Olive Darling: A Birth Story
As I am sitting here to write this I have a tiny Olive next to me, with her birth song playing I'm filled with so many emotions. (her birth song is above) Olives birth was the most beautiful thing that could have happened in the worst possible scenario. I don't want to focus to much on what had happened but want to explain how we saw our birth and what we prayed and heard from Jesus about her birth. How it all went... terribly out of our hands and how the holy spirit literally intervened and gave me everything I hoped and dreamed for our birth in an adjusted way.
We had planned on a home birth for our sweet Olive. I am really passionate about pain free childbirth and all the studies that go with it. When we got pregnant we watched as God put all the tools in front of us to accomplish this because I knew I wasn't just going to show up and be like oh this is a piece of cake! I knew there was a preparation time. We took a hypnobirthing class which I would recommend to everyone, it was a huge part of why my labor was so fast because I was able to stay super relaxed and allow my body to push my baby down. My mom, Austin's mom and our doula were in the room with us. Our doula is a friend of mine named Hannah. When she first said she wanted to be our doula me and Austin were not really for it, We had a plan and felt like thats all we needed. Hannah being the amazing person she is, was super encouraging during my pregnancy and just let me know that if I do decide to use her she would be there and she really thinks she needs to be there in a non creepy way. She would constantly give me words from God about Olive and she was always reminding me that no matter what happened to remember what God has promised me. Once all of this happened we knew exactly why she was persistent and were so thankful that she listened to the Holy Spirt and didn't give up on us.
On Friday the 13th my at home midwife came by to drop off our birth pool! (and also to give me my weekly prenatal check up.) I had been looking forward to this appointment since I was 12 weeks preggo! My blood pressure happened to be high and I also happened to have proteins in my urine. Which I've had the most random stuff show up in my urine this pregnancy so she said not to worry, We would do some labs but this is usually signs of pre-eclampsia. On Saturday we celebrated Austin birthday and tried not to stress about potentially changing our whole birth plan. We ate our way through awesome restaurants and just enjoyed each other while I tried about every natural remedy to get my blood pressure down. On Sunday we met with my midwife again and she said my labs came back normal but I was still having those two symptoms and that we would talk tomorrow but again not to worry. On Sunday night we got the news that she felt I needed to transfer to an obgyn office or a midwife who would birth at a hospital. I'll never forget it, we were in Lowes and I bawled my eyes out in the garden section. I'm talking big huge ugly can't breathe tears while Austin is trying to calm me down. The staff probably thought we were fighting lol... as I'm kept ducking in different aisles to dodge them. I felt my whole world just crash and I literally had no control. We still didn't even know what pre-eclampsia was and were super confused as to why I had to go in. I ended up transferring to two midwives that I had heard about in the birth world and who were recommend for natural birth. It took me a few days to be able to get into their office and when we did they informed us how serious this was. They said they were treating me like I had pre-eclampsia but they could still rule it out, but in order to rule it out we had to go to the hospital and get some tests done. We did an ultrasound in the office to check on Olives size and they had said she was little small, which can be an effect of pre-eclampsia and then she said to head to the hospital and not to plan on leaving without a baby. So here came the big tears again. We literally thought we were just going to an appointment to talk and now I'm being sent the hospital to have baby. There were dishes in my sink!!! Nothing was packed or ready! How could this all be happening? There were dishes in the sink! Her birth playlist wasn't even made yet! Apparently I really cared about the dishes in the sink. I had only met one of the midwives at the office and she said the other one would be coming to the hospital the next morning to meet me. She said they really cared about my mind body and spirit not just transferring me. They understood how traumatic this could be for me and wanted to make it an easy transition. She said they were super passionate about creating a home birth atmosphere in a hospital and were there to support me any way they could while keeping me and baby safe.
When we got the hospital they watched my blood pressure and collected my urine for 24 hours. My blood tests kept coming back completely normal which usually if you have pre-eclampsia it shows up in your blood tests right away. We felt so many emotions. At this point we just wanted to meet our little girl. We wanted everyone to be safe and healthy and if her staying inside of me longer wasn't healthy we just wanted to get this show rolling. We met the other midwife in the morning, and I fell in love with her! She said they were still trying to rule out pre-eclampsia and how great would it be if I could go home and still have the birth I wanted so not to jump to wanting to be induced just yet. That evening was the 24 hours and she came back to the hospital to inform me that even though my blood tests were normal that my urine results were triple the amount over the danger limit and that they would need to induce me now. This is the hard part, I was okay with having a hospital birth at this point because I could still do all of my hypnobirthing and positions and the staff was very open to all the things I wanted to do and I could labor in the tub. But she informed me due to this condition they needed to put me on magnesium and a catheter. On top of that, the magnesium will make me feel like I have the flu and weak and I wouldn't be able to get up so I will need to wear these dumb legs pumps that will keep my circulation going. When she left the room I told Austin we needed to run, we needed to leave the hospital right now, that we can't do this. My very worst fear from day one is that I was going to be pinned down to a hospital bed and now this was my reality. I seriously was trying to figure out ways to escape. Austin was holding me and telling me that I could do this no matter the situation and that he was right there with me every moment and breath of the way.
The midwife came in and induced me naturally. She used a type of artificial sperm and said they would give this 12 hours and if this didn't do it they would have to use Pitocin. I had a blood pressure monitor on, a heart rate monitor and a heart rate monitor for Olive around my belly. To be honest, I felt so weighed down by all of these machines it was hard to accept but then I started having contractions right away every 3 minutes apart. They told me to get some rest and that this could take a while. I sat indian style on the bed and rocked my hips in circles as Austin held my hands and we got into the zone. The contractions were strong but not painful. What was painful was the magnesium going into the IV. It was like someone was burning me! I felt a lot pressure from the contractions but moving my hips in a circle released that pressure and I felt so focused on me and Olive it waste painful. This was after all a team effort and I was very aware of her and breathing her down. Our Doula Hannah got there and she brought such peace to the atmosphere. She reminded me that Olive was coming and to remember everything God has promised me. The nurse asked me if I wanted to take some sleeping medicine since again, they thought this was going to be a longggg process. I said no and wanted to continue to labor. The contractions were still super close together and I felt really great. Hannah and Austin asked me if I wanted to take the meds again a little while later and I said okay to get some rest. Within 10 minutes of falling asleep I woke up freaking out. The contractions were way stronger and I needed to move and find a better position in that stupid bed NOW. I sat at the edge of the bed with my legs hanging over. Those stupid leg machines kept catching me off guard because they would randomly inflate and shock me. My contractions were much stronger and I found a way to move my hips to release the pressure but I was having very intense back labor that i wouldn't describe as pain it was just pressure that I needed to release and very managable. The nurse, was incredible and kept reminding me to stay on top of my contractions and not let them overcome me. She truly worked with my birth team to help accomplish the birth I wanted. I couldn't thank her enough for being so flexible with us. She did say I did need to move position every 30 minutes to try and get olive to move and releases the back contractions. They tried to get me on my side probably 6 or 7 times and I was not having it. I couldn’t find a way to release the pressure from the contractions on my side. I also kept falling asleep, so I would fall asleep and wake up in the middle of a contraction and have to try and move again.Moving with all of those machines and wires was a big process. As long as I wasn't lying still I was okay. They let me try all 4’s, the nurse even let me stand up for a few with people holding me because I just needed to find a way to release my hips. When i stood up I worked my body in a circle and it really helped but I wasn't able to stand up long. Things started to get more intense and I started to fall behind once sitting back down. I felt really emotional about all the machines. I finally found my position. It was on the edge of the bed with my legs up on Austin, my arms over his neck and our foreheads touching. Ill never forget those moments. Austin took every contraction and breath with me. We truly birthed Olive together, I may have taken all the contractions and the pushing but he was with me every moment. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have been able to do it. I could bawl just thinking of how supportive he was, how patient and peaceful each word he spoke meant to me. Our foreheads touching and him whispering in my ear are some of the greatest memories we have. The back labor was still going on and Hannah brought a heating pad with essential oils and some doula tools. They used this scarf looking item to wrap around me and do hip compressions while I was sitting with Austin. When I would lean back Hannah would be there praying with me, speaking peace over me reminding me to stay limp and relaxed. When I would lean forward Austin would be there. My mom helped rub my back and Austins mom was so supportive for Austin and I helping me in any way she could. Both of our moms were there and respected us and our birthing space and stepped in when needed. Hannah and Austin would help me moan through the most intense periods and breathe Olive down. There was a turning point for me. I've heard of this point.. where women notice something changing and want to either run or cave in. I was so frustrated with the situation I just started crying and saying that I couldn’t do this with all of these machines. Hannah encouraged me to express it. She asked me to share why I’m upset and to let it all out. I literally sat there and cried about everything, I mourned what we wanted and mourned the reality of what was happening. I cried about all the machines and called them stupid multiple times. I asked for an epidural just so I could get rid of all these machines (even though it would have just brought more machines lol) Austin looked at me and told me how amazing I was and that I could do this and reminded me how much I did NOT want an epidural. Hannah told me I could get one but to remember what God had promised me. Hannah prayed with me the whole time and spoke words of encouragement over me. She kept telling me to breathe baby down and would relax her shoulders and it really helped me relax my shoulders. I don't remember asking for the epidural again and then before I knew it my water broke. Not gonna lie, it scared the shit out of me. It went everywhere and I was so shocked I didn’t know what happened. The nurse came in and said that I was 10cm dilated and she called the midwife.
Pushing, you guys pushing is the best thing that ever happened to me..maybe a bit over dramatic. Once my water broke my contractions went to every 15 minutes and then pushing felt relieving. I finally caught a break since my contractions started about 3 minutes apart and stayed that way for 7 hours. Now I wouldn't describe it as pressure, the only word for it is relieving. Once our midwife got there she said she was so surprised but so happy for me. They let me try squatting and all 4’s but I didn’t like any of that. I ended up on my back , which again was one of my worst nightmares but it was the best position for me at the time. I kept throwing the little finger monitor off my finger and nurses kept putting it back on. At this point there was a change in shift and the sweet nurse who was with us all night ended up staying past her shift just to make sure everything was okay. I’ll never forget pushing. It was pitch black in the room I had all these people around me encouraging me and I kept falling asleep. I would literally fall asleep and wake up push push push and fall back to sleep. There got to a point where I started crying because I felt bad. I kept telling all the staff sorry that it was taking a long time and they would all tell me that I was doing great and not to say that just to breathe my baby down. I remember looking around the room and feeling like I was in some strange movie. Like I was me, but I wasn't me. When I started getting upset because she wasn’t crowning the midwife started using essential oils on my pressure points (because she's amazing) and encouraging me to push more than 3 times with every contraction. She brought in a mirror so I could see and maybe it would help and it scared me! hahah Austin laughs because I looked in the mirror and felt so horrified that she hadn’t crowned yet Austin just moved it right away. I kept thinking she was crowning and when she wasn't I'd get so sad. Austin was on one side of me and Hannah was on the next and Hannah was fully in my boobs every contraction, I would be sitting up and when the contraction would come I would go back down and press her into my boobs! She was such a trooper, I didn't realize I was doing that until after Olive was born. I could hear her praying under her breath and there such peace in the room everyone was so gentle and soft. Nothing felt rushed or like an emergency. I started to get exhausted and they gave me some oxygen and I went from pushing 3 times with each push to about 6 or 7. I was determined. The midwife was so reinsuring and used about 5 bottles of oil to massage Olives head and allow my skin to stretch. I didn’t tear at all and I owe it all to her allowing my body to stretch and her instructing me how to push without being invasive. No one was sitting there telling me to push they just said to listen to my body and push with my contractions. At this point my mom had switched with Austin so he could go catch Olive. I didn't realize why they had switched and I just wanted her out and out now because I was tired and tired of falling asleep and waking back up and her not being there. Austin switched back with my mom and held my hand and I gave about 2 more pushes once she told me to change my breathing and pop olives head finally came out and then the rest of her body with one last push. She was literally crying before her body even came out of me and was placed instantly on my chest. She was attached to her cord until it stopped pulsing and when they placed her on my chest she grabbed Austins finger right away. She knew exactly who we were and that we were all 3 meant to be together. The most unpleasant part about pushing was my placenta. It was so uncomfortable and I was so tired I was like screw this placenta! When it came out everyone in the room said it was the coolest one they’ve seen. Austin said it was royal blue and red. I didn’t get a chance to look because I was feeling my baby on me and crying but the other midwife who encapsulated it for me did a painting of it! yup, I’m one of those weird people who is totally going to frame it and hang it with Olives art work in her nursery. It is after all what kept her alive.
After all was said and done I pretty much had everyone of my worst fears thrown at me and they were met with such peace. When I said it was like a movie and that I wasn't myself but I was I believe it was because the Holy Spirit's presence was so strong in that room that nothing else mattered. I had so much support from every single person in that room. Our moms, the nurses, our amazing midwife, Hannah and Austin and Jesus. I couldn't have asked for a better situation in the midst of what had happened. It's something I will cherish forever and not just because it was the birth of our daughter but for how present Jesus was from day one. For everyone he put into our path with encouraging words. His hand was in it all and by no means am I saying he gave me pre-eclampsia or that it was his fault for any of it. God is good all the time. He doesn't bring pain or suffering but you better bet that in the midst of the bad Jesus will be right there to walk you through it and make it beautiful again.
I chose not to share pictures from the hospital because one, I was naked in about all of them. But also because they are just so special to me and I want to keep them just for us.