this might be too much information for some of you, so if you have no interest in reading about a birth, you can stop here 🙂
although i never wrote out a birth plan, i had an idea of what i wanted as a birth experience. after a lot of research (and a lot of subjecting nate to birthing documentaries….), i wanted an unmedicated water birth without interventions. i was prepared and felt confident. i read books. i practiced hypnobirthing. nate and i took a condensed bradley method course. i did kegels, squats, pelvic tilts. i did everything but read about c-sections. there’s a little foreshadowing for you 🙂
all i needed was my due date to arrive.
i thought for sure i would go early. we packed our bags a month before my due date, and toted our bags everywhere we went, just in case. we packed as though we’d be in labor for 14+ hours, filling a backpack with cliff bars, changes of clothes, tennis balls, lotion, a cribbage board. we overpacked.
the weekend before my due date i started to feel different. i felt crampy, food didn’t sound good. i had contractions, but they weren’t consistant. i had diarrhea everyday. even though i felt awful, everyday i was excited, thinking each day could be the day. my due date came and went. although i was frustrated that pre-labor was taking so long, i had a week where i was able to work from home, rest, and prepare myself for our sons arrival.
the thursday before thatcher was born we had an appointment with one of our midwives. she had recently had a baby that was born a week after her due date, so she was sympathetic. she checked me and i was dilated to 3cm and 85% effaced, baby was head down. after talking with her about our options, and my not wanting to be induced, we decided that she would strip my membranes. that night i felt stronger contractions, but they went away the following day. i walked. i walked up and down our stairs. i drank 3+ of red raspberry leaf tea each day. i ate dates.
saturday morning, groundhogs day, i woke up knowing i would go to the birthing center that day. nathan and i made pancakes, i ate a whole pineapple, my friend jessica and my mom came over, nate and his dad got our toilet and water running in our master bathroom. after our company left, i told nate we would be using the contraction counter soon. we tried to distract ourselves while contractions were getting stronger and closer together. we watched episodes of the office. nate did the dishes and took out the garbage. we tried to get things put together. by 5:30pm, contractions were 5 minutes apart and about 1 minute long, so it was time to drive the hour to the birthing center.
on the way in between contractions, i told nathan what i visualized to calm down. i took myself back to a morning on our honeymoon. we woke up early and decided to go kayaking. it was a little chilly, and fog was on the river. it was so quiet and peaceful. picturing this perfect morning helped me relax my body and breathe with each contraction. by the time we got close to the birthing center, contractions were 50 seconds apart and a minute and a half long. we were thankful we made it without problems. i was hungry, and knew i couldn’t eat once we got in, so i made nate stop at hardees for a chocolate shake. i was afraid they would take it away from me, so we stayed in the parking lot to eat them. finally i agreed to go into the hospital, sucking the last drops of my shake through contractions. 🙂
after getting checked in, they checked to see how progressed i was. only 3cms still. contractions were getting stronger, but i was still able to talk and laugh in between them. i wanted to stay standing as long as i could, so i paced, “slow danced” with nate, and leaned over the birthing ball. nate would guide me in calming my body, giving into each contraction. he lead me in visualizing our morning of kayaking, asking me to feel the fog, feel the paddles glide through the water.
at around 9pm my water broke. things progressed very quickly after that. i labored in the shower, laying in the bed, then finally the tub. contractions were so close together it felt like i wasn’t able to get a break. a few times i thought “there is no way i can do this anymore”, but nate would calm me down. i remember two contractions that were different from the rest. it felt like my body was turning inside out. i shook with those contractions. soon after those contractions i felt the strongest need to push. it felt like my body was breathing our baby out. with every contractions i felt stuff coming out of me. our midwife told me at first it was just more “bloody show”. but when she saw how much was in the tub, she was concerned. it turns out it was the meconium coming out. she checked me, and found thatchers gender coming out of me….he was breech. she told me i would have to have an emergency c-section, and to stop pushing.
things get a little fuzzy for me at this point. i got out of the tub and into the bed. i remember laying on my side, biting the bed sheet, and saying over and over “Lord, please help me not to push. please help him be okay”. i just wanted our baby out, safely. i was worried about the meconium. worried that he wasn’t okay. they gave me terbutaline to slow contractions. it made me shake uncontrollably. finally they gave me the spinal and wheeled me into the operating room. although i was able to hear what was happening, at this point i felt very disconnected. i was thankful nathan was by my side, even though he exclaimed “i can see your guts, sheena!”. 🙂
when i heard our babys cry, and they told me he was healthy and perfect, i could finally relax. it felt like eternity until i saw him. i was thankful our midwife, janis, grabbed my phone to take pictures of nathan with him. i felt sad to miss out on those moments, and not have him on my chest immediately, but was so relieved he was healthy.
when nathan brought our son to me, the doctor asked what his name was. nathan and i looked at each other, and said “thatcher, he looks like a thatcher”. i’ve loved the name thatcher for about 3 years (when picking out my warby parker glasses, one of them is named thatcher). a strong name for an incredibly strong boy.
although the c-section was the last thing i would have chosen for a birth experience, it was amazing. having our son here with us is amazing. we are so in love with this little boy God chose to give us to raise!
a huge thank you to my friend jessica, who took the fantastic photos of our birth. and a huge thank you to the staff at sacred heart, i absolutely loved my midwives and nurses. and, a huge thank you to nathan, who kept me calm and encouraged me ❤