November 22, 2016
I’m not even sure where to begin this post! This entire family is close to us and I have photographed all 3 of this mama’s earthside babies births. She has 2 angel babies. I’m going to do something a little different, and let her tell her birth story herself <3
“With my two previous births being tales of attempted homebirth turned hospital birth, with 3rd and 4th degree tears accompanying, vaginal hematomas, swollen cervix, and long hard back labors, I was afraid of hoping for better. Two births that didn’t go as planned, and the second even worse than the first. Birth trauma affected my head space.
Our 3rd and 4th children are in heaven due to ectopic pregnancy and first trimester miscarriage. The doctor told me to have at least 2 cycles before conceiving again, and my response was, “IF I ever want to conceive again.” Which brought me to the panic attack I had when I saw that positive pregnancy test that surprised us before even 1 normal cycle, and the array of emotions that would follow as joy and trepidation intermingled in one woman’s soul. Would I get my rainbow this time?
The entire pregnancy was a mind game. All the emotions. Truth, lies, truth, lies, BATTLE. I battled for the life of the baby in my womb through early bleeding, scary ultrasounds and dopplers, and facing every milestone head on. “Lean in, Mindi. It’s okay to feel it. You’re safe.”
Once I got past the time of intensely praying for her life, I entered into visualizing her birth. I pressed on to do what I knew would help me body and mind to experience the beauty God had planned.
Around midnight on October 31st, I’d been down a few minutes when POP! SPLOOSH! My water broke!
2 hours later I texted my midwife that contractions woke me up and were getting closer together. I could no longer lay, so I tried the birth ball which didn’t last long because it seemed to intensify what I was feeling in my back. So I walked and kneeled. I knew around 3AM when I started wanting counter pressure on my back and hips every contraction that it was time to ask my friend & doula to come over. I prayed and asked God for his strength to get me through.
4:30AM I asked if I could get in the birth pool soon and I was able to get in at 4:55AM and that water felt gooooood.
Around 5:37AM pushing urges started.
My vocalizations went from low moans and groans to something even more guttural. I would sit back in between contractions and then throw myself forward to hands and knees during them so that whoever was near could apply counter-pressure to my back and hips. At this point it took two people: one who held hips and one who pressed hard in the center of my lower back. Glory was moving down and the sensations were incredibly strong and otherworldly. I hung on to my doula’s words that this sensation would pass when Glory moved past this point in her descent. Knowing that I might get some relief from this particular pressure after a few more contractions kept me from getting pulled down under the pain. I kept telling myself, “This is what you want. This is what brings her out. You’re doing this.” I remember at one point saying out loud, “I can’t do this!” And it was a chorus of reassurance when every voice in the room said together, “YES, YOU CAN!”
5:45AM I asked for someone to check my cervix for the very first time in this labor. I said, “I want to know where I’m at but I’m afraid.” I was asked, “What are you afraid of?” And I said, “Bad news. Like that she isn’t descending or something.” That was past birth trauma, I think. I did not have good reports with past cervical checks. So I was encouraged to try to feel for her head myself.
I couldn’t tell what I was feeling, and another contraction came on strong anyway. After that one, Brandy checked me and had the best news ever: only a little cervical lip is left and Glory’s head is only like half a finger inside at most.
SHE WAS COMING OUT SOON! Yes, THANK YOU, LORD! Contractions were staying about 2 minutes apart and lasting a minute long. Bryan got in front of me and was supporting me to be more upright so my pelvis made more room for Glory. That is not the position I wanted to be in. I wanted to be down on hands and knees like I’d been most of the labor. But Bryan kept holding me and I clutched to him with every strong contraction. I wondered if I was hurting him, but told myself, “Eh, it’s cool, he’s strong as an ox and you’re pushing out his baby.”
By 6:42AM My body was full on involuntarily pushing with every contraction and I was YELLING! I wondered to myself if I was scaring Glory because I was yelling so intensely.
At this point she was almost crowning. The feeling of her descending and my body taking over to push her down was both satisfying and terribly painful. I knew what was happening, but it was almost out-of-body. I remember being told to reach down and feel my baby’s head. And I did. But couldn’t for long as the next powerful contraction overtook me. I thought, “That’s awesome. I WANT HER OUT!”
At 6:52AM part of her head emerged and she needed to turn, so I was told to stand. Her head was born, and then her shoulders were having trouble coming out. I was told to get out of the birth pool. First on my back, I was told to push with all my might. Then they needed me on my hands and knees so I flipped over. Everyone was saying, “Push Mindi!” as they had to use some pretty great measures to dislodge her shoulders. But I wasn’t scared.
Finally, she was born at 6:56AM.
Thankfully Glory kept her pink color even as her head hung out, and as she was coming out all the way, she opened her sweet eyes and looked around at her new world. The next few moments seemed suspended in time as I felt the relief of her body out of mine and watched her be vigorously encouraged to breathe. She did. I think we were both experiencing a bit of shock, or maybe that I wasn’t out of my birthing trance quite yet. She still had a little cheesy vernix on her. And she was beautiful. And she was here. And she was mine! She was a gentle little thing, didn’t even feel the need to cry. She was alert and breathing and beautiful. I couldn’t believe she didn’t even have a cone head. My rainbow is here!!!! I birthed her in my bedroom!!! I had my homebirth!!! In only 5 hours of INTENSE active labor!!! I kept saying it didn’t feel real.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later that the emotional rush came over me. Ashley said, “your rainbow is here”. And I just began to cry. I did it! We did it! Our rainbow is here! I birthed her here on my bed! In our home! WE DID IT!
Bryan & Mindi – You know you both are near and dear to us <3 I feel truly honored and privileged to have watched you two rock this birth thing, three times now 🙂 🙂