I’ve been working on baby Locke’s birth story ever since we got home from the hospital – jotting down notes so I wouldn’t forget any part of it. Birth stories got me through my pregnancy & I loved reading them. Throughout my entire pregnancy I looked forward to experiencing Locke’s story and wondered what ours would look like. I never imagined how hard it would be to put into words and I’m not sure I’m doing it justice, but this is Locke’s birth story:
My pregnancy with Locke was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done. His birth was hard, and extremely painful, but those long nine months leading up to his birth were harder. Thankfully there were no complications with him, just a lot of physical pain and feeling sick for me.
My goal for delivery was to avoid a c-section & I started preparing myself mentally from the very beginning of my pregnancy. I listened to birth stories (The Birth Hour) almost every day & found my midwife Rebekah in the very first month.
I wanted to have the midwifery model of care as much as possible but wanted to deliver in a hospital with as little intervention as possible. I really struggled to find a doctor, but finally at 32 weeks (…and three doctors later. Oops.) I got established with an awesome doctor who i love.
At 7:20am on Sunday April 30th, I woke up with a really strong contraction. It almost made me cry – it hurt so bad and really scared me. I remembered my midwife telling me that contractions are common in the last weeks and not to get excited because they would probably go away. These were much stronger than I had felt before though, so I had a pretty good idea this was it. Also if I stayed pregnant one more day I was going to lose my mind. So it had to be it.
I got into the shower and tried to relax the contractions away. I couldn’t figure out how far apart they were because there wasn’t much of a break between them. I texted my midwife and told her what was going on and she repeated that I should try to ignore them as long as I could.
I started getting really nervous. These were really painful and it had only been about 20 minutes since the first contraction. I didn’t want to move or talk.
By 8:30am I could barely walk. I got upstairs and woke Caleb up. I had another contraction that had me leaning over the dresser unable to talk.
I sat at the table on my birth ball and worked through contractions. I started trying to time them. They were 3-4 minutes apart. I texted my midwife and asked her to come. I was really scared by how I was feeling. I knew most first time labors can last for 20+ hours and this was really intense. I was feeling really discouraged and assuming I must be the biggest baby to ever give birth if I was already struggling through labor this much, this soon.
At about 9:40am my midwife got to our house.
Caleb and my midwife helped me upstairs and onto the bed so Rebekah could check me. Thank goodness, she told me I was 6 centimeters dilated. I was SO relieved to know that this was real labor, I was not being dramatic, and that there was going to be a baby today.
From this point on, my midwife began having me do what I think is accurately described as labor bootcamp. She had me on the birth ball, lunge walking, taking the stairs two at a time, swaying back and forth etc.
It was horrible, but it also helped to have someone telling me what to do or I probably would have just curled up in the fetal position. I knew it was helping baby Locke move down and I think my labor progressed so much faster because of her guidance.
When I was in high school my track coach taught me to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth while I ran. He said it helped keep the body calm and in control. I subconsciously started doing this during contractions, which I think helped me to keep from really freaking out. Mostly I wanted to cry, but I knew it would take too much energy & make everything hurt even more.
Around 10:30am my water broke.
This entire experience was so unreal to me. I could not believe my water broke. I could not believe I was having contractions. And I really could not believe that a baby was going to come out of me.
My midwife warned me that often, labor really picks up after your water breaks. She reminded me that we still had to get in the car and make the fifteen minute drive to the hospital. I was way too aware of this and had been trying to decide what to do for a while at that point.
After about an hour I told my midwife and Caleb that I thought I wanted to start making our way to the hospital.
I hollered instructions to Caleb between contractions and he got the bags packed and loaded.
Yes. At 39.5 weeks I did not have our bags packed yet. I thought I was going to have more time during early labor to finish them.
Once the car was packed I made my way down the stairs and outside to the car. This was horrible. It was just seriously horrible. Caleb drove and Rebekah and I sat in the back seat facing the back window. I leaned over the back of the seat during contractions and then semi sat on Rebekah’s lap in between.
At the hospital the transporter made me sit in a wheel chair to go to the L&D unit & I informed him he better run us there.
When the nurse made her way into our room, my midwife told her how I had been 6cm dilated several hours ago and my water had already broken. She hurried away to go find the doctor.
Doctor M. came in and said he wanted to check and see how dilated I was. I had been praying that I was at least an 8. He checked me and I was 10cm! He told me I was ready to start pushing whenever!
I thought that “ready to push” meant I could start pushing, but instead he plopped down on the couch and pulled out his phone.
Why the heck is he sitting down? I want this kid out of me…
I labored for a few more minutes and asked Rebekah if I was supposed to be doing something.
“Nope you’re doing great.”
A while later I asked again and someone explained that to avoid pushing for hours and hours I could just keep laboring until I had an uncontrollable urge to push.
Two hours later, I still hadn’t had a big urge to push. Caleb continued to do counter pressure on my back. My midwife whispered words of encouragement & reassurance. My mom held my hand. And my doc sat on the couch almost the entire time, waiting for me to be ready.
Everyone was seriously amazing. Caleb did such a good job helping and encouraging me and doing every little thing I needed. My mom took pictures for me and kept telling me what a great job I was doing. Rebekah coached me through the entire day. I don’t think she sat down or ate anything for over 10 hours. And my doctor was so patient, encouraging and kind. I felt so respected the entire time. I guess I felt what the birth community calls being ‘empowered.’ I never once felt out of control and only ever felt supported.
Eventually my doctor asked if I wanted to give pushing a try even though I wasn’t really feeling a huge urge. He broke down the bed and put a bar at the end of it for me to hold onto.
Pushing felt SO much better. Not to say it didn’t still totally suck, but it felt way better to push into the pain instead of just endure it. I pushed for a total of 45 minutes.
[So, side-note, I literally don’t know who these women are who I see on Instagram looking so perfect during labor. Who does their hair? Their makeup? Why aren’t their faces swollen? Do they bring a styling team with them? There was no hair and no makeup, no cute clothes…and for three weeks after labor my eyes were bloody from burst blood vessels. I looked like a freaking vampire].
Towards the end of pushing, my doctor said that he thought I would benefit from a small intervention to help get Locke out and he asked if i would be ok with it. During the break in pushing I asked him if it was possible for me to help catch Locke. This was something I had been hoping to do from the very beginning of my pregnancy, but I didn’t think it would be very likely at a hospital birth. My doctor was awesome though and said I could absolutely catch him.
On the next contraction Locke’s head was born. I heard Dr. M say his head was out and then, “Oh, and a hand, you little stinker!” Locke’s little hand was up by his face.
Finally, Dr. M told me to reach down and grab my baby. His bottom and legs were still inside me and I got to help pull him the rest of the way out and onto my chest.
I think that will forever be my favorite memory of my whole entire life. I can’t explain how special it was to do that and then have him there in my arms. I don’t have words good enough to describe the feeling of meeting my baby. It was otherworldly.
Also, I don’t think I have ever felt so much relief – knowing that the pain was over and that this pregnancy was finally finished.
Locke was born at 3:50pm. He weighed 8lb 4oz and was 20 inches long. Caleb and I got to spend the first two hours alone together as a family of three. We took turns holding him and talked about what had happened over the last few hours. I wish I were a better writer to accurately describe what that night was like. It was so perfect. I have never been filled with so much awe and joy. I felt like I was going to explode.
A few hours after he was born, our families came in to meet him. My dad and Caleb’s mom gave him his fist bath, and everyone took turns holding him. We also told everyone his name for the first time.
The last two months have been the happiest ever. I am so humbled and in awe of this incredible gift. I had no idea, the immensity of this joy. I’ve never been given a gift like this and I can’t comprehend or understand God’s goodness to Caleb and I. My heart is so full of praise and wonder at our God. Locke has brought me more joy than I ever knew possible. He is so sweet and precious and I am enjoying every single second of him. Every day is so much fun and I feel that this, being a momma, is exactly what God made me for. There is nothing better.