Parts of this story may seem personal, but my goal is not only to share our story, but to empower women to birth naturally and trust and understand the power and strength that God gave women to bring life into this world without the intervention of man and his inventions.
Wednesday night, July 20, Dan and I had one of our best friends, Reyna, over for dinner. She spends a lot of time with us and every night we would joke "is this the night?" When Reyna left, Dan said "Tonight's the night! We'll call you at 3, Rey." I laughed it off…they were both serious!
At 3:35 am I woke up to use the restroom. Since about 38 weeks, every time I used the restroom I would check for my mucous plug before flushing. I turned the light on, adjusted my eyes, and checked the toilet. No mucous plug, but there was blood! Yayyy!! I immediately called Dan's name in excitement. We both knew that this didn't mean much, because labor could still be a week away, but we were still excited. We tried to go to bed knowing that if this was the beginning of labor, we would both need lots of rest. Unfortunately, excitement won and we got little to no sleep. I fell asleep for maybe an hour and got back up to use the restroom at 6:15. Again, I checked the toilet and there it was… the mucous plug! I called Dan in to see it if he wanted. We were really excited, but again tried to get at least another hour of sleep. By 6:30 I was starting to feel some very, very mild contractions! Yay early labor had begun!! I texted Kate, our midwife, to let her know I was beginning to feel contractions. She was excited for us and suggested I go for a walk, and stay hydrated and go about my day as normal. Dan really didn't want to go to work, but I told him to go in for his morning patients. I assured him nothing was happening in the next hour! He knew I was right but didn't want to leave my side. He went in for an hour and a half and then came back home. While he was at work, I went for an hour long walk around the neighborhood. It felt great and I could tell the contractions were getting slightly stronger.
Around 12:00 Dan and I decided to go out and do a few errands. We went to TJ Maxx to see if they had any good nursery decor. While we were there Dan was whistling and the woman that worked there commented that he was a great whistler and good whistlers are usually very calm people. We laughed to ourselves thinking "Yep!...little does she know I'm in early labor!" After that, we decided to grab some lunch at Appetites on Main. We shared a taco appetizer and a burger, and it was delicious! While we were walking back to the car contractions picked up even more and we decided to head home.
We got home and decided to lay low and relax a little. We played a game of Yahtzee and Dan put on one of my favorite movies "50 First Dates." Dan also set up the birthing tub and started filling it. Around 3:00 I decided to try to take a nap. I called Kate to tell her that the contractions had gotten stronger and to ask if a nap was a good idea. She assured me that a nap was a great idea if I could sleep through the contractions. I was still having contractions that weren't that much stronger than my menstrual cramps (which are very bad) so I decided to try a nap. I laid down on the couch and Dan timed the contractions as they came so I could just keep my eyes closed and rest. By 4:30 I was no longer able to sleep and the contractions were really getting strong. At this point I could no longer sit or lay down. I was only comfortable standing or on all 4's. Dan adjusted me which helped a little, but I was still unable to lay down. By 6:00 we decided the contractions were what's called 5-1-1. This means they are 5 minutes apart lasting 1 minute each and this pattern has lasted for 1 hour. We called Kate and she said she would head over. When Kate got to our house at 6:30, I was laying on the chiropractic table in our living room because I was finally able to lie down on my side. I had a few contractions and then she decided to see if I had dilated at all. She told us I was 1.5 cm dilated. Yay! This was exciting news to me. Although the contractions were very strong by this point, and I was hoping for some miraculously large dilation, I was still excited there was any dilation at all. Kate decided she would go back home to get some rest and told us we would probably be having a baby by morning.
Over the next 3 ½ hours contractions grew stronger and stronger. The most comfortable position for me to have contractions in was on all fours with Dan applying tremendous pressure to my low back and sacrum. The contractions were becoming near unbearable and I wanted to get in the birthing tub so badly, but I couldn't get in until I was about 5-6 cm dilated because the comfort and lack of gravity can actually slow down labor. During contractions I kept saying I was going to be sick, finally after about an hour of feeling like I was going to throw up during every contraction, I threw up. We decided to take a warm shower and that helped with the contractions considerably. It also seemed to help the nausea. However, after a while, I could no longer stand in the hot shower and was becoming dehydrated. I was unable to eat or drink anything at all because I was so nauseous, even though Dan kept offering. Some time passed and we ended up getting back in the shower; this time with much less relief. We got out and I began to throw up again. Throwing up and having a contraction at the same time seemed like the most painful thing and I remember crying "this is so unfair!" Dan was very supportive and right by my side through the whole thing. At this point we decided to call Kate, our midwife, and have her come back.
Kate arrived at 10:00 pm. The first thing I wanted to know was whether or not I could get in the birthing tub. Kate checked my dilation and said I had made a little progress. I could tell by the tone in her voice that it was very little. I asked how much and she said "Are you sure you want to know?" I said "Of course! I need to know!" She told me I had gone from 1.5 to about 2 cm. I couldn't belief that these intense contractions could only dilate me 2cm and the look on my face must have said it all. Kate immediately started reminding me that labor is not linear and anything can happen. She assured me that it could speed up considerably at any time. I tried to remember this and stay positive through my contractions but the pain seemed unbearable. I was running low on energy and had thrown up yet again (for the third time). We took another shower and this time there was no relief whatsoever. Kate asked me if I wanted to get in the birthing tub and I think I nearly dove in! I was so excited that I was allowed to get in even though I wasn't 5 cm. Dan later told me that he thought it was a good idea because even if it slowed down labor a bit, it would give my body a break and maybe give me some time to rehydrate and eat something that would give me energy.
I got in the birthing tub around 10:30 pm. The contractions were as strong as ever and getting closer together, but somehow I was much more comfortable in the water. I was getting less nauseous and trying my best to drink as much water as I could. I remember Dan offering me food and thinking "get that crap away from me!" but I did try one tiny bite of multigrain bread. The contractions were so bad that as they were building I would moan "No…no… please make them stop. Not another one!" Kate and Dan reminded me I needed to be positive and welcome the contractions so that I could dilate and relax my muscles. I decided then and there that I was going to be positive and that I was going to do this! I remember thinking to myself "Get over it! You're not dying and you are not the first woman to deliver a child naturally without medication!" From that moment things turned around. Through my contractions I found something to focus on across the room (a banana hanging in our fruit basket on our kitchen table) and I would yell "I can do this! I can do this! I was made to do this! My body is strong!!! I can do this!" I felt so empowered and even though the pain was the worst thing I ever felt in my entire life, I knew I was going to get through it and meet my baby! The contractions were so strong and I was so exhausted that I actually fell asleep between contractions and they were only about 2 minutes apart! I even remember having a dream at one point. As each contraction would begin to start I would open my eyes and was so soothed to see Dan and our dog, Macgyver, right there for me every single time. Neither one of them left my side for a second. Even Kate commented "Wow that dog really loves you. He won't leave you for a second." It was very sweet.
At 11:15 Kate suggested I get out of the water and walk around a little bit to let gravity set back in. I reluctantly got out and tried to use the restroom but was unable to sit without bringing on a contraction. I tried for a fourth time to take a shower and got out nearly as fast as I got in. Dan and I came out from the bathroom and found that Kate had gone to lie down. I asked him to please get her because I wanted to know if I had dilated any further. Kate checked me and Praise the Lord! I had dilated to 7cm!! Even Kate was surprised that I had progressed so quickly. Kate told us she was calling her assistant and going out to her car to get the rest of her materials. I asked if I could get back in the birthing tub and she said sure.
I got back in the tub around 11:45. The first contraction felt similar to the others, but I remember thinking the second one was a lot more intense. On the third contraction I felt something come out of me and had no idea what happened! Kate told me that was my water breaking. I kind of laughed because I had no idea what happened and the sensation was very odd. I literally thought a frog shot out of my vagina! The next 2 contractions were even stronger and on the one after that I felt the urge to push! It was the most unbelievable feeling. The pressure was so intense and the urge to push was undeniable. I absolutely could not believe that I was having this feeling because just minutes ago I was only 7 cm. I remember being scared that I was having the urge to push before I was 10 cm. Kate and Dan both assured me that if I felt like pushing then it was ok to push. The feeling was unlike anything I have EVER felt and I remember just yelling at the top of my lungs but not necessarily in pain. It just was such a sensational feeling. Don't get me wrong I was in an incredible amount of pain, but there was more going on than just pain. It was truly indescribable. On the next contraction I felt the urge to push again, but for some reason I still didn't believe that I was allowed to push yet. It was as if I did not comprehend that it was NOT too early to push. Before the next contraction (when I was more coherent) Kate and Dan told me to push if I felt the urge and it was not too early. I was finally ready. On the next contraction I pushed with all my might. It was an incredible feeling. The baby's head came about half way out, but then the contraction ended. As I was waiting for the next contraction, the baby's head began to go back in. The next contraction brought an even more intense and pressure filled urge to push and I pushed the baby's head all the way out. It was incredible! I was squatting in the birth tub with a head between my legs and knew that I was moments away from meeting our baby. The emotions that came with that knowledge are indescribable. Dan now says that he will never forget the look on my face
during the pushing. On the next contraction I pushed harder than I ever thought possible and as the baby's shoulders passed through, his body followed and I scooped him up out of the water and immediately held him in my arms. Dan was right in front of me holding my hand for the entire thing and the as the two of us embraced our new baby face to face with the baby between us all we could do was cry and kiss and say "We have a baby! We have a baby!" A whole minute had to have passed before Dan asked "Is it a boy or a girl?" We looked down and then looked at each other and said "He's a boy! He's a boy!"
Sylas King Wilson was born at 12:55 am in July 2011. He weighed a healthy 6 lbs 13 ounces and was 21 inches long.
Birthing our son at home is by far the most empowering thing I have ever done. The experience was beyond incredible and too powerful for words even. I cannot thank Dan enough for the support and love he gave me throughout the entire process. And of course I thank my midwife, Kate, for her knowledge, experience, support, and love. I also thank my family and friends for their support and love!