It feels kinda surreal after the countless birth stories I've read of other ladies, that here I am writing my own...
As a lot of you know by now we chose to birth unassisted, and I did my own pre natal care. After much prayer and research we both felt that is what God was leading us to do. I did not take that decision lightly, I spent hours reading books and doing my own research. I even attended a live doula course training as well as online courses. People would ask me "are you not afraid of something going wrong?" and to be perfectly honest I wasn't. I knew in my heart this was God's plan for us and I trusted Him and my body that everything was going to work out just fine.
The more knowledge you have, the less fear you will have as well. As I dove into researching birth, hospital births, midwife births, and unassisted home births I was amazed to find how much fear and lack of proper education is the resulting factor for a lot of the horrible birth stories you hear. So many women simply have no idea what happens during birth, and no wonder it becomes a tramatic experience for them!!! And it should not be that way.
I think it's so empowering to other women when we share our stories, and I hope that my story will give hope to at least a few ladies to take back their power to know they can choose what type of birth they want to have.
We went to bed around 9:30 p.m. on April 14th and as soon as I laid down I started having contractions. They felt like severe menstral cramps which surprised me, I was expecting more of a wrapping and cinching in sensation of my uterus, as the Braxton Hicks had been.
After about 4-5 hours of constant contractions, zero sleep, and hopping in the shower hoping to get some relief I decided this might be the real deal and to wake David up.
The plan was to birth at home in Montana although we were currently in Idaho for David's work.
At this point they were coming approx 5-7 min apart and lasting 45-55 seconds. We decided we should hit the road and head home which is a 5 hour drive. The whole way home I'm having contractions and when we got about an hour away they started to intensify. At one point along the way I got super nauseous and had to puke, that's when I realized this was for sure the real deal.
In early labor the contractions were coming in waves, I focused on breathing deeply and staying relaxed as I "rode the wave" to the peak and then it was downhill from there and I felt normal until the next one came.
About 15 miles from home my water broke!! Thankfully I had a blanket to stuff under me quickly in order to not ruin the car seat haha. That's one of my favorite moments, it all became so real at that point. I remember looking at David with tears welling up in my eyes and saying "it's happening, it's really happening, we're gonna have a baby today!"
We got home around 8 a.m. We quickly set up the birthing supplies, and from that point on it was pretty much full on active labor and building in intensity. I was already quite tired and tried laying down to get some rest but I wasn't able to rest much between contractions, so I ended up laboring the whole time on my knees on a pillow in front of the couch as I leaned into it.
The contractions were building in intensity, and the closer I got to transition the more I had to be conscious to breathe calmly through them and stay relaxed. At this point I was making a low monotone hum or groan through the contractions, and somehow that helped me get through them and stay focused and on track. Once we were home I stopped timing contractions and never looked at a clock until after he was born, that was the best decision ever! When you don't have a timeline it's so much easier to trust in your body and know that everything is progressing at the speed it should be.
I can't exactly pinpoint when transition was for me, I do remember feeling a bit discouraged and looking up at David and asking him to tell me I've got this and can do it. That was probably transition, even though I was never yelling in pain at all or feeling defeated.
I tried very hard to remain in a winning and fighter mindset the whole time, I would say things to myself like "I can do this, I am strong" "strong and steady wins the race" "I embrace the pain and surrender to the process" I even remember saying "transition isn't going to be as bad as they say, just watch". And I truly meant all those words!!
When we realized I was fully dilated, it's like I got a second wind and a new source of strength for the next part. Also I had a small rest from contractions as well which was nice!! As it shifted from just contractions to pushing with the contractions the cramping sensation wasn't quite as strong, I felt way more pressure as the baby started to shift and inch down.
I believe I was pushing for about 45 minutes. With each contraction I got about 3 pushes, and then a rest before the next one came on. For me pushing came quite naturally, my body just knew what to do and how much to push. It seemed to take him a little while coming down through the birth canal, I was quite relieved when David told me he could see a head starting to crown even though I was confident he was in a good position to be born.
I remember reaching down during a contraction and feeling his head, I can't even describe the euphoria I felt!! It was so magical and that moment gave me a high and the strength to keep pressing through to the final home stretch. His head was about halfway born and I had to wait until the next wave of contractions to push him on out. I'll just say that having a little head partially born is not fun, and pretty sure I felt the ring of fire they talk about!! With the next wave of pushing his head was born, and then his body basically just flew out!! David caught him, handed him to me and as I laid him on my chest I realized that we got our boy!!! (we were waiting to find out the gender at birth). David later told me he almost dropped him because he was quite slippery like a fish, haha!!
He started crying immediately and turned pink right away. His cord seemed to be on the short side so it was hard to relax with him attached to the cord and the placenta still inside. We planned to do delayed cord clamping, which we did even though it wasn't quite as long as I'd hoped.
After he was born it was a little chaotic as we hadn't quite planned for that stage as well as we did for the actual birth. We both were like "um what do we do now with him?" haha!! I felt like I was in shock and disbelief at what I had just accomplished, and it took me a minute to gather myself together. To tie off his cord David literally just grabbed a piece of ribbon that had been wrapped around the towels we were using (as we'd totally forgotten to set something aside to tie it) and cut the cord with a special knife of his.
In hindsight I didn't bleed much at all and was clotting very well, but in the moment especially if you're not exactly sure what the amount is supposed to look like it can be scary. I also was so ready to just relax and cuddle with my new baby and not have to be worried about bleeding or the placenta. So I took some of the tinctures I had bought to have on hand, I was impressed at how quickly they worked!! Again in hindsight I didn't need to take anything and that would be my only regret.
I rested and laid down, soaking in all the brand new baby cuddles!! And the placenta was delivered 4 hours later, which is totally within the realm of normal.
David was absolutely phenomenal through the whole process! He was my rock and I couldn't have done it without him. He held my hand through the contractions, looked me in the eyes and told me how strong I was and that I had this. He seemed to know exactly what I needed and I didn't have to ask for anything.
William Alexander Troyer was born April 15th at 1:50 p.m. weighed 6lbs 6oz and 21" long
It truly was the birth of my dreams, and though it was painful it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. We had zero complications and I did not tear. I went into the birth not with the mindset of a victim and that this was happening to me, but as a winner who was excited and ready to conquer and win this race. Pain is nothing to be afraid of, and if you can rise above it there is so much power on the other side!!
I'm truly thankful for the way God led us to birth our first baby, and for me there's no going back!!!
If y'all have made it this far, props to you and thank you so much for reading my story!! I'm truly passionate about birth and would love to answer any questions anyone might have! In fact if I get enough questions perhaps I'll do a Q&A blog post. :)