My Husband Was Proud of Me
Growing up I always dreamed of being married. Of course, I also wanted to be a Pilot, English Teacher, Nurse, Entrepreneur, Wedding Planner, possibly a Mom, but most of all, a wife. (This quickly changed in my mid to late twenties, but I digress). Through all the years and relationships with Mr. Wrong(s), I always wanted them to be proud of me; to be proud to have me. I was always jealous of the girls whose boyfriend had their Profile picture set as the two of them. I wanted the guy that bragged about me to his friends, who chose to be with me and around me whenever they had a spare moment. I prayed and prayed for my future husband and I was on the hunt. I remember being a teenager and if a guy even looked at me longer than half a second, I would be like “God, is that him??” (I know. Ridiculous.) Now maybe this is my kind of love language or me looking for approval in all the wrong places, but it’s who I was. Do not judge me.
All to bring me to this: My husband said he was proud of me. Why? Not because I vacuum super well (which was one of his genuine compliments), but because I did something that I never thought I could do. I sacrificed my comfort for the benefit of my family. I made my husband and our family the priority. I had an ALL-natural birth.
Now before I get all the hate messages, let me make something clear. Any birth you have is incredible and you are fierce! From a C-Section to an Epidural it is all incredible and utterly praiseworthy! This is just MY story and something my husband and I are proud of given the current circumstances in this crazy year of uncertainties.
So here goes. My (second) birth story.
Now I have always been the girl that when asked about labor and delivery to immediately say, “give me all the drugs”. So, when you read through this keep that in mind. My first kiddo was induced the day after my due date for no other reason than my Doctor was going on vacation and I needed to fit into HIS schedule. Don’t even get me started on that. If I only knew then what I know now… You know what I mean? I was on Pitocin and had an Epidural which I metabolized halfway through pushing. So much for that. I was rushed and my Doc was annoyed I took all day to push that baby out. So that was my first childbirth experience which I assumed was perfectly normal and didn’t know any better. That didn’t change for 5 years and 37 weeks into my second pregnancy. And then COVID hit.
To all the moms this year, I feel you. I hear your heart. Having children in this time can be scary, but I want you to know that God has a plan and will bring us out and through. Stay close to Him during this more than ever and you may even come out brighter and stronger.
As soon as COVID hit, my appointments looked different. My husband was no longer able to attend, I had to ask one of the Grandmas to watch my son, the waiting room times took so much longer, and I was alone. Wearing a mask. Ultra-pregnant. I hated it. This wasn’t what it was supposed to be like. It was supposed to be exciting to hear Peanut’s heartbeat and share that together, not fearful that I could potentially be exposed to essentially what is poised as “the plague”. Then I heard about mandatory COVID test upon hospital admittance. That you could “decline” it, but you would be marked as “under investigation” and “labeled as suspicious”. WHAT? I then read that if you “test positive” (another soapbox for another day) they could potentially quarantine your newborn (from you) for 14 days. Um no. Absolutely not.
So, I prayed about it and felt like I needed to look at other options. One of my best friends was also pregnant and had told me she was going the birthing center route and had done her research to make that decision. So like the true detective I am I Googled “birthing centers near me” and began to read reviews. I cam across one right down the road from the hospital I was due to give birth at that had amazing reviews and looked absolutely stunning.
It was about 8:30 PM and I sent them an email saying something like “I am 37 weeks… Interested in a potential birthing center birth… Insanely scared of all natural… I have 1,000 questions… Call me.” Within 10 minutes I received a call from the Founder of the Birthing Center. This was my first clue of how incredible this place was. We talked for 2 hours. She answered all my questions and invited me to tour the facility the next day. The two things she said that really hit home for me were “…whatever you need during labor, we are here for you. You can play worship music if you want and I would love to pray over you…” *Insert ugly crying here* and “…after I had my first natural birth, my husband was so proud of me. It changed our marriage and drew us closer”. Of course, all of my other questions were answered as well as it pertained to risk and pain threshold. All very important. In that moment I had decided that’s what I was going to do. I was going to push a baby out of my vagina the natural way.
My husband and I discussed our options. We talked about financial restraints, risks, and anything else that we may come across. He expressed his concerns that changing the plan so late in the game he felt like he wouldn’t be included or know anyone. I explained to him that he wasn’t included at all in the hospital appointments at all right now given the guidelines and that he was able to attend whatever appointments he wanted at the birthing center. As far as not knowing anyone, I informed him that you wouldn’t know anyone at the hospital either and the Doc. Which you see during the two minutes of baby catching. The birthing center allowed him to come by after work one day to see the facility and meet a couple people there. We attended two classes and he was able to come to a couple appointments with me.
Over the next few weeks, I had what felt like 1,000 appointments. I got to know each midwife a couple times over and even joked about putting up a cot there. I learned so much in that short time it was like drinking from a firehose. From natural supplements, teas and exercises to get your body ready for labor to learning what your body needs during labor and how to navigate those waters. They even prepared me for post-partum and breastfeeding and what to expect. I built relationships with these midwives that you would NEVER get in a hospital. It was like having your best friend deliver your baby for you and being just as excited. It’s basically the coolest experience.
My water broke when I was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant at 11:15 at night. We had just laid down for bed when I felt a kick and leaking. “Babe. BABE!!” “What?” “My water just broke.” “Are you sure? ARE YOU SURE?” We fly out of bed. I am leaking all over the bathroom floor with a huge smile on my face, “Look babe! Look!” My husband has a look of panic at this point while I finally decided to sit on the toilet instead of creating a slip-n-slide in our bathroom. Don’t worry, I mopped it up right after. I mean literally in labor, mopping the bathroom. Who does that?
We call the midwife labor line and get Midwife Roxanne. She asked all the questions to gauge the contractions and said she would head up there and get our suite ready for us to take our time and call her if they got more intense. We called my husband’s mom to come pick up our son and by that time the contractions were closer together and opted to go ahead and gather our things and head up there around 12:30 AM.
Once we arrived my contractions had slowed down significantly. The midwife said that is totally normal with a venue change that I should take it easy and try to rest as it may be a long night. I was pretty determined to work this baby out. I mean I was over 41 weeks at this point. So, I refused to rest for a long time. I would alternate between the exercise ball, pacing, the peanut ball, and peeing to try and keep things moving. At this point my contractions were 10 minutes apart. So, when using the peanut ball on the bed I would have a contraction, flip to the other side and sleep until my next contraction. Around 7:30 AM I woke up and realized it had been 30 minutes since my last contraction and I was not losing any more fluids. I was devastated. I thought for sure they were going to send me home and I would have to start this process all over again. They reassured me they would not send me home and that no one was rushing me. This was on my time and my body determined the length of stay and no one was bothered by it. Given my last birth experience, this meant the world to me. So we took a morning walk outside and then turned up the music and Roxanne and I had a dance party right there in the suite to try and dance that baby out.
Then about 8 AM, it was shift change and Roxanne went off and Midwife Bri stepped in. Bri threw her hair up into a messy bun and got to work. Now Bri is from Seattle and had just moved here a few months prior and brought some of her expertise and tricks with her. She said, “Okay here is what we are going to do. I am going to make you a breakfast burrito with Castor Oil in it. Don’t worry, you won’t get explosive diarrhea because it’s in the burrito, so it has something to adhere to. Within a couple hours it should jumpstart your labor back up and then your body will do the rest.” Ok Bri. Let’s do this.
Just as she stated, my contractions came back, and I started losing fluids again. Woohoo! We were back in business! I was still able to navigate the contractions on my own and breathe through them. My husband at the ready to put to use everything we had learned in Birth Bootcamp; pressure points, positions, etc. I chose not to get into the bath until it was my last pain management resort as it had been referred to as the “water-dural” so I didn’t want to utilize it too soon. Around 3:30 or so, it was necessary. My contractions got INTENSE. Like went right past the let-your-husband-press-on-your-tailbone-for-relief stage and straight to the get-me-in-the-water-immediately stage.
After a few minutes in the tub Bri told me she was going to check me, and she wasn’t going to tell me where I was at. Good or bad. So Bri did her thing, walked to her computer (behind me) with Midwife Mallory and typed it in and they looked at each other, didn’t say a word and left the room. My husband, being the curious man that he is, got up and looked at what she had entered and opted not to tell me either. None of this I knew by the way. Not until after. From that point, it was about 30 minutes later that I had my little princess. Apparently at that point I was in transition, but had only dilated to about a 1 1/2 cm. WHAT?? So essentially, I was dilating AS I was pushing her out! To answer the most asked question: how painful was it? Well, from what you can actually remember (a funny trick God plays on you to get you to procreate again) it was pretty rough. So rough that at one point I said, “get it out of me”. However, that ultra-painful part lasted all of 23 minutes and was totally worth it at the end. Also, to be noted, I tore in my first birth since they rushed me through it and had me pushing longer and harder to get my son out. With this one, Bri watched everything and had me breathe through a couple contractions to ensure the cervix was out of the way and that there was no tearing. And there wasn’t. THANK YOU, BRI!! This makes recovery 1,000 times better.
I delivered my sweet baby girl right there in the bathtub and my husband got to “catch” her and put her on my chest. Just another thing you can’t do in a hospital. A few minutes later I delivered the placenta on the bed and was able to do delayed cord clamping so she can get all those wonderful nutrients and then Daddy got to cut the cord. We honored Golden Hour with breastfeeding and skin to skin contact and got to eat the infamous Labor Soup also full of all the nutrients for recovery. One of the things I was most looking forward to as the Herbal Tea bath we got to have all together that aids in your physical recovery as well. Mommy, Daddy and Baby got to spend a sweet few minutes together in a warm bath.
Then we got dressed and big brother along with grandparents arrived to meet baby. Big brother was able to help the midwives weigh and measure Peanut and hold her first. Then the grandparents got their moments and pics and headed out to meet us (with food) at our house.
Here is the best part of the whole thing. Three hours after birth I didn’t just walk out, I danced out of the birthing center to go recover in my own home. In my own bed. Without 100 people in and out of my room waking me up and poking and prodding me. It was perfect.
The next best thing, they do the first 2 day check up IN YOUR HOME! Midwife Roxanne came to our house and took footprints, had our son help weigh her again, took her heel prick and check on me and helped with breastfeeding. I mean you do NOT get that with a hospital EVER!
So, what was the trade off? I traded an epidural and my comfort and got the most amazing birth experience I can imagine, made friendships I hope last a lifetime, and feel more empowered for it. I didn’t have to stress about whether or not they would take my baby or label me as “suspicious”. I delivered in a calm environment surrounded by people who genuinely care and love their jobs. My son was able to be a big part of welcoming his baby sister instead of feeling like he has been replaced. My husband looks at me in a way I have never seen him look at me before.
My husband is proud of me. He returned to work this past week and of course was bombarded with all the questions about the new baby and the birth and the lack of sleep. Day one he came home and told me about everyone asking and how excited he was to show off pictures of his new princess. Then he told me about how he told our birth story and was so proud to say I danced out of there and showed them the video of that. He told them I did awesome, transitioned amazingly and was so strong during everything. He smiled while telling me all about it. Since then he looks at me like at me a little different. Our marriage is a little closer. I feel a little stronger. Not just for slaying a natural birth, but because my husband is proud of me and I feel like I can accomplish anything.
Everything happens for a reason. So even during this COVID craziness, God knew this is what our family needed. God knew what my marriage needed.
I am so grateful for the midwives and everyone at the birthing center and for our supportive family, but most of all my hubby supporting my last-minute decisions and crazy ideas that I have.
Thank you for being my number one fan.
What was your birth experience like? Was it fantastic? Was it awful? I want to hear yours! Tell me down below!
Newborn Photos by Funkytown Photo Co.
Birthing Center – Origins Birth and Wellness Collective – Fort Worth, Texas