Jon and I found out I was pregnant a month after our son, Joey, turned one. Things were progressing well until I started spotting around 12 weeks. An ultrasound confirmed that our baby had died four weeks prior. A week later, I requested a D&C. On the recommendation of the ob/gyn, we waited three months to try for another baby. I happily found out I was pregnant the first month we tried.
After our first birth experience and the sadness of the miscarriage, we were ready to do things our way this time around. We had already switched to the midwifery practice at my ob/gyn office and enrolled in Bradley classes. We learned so much more about the process and our instructor was amazing; she validated the trauma we felt after our first experience and empowered us to tackle this birth.
After hearing my hip pop freakishly loud during a routine visit, my midwife Kristin recommended I see a chiropractor. Oh. My. Word. So much pain was eliminated and I felt amazing. Once I reached 39 weeks, I took up his offer to try labor inducing acupuncture. A session on Wednesday night didn’t produce results, so I went back on Friday to try again. By Saturday night, nothing happened, so we dropped Joey off at my in-laws to attend the Easter Vigil. Jon was sponsoring my brother-in-law and our nephew was being baptized, so it was a big night for our family. During one of the readings, my mom noticed that I was having contractions and nudged my dad to take me home. I got a lot of smiles and even a thumbs up as we walked out of the church.
Within a few hours, Jon was home and I was in real labor. Getting some sleep seemed like the best idea. By morning, my contractions were strong and steady, so we decided to go to Target to walk around for a few hours before going to the hospital. By now, I’m sure you’ve put together that it’s Easter morning and that Target, like most walkable places, is closed for the day. It took a little driving up and down Grape Road to find a store that was open, but we put in a few laps at Meijer before heading to the hospital around noon.
To say that I was nervous even walking into the hospital is an understatement. I was so terrified that we would be sent home like the first time, but everything was perfect. I was already 4 cm, which seemed like an Easter miracle. Things only seemed to get better when the triage nurse told me our nurse would be Fiona. I had recently started working at Memorial Hospital and during orientation heard stories about a few exemplary employees, Fiona being one of them, so I was thrilled. She lived up to the hype. Within a short time she’d completed her assessment, started aromatherapy, set out snacks and water, and sent us on a walk around the unit.
When we got back she’d already drawn a warm bath for me. By this time, my contractions were coming hard and fast and initially the warm water felt better than the drugs I tried during my first labor. Kristin, my midwife, arrived and soon my contractions began to feel like something I wouldn’t be able to manage, something I couldn’t control. I remember looking at Kristin and thinking, “I’m going to die and you’re okay with this.”
My contractions started to space out and I was able to drift off in Jon’s arms before the next one took hold. The pain this time was so unlike my first experience that I was surprised when Kristin suggested I might start pushing. I don’t know how long I pushed, not long I imagine, and then she was here. Grace Elizabeth was born at 4:47 p.m., weighing 8 pounds 10 ounces and 21.5 inches long. We snuggled in the tub for a little while before Fiona and Jon took her to get cleaned up, while I delivered the placenta. Once I got cleaned up and back into bed, she nursed easily.
I initially felt like I’d failed at a natural birth because of the panic I felt near the end, but by that night I felt like I’d just rocked a marathon. Jon and I were happy, she was healthy, and it just felt like everything had lined up for a great birth experience.
In the Christian faith, grace is defined as “free and unmerited favor,” which seems so fitting for her gentle entrance into this world. Grace is now six years old, which blows my mind. She is creative and feisty and smarter than I know what to do with some days.
Many thanks to Trish for sharing her story. Would you like to share your birth story? We’d love to hear it! Take a look at our “What’s Your Story?” post to find inspiration and direction.