I always have friends telling me their fears about giving birth or being pregnant. I had those fears too before I had kids but now I know that having a baby is not scary at all. Having a baby is actually a very spiritual and special experience. It brings so many blessings. I learn so much about the Atonement of Jesus Christ through the process of bearing and delivering a child. I also feel close to God and I feel God’s love for me as I go forth with faith to raise his children. I think every child that is born is a miracle of God but of course it does take work to prepare for such an event. Don’t expect to have a positive birth experience without putting some effort to create it.
I love the scripture in D&C 38:30 that says “If ye are prepared ye shall not fear.”
This is the story of the birth of my second child.
I am currently living in Dublin, Ireland and I delivered my second baby at the National Maternity Hospital on Holles Street with a midwife. I had my first baby in SLC, Utah at the University of Utah hospital with physicians/nurses. Both births were amazing but the stories are uniquely different.
As with any other birth story… read this with your own discretions. I tried to keep it PG but don’t read this if you don’t think you can handle it! 🙂
I was 41 weeks and 2 days along! I was 9 days “over due”. My first baby was 2 weeks early, I never thought I would have a July baby… or a fourth of July Baby!
So after 3 weeks and 4 days of prodromal labor. I woke up on July 4th at around 7 am with contractions that I couldn’t ignore anymore. They were coming every 4 minutes and lasting ~1 min I told Dallin, my husband, to press on my lower back during the contractions. These were stronger than they have been but I wasn’t going to declare labor or anything since I’ve had so many false alarms this time around.
I put these contractions to the test. We did our morning routine. I fed Micah, our first child. I read Scriptures. It just happened that I was reading 3 Nephi chapter 1 about the birth of Jesus Christ and I read verse 19:
And it came to pass that there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was mid-day. And it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order; and they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.
I thought to myself.. that’s funny. Because before this I’ve been reading all these verses about being patient in afflictions (referring to my previous weeks of prodromal labor). Anyways… I ate a light breakfast and I took a shower. We had family scripture study but we had to stop every 4 minutes so Dallin and press on my lower back to ease the pressure of contractions. Finally, at around 10:00 am I decided that the contractions were probably not going away. So I called the midwifes. I told them I still don’t know for sure but I’m 9 days overdue so I wanted them to check. They weren’t busy so we decided to go to the hospital right away. Angelika, is our friend who has been staying with us the last week or so. It was such a blessing to have a babysitter at the home. We said Goodbye to Micah and walked out the door.
Traffic here in Dublin is pretty congested and it’s mostly one lane road to the hospital. I calmly listened to my Hypnobabies relaxation scripts while squeezing Dallin’s hand during contractions! I was focused and breathing during the contractions. We checked into the hospital around 11:30 am. We got to a room around 11:40 am just to find out that I wasn’t in labor yet. I wasn’t pass the 3 cm mark to be declared as “in labor”. I was still in prodromal labor… ridiculous! The midwife checked the baby on the monitor for about 20 minutes. She allowed me to stand up instead of being in bed which was nice. I hate laying down during contractions. The baby’s heart and movements were fine so she sent me to go walking for an hour. She told me to come back in one hour to be checked again to see if I go into labor. I listened to my relaxation scripts while walking around in the hospital. I stayed focus. I leaned forward against the wall and bent my knees while Dallin did counter pressure up and down my back every time I had a contraction. It only took about 30 minutes until I was groaning and breathing very deeply that disrupted everyone in the hallway. Dallin said I was having contractions 2 mins long and 4 min apart by then.
The midwife (Grace is her name) heard my noises and quickly pulled me back into the room. I told her my contraction isn’t over yet but she made me walk as fast as I could. She just said “Walk fast! This is a second baby. They come fast!” It was 12:30 pm. She knew I was in labor before checking me. During my next contraction, I was 4 cm dilated and she broke my water at the same time. We discussed beforehand that if my water didn’t break that she could break it when my labor officially started. This was my personal decision because my water broke before we went to the hospital with my first baby. Well labor sure went fast after my waters went! I finished dilating in ~20 minutes and I pushed for ~18 minutes. I had the baby by 1:10 pm. Good thing I was at the hospital before I started labor.
Pushing, like with Micah, was my favorite part. I love being in control and push only when I want to push. They had this awesome birthing stool. It is like a toilet seat with legs. I could sit on it while leaning on Dallin. With my first birth, I ended up pushing on a bed for 2+ hours because I was getting leg cramps that made me so I couldn’t stand up anymore. This stool was awesome!!
Grace, the midwife, was such a serious coach. She kept me focus and never let me waste my energy crying or moaning. She said sternly many times “Now May Bo, stay focus!” She helped me to know when to push hard and when to stop pushing so I wouldn’t tear, which by the way I didn’t tear at all! This was completely different than my last pushing experience! Last time they just told me to push as hard as I could for longer than I wanted and I tore a lot with Micah. The midwife really made me feel empowered as she coached me through pushing. I could feel my kegel muscles working this time and I could feel the baby descending. She made sure my pushing was effective but never forced me to push when I didn’t feel to. I felt in control of the baby and it felt good. I think it helped being on the stool sitting upright. As the baby was crowing she told me to give one last big push. Then as the baby’s head was coming out she told me to stop pushing! I couldn’t believe that she wanted me to stop pushing cause all i wanted to do is push. So she told me to “puff” out breaths but resist to push. His head gently slipped out the rest of the way naturally during the next contraction. I looked down and I saw Quentin’s head with lots and lots of hair! He was all purple. This was a new angle, I couldn’t see anything with Micah while laying down on bed. Again she told me not to push because the shoulders slipped out gently. After the shoulders came out, she told me to bend over and catch him! Bending over was enough for the rest of Quentin to come out. I caught my own baby! The midwife helped me so I didn’t drop him and put him right on me with the umbilical cord still on. Crazy huh?
The minute you hold the baby makes all that waiting, pregnancy, and labor worth it! The rush of adrenaline after birth feels amazing. I would say it’s the equivalent of a “runner’s high” or finishing a marathon. Like I said in the beginning, preparing for the baby’s labor was a really important to me especially to overcome any doubts or fears I had. It was very necessary for me to prepare myself spiritually, temporally, mentally, emotionally and physically everyday. I asked my husband for many priesthood blessings leading up to the delivery. The priesthood blessings along with daily scripture study and prayer gave me the peace and comfort I need to keep going everyday. Of course, somedays are better than others but in the end it’s all worth it. Having a baby is not scary at all! It’s actually really awesome.