Melissa’s birth journey with me started on a Saturday morning. I knew she was tired of being pregnant and very excited to see her sweet newborn baby Milo. I texted her that morning and told her I was going to the Birth Fair and why didn’t she and Josh join me? We were sure that with being around all those pregnant mammas, doulas, midwives, and various birth workers her body would feel safe to go into labor. She joked she would be happy to demonstrate an un-medicated, natural childbirth to anyone who was interested. I even brought a birth kit with me just in case.
She and Josh walked around the birth fair for several hours, and towards the end, she began having contractions. They were mild but frequent. She was talking and walking through them. She told me they felt like Braxton hicks and she wasn’t too concerned. They left the birth fair around 3pm. I stayed to see a presentation. At the end of the presentation, Josh called and asked if I would head back to The Woodlands area, as the contractions were getting closer together and stronger. This made me excited and anxious as I was in Houston, which was a minimal 30-minute drive with no traffic, and Josh had informed they hit quite a bit of traffic on the way home.
I was lucky and didn’t hit traffic. I took the time to remember her last birth. She had a long labor with her first, Preston. She was so determined and strong. I felt honored and blessed to have been a part of her journey into motherhood and beyond blessed to be able to join her journey once again. I prayed in the car for a safe birth for her and Milo. I prayed that it was much quicker than her 30-hour first labor. I asked God to “guide my hands and guide my thoughts. Help me make safe decisions for mother and baby.” I trust birth; however, I know things can go wrong. I never want to be overconfident. I got home without any difficulties. I had time to eat dinner with my husband before Josh called and said they were ready to come in.
Melissa and Josh arrived at the birth center at 5:25 pm with contractions every 3-4 minutes lasting 90-120 seconds. Her water had not broken, and she reported lots of fetal movement. She was dilated 4 cm, her cervix was still thick, and baby was pretty high. We did some exercises to bring baby down for a couple of hours. I checked her again 2 hours later, but there were not any changes. She was so disappointed. She and Josh were ready to “get this done.” The baby had rotated though to a better position. I sent them to go visit some friends with instructions of when to come back. We were looking for the contractions to get longer and stronger as time went by, or they ere to call and come back in if her water broke. I remember they were so bummed to be going home and had asked me if I thought they would have the baby “tonight.” I never tell people when I think they will have the baby. I hate being wrong or giving false hope. However, I really did think it would be later that night. I left the room set up for them. I went home, didn’t change, and watched a movie with my husband.
Josh called me that night about 11:30 pm and said that things had picked up and they were ready to come back in. They arrived at the birth center at midnight, and her contractions were much longer and stronger. I was also excited to see her best friend, Jeneva, with them as I had had the privilege of catching her last baby too.
Melissa looked much different this time when she came in. I had the water in the tub ready for her. I took her vital signs and let her get in the tub as soon as she wanted to. I didn’t feel a need to check her dilation again, as I could tell things were moving along as they should. Her baby’s heart rate was perfect with accelerations and good fetal movement. She started to sound pushy at about 10 minutes past midnight. She was doing a beautiful job at listening to her body and changing positions as needed. She loved the smell of Josh’s hair, and this would help her through each contraction. Jeneva was taking pictures and offering kind gentle words of encouragement. She began to push spontaneously and stayed in this pattern for about an hour. I could tell this was beginning to tire and frustrate her. She had an anterior cervical lip. This means she still had a little cervix she was pushing against and coming down with the baby’s head. I told her to try to stop pushing to give the cervix a chance to go away or I could push it out of the way. She said she could not stop pushing and to please push it out of the way.
At 1:20 am I pushed the cervix out of the way, and Melissa began to effectively push her baby down through the birth canal. She did this so beautifully. She let her body do the work without adding any extra pressure. We call this breathing a baby down. The body will automatically push the baby down without any extra effort on the mother’s part. When a woman can allow this to happen, the birth is gentle and allows the body to accommodate slowly.
At 1:42 am Milo was born in the water. He was brought up immediately to his mother’s abdomen where he quickly let the world know he had arrived. He was perfect and so were his parents. It’s difficult to express in words the joy of childbirth. It’s not only the birth but the witnessing of the mother’s struggles of childbirth. I always feel so close to God in these moments. He will always give us what we need to get through anything. Women who choose to have births this way completely surrender to the process. This surrender is beautiful, and Melissa’s surrender was amazing. I know she is a woman of strong faith, and through her faith she trusts childbirth completely. The faith and love she and Josh share is such a blessing to witness. I wish every child could come into the world this way.
Thank you, Melissa and Josh, for sharing your journey with me again. I’m looking forward to many more!!!!!