Annabelle Mae’s Birth
March 3, 2017
Weight: 6lbs 15oz
Length: 21 inches
Pink and Perfect
Anna, my daughter… You and I went through a lot of pain to bring you into this world. Some times I watch you sleeping and suddenly you will have a look of pain cross your expression for a moment and I think “Is she remembering from what it was like from inside? Is she reliving our most recent memory?” It was tough. Tough on me, tough on your daddy, tough on those who were helping us attend the birth (Krystle and Betty). Truly the most powerful thing that got me through it was having this support system and the thought that my little girl and I were working together. We were so STRONG!
“Yeah, our baby is definitely on her way today.”
He rushed home to prepare our home for your arrival. I’m so grateful that he was so on top of things, we were not ready for you yet, girlie… Not totally at least. He had to arrange our room so we could fit the birthing pool in there, finish pumping up the pool, clean up the bathroom and room, all while I getting more and more uncomfortable with the birthing contractions that were setting in.
I called Betty, who lived in Oregon at the time saying, please come as fast as you can! She was 11 hours away… And what was truly ironic was that she was planning on being here the next morning/afternoon! She was planning on leaving Oregon at Midnight originally, but when I called she immediately packed up and was on her way around 6 PM. I was so hoping she would make it to the birth because there was no back up to take her place. Every other midwife we had talked to before was unavailable. The irony is just too much…. I think this was our biggest downfall and what delayed your birth the most, Anna. My body was waiting until Betty got to our home to have you, I wonder if she had been closer and able to get here sooner if we would not have gone through 16 hours of labor… There were many times in labor though that I tried to visualize having the baby with just Krystle and Bradlee there… I know everything would have probably been ok, but I don’t believe that was the Lord’s plan.
Needless to say, it was a very long night ahead of us. And what I most vividly remember was that I was in so much pain, that as a self-defense, my body and mind left this world entirely at times. I would leave the room and everyone in it and just focus on you and me, Anna. The back labor was very intense and was only remedied when I was in the water (bath tub or birth pool) or when your Daddy or Krystle would apply pressure to my hips while I was contracting. Especially when Betty did arrive, I had given over completely to my body and was only able to respond very carefully and in short concise sentences. (Yes, she did make it to the birth! Around 6 AM, and at times the only thing that kept me going was Krystle or Bradlee telling me that Betty was almost here… Though it was a lie a lot of the time. I’m so happy there were no clocks visible while I was in labor, time would not have passed as quickly for me.)
It wasn’t until the moment that Krystle sat me down on our living room floor that I truly felt in touch with my body and you, baby Anna. I was cross-legged and breathing down every contraction as she spoke softly to me and put heat on my shoulders. For the first time, I felt peace in laboring you and drew in the strength and concentration I needed to get through.
I went from tub to bed, to floor, to toilet, hands and knees, crawling, vomiting (one time on Bradlee), vomiting and pooping (simultaneously), rarely on my feet, to doing lift and tucks and other techniques just to turn you… Because like a little stink, you were posterior instead of anterior… And that’s why the back pain was so unbearable. Eventually, and I don’t know when exactly, you turned! I want to say it was around the time that Betty arrived, because she checked me, found me at 10 cm and you in the perfect position. Thank the Lord Almighty, because you would have been very difficult to push out if you hadn’t turned.
Bless your daddy’s heart. He was so tired and stressed during this whole event. We both agreed that with our next baby, we need more people in attendance to help. Whether it be in the hospital or birth center, there needs to be more than just him and Krystle there… They were stretched very thin, and my labor wasn’t giving any of us a break. I think that even with all the stress and fears that came through all this laboring, both your dad and I feel SO empowered now. Because we got through this, we have strength beyond anything we have ever had before. I truly believe it is because we had you at home, and pushed through even when things were rough. Because no matter how rough it was, we were healthy and strong through it all. My body was ready, Annabelle, you were ready… God was with us.
Speaking of our Heavenly Father, one of my biggest strengths during this labor and birthing you was the scripture, Joshua 1:9
“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”
I kept saying my own variation of this to you and me, Anna. I kept saying, “don’t be discouraged, do not dismay, we’ve got this.” The strength of the Lord and angels surrounded us in and bore us up in our trial. This is known. We were not alone. I couldn’t have done this on my own, not without your beautiful spirit to help, and the spirit of those who were birthing with me, and the strength of your father’s spirit.
So, Betty arrived early morning, I was laboring in the birth pool, Bradlee and Krystle were taking shifts either pouring water on my back during contractions or boiling more water on the stove to keep the pool warm. Betty checked me shortly after that, I was 10 cm but there was a lip in my cervix that your head needed to get past in order to have you drop properly into the birth canal. Betty asked if I wanted help in doing this, and I exhaustedly said yes. I had worked long and hard enough! She helped during the next contraction to get you through my cervix, and in doing so my waters broke. We were getting closer!
It was a little while after this that Betty did something I’ll never forget. I was in the pool and starting to get the urge to push. She turned to Bradlee and informed him that she thought I should get out of the water to push. That the use of multiple different positions and gravity would really assist in helping baby drop down easily. But, that was just her thoughts, and she wanted him as the Patriarch of the home to make the decision he felt would be best for us. I loved the respect and spirit that was in the room from this comment. Our primary caregiver and midwife was honoring the father to be by giving him a say in the birth of his child. To act as guardian over me and Anna. I loved this. And I loved that he made the decision and I didn’t have to. He agreed that we would push outside of the water, and I reluctantly and weakly got out of the pool to start the process of bearing Anna down out and into the world.
We tried a lot of different positions in pushing. I would squat, be on my hands and knees, kneel, stand and hold on to Bradlee, but where I got the most progression was when I was sitting on the toilet. Through it all, Bradlee was by my side, and I don’t know if I would have had the strength I had without him. And he was even given the option of relief from Betty. She offered to him to go into the other room to lay down and rest while I was pushing, of which he declined thinking he couldn’t leave me, he was laboring with me. I was so grateful for his perseverance, I know it couldn’t have been easy. And I love him even more for his endurance. (Funny Fact: in the middle of the night and the middle of our labor, Bradlee went to the restroom, and while on the toilet he fell asleep for a couple minutes because of the exhaustion. He told me after birth and I got a kick out of it.)
After toilet sitting and pushing, I had progressed so far that we moved me to our bed to continue pushing and hopefully birth you, Annabelle. I was pushing on my back, with Bradlee on my right holding my right leg and Krystle on the left with my left leg, and Betty front and center giving me perineum support and conducting my pushing. The hardest part of pushing during this time was gathering the strength to keep pushing for ten seconds instead of two. And the most encouraging moments were when Betty was telling me how well things were going and how Annabelle was progressing more and more out.
Before I knew it, everyone was telling me you had hair, and to push a little more, and then to reach down and grab you. In this moment, I was so exhausted that I remember saying to myself, “Really? I’ve been pushing this baby out all this time and doing all this work and you want me to also catch her?!” But in all reality, this was the most amazing part. I want to be able to catch all of my babies. Being the first to hold my baby Belle’s head was amazing. For the first time and holding her to my chest, and hearing her whimper in my arms was beautiful and the best way to complete my pregnancy and transition into being a mother.
Sweet Anna, I want you to never be afraid, whatever you may face during your life, know that the things that are tough and challenging truly only makes you stronger as you tough through it. This is really why we chose to birth you in the way that we did. It may not be how others see a home birth, but it was such an important thing to me to do. It may not be the same with your other siblings, maybe they want to be born differently, and I hope the spirit guides us with each one. But for you, I knew we would be happy, healthy and would mean a lot for you to be at home. Born into our family without intervention, in a world that is getting tougher and tougher on you when you make a choice outside the norm.