I began my first pregnancy with a doctor in the BCS area. She was a great doctor but her office staff was not so great. We moved to Fort Worth in the middle of the pregnancy and I switched to midwifery care because I thought it would be more personal and thorough. My husband and I began to learn about natural childbirth and became passionate about it.
.Our first birth was in a birth center and was a tough birth with a tough recovery. Afterwards, we knew that if I had had Liza in the hospital, I would have had a C-section. So we knew with our second one, we would use a midwife again and do it at home. I heard about Toni from a friend and am so glad that we decided to use her.
Wednesday night (27th) Mark got me out walking for almost and hour and half. I really wanted to stop but we kept going. I was having contractions, but I had been having them every night so I didn’t think much of it. I had seen Toni that afternoon and was pretty certain I still had a few more days to go. Sadly, I didn’t let her check me (I will explain why later) but I should have. Through out that night I kept waking up and having contractions. They weren’t serious, but I knew labor was brewing because I hadn’t had any contractions while I slept.
I woke up a 5 to stronger contractions and knew it was probably the big day. I took a shower, cleaned up around the house and tried to prepare our guest room. Mark got up around 7 or so and was really excited. We ate a good breakfast at Chick-fila, ran a few errands and tried to keep ourselves busy. The contractions were strong enough to stop me, but not enough to keep me from working around the house. I had a great lunch from Sweets – love their wraps and worked on staying hydrated all day. I drank tons of water and focused on relaxing through contractions. We kept in touch with Toni but I really didn’t see a need for her to come. By dinner time, I wasn’t in the mood for a meal, so Mark got me a smoothie. The contractions were more intense but still not serious.
Toni insisted she come before the baby got there so she around 5. I wasn’t in true active labor so when she checked me I was at a 4. It was a little disheartening, but we didn’t know how far I had come since I didn’t let her check me on Wednesday. Mark made some red raspberry leaf tea with black strap molasses in it – a trick the Mennonite women use to get labor going. We went for a walk to pick up labor and it did begin to pick up.
At 8, our friends dropped Liza off and I tucked her into bed. Toni checked me again and I was only at a 5. Mark and I went outside to go for a walk and I fell apart. It reminded me so much of Liza’s birth when labor wasn’t progressing (and went on for 12 more hours). I didn’t want to go through it again, I didn’t think I could. I was ready to go to the hospital and get it over with there. Toni told Mark she thought I would get to a 10 really fast, if she hadn’t told him this I might have quit. One of my biggest goals was to trust Toni throughout labor – she has been doing this for 26 years, as long as I have been alive.
We walked around some more and had a few awkward encounters with our neighbors. Labor was getting intense and I was trying to work well with the contractions. I found that standing up and squatting really helped deal with the pressure and turns out they brought Kathryn lower. Other times, I would freak out and tell them I can’t do this or I don’t want to do this. Toni got in my face at one point and told me we are going to have this baby. It is a little comical now to think about it that moment but I really needed it. As I was falling apart, Toni was quoting scripture and making me quote it back to her. Toni and Andrea, the other midwife, were praying for me throughout labor.
Toni wanted to check me again (she told me later, I was probably ready to push at that point) but I wouldn’t let her. I was so afraid that I hadn’t progressed enough. Throughout Kathryn’s birth, I kept seeing mental pictures from Liza’s birth and remembering what had happened. It turns out there was still a lot of fear left in me from her birth that I didn’t know was there. This birth was really a battle with fear. Thankfully Toni could discern that and kept telling me Kathryn’s birth is not Liza’s. Good news – it was totally different!
I finally allowed her to check me again around midnight and I was ready to push, but my water still hadn’t broken (same thing with Liza). Once she broke it, I had like 3-5 minutes of peace – it was glorious few minutes. Then the pushing contractions came which brought up even more fear. With Liza, I almost passed out, couldn’t remember my name and was in a really bad state while I pushed her out. That was all I could think about when it came time to push Kathryn out. It took only 20 minutes or so to push her out, but those 20 minutes were long and yes… painful. When her head came out, I thought one more push and I am done… not the case. Apparently I was birthing a big baby and it took a couple of more pushes. When she came out, my mood changed drastically. It was so sweet to hold her and kiss her. She came out very healthy and crying. Liza was struggling to breathe a little when she came out.
Truly Kathryn’s birth was beautiful, healing and eye-opening; eye-opening because I saw how much unknown, deep-rooted fear can affect my decisions. My easy labor lasted about 12 hours and was truly easy. My intense, active labor was only 6 or 7 hours. I did hemorrhage again but not because of the birth. The placenta wouldn’t come out and my blood loss was just enough to consider it a hemorrhage – not too serious. I hardly tore because Toni did such a good job at supporting me while Kathryn came out.
My recovery has been amazing. Truly, the second one is a lot easier. I feel like I did relax and focus well through most of it, except the last few hours and pushing when all of the fear came up. I am so grateful for my midwives who really discerned the situation well and for Mark who took care of me and encouraged me throughout the birth. The Lord was so good to provide excellent health care for us and to give me a redeeming birth after Liza’s.