Rebecca’s Birth Story | The Births of Elijah and Anjali

I have a 5 year old son and a 5 month old daughter. My son was born in a hospital and my daughter was born at home.

Elijah

When I was pregnant with my son, I lived in Hilton Head, SC. I planned on having a natural birth. I liked the idea of giving birth in a birthing center rather than a hospital and I loved the idea of having a water birth. It just seems like such a peaceful entrance into the world, rather than being born under fluorescent lights. However, since there wasn’t a birthing center nearby, it seemed I had no choice but to give birth in the hospital.
I went into labor in the early morning around 2am on August 22, 2008. When my contractions started they were only about 3 minutes apart. My husband and I didn’t think that we had much time (boy was I wrong)! I had planned to labor at home as much as possible, but after talking with the doctor on call, we were advised to head to the hospital. The check in process at the hospital was painstakingly long and the person behind the counter didn’t seem to have much empathy for me. She was however, very matter of fact about getting all the paperwork completed.
When I made it to the delivery room my contractions became more intense and I wondered if I could really do this without an epidural. I told my husband that I didn’t think I could. He was really encouraging and told me that I was strong and I could do it. I am so glad that I am stubborn by nature and continued to refuse the epidural. It meant that I was able to move around the delivery room and that I wasn’t confined to the delivery bed. My contractions continued around every 3 minutes and my husband helped me by counting through them with me. My mother arrived later in the morning and they both held my hands and counted through the contractions with me – for hours.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my son was in a posterior position (face up) and that slowed down the labor progression. One of the nurses suggested I take a shower and that actually helped to relax me. I felt like I needed some food to give me some energy – especially as the day progressed, but of course, I was told – only popsicles allowed. I did allow my doctor to break my water as I was convinced it would speed up the process. I was getting tired. When I initially asked how long my labor might be, I was told my son might arrive by the afternoon. Afternoon came and went and I was still in labor – still contacting every 3 minutes or so. I agreed to pitocin as quite frankly I was getting exhausted and wanted to speed up the process if I could.
Finally I was told that I was at 10 centimeters and I could start pushing. It was very odd being told when to push. I wasn’t very sure that I was doing it correctly as I felt no urge to push at all. I found that very strange – especially since I hadn’t had an epidural or any medication. One of the nurses suggested it might be because I had labored quite intensely and my body was so exhausted at that point. The pushing phase lasted a while. I was getting tired and the nurses helping me were getting tired too. I was also still confused about how pushing was supposed to work when you are in bed. My husband kept encouraging me. One of the nurses actually helped me tremendously by rolling up a sheet  - we both held on to either end and we would both pull during a contraction. It helped me get some leverage.
birth story myrtle beach birth services

Baby Elijah.

Throughout the day my OB appeared, did cervical checks and disappeared. When she finally came and stayed I breathed a sigh of relief as I realized I was almost there. As my husband watched, after 20 hours of labor, I did finally give birth just before 10pm. My son came out screaming and I tore. When I asked my OB how much, she said something about it being a normal amount of tearing…whatever that means! My son was immediately weighed and tested and within a matter of minutes he was placed on my chest and we were both able to relax.

One of the nurses said that she hadn’t seen a mother labor without an epidural or medications so quietly! I had an inner focus. It’s amazing what comes over you during labor. It’s in my nature to be kind of quiet so I wasn’t surprised I wasn’t more vocal during my labor.
I was content with my hospital birth – but I didn’t have anything else to compare it to.
Anjali
When I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter we moved suddenly to Myrtle Beach, SC. I was excited as I thought there might be a birthing center in town this time. No such luck. So I scrambled to find a new OB and scheduled a tour of the maternity wing of the hospital. I began looking for local prenatal yoga classes and through that search I came across doula Amanda Hynes’ childbirth course at Secret Lotus Yoga. I didn’t sign up for the course as circumstances wouldn’t allow it, but I did hire Amanda as my doula.
birth story myrtle beach birth services

©Studio412 Imagery

Since my dream of giving birth in a birthing center wasn’t feasible, I was glad I found Amanda. Amanda gave me lots of great advise and I drafted a birth plan – I wanted to have a natural birth – just like I did the first time. During my second meeting with Amanda, I realized that having a natural birth with limited interventions by medical staff would be challenging in Myrtle Beach. And that I would have to fight for it. We ended up discussing home births and something just clicked…all of a sudden I realized that that was the answer!

Surprisingly, my OB was on board and when I was 8 months pregnant, I met with my midwife Nicole Lavallee. I was so excited about the prospect of delivering my daughter among like minded individuals who believed in a woman’s ability to give birth without medical interventions. I was also really excited to be able to have a water birth. When Nicole checked my daughter, it was so sweet. No doppler, no intrusive cervical checks, just an ear and hands to my belly.
I went into labor in the early morning around 4am on August 20, 2013. I called Nicole and I felt at peace knowing I could labor in the comfort of my own home. My 5 year old son and my husband helped me through the contractions. I had my inner focus. When Nicole arrived we set up the birthing tub. When my doula Amanda arrived, she provided great support. She knew exactly what I needed. We had plenty of coconut water on hand and I was so happy that I could eat and drink if I wanted to.
birth story myrtle beach birth services

©Studio412 Imagery

When the water tub was ready I was eager to get in. It definitely provided some comfort. Amanda was so supportive as well. Everyone was pouring water on my belly while I was contracting. It helped. After laboring for a little while, I felt a pop – my water had broken. Shortly after that Nicole suggested my husband get in the tub with me. It was beautiful to be able to share the birth tub experience with him. Afterwards, he said it really connected him so much more to this birth.

What really amazed me about my midwife was her hands off approach. When I asked if I should be pushing, she said if I wanted to, I could push, but it was completely up to me. I was floored. I realized that during labor a woman’s body will tell her what to do, she doesn’t need to be told. It was also so amazing that Nicole knew how much my labor was progressing by how I was acting and by the sounds I was making. There was no need for cervical checks or timing the contractions.
birth story myrtle beach birth services

©Studio412 Imagery

The pushing phase of this labor was so much easier than with my son. Of course it was difficult, but I felt the urge to push this time. The water took the sting out of it and I was so pleased to find out afterwards that I didn’t tear.  During my sons birth I was quiet. During this one however, I was quite vocal. I think that simply being in my own home made me more relaxed and gave me the freedom to do what came naturally.

birth story myrtle beach birth services

©Studio412 Imagery

After 12 hours of labor, I gave birth to my daughter just before 4pm. I was on my knees with my arms wrapped around my husband and screaming into his ear. I didn’t realize it at the time, but her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. Nicole said she simply unravelled it. After she was born we pulled her up between us and I laid back – relieved. She was so calm. It was beautiful. My parents arrived less than 5 minutes after she was born – it was impeccable timing – they had just driven for 4 hours from Hilton Head.

birth story myrtle beach birth services

Sweet Anjali ©Studio412 Imagery

My midwife and doula were both very caring and helped me tremendously after the birth. There was no urgency to cut the cord which was so nice. It allowed some time for everything to sink in…to realize that we were now two and not one. I had some hemorrhaging and intense cramping and I was quite uncomfortable for a little while after giving birth, but Nicole handled it with expertise and care. Once that passed she helped my husband bathe me. Amanda was sweet and knew just what I needed and prepared me a snack.

While my hospital birth was an ok experience, my home birth was a wonderful experience. There was a wonderful energy in my house that day. I would definitely recommend a home birth to anyone interested. I am so glad that it came into fruition…
in the end, I have two beautiful children.

Comments

  1. Amanda Hynes says

    Aww..I’m so happy you have such great memories of that day. It was one of my very favorite births. You rocked. :)

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