Rebecca and Jeremy's Story, May 24, 2013
Mary helped us with the birth of our 5th child. I decided that I was interested in trying a waterbirth this time around and that is eventually what led me to Mary. I am forever grateful for her help in our birth experience and will have her with me again if God blesses us with another child. I am 35 years old and I am an adult intensive care nurse.
Let me back up and tell you a little about my previous babies and their births.
My first child was born in a hospital in Colorado. I went into early labor 3 days prior to my due date about 5am and worked most of that day. My labor became more regular towards the afternoon and I left work. Then I was at home watching TV and feeling really nervous about what was to come. Close to 11pm that night, my husband and I headed into the hospital as my labor was now into the active stage. We had taken childbirth classes and practiced our breathing. We were typical first time parents. Nervous and mostly just doing what the nurses and doctors told us to. I had tremendous back labor. They had me get into the bed to be placed on the monitor and had me lay on my back. I could not tell one contraction from another due to the back labor. My daughter was coming down the birth canal in a posterior position. The only time I felt like I could manage my contractions was if I got up to sit on the commode. Oh how I wish I had had someone there at the time to help me find a better way to deal with my situation.
My husband was wonderful but he and I just didn't know what we know now. He didn't like seeing me in so much pain and unable to cooperate with the labor. My nurse and the OB pushed us to go for an epidural. I did. Turns out that I was going into transition as I was getting it and then progressed to being ready to push pretty quickly. I only had the epidural for about 45 minutes. I asked for a "light" epidural as I still wanted to be able to feel my legs. It did make it so that I could relax a little and participate more in the final stages of labor. My daughter was born healthy and beautiful but very sleepy. I do not really regret this experience or have hard feelings for it but I knew that birth could be better.
Then we moved and I started seeing a midwife. I have been under the care of two midwives that work together for my other 4 pregnancies and births. My second child was a precipitous labor and actually he was born on the way to the hospital, in the car, on the side of the road....with my midwife on the cell phone giving my husband instructions on how to deliver him. He was born beautifully and things turned out just fine. It was a whirlwind experience. My 3rd child was more like my first one. He was born turning in the birth canal. So he started posterior and then turned as he came down. I had learned a lot more about techniques for a natural birth at that point and my midwife was a wonderful advocate. She allowed me to labor and push on my hands and knees which helped tremendously with the back labor.
My experience was better. I used worship music, scripture, and yoga positions to cope. The gender of this baby was a surprise for us so that was a focal point for me (and we have continued this with each subsequent baby). My husband was by my side and reminded me that I could do this. My 4th child was born much faster. I labored at home for a while and then headed into the hospital. I walked and walked through my labor with her. We barely made it into our room before she was born. I stood out of the wheel chair once we pulled into the room and had a contraction. Then immediately I had another one and needed to push. Remember I was standing and had just gotten into the room. I was not on the monitor and had just had my nurse introduce herself. She asked if I could get into bed. I sat on the edge and my daughter was born right there. Another whirlwind experience. I also tore with each of these four births.
When I become pregnant with my 5th child, I continued to learn about natural techniques for labor. I pursued prenatal pilates and yoga classes for the breathing, focus and the strength training needed for labor. I became interested in the possibility of a waterbirth because I thought that it could help me deal with back labor, not to tear or maybe reduce the tearing and also add an element of "control" to our fast birth experiences if this one was to be like that. I took a waterbirth class that the hospital offered. It was put on by a doula. In talking to my midwife about it, she thought that it was a good idea and gave me Mary's name.
I met Mary and immediately felt great fondness for her. She is very kind and personable. She has a passion for birth and is a true advocate for moms, dads, and babies. My 8 year old daughter wanted to be at this birth and Mary was on board with helping us both with her and the birth pool. Jeremy, my husband, really liked her, too. He said immediately after meeting her that she was the right person to be there with us. I went into labor 2 days before the baby's due date. Late that evening, I progressed to active labor. We did not stay home long as I wanted to be at the hospital with plenty of time to set up the birth tub. So after waiting just over an hour of regular contractions that I could not lay down through but had to be walking or rocking on my hands and knees, I called both my midwife and Mary. We woke my oldest (the other kids were spending the night with my inlaws) and headed to the hospital. Mary met us in triage. Once we got to our room, she and Jeremy went to setting up the birth tub. She also made sure that I was drinking water. She help my older daughter get comfortable. She, along with my husband and the nurse, answered my older daughter's many questions so graciously. Mary seemed to have the perfect balance of being helpful and present through the labor but also giving Jeremy and I space. She helped me through contractions with gentle massage and back counterpressure. She helped me in and out of the birth tub as needed.
We got out for a bit to walk the halls. She was with us constantly but just in the right way. My husband seemed more relieved than ever to have someone help him keep up with things. During the pushing phase, which for this birth was not long at all, she had my older daughter on her lap and Jeremy was beside the tub with me. Our 5th child, our third daughter, was born in an amazingly calm environment. I used the worship music and some memorized scriptures and position changes (like squatting and lunges) in the pool similar to my 3rd and 4th births. The water did add an element of "control" to the delivery. The contractions felt very different in the water and I did tear significantly less than any of the previous deliveries. Having Mary with us was like icing on the cake though. I don't think the experience would have been nearly as good without her. She stayed with us until we were moved to the mother/baby room. She helped Jeremy clean up the tub and she helped him take care of me and my daughter. She also visited us later that day at the hospital and then after we returned home. She is such a blessing! I would highly recommend her. I wish I could go back and add her to each of my previous birth experiences. Jeremy felt the same way and expressed how grateful he was for her presence with us.