We welcomed Wilder into the world on October 29th at 3:22 am. He was 8lbs 10oz, 21 1/4 in long, and more perfect than we could have ever imagined. This is the story of his birthday.
Before I was even pregnant, I knew that I wanted a natural childbirth. I was present at the birth of my sister's first and although long and difficult, it was so neat to watch her and my brother-in-law welcome my nephew into the world in such a beautiful and raw way. So when Connor and I found out we were expecting we decided to take Bradley Method classes, a 12 week course to educate/prepare you and your partner for natural childbirth. The farther into the course we got the more passionate I became about natural childbirth. It all felt so right and I was excited to share the experience of labor and delivery with Connor. My pregnancy was easy, I didn’t get sick, and I didn’t even mind being pregnant until the last 4 weeks when I started to experience swelling and discomfort from being super pregnant and overdue. Because of how easy it was I sort of just assumed that labor wouldn’t be too difficult for me. I felt like I was healthy and in good shape, so naturally giving birth would be painful, but probably not too hard…so I thought. We decided to have our baby at New Birth Company, a birthing center in Overland Park. I didn’t want to have him in a hospital mainly because I had witnessed the stress my sister had to go through to fight the system in order to have her first naturally at a hospital. We were so excited about how everything was going. Appointments were all good, baby was always healthy and then around 39 weeks stress started to set in. New Birth Company can only take you up to 42 weeks, so once I was a week out from my due date I started to feel the pressure of the countdown. My sister was 17 days late with her first, so fear set in that I might just have the same luck. We continued to stay positive though and kept telling ourselves, “any day now” (which gets old after you say it everyday for 2 weeks!). Finally our due date, October 14th came and passed and before I knew it, I was one week overdue and sitting in Diagnostic Imaging Centers having a detailed ultrasound done to make sure that the little guy was doing alright. Luckily he passed his stress test, so we were allowed to continue on for the next week without intervention. The days slowly passed and at this point we are seeing the midwives every 1-3 days. By the 24th I decided I wanted to try membrane stripping to see if we could get things moving since I really didn’t want to have to be transferred to the hospital. Unfortunately my anatomy wasn’t cooperating, making it difficult for the midwife, so instead we decided to do the one thing I REALLY didn’t want to do, castor oil! I drank 4oz that morning in hopes that it would help dilate me, making the next day, my birthday, one for the books. Definitely not the best day…I went back in on the 26th and the midwife was able to strip my membranes, so we held out hope that it would jumpstart labor. Unfortunately by the next day I still hadn’t started contractions so I went back. I was dilated to a 2 and about 70% effaced so we decided to try one more thing, a foley bulb. The midwife put it in about 10am on the 27th and I pretty much immediately started having mild contractions. I was told that it would fall out once I was dilated to a 4, but if it didn’t fall out by night then I had to go back in to get it removed. All day I just prayed that it would fall out because it would mean that it was working to progress things. By late afternoon my positive attitude was fading and I started to feel a little devastated as I realized that this wasn’t working either. We went back in at 8pm that night to get it removed found that I had at least dilated another centimeter. After it was removed my contractions become more mild but continued to be short and irregular the rest of the evening. I tried to get rest that night, but with every little contraction I kept thinking that maybe I was actually going into real labor. Around 2:30 am I started to feel more powerful contractions and then I lost my mucus plug. A few minutes after I started to notice that my water was leaking. FINALLY, I was so excited that something was happening. I woke Connor up and we timed the contractions. Some of them lasting 2 minutes and about 10 minutes apart. We called the midwife at around 4am and around 6am she told us to come in. We arrived at 6:30am and I was dilated to a 3-4 and was fully effaced. I labored all morning and afternoon. Trying various positions and techniques to help naturally get the baby to come. At 4:30 pm I was pretty exhausted and when the midwife checked me I was at a 7. At this point I was exhausted but feeling too nauseous to eat anything, so I was lacking energy. The midwife offered to break my bag of waters to help move things along. I knew that it would make labor more painful, but also that typically the baby comes a lot quicker after doing so. My sister did it with both of hers, so I decided to go for it. I was fearful of getting stuck at a 7, so I thought the temporary pain would be worth it in order to get the baby out quicker, especially since I was losing momentum at this point. After she broke my water the contractions intensified immediately. I spent the next 2 hours trying different squatting/laboring positions. I think that was the longest 2 hours of my life…so much pain and at that point I had zero energy to handle it. When I was checked again around 7pm I was hoping that they were going to tell me we were right there, but to my devastation I was still at a 7. This is when I broke. I realized at this point that I could no longer mentally handle the pain without seeing an end in sight. I looked at my sister and told her that I wanted out. I no longer cared anymore about having a natural birth. I wanted an out and I wanted the baby out. I spoke with the midwife and she said that in my case some medicine might be helpful. I told her I wanted to be transferred and before I knew it things were in progress to get me to the hospital. They gave me some pain meds to help me endure the car ride to the hospital. The two midwives who were working with me were kind enough to drive us. We were also lucky enough to have the two head midwives there for the delivery. I was hooked up to an IV, given pittoson, an epidural, and an antibiotic (they were worried about my white blood count because of how long my water had been broken), basically everything I was not on board with doing prior to labor. I’m not going to lie though, at that point I couldn’t have cared less about my birth plan and when that epidural hit me it was the best feeling. Once I was all hooked up and lying in bed like a sick patient, they instructed me to try and sleep while the pitoson did it’s job. 10 minutes later they came into my room to check on the baby because of the drop in his heart rate…at that point I thought, yeah right…like I am supposed to rest after that. So instead I just laid there num in the legs listening to my baby’s steady heart rate on the monitor waiting for it to change. Finally at almost 2 am the nurse and midwives came in telling me it was about time to start pushing. Because I received the epidural so late, it had not yet worn off so they had to instruct me when to push…a weird sensation for sure. After what seemed like an eternity of pushing/vomiting, Wilder finally entered the world at 3:22 am. Connor was able to catch him and I'll never forget the moment when he said, "It's a boy!". I couldn't believe that I was actually holding my baby in my arms. Truly a feeling I will never forget. They kept telling me that all of the pain and nasty side effects of labor would go away once he was in my arms and it was pretty much true. Once that baby landed on my chest it was finally over and all the pain and agony was worth meeting that sweet little face.
I wanted to share my birth story because there are a lot of expectations that come along with becoming a mother. You desire so hard to do everything perfectly and for me that meant bringing my baby into the world naturally. Sometimes, or most of the time though things don’t always turn out the way you had hoped or imagined and that is ok too. I felt like I gave natural childbirth my best go. It was by far the hardest thing I had ever endured and at the end of the day…or in my case 3 days, modern medicine was what I needed to get Wilder out. All in all I can be thankful for the little things, like how fortunate we were to have the midwives there to deliver him, and how amazing it was that Connor was still able to catch him. It’s the small victories that I am learning to celebrate as a mother. Not everyday is easy and most moments they’re awake are difficult in some way, but there is so much beauty to all of it and I am so thankful that God chose Connor and I to be this little guys parents!
(All images and video are by the talented Allison Corrin Photography)