Olivia’s birth story really begins four years ago when we had our first, Emma. As we planned and prepared for the birth of our first we simply knew that we would do things the way most people do: we would go to the hospital, have an epidural to ease the pain and welcome our new little one into the world.
Our first surprise with Emma was when I woke up in the early morning hours with a horrible pain in my stomach at only 36 weeks. Our second surprise was when the anesthesiologist couldn’t get the epidural in right away and then after many attempts the epi didn’t even work. Our third, and probably most painful surprise, was the treatment we got after I delivered her. Don’t get me wrong, I understand hospitals must have procedures and policies, but when the nurses demand you breastfeed a certain way then tell you that you need to feed your baby a bottle because she isn’t eating well (when in fact the tons of wet diapers proved that she was) it is beyond frustrating.
When we were expecting Paige two years later we decided to have another hospital birth and to be honest, I really hoped that Emma’s experience had just been a fluke. It wasn’t. I didn’t opt for an epi but the whole hospital experience ended up being the same with the same breastfeeding battles with the nurses.
Jump forward two more years. When we found out we were expecting Olivia I knew we were going to have to think outside the box for this one, as I did not want another hospital experience. I was so blessed to come across Holy Family Birth Center and loved it and the people working there right away.
After having one baby born at 36 weeks, and the second at 39 we were not expecting to have one go late, but that is just what Olivia did. On July 10th, 2012 (at 41 weeks and 6 days pregnant) I woke up at about 6:45. I felt frustrated and discouraged because I was feeling good and yet another night had gone by without going into labor. Phillip got up with me and we went out to the couch and prayed together. I was even crying because I felt so good and didn’t feel like she would be coming any time soon. After we prayed I sat and read my bible (this was around 7:00) and then out of nowhere I started having strong contractions. I continued to pray and read my bible for a while but by 7:30 I knew we needed to head to the birthing center. Emma and Paige were both awake, so we got them dressed and took them over to their Aunt Theresa’s to hang out for a while.
We arrived at the birthing center around 8:30 and I spent some time just walking around as I waited for my midwife to check me. When she did she said I was between 6 and 7 centimeters but she thought I could walk around some more while they got the room ready. The contractions started coming stronger and closer together but they were not unbearable. I got to my room and they filled the tub up for me (it was a brand new tub and I was the first person to ever get to use it). I had never labored/given birth in a tub before but it sounded like a good idea since I didn’t have any other type of pain relief available to me. I got in the tub sometime around 9:15.
The water felt great and kept the pain at a bearable level. Once my water broke the pain did become excruciating (to put it mildly) but thank God it didn’t last long. Olivia’s head got a little bit stuck as she came out but within just a few minutes she was in my arms. I’ll never forget that moment when all the pain was replaced by this tiny, purple-ish, soft, wet bundle of baby nestled against my chest. I felt her hands, her feet, kissed her head and thanked God for giving us such a perfect gift. They let me sit there in the water with her, the umbilical still attached, and just bond with her in those first moments of life. She was born at 10:14 am weighing in at a whopping 9 lbs 7 ounces (they didn’t actually weigh her until about an hour later, simply so I could continue holding and nursing her).
My midwife Gina and the nurses were all so amazing the whole time. We got moved to a bed and a short 4 hours later we were given the ok to go home. Phillip and I both agree that this was our best birth experience and we would never want to go to the hospital again.
The midwives had offered to take pictures of the labor and delivery, but I felt self-conscious and asked that pictures wait until after I delivered. I wish now that I had allowed the pictures because I have such fond memories of the whole experience it would have been nice to have those memories in hand forever. For the next one I will definitely have more pictures to show.
I praise the Lord for all of our children and the blessings that He continuously pours out on us.