Thank you Suzi, for sharing your three birth stories with us. Your journey is inspirational! – BWF Team
I’m ashamed to admit this, but when I started having babies back when I was in my early 20’s, I was completely out of touch with my body. I wasn’t planning to have a baby, I was still young and dumb, full of wild energy and free to do whatever I chose. I hadn’t been on my own very long, and truly I wasn’t alone. My now husband of 16 years was at my side, full of that same wild energy.
We knew from the moment that first child was conceived that we were gonna do this and do it better than anyone thought we could. Childbirth scared the bejesus outta me. I knew I would survive, but horror stories of friends and family had me going straight to the OBGYN to plan a pain-free, epidural-aden birth. At this time, I really had never heard the cons of a drug-assisted birth.
Approaching my due date (July 4th) I was informed by my Doctor that he would be on a holiday with his family that day and if I wanted him to deliver my child I was to schedule induction on June 30th. I naively agreed and showed up that day to birth my first child.
To start, I received Pitocin and he ruptured my membrane for induction. As uncomfortable as this was, it didn’t compare to the embarrassment I had ahead. The doctor sent me walking to the other side of the Labor and Delivery wing with a janitor behind mopping my fluids as they drained down my legs.
Finally, I was there, the room where I was to birth our first child. The room looked nice enough, I was fine with the events that were about to transpire. When the anesthesiologist arrived to deliver my epidural, I was thankful for that needle and couldn’t wait for its relieving affects. They first administered the Staedol in my IV. Everything should have gotten better, but this particular drug made me cross eyed. Literally, everything I saw was in 2’s & 4’s. So though there were only 3 or 4 people at any one time in the room, it looked like 12! This made me very irritable on top of the contractions that were coming at a rapid pace.
After the Staedol had time to take effect and destroy my vision, the doctor tried at least 4 times to insert that epidural needle, but to no avail. We would later find out I had an acute case of spina bifida and my space where the epidural goes was not there. After four attempts, I yelled some obscenities and made him leave. I’d rather do this on my own. And I did.
Crossed-eyed and full of fear, running on my own endorphins and whatever was running through that IV, I birthed a healthy 8lb baby girl face up with her cord wrapped around her neck. During the birth, the OB gave me an episiotomy, and after he vocalizes that he added his signature touch, he called it the Daddy stitch. An extra unnecessary stitch beyond the episiotomy site that “my husband will appreciate.” Did he just say that?!? I was too consumed in the moment to argue with something he already took the liberty with my body to do.
Exhausted, I was just thankful I had a healthy baby and I was alive. Once they cleaned her up, I didn’t let her out of my sight. I refused them putting her in the nursery while I rested. I didn’t trust I’d get my baby back, I sensed she needed to be with me, and we could rest together. We spent 2 days there together, alternating her sleeping with me and in her bassinet.
I did it, embarrassed, elated, angered, in pain, confused… And in love with her. Finally it was over and I had my first child, who is quickly now approaching her 16th birthday and outgrew me over 5 years ago. Looking back, I would have done things so differently had I only been informed.
I now know the dangers of a drug assisted birth and outside of the numerous side effects on mother, it was the possibility of what it could have done to my child had I received one. Namely, fetal distress, drowsiness, decreased maternal/infant bonding, lack of alertness, poor sucking reflex & more. Though I wasn’t planning a second child, I now knew if I ever became pregnant again, I would at the very least deliver natural, without assistance of any drugs. I also knew that the treatment I received from the OBGYN was mortifying and I would have rather done it ANY other way than that.
Fact is though, had I not gone through this experience, I may have never taken the child birthing path I chose in the future. The best thing I received that day was my little mini me, who not so mini me anymore. But I love her more than chocolate covered rainbows.
It was just a couple months shy of my only littles 4th birthday. Mentally, I was preparing to head back to school when she started Kindergarten. In my head, her starting Kindergarten meant I only had one more year and then I could finish what I started in college years ago.
What I didn’t realize is, inside my belly, was another child. I realized it pretty quick, that familiar feeling that something was different. I had become way more in touch with my body by this time. A slight fear built inside me that I was going to go through another pregnancy. After my last birth, fear of birth filled me. But this time, I knew that at whatever cost, this birth would be done on my terms.
Fortunately, I was blessed to have met a dear friend months prior who was my neighbor and she was pregnant with her second child. She lived next door and she was using a midwife for her obstetric care. I was so excited because my friend allowed me to sit in on a home visit one day and new childbirth door was opened to me.
That day, I met my future midwife Mollie. I asked her all kinds questions, which is to be expected after my experience with the OB/GYN. She was a very smart lady and about my age. Her soul was wise and tender, exactly what I needed this time. This was actually my friends second time to use Mollie as her midwife. I knew I could trust her, whether my friends and family believed it was a good decision or not. And trust me, everyone had their opinion. But I chose to stick to my guns. By the time I became her client she had caught well over 100 healthy babies, she was a pro.
I feel so blessed that here was a new opportunity to do this, and that the typical OBGYN wasnt the only way. I learned that midwives can provide the same care an OB can for a normal, healthy pregnancy. She came each visit with her bag of goodies to measure my belly, listen on her stethoscope and her heartbeat monitor. She did the necessary blood work and I even was able to obtain a sonogram from a local facility to find out the sex of this baby… Another little girl.
She predicted my due date with her chart as December 12 and we proceeded on my new pregnancy journey, with Mollie as head coach. The experience I had and the wealth of knowledge she shared with me, as my 2nd daughter grew in my belly, changed my views of the world.
She informed me why immunizations can be harmful, alternative natural remedies, what wasn’t necessary at my last birth and what to expect when she arrived on the babies birthday. We prepared our home birth kit, buying all necessary supplies in advance, to have as sanitary a delivery as possible.
On the evening of December 11th, I sat down to eat a bowl of ice cream and when finished, I knew something was happening. They weren’t exactly labor pains, but I didn’t feel normal. My husband went off to bed and I told him, “We might be having a baby tonight.” I don’t recall if he replied. As he drifted off to dream land, I called my midwife to tell her I may need her that eve but I wasn’t sure.
You see, my first birth, I was induced. Up to this moment my water hadn’t broke and I wasn’t sure if this was the real deal. She told me at what point I should call her back, and she would be on her way. The pain wasn’t a normal pregnancy pain I remembered, I felt sick. Like the ice cream I ate wasn’t settling well. Turns out, not only was I beginning to labor, I apparently had kidney stones. During labor?!? How unfair was this? I’ve been told by many people that kidney stones are the closest thing a man will ever feel to childbirth. No one told me that it was possible to pass stone and deliver a child, simultaneously. I spent many hours laboring, constantly using the restroom and asking God why these kidney stones had to hurt so bad. My midwife recommended a bath as she said it either will speed up a real labor or relax a false labor. After my bath I knew, this was real. I was fixing to pass kidney stones AND deliver a baby. I passed at least 2 stones during my early labor stage. Once I was able to distinguish between the pain of labor and the pain of kidney stones, I realized it was time to have Mollie head my way.
This entire labor, I let my husband sleep. The quiet in the house was what I needed. There was no talking, no little kid asking questions. We had planned ahead to have my eldest stay with a friend when I was delivering, but here it was, 2 a.m. and she was peacefully sleeping in her bed. Everyone slept, while I paced the floor. Mollie taught me walking brings the baby into the birth canal and progresses the labor faster than the traditional hospital method of laying there. It was somewhere in the 4 o’clock hour of the morning when Mollie arrived. I was so thankful to have my coach there. Also, my best friend was headed there too and she comforted me for the time she could stay. Mollie checked me to make sure it was time to have a baby.
It’s official: we are having a baby and it was happening now! It’s time to wake the husband up! I tried to be nice, simply rubbing his back saying, “Hey Babe, time to get up, it’s time to have a baby, got to let Mollie prep the bed.” He just grumbled. He wasn’t believing me until I yelled, “Hey, get up its time to have this baby NOW!” He leaped from our bed and our midwife proceeded to prep the bedroom for our birth.
This birth, my husband told me would be in the room for support, but wasn’t watching. He just held my hand and looked out window as he told me, “Your doing a great job Babe.” As our second little was making her entrance to the world, my midwife told my husband, “Look Dad”. Well, was he in for a shock when what he saw looking up at him was the again face up head of our baby girl. Not the image he wanted, but I’m glad she tricked him into seeing this. He needed to comprehend my pain, and I think he did. This kid came out in the same position as the first, face up and cord around her neck. Minutes later we had our new little bundle, a new 8lb 8oz baby girl.
While Mollie handled the dirty work of cleaning up Mom, my baby laid directly on my tummy. We didn’t cut the cord right away as she told me the wealth of blood and nutrients in the cord needed to make its way into my child. But when it was time, I cut my own cord.
Just moments later, the shuffle of little feet came through the house as my eldest was headed to the bathroom from her long nights rest. She had no idea what her mommy had done. Her Daddy called her in the room, and the light in her eyes when she saw her baby sister was… priceless. Once Mollie cleaned me and the rest of the room up from delivery, she made me a grilled cheese sandwich. Not only is she a good midwife, but she was a great friend to have by my side. How many doctors do you know will fix you lunch after their work is done?
Healthy babies are born everyday, and we just did it at home. No drugs, no crossed eyed, no creepy doctors or uncomfortable situations. Just me, my husband, my midwife and a brief visit from my best friend. My husband was making phone calls at 6am to tell all our family we did it, our newest little had arrived and to all our families shock, we were ok. They didn’t have confidence that I could do this, but I had the best coach a girl could ask for and this birth was on my terms, my way.
Icing on the cake, she was born on the exact day she was predicted to be born, right on time. I knew that morning after all was said and done that if I were to ever have another child, this was the only way I would ever do it again. People like Mollie are a blessing, I wish there were more people like her in this world.
I learned that healthy mommies have been delivering healthy babies since the dawn of time. Before doctors, IV’s or epidurals. Our body was designed for birth. If you listen to what your body & your midwife tell you, you can be perfectly safe delivering in any manner you feel comfortable.
I knew the moment that I gave birth to my second child that there would be a third. I didn’t know exactly when it was going to happen, and several years passed before I found out.Though my children were not planned by me, they were apparently planned by God as that’s why I love each of my gifts God gave me.
Before I found out I was pregnant with my third child, I had the opportunity to help my friend deliver her third child. With the assistance of our fabulous midwife Mollie, I held her legs as she pushed her child into this world. I have to say though, being on the other end of the birth is still very emotional. I cried for her and cheered her on as if I were birthing my own child.
A few months later I found out that I was pregnant. I knew right away, that I would use Mollie as my midwife. At that time, she was working in a birthing center in Cleburne. It was like the prettiest doctors office/ hotel you’ve ever seen. Set up in an old Victorian style house, complete with birthing rooms upstairs that looked like a bed and breakfast, and a big bathtub designed for birthing in the bathroom. I took one look at that bathtub and knew that’s where I was delivering my third child. I’ve always been curious about water births. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to mark something off my bucket list.
I wasn’t scared this go round. I was certainly frustrated though because my clock didn’t think #3 was coming for a couple more years. But the facts are, it had been 6 years since my last birth and apparently it needed to happen sooner than I thought. So here I am, mother of a beautiful step daughter of 11 years, my eldest not so little daughter who was just turning 10 & my sweet red headed monkey child who was almost 7. And in my belly, #3 was growing strong. Each pregnancy, I was better to my body and handled each respective birth in wiser ways. I gained almost the exact amount of recommended weight and was avoiding all the things I had learned in previous pregnancies.
By this time, our friends and family thought it was funny to ask when they saw my pregnant belly, “Hey, you know what causes that right?”. To which my husband and I would both reply, “Yep, no cable!” because ironically at least 2 were conceived when the cable was out! My family didn’t think a 3rd child was a great decision, but I knew this was part of the plan between me and God and he would help me figure it out.
It became clear pretty quick that there was not room in our house for the occupant in my belly, which by this time we knew from the sonogram that this was also a girl. So we had to find space in a new home. Moving while pregnant was to say the least… Not fun. In fact, it was quite stressful because we weren’t able to move til I was 9 months pregnant. So pregnant that I went into labor just as we brought the last shipment of boxes to our new home.
Yet again, my water had not broken, but this was definitely labor. Why did my water never break you may ask? Well, I apparently had a leak in the amniotic sac for 2 of 3 babies and by the time birthdays came, there just wasn’t that gushing signal there to inform me it was time. But the pain radiating from my belly was intense and it could only mean one thing. It was time to deliver my last baby.
We headed to the birthing center in Cleburne when we felt it was close enough time to not risk having the baby in the car. This was my first go round of being transported while in labor, which was a very uncomfortable ride, but we made it. Miss Mollie was already drawing a bath for me in the beautiful LED lit birthing tub. You could pick the color of the lights and for me, purple and blue was very relaxing.
It felt so comforting to slip into that tub, but I knew that this comfort would soon be taken over by intense pain. There’s a little phrase I used through the last births that was running through my mind, “IT ONLY HURTS TIL IT QUITS!” and this little phrase is what got me through. I knew as soon as I pushed this last one out, the pain would be overridden by joy, elation, love and all the feel good hormones like oxytocin.
I was progressing fast and just minutes before I changed positions to push, my dear friend arrived to cheer me on. That same friend, whom introduced me to Mollie, and who I sat in on her birth. Along with my friend was my eldest daughter, my husband, Mollie and I think an assistant. I felt the urge to push once I got up on my knees in the tub. I gripped the tubs edge and when my body told me, I pushed. While pushing, my life briefly flashed in my face and it was as if God told me, “This is it, once this baby comes out, you can’t do this anymore. You are birthing your final child.”
I wholeheartedly agree and swore if God guided me through this, she would be my last child. I found the strength to push, and what I didn’t know is this little one was much smaller than her previous sisters. It only took two more good pushes and the help of the water to bring our newest little to this very special party in her honor. I did it! I’m alive! She’s alive! I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked God he helped me persevere.
For the third time, and I guess I should have expected this, she arrived face up with her cord wrapped around her neck. She weighed in at a modest 6lbs 13oz.
[Moments after birth]
We decided that this time we were going to honor the woman who helped us bring our babies into the world by naming our youngest little after her. We named her Mollie Mae. According the our midwife Mollie, it was the first time anyone had named their child after her. Well, I think she deserves 20 little Mollie’s named after her, but all I can do is name one.
[Mollie and Mollie]
Once I was cleaned up and I was able to nurse her briefly, we prepared to dress our Mollie and take her home. My middle child was sleeping in another room and once our family was complete, we headed our way back home. We left the birthing center at 2:45 a.m. We were drifting off to dreamland by 3:30 a.m. In our own beds.
[Mollie, a few days old]
[Mollie, my dolly, 5 years old]
I am so thankful to my midwife Mollie for opening this new childbirth door to me. I will forever be in her debt for the knowledge she bestowed upon me. I pray one day she has the opportunity to do exactly what she helped me accomplish. I pray more mommies realize that we were made for this. You wouldn’t drug yourself to run a marathon, births are a lot like marathons. It takes endurance, stamina, strength, courage, and fight to win both battles. I’m proud to say I have birthed 3 healthy babies and never one epidural. I’m also proud to say I chose to go against the grain and used the best midwife a girl could ask for. Thank you Mollie from the bottom of my heart for guiding me to birth my babies on my terms.