The Birth Interview Project consists of 17 simple questions designed to help mothers process their birth story & share it with others. All mothers are invited to take part in this project. Born out of Joy’s desire to help women discover, process and express the feelings surrounding their birth experiences, The Birth Interview Project strives to offer a platform for mothers and readers alike to share and be heard, to search and to discover, to identify and to heal, and to exhort and remember. The views and opinions expressed here are unique to each woman who takes part in the Birth Interview Project and may not always reflect the values of the blog author.
Hi readers! Here is Beth’s third interview. If you want to catch up and get a little more familiar with Beth, go read her first interview by clicking here and read her second interview by clicking here. Enjoy!
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
I am a mother of five describing the birth of my first waterbaby, 5 years ago after two hospital births.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
I was due July 28th and baby was born July 14th.
What was your baby’s weight and length?
Hannah was born 7 pounds 2 ounces and I don’t remember the length. I know I’m supposed to know but I just don’t.
Please give a brief, one paragraph synopsis of your birth.
I have historically precipitous labors. I also lived 50 minutes from the birth center (with no traffic). My cervix was thinning and dilating well. With this in mind, my midwife and I had decided to try natural induction at 38 weeks. I came in that morning and she stripped my membranes. I pumped and walked. Pumped and walked. I really enjoy walking so this was actually fun for me. My husband does not share my affinity so he decided he would sit and time the contractions.
Things progressed through the day and the contractions built to a steady pattern. I was checked and found to be at a 5-6 cm. My midwife and I decided that once my water broke things would progress quickly. She broke my water and I was allowed in the tub. I can honestly say that the tub was one of the most amazing experiences. I was buoyant so there was no pressure on my tailbone. I felt lighter and much more relaxed. I breathed and moaned through the contractions. I prayed under my breath and my husband sang to me. It was very peaceful.
There was no point during my labor that I felt out of control or overwhelmed. It is an amazing thing to do this work and not feel pain.
When my daughter began to pass my cervix I felt my body involuntarily pushing. I whispered to the midwife in training and my husband that “she is coming.” No one moved. So I added some intensity and structure to my sentence and asked them to get my midwife. She came in the room before they could call for her because she heard my sounds change. She checked me and said, “Beth, she’s right there. You can push.”
I had never heard of someone pushing when they weren’t having a contraction. So I gave it a try. Amazing thing is that it worked and I delivered her head. One more push and that tiny little girl was born. She was so petite to me because she was 2 pounds and 2 ounces LIGHTER than the last baby I delivered.
When Hannah was born I just kept repeating, “Thank you, Jesus.”
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
Backstory: After two medicated hospital births I desired to have a waterbirth. I thought I needed a hospital birth because I had been lied to about my first son’s lung issues at birth. I had been given Demerol within an hour of his birth and this caused his lungs to not function properly. But no one told me this. I was simply told that he wasn’t breathing right and he’d have to be in NICU…for hours…and no, I couldn’t touch him much less hold or nurse him. So I thought I might be endangering my children by not having them in a hospital since I clearly needed a NICU with my firstborn and it would probably happen again. But I read for myself and found out about Demerol and decided that I didn’t need a hospital to give birth since there was nothing wrong with me. This education helped me release the fear of being outside of a hospital.
I also read Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. This book changed my mindset and everything about birth belonged to the Lord. It is a holy thing to be allowed to take part in the birth of children. I am so thrilled that I learned how to pray about my births in a way that empowered me to let go of my control and allow God to use me.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I love giving birth in the water. It’s completely different than pushing in stirrups. I’ve done both and I know which I’ll choose if I am allowed. I loved my husband singing and me being able to pray and not be hindered by medical procedures and staff.
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
I did not like the student midwife that attended my birth. She was too clinical.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
I was surprised that the contractions were strong and effective without being painful. I was surprised that I pushed and she almost crowned without anybody really noticing.
In reflection, would you do anything differently, either before the birth, during or after?
I bled a little after this birth and I would have rather had less blood so I could have waited a little longer to clamp the cord. I have since learned more about herbal preparations so I now use red raspberry leaf like it’s candy.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
I remember that my husband got laid off two months before I was due and he got a call while I was in the tub. So knowing that I labor very quickly I told him to take the call and hurry. I knew it wouldn’t be long. He made it back in time and got that job, too!
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be like?
I really didn’t know that stripping my membranes, pumping and walking would be so effective. I really believe it was a great combination for me in that situation.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
I kept having my husband tell me over and over about the birth. Hearing how proud he was of me was amazing. I just glowed every time he would tell someone how it all happened.
How would you describe your recovery?
My recovery was longer than I would like as I bled for over 6 weeks.
How has your perspective of your birth experience with Hannah changed in the last five years since the first week of having her?
I remember Hannah’s birth very fondly. It was my first waterbirth and I am so glad we found Jeanne and Lynne (Owners of the Birth Center).
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
I can pray. I loved praying scriptures over myself and my baby during this whole pregnancy. Prayer reminded me that God was in control of me and my body and my baby. I don’t have to be in pain during labor. Fear is what causes me to tense up and make labor painful. In my experience, being in quiet and darkness and feeling safe helps tremendously in keeping out of fear.
Would you recommend having a natural childbirth or medicated childbirth to other women?
I recommend healthy women to have healthy babies in a healthy way. Sometimes medication is what allows women to give birth to healthy babies. Natural birth is closer to ideal, I would say. Most people avoid natural childbirth out of fear, in my opinion. Fear of pain. Fear of failure. Just plain fear.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
Some women see internal exams and artificial rupture of membranes pretty close to unnecessary c-sections. To me, every situation is different and educated women can make the decision that is best for their family. By educated, I mean women who have heard and read and seen their options clearly explained to them. I have no regrets about Hannah’s birth. That is a very good feeling.