We were thrilled as ever to discover we were pregnant for the third time around. Since our first pregnancy I have grown all the more in my appreciation and love for family and the beauty of raising children. This pregnancy was a little different than with my previous ones. It was the first time I had issues with round ligament pain which stretched down in my pelvis that made walking difficult. I also had a few days of light spotting during the last trimester which was also troubling at first. Fortunately both issues subsided without any serious underlining causes. On an upside, I didn’t experience pregnancy nausea as before. Although I did have some unsettling days of fatigue I soon realized that it was a diet factor and leaving certain foods out, specifically dairy and gluten, became a quick remedy. Overall I’d say that my pregnancy was really wonderful and was my best ever. Even at the end I felt healthy and had a good deal of energy.
We were happy to have Beth as our midwife again and to grow in our relationship with her. And as well finding a new friend in Shelly Cook, who made an excellent companion and a vital support.
In preparation for the labor I dove into both my own and Beth’s literature of pregnancy and birth to refresh my mind. I made a few mental notes of how I preferred the birth, talking with Jeremiah about everything. With 40 weeks approaching I became more and more excited as we all waited in anticipation. Three days after my due date I started to suspect some baby action since my contractions had grown much stronger. It wasn’t until that night after we put our girls to bed that I noticed a rhythmic pattern to the contractions. I let Jeremiah know that I might be in labor and we soon started to time the contractions. That’s when my water broke. It was about 10:30pm and we were ready to get busy. Jeremiah called Beth and I got cleaned up. At that time my mother was staying with us to help with the birth so I woke her to let her know it was time. I wanted to be sure I had energy for the labor so I took my vitamin and mineral supplements, some chlorophyll, and ate a very small meal.
It wasn’t long before Beth arrived with her new apprentice, Christy. They immediately brought in all of their supplies and Beth charted my birth progress. I was still eating at the time and we all sat and talked happily. The atmosphere was very relaxed and pleasant. During this labor I was more active the entire time instead of just at the start which worked out very well. Much of what I did wasn’t anticipated. I just responded to what seemed fluent at the moment keeping in mind what I knew of birth. I walked and moved through each contraction mostly standing. Several times I grabbed a pull-up bar and stretched which felt really good particularly when a contraction passed. Then sometime after midnight Shelly arrived. I hadn’t expected anyone else so I was surprised but happy to have another sweet presence join our team.
At a certain point I needed Jeremiah by my side to be my gentle aid. My entire body was limp and heavy including my eyes. My arms kind of flopped around and my body swayed when I moved. Jeremiah held me up as I fell into him. His voice was sweet and calm as he helped guide me through contractions. Soon a chill came across me and my entire body shivered. I was nauseated and every position became uncomfortable. Fortunately this period didn’t last long. Jeremiah and I knew that I was probably in transition which meant the first stage was nearly over and we would soon be meeting our sweet new baby. She was very low and I felt like I needed to use the bathroom but realized my body had started pushing on its own. I told Jeremiah who quickly let Beth know.
I then made my way to the bed where I got on my knees while I leaned forward into Jeremiah. Beth checked and found I was fully dilated. I felt in a daze but I was especially pleased how well everything was going. I relaxed my throat and low moans seemed to flow out. I pushed with my body and Harper moved quickly to station three. The next one was harder and much longer. After I had finished pushing my body still kept going strong. My groaning grew loader and I felt her crowning. I reached below and with the following contraction Harper was born. It was 1:45 am with a little over 3 hours of labor, less than 10 were pushing. She was slightly heavier than my other two weighing 7 lbs 8 oz and 19 ¾ “ long. I laid Harper on the bed as I marveled at the thought of new life and how precious she was. How through submission to the process, and being completely vulnerable we were able to receive such a wonderful gift.
Birth is an amazing experience. I am so grateful for the loving care and fellowship of everyone there. Beth and Shelly are amazing women, midwives and friends. I appreciate their hard work and dedicated passion for serving women. I feel blessed to have had Beth be a part of the births for all our children. And Shelly’s fluid compassion was a joy to receive and experience. Christy also made quite an impression on both Jeremiah and myself. She had a genuinely loving and attentive spirit that we gratefully admired.
My mother’s comforting presence was no small highlight, since in the past her weariness of giving birth at home was ‘a bit’ unpleasant and taxing. This time however, she was at ease, laughing at times, and content. Most importantly I am thankful for being able to share these cherished times with my very best friend and husband. His loving support was the most essential aspect of that day. Taking this journey with him by my side makes it all the more sweet.