Saturday, January 14, 2017


On November 5th, 2016 - we introduced Micah Ray to the world

And now - a year later - I am finally sitting down to begin putting into words the birth story that I waited so long, and fought so hard, to experience.

On this day a year ago was my due date - October 25th. My sister came to town for three weeks, from October 14 to November 1, in order to be around for baby's arrival. We waited, and waited...and waited patiently, but this baby was not in a hurry. After a wonderful visit, my sister packed her bags and headed back home to Michigan on November 1st with a baby nowhere in sight.

Needless to say - I was becoming extremely uncomfortable.

But I was determined to let this happen naturally. To ride the waves of uncertainty. My midwives were extraordinarily supportive, scheduling me for a C-Section date at 44 weeks! (with non-stress tests after 40w of course)

So, I waited until I simply could.not.wait.any.longer. On Wednesday, November 4th, 2015 - I broke. I sat on the floor of my shower with Jonah in my lap as I screamed and cried and told God that I was tired and angry and just cut me open already. Then, I watched some affirmative birth videos (you know, those ones where the woman breathes out the baby and appears to be in absolutely no actual pain whatsoever), determined that was how this birth was going to be, and laid down to take a good, long nap.

When I woke up, I was mildly contracting. I picked up Phoenix from school and went about my day distractedly. We went to church for kids groups, where I began to count my contractions with a friend as we sat in the nursery with Jonah. As the contractions regulated between 3-5min apart and 1 minute long, I began to think this might really be "it" - so I snapped my last pictures with my two kids before their new baby brother or sister arrived.

A wonderful friend who was at church with us agreed to take the kids with her for a sleepover; so we packed them up, and they were off. I figured that - at the very least - this would get me a decent night's sleep.

We went to get gas, just in case we did have to make the middle-of-the-night drive down the the hospital, and then went home. As I continued to contract regularly, Nick and I sat in the living room and chatted. It was so nice - the quiet, the dark, the conversation. The stillness and simplicity of the moment as I bounced on my exercise ball and breathed through the mild contractions. And suddenly, there was pressure, and - BOOM - water. Everywhere.

this was it!!!
It was all just so simple. I changed my clothes - Nick cleaned up the carpet - we packed our bags. We walked to the car, giddy as school children, and I texted our parents. We turned on some worship music and held hands as we drove down the empty freeway to the hospital 45 minutes away. It was a beautiful, crisp, clear autumn night - about 10pm. I closed my eyes during the still-bearable contractions and enjoyed each moment with God and my husband.
As we arrived at the hospital, I was still laughing and chatting in between contractions - but the waves themselves were demanding all of my attention as they came. The midwives never checked me - they simply sat back and watched me do my thing as they completed the necessary registration paperwork and bloodwork. The training midwife, Michelle, sat closeby and massaged my back and hips during each contraction. Nick never left my side. Not too long passed before they informed me that the tub was ready - so off we went to labor in the water. I believe this was just a little before midnight.

Once I got into the water, it was like a switch was flipped - or the world exploded. I completely lost it - I screamed like a dying animal during each contraction, which were basically coming one on top of the next at this point. I clutched the sides of the tub and gritted my teeth as I screamed "No I don't want to do this anymore!". In between contractions, I basically fell asleep in exhaustion. Nick held my hand and the midwives ran about, giving me sips of water and reassuring words. The lights stayed low and Hillsong sang 'Oceans' in the background. At one point - I screamed Jesus' name. Literally screamed, as if I was being stabbed, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!". It was sacred in a messy, real way. Quite honestly, I'm not sure how any of the people in the room refrained from laughing a little bit....
Suddenly, the head midwife Agnes arrived and began draining the tub to prep me for pushing. I tried to convince her that I surely wasn't that far along yet, something was wrong, and I needed an epidural STAT. But she stayed calm and confidently assured me that yes, I was indeed that far along and would be pushing this baby out soon (and she still had not physically checked me yet). The natural wisdom of this experienced and loving midwife was the only thing that held me together during transition. I trusted her judgement and got out of the tub, moving to the toilet for a few contractions before heading onto the bed to begin pushing.

It didn't take us long to find a pushing position, as Agnes handed Nick a towel and taught us a game of "tug o' war" that encouraged natural pushing. It worked like a charm! As we worked together for a few pushes, my body suddenly took over and began pushing on it's very own. This was a crazy and amazing experience - I liken in to the projectile sensation of vomiting - as my body completely took over to get the baby out of me.

This was the one and only time the midwives physically checked my cervix - to be sure I was fully dilated. Two contractions later, the head was out. One push after that and I had a tiny little newborn laying in between my legs! I tearfully announced ...
It's A Boy!!!
And they immediately turned me over and laid him on my chest. We cooed and awed over our new baby boy while the midwives cleaned me up...Nobody but me touched him for an hour. I counted his fingers and toes, I helped him play around with nursing, we discussed names and exclaimed over how tiny we thought he was.
Over an hour later, the nurse weighed him.

 Nine pounds eight ounces.
My unmedicated VBAC baby was my largest baby - a whopping 2 lbs larger than my c-section baby!

It was worth the fight. It was worth the hard work. It was worth the 2-weeks-past-due-date wait.
The experience was truly amazing, truly spiritual, and truly beautiful.
And the parenting journey now, with 3 little munchkins, is all of that and more.
Signing out-