For her first birth, Dana (Dana is a conglomerate of actual women I’ve walked with; not a real person) planned a home birth with a nurse-midwife. Her birth plan was to try to have a natural birth (meaning, no pain medications, and no cesarean). She trusted her midwife to guide her through the process as it was unfolding and believed that her body was made to give birth. She read a Bradly Method book with her husband and listened to every single episode of a birth stories podcast. She was feeling pretty confident that everything would work out well because she was young, healthy, had had a smooth pregnancy, and was praying for a healthy delivery.
She labored well to start, drawing on what she’d learned from Bradley Method, but was surprised that so much of her labor had to happen before her trusted midwife came to join her (she had been counting on her guidance and support and didn’t realize she wouldn’t come until contractions were 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long for at least 1 hour). She got tired and discouraged, and a bit frightened at the intensifying sensations in her body, which she didn’t know how to cope with. She had so many questions and fears about whether what she was experiencing was normal, but didn’t know who to ask. Her husband got tired and fell asleep on the couch, and she wanted to let him rest but she was also kind of mad at him (it was so typical for him to not be there for her when she needed him!).
Cervical checks were discouraging because she was only 3 cm after 12 hours and only 6 cm at 20 hours. She’d not fed herself very well during pregnancy and forgot to eat and drink during labor, too, so she weakened and her baby’s heart tones started to show signs of stress, too. By the time she got to transition, she was already mentally DONE and her contractions had become quite wimpy. Her husband seemed nervous, and she started thinking unexpectedly about how scared she was to become a mom… and she kept tightening up and “running” from the contractions. She told the midwife she wanted to go to the hospital, and the midwife agreed to facilitate that.
At the hospital, she got an epidural and felt herself relaxing and gratefully watched her husband’s relief. Pitocin was administered to enhance contractions and then she slept for a couple of hours but was awoken by the news that her baby’s heart rate was showing decels and that the baby needed to come out ASAP. They told her she was dilated, but the baby was still high up and she wasn’t feeling any urges to push. But laying there on her back, she was instructed to do so anyway. After 30 minutes it was decided that a cesarean was needed and because she was scared for her baby, she readily agreed.
Less than an hour later, she was holding her baby and crying both with joy and disappointment that it had all ended up this way.
When they left the hospital, they stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get some food, cos their fridge was empty. Her husband returned to work after just 5 days and so she jumped back into her normal life activities as well, but breastfeeding never worked out and she bled for a really long time and developed urinary incontinence from a shot pelvic floor PLUS a long recovery from the cesarean scar.
She and her baby were healthy and she was SO in love with her son.
The road to meeting him could have been so much better.
Birth is inherently unpredictable and as a result, sometimes hard things happen no matter how well you prepare. But after going through the Trust God, Trust Birth Workshop, Dana started to realize that her preparation last time had been incomplete. She hadn’t done everything possible to set herself up for the birth that she so deeply desired. And it was time to change that if she was going to have another baby. She WANTED another baby, but she was scared to go through birth again.
So when she found out she was pregnant again, she enrolled in Embrace Birth Journey and faithfully worked through all the lessons, completed every worksheet and workbook, attended every group call that she possibly could, and really engaged with the content deeply over the course of 6 months.
She faced her fears and feelings of inadequacy about being a mother and worked on her relationship with her husband.
She began practicing following her Holy Spirit-infused intuition and got comfortable asking for what she needed and believing that she was worthy of receiving it.
She learned all about the hormones, physiology, and anatomy of undisturbed birth, which made it really easy for her to visualize what was going on in her body, trust it, and surrender to it.
She chose a few pain management techniques to keep in her back pocket and developed a really strong mindset along with affirmations that she rehearsed often.
She grieved over her last birth and opened up to the possibility of a new story.
She put the pieces in place that she would need to allow herself to stay in bed to bond with her baby and establish a breastfeeding relationship and give her pelvic floor time to heal postpartum.
And she leaned into the sisterhood when she needed prayer over an emotional struggle or had a quick question about strategies for coping with morning sickness, or where to find grass-fed liver for her real food diet protocol.
She took full ownership and responsibility for herself and her baby.
When labor started, she moved into the process feeling clear, confident and powerful. Best of all, she sensed the special nearness of God with her.
Her home birth after cesarean (HBAC) was a peaceful, joy-filled event during which she felt supported from the INSIDE by all the work she had done within herself, but also by her husband, with whom she had grown so much more trust and respect during the pregnancy. Her midwife was a wonderful asset, but Dana noticed she didn’t NEED her in quite the same way she had last time. When the pushing stage came and she began to feel nervous, she rooted herself in her coping strategies and reminded herself of her affirmations…and then she cooperated with her body as it pushed her baby out in 3 strong contractions.
It was incredible to feel as if she has participated powerfully in the birth process instead of being powerlessly along for a terrifying ride.
She cried with joy and kissed her husband. They enjoyed a very special week of family rest and togetherness postpartum, eating from her freezer stash and receiving help from family and friends who didn’t ask to hold the baby while Dana was still establishing the breastfeeding relationship.
Everything was different because SHE was different.
She had prepared, holistically, and emerged changed.
The woman who existed before this baby was conceived was a completely different one from the one who was reborn when her baby was born.
This is why intentional, holistic home birth preparation with God as the primary source and care provider makes such a difference. It doesn’t just help you have a good birth, it transforms you along the way.
©Template by roselyncarr // ©photography by brooke collier // 2021 all rights reserved