The theme of my pregnancy and birth experience with Ginny was *Trust*
At my 30 week ultrasound, we received unsettling news: Ginny was measuring extremely small size and my placenta was potentially segmented. This meant that I would be going in for testing three times a week for the remainder of my pregnancy. It also meant that my delivery was too high risk for the home birth we had hoped for, so I would be delivering at the hospital.
Just as I had trusted in the timing of my pregnancy, I trusted this new path.
In true Divine coincidence, the Midwife I had been seeing for prenatal care, and whom I had developed a strong bond with, had rights to deliver at Mission Hospital.
After weeks of testing and being prepared for the possibility of induction, Hubby and I were due for some serious rest. We decided to send our oldest off with Noni for two nights so that we could have a “staycation” Babymoon.
I knew I had been in early labor for a bit. I had lost my mucus plug, was having irregular contractions and was 1cm dilated and 90 percent effaced at 37 weeks.
On Tuesday, April 3rd, my love and I spent the entire day doing what we do best: shopping at Fashion Island, eating delicious food, and making strangers uncomfortable with our PDA. As we walked hand and hand, we smiled and savored the opportunity to nourish our friendship before our biggest transition to date.
On Wednesday, April 4th, we were relaxing at home when I realized I was bleeding. This is an unwelcome sight for any pregnant Mama, especially with all the concern about the state of Ginny’s wellbeing.
I chose to trust that I would be guided to the best course of action.
My best friend Stevie was planning on taking a road trip from Denver to Cali to be with me for Ginny’s birth, but I sensed she wouldn’t make it in time. I called her at 5pm and said “I think you need to book a flight.” She was able to snag a ticket for the last flight out of Denver at 8pm.
After hours of back and forth with my Midwife, we decided to throw our dinner in tupperware and head to the hospital for monitoring since my bleeding wasn’t letting up.
We arrived at the hospital around 9pm and I was hooked up for monitoring. I’ve never been in a hospital after hours — it felt like a ghost town. I was grateful for the privacy of our suite and the peace and quiet of the hall (with the exception of the moaning first time Mama next door).
I was now 4cm dilated and 100% effaced.
My Midwife, Allison, continued to review the print out from the monitor while we chatted and then lovingly added, “I think it’s time you stop eating your dinner.”
I knew what this meant: she was thinking C-section.
I breathed in — “It is well with my soul.”
It’s important to note here how much I trusted my Midwife. From day one, she had listened attentively, spoken candidly, and honored my values. For the duration of my prenatal care, Allison’s actions aligned with my belief that pregnancy and birth are natural processes and should be approached with confidence rather than fear. I knew that my best interest and the best interest of my baby were at the heart of her practice. Because of this, I was at ease in her care, even as it looked like the path ahead was bumpy.
Happily, Allison returned later to say that baby was looking great on the monitor and we were on track for a vaginal delivery.
Stevie joined Dan and I around 10pm. Me and my two best friends sat in the birth suite chatting, laughing and listening to Kings of Leon. My Doula, Natalie, arrived around 11pm after my water has just broken. I was given a mobile monitor that was taped to my belly so I could get up from the bed and freely move around as I labored. Now that I could eat a little something, Stevie got me an orange flavored popsicle from the lobby. I swung my hips as I raved that it was the most delicious popsicle I’d ever had!
The nurses coming in and out commented on the joy and lightness in the room. They seemed confused when I casually informed them I was having an extra big contraction with a big grin on my face. I couldn’t have been happier — my body was doing the work to bring my baby into my arms.
I remember sweetly caressing my own forearm and saying “I’m so grateful my body is doing such a good job. Thank you body!”
After a couple hours of joyfully dancing through active labor, I turned on my “Transition” playlist and found my position for this intense work leaning over the bed. This is how I would remain through this phase of labor, and where I would sink into a meditative state with the loving hands of my Doula on my low back and the hands of my sleepy husband in mine.
“…Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders…when oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace…”
I sang my baby down. My movements were intuitive, soft and rhythmic. I was alone inside myself, relaxed in the knowing that I was fully supported by my team.
This space, Transition, is thoughtless and beyond time. The room was dim and sleepy and I knew my body needed some nourishment. Natalie gave me a small bag of trail mix and with eyes closed I said, “Yes, this is exactly what I needed.”
My contractions were powerful and frequent, so I woke up my husband so he could accompany me to the bathroom. As a powerful pressure wave approached while I sat on the toilet, I looked up at my husband with a bit of shock and said, “I’m ready to push.”
I just knew it was what my body wanted next. There was no analyzing, no doubting, just a humble following of the very clear cues my body was giving me. My only job was to get out of the way so my body could do her job. I gladly surrendered, knowing she had the wisdom needed.
Dan assisted me as I wobbled from the bathroom to the bed while Stevie left the room to get Allison and Natalie who had both just briefly stepped out.
Without pause, I climbed onto the bed, braced my forearms on a stack on pillows and kneeled facing the wall. This moment will live in my memory forever — it was the one time I felt genuinely scared by the shear force of the sensation building inside me. I stared directly at the back of the bed, and said with conviction, “Dan I need you really bad right now.” He stood to my right with his hand securely on my back and said “I’m here my love.”
I felt the presence of Stevie to my left — the same presence that had stood by me since childhood. I was aware in that moment that the pain she carries from grief doesn’t have a finish line. My pain did. Her courage fueled me. I whispered aloud to myself, “I can do this. This is temporary.”
The surge rose in me like a ferocious tsunami wave and my body pushed with a vigor I could not have impeded.
I roared from the depths of my soul!
“Stop pushing and take a breath in” my calm confident Midwife coached.
“Now give me a little push.”
“Don’t push. Take another breath.”
“Another little push.”
Breath out…with baby!
Allison passed Ginny through my legs and I bowed to embrace my sweet baby, cheek to cheek.
When I saw her face, I recognized her. We greeted each other like old friends. “Oh hey you! I’ve been waiting. I’m so glad you’re here.”
Danny, Stevie, Allison and Natalie: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We couldn’t have done this without you!