Labor of Love – Lianne’s Story!

Hi there! I’m Lianne and I blog over at a content housewife.
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I am so thankful to Kelley for letting me be a part of the Labor of Love series! Kelley has been such a wonderful bloggy friend and I love her {and her amazing blogging talents!} to death…seriously, she’s awesome!
Okay, this is going to be a long one. I apologize for those who like a short and quick story. It’s just very difficult summing up a labor/delivery experience!
So here we go…
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It all started on a hot August evening. My hardworking husband had just walked in the door after a long day at work. Before he took his muddy boots off, before he stopped for a glass of cold water, and before he headed to take a shower and wash the day away, he walked over to me. I was standing in the kitchen preparing to prepare dinner in an old t-shirt and jeans with holes in the knees. He took me in his strong (and sweaty!) arms, planted a tender kiss on my forehead and I heard him say, “We are ready. I know that it’s time. I want to have a baby.”
And we cried. Together in the kitchen, tears of excitement and joy flowed. With holes in our jeans and a hard-day’s work covering our clothes, in what could have been considered a not-so-ideal or romantic moment, I fell more in love with my husband than the moment before. We were going to start a family.
Fast forward 3 weeks and 2 short, heart-breaking words later; not pregnant.
This began what seemed like an eternity of confusion and pain as we tried for another 5 months to get pregnant. It brought my husband and I closer together as we relied on God’s strength to get us through a tough time. Looking back now, we know that realistically, trying to conceive for 6 months isn’t an outrageous amount of time. Though in those moments it felt like forever. Questions would run through my mind: “Is something wrong with me?” “Am I infertile?” “Will we ever be able to have biological children?” “Why is everyone else getting pregnant but me?”
And finally, on the lovely morning of February 3, 2011 at 5:30 am, I woke my husband from his deep slumber in tears because I saw this:
I had a great pregnancy. No complaints, really. Although the morning sickness was a challenge. But it was all so completely worth it in my opinion!
Now onto the labor and natural birth story!
The beginning of my labor started around 3 a.m. on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. I was 8 days overdue.
I woke up with an upset stomach. At that point, I didn’t really think anything different was happening. In general, near the end of pregnancy your stomach can feel funny and it’s completely normal. So I went to the bathroom, got back in bed and was able to fall back asleep until 5 a.m.
It was then that I began feeling active labor contractions. I was pretty confident they were the real thing at this point because everything just felt different. If I had to describe the feeling I would say it felt like heavy menstrual cramps at this point. I laid there for a bit and calmly breathed through each contraction. In between, I would look over at my sweet, sleeping husband. I wanted him to rest as much as possible. He still didn’t know that I was in the beginning stages of labor yet.
I finally decided to wake Mitch up about 30 minutes later to tell him that I suspected active labor and that we might want to start timing the contractions. They were starting to come on a little more strongly and more frequently and I really needed my husband’s support! He was awake almost immediately! We pulled up (a great website for timing those consistent contractions!) and Mitch began timing. I labored in bed for the next 2 hours, breathing deeply through each contraction just like Mitch and I had practiced months prior. He would coach me through each one, rubbing my head and telling me how great I was doing. The contractions were now anywhere between 10-20 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds. We continued like this from 5:00 a.m. until 7:30 a.m.
Around 7:30 a.m. we decided to call our midwife, Jackie, and let her know what was going on. She told us she was heading to the birth center shortly. She knew we wanted to labor at home as long as possible so we decided that we would head to the birth center at 11:00 a.m., which was the time for our already-scheduled 41 week appointment to have my membranes stripped to help along the labor process since I was 1 week overdue. (Thank goodness that never had to happen!)
She suggested, in the meantime, that I take a nice warm bath to help with the contractions. So that’s what I did. Mitch drew me a wonderful bath, helped me in, and sat next to the tub with the computer to continue timing those contractions! One of the greatest things about laboring in the water was when Mitch would pour water over my belly during a contraction. It felt as good as good can feel when you’re in the middle of a contraction!
My husband was so great! Not only did he pour water over my belly, but he made sure the water stayed warm, he played a few episodes of “Whose Line is it Anyway” on the laptop for comedic relief in between contractions, called family to let them know we were for sure in labor and sent texts out to the friends on our “Labor” group list, vacuumed the rug in the living room, picked up what little clutter was in the living room (he wanted me to be able to come home to a clean house and did such a great job making sure that happened!), recorded a few videos documenting what was happening for our Lydia to see in the future, and packed the car with all our bags…all the while coming back in the bathroom to be there with me through each contraction as I hummed through them. Making a humming noise seemed to help me get through these contractions. Our sweet cocker spaniel, Duke, also came in the bathroom and laid down right beside the tub.
The look on his face was full of worry. He knew something was going on. It was strangely comforting for me to know that my dog was picking up on the fact that I was experiencing something uncomfortable and that he was concerned. He didn’t leave the side of the tub the entire time.
I stayed in the tub for most of my labor at home because it was the most comfortable since I was experiencing a good bit of back labor. At one point I got out of the tub to try laboring in the bed or on the birthing ball but I quickly decided those methods weren’t working for me! I could not get comfortable at all so I got back in the tub. My labor in the tub was from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., Mitch told me it was time to get ready to leave for the birthing center. He helped me out of the tub, got me dressed, and held me as I would lean on him every time I had a contraction, which were now at this point anywhere between 3-5 minutes apart lasting almost 45 seconds to a minute long.
It took me a little longer to get out the door because I was having contractions so quickly. At one point, I remember making my way to the garage but having to stop to lean on the kitchen counter through a contraction and I look up and see a man standing at our front door. I told Mitch, “Uh, there’s some man at the front door” and he ran out the garage door and yelled, “My wife is in labor and we are leaving!” Mitch didn’t even wait for a response from him but ran back in the house and helped me to the car. Thankfully the man quickly left. Now that I think about it, it was kind of funny. We rarely ever have salesmen come to our house and the one time we do, I am in labor!
So it’s almost 11:00 a.m. and we are driving to the birth center, which is about 5 minutes from our house. Sitting in the car and having contractions that are now 3 minutes apart was pretty uncomfortable. We were passing cars and I am deeply breathing through each contraction and I’m sure I looked silly! But I did not care. If there was ever a time in my life that I did not care what any one thought of me, it was now! We arrived at the birth center, got inside after stopping for a contraction on the steps. Jackie took us in the exam room and checked me. I was 5 cm dilated and 100 % effaced. She told us they were preparing the green birth suite for us (the birth suite I was hoping to deliver in!) and I could go ahead and get comfortable in there.
Here is one of the few pictures we were able to get while I was laboring. I’m seriously setting aside my pride by showing you this picture! This is me sitting on the birthing ball after a contraction.
They asked if I wanted the tub to be filled and I quickly said yes! Mitch brought all of our things in the room and as soon as the tub was filled I got in. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart now and lasting around a minute to a minute and a half. I labored in the water for 2 hours. We’re pretty sure that this was also when my water broke…at some point during the time I was in the birthing pool.
During this time, Mitch and I were alone in the room and able to labor by ourselves. My midwives would come in occasionally and check Lydia’s heartbeat and make sure we were ok and then left us alone. That was so great! The freedom we had was incredible! Mitch continued coaching me through each contraction, making sure I was breathing deeply and relaxing as much as possible in order to let my body do its thing! He put cold cloths on my head and changed them out every few minutes. That felt amazing! He fed me energy bars and made sure I was drinking water after each contraction. He held my hand, rubbed my back, and kept my hair out of my face while I moaned through each contraction. It helped me to moan because I was able to imagine rising up and over the “wave” of the contraction. I would make eye contact with him and he told me how much he loved me, how great I was doing, how proud of me he was. I may say this a million times throughout this story, but my husband was beyond amazing. Without him, I could have never done natural birth! He was so prepared for this! He had studied natural childbirth and the methods used for labor and it definitely paid off! My heart is still overfilled with pride and and an unexplainable new love for my husband!
At some point in those 2 hours, the midwives asked Mitch if he wanted some lunch. They ordered him pizza, Mitch’s favorite food! That made me happy because I wanted Mitch to have as much energy and rest as he could get! He stepped out of the room to eat and was back rather quickly. He later told me that it was extremely hard to leave me but he knew he needed to eat before the real deal began!
I guess it was around 1:00 p.m. when Jackie checked me again and I was 8 cm dilated. I couldn’t believe how quickly everything was going! It was at this point I looked at both her and Mitch and told them I can’t do this! With much love and support, they both assured me that I could…and they also both knew that was a signpost signaling transition and that I was close to delivering this baby!
She told me to trust my body and that if I felt the urge to push to go ahead. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that I began to feel that urge! I flopped over to my hands and knees in the water and my body naturally began to bare down. It was pretty crazy how I couldn’t stop the feeling of my body needing to push! So I began pushing a few times but couldn’t get comfortable. Jackie suggested another position or getting out of the tub. We tried both and the next thing I know I’m in the bed.
Since our pictures are scarce and few, here is a picture of the room I delivered in, courtesy of the birthing center we used.
Lisa, the second midwife, was in the room now. I’m assuming they were preparing to deliver this baby very soon. With my next contraction, I felt the unbelievable urge to push! It was so strong. So I pushed. I can’t describe the feeling when you are finally able to push. It’s like you are finally able to do something about all these uncomfortable contractions you have been having and it feels relieving! I didn’t mind pushing. It wasn’t uncomfortable for me.
After an hour of pushing, my midwives checked me. They were noticing that Lydia was struggling to get through the cervix. So on the next contraction, they checked me again. And here is where things got tough! My cervix was completely dilated but when I would contract, the left side would swell. This made it difficult, if not impossible, for Lydia to get through. My midwives told me that I was going to have to suppress the urge to push right now because if I kept pushing it would cause my cervix to swell even more. This would mean I could possibly have to start all over with labor because Lydia wouldn’t be able to pass through.
I understood and had read about this happening. I knew what I had to do. I had to breathe through the urges to push like I was blowing out a million candles…pretty fast puffs of air. This was the HARDEST part of my labor. It is extremely difficult to fight the urge to push when your body so naturally begins to bare down. Unfortunately, this lasted for 2 ½ hours. I would breathe through each contraction and “blow out the candles” while making eye contact with Mitch, who was on the bed beside me holding my hand and encouraging me. I was becoming extremely exhausted after doing this for over 2 hours without making any progress. My cervix was still slightly swollen. As the midwife checked me again, she could feel Lydia’s head. Over the course of the next few contractions I worked through, Lydia did an entire 360 degree turn in the womb! She was posterior, then turned anterior, then back to posterior! My midwife was able to feel her head turning at certain points.
And then Lydia’s heart rate began dropping. At one point, it dropped to 80 beats per minute. Jackie and Lisa were so patient with me. They encouraged me and were so loving during these hours. They weren’t very happy with Lydia’s heart rate and asked me to try different positions to see if that would help bring it back up. This is where I look back and am so thankful for these 2 midwives and the birth center. They had me lay on my left side, then my right side, get on my hands and knees, try sitting on what they call the “birthing stool”, they had me doing lunges against the side of the bed, they had me squat, and probably a few other positions I can’t remember! They were determined to try everything they could to help Lydia’s heartbeat come back up and continue a natural birth. Things weren’t getting better and they decided to put the oxygen mask on me so she could get as much oxygen as possible. We finally discovered that lying on my left side was a position that Lydia seemed to like because her heart rate came back up to 120 bpm. Then it dropped again. And I specifically remember Lisa saying, “I don’t like this. If with the next contraction it doesn’t come back up I think we’re going to have to call the ambulance.” I did not want to go to the hospital. With the oxygen mask on my face, I looked at Mitch and began shaking my head and began to cry. I remember him looking at me and I could see the hurt in his eyes. He knew there wasn’t much else he could do. He also knew that we had worked so hard to get to this point and we were so close that the last thing we wanted was a trip to the hospital.
I don’t know how I was aware enough to notice this but I am so thankful that I was…I looked back to Mitch and said, “Is this thing even on?” I was referring to my oxygen tank, which I was pretty confident wasn’t working anymore. With a stern voice, Mitch asked Lisa the same question and she said, “Well no it’s not. It’s empty!” They quickly brought in another oxygen tank and almost just like that, Lydia’s heart beat was back up.
She said she was okay with her heart rate at 120 bpm and we continued on…I was still having to fight the urge to push through all of this!
Finally, one of the midwives was able to push my cervix over Lydia’s head with her fingers and we were able to move on to pushing! Thank the Lord!
By this time, it was 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. when I began to push. I was so worn out from fighting the urge to push. Mitch gave me some Gatorade and some of the energy bar in between contractions and I guess that gave me a boost of energy!
Lydia was posterior. This means she was in a position that was going to make the remaining part of my labor and then delivery a bit more difficult. Instead of being face down, she was sideways which meant was going to be delivered “sunny side up”, or face up. This makes back labor much more intense. And I definitely had a lot of back labor! Mitch was great about massaging my back almost the entire time (again, another exercise we had practiced in advance) . His hands were SO sore afterwards but he didn’t care in the moment! He was willing to do whatever he needed to in order to help me stay as comfortable as possible.
So because Lydia was in this more difficult position, this made the pushing stage last a bit longer than it normally would have. And it was just another hurdle I had to get through which added more exhaustion on top of what I was already feeling after the whole “swollen cervix” deal! I pushed for almost 2 ½ hours. But it felt so good to be able to do something with the contractions I was having and knowing I was closer to meeting my baby girl!
There was a point where my contractions began to slow down. In order to get them moving along again, my midwives had me drink black cohosh to help kick the contractions back in gear! It wasn’t the best tasting stuff but I was willing to do anything at this point! I wanted to meet my Lydi-girl!
Okay, so it turns out that I have a narrow pelvic bone. Which made Lydia’s delivery even more of a challenge because of her position. So, because of this, I had to try pushing in all different sorts of positions. After trying a few, the most comfortable and successful was lying on my back with Mitch behind me supporting my legs. And then here’s the funny part.
Because I was so worn out from fighting the urge to push for so long, I didn’t have much energy to actually push when it counted! So to help me get a good push, I had to use what we call the “bungee cord”. The ends looked very similar to what a water skier holds onto as they water ski behind a boat…and then with a “bungee cord” connecting them. I grabbed one end and the midwife grabbed the other She stood at the end of the bed and pulled opposite of my pull while I pushed…all the while I was reclining on Mitch behind me while he held my knees. Oh my, what a sight, I’m sure!
But it worked! Within one push, she was crowning.
Oh, the ring of fire! It sure does live up to it’s name! But not for long! What got me through those few seconds of “burning” was being able to reach down and feel Lydia’s head…her head full of hair! Mitch was on the verge of tears as he looked at me and said, “Baby, you’re almost there! I can see her head! Oh my gosh, I can see her head!”
And with one more push, Lydia was born!
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And immediately placed on my chest, umbilical cord still attached and pulsing! And I have never felt so many emotions in my life! An intense love for, not only my new baby girl, but my husband as well. Talk about falling more in love with him. Jeez. Then I felt relieved it was all done and Lydia was our arms. The midwives checked a few things while she was on my chest and then left the three of us alone to bond. Within 30 minutes, Lydia had latched on and was nursing! Amazing!
It wasn’t until about an hour or so later that the midwives came in and weighed her and all that jazz. Which by that point, I was able up and walking around so she wasn’t very far from me! I got a nice shower and then the family (some of who had been waiting since that afternoon!) stopped in to meet Lydia for the first time! The midwives asked that no one else hold her so that she could bond with Mitch and me as much as possible.
And then we went home 4 hours later!
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First diaper change!
Proud daddy!
And here she is in the dress my mom, my sister, and I all wore home when we were born! I figured it was only appropriate that Lyd get to wear it, too!
Had we not practiced the natural birth methods months before Lydia’s arrival, I’m not sure if I could have delivered naturally. We could have never planned for the labor/delivery that we had. If my cervix hadn’t swollen and if Lydia hadn’t been in that sideways position, things would have probably gone much faster and smoother.
I am so thankful for a husband who educated himself and prepared as much as he could for a natural birth. And for being my #1 coach through it all. Before we left the birth center, the midwives declared him a legend around there…saying they don’t see many fathers do what he had done! We opted out of having a doula because Mitch wanted to play the roll and felt confident that he would do it. And boy, was he right! He was perfect. More than I could have ever asked for.
And I think I will always kick myself in the rear for not getting a photo of the three of us together that night Lydia was born. But the next day will have to do.
Now my sweet girl is nearly 7 months old.
And she blows my mind every day!
If you want to see more if this cutie, feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Webstagram where I’m always updating with pictures!
Hey yall! I'm Kelley - a work at home mom to two rambunctious kiddos. I absolutely love creating new recipes to share here on my blog - the Grant life. When I'm not cooking up a storm in the kitchen, I am wrangling the kids, showing houses as a licensed REALTOR and practicing my photography. Thanks so much for following along with us!

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  1. says

    So twitter actually does help you meet people :-) Jennifer from TX introduced me to you on twitter! Glad to meet another fellow TX blogger friend! I feel like there aren't many here, but all up north, so I get excited to meet new friends from TX. because it seems more realistic that we may meet in person one day! :-) Anyways, I am a new blog follower of yours and will def. be stopping by for visits for now on!

  2. says

    You have a great memory for all the details of childbirth! I am intrigued by the bungee device…and how resourceful of your midwives trying everything to help your labor progress. That's dedication! Beautiful baby and beautiful family!

  3. says

    I loved reading your birth story! It is incredible how supportive your husband was. I think a lot of husbands want to be but just don't know how. All that practice you both did sure paid off. :-) I'm so glad the days of the husband nervously pacing in the waiting room are over!

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