard and painful. But I would do it all over again. I loved my birth and I love how God worked through it and was so present. He encouraged me when I was down. Through Him, I had strength I wouldn’t have otherwise had to endure through such a long labor and delivery on almost no food. I truly would not have been able to have a natural home birth were it not for the help of God and my incredible birth team. I’m beyond blessed with an incredible experience that I will forever cherish.