My birth story begins with a long journey to find the perfect doctor. I knew I wanted a home birth but our finances and insurance were going to be a problem. I started out at my gynecologist who told me that at 16 weeks I would have to transfer because she was no longer delivering babies. I changed over to Dr Leonard, an ob that was supposed to be very natural birth friendly. When I asked her about the use of Cytotec she said she used it and weighs the risk to the benefits. That was unacceptable for me. There is absolutely no way she could possibly justify the risk of me dying. So at 24 weeks I fired her.
I restarted my search for a midwife. I called a lot of midwives and I just couldn’t afford it. But one midwife told me about the Houston Pregnancy and Birth Facebook page and she added me to the group. I then put out a plea for a low cost Doula. Monique Johnstone responded immediately. I hired her as my Doula the same day. I found a midwife that delivered at the hospital. At 34 weeks Chantel told me she was leaving the practice. I asked to be given a female Dr. because I felt very uncomfortable having a strange man looking and touching me down there. Against my will they gave me a male Dr. I was distraught. I called monique and she helped me find a homebirth midwife that would take me and work with me on the financial part.
I met with Shannon Stellhorn the next week and loved her. I called and fired NW Womens Center the next day. It took NW Womens a while to send over my medical records completely. When they did shannon informed me that I tested positive for GBS. She explained the risks and treatment options. She gave me a hibiclense wash to use at every restroom break. Which I did.
I had many false starts with my labor. I started having contractions 4 weeks before my due date. I would have 2 or 3 regular ones then not have any for days. At each visit my cervix was changing. Finally on a Tuesday appointment when I was 40 weeks and 2 days. I had gotten to 80% effaced and 2.5cm dilated. Shannon suggested we strip my membranes since I was getting uncomfortable. I agreed and she stripped my membranes which took me to 4cm. She also had me walk up and down the stairs to try and help my baby move down further. I went out to eat hoping it would be my last eat out meal before the birth. It wasn’t, but my time was near.
Wednesday night I started feeling crampy and my baby was moving like crazy which was unusual. I went to sleep anyway. I woke up Thursday morning at 1230 a.m. and my cramps had turned into regular contractions about 7 minutes apart. I texted my midwife and Doula and they both told me to get some sleep. So I took a bath and ate some ice cream then went back to bed. I didn’t sleep much. I got out of bed at 6 a.m. and called my Doula and told her I was definitely in labor. She arrived around 8 a.m.. Then we called the midwife and she said she would come by and check to see how far along I was.
My husband, doula and I went out for some donuts and were gonna go to target when Shannon called us. She was at our house. We turned around and went home, luckily we were only minutes away from our house. When we got home Shannon was waiting. She gave us the birth pool and instructed us on how to inflate it.
Shannon checked me to see if my cervix had changed since Tuesday. It hadn’t. Shannon re-stripped my membranes. Then left to take her children to her mothers. Monique suggested I try to nap. So we all took a nap for about an hour. My mother-in-law wanted to drop off my breast pump. She arrived about 30 minutes later. We ate our donuts and got ready to go and walk the mall. We walked at the mall for about an hour then we went to Kroger to buy some sugar. I got hungry so we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant Romeros Las Brazas. We ate lunch then went home. When we got home we walked around the neighborhood a bit. My contraction were 4 to 5 minutes apart by this time.
At 4 pm I had my first real contraction. I remember it because it made me cry uncontrollably. My father-in-law and sister-in-law had come to visit around that time. After a few minutes everyone left and we started my birthing journey.
I was contraction closer together now. It hurt but I knew my baby would be here soon. Around 6 p.m. Monique called Shannon and she arrived about 15 minutes later. She checked me and I was 4 cm dilated. I was laying on the couch when she checked me and had a contraction. Contraction while laying down were awful. I don’t know how women could possibly have a natural birth in a hospital.
I changed positions many times to try and cope with the pain. I tried to eat and drink a lot. I was afraid of becoming dehydrated. The waves hurt so much and I had my Doula rub my belly to help with the pain. She applied a heating pad to my back and this helped a bit. My Doula wrapped the rebozo around my belly and would pull my belly up during my contractions. This helped a lot. During my labor I hated having to go pee. When I would go it would make me have super bad contractions.
At 9 p.m. the birth pool was full. Finally! I couldn’t wait to get in. The water was so warm and it helped with the pain so much. Every time I would have a contraction I would call to my husband and Doula to help me. “Help, help, help. Rub, rub, rub” They would come over and rub my belly. Shannon checked me a little while later and I was at 6 cm dilated.
A little after midnight my body started to push at the end of some of my contractions. Shannon checked me and encouraged me to resist the urge to push because I was not fully dilated yet. I was only Dilated to 7 cm. Uggh this was taking so long I thought. I was hoping for a fast labor like my mother.
My contraction were getting stronger and they were coming 3 minutes apart. I was squatting in the birth pool with my husband. He would pour water on my tummy when I would have a wave. Monique made me drink water very few minutes.
A few contractions later Shannon checked me and I was 8 cm. I was starting to get a little discouraged. It felt like I was progressing so slowly. Shannon suggested we break my water to see if it would speed things along. My water bag was really full and it was bulging preventing my baby’s head from fully dilating my cervix. She broke my water and I went back into the tub.
A short time later 4 a.m. I was dilated to 9 cm. Shannon noticed that I had a lip on my cervix so for the next hour or so she worked on getting the lip to go away. She had her hand in my vagina while I would push. It was so uncomfortable. We pushed in the pool for a while then we moved to the toilet and pushed then we moved to the couch. Finally we ended up pushing in the bedroom all the while with my midwives hand in my vagina. Around 6:30 a.m. Shannon asked me to feel something in my vagina. She asked my if it was normally there. I said yes. I had no idea that anything was wrong. Shannon left the room and when she came back she told my that I had a half dollar sized piece of tissue blocking my vaginal opening. She told me I would have to lay flat on my back so she could move the tissue out of the way.
At 7 a.m. I turned over on to my back. It took her 4 contraction to move the tissue. My babys head could finally get passed. My husband put my left leg on his shoulder. Shannon had my right leg on her shoulder and my Doula held the rebozo and I held the other end. We did a tug of war to help my bear down. I was so exhausted I couldn’t bear down without it. About 15 minutes later we were crowning. Shannon told us that I would not be able to deliver the shoulders in that position. I would have to turn onto my hands and knees to deliver the shoulders.
With each push my baby was moving closer. Shannon asked me if i wanted to see the top of my babys head. I said noooo I cant bend. She asked me if I wanted to feel it and I said noooo I cant reach. She grabbed my hand and put it on my babys head. I yelled out Oh My God! My baby really was almost out! When I would push I only had so much strength so I would have to stop and rest. I kept saying I need a break. Shannon said lets have a baby and I said I don’t wanna have a baby. With a few more pushes Shannon said I can see forehead… We have ears. Once she said we had ears I knew I had to push and not stop pushing until the head was out. The contraction came and I pushed. I pushed passed my breaking point. My husband pushed against my leg the Doula pulled the rebozo and my babies head popped out!
Shannon, my husband Chris, and my Doula grabbed my arms and legs and threw me onto my hands and knees. Shannon told me to push so I pushed once and Shannon pulled m baby out. She checked the baby really quick. I asked what it was and she said its a baby. We didn’t find out the sex at our ultrasound. She put my baby up through my legs and I saw it was a boy. I said its a boy! I knew it all along. I became overwhelmed with emotion. I cried out in victory and love. My baby was here, I did it! It was over.
Shannon helped me lay back in the bed and started to wipe him off. She gave me multiple tinctures and tablets to prevent hemoraging. Monique helped me begin breastfeeding. He latched on perfectly. After a few minutes I delivered my placenta. We left him attached to the placenta for about 30 minutes or so. It was getting in the way so Chris cut the cord. It was so white. All of the nutrients had went into my baby.
Shannon told me I would have to go pee before she left so while Shannon cleaned up my baby and did his health checks My husband helped me to the restroom. That is when I discovered that I was unable to walk on my own. I peed and it hurt. My Doula helped shower me. Then I went back to my baby. My sweet sweet Samuel Alexander! 8#8oz 19.15 inches with a 14 in head. Born at 7:37 a.m. March 22, 2013.
My labor was long and hard but I couldn’t imagine giving birth anywhere but at home. My midwife, doula, birth assistant and husband were the most amazing team. I couldn’t have done it without them!