Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Birth Story

Photo: Stephani Lynn Photography

I'd like to think my birth story started on Saturday. You read all these natural ways to induce labor and I was willing to try anything I could (ok except castor oil or something dangerous)! I was already taking my Evening Primrose Oil capsuls, which naturally soften and ripen your cervix. I am true believer in these (they are organic and all natural, you get them at a Health Food store, they are vitamins). I also read about lots of other natural ways, but the two that were most appealing were, pedicures and pineapple. Yes, I did say pineapple. Who knew? My friend Andrea and I got our pedicures done...1 1/2 hour of glorious foot pampering. It was relaxing and amazing. Then we headed to the store to get some pineapple for myself. Fresh pineapple, is what you are to eat. I ate a huge bowl of it Saturday night.

5:30am Sunday morning, I was asleep in my bed when I felt a small gush. I woke up and ran to the bathroom and well more gushing. I was shocked and then of course excited. I knew my water had just broke. No, it wasn't like you see in the movies, a huge puddle of water on the floor. I didn't even get the sheets wet, but what I was wearing was wet! I changed my clothes, put a pad on (no panty liner was gonna absorb this!) and went back to bed. 30 mins later. Same thing. 30 mins after that, another large gush. I decided to just stay awake considering, I never actually fell back asleep after the first gush at 5:30am! It was almost 7am, so I called my midwife to let her know what was going on. She was already at the Birth Center, as another mama was in labor (it was a very busy weekend with births!). She told me I could just continue my day as normal and call back in 6 hours if nothing had progressed with my contractions---oh did I mention, I was having zero contractions? Yeah, I felt just fine. So I did what any sane person would do. I went to church!

I had already texted a few friends earlier in the morning to let them know my water had broke, so they thought I was crazy for even going to church. I also let a few others know what was going on and everyone was excited. I was excited, but a little nervous. I wasn't feeling many contractions. I had 2 at church and they weren't very painful and lasted only 30 seconds. Church was great, took my mind off of things and made the day go a little faster.

We got home and I decided to eat some more pineapple and get my breast pump out and start pumping--another great way to speed up the labor process. It was working. I was getting contractions that were lasting about 30 seconds and happened every 3-5 minutes. I stopped that after awhile and noticed my contractions got farther and farther apart, bummed again, I called my Midwife and told her there was no progress with my contractions, I was still leaking water though. She told me to call her again at 5:30, since that would be 12 hours since my water had broken and we'll go from there, she suggested I go for a walk and continue to pump.

My in-laws came by to pick up the kids so we could take a walk and get things ready (like install the carseat! yup, didn't do that yet!). They prayed over me that my labor would progress and to calm my nerves. I wasn't nervous of actually giving birth, I was nervous that I would not go into labor naturally and would have to go to the hospital (as you may recall, not an option for me!). I really, REALLY, didn't want to go to the hospital, not just because I'm not insured, but because that was not what I wanted this time around.

We took a nice long walk. A mile and a 1/2 to be exact. I felt good, but also started to feel some mild contractions as we walked. On the way home, we went to the local ice cream place and I got some red raspberry ice cream (yum!) as that was the only thing that sounded good. I guess this was a good choice as my Midwife later told me that ice cream absorbs really well into the body, so the likely hood of me getting sick during labor would be minimal!

We got home, I pumped some more and started walking around the house again. My contractions were still short, and not extremely painful. I was still leaking fluid, but this time around it was pinkish and not so clear. I had told Jimmy a few times that I wish I had strong contractions, so I would know my body was doing something--I also said I would probably regret saying that later. It was 5:30pm and I called my Midwife. She said the pinkish color was a great sign and that my cervix was doing some great work and to come to the Birth Center. This was great news, I was extremely excited to actually be going to the center and to see if I had progressed any.

So we grabbed our bags and made sure we had everything on my list and loaded up the car. I had just a few contractions on the way to the Birth Center (it was only a 20 min drive), again nothing too painful, they were in my back mostly, but still felt too weak to be in actual labor.

We pulled up right when my Midwife did and headed in the house. We got there a little after 6pm.

We actually had to share the house with another family. Since they opened back in 2010, they have never had to share the house with another family...on Saturday they did and on Sunday (our birth) they did too. It was a crazy weekend of births! We headed to our room and I laid on the bed to get checked. I was telling my Midwife how I was a bit nervous I wasn't progressing, but when she checked me she happily announced I was already 5cm and 80% effaced. I didn't think my body was doing any work and it had! I was very excited that my body was actually doing it's job! I quickly texted our photographer to let her know I was already 5cm and at the Birth Center. I was excited to have her arrive and start taking photos!

After I got checked I got right in the tub. Man oh man, did it feel good! It was a warm 99 degrees and just felt amazing. I put on the jets and the blue light (they have lights, pink, blue or white). Soon after my parents and in-laws arrived, along with the kids. Ryan was so adorable, wanting to get in the tub with me, even going as far as taking his shirt off! My Grandma (my mom's mom) also came to be with me. For awhile we were watching tv, talking, laughing and eating popcicles and crackers. My contractions quickly started to get more consistent and stronger. This is when Jimmy got in the tub with me, rubbing my back and my shoulders. Ryan knew if I put my index finger up, it meant I was having a contraction and to not talk until it was over. He was very good at understanding that I was in pain. He also didn't like seeing me in pain! Molly, was oblivious to it all, playing with the play Kitchen there, and the shopping cart and watching DVDs. She would come in frequently asking if I was enjoying my bath and asking about the baby. I'm not sure when it happened, but the contractions started picking up in intensity and getting longer.

My midwife came in to check me about an hour after I first got in the tub and said I was 8cm. I swear as soon she got done checking me, hard labor really kicked in. The contractions were , even stronger and longer. I barely had time to breathe through them until another one started. This is the time that the kids had to stay out and my Mom, Mother-in-law and Grandma stayed in the room. I remember crying out how I just wanted some relief, some downtime to just breathe. They were so intense and so strong, I couldn't catch my breath. I had an odd sensation to pee, I was shaking and my mouth was chattering, almost like I was cold (but obviously wasn't). I felt lots of pressure in my bottom and I called out to go get my Midwife. She quickly came in to check me, but had to wait a bit since my contractions were right on top of each other, there wasn't much of a window between contractions. Once my contraction had subsided enough, she checked to see my progress, she could feel his head and said "oh he's got some hair!" She said when I felt ready to start pushing to start pushing and just go with my body. I remember feeling the pressure and tried pushing a little, but could hardly get enough breath to do so, I felt the "ring of fire" as they call it. I cried out that I was burning and my Midwife said, that was great, he's crowning, he's coming. I remember trying to push and crying out how I couldn't do this anymore. I just couldn't do it. (I remembered afterwards that the nurse during my pain management class said that when women say this, it usually means they are at the end) I could hear everyone say that I could do it, Jimmy was telling me how great I was doing, how amazing I was and even in the midst of me shaking I got the burst of energy I needed and started to push (I also remember saying how I needed to poop! ha!) I did a few pushes and my midwife started to slowly get his head out, I did one more big push and out he came into Jimmy's arms. I remember the sensation of him coming out and the relief I instantly felt. I remember hearing cries and my Midwife telling me to look up and take my baby (I laid my head back in pure relief). Jimmy handed me Henry and I just instantly put him to my chest and started kissing him, telling him I was so happy he was here and that I loved him! He was born at 8:29pm. I also remember saying "Happy Birthday!" They put a hat on him and covered me in a warm towel. Jimmy kissed me and said how great I did and so did everyone else in the room. We just laid there for a little while, snuggling, holding him. After the cord stopped pulsating, my midwife started to clamp it. She was laughing because the clamp wouldn't close. She kept saying how big his cord was! She clamped the cord and Jimmy cut it. We laid there for a little while longer and Jimmy took Henry, while I got out of the tub to lay on the bed and deliver my placenta...I must say that contraction to push the placenta out felt just as brutal as the ones I felt earlier. She said it looked great, and that I didn't even tear!

She weighed Henry before I started to feed him. We all thought he would be lighter than my other 2, but when she said, 8lbs 7.5 oz, I couldn't believe it (I like to round him up to 8 lbs 8oz, easier to say). He was my biggest and my earliest.

I keep thinking back to my experience and thinking back to how it was. The more I think about it, the more details I recall. It was an amazing experience. I have always wanted a water birth and I did it. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I wish all my births could have been water births. Was it easy? NO WAY. It hurt, it was hard, I didn't think I could do it....but I did and it was worth every ounce of pain.

I'll write a little more later on more things I have thought about, the time we actually spent at the center and some other details...but for now, that is my short version of Henry's birth.

Henry Dennis

8lbs 7.5 oz

20 inches

born 8:29pm

March 18, 2012


  1. Wow! Thanks for sharing!! May God continue to bless all of you!

    Sam Arce

  2. Beautiful story! So happy for you guys. :)

  3. Erica,
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful birthing story. I could picture everything as you described it. I'm so glad Grandma S. got to be there. She and Grandpa arrived shortly after my first granddaughter arrived and the memory will be etched in my brain forever.
    I love you sweet girl. You are my heart!

  4. This is so awesome...I can't lie..I had tears in my eyes when I read this. I never get tired of reading these amazing birth stories. Thanks for sharing this...good job not going the hospital route either!! :)

    Liz Taylor

  5. Yaaay I am so excited that everything went as you hoped, Erica. It's a beautiful story, the pineapple and pedicure is awesome. :) I hope your first days at home with him are going well.