This story is a long time coming – 8, almost 9 months. This is Adley’s birth story, and it has taken a long time for me to put this down in words. Her birth story was so much different from any of my other babies.
I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Aside from the fatigue that I couldn’t shake, everything was within the ranges of “normal”. Her’s was a pleasant pregnancy, with no morning sickness, even. Our biggest frustration was that my benign umbilical hernia decided to become a problem around 16 or 17 weeks along. It would pop out and become so painful that our only option was the emergency room to get it reduced.
My midwives promptly sent me to Dr. Watson for taping to help support my growing belly and keep the hernia in place. It took trying a couple of patterns to find one that held things in place, but his patience and dedication really helped me through the situation and kept me out of the ER. I also used chiropractic care as part of my wellness routine during this pregnancy. (Such a good idea. If you’re in the OKC/Mustang/Yukon area, you need to see Dr. Watson at Wellspring Chiropractic, whether pregnant or not.)
A couple of months before Adley graced us with her presence, my husband and I went through a really tough time in our marriage. Our relationship was tumultuous and I think part of the delay in writing her birth story comes from the place that it’s hard to admit that I didn’t know if we would even be together on her birthday. My emotions were all over the place. Honestly, the roller coaster that was this time could be a blog series of its own. Suffice it to say, life didn’t feel fair and I felt unsure of everything at the time.
As we got closer and closer to Adley’s arrival, I wasn’t sure if I was ready. The less ready I felt, the more cantankerous my body became – we’re talking prodromal labor for days folks. I’ve always thought birth should be a night-time occurrence (and my 2 home births before Adley were at night, solidifying this idea in my mind). So, as contractions would ramp up in the evenings, I’d stay awake on my birth ball and walking around my house and kneeling by the bed swaying, trying to work Adley down, out, and into my arms. 1 am would roll around, things would fizzle out, I’d get half a night sleep, then the next day would be difficult to face.
This started around 38.5 weeks. She wasn’t born until 40w 3d. Midwives are amazing at listening to the things we don’t say, and while I tried to keep to myself about everything going on in my marriage, they knew the hurdle to our birth was emotional. One of my midwives is one of my dearest friends, so at some point I confided in her about what was going on. She sat down and told me this baby was coming, and I needed to relax, find a way to feel ready, and let her come…that I had to stop holding on to so much.
I didn’t realize until writing this that Adley was born the day after our first marital counseling session – that is no small coincidence. But Adley still wasn’t going to be born the way I had pictured in my head. Most importantly, I wasn’t going to face her birth alone, like I thought I might.
Tuesday morning was different. My sleep had been fitful, like usual, but I was having contractions as the day dawned. These morning contractions were new and unusual, but I began going about my day, trying to get ready to go to the office. My husband has been by my side for 2 home births already, and he had a sense about the morning. He left to go get milk and cereal for the kids, and called our dear friend/midwife while he was out. She promptly called me with several questions. I was sitting on the living room floor, on a big blanket, listening to worship music.
I didn’t think it was anything. The sun was up already, this was just a practice round, we didn’t need to be on alert, and I’d be headed to work shortly. My dear friend said she thought she should drive up and check things out. I was somewhere between really not wanting to put her out for a wasted trip, and being a little annoyed that her and Jimmy both thought something more than the usual practice was going on. She came up to the house anyway.
After assessing the situation and my movements and the length and frequency of contractions, we decided on a cervical check. I was a 5. I still wasn’t convinced. My last two babies hung out at a 3-4 for days. I joined the rest of the family in the living room and continued listening to music and just kind of being. I should have known from my state of mind alone that we were having a baby, but I was really not convinced. The kids presence and concern was reassuring to me, but it was a little loud in the house. I remember being on my knees, leaning on the couch, with Jimmy beside me. He wanted to know what I needed and he was asking if the kids were bothering me. They weren’t, but his stress level was rising, so we agreed to have his sister come grab everybody. The next contraction took me by surprise, the intensity was different. After it finished, I got up, shuffled around the living room, I remember trying to go to the kitchen and deciding that no, I needed to be in my bedroom immediately. The midwives were both back there, with my room ready for baby to come.
Jimmy was helping me and the next contraction in my room was stronger still. I knew, finally. It was our baby girl’s birthday. I remember Nikki checking fetal heart tones, everything was good, I was becoming more uncomfortable. I told myself to be prepared for that feeling that I couldn’t go any further, and to push through. Those feelings always came so close to holding a baby the last two times. I remember looking at the light coming in through my bedroom window – I still thought it was all wrong for this to be morning/day time.
It’s been long enough ago, that the actual times are a blur for me. I wasn’t very focused on the clock. I went from standing to my hands and knees, to leaning over my birth ball. Finding a comfortable spot wasn’t happening, but being draped over the ball and letting is support my weight was helpful.
After a bit of unexpected trouble, resolved at the hands of very skilled and intuitive midwives, Adley was in my arms. While there was fear in the midst of her birth, there was also comfort and relief when she was nestled safely in my arms. Birth is a powerful thing, an overwhelming thing, an empowering thing, and sometimes there is reasonable concern. When her heart rate dropped and one of my midwives leaned in and said “push, now” I felt a deep fear that something was wrong. I feel like I pushed a lot more with her than the two before her, but honestly, she came quickly.
I held her differently, tighter. I held her with relief that can only be felt after a touch of fear. I wasn’t alone in that moment, Jimmy scooted up and touched her little head and kissed me. I felt his relief, I felt the dissipation of his fear. He held her differently, too.
(The medical side of this is: once my water broke, she came very quickly and she had a nuchal cord that was resolved at the perineum. Because she was born so quickly, she needed one rescue breath to get her lungs opened up, then she perked right up. Her APGAR scores were: 8 at 1 min and 9 at 5 min of life.)
If you’re ever looking for the BEST midwife care available, Community Midwifery Services, LLC – of Norman, OK is amazing. I’ve delivered 3 babies, at home, under their loving care. And I’d do it again if I hadn’t gotten my tubes tied.
2 and a half years later, and this girl is a precious little light. She is sweet, curious, and such a daddy’s girl. She is a precious jewel and I can’t imagine life without her. She is fierce and fiery, and wants to things her own way.
Almost 3 years after some of our biggest hurdles, my husband and I are here, still holding onto each other, still reaching for tomorrow together, still navigating this life the best we know how. I am thankful he was with me for her birth, and that he’s watched her grow these last 2 and a half years with me. Winter makes spring a little bit warmer, and while I wouldn’t choose hard seasons to grow who I am as a person, God has always redeemed my deepest pain for His greatest glory, so I remain open to how He can use me.
Adley wanted to meet the sun before the moon, and I love that about her. I cannot wait to see the plans our good, good Father has for this little lady. I am thankful beyond measure that He picked me to be her momma.
Until next time,