Five days later, I am still completely in awe of the amazing birth that the Lord allowed me to have with Cordelia Mae. I was so blessed to have a WONDERFUL natural birth even after being induced (as directed by the doctor after the concern over low fluid levels). I was supported through the labor and delivery by my husband, my mom, a great nurse, and a wonderful midwife. I delivered at a hospital that supported my desires for as little intervention as possible, and I received great support from the lactation consultants. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
All day the Wednesday before I was to be induced, I did whatever I could think of to try and get labor started. I sat on an exercise ball anytime I sat down, but I stayed really active all day and did squats and other stretches to try and get the baby to move into a good position (not sunny side up). We got everything in order for the next day (talk about a weird feeling… knowing I was going to have a baby the next day!). I even went to church that night. My mom got into town that night so that she could be present for the birth the next day.
Thursday morning Tad and I drove to the hospital really early (we had to leave at 5AM). My mom stayed at the house with Vera until a friend from church came over to relieve her. It took a while to get all checked in and everything, so I wasn’t actually started on the Pitocin drip until about 8AM. Our hospital has ambulatory monitoring, so I was able to walk around the halls of the floor to help get things moving. They started me out on a really low amount of Pitocin (at my request) and they increased it every half hour or so all morning. I walked and walked and walked until probably 10:30AM (around the time my mom arrived). At this point I started to notice that my contractions were getting regular. They were very mild and didn’t last long (30 seconds?) and came every 3 minutes or so.
Tad and I actually played Dutch Blitz for a little while as I experienced contractions. I sat on a birthing ball by the bedside while he, my mom, and I chatted and laughed.
At 11:00AM my midwife came in to check my cervix. I had not been checked since my appointment two days ago (where I had been 2 cm). I was at -1 station and 4 cm, and she told me I was in active labor. I was surprised, since I didn’t feel like the contractions were very strong at all. She recommended that we break my water, which I was fine with since labor was progressing well. I think that really helped my body to “kick it into gear.”
I sat on the birthing ball a lot after that point. I don’t think I ever got back into the bed after that. I spent a little bit of time in the birthing chair until I felt a little uncomfortable. My back hurt and I wanted Tad to be able to rub it. As I labored on the birthing ball, Tad rubbed my back and read Scripture verses over me as I labored. We had hymns and worship music playing for my whole labor. It was so uplifting!
I almost feel like I can’t describe this as “labor” compared with what it felt like with Vera. This time, I was much less fearful, and with each contraction I opened up instead of clenching or fighting the pain. As every contraction came, I thought, “This is not pain, this is progress.” I literally did not feel like I was in pain. I kept a very open posture, with my legs spread open over the birthing ball, my arms open wide at my sides, my mouth open as I breathed, and my head raised. I mediated on verses about not being afraid. In between contractions I was still talking and smiling (I promise!).
My nurse and my midwife kept telling me how I was doing great and that I was getting close. I truly didn’t believe them because I was not in pain and did not feel that “hopeless, out-of-control” feeling I felt with Vera as I got into hard labor. I remember laboring on the birthing ball and bouncing/swaying to the music playing and just worshiping God in my heart as I contracted.
Tad placed heating pads on my lower back while I started to have much stronger contractions (around 2:15PM). I started vocalizing at this point (oohhhhhh sounds). I felt a little nauseous and began to get more focused. I wasn’t smiling in between contractions anymore, but I still thought I had a few more hours to go. My mom described me at this time as “in the zone.”
Around 2:35PM I felt like I wanted to move to the birthing chair. My lower back hurt and I wanted the strong counter-pressure that the hard, curved back of the chair provided. My midwife asked me if I felt like I needed to push, but I said not yet. A few contractions later, I changed my answer to maybe. I tried a push with my next contraction, but it still didn’t feel like “time.” My midwife encouraged me to feel for the head, but I reached up there and didn’t feel anything. With the next contraction, I pushed and literally felt her head move down the canal. At this point, I knew I HAD to push, no matter what. I knew she was coming fast, so that really motivated me to push. I pushed hard, but because I was in the birthing chair, it wasn’t that painful. I could feel the progress happening so quickly. Even the “ring of fire” wasn’t too bad! I had absolutely no tearing, which was a tremendous blessing. I pushed her head out and gave one more strong push for her shoulders. My midwife told me to look down (I had been pushing with my eyes closed) and there she was! I picked her up (blood, vernix, and all!) and put her on my chest. The first thing I said to her was, “Oh, I love you so much!” I just hugged her and praised God for a beautiful, healthy baby! She was born at 2:48PM.
We waited probably 45 minutes to clamp and cut the cord. She was all mine and no one else could hold her. I am so glad we didn’t cut the cord until it had stopped pulsing. My midwife didn’t rush me to birth the placenta, but when I was ready, I pushed that out without a problem. It was all intact and she explained the parts of it to me (much to Tad’s disgust).
We announced Cordelia Mae’s name and called a few family members. They wanted to know her stats, but Tad said “um… she’s still connected!” After a while, they did clean her up and prepare to weigh her. Everyone in the room took a guess at her weight (I said 8 lbs. even). My mom, who hadn’t held her yet, said 8lbs. 3 oz., which was exactly right! Cordelia was 20.5 inches long, which was Vera’s exact length too. She has dark hair also like her big sister.
I am still SO incredibly thankful to God for an amazing (truly worshipful) birthing experience! I had the best support I could ever have asked for in Tad, my mom, my midwife, and my nurse. I am serious when I say that this natural birth was virtually pain-free (thank you, Lord!). I wouldn’t change anything about it at all. Cordelia Mae is a precious blessing and we are so thankful to be her parents! She is nursing great (my milk came in less than 48 hours after her birth) and we are thankful for that too.
We appreciate your prayers for this pregnancy and delivery… they were definitely answered!