I recently had the pleasure of attending a beautiful, unmedicated hospital birth in Lehi, Utah. Below is a beatiful birth story, written by the mother – Enjoy!
“The birth team that made it all possible – i always knew i wanted my mom there, not only is she my favorite person, but she has such a reverence and respect for birth that i really wanted there. She’s amazing. After going through my pregnancy, i knew Blair would be incredible during labor and birth but he totally blew me away. I don’t think he could have been anymore involved and it was so beautiful. At the end when things were really intense the only thing that helped was hugging him. I fell in love with him all over again. Our doula JaTem was amazing, she was there for so long and was so great at asking questions and trying out different things, and just as important she knew the times when i just needed Blair. our nurse midwife Diana Lee is amazing!!! I can’t recommend her enough. I switched to her at 30 weeks after not having good experiences with the place i was going and I’m so happy i did. She was so supportive of everything i wanted and spent so much time with me that i feel like not everyone would. She gave me so many hugs after and told me how proud she was of me. The hospital we were at was also incredible – all the nurses were great, it’s a really small, quiet hospital with huge rooms and most have tubs which is one of the main reasons i chose it. It was the perfect fit for us! Having all the right people there made such a huge difference and I’m so glad i didn’t just stick with who i had been seeing and the hospital i was originally going to go to.
The day before (Wednesday) i felt amazing and was still preparing myself for it to be at least another week. Thursday i did not feel well at all and had such a hard time getting through the day at work. After work we had planned to go down to my parents for the evening to have dinner, play games, etc. but after dinner i still didn’t feel well at all and just wanted to go home and take a bath. We got home and i put a load of laundry in with some things i had been needing to put in our hospital bags. As i soaked in the bath i read Ina May’s guide to childbirth (which is amazing), i got our maternity/family pictures back and was looking at them and i was also texting JaTem (our doula) who was checking in to see how i was feeling. She asked me if i still wanted to labor at home if my water was to break and i basically told her i don’t know but i know it’s not super likely so i wasn’t going to worry about it. When i got out of the bath i got in my pajamas and put on lotion and stood and looked at my belly and told her we were ready for her to come whenever she was ready.
me and Blair looked through our pictures together then were watching parenthood on Netflix. At 10:45 I got up to get the laundry out of the dryer and after taking a few steps there was a big gush and i was like “did i just pee my pants???” I had Blair come over and turn on the lights and there was a big puddle on the floor and we were both like “WHAT!!!!!” I stood there and called our midwife who had just gotten back into town after being gone for almost two weeks, she told me as long as the baby was moving ok i could stay at home and wait for contractions to kick in and that she’d call the hospital and let them know i would be heading in in a few hours. I called my mom next who knew exactly why i was calling, then called JaTem to let her know. I got changed and Blairy made this cozy little nest for us. In retrospect i should have tried to sleep more at this point but i wanted to stay up to make sure she was still moving ok. Blair made us some Mac and cheese and we watched 10 things i hate about you and tried to rest, at this point things were starting to happen but mostly i just felt crampy. After the movie i told Blair he should go nap, he went and napped in our bed for two hours while i watched the OC, bounced on my yoga ball and walked around with contractions getting stronger. They would be close together 2-3 minutes apart for a while and then space out again, but after a while of them being close together i decided to wake Blair up, we called the hospital and decided to head in. Having contractions in the car was so uncomfortable but I’m also glad we decided to stay home for as long as we did. We got to the hospital around 3:45 AM.
We got to the hospital, a few minutes later JaTem (our doula), Rowan (the photographer) and my mom got there. We got settled in and they checked me, i was 3cm which i was a little bummed about, i was hoping to be further along by the time we got to the hospital but JaTem reassured me that 3cm on a first baby is still great progress. I rested in between contractions, walked around, drank slushy and ate goldfish, and just chatted and hung out in between contractions which were getting much more intense and having lots of people to help do counterpressure and rub my back and support my belly helped a lot. Around 9AM our midwife came by to check on me, when she checked i was at 3.5 cm and so bummed that after 5 hours of strong contractions i hadn’t progressed really at all. She also told me that my bag of waters was still intact in front of the babies head and that earlier it must have been a leak from higher up. She told me i could wait and see how things progressed or she could finish breaking it. We decided since it had already broken to have her finish breaking it so that things would pick up. She headed into the office and said that she’d br back this afternoon to see how things were going.
From there contractions REALLY picked up and i got into the tub to labor which felt AMAZING. This was my favorite part of the whole experience because the majority of the time it was just me and Blair, we turned the lights off and listened to the labor playlist that Blair had made which i wasn’t sure what i would want to listen to or if i would want music during labor but it was perfect. I told Blairy when he was making it that i wanted it to be like an epic movie score – it was mostly things like sigur ros and explosions in the sky but also just other music that i love. Blair was so amazing being there with me and it was easily one of the most powerful, wonderful times of my life. My mom and JaTem were also there at times but recognized that i really just wanted Blair. JaTem sprayed cold water on my back while i was in the warm tub which felt sooooo good. At the end contractions were so strong and about a minute apart, which is where things started to get fuzzy. Everyone suggested that it was probably time to get out (it had been close to 2 hours), and get checked. I was preparing myself to get checked and be at 4cm. I got out of the tub around 11AM, the nurse checked and was like “oh, you’re at 9cm! We need to get Diana back over here!” So in two hours i had gone from 3 to 9 cm which was so intense but i also was so happy that i was so far along! I was smiling so big and was like “I’m going to eat so much good food after this!” I felt amazing.
Everything after this point is a total blur, here’s what i do remember. Frankie has been face up (instead of face down) and was in the process of rotating to be face down when Diana (our midwife) got there. She had me try different positions and a peanut ball and different things to help get her to turn face down. At some point around 11:30 AM i started pushing, i was so physically exhausted from being up all night with no sleep and an intense progression of labor that i felt like i was in a dream. I was shaky and so drained. People would talk to me and i wouldn’t really respond, it felt like an out of body experience, I’ve never felt so exhausted in every way. I was pushing well and the baby was moving down, but at some point it was discovered that her head was crooked. Because the sides of the head aren’t able to mold in the same way as the top she was getting stuck. After trying all different positions, bars, handles, peanut ball, and Diana physically trying to help her head straighten out, she just wasn’t coming. I had a mirror and it felt like contraction and yet contraction that we would see her head and everyone would be like “this is it this is the one!” And then it wasn’t. It was so exhausting to be so close for so long and started to feel like i would never be able to get her out. I had no concept of time and really didn’t know if it had been 10 minutes or 10 hours. Most of the time pushing i was on my side, pulling back on my legs and pushing as hard as i could and she just wasn’t coming. Finally there was one where i just kept pushing so hard and everyone was reassuring me that this was it, i pushed so much harder than i thought possible, i broke blood vessels in my eyes. I remember seeing myself in the mirror and not even recognizing myself i looked so awful. I kept pushing and could tell her head really was coming and kept pushing until her head was out then pushed more as she helped get her shoulders out. She was born at 1:29 PM.
The feeling when she was finally born was amazing physically and mentally and emotionally. She cried and they laid her on me, Blairy just started sobbing and i was so exhausted but was way more aware than when i was pushing. Because she was born with her head crooked she had a huge round lump on the side of her head where it had been molding trying to come out. I saw it real quick before they put her hat on (you can see it in the video pretty well), and it’s amazing how fast her head reshaped! They put warm blankets over us and we waited for the cord to stop pulsing before Blair cut it, then i could pull her up and hold her closer. While we were doing skin to skin i delivered the placenta, i had more bleeding than usual so i got pitocin after delivering the placenta to stop the bleeding. We had suspected this could happen so i had decided to have an IV port in place just in case. I didn’t end up having any other medicine or fluid and it was so nice not being tied to an IV while in labor! Diana showed us the placenta and the amniotic sac while i held her which was so cool to see. After a few minutes of holding her she latched and nursed for a good 15 or 20 minutes which was amazing. At some point everyone kind of dissipated and it was just us. Blair did skin to skin with her (i honestly don’t remember if this was before or after she ate, maybe before?) and it was so beautiful finally getting to see him as a dad after so many years of anticipation. I love this picture so much because it captures a moment where i fell in love with Blairy all over again. Pushing was so much harder than i had anticipated but i feel so grateful to have had such an amazing labor and birth. It was something i had put so much thought and effort into and i just feel overwhelmed with how grateful i am to my body and to our little girl for this experience.”
This was truly a magical birth to attend and I am always so gratful my clients allow me into such a sacrad place. Watching such a life changing event happen to people for the first time is like nothing else in this world!