This is G’s birth story as told to her in the journal I kept while pregnant with her.
I woke up around midnight on March 15th with contractions. I spent some time in the bathroom and when I got back in bed started timing my contractions. They were feeling pretty intense. I couldn’t lie down through them so I sat on the edge of the bed. They were two and a half minutes apart. I got on my hands and knees on the floor then went back to the bathroom and that’s when I called your dad out of bed to tell him I thought I was in labor. He thought we should call Christina, the midwife, right away because my contractions were so close together. When I called I found out she was already at the birth center with another woman in labor. She told me to call back when I was ready to come in.
At that point I got in the shower and labored through contractions on my hands and knees while your dad timed my contractions and called my mom. They both thought we should go to the birth center. So your dad and grandma got together the last minute things and we headed there. I sat facing backwards in the front seat on my knees “hugging” the headrest while your dad drove crazy fast so I didn’t have to be in the car long :)
Once we got to Birthways around 2 A.M. we found out I was 4-5 centimeters dilated. We were so excited! Then I got in the tub and eventually your dad got in with me because it was easier for him to massage or put pressure on my back. A few hours later (around 5 A.M. I think) I was dilated to 6-7 centimeters. I told Christina I wanted her to give me a time that I’d have you by. She said I’d have a baby this morning and that I was progressing faster than the other mom. I was happy with how fast I was progressing but I was definitely watching the clock. Your dad told me to stop.
Well fast forward about 10 hours and I’m still at 6-7 centimeters because you would not get into the correct position! Your back was on my right instead of at my front. I was trying all different positions through the contractions and you just didn’t want to turn. We had people praying, and we were praying and doing all we could but nothing seemed to be working. I was trying not to despair wondering why God didn’t seem to be answering our prayers. I felt like I was in the biggest mental battle of my life, but your dad was right there with me fighting the hopelessness that was trying to overtake me. Finally, your dad and I went into the bathroom to labor for probably an hour or more and while in there he told me to just give in to the contractions. He said something changed in me while we were in the bathroom and later your grandma said so too. Josh said I started moving and vocalizing with the contractions; I wasn’t “scared” of them anymore. I was doing big hip circles through every contraction.
When we went back to the birth room I was laying over a birth ball on the bed, and all of a sudden I started saying over and over, “She’s coming. She’s coming.” I just knew you were coming. It was like in prayer when the Holy Spirit gives me something specific to pray and I know so strongly that it’s from the Lord that I just keep saying it over and over. I don’t know how else to explain it. That’s when my contractions got to the worst point and I was moaning very loudly. We had Christina check me and I was at 8 centimeters! She said we could break my water to help me dilate more. I said yes please! So I lay down on the bed and there was a big gush of warm fluid. The very next contraction I went to 9 centimeters. Why hadn’t we done this sooner?!
At this point I was begging Christina to let me back in the tub because I HATED having contractions while laying on my back. She said I could but only for a little bit. While I was in the tub I started getting the urge to push and the birth assistant said to try not to because I wasn’t fully dilated. That was impossible! When you’re body is pushing, you cannot stop it! So Christina came back into the room and had me get on the bed. I had just a lip of cervix left so she held it back while I pushed. Then she had me continue pushing until we could really see your head. That’s when she allowed me back in the tub to push. When we all first saw the top of your head we got so excited that you had hair, because we didn’t want you to be completely bald!
Your dad got in with me and I just hung onto him while I pushed through every contraction. During each contraction your head would move forward a little bit more and I would try to support and help everything stretch down there. Your dad reached down to feel your head and he was AMAZED. I agree, it was so crazy to reach down and feel your head and know we were going to see you very soon!
It got to a point where it was stinging badly and I thought I was going to tear and Christina told me to push your head towards my back. That helped. But it still hurt during the contractions. Then all of the sudden Christina told me your head was out and I said, “Her head’s out?!” I wasn’t even able to feel that it had come out. So I knew on the next contraction the rest of you should come out easily. Well, I still had to push just as hard and long but you did come out! You were just floating in the water between me and your dad and the midwife said, “Reach down and pick up your baby, Lisa.”
I saw you floating there and I was in shock. I reached down and lifted you out of the water. I was in complete awe of how beautiful you were. You had such big, beautiful blue eyes and you were so alert! I pulled you to my chest and leaned back in the tub and your dad lay next to me and your grandma was crying. We couldn’t take our eyes off of you. We stayed in the tub for probably 20 minutes just savoring everything. You were born at 6:53 PM. I birthed the placenta shortly thereafter and your dad just thought it was so cool. He got to cut your umbilical cord after it stopped pulsating and then he held you for the first time while I was helped out of the tub. You looked so tiny in his arms and on his big chest.
I got on the bed and began nursing you for the first time while the midwife stitched the 2 small tears I had received. Your dad was next to me and then everyone left so we could have some time just the 3 of us as a family. Your dad and I talked about the whole experience. We were in complete amazement of everything that had happened. Josh kept telling me over and over how proud he was of me and how amazing I was. Your birth definitely brought us closer together in a way that nothing else could. I was so proud of how amazing your dad did through all 19 hours of labor. He supported me 100% the entire time. He pushed on my back through every contraction. He told me he believed in me, that I am a strong woman, and that I was doing a fantastic job. I could NOT have done it without him.
After our time together as a little family, your Poppa was finally allowed in to see you. He’d been anxiously waiting all day. Then your Grandpa Sommers came in. Both grandfathers cried. Eventually everyone came in to see you and hold you. They commented on how alert you were and we said, “It’s because she wasn’t drugged!” I realized later what a natural high I had too. I was so joyful and talkative. I was laughing and making jokes. All of this after 19 hours of intense labor and no food. They had tried to get me to eat or drink something besides water during labor because I was getting weak, but I didn’t want to! I had 2 bites of peanut butter, a bite of cheese, and a couple sips of cranberry juice. So at this point I was ready to eat and I did!
After all your visitors left I went to take a shower with the help of the birth assistant, and Dad held you while they gave you a vitamin K shot. Then he dressed you in the same outfit I wore home from the hospital when I was born. Finally around midnight, about 5 hours after you were born, we buckled you into your carseat and left to go home. It had been almost a full 24 hours since we left the house.
Your birth was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but I felt so empowered and so strong and capable. I absolutely do not regret choosing to have you drug free and outside of a hospital. I know it was what was best for both of us, because things would have gone a lot differently if I was in a hospital with an epidural. It’s VERY likely I would have had a c-section and I would have never gotten to experience those first beautiful moments with you. God led us to go all natural, and he was SO faithful to give me the grace I needed to do it.
One of the meanings for your name is God is Gracious… how fitting :)