Willow Blythe's Birth Story
This was my first pregnancy. Chris and I found out New Years 2015 that I was pregnant, and we were very excited because we had been trying to conceive for the last 6 months before we found out. I remember the night I took the test and found out very clearly. I had guessed I was pregnant already because I had missed my period in December and had very sore boobs! My brother Daniel was there when I took the test and was one of the first to know. I felt so much happiness and a great weight lifted from me at the news. My youngest brother Luke had passed away in May leaving my family and I in shock and devastated so when Willow was conceived I knew she would bring life and light to my family again like the happy ending to a sad story... When really its another beginning.
My pregnancy was truly one of the most stress free times in my life. I work from home caring for a couple kids so I spent my time being at home, and at the park and I read a lot about natural home birth and all sorts of other books and I napped as much as I could, took baths and went on walks every evening and stayed away from most people besides my close friends and family who were such an amazing help during it all. I had the same dreams of finding shells and sea glass in the sand and being at the ocean. From the start I planned on having a natural birth and wanted a midwife but started out going to an OB who four months later caused me a lot of anxiety about birth in a hospital and was very distant and rude during check ups.
So I did some research and found Faith and her student at the time, Rebecca. I wanted a more intimate/personal experience at birth and to be in my own element. I fell in love with them right away and felt very comfortable and relieved about having them be my midwives. I was due around August 26th, but knew I would go past that date. My birthday is September 8, so I was hoping my Willow would be born that day as well. It was close!! She was born September 5 at 11:39pm.
At my last check up with midwives before I had Willow they suggested I go see Dr. Jannell Zimmerman, who adjusted my back and neck and focused on pressure points that cause labor to jump start and so I saw her two days in a row. After that first day, I think Sept 3, my mucus plug came out the next morning and I began to have light cramping and after the second time I saw Jannell that night the cramping began to get a little more heavier and more frequent but I slept really well both nights!
It was Saturday the 5th. Once I woke and started getting around, the contractions were consecutive and continued through the day. I stayed home and watched a movie and told Chris to go ahead and work that night and that we’d call him right away if things got more serious. My mom had been home with me and had bought over food and snacks to prepare the night before. Of course as soon as Chris left for work around 3 my contractions became heavier and closer together. I had also been texting the midwives through all of this and timing the contractions. I soaked in the bath for a while and walked around but what helped me was to get on all fours during a contraction and breath in and out as deep as I could and think about the ocean and the contractions being waves.
I had read two of Ina May Gaskin’s books and was determined to have a smooth, stress free water birth. I remember rocking forward and back really helped too. For a while I listed to a cd that my mom got of ocean waves and I even watched videos of just waves that I recorded on my phone when I had visited family in Virginia that passed May! It really helped too! I remember sitting up from being on all fours and my water breaking! It was a crazy feeling that I always wondered about before.
As soon as my water broke I texted the midwives to come over! And my mom called Chris who rushed home! After that everything went by very fast! The midwives got to my house and I remember I had been rocking with the fan in my face and Faith checked me and was surprised to find I was dilated to 8 cm already! She said she would’ve never known with how well I was handling it all. Rebecca got there soon after Faith and she also checked me and after a few phone calls in the next room and me having some intense contractions that gave my whole body the
shakes and me almost squeezing Chris’ hand off his arm the midwives came in and told me that what they felt when they checked me wasn’t a head but a cheek!! Willow was butt down and they aren’t experienced in birthing breech babies and had tried to call a doctor who might but wasn’t available at the time.. So I was going to have to be taken to the hospital for an emergency c-section - honestly my worst nightmare, because if you know me you know I absolutely do not like hospitals for any reason. Never have.
I just remember focusing on staying calm and I wasn’t mad or upset about it. I just wanted to get Willow birthed safe and sound. I asked if I’d have a lot of paper work to fill out...that was the first thing that came to mind when they told me the news! At my 36 week check up Rebecca had said the baby felt breech to her, but then we had decided she was head down, but now we knew differently! So I somehow got some shorts and sandals on and with help got down my 16 stairs (we lived upstairs in a duplex at the time), and sat in the back seat with Faith driving and Rebecca and Chris in the back with me and also my mom in the front. Annabelle was at my house briefly too (another student midwife at the time) but then drove to the hospital as well. I remember I couldn’t eat anything at home either besides fruit but everything else seemed gross at the time. So we got to the hospital and I just kept my eyes shut pretty much the whole time and focused on staying calm in my mind so that my body wouldn’t freak out because I’m firm believer in how the mind body and soul are connected.
The midwives all stayed with us until Willow was born and safe in my arms. I remember the most painful part was having the urge to push but being told not too and holding it back was gut wrenching.. Literally! I also had to try and arch my lower back for the doctor to put the needle in my spine to numb everything for the surgery.. It was crazy and I felt so vulnerable all naked and weeping and leaking fluid everywhere. I was only crying because of how shocking the pain of holding back urges to push and being poked with a needle in my back 5 or 6 times before they got it then a sudden lightening bolt of pain in my legs but once they got it I couldn’t feel a thing anymore.
Thankfully they let Chris in the operating room and the doctors and nurses were all very nice and had explained everything while they were doing it, and while they were poking my back a nurse let me lay my head on her shoulder and held my hands and explained what they were doing because I kept asking why they had to keep poking me and what the pain in my legs were.
Once Willow was out and I heard her cry everything melted away. I no longer felt like I had been abducted by aliens. And we still got skin on skin with our faces at least but the doctor had to take her because her vagina and legs were bruised and
scraped because of how she was wedged in me bottom down! Chris got to go with her so she wasn’t alone and in no time she was back with me, latched on and nursing perfectly!! I was so relieved that she latched so well and that her heart rate stayed steady during surgery and all of the nurses and doctors (besides a few) were exceptionally nice and helpful, especially one who had beautiful dark skin and an African accent who told me stories about where she was from (she was my favorite nurse). Our hospital room was brand new so it didn’t smell like band aids or have any weird energy to it!! I had to stay for a few days, but besides being sore and unable to walk for a while I was okay and the baby was great.
Yes I was very sad I didn’t get to see my baby come out of me or watch her take her first breath earth side, or watch Chris cut her cord after the blood finished pumping in it, and I had to have a major surgery on the spot but all of the bliss and happiness of holding my baby once she was born made all the sadness of not getting the birth experience I wanted fall away and I know it was something that couldn’t be helped and breech babies just happen so I didn’t blame anyone of course, and later I will be so proud to be able to say I had a VBAC at home!
I know there will be another chance to have my baby at home and this experience has only made me stronger. I’m all about being strong and getting through challenges and obstacles! Once we got home I was definitely sad and felt homesick for the birth I almost had at home!! But the midwives were very kind and texted me through the nights and continued to check on me, and I couldn’t have done it without Chris and my moms help either.
I loved every minute of those first few days just staring and marveling at the little life Chris and I created and how perfect she was and how I never knew I had the kind of love you feel inside when you have a baby of your own. It was beautiful even though it ended up very unexpected!