Note: My hope in sharing this birthing story is to help comfort another mother who might be having fears about her own pregnancy complications.
“How far dilated did they say you were?” asked my nurse while inserting her own fingers to check my progress. She’d just finished hooking up my IV and antibiotics.
“Five centimeters,” my husband and I said in unison.
The nurse shook her head back and forth. “Nope,” she said. “You’re ready.”
Seeing as how I just told this woman a few moments ago that I felt like pushing, the news that I was fully dilated wasn’t a huge surprise. However, I had just barely arrived at the hospital – probably not even 40 minutes prior. My other deliveries never progressed this quickly. I hadn’t even been hooked up to the fetal monitor for 10 minutes. The birthing tub, which I was planning to use to ease my natural labor, hadn’t even been filled.
Plus, my midwife hadn’t shown up yet! She knew I was heading to the hospital, but told us she was going to wait until the hospital called her with my progress before she headed over. I didn’t blame her. It was a Saturday night.
The nurse asked my husband to press the nurse call button on my bed. She asked for my midwife, Holly.
“She’s walking over now. She just arrived,” a woman’s voice on the other end said.
Moments later, Holly, the sweetest midwife in the world, walked in wearing her usual green scrubs, still putting on her latex gloves.
“Hey, Lauren. What’s going on?” she asked.
“I have to push,” I tell her, with a bit of concern in my voice.
“Well, that’s okay,” she assures me.
I laugh, “Yeah, now that you’re here!”
I breathe a sigh of relief and then immediately remember that my doula, Erica, is still waiting in the lobby. Last thing she knew, I was five centimeters dilated. My midwife rushes a nurse over to get her.
I’ll never forget the look on Erica’s face when she walked in. She rushed over to be on my left side and grabbed my hand. You could tell she wasn’t mentally prepared yet to help me through pushing. But, like a true professional, once she took a moment to let her brain catch up with reality, she calmly talked me through it.
“You’re doing great. You can do this.”
Not even five minutes later, my precious newborn daughter was placed on my bare chest. I remember staring at her in disbelief. Yes, I’d waited nine months for this, but I still felt unprepared mentally – like Erica when she first stood by me.
How did this happen so fast?
“Happy Birthday,” Erica whispered.
Staring at my daughter, I took a deep breath and told myself, “I did it.”
“It’s a good thing I ate that red light,” my midwife said, laughing.
Months prior, when I first found out I had a low-lying placenta, I freaked out a little bit thinking it would affect my natural birth plan. My midwife assured me that as long as the placenta stayed at least two centimeters from my cervix, a vaginal delivery was possible. She said I could still do everything else I wanted – no epidural, no monitor, birthing tub, etc.
Because she had hope, so did I. It was better than the alternative: I thought I was bleeding because I was going to miscarry. That was the scariest night in the hospital ever. But when Holly arrived in the morning and did a sonogram and saw that the bleeding was from my placenta’s location, we were able to relax.
From that moment on, the pregnancy was stressful for me.
A few months later, I was put on partial bed rest because I went into preterm labor. I was given a shot of medications in the hospital to stop the contractions and to speed up the baby’s lung development. I remember looking at my doula in the hospital, not saying a word, but she knew that I did not want to have my baby under such circumstances. I feared that this labor and delivery would be a more traumatic experience than the last.
Somehow, through everything, I found comfort and peace through prayer. I asked God daily to bless our child with good health and to protect me and my baby from having anything less than a great birth experience.
To say that God answered my prayers is an understatement.
After about 5-6 hours laboring at home before going to the hospital, my daughter was born on the 1-year anniversary of my Baptism and Confirmation into my Catholic faith. My water never broke, and my daughter was born in her amniotic sac, which for some mean she’s destined for greatness and is extremely lucky. Based on her pregnancy and birth, I’d absolutely agree that she is my miracle baby.
If my doula could tell you how I was during labor, she’d tell you that I was remarkably calm and at peace. At one point she asked me what I was thinking and I said, “That this is almost over.” She knew exactly what I meant. I’d been through so many emotions over those nine months of pregnancy and many of them were negative regarding the well-being of my baby. I was ready to move forward and close that unnerving chapter of my life and I was so happy to embrace labor that day.
I surrounded myself with loving, spiritual people during my pregnancy and they were there during my delivery, too. I feel like I connected so deep with God, deeper than ever before or since. And it’s so weird to feel like that about it when that pregnancy was the worst one of the three. I remember thinking, “I can never allow myself to go through another bad pregnancy again” and “Maybe I should get my tubes tied and call it quits at three.”
But then, after giving birth, I knew that I couldn’t close that door for God. I watched him use my body in miraculous ways to see to it that my baby was born when she was good and ready. He has big plans for her and I have to honor the plans that He has for all of my children, current and future.