I have just recently given birth to my third child, all naturally. A 9 lb. 10 oz. miracle baby boy after a stillbirth, three miscarriages, and trying to conceive for over two years.
I went 23 days over my due date & had over a month of prodromal labor, but he and his perfect birth were more than worth the wait. Looking back on my newest baby’s birth, I can’t help but ask myself, ‘why did I not do this before’? I was so scared to have my two older children that I didn’t even consider doing it naturally. This time I did it, because I learned how much better it was for the baby. I wanted to bring him into the world the best way I could. Which meant going naturally.
The whole time I was in labor this time, I was in awe of my body, of what it was doing. It took us 26 months of trying to conceive before I got pregnant with this baby. We suffered 4 heart breaking losses along the way, three miscarriages and a stillbirth. I felt defeated, hated my body for failing me, for not doing what I wanted it to. What it was “supposed” to do. I hated that it seemed I couldn’t carry another baby, hated seeing the hurt in my family & friends, and most of my husband’s face every time my body let us down again. Seeing the way it broke his heart every month when it didn’t happen or when we lost another one broke mine all over again, every time.
Then, when I got pregnant this time I spent my entire pregnancy on edge waiting for the moment my body would betray me,. When it would betray my baby like I felt like it had done before so many times. But that moment never came.
A few years ago we had toyed with the idea of having another baby, then I got pregnant and it was decided…we’d have another. At what should have been the halfway point of the pregnancy, we lost him and we almost lost me too. His death made a gaping hole in our lives, something was missing. It felt like we were supposed to be a family of five. No matter what we did there was always the thought of something missing. Losing him had put a hole in us, in our family, that wasn’t there before.
It made us determined to have another, to fill that void. We knew we couldn’t have him back, but losing him made us realize we really wanted one more. After the trauma my body went through when we lost him, we were told I wouldn’t be able to have another baby. When I was in the hospital being treated after his birth and death , the attending doctors tried to force my husband to sign for a full hysterectomy for me. He thankfully, refused.
I went home, and we hesitantly started to try again. Twenty six months and a few miscarriages later, I became pregnant with Jacob. We thought we would lose him like we lost the others, but we didn’t. We were told our baby would be premature and spend weeks or months in the hospital because our last living baby did.
Then we went more than three weeks overdue.
We thought that because labor didn’t happen within the time frame we were thinking that my body couldn’t go into labor or maintain it without
augmentation. But it did. I am forever grateful to my amazing midwife for all her support and encouragement in this time. She convinced me to
wait it out for the birth we wanted and made sure that my baby was still doing well in utero.
I spent my entire pregnancy on edge, afraid that we would lose him like the others. At the end of my pregnancy I was petrified. I was so afraid of giving birth for fear that my baby would be hurt like my others had been. I spent everyday worrying about going into labor ,because I knew that inside me he was safe. No one could hurt him there.
I had over a month of prodromal labor. I would have strong contractions for hours, sometimes six or more hours straight. They would always exhaust me and stop only to return a few hours later. I really believe that the reason I went so far past my due date and kept stalling out was because I was living in fear of his birth. I was so afraid that we would lose him that I wanted him to stay in forever where I knew he was safe. But I knew he couldn’t, it was time.
The day before his birth I spent the whole day relaxing, praying, trying to let go of my fear. I finally faced the truth, what would be would be, but it
would be soon. I knew I needed to calm myself, calm my fears and trust in my baby and myself. I hoped it would be something good, but I needed to face it.
That night I went into labor.
After 5 hours of easy labor and after one push, I gave birth to a 9 lb. 10 oz. posterior baby boy with his cord wrapped tightly around his next twice. He was gray and wouldn’t breathe, but we had an amazing midwife that knew not to cut his cord. Had we been in a hospital with my original doctor, the first thing he would have done would have been to cut his cord and whisk him away. He would have been oxygen deprived during those miutes it took to revive him and would have spent days in the NICU. My midwife handled the situation so calmly that I hardly knew what was happening. Although my midwife had to resuscitate him, he was perfect in every way. He was worth every second of heartbreak it took to get him here. Hearing his first cries were nothing short of a miracle.
My body knew how to grow this child. It knew when my baby was ready to be born, and when it was time it went into labor alone. It didn’t need some doctor telling me when my baby was ready and forcing him out with drugs. When I labored with my first I was told I was incapable, that my body “couldn’t” do it, that my contractions were inadequate, that I wasn’t dilating fast enough, then that I couldn’t push him out. I was forced to have medicine that almost killed him by putting him into severe distress, then I was forced to have him cut and sucked out of me because of my “inadequacy”.
This time, that was always in the back of my mind. I doubted my body’s abilities the whole time. Every contraction, as I felt myself progressing through labor, I was in disbelief of what my body was accomplishing. It was doing it! Then, I gave birth to an almost 10 lb. baby, on my own! I can’t even describe the sense of accomplishment I feel. The amount of pride I have in my baby for knowing what to do to navigate his way out and in myself for waiting it out and facing my biggest fears, and in my body for doing what it was supposed to. It is indescribable!
I didn’t set out to have a natural birth to “earn my stripes” or to “get a gold star”. The only reason I chose a natural birth this time was for the sake of my baby. I didn’t want his tiny body traumatized the way my other children were in birth. I didn’t want him coming into the world drugged up on narcotics & suffering the side effects, I felt like he deserved to come into the world the way nature intended. I was scared, I thought it would hurt, but I was willing to do it for him. Thinking of how beneficial it would be for him kept me motivated before and during. It is what made me be okay waiting 23 days longer than we thought we’d have to.
Having him naturally hurt, but not much as you’d think. And it was no where near as bad as it was when I had the drugs and epidural. Each contraction was only about a minute of pain with a complete 3-5 minute break in between. I would have a contraction, but once it was over my body felt amazing. Like it knew I was that much closer to being done, that it was glad that one was over. It would tense up, get through the contraction, then after it would loosen up in the most relaxed feeling I’ve ever had.
Now that it’s over, it’s been less than 48 hours and I feel amazing. I am up, walking around and fighting with myself to not do too much, because I really want to. I feel good enough to clean my whole house, to go out and do things! It is so hard to make myself relax when I really feel like I don’t need to. I’m not as sore as you’d think I would be after having an almost 10 lb. baby naturally. I feel better now than I did after my 3 lb. baby!
When I see my baby and think of his birth, I am so proud of myself and of him. I am so proud of myself for waiting and letting him come when he was ready to. My body and his worked together, they knew exactly what he needed. He got it and his birth was perfect. ~Ashley Renee
Here is the slide show of our birth photography done by Carissa Pierce Photography: