Megan’s Birth Story
The spirit itself beareth witness that we are children of God
I do love “birth” days. As a childbirth educator and doula I often get to be a part of someone else’s “birth”day. It is magical, it is life-affirming, it is sacred. I will never forget the day my little Megan came. From the first contraction to the last it was 3 hours and 12 minutes. We were blessed to have our spicy little “Nutmeg” enter this world in our home surrounded by loving family and midwives. My previous birth had been an unplanned unassisted VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). It was a beautiful Christmas surprise to have my son appear so unexpectedly but we were excited to plan for extra helping hands to be there this time.
I was getting ready for church (9:48 am) when I felt the first contraction. It was a good one but I was still able to move through it. I tried to keep going about my business fixing my older daughter’s hair for the Primary Program but found I had to stop and lean on the bathroom counter for each contraction. At first my husband and I thought maybe we could make it to Sacrament for the Primary Program but it soon became apparent that the contractions were strong enough that I would have to miss hearing my daughter repeat her part, “Romans 8:16, the spirit itself beareth witness that we are children of God.” I just couldn’t imagine sitting on the hard chairs in the back and trying to relax through a contraction.
My husband arranged for a neighbor to take the kids to Church and I relaxed a little more knowing I would have him with me. Jeff then had to try to find someone to teach Relief Society for me since I was supposed to teach that day. After he made few calls he found out that one of the other teachers had mistakenly prepared to teach that day too. So it was just meant to be. I relaxed a little more.
I didn’t feel like putting on my clothes so I put on my bata (grandma jammies) to labor in. Before leaving, my daughter walked in and stroked my arm telling me, “just relax, mommy.” Jeff called my parents and midwife while I spent time laboring at the end of the bed. My midwife said she would take a quick shower and then come check things out since my last labor had gone so quickly.
Jeff brought me the birth ball and I spent some time sitting or leaning on it. I especially liked it when Jeff could stroke my back and guide me through a relaxation exercise like my special place or progressive relaxation. After my midwife arrived, she took my blood pressure, temperature, and listened to the baby. Everything was good so she went downstairs to contact a second midwife to come assist at the birth.
Jeff got the bed ready while I continued to labor at the end of the bed. I felt more and more lower back pressure and asked Jeff for a hot rice pack. The rice pack really did help but it cooled off too quickly. After the second midwife arrived I knew it was time to let my labor progress. I got up and walked around and then got in the shower. My contractions quickly intensified. The warm shower helped but I still found myself repeating to myself that I could do this and that God was with me. I even vocalized a little bit but found better control through concentrating on keeping my breathing low and relaxed. My midwife listened to the baby again telling me everything was fine.
When my daughter came home after Sacrament Meeting she said to me, “Mom, you can have the baby now.” I was getting tired of the shower and decided to get out. I only took a few steps after drying off and felt the contractions take over. I leaned my head on the bathroom counter while Jeff tried to apply some counter pressure for the growing lower back pressure I felt. I immediately snapped, “Okay, don’t do that! Just talk to me.” He began stroking my back while encouraging me.
After a few contractions in this position I started to feel an urge to push at the peak and grunted with it. My midwife asked me if the push was wishful or if I couldn’t help it. I answered that I wasn’t sure. But with the next contraction I couldn’t help it and pushed but still held back. I remember my midwife wiping my brow, looking me in my eyes and asking how I was doing. I looked at her and said, “Transition is tough, I’m glad that part’s over.” My midwife asked me if I wanted to move and I said no because the idea of moving sounded so uncomfortable. I felt immobilized by the baby’s downward movement and I also think I felt safe there in the bathroom, just a few feet from where my last baby was born. So my daughter stood in the bathtub while Jeff sat on the edge of the bathtub behind me. The midwives threw down some chux pads under me to catch the blood and fluids.
My midwife looked to check for the baby’s descent and quickly moved her head before the bag of water burst all over. She barely missed getting drenched but Jeff’s legs were soaked. Soon after that the head began to appear. I felt the ring of fire before she even started to crown. The midwife helped Jeff catch Megan as her head quickly emerged with the cord wrapped around her neck. Her shoulders followed the head in the same push since she really was a little girl weighing just 6 lb. 6 oz. This quick movement facilitated the midwife rapidly somersaulting Megan to unloop the cord from her neck. Pushing only took 12 minutes and she was born at exactly 1:00pm. I had Megan in my arms immediately.
We just enjoyed the excitement and joy of the moment for a while before she latched on 15 minutes later. I immediately felt the urge to push the placenta out after she had nursed a little bit. Jeff cut the cord after the placenta was delivered. My daughter thought the whole experience was cool but was happy to go watch a video until her Grandma arrived.
Megan was a powerful nurser from the first latch on. She nursed for 1 ½ hours after she first latched on! Needless to say I was a little sore. It was nice that Megan did not leave my arms for the first 2 hours after her birth. Not all of my births have been this “easy.” At least now looking back I think of it as easy (time has a way of erasing some of the hard parts). What I do know is that I have never forgotten how “the spirit beareth witness that we are children of God,” as each of my 5 children have entered this world.
I recorded in my journal that day: We feel greatly blessed by this beautiful birth. It was a sacred experience to be in our home and feel the Lord’s spirit there as Megan entered this world. Megan is a beautiful baby. She is so tiny, so precious, so real and so very much ours. We love her. Isn’t childbirth a beautiful gift from God? We feel it is. I feel my love for God enriched as I reflect on the whole experience. He is present in many little things, like little Megan, our newest little miracle!