Thank you Clara for sharing your story!
I found out I was pregnant on April 3rd, 2012. This was a planned pregnancy, but I was nervous. I looked at my 4 thriving children and remembered back to their births.
My first son was induced when I was 38 weeks, but was immediately whisked away after our first feed together because the doctors felt something was wrong. They refused to let me hold him or have him in our room and later explained that they thought he had a mass in his stomach. This so called “mass” was merely fluid that had built up from his birth, but, nonetheless, they kept him for a 3 day observation. I was discharged, without my baby.
My second son was born under the care of Dr. A (anonymous). I immediately fell in love with his charisma and had full faith in him. This turned out to be my first mistake. I carried our beautiful son to 35 weeks. I went in for a routine check that week where he realized I was already 3 cm dilated. I was immediately sent to labor and delivery. A few hours later he broke my water, loaded me up on Pitocin, and I gave birth to a little boy that struggled to breath. I was discharged, without my baby. My second mistake was not realizing my first mistake. Why did I not question his actions? The answer is simple: I grew up in a generation that believes anything a doctor deems necessary, is then in fact necessary.
Our third son followed the same story. I was 35 weeks, 3 cm, had my water broken, and delivered a baby that struggled to breath. I was discharged, without my baby. At this point I was brainwashed into believing that something was wrong with my body.
When we found out about our fourth child, a precious little girl, I was told I would not carry her to viability unless I was put on weekly shots and medications. I was a good little patient, didn’t ask questions, and took my medication. At the time I began the medication I wasn’t having any negative symptoms of pregnancy. Two weeks after beginning the medication I began to cramp. Dr. A told me that this was merely what he had predicted to happen, but that this medication was my miracle that would take me to term. On February 7th, 2011 I gave birth to a teeny 31 week 5 day baby girl that was viciously ripped from me via c-section. She seemed life-less. I was not allowed to hold her, kiss her, or talk to her. I feared the worst and was on a roller coaster of emotions. Do I celebrate the birth of our first daughter? Do I cry? What do I do now? The medical team transferred her downtown to the same hospital her older brothers went where she spent the next 6 weeks. I was discharged, again, without my baby; but, this time I was mad and I had questions. I remember my 6 week appointment after she was born. We had just brought her home from the hospital the day before, my milk was barely hanging on from her absence, and I was in a state of rage. I could not even face him. He lied to me. Lies that put my children’s health at risk, my health at risk and I was done!
Would this pregnancy become the disaster each of my other pregnancies had become? No, it would not. I did my research, I asked my questions, and realized the mistakes I had made by entrusting my body to a medical community that wants nothing more than a hefty pay check. I came across Central Texas Birth Center after researching natural birth. I made an appointment to view the facility and immediately fell in love, but would they take me as a patient? Was I too much of a liability? Heather and I sat down for an hour during my first appointment and we went over my entire medical history. I was nervous she was going to decline me, but instead she told me something that will always stay with me.
“You’re not sick, you’re pregnant.”
Just writing this makes tears stream down my face. It was absolutely the most empowering statement I’ve heard. Heather helped me build confidence in my body, and I am sure there were times when she wanted to strangle me, but she had faith in my ability to have a healthy, pink, squishy baby that would stay in my arms.
So, there I was, November 2012, 35 weeks, and nervous. I was having periods of back pain and went in for an exam to see if something was changing. Heather checked me and I was 3 cm. Chills went down my spine. This was it, what I had feared; I was going to be transferred. Heather looked at me and said, “You’re perfect. Go home and put your feet up.”
Wait, what? You’re not going to break my water? Birth isn’t imminent? I was amazed. I remember telling my husband that evening that I was 3 cm, but NOT in labor!! And…that’s when it dawned on me: I was never in labor at 35 weeks with my other children!! Boy-oh-boy did this make me fume. I nearly waddled my angry little tush over to Dr. A’s office to let him have a piece of my mind, but I remembered I was a lady and it wasn’t going to change anything. 3 more weeks went by and I felt my beautiful baby getting bigger by the day. My back was bothering me again and the pressure was building. Heather checked me and I was about 6 cm dilated, but alas was not in labor. I made a visit to the chiropractor for “The Business” which relieved some pressure in my back, but still nothing. I gave up, the pain in my back was becoming unbearable, and I started thinking “What have I done? I’m 6 cm! I could waltz into any labor and delivery and have this baby!” I’m fairly positive I even threatened to do so, but Heather knew I could do it.
On the evening of November 30th, 2012 I had just bathed my older children and put them to bed. I remember the story we read that night; Frog and Toad. I remember crying as I tucked in my youngest knowing that her life was going to change, and, unbeknownst to me this change was closer than ever. My husband and I sat down for the evening and we watched my belly dance along with the music. There’s nothing quite like being able to count your unborn child’s toes poking through your tummy. I was in a complete stage of peace and living in the moment. Then, something happened.
I felt a twinge, a real twinge. Every emotion rushed through my body. Is this it? Will I meet my baby tonight? Am I strong enough? I didn’t want to say anything, so I waited.3 minutes later I felt another twinge! Now, I must admit, I was so excited I nearly wet my pants: and we all know how easy this is to do! I filled up my bath tub and told my husband I would be right back, but this was our 5th baby and not his first rodeo – he knew! The warm water rushed over my belly and I witnessed my baby burying deep within my pelvic bone. Each wave became more intense and I felt it was time to close my eyes, connect with my little one, and become a team. My husband called Heather around 9:30 pm and she came right over.
By the time she got here my contractions were 2 minutes apart and I could feel little Bean and I were efficiently and effortlessly working together. I was in tune with my body and my baby. Each pain brought a bought of happiness knowing I was closer to holding this precious life that had been growing inside of me for so long. I climbed into the birth tub around 10:45pm. Baby and I worked together during our transition and we were one step closer to snuggling. I could feel baby pushing down against my blooming cervix. I worked when baby worked and rested when baby rested. I let out deep hums in our dark bedroom where the only light came from a fireplace in the back ground: I was in birth heaven.
There was a moment during a long pause between contractions when I became nervous. Adrenaline was pumping throughout my body and strength poured into my muscles. I knew our last big birth adventure was about to take place. I looked at Heather and without saying a single word, and with just one single glance, she empowered me, calmed me, and cheered me on. Heather has a gift to talk to you without words and hum with you when you need a partner to hum with in the moment; she gives you the strength you never thought you could have. I instinctively pulled my legs back and let my body take over. My water still had not broken and I looked down to watch my baby emerge within the amniotic sac. In the midst of all the peace in the room I remember my husband proclaiming, “Oh wow it looks like a snow globe…” that’s a man for you!
Just 3 quick intense pushes later, at 11:19pm, I felt my baby leave my body and enter the water. But, as quickly as I felt this beautiful being leave, I felt it come back. I remember the warmth of our skin touching and the immediate spark between mother and child. Love poured out from my eyes; I was overcome with emotion. Gender didn’t matter I had my baby, in my arms, screaming healthy cries.
10 minutes passed before Heather asked us if we had decided on a name and that’s when we realized we hadn’t yet peeked “down below”! I lifted up the towel and there it was, a part I am all too familiar with! Noah Henry was in my arms and joined our family as our 4th handsome boy.
Heather stayed with us as I delivered his placenta and gave our beautiful son his first warm meal. Then, after giving Noah a final scan and me a final stitch, she left for home.
So there we were, alone, lying with our newborn son, and he wasn’t going to leave my arms.
Heather, Thank you for believing in me and my body. You gave me the confidence that others had taken away from me. Noah was born into my arms and didn’t leave them because of you. You are our gift from God, and I am so glad that you answered your calling!
We are now pregnant with our 6th baby and I’m sure I will have another amazing birth story to tell.
Next time, I want floating candles!