Another birth story I get to write… honestly. It’s a privilege I don’t take for granted. I get to write another birth story for a beautiful child I get to mother. I don’t take it lightly. And I am thrilled to be on this side of his pregnancy and birth. Grateful I made it here because there were many months I wasn’t sure how I’d make it through another month, another week, let alone another day of pregnancy.
To recap my pregnancy quickly: We found out on April 6, 2020 that we were expecting a new baby. Approximately two weeks later I was hit hard with such a surge of hormones that for months I didn’t think I could take another day of it. I was absent from most of my life from April 2020 to the middle of July. I had debilitating nausea and vomiting to the point I questioned on many, many occasions why we had thought having another baby was a good idea. It was bad. It was the worst time of my life, honestly. I’ve never questioned myself more than during those months. My children were left to fend for themselves for most of the day as I laid in bed with clenched eyes praying for God to help me. I have never experienced such a dark abyss as I experienced during those months. The nausea that lead to vomiting 10-12 times a day wasn’t anything I could’ve ever prepared for. I’ve always had “morning sickness” and nausea during that first trimester, but this wasn’t anything like normal pregnancy nausea. I’m sure now that I had a mild undiagnosed case of hypermesis gravidarum that my neglectful midwife dismissed as just regular first trimester symptoms. Thankfully, I never reached the point of full dehydration, but I know I was close to it on several occasions. Once the nausea finally let up by mid-July (meaning I was only puking 1-2x a day opposed to 10-12x…) I was hit with the most excruciating back pain I’ve ever experienced. Another of many things that happened this pregnancy that had never happened quite to this degree. Turns out my pelvis shifted too quickly early on and caused my lower discs to lock up. Even with weekly chiropractic care, I was only able to manage the pain. It didn’t fully go away until I gave birth. This back pain was so intense I couldn’t sit, stand, lay or do ANYTHING without incredible pain. It hit it’s peak in August when I walked into my chiropractor’s office, the ladies at the front desk asked how I was and I immediately burst into tears because I was in SO MUCH PAIN I just couldn’t take it anymore. Thankfully, by early September it subsided a bit to where I could at least function while in pain. Again, this lasted the rest of the my pregnancy and I envied every other pregnant woman who could enjoy their pregnancies while I loathed mine.
Now onto the fun part.
Giving birth is one of the most amazing experiences I will ever have in this lifetime. It transcends all human efforts and is truly a holy experience. Knowing God created our bodies to bring life into this world is unlike anything else. And for me, taking on that experience naturally, without medication, has brought me closer to Him.
What Happened to Our Planned Home Birth
We had been planning for a home birth, specifically a water birth. I had hired a midwife as soon as we found out I was pregnant (who I won’t publicly name or shame here even though at this rate she deserves it…). With my last pregnancy I dove deep into natural birth and wanted a home birth, but it didn’t work out and I ended up having him in the hospital with an extended stay for other issues baby Cole had. So this time we KNEW we wanted to deliver at home. While my pregnancies have never been good (they’re always hard on me) my deliveries are not. I deliver quickly and have never had any complications so I was a prime candidate for a home birth. Through all of my prenatal appointments everything went great. We hit a snag in September when the baby’s anatomy scan came back showing my placenta was a little too close to my cervix. Basically this meant if it didn’t move over the next several weeks as I got closer to delivery that I would not be able to deliver at home and would either have to deliver in a hospital due to increased risk for bleeding or even possibly have a cesarean delivery. Thankfully, when I went back for a re-scan when I was 33 weeks the placenta had moved far enough away to make it safe for a home birth. However, about a month later when I had a regular prenatal appointment with my midwife I brought up that my resting heart rate had been a little high the last couple weeks. It never caused me any shortness of breath or chest pains, or really any symptom at all. In fact, the only reason I noticed it was because my Apple watch that I wear daily would alert me when my heart rate would go over 120 BPM.While I know this could be cause for concern I brought it to my midwife’s attention. She immediately was concerned and insisted there had to be something wrong and that I wouldn’t have such a high resting pulse for no reason. She claimed I either had an infection or something was wrong with the baby. After going back and forth about what I should do she also insisted I needed to get to the emergency room immediately because myself or the baby could be in imminent danger. I was reluctant to go because we do not carry health insurance, but I trusted her professional opinion and figured if she is so adamant that there must be something wrong and I needed to go regardless of what the bill would be later. We needed to make sure baby and myself were okay.
After spending 6 hours in the waiting room of the ER they ended up admitting me overnight because the on-call doctor agreed my pulse was high and wanted to refer to cardiology. I was checked with obstetrics since I was late in pregnancy, had several NST’s done on the baby, blood work and urine samples galore, received a 2D echo on my heart and also was checked by the resident and attending cardiologist. They all concluded one thing — I was perfectly fine. My body was compensating for being 37 weeks pregnant and working a little harder to make baby at this late stage in pregnancy. The cardiologist was made aware of how and where I planned to deliver (at home) and raised NO red flags about me delivering at home with a midwife. All my blood work came back good, urine samples were good. Echo was great, my heart is healthy. There was not a thing wrong with me.
A couple days later my midwife came over to go over the ER results and I wanted to give her the paperwork they had given me so she’d have them for her records that showed that I was cleared and good to go. She came bearing the birth tub and afterward said she felt comfortable moving forward after hearing what the doctors had concluded.
Six hours later she called me. I knew getting a call from her at 7pm on a Saturday night only meant one thing.
She dumped me. Said she had talked to fellow midwives who said I was too “high risk” to deliver at home and she had called the hospital to see if they’d recommend a home birth for a pregnant patient with tachycardia (high resting pulse which the cardiologist said would go away upon delivery ** SPOILER ALERT ** it did) and they said, no they wouldn’t. I mean of course not because they’re never going to recommend a home birth, but OKAY! So at 37 weeks pregnant after having paid for our birth and having had all prenatal care through her I was now without care. No midwife, no doctor, no health insurance, no birth plan.
To say we were devastated is an understatement. Truly just so defeated. Every dream I had of delivering at home vanished. This was my last chance. This was our last baby. This was it. And yet again, we were receiving disappointing news that what we had planned for and hoped for was not going to happen.
Many have asked — couldn’t you just go to another midwife? No. Not really. It doesn’t work like that. Midwives book months in advance. They only take on a certain amount of patients per month and finding one so late in pregnancy would’ve been next to impossible. Not to mention we wouldn’t have been able to pay for an entire birth AGAIN so last minute. So at this point our only option was to deliver at a hospital. And in the wise words of the midwife who dumped us “well the hospital won’t turn you away”.
So there’s that.
Our plans shifted and after a handful of days I came to terms with what would be and really just wanted to give birth and move past all of this.
The Night My Water Broke
On December 2nd, I put the kids to bed around 9pm. It was a totally normal day and night. I had been experiencing some contractions the week before but really nothing had happened in several days so I wasn’t expecting anything to happen any time soon. In previous pregnancies, I always needed a little push for my body to go into labor. I’d been induced the first time, had membranes stripped, took castor oil with Cole… basically my body needs a little nudge to get things going. I knew from my visit in the ER that a couple weeks prior I had been dilated to a 3 and about 80% effaced and knew I was probably at a 5 or so going off what had happened in prior pregnancies.
I went to bed and got up around 3am to go to the bathroom. My husband had gotten home from work around 1am and was just walking into our bedroom to lay down when I had gotten up. As soon as I stood up I felt something trickling down my leg. I immediately started questioning if I had peed myself or not! As I’m walking to the bathroom half asleep I was saying “This isn’t pee. This isn’t pee!” to my husband. He was clueless as we were both stumbling in the dark while I tried to get past him to get to the toilet. I sat down and was like no… nope. I didn’t pee myself. But what the heck?
My water has never broken prior to labor. NEVER. It’s always broken as I’m delivering — literally as I’m pushing the baby out is when my water has broken. So I really didn’t know what to make of this.
I put a pad on just in case and went to lay back down. I shrugged it off and said well if I start having contractions we’ll know it’s my water. Of course anxiety kicks in and I start to worry. What if it was my water breaking? What if contractions don’t start? What if we don’t go to the hospital soon enough and something happens to the baby? I started doubting myself and came to deciding to just waiting it out a bit to see what would happen. I got up again about 20 minutes later and this time there was more of a gush. More started coming out and I knew then it had to be the amniotic fluid. But again, I wasn’t feeling any contractions. After chatting with my husband we decided we’d lay back down and I’d go to the hospital in the morning to make sure everything was okay.
Around 430am I got a contraction. It was pretty mild, so I shrugged it off. Five minutes later another contraction. And then 5 minutes later, another. After the third one I got my husband up (who also never was able to go back to sleep because we were both on edge at that point) and said okay. Let’s go. I think this is it.
While I was getting our stuff ready to go I remembered that while I was sleeping I felt a POP. And it dawned on me that that was my water breaking. But because I was asleep when it happened it hadn’t occurred to me right away. In hindsight, I knew that feeling from experiencing it in the past and knew that it was go time.
We packed up and headed to the hospital. We arrived around 5am and got checked in through triage. The OB on call checked me to verify my dilation and that it was my sac that had ruptured and indeed it was.
I was still pretty shocked by it all because again that had never happened to me. And it’s a little known fact that a woman’s water breaking only happens about 15% of the time prior to labor!
Prior to going into labor I was having so much anxiety about going to the hospital and explaining our situation. I felt dumb. Here I was with no doctor, no plan, no insurance showing up to have a baby. I just knew they’d look at me like I was a complete moron for ever wanting a home birth and then that plan heading south.
The nurses and doctors I encountered at the hospital reacted so differently from what I was expecting. I showed them my prenatal records (which I obtained from my midwife) and shared about what happened and how I ended up there with no doctor and no birth plan. They were incredibly empathetic, friendly and caring about the entire ordeal. I didn’t get one raised eyebrow or unwelcome comment about it which was truly surprising, but definitely a relief.
I got through triage pretty quickly thankfully because while I was in there my husband had to wait in the car for me to be admitted. This seems to be a pretty universal COVID-19 policy across the board. The on call OB checked to verify my water had ruptured and to see how dilated I was. At that point I was dilated to a 6. Which is always pretty shocking to me considering how I’m mostly unfazed by contractions at this point and already so dilated. Further proof that every woman’s experience in birth is so different. They got me into a room pretty quickly after this. I was also impressed with how quickly they got me an IV of antibiotics going. I always test positive for group B strep (it’s a bacterial infection that I always get while pregnant – has no effect on me while pregnant but could potentially cause harm to baby after birth) so they treat it with an antibiotic when you’re admitted. Unfortunately, you have to have this antibiotic BEFORE baby is born and it’s broken into two doses a few hours apart so I never get the whole dose in time which results in us staying admitted for an additional 48 hours to make sure baby is okay. I’ve literally never left with a baby the next day. Like what a dream that must be to just go home with your baby the next day!
Anyway, I digress….
After they gave me word I was being moved to my room I was able to call my husband and he met us in the hallway to go up to the room. Once we got there and got settled we were pretty much left alone until I needed them. Since I was not getting an epidural they really let me labor on my own terms and left it at my discretion when I wanted them to intervene. And this was a new experience for me compared to the last hospital I had my first unmedicated birth at.
By the time we got to the room it was about 7Am. Between 7-8AM my contractions were consistent but nothing crazy yet. I was starting to wonder what was going on and if things were going to progress. It was weird for me to just be chilling there waiting. Even Tim agreed. It was a totally different experience to be in the calm of labor without rushing anywhere. I’m grateful we got to experience that though.
At this point I put my AirPods in and blasted my birth playlist full of worship music. I zoned in. I prayed. I felt baby boy in there moving and wiggling his way down with each contraction. I focused on every contraction and knew we were one step closer with each one to meeting our baby boy.
As I heard the lyrics in my ears
“there was another in the fire standing next to me
there was another in the waters holding back the seas
should I ever need reminding of how I’ve been set free
there is a cross that bears the burden
that another died for me
there’s another in the fire”
my emotions exploded. I was so overwhelmed with so many feelings. Gratitude. Sadness. Joy. Excitement. Resentment. Anger.
So much going through me at that time. I was overwhelmed that I was getting to do this again and experience bringing another baby into this world. So much joy and excitement about getting to meet our son. Yet so much sadness, resentment and anger about how this was NOT how he was supposed to be coming into the world. We were supposed to be at home. We were supposed to be welcoming him next to our bed with our boys there to witness the miracle of their baby brother coming into the world. This is not how it was supposed to be. But oh what a joy it was to know that he would be here so soon.
See. Just so much crashing over me as the contractions came and went. And the gentle reminder from God that He was there with me feeling everything I was feeling and assuring me that it was going to be okay.
Around 8AM things started to pickup very suddenly and the contractions were becoming very, very intense. I knew it was just about go time, but couldn’t be sure. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure. The doctor had checked for dilation when we first got into the room around 7 and she said she expected the baby to be there within the hour.
She was nearly spot on.
I had a moment I was starting to panic because they were becoming extremely painful and I wasn’t sure if it was time to push or not. I had Tim go grab the doctor to come see what was going on down there. She checked quickly (this was around 8:10-8:15Am if I had to guess) and said no not time yet. I was still only at a 9 and to call again if I felt the urge to push.
Within moments after her leaving I was walking back and forth, clutching Tim has hard as I could to get through the contractions. Breathing with everything I had, roaring them out of me with each breath.
And then I knew. It was time.
Just a few minutes later I had Tim tell them to get in there asap because he was coming. I sat down as fast as I could and barely made it onto my side. I wasn’t even fully sitting yet before I had to start pushing. And like a flash of lightning he was here.
The doctors had barely entered the room. I heard her say “yep his head is out”. And then there he was. I distinctly saying “I NEED SOMEONE TO HELP ME!” I was terrified he was going to come flying out and no one was going to be there to grab him.
Thankfully, they did. I
The nurse later told me I started pushing at 8:19AM.
He was born at 8:21AM.
It wasn’t anything that we had planned or hoped for. It wasn’t the birth I had dreamed of having. It was completely unexpected, but happened just as it was supposed to.
Krue Nicolas Dockery was born on December 3rd in the year no one will ever forget at 8:21AM.
I’ve since come to peace with what wasn’t and have focused on the positives that I did get from his birth. I still got to labor and delivery naturally & unmedicated which is what I truly wanted to experience again. I got to have a peaceful, calm laboring experience with my husband by my side which allowed me to dial in on the glorious and miraculous event that giving birth is. It is a holy experience that I am so blessed to have been able to have.