I am finally sitting down to share Caleb’s birth story. The pregnancy, labor, and delivery were hands down one of the best experiences of my life. To be able to grow, carry, and deliver another human being is truly amazing and I am still in awe of the entire process and my body. We have been blessed beyond measure by our son and we give all glory to God. Our prayer is that we would be able to raise him up to know the Lord.
Before anyone thinks, “She is tough for the whole natural delivery thing.” Let me just clarify one thing. Tough is spending most of the pregnancy away from your wife. Tough is being across the globe while your wife labors without you and still being supportive through the entire delivery via Facetime. Tough is only getting to spend two weeks with your newborn son and then leaving again to return when he is four months old. That is the definition of tough.
And So It Begins….
I went in for my 36 week appointment with everything going swell. The pregnancy had been great so far and I was fully expecting to go to term if not go over. I met with a different midwife that day as was my plan the entire time to meet as many as I could since you didn’t know who would deliver you.
I did not like going to the OB appointments. If I could have had a home birth I would have, but we came to the compromise to go to Evan’s Army Hospital to deliver. That day the midwife was running late, the nurse couldn’t find my chart, and the blood pressure machine took three times to get a reading. My blood pressure was on the higher side.
My high blood pressure was alarming to the midwife and this I believe started me down the path to delivery. I could have told you why my blood pressure was high, but they only see the numbers. I was sent for blood work and a urine test…then up to be monitored. They were testing for preeclampsia.
Even though the protein level in my urine came back well under the number that would have labeled me with preeclampsia, they still wanted to be sure. They sent me home with a 24-hour urine analysis jug.
So, what is the big deal? From day one, I had wanted a natural birth. I searched for the best hospital that would honor my wishes and help me achieve that goal. I hired a doula to also help support me. When the midwife started talking about inducing me if my protein levels were high- I immediately thought c-section. Inducing increases your risk of a c-section by 50%. Needless to say I was not having that.
I went home and later that I night I had what I call the ugly cry. I had so many emotions going on inside of me. I cried out to God and told him I had no idea what I was doing! I then decided I needed a glass of chocolate milk. Somehow I managed to spill half the glass in bed and it went every where. I pulled off all the sheets and the mattress cover that I had placed on there in case my water broke in bed. I thought I wasn’t going into labor tonight and would have time to wash everything tomorrow….
I was resting in bed when I felt a ‘pop’. I immediately thought, “Oh no!” and jumped out of bed. And water started coming out. I was messaging back and forth with Neil at the time and told him I was leaking! I ran to the bathroom and it just kept coming. This was at 11:30 p.m. and I was not ready! I had not finished packing my bag and there were so many things still to be done…
I ended up calling my friend, Ali, who was on standby if Neil was not here. I let her know my water broke and that I would keep her posted. I packed my bag and started cleaning the house. My contractions did not start for another hour after my water broke. Some time around 1:00, I called Ali to come over. My contractions were picking up at that point, so we called the doula. Emily arrived about 3:00 a.m. and I continued to labor at home.
My goal was to go in practically pushing and that almost happened. We got to the hospital around 4:00 a.m. and I had to stop every so often for a contraction. Once we got up to Labor and Delivery the nurse watched me labor through a contraction. I didn’t want them to check me and they had to admit me since my water broke. They decided to put me in a room finally.
The next few hours I labored with my awesome support team. I had not met the midwife on duty when I was admitted and she was not a fan of me. I basically refused almost everything and she had a hard time with the natural birth that I wanted. It got to the point that she just left the room! I felt that I couldn’t deliver Caleb without the midwife there, so I truly believe my labor would have been shorter if I had a different midwife to begin with.
Finally, shift change came. The new midwife was one that I had met at one of my appointments and she was super supportive. I tried laboring in what would be the traditional position for a while and there was no progress. It wasn’t until I got up and let gravity help that things started moving. Also, I was a little scared that my bottom was going to blow apart to be honest:)
The squatting bar was awesome and I wish I would have used it sooner. At one point, before the first midwife left I had her check me. I was at 8 cm and before she left I was fully dilated and she said I could start pushing. I was really confused by that, because everything that I had read said my body would naturally push and that pushing like they do in the movies actually causes more tears…and I did not want that! My body was naturally pushing anyways and I would push during the contractions.
Wow- was labor a work out! I was truly in labor land. I don’t remember much of what went on around me. Once in a while I would come to and then back to labor land. Eventually they had to help me onto the squatting bar during contractions, because I was so tired. The midwife told me I could touch his head if I wanted to. That was crazy. It felt so small, but gave me the extra motivation I needed.
And then at 9:35 a.m. on February 12th, Caleb James Maley, was born into this world. They helped me lay back down in the bed and put him on my stomach. He was absolutely perfect.
I had to have a few internal stitches, because he had his hand on his head when he came out! I didn’t tear otherwise…thanks son for that:) My placenta took longer than normal to come out, so the midwife injected the cord with a solution that brought it out. Honestly, it looked like she had murdered someone with all the blood afterwards.
It was truly one of the best, most empowering experiences of my life. I knew I could do it naturally and am so thankful for all the people who supported me through the entire process. This story could not be complete without a few thank yous to some very special people.
To Neil: My best friend and baby’s daddy! Thank you for sitting for over 9 hours on Facetime and encouraging me through the entire process. Thank you for believing in me and trusting me. I am so thankful we get to do this adventure together.
To My Mom: First off- Thank you for going through labor and delivery for me. Thank you for having such a great attitude towards natural birth and being my inspiration!
To Ali: Thank you for going to all my appointments and holding my hand through labor! Thank you for all the meals and for checking in on us. You were a God send and I will never be able to thank you enough.
To Emily: Thank you for being a wonderful Doula and supporting me through everything! I couldn’t have done it without you.
Caleb, our son, we absolutely adore you. We are so thankful we get to be your parents!