Colleen's Birth Story
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, guilt, insincerity, envy, and slander. Like newborn infants long for the pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation – if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. – 1 Peter 2:1-3
I spent months reading books on pregnancy and researching statistics on the safety of the various options: hospital birth, birth center birth, and home birth. After I learned information I discussed the options with my loving husband.
We decided as a couple on a home birth. I had researched enough to feel comfortable with the idea and the freedom/flexibility that came with having the birth in our home, surrounded by our comforts and familiar spaces. My husband Clint
had concerns until our first prenatal appointment with our midwife, Faith. Faith was and is literally sent by God to help bring our daughter into the world. She was soothing and empowering from the very first meeting.
Faith provided us with a binder that laid out the game plan from exercises, nutrition, supplements, and different prenatal lab tests and the pros and cons of all the tests so we could make informed decisions.
Clint and I believe pregnancy and childbirth is not just a physical process there are emotional and spiritual components as well. We began praying after our wedding to conceive a healthy child on honeymoon. Our prayer was answered. During the pregnancy we continued to pray for the health of myself and our child. We also stood firm and prayed declaring Jesus’s death and resurrection forgave Eve’s sin and nullified her punishment of painful childbirth.
June 6, 2016
3:00AM regular contractions began and were consistently 7-8 minutes apart. They were noticeable and met with excitement. Clint timed the contractions. We ended up counting from intense portion to intense portion, because it was difficult for me to distinguish the actual “start” of the contraction. This was partially because this was my first pregnancy and partially because I have a high pain tolerance.
After an hour of regular contractions I texted our midwife and drank a protein shake. Contractions continued at this interval throughout the morning. Clint and I watched a couple of movies to distract me and I took a nap.
The intensity of the contractions picked up after my nap. I had to breathe through them and will myself to relax.
The midwives came and checked on me around 5 PM. Unfortunately I was only dilated to 1 cm. This information frustrated me since I had been having regular contractions for 14 hours already at this point. Clint and I took a short walk around the neighborhood to hopefully speed labor along, but the midwives advised for us to eat something to keep our strength up and rest while we had a chance.
I cried when they left and felt like a helpless moron. I was very frustrated that I wasn’t further along and still had no tangible idea of what to expect. The midwives were very kind. I was just frustrated. I continued to pray for a healthy baby and birth. I took my contacts out, washed my makeup off and decided trying to look put together for the birth was silly and only frustrating me more.
Contractions continued at this interval until 8:30 PM. Faith text me about positions to use to have the baby’s head put more pressure on the cervix to aid dilation. This did help the intensity and duration of the contractions progress. I was also able to take short naps.
Shortly after midnight on June 7, 2016 I had Clint text Faith. Contractions were much more intense and were being felt lower in the abdomen. Clint helped me with my breathing and rubbed my back during the contractions to take my mind off them. The contractions weren’t necessarily painful, but they were uncomfortable and there was a lot of pressure.
Faith arrived around 2:30AM and she checked my progress. I had progressed to 3 cm though she said my cervix was very stretchy. After almost 24 hours of contractions it was another blow to my confidence that I had only progressed to a 3.
Faith had me try different positions and continue to try and rest.
Between 5 AM and 6 AM I had progressed far enough to experience the magically warm and soothing water of the birth pool. The inflatable pool was set up in the eat-in portion of the kitchen which was currently not being used. I hung affirmations and bible verses on the wall to help me remain focused on God’s plan for the birth, and remember the beauty of the process. I removed my glasses while in the birth pool, and have horrible eyesight so I could not physically read what the signs said but I remembered what they said.
Clint stayed by me and held my hand and provided me with encouragement. He also helped me in and out of the pool as needed. The edge of the pool was quite comfortable to lean against for support and to use as a pillow. At several points I almost fell asleep between contractions and shocked myself awake when I thought I was going to slide down in the pool. I wasn’t going to, but my husband found it comical.
I got out of the birth pool and changed positions to help labor progress. I had dilated to a 8 around 10 AM and my water broke at some point though there was not that dramatic “gush” of fluid thankfully.
Around 11am I had progressed to 9cm with just a small ring of cervix that did not want to cooperate. I returned to the birth pool and Faith told me I could try pushing with contractions because my cervix was appropriately stretchy just being stubborn.
Squatting in the birth pool on my knees was a comfortable position and had helped with progress. I would make progress pushing during the contractions, but the lip of cervix acted like a rubber band and pulled Colleen back.
Faith manually and gently held back the lip of cervix during contractions to help with progress. Progress was very slow. I would change positions every so often in an effort to speed Colleen’s descent along. The birth stool was not what I expected and was not very comfortable, but did seem to help a little.
I continued to have effective pushing, but as soon as I would stop pushing the tiny portion of my cervix would pull Colleen back up.
Around 5:00 PM I am again laying on my back on my bed. I am growing exhausted now because there is very little to no break between contractions. I am pushing with everything I have and Faith is continuing to manually help with the descent. Faith’s help was triggering after shock contractions that I would use and continue to push to try to maintain any progress in Colleen’s descent. I asked Clint to text the pastor who married us. We had both been praying off and on the last two days, but I knew I needed help and that this process was well beyond my control at this point.
Around 5:30pm we began discussing the pros and cons of transferring to Jane Phillips Medical Center. Faith had been monitoring my vitals and Colleen’s vitals after every contraction and we were both stable with no signs of distress, but I was growing tired and my pain tolerance was rapidly becoming diminished after 38 and a half hours of labor, and no break between the current contractions. Faith advised I really was making good progress with the pushes, but we were not able to maintain the progress once the pushing stopped.
Clint requested I be transferred to the hospital because I was in obvious pain and exhausted now, and Faith was not able to predict if I would be able to progress faster. I agreed with Clint to go to the hospital in our private vehicle. Everything was painful at this point and I did not want to roll over in bed and definitely did not want to stand. They helped me put underwear, my nightgown, my pink robe, and my blue slippers on.
With Clint’s help I walked to the car at the pace of a Galapagos tortoise. I am moaning loudly with each contraction and crying at this point because moving makes it more intense and painful especially trying to walk down the steps in our garage and trying to find a way to get into the front seat of my Chevy Cobalt.
Faith followed us to the hospital with our paperwork in a different vehicle. We were two blocks from the house and were almost involved in an accident. We were stopped at a stop sign and a vehicle decided to make an extremely wide turn and almost drove into our vehicle.
We continue to the hospital and I am ashamed to say I did curse during one of the contractions along with screaming really loud. mIt hurt to sit still, to move, to stop, and to go. It hurt to get out of the car and to walk to the wheel chair. It hurt when the wheel chair was stopped and when it was moving, but Faith can push a wheelchair really fast which was actually fun even though there was so much pressure and pain in my hips and pelvis.
We arrived at the hospial around 6:00 PM and were taken to Labor Room 2. They helped me into bed and the nurse asked a few questions. I requsted an epidural because 39 hours was enough pain for me. The nurse advised that would require bloodwork and take some time. Faith went out into the hallway with the nurse to answer questions and make sure they had received all my lab and paperwork.
I had another contraction and Clint was the only one in the room with me. I cried out “Jesus, please help me. I can’t do this anymore.”
The nurse and Faith came back in the room. She and another nurse put a tube top like garment around my stomach to monitor my contractions.
The nurse forcefully checked my progress and advised since I was not making progress, I would probably require a C-Section, but she would check with the doctor when she arrives.
The nurse returned around 5 minutes later with the doctor. The doctor introduced herself and started asking questions. I had another really strong contraction and something felt different and I told the nurse and doctors. They replied, “Oh, it’s just another contraction." "No," I said, "This was different. It feels like I’m tearing.”
The nurse lifted the sheet and said “I see the head!” She went out into the hall and yelled Code Blue. This brought several people and the doctor running back into the room. I thanked God that he and the nurse had heard me. Next they were putting my legs into the stirups. that term feels wrong since they held my entire calf on each leg.
Since we made the decision to go to the hospital I had not been pushing or even trying to relax through the contractions. I was just trying to survive and wanted them to stop. So I was not excited about having to push more, but I knew it would just be a few minutes and we would have our beautiful baby girl.
There was a lot of commotion during this next part. For the next 20 minutes or so I had at least 4 different people telling me to do things ar various times, some of them wanted me to do impossible things at the same time.
I remember the doctor saying “No, I don’t need that.” (Faith told me after that the doctor had given me an injection and was going to give me an Episiotomy without my consent or knowledge that I did not need. Thankfully Faith was knowledgeable and advocated for me and stopped the doctor from performing a procedure I did not want or need).
I pushed during contractions and after approximately 2 minutes Colleen’s head emerged. Faith and Clint watched her progress. Approximately 30 more seconds at 6:46 PM Colleen’s shoulders and the rest of her emerged and she had been birthed.
They laid her on my chest and I looked at our beautiful baby girl. They did delay the cord clamping until it stopped pulsing and Clint had the honor of curring the cord.
Another nurse placed an IV in my left hand while I was trying to nurse Colleen and the doctor was doing something down there. I knew I felt sharp pain from time to time and almost involuntarily kicked the doctor at one point. (I found out later from Clint and Faith it was the doctor and nurse pulling on the cord to yank the placenta out. The placenta will release from the uterus on its own and come out. If it releases on its own there is typically less bleeding. Yanking the placenta out also risks leaving pieces in the uterus which can cause infection).
I was given an IV of pictocin to help stop bleeding. The doctor advised I had internal tears, but did not have external tears. The doctor numbed me and began stitching. The other nurse was still struggling with my IV and I was attempting to nurse Colleen with one arm.
I am incredibly grateful that our little miracle entered the world naturally without intervention and was alert and healthy.
Colleen came out swinging reaching for the cord or anything she could grab onto. She weighed 6 lbs 10 oz and was 20 inches long with dark brown hair. She has long piano playing fingers and strong perfect toes.
She is worth every minute of the 39 hours of labor and has brought so much joy and blessing into our lives.
I may not have had the easy perfect homebirth I was praying for, but I birthed a beautiful baby girl naturally which I would not have been allowed to do in that time frame had I been planning a hospital birth from the start.
I hope this birth story makes others laugh and educates them on an alternative avenue of child birth other than the hospital. I am one of the 4 to 7 percent of homebirth mom’s that end up being transferred to the hospital. Transfers are normally like ours and are non-emergent.
Most of all, make a decision you are comfortable with. If you are not comfortable, the birth process will be affected.
Ask questions and make sure your wishes are not only written down in your birth plan, but that you have an advocate who will verbalize your wishes if you are not able to.
Wishing you lots of love, laughes, and coos.