Babies & Birth Stories

Read stories submitted by Snohomish Midwives’ clients

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"I never had any doubt that my baby would be healthy but was still comforted to see this little bundle of squirming life."

At 9 days overdue I had tried acupuncture (2 times), been to my chiropractor, drank tons of red raspberry leaf tea, taken evening primrose oil, walked daily, and eaten lots of spicy foods to help get this little boy out but he was being stubborn. He was posterior, like his older brother, and not descending into the pelvis. So on my midwife's recommendation I took some lemon verbena essential oil mixed with apricot juice, almond butter, and a little bit of castor oil. And it worked because within 3 hours of taking it I started having regular contractions (around 2 pm)! I had been getting contractions off and on for a few days but nothing that became regular or increased in intensity.

As luck would have it, Luke was already staying with my mom. I called Alan to come home but I wasn't convinced it was actual labor since I had taken the lemon verbena and thought it could wear off. I labored for a few hours bouncing on a exercise ball and on my hands and knees in front of the fireplace hoping to turn him into a better position. My contractions were coming every 3ish minutes and lasting about a minute but were still pretty mild. Alan kept busy by handling incoming calls, timing my contractions and getting things ready.

I wasn't sure what to expect with Al this time. We had both been pretty freaked out and uncertain when Luke was born. I had a lot of fear that this birth would turn out like Luke's, with me giving up and transferring to the hospital. But Alan was my rock. He's the strong silent type which was just what I needed. He gave me quiet support by holding my hands and helping me move (not an easy task). It was surprising how intimate this birth felt. In fact my entire pregnancy was like that. I feel like I was more open and willing to be vulnerable which brought us closer.

Somewhere around 8 pm my midwife stopped by to check on me. My contractions had got more intense around the same time and she called her assistant and the student midwife to come over. I was happy that I hadn't vomited yet as I was expecting, with Luke the vomiting started very early in the labor which wore me out. She checked me and I was 3 cm. I hadn't changed from my last appointment except for being more effaced. That was discouraging but my contractions got even more intense and I started vomiting (yay!). I have no idea how many times over the coarse of the night but it seems my "bucket" was always in the wrong room. After that point I lost track of time.

I labored lying on my side for a while were I could totally relax in between contractions. Alan says I actually feel asleep in between but I remember people talking around me. I took a shower, walked around the house, sat on the toilet. At some point I was checked again and was at 6 cm! I was relieved that I was making progress despite this baby still being posterior. I lost my bloody show at one point and was starting to really struggle through contractions. I kept telling Alan I didn't want to do this anymore... he didn't say anything that I remember. My midwives were encouraging me and telling me not only that I could do but I was doing it. I would have cried but that would have taken way too much energy that I didn't have. I shook a lot. My teeth were even chattering. Despite the pain, I wasn't scared or panicked.

I moved to the bedroom and was checked again. I was 8 cm and and had just a little bit of cervix left. My midwife wanted to break my water to increase the contractions which I wasn't too keen on. I felt like I was barely coping as is but more contractions would speed up the process. I didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel since I could only focus on one contraction at a time. At that point I started vocalizing through each contraction. Someone made a joke that the police might show up because of all the noise I was making.

Then I had the urge to push. I still had some cervix left and I was told to not push.... quite impossible to do. I didn't feel the urge with Luke since I had an epidural but, it was uncontrollable and harder to do than I expected. I don't remember being told I was at 10 cm but at some point my team switched to encouraging me to push instead of holding off. I had to change positions four times since the baby's heart rate was dropping (probably due to the cord being compressed). Eventually I was settled into a squatting position with Alan holding me from behind for support. When his head was pushed out he was anterior. I have no idea when he turned. With the next push the rest of his body came out. He was red, chubby, and whaling. I never had any doubt that my baby would be healthy but was still comforted to see this little bundle of squirming life. We double checked to make sure he was indeed a he (you never know).

The order of events after this are a little fuzzy for me. I was pretty grateful to be done with labor and wiped out. I don't remember what Alan exactly said to me but I felt his pride in my accomplishment and lots of love. I held Levi for a while and then Alan took him so we could take care of the placenta and repair tears. When I looked at Alan, he had fallen asleep with Levi on top of him, it was 4 am after all. Levi got his check next and was a breastfeeding champ. They fixed me something to eat and I had a shower. After that, they tucked us into bed and left around 7 am.

- Erika and Alan

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