To read Part One of Hailey Faith’s birth story, click here.
All of the sudden my body began pushing and I could hear myself sounding much more deep and guttural than before, almost angry. I remarked to the room that it felt like throwing up and it was the weirdest sensation ever. It’s so odd that during a contraction, it is extremely painful and violently strong yet moments later there is no pain and my head is clear and calm. At this point, the pain was unbelievable and I would have for sure demanded drugs if I’d been in the hospital. I’m so grateful that it wasn’t even an option because my body was doing great work and progressing quickly.
As the intensity and frequency of the contractions reached a peak, I could hear God calling my name. He had given me a verse before this birth: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine,” and I’d carried it in my heart for the last several months. At this time, I could hear Him matching my volume and calling my name, urging me to keep going, to stay strong.
I made eye contact with Tracy and told her I just wanted the baby to come out now. She maintained eye contact with me and said, “I know,” in a way that was so comforting because she did know. She’s had five kids of her own and has been attending births for 10 years. In between contractions, I marveled at feeling Hailey move down. I kept reaching down to see if I could feel her head because I could tell she was so close. During one particularly strong contraction, my bag of waters popped underwater and it felt like I had burst a giant balloon! Finally, when I reached down I could feel her head and I was very excited! She went back up slightly and I tried to control my pushing a little bit so as not to tear. It was about two or three more pushes and she was out at 12:06am! I did feel myself tear slightly but couldn’t have cared less. I know in books and birth stories they always talk about the “ring of fire” as being pretty bad but honestly I didn’t care about that either because it was so brief and she was out the next second.
Tracy was right there at the tub and she helped to guide Hailey between my legs and up into my arms. Hailey came out crying and covered in vernix! I thought beforehand that I would be grossed out by the vernix but I wasn’t at all. It was more like lotion all over her skin than anything disgusting. I was able to hold her and rejoice with Jim. I did it! She’s here! She’s so little and cute. She lay on my chest and I looked at her, both of us shocked and exhausted. She was getting cold being half in and half out of the water and so we decided that I should try to deliver the placenta and move to the bed. I gave a few arbitrary pushes and Tracy guided the placenta out. I got to look at it and see the broken bag of waters and where the umbilical cord attaches.
Then, this birth took a turn. I hadn’t put much thought into the third stage of labor and was surprised when I didn’t feel calm and safe anymore. I felt panicky and detached from my baby. As I lay down on the bed, I told Tracy. She checked my uterus and it didn’t seem to be clamping down well. Due to this, I was still losing quite a bit of blood. Quickly, the room became busy and serious. Jim held Hailey as my midwives moved me to the toilet to try to get me to pee as that could have been causing my uterus to continue bleeding. As I sat down, blood gushed into the toilet and I felt woozy. We moved back to the bed and Melissa gave me a shot of Pitocin in the thigh and an IV bag of fluids. Kyla gave me doses of two different tinctures as Tracy massaged my uterus. She put in a catheter to empty my bladder and gave me misoprostol suppositories. I told Jim to pray. All of this, and my bleeding was still not stopping. As a last resort, Tracy scrubbed up and manually scraped my uterus of any partially retained placenta. The assistants checked my placenta but could not tell if a piece was missing. This process was understandably extremely painful and terrifying. As she finished, she told Kyla to call the ambulance so that I could go to Legacy Emmanuel. She couldn’t be sure if she’d gotten everything and my uterus still wouldn’t clamp down. In only moments, the EMTs helped me out on a stretcher into the ambulance; Tracy rode with me. Jim stayed with Hailey at the birth center and I was assured that she could wait to eat until either I came back or Jim brought her to the hospital.
I believe that God lead me to Tracy and Melissa. I am not exaggerating when I say that these two women acted as angels to me during this time. Tracy never left my side and continued massaging my uterus to control the bleeding. I tried not to panic and the EMT was very friendly explaining that I was doing well, not in shock and still maintaining good pulse and blood pressure. When we arrived at the hospital, they wouldn’t let me go to Labor and Delivery. They instead insisted that I go to the ER despite the fact that we’d called ahead and that my midwives have a good working relationship with the OB hospitalists. At this point, I don’t feel out of line in saying that the hospital was atrocious and negligent in my care. They were asking me every arbitrary question to admit me and they would not allow me to be seen by an OB. Rather an ER doctor came by and in my panic I started demanding to be seen by an obstetrician. These doctors and nurses must’ve been having a really bad day because instead of responding to me with medical care and attention, the doctor left saying that I was refusing to be seen. A nurse came in to give me a second IV and tell me to “stop it,” and that they could give me a transfusion if I needed more blood. At this point my pulse was around 150 bpm and I was losing my ability to hear. I pleaded with them to get me a doctor, as I could still feel myself gushing blood and I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to keep myself from full on losing my mind.
I have to say it again, Tracy and Melissa are angels. They never left my side even for a minute and Tracy massaged my uterus for an hour as we waited in the ER. Melissa put her face right above mine and talked to me calmly about her life and her ambitions to become a midwife. I knew that Jim had called my dad to pray and he’d texted my dear friends in Texas to pray as well. I was distraught because this was very similar to the scene of Amelia’s birth, only it was a botched epidural/spinal and a traumatic c section the last time. My midwives continued to listen to me and reassure me. Tracy was advocating for me and trying to get a doctor to come examine me. As I felt my panic reach its breaking point, I laid my hand across my abdomen and I said aloud “In Jesus name, bleeding stop. In Jesus name, bleeding stop. I am not afraid.” I heard Tracy agree with me. As I’m writing this, tears come to my eyes because I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and my pulse began to drop. An OB finally came in and she was attentive and concerned. Her name was Wendy Smith and she wanted to take me to the OR to do an exam and possibly a D&C because everyone was fairly sure that I had some retained placenta. Tracy and Melissa accompanied me to L&D so that I could meet the anesthesiologist and be prepped for the OR.
As I got up to L&D, I began to feel much better. My bleeding slowed and my hearing was returning. I no longer felt terrified but instead I felt calm and able to make decisions. We decided on sedation and I headed back with a really caring OB and team of L&D nurses. One of them was named Anna and I was so glad that they were all making eye contact with me. As I headed into the brightly lit OR, I wondered if I would feel terror or have a flash back of my c section but instead I felt God’s love. I felt the weight of His immense love for me and I started to blink back tears on the table because there is no way to bear even a small portion of that love without overflowing. The anesthesiologist did a great job because I spent about an hour having the most real hallucinations! I told the room afterwards that I was going to make him cookies and it reminded me of both the Lego Movie and the sci-fi movie Lucy at the same time.
In the end, the cause of my bleeding was undetermined because the OB could find nothing wrong! She stitched up two minor tears and I awoke to Tracy and Melissa. They had stayed right outside the OR waiting for me for me. Again, angels. The L&D staff said that I had lost a significant amount of blood but that as long as I felt able and my vitals looked ok, they would release me back to the birth center that morning. So, Jim packed up the little baby and drove to the hospital where I could feed her and then we could recover for the next two days at the birth center. Funnily, I left the birth center completely naked so Jim brought me some clothes but he forgot shoes! At 10am I slowly walked barefoot out of the hospital and gratefully into the arms of the postpartum midwives at the birth center where I received nothing short of excellent (even luxurious) care for the next two days enjoying my baby and husband.
Overall, what can I say? Neither of my birth experiences have been “normal.” I’m assured that the third time’s a charm! Some might say that because of this birth, I regret not being in the hospital to begin with. But nothing could be further from the truth. It was always our plan to treat birth as non-emergent unless it became so. And in that sense, everything went according to plan. I feel that my midwife is highly educated and trained to respond to an emergency and that’s exactly what she did. I’m so grateful that she let me labor uninhibited and deliver my child in the way that my body knew how to do and yet she stepped in when her hands-on attention was much needed. Some people will decide that hospital birth is best for them, and I’m totally on board with that! But for me, I know that God guided me to make the right decisions about my care. I know that He was not surprised by anything that happened and He did not leave me or Hailey at any point.
Tracy thinks that I did retain part of my placenta; she said that it looked “shreddy,” when she checked it out later. Her opinion is that when she manually swept my uterus, she got the placenta out but that it took a while for the bleeding to stop. The hospital said that it was my first degree labial tear that caused so much bleeding, but truthfully that doesn’t seem plausible to me because of the way my uterus was reacting. Ultimately, I don’t know what caused the bleeding and the failure of my uterus to clamp down but I believe that God heard my prayer in the ER. I believe that God heard Jim’s prayer, and my dad’s prayer, and my friend’s prayers.
In many ways, this birth has been healing because I went through the fire and yet wasn’t burned. I birthed my baby on my own without surgery or drugs and God held me through the complications. He replaced my disempowerment and fear with strength and peace!
Hailey is perfect and lovely in every way. She has a peaceful and accommodating nature. Amelia loves her and gives her kisses all the time. I am grateful, for my daughters, my midwives, my husband, the L&D team, all the people who prayed, all the people who supported our family, and the plan God had for our lives at this time.
Submitted by Anna Ryan.