In an effort to not make one humongous, ginormous post with everything related to Lylah’s birth I’ve divided it up into three posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (you are here!)
Saturday February 11th I woke up super early, even before the kids, with a really strange energy pulsing through me. I think I saw more bloody show as well (either Friday or Saturday, I know I saw it 3 times over the week). It felt like I had drank a whole pitcher of coffee, yet I hadn’t had any in many days. I was restless and it was odd, so I took a shower and got ready incase labor started that day. I then made breakfast for my family, ate, and crashed. I took 3 naps on Saturday before we decided to finally get out of the house around 4pm to get some last minute things at IKEA. We had just had our bathroom painted and needed curtains so our neighbors would not get a free show every time I showered or when birthing time came!
Now, remember, this is the day both my midwife AND photographer were unavailable. I felt at peace though, knowing whatever day Lylah picked would be exactly what God planned. I actually kinda secretly hoped the 11th would be her day because my birthday is the 11th, as is Anna’s. 11 is my favorite number! Alas, God knew the perfect day and 11th was not it.
We walked around IKEA, all while kids complained, check out lines were long, and I had that sharp type contraction pain I felt on Wednesday again. Still very random though, nothing worth mentioning to my midwives. I know I looked huge and uncomfortable waddling around and I felt it. Saturday was 39 weeks and 2 days and I was ready for her to come, finally having released some emotions since my last round of stronger contractions the previous Wednesday. Before bed my photographer texted me on her event break, “Anything happening?!” And I responded with a “Nope!” and I went to sleep.
12:25am I roll over and feel a gush. My water broke! My water has never, ever broken before labor. My last two were even caul babies, so this was all new to me. I thankfully had stocked up on adult diapers for my postpartum time so I quickly grabbed one of those, leaving a trail on the way. I texted/called my birth team and told Mark my water broke. My photographer said she literally was on the way home from her event as I texted, perfect timing 🙂 However, since I wasn’t having any strong or consistent contractions still my midwives encouraged me to try to sleep. Ha! Adrenaline was rushing through me with excitement that I was finally going to meet this baby girl. And, best of all…my body was starting labor on it’s own just as I prayed for! However, my main midwife was still out of town and told me to keep my doula in the loop as my new midwife since she couldn’t be back in town until after 7pm Sunday evening.
After 2 hours and listening to birth scriptures, I did doze off and got a few hours to prepare for the day ahead. With contractions still really random and not strong, we had the kids go to the grandparents and Mark and I had the strong need to “nest.” We cleaned up the downstairs, laying down plastic over the carpet, I began setting up my birthing space in our master bedroom with my birth affirmations, scriptures, and candles from my Mother Blessingway, while Mark hung the new curtains. We bought those IKEA curtains just in time!
At noon we were done and ready to get some lunch and start our work to get the contractions going stronger. We went for Salsaritas, and just walking from the house-car-store was enough to trigger stronger ones. I had a few much closer together, like 3-5 minutes apart and had to breathe through them while inside. I had Mark get our food to go because I didn’t want to labor hard in a restaurant! I texted my birth team things were picking up and they encouraged to walk more since that seemed to help. So we did that, walked up and down the sidewalk near our house hand in hand. Mark made me laugh (he’s so good at that!) to keep me in good spirits and we’d stop and sway through contractions when needed. People stared, so fun.
When we got back in I wanted to get in the tub, things were much harder to work through. My birth team arrived around 2:30pm while I was in the tub. I had one check me in the tub and she said I was 8cm and the baby was very low. I was amazed, maybe I would get a nearly painless AND daylight birth! Things had slowed back down again in there though so they had me get back out and walk again with Mark. It was such a long, slow process. Lots of walking, lots of working, lots of stronger ones and then they would back off again. We used cotton root herbal tincture to encourage contractions, along with Clary Sage essential oil on my belly and pressure points. I also smelled Juniper Berry for fear. I knew I was fighting it on some level because I felt like I couldn’t really relax into them like I could with Sadie’s birth. My main midwife texted me when possible and I told her I didn’t want to do this! It’s hard knowing what is ahead, and yet it has to be done one way or another.
I asked to be checked again, this time by my doula/midwife, and she found me actually only 5-6cm dilated and baby’s head back up higher. It was disheartening to feel like I had moved backwards. However, she also felt baby was posterior and that was the issue. So we did several spinning babies moves (robozo, forward leaning inversion, and side lying release) and that did the trick instantly! Praise the Lord, I didn’t want to deliver a posterior baby if I didn’t need to. We walked more and then things picked up a bit again.
By 6-7 pm I was 5-6cm but they still didn’t consider me in good, active labor with all these inconsistent contractions and my clock was running out with my water being broken. The goal was active labor within 24 hours of water breaking, and birth within 48 hrs. I had a few more hours to get it going strong. Mark brought us dinner and went to take a nap, while my midwives wanted me to start castor oil to get them going stronger after eating. I tried, I really did, but I couldn’t get much down in the various forms we made it in. It made me so nauseous, I gagged many times, and I gave up. I told them, “I just need to cry and go to sleep.” Though I didn’t sleep, resting and listening to birth scriptures alone was enough to help refocus. I’m not sure how long I was alone, but there was the turning point we needed! I think the good cry helped release those final emotions I needed to let go and let the process happen, no matter how hard it was.
I came out with more peace, they said they could see it within me. Contractions picked back up and were much harder to work through. They suddenly came fast and hard and soon I was begging to get into the water, but we were scared it would slow again. I remember thinking, “Where are you God?!” in my mind. I thought I wasn’t going to feel so overwhelmed with each one this time, but I did. I remember the word, “Holy” popping into my mind and I began focusing on that word with each breathe I needed to sustain me through one. My doula encouraged me to work through a few more to make sure they stayed strong and finally around 9pm (I think?) I got in. I felt Lylah moving lower and lower, so much pressure! I had my assistant midwife text my photographer to come back because it felt like she was coming soon.
As soon as I got into the tub I began to relax more into them (with my doula’s reminder) and primal instincts kicked in. I began saying “ahhhhh” to breathe her down lower. They asked if I wanted Mark to come in now, but I didn’t want him to stress so I let him sleep. My main midwife still wasn’t there, but I knew she was on the way. During one contraction I felt her lean over to kiss the top of my head, say “I’m here momma,” and slip her hand into mine. No one saw it because I was facing the wall, but I smiled in that moment and more peace washed over. My whole birth team was there! I’m told in the next contraction I started pushing. Lylah (and my body) waited for her to be there. Having three births together before, over 6 years of history together, how could we let her miss this one?
Now, with Sadie, I felt so confident with pushing. It was intense as well, but I just allowed my body to do it’s job and she was out in 3 pushes. Lylah…not so much. I felt tingly in my hands and legs. I felt scared. She felt so big, I knew she was big. I felt overwhelmed and I didn’t want to do this, yet had no choice but to push through. I knew the relief on the other side and I encouraged her out into this world. I know I pushed way more than 3 pushes! From watching my birth video, I started pushing at the beginning of the (very long) song, “Oceans” by Hillsong and she came onto my chest right as it ended. I had planned to deliver on my hands and knees again, but everything felt so tingly I flipped over onto my back/left side and finished pushing her that way. I guess it made for a nice clear view for my photographer though! I guided her out into my hands, felt her hair floating in the water as she came out. It was so, so intense but I just knew relief was near and it kept me going. Finally her head was out! Then I had to push out her shoulders and THEN push out her big belly. She was a big girl at 8 pounds 11 ounces for my 4 foot 11 in size, but I didn’t tear! She was born at 9:47 pm. Which, while she wasn’t a daylight birth it was still an answered prayer that she didn’t wait until the wee hours of the night 🙂
I said, “Oh baby!” and “Hallelujah!” at the relief of her arrival. Lylah’s eyes opened immediately but was struggling to breathe so they gave her a few breathes, though I knew she would be okay (just like with Sadie). She was clear and crying soon after. I felt the placenta coming, and as soon as that was delivered is when things went down hill. Immediately, the tub filled with blood. A shot of pitocin usually does the trick, and I received one in the tub. Someone cut the cord and helped me get out and onto bed. I needed nearly constant uterine compression, another shot of pitocin and 2 other prescriptions to get it slowed down. Mark came down around 10pm, just after Lylah’s birth and he heard those first cries. He came in just when I needed him again! At first I felt fine, but then weakness came over me. I felt my ears ringing and it was harder to hear what was going on. I couldn’t keep my eyes open. And then? Then nausea took over me as the castor oil decided to take affect and my body did NOT like it. I threw up shortly after birth, which was painful since my stomach muscles had just pushed out a baby! I felt truly miserable. There wasn’t a birth high with this birth, only relief that it was over, and then concern with how horrible I felt and what if we needed to transfer? Or what if something happened to me? I couldn’t enjoy my new baby at first.
The day after I just needed to cry to process Lylah’s birth. I felt sad that I felt so overwhelmed and not wanting to do this birthing thing at all. I felt disappointed that it wasn’t as amazing as Sadie’s felt. I FELT the Lord with me at Sadie’s birth, in the touch of my doulas/friends, in the confidence and peace in how quickly she came. I kept comparing her birth to Lylah’s. But, the reality is not every birth is the same, every story is unique and now I’m here owning Lylah’s story for what it is. Her birth was harder all around, she was nearly a pound bigger than Sadie after all! I still bled out, my worst yet in all my 6 births despite doing all I could with supplements and foods. But, God also answered so many other prayers that I know God was still with me, watching over us, and at my right hand as He promises many times in the Bible. I love what A Heavenly Welcome has to say about faith verses hope. I had faith that God could gift me with the supernatural, peaceful serene birth like Sadie’s but I also have hope as my safety net in trusting God had something better in store and there was a reason for my expectations not being met. The bottom line is this: I’m alive and healing, Lylah is healthy. I still feel free and redeemed! And now that I’m resting…now the joy of “I can’t believe I pushed that out!” has come. Her first week of life has been pure joy for me!
I’m treasuring this baby moon with all the baby snuggles, as it is our last. I’m okay with that. I think the harder labor and birth was God’s way of sealing the deal that I really don’t want to do this pregnancy and birth thing again. This whole pregnancy was harder between the stronger morning sickness that knocked me down the entire summer and how big she was within me, I felt limited in my parenting my other kids. Mark has 6 weeks off to help this transition time though, praise Jesus! So that will be extremely helpful to healing and transition to 7. He is doing a wonderful job so far helping me to get the rest I need to recover and taking care of the house and kids. I’m so blessed to have him.
Now let’s pull out the prayers I had made throughout this pregnancy:
- Whoever was meant to be there would be there √
- That the baby wouldn’t come too late √
- Baby wouldn’t come on our other February birthdays (20th and 22nd) √
- We wouldn’t have to use castor oil to start labor as we have had to do every time in the past √
- I wouldn’t tear √
- I wouldn’t hemorrhage (Nope, but the Lord kept me safe!)
- I asked for a pain free birth, or comfortable much like it was with Sadie (Nope, but now I feel very done and complete!)
- General health and safety of both Lylah and I √
- A day time birth (Sometimes God says “No” because He has a good reason! My main midwife wouldn’t have arrived if Lylah came during the day)
- She would look like me since Sadie is Mark’s clone in girl form √ (YES! Finally a baby who so far looks all like her momma!)
So here’s to welcoming the light within the darkness, our Lylah Nell. That’s exactly what she is. Her presence has brought so much joy to our family, our older kids adore her! Even my clingy Sadie bug and my overly affectionate cat, Gizmo.
Born February 12th, 2017 at 9:47 pm in the water at home. 8 pounds 11 ounces. 21 inches long.