I wasn’t expecting my birth story to be like this. In the very beginning I always thought safety was at the hospital and for many people that’s true for those that need intervention, but the more I research the more I learn that America is the one of the few countries that birth in hospitals with OBs. I found that midwives have been a companion during labor and they have the skillset to audibly hear things that could be problematic (baby breathing, a change in mom’s or baby HR, demeanor), change baby positions (breech), teach natural approaches to preparing the body for labor (diet, exercises to engage head). They are trained to always assess risk and if need be, transfer to a hospital. I know upfront not everyone’s birth story will go to plan, but here is mine.
On 5/30/21, I woke up at 4am with a pretty strong period like cramps that kept occurring every 5 minutes. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so excited this could be the day! I called my midwife around 6am to let her know what was going on. I ended up laboring at home for about 13 more hours with the help of my husband. All I wanted was for Zach to add counter pressure at my hips to take my mind off the contraction. We went for a walk to help things progress, has a good meal for lunch, and attempted to watch the Dodger game in between contractions. My mom came over later to help give Zach some relief while he went out to buy Salmon for us since we knew it could be a long night. Around 6pm, we were on our way to the birth center with contractions being 3 minutes apart and the intensity was stronger to the point where I was not able to talk, keep my eyes open, or move really. (The 20 min car ride was rough).
As soon as we arrived, my midwife said I was 7cm dilated and I hopped right in the tub along with my husband who hopped in who continued to provide relief with the counter pressure on my hips the next 2 hours for each contraction. I am super grateful for one heck of a strong enduring husband. Around 8:30pm, my midwives heard a change in my voice and knew I was getting ready to push. Once I was pushing, my water broke in the tub on its own which felt like a big water balloon bursting out which was exciting because I knew her head was right behind the water balloon! I felt her head of hair which was great feedback and inspiration for me since I could literally feel her head coming down and going back up, coming down, and going back up. During these contractions, I held onto my mom and Zach’s arms as a I pressed my legs against the tub in order to get my pelvis under me (posterior pelvic tilt) and allow gravity to do its job. Since being in the same position for so long, I felt like I was plateuing and the head wasn’t quite getting all the way down. Meanwhile my midwife and mom were praying over me during labor and we had worship music playing.
My midwife recommended a new position in a corner of the tub where I grabbed onto Zach's wrists like a tug of war and as soon as I was in that new position, I could feel her head emerging and about 2 more contractions later her whole body came out under water! Her head was just floating under water which was so surreal. I am so thankful I did not have medications because I could feel exactly where her head was and knew how long to hold the push and how many pushes I needed. (Something I didn’t know before is that their head can be under water when giving birth because they know no different since their used to surviving in all that amoinic fluid anyway. As soon as they take their first breath of air, a valve in the heart changes and the blood gets recirculated through the lungs).
Zach caught her and placed her on my chest which was a surreal feeling for the both of us. We couldn’t stop crying of the happiness and joy we both felt and that it was finally over. Her little feet and the help of my midwife pressed on my uterus as my placenta came out. Her umbilical cord was attached to the placenta for another 2 hours so she could benefit from the rest of the blood going into her body. I praise God for this miracle of life and the process of birth as well as not having to be transferred to the hospital or have any interventions. She came out healthy which is such a blessing.
Joy Beggs, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy