It's 4 months after the birth of my little one and I'm just getting around to writing my birth story. Between work and loving up on this little girl, I haven't had much time to do much of anything. As my husband and daughter enjoy Sunday night football (Go Eagles), I decided to take some time to tell my beautiful story.
My husband and I met in College (UNLV alumni), and have always known we would end up together and wanted children. The debate over the years was how many and when to have them. After getting married in 2010, most thought we would start popping out little ones immediately. However, we had a different plan. We wanted to travel and really enjoy the company of each other before giving our attention to a child. We waited almost 4 years before trying to conceive. It wasn't long before I was pregnant in January 2014. We were so happy that we immediately told our family and close friends. A few weeks later, I ended up in the hospital with a miscarriage. This really took a toll on me emotional and physically. I was scared to get pregnant again and thought that something was wrong with my body. After having deep conversations with close family and friends, I realized that this was actually more common than I thought. My body was fine; God just had a different plan for me and my baby. So as soon as we got the green light from my OB at the time, we tried again. Once again we immediately got pregnant. However, this time around we waited to tell everyone until after the first trimester.
Having a little knowledge about natural birth, I knew I wanted to have my baby with as little to no interventions as possible. So as I proceeded down the pathway of my regular checkups with my OB, things kept getting more and more uncomfortable for me. I started to really think about what my birthing experience would be like and nothing about this was something I willingly wanted to accept. I thought about my sister and how she had her last two babies at home with a midwife in a birthing tub. Up until I got pregnant the second time, I've always thought she was completely insane for making that choice. Although still thinking the choice to have an at home birth was insane, something told me to do more research on this. So I did. Part of my research was watching The Business of Being Born. It was only after watching this documentary that the light bulb turned on for me. Suddenly I knew exactly what I wanted to do. So I called my sister to tell her my decision and to get her advice on interviewing midwives. She was amazing in this area and was able to offer me so much insight on how to pick the right midwife.
I interviewed two midwives, and although I really loved both ladies, there was something about Tiffanie Gonzales that just seemed to connect more with me and my personality. So after a few weeks, we contacted Tiffanie and hired her as our midwife. During this time I also continued to see my OB, because I really liked her as well, but just did not appreciate the design of going to appointment and waiting hours after your appointment time to be seen. Only to find out you aren't going to see the actual OB, but her assistant instead. Although I became very irritated with this design, I kept going until around 20weeks, when I discovered that the assistant gave me the wrong results for a standard screening that would tell me my probability of having a child with a genetic disorder. I remember being very concerned about this and decided that this was the icing on the cake for me. I discontinued my visits and transferred 100% of my care to Tiffanie.
Somewhere around my 32nd week, my baby whom had been head down decided she wanted to flip and now her bottom was becoming wedged into my pelvis. Tiffanie and I talked about what this could mean for me if she didn't turn and we started to map out what I could do to assist my baby. Having an at home water birth was extremely important to me, so I did everything that I could (spinning babies exercises, chiropractic care and lots of prayers). It all worked, because at my 38 week visit the baby finally turned head down and stayed that way in preparation for labor.
Saturday, June 20th at 1am, I texted my midwife (and yes she responded that early). I had gone to the restroom and noticed a light pink color after wiping. I was feeling a few cramps and suspected that I may be starting labor. Tiffanie told me that everything was normal and that my body was preparing for labor. She advised me to try to get some sleep, because I would need my strength.
Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 1am in the morning I began to have surges. They were mild and pretty far apart at this point. I called my mom around 5am to have her help me gauge whether or not these were actual surges. I later called my sister around 6am to advise her that I thought I was in labor. My sister (living 1hr flight distance away) wanted to make sure she made it out for the birth. So she caught the next flight out to come join us. She arrived that afternoon and assisted me with keeping track of my surges.
I texted Tiffanie to give her an update on my surges around 6:30am. I remember my midwife telling me when the surges were 5 mins apart lasting for 1 min, it was time to call her. Prior to calling the midwife, I called for my doula to come join me as well as the birthing tub. I was having pretty bad back labor, so my doula performed amazing counter pressures on my lower back. When I say AMAZING, I mean this was the highlight of my laboring. My doula was amazing. Eventually, the doula called for the midwife that night as I started to progress. Tiffanie and Amy (her wonderful assistant) showed up and began to check me out. I still had quite a ways to go. I remember listen to the Bob Marley station on Pandora as I continued to labor.
My birthing team would periodically offer me food and water, but my body repelled everything that went in. At one point I felt the need to hop in the shower and was happy that I had that luxury. I can recall being in the birthing tub and looking around my bedroom seeing my mom and sister sitting on the floor by my dresser, my midwife and assistant sitting by the door, my doula at my side, my husband sitting on the bed and my dad downstairs on the couch, all patiently waiting for baby Harper's arrival.
The next morning, June 22, 2015, my mom and dad made breakfast for the birthing team. Oh I so wish I could keep food down. It's not every day that mommy and daddy are in your house downstairs making you breakfast. Oh how I miss living at home...lol. Ok, back to the story. I'm not sure what time I began pushing, but it felt like an eternity. At this point, I had been up for over 24hrs and could not keep any food or water down, so my body became weak. I remember wanting to give birth on all fours, so that's how I started out pushing. We realized that this was not effective for me, so my midwife suggested I turn around and put my back up against my husband. The stubborn mull that I am, wanted to still try to give birth on all fours, so I continued to push in that position for a few more pushes. Eventually I listened to my midwife and turned around in a better position. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention my husband was in the tub too. I was actually surprised he was willing to get in (kudos to the hubby).
After several pushes and long grunts the head finally came out. I was relieved because I can't lie that part hurt like *bleep*. The pain was extremely short-lived though. A few more pushes in the entire body was out. Tiffanie immediately put Harper to my chest and we enjoyed a few blissful moment with mommy and daddy still in the tub, as I listened to my family in the background welcoming Harper into the world. My husband got to cut the cord and I pushed the placenta out. At last the joys of being a mother kicked in. My little Harper Lyn Bailey, weighing 7lbs 14oz (21inches long), was born at 9:57am on June 22nd, her actual due date (rare I hear).
I cannot thank my birthing team enough for being so patient with me and allowing me to have the birth of my dreams. I wish all women could experience birth this way on their own terms. My husband and I will be forever grateful to God for bringing Tiffanie, Amy, Maren, my mother and sister into our lives and educating us on our choices and helping us ROCK our first water birth. We can't wait to have baby #2 with these wonderful and amazing women. I promise I will not be so stubborn this time…haha. I know this was long, but I'm a proud woman who feels empowered by her birthing experience. I thank everyone who reads this for allowing me to share my story.