Tuesday, October 08, 2013

{Becoming Mother II} - A Hypnobabies, Supernatural and 42+ Week Birth Story

In honor of Baby #3's impending arrival, we are launching another {Becoming Mother} blog series. As my own labor and delivery quickly approaches, I find it encouraging to immerse myself in childbirth stories. I love reminding myself that women birth every day, that they survive and that they rejoice in being a mother when it's all over. 

As always, this is not to promote a particular type of birth. These stories are intended to be more of a picture into "what it was really like" for these mothers in their various birth settings. I hope they inspire you to marvel in awe at God's perfect plan of childbirth.

As always, you can check out  my hospital birth story with Cannonmy birthing center birth story with Cason and my reflections on both deliveries. I will be back at the end of this series with some of my favorite birth stories from fellow bloggers, as well as my thoughts in preparation for childbirth the third time around.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Bre. We met years ago at The Village Church before either of us had kiddos. She has two back-to-back babies and we've connected over Waldorf education/activities, essential oils and grass-fed beef. She is a great resource if you're looking to learn more about using essential oils.

Six short months after our first child was born, we discovered we were pregnant again. “No. No way. No way I’m doing that [natural childbirth] again” was one of the first things that came out of my mouth. I was in total shock. Don’t get me wrong. I was excited about a new baby. What a blessing! But giving birth again? So soon? No thank you! That took some getting used to. I knew from the beginning that I wanted a different birth from before which meant a different midwife/birth center. I did enjoy our prenatal care during Jack’s pregnancy but we had some ‘differences of opinions’ when it came to the 38+ mark and the birth. Don’t misunderstand me, it was still a good birth and I’m so thankful we were able to have the natural birth we wanted and everyone was healthy but there was a lot of unnecessary pressure and stress. I knew I wanted things to be different – more peaceful – this time around.

With Jack's birth, we used Hypnobabies and had planned to use it again this time. We had done the Home Study version of their childbirth class with our doula so we didn’t feel we needed to do all of that part again. I had been listening to my tracks for a couple months until, by the grace of God, I heard about this book called Supernatural Childbirth. I checked it out from the library and read it in almost one night then Jon followed suit the next night. It was so good. We were missing the spiritual side to Hypnobabies and this really helped us to see the scriptural support for trusting my body to birth this baby by trusting God in how he created women to birth. Also, how to let go of the fear of the pain and really relax through labor. I know you're thinking 'yeah right...no pain in childbirth' (believe me, I thought it myself several times) but it's true. And I can't wait to share with you how it all happened.

My due date was October 20th and it being my second child, Jon and I thought there'd be a good chance that Liv would be early...or at least earlier than Jack (who was 41w1d). Surely, she would, right? Well, we were wrong...so very, very wrong. Oct 20th came and went and so did the rest of October. Every now and then (maybe once a week), I would have some contractions that would start up while I was laying down but once I got up and walked around, they would fizzle out. 41 weeks passed, and Jon's parents were on their way into town. When we planned their trip, we planned for the end of October assuming she'd be here but there I was mega pregnant picking them up at the airport. It was so great having them in to help with Jack and to help keep our mind off the feeling of being a watched pot. Sarah, my sweet patient midwife, was always so encouraging when I'd text or call reporting that I was apparently going to be pregnant forever.

Now, I have to take a minute to brag about my amazing midwife, Sarah Jones. She's seriously amazing. We interviewed a few very nice and capable midwives when preparing for Liv's birth but the Lord clearly led Sarah and ours paths to cross and we're so thankful He did. She listened to and respected our desires for this birth while still giving the guidance and medical advice that we needed. She sought the Lord every day for His wisdom and grace to shine over us and this pregnancy and it showed so much through her care. She really helped this birth to be a birth we experienced whole-heartedly instead of just the birth happening to us (if that makes sense). We are so thankful for her, Gina (her birth assistant) and our amazing doula Maria. :)

Ok, back to birth story. We did a Bio Physical Profile sonogram that Thursday when I was at 42 weeks and Liv was still doing great (an 8 out of 8), placenta was still strong and fluid levels were high. We decided to keep waiting on the Lord as patiently as we could and continue trying natural induction methods. That Friday night, it felt like maybe my water was leaking but I wasn't sure so I just went to bed to get as much sleep as I could. At 3 am, I woke to a contraction and went to the restroom. There wasn't another one that followed but I did leak a little more. I went back to bed but was awakened again at 4 by an even stronger contraction. This one really got my attention and then there was another 10 minutes later. I woke Jon up saying that "this could be it." I went to the bathroom again and texted Maria, my doula, as well as Sarah then another contraction came. Just a few minutes later, I called Maria to see if she thought we should have Sarah come out and the contractions were now 3 minutes apart (quite a jump from 10!). Maria listened to me during one and said, "Yeah, call Sarah." We called Sarah but Jon said he wanted to keep timing them but to go ahead and get ready to come. By this time, my in-laws had gotten up (they had been sleeping on our couch). They started to get dressed and ready to take Jack to my dad's house since we were planning a home birth. Well, they never got a chance to even leave as things progressed so quickly. At the beginning of the pregnancy, we were not sure if we’d do a home birth or not but I’m SO glad we decided to because I don’t know that I would’ve made it to the birth center. We also felt it was important for me to be in our home where I was most comfortable and we were less than a mile from a hospital should a transfer be needed.
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Jon filled the birth tub in the corner of our room while I focused on the Scripture cards I'd made. My mother-in-law would pray aloud with me and help me focus. I got in the tub around 4:50 am and just focused on relaxing and releasing my body during each contraction. My first labor had been very difficult for me mentally as I fought my body a lot of the time. I wanted to really surrender this time to God and fully trust that He was in control. There were a couple times that I'd start to panic in my mind dreading the pain and intensity of everything - especially when it came to pushing. But I'd just fight the thought with Scriptures and tell myself, "No, I will not be fearful. Lord, you have appointed this time as the time Liv is coming so I will relax and allow it to happen." Immediately His peace would wash over me and I felt encouraged once again. I kid you not...my contractions would be intense but never 'get me out of my body' painful. We had scripture signs everywhere and Jon propped up one of them on our bed so I could focus on it during my contractions. It was wonderful. Sarah showed up around 5 am and Maria soon after. I was most comfortable on my side but then eventually sat upright with my legs folded to either side. Sarah would have me smell different essential oils as I waited for the next contraction which was wonderful. That and everyone’s prayers are what helped me most. I think I got checked at one point. I remember saying how I hoped she'd come soon and Sarah said, "Oh you'll have her before sunrise!" Whoa! I was definitely in transition but it was nothing like my first birth...so much more calm and manageable. Every contraction was powerful but I would just ask everyone to pray out loud as they came on...then I would repeat something that one of the others would say that really spoke to me...like "Prince of Peace" or "redeemed" or "surrender." Linda, my mother-in-law, would bring in hot water from the stove top to warm my bath. It felt so good during my contractions.

After God of course, Jon was my anchor. I would stare into his calming eyes and just pray out loud. During one contraction, I remember thanking God the whole time just for my husband's wonderful eyes. Other times, just thanking him that we were all asleep just an hour and a half ago and now we're all here safely. After an hour or so (felt like 15 minutes), Sarah checked me again and said I was very close (an 8 I think). I was ready to push and everyone encouraged me to. I held on to Jon's hand, leaned back in the water and just pushed and breathed. Sarah would have me look in her eyes and breathe deeply...making horse lips helped A LOT. I would try to hold off as much as I could and then said, "ok, gotta push more!" Jon was bracing himself for a long time of pushing but then heard Sarah say, "OK, Jon, there's the head." After just 3 minutes of pushing, our baby girl was here!

Jon pulled her out and laid her on me and I was just so relieved and thankful. It was the most beautiful birth I could have ever hoped for and all thanks goes to God and my amazing birth team...Sarah, Gina, and Maria (and my wonderful husband).

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Liv Catherine Taylor was born after 2 hours and 20 minutes of labor on a Saturday morning, November 5th, 2011 at 6:23 AM at 7 lbs 14 oz & 20" long. We got my mom on the phone as things went so quickly that we didn't get a chance to call her earlier...then called my dad and stepmom soon after. Everyone helped me out of the tub to deliver the placenta on the bed...Jon cut the cord and Liv started nursing good. And, believe it or not, Jack was still asleep! He woke up a couple hours later to quite the surprise - a new sister! He was a little unsure but, since then, has embraced her and is a very sweet big brother. And, praise God, even with such fast pushing, I didn’t tear at all! I had done lots of perineum stretching with the essential oils leading up to the birth and that really helped. Recovery was much quicker this time as well although the after birth pains were definitely stronger.
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"I'm not so sure about this." -Jack

I hope and pray the births of any future Taylors will be just like this one. The Christ-focused affirmations, essential oils, and being home and in water made such a difference from my first birth. We had done it - a beautiful, quick, pain-free, supernatural childbirth! She was here...finally here.
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Our midwife, Sarah, and Liv

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