Heather, a member of our moms group, MomMentous, writes about the water birth of her daughter, Beatrice. Heather took childbirth classes with us to prepare for labor and a birth center birth.

Saturday, August 27th, 2016 was a full day of activities for us. We went to an ice cream festival, toured the new Forsyth Humane Society in Winston-Salem, picked up some baby things from a friend, and hung out at the pool for a few hours. A storm sent us away from the pool and back to the condo where we planned for a lazy evening…My older daughter and I both took showers. Afterwards, at about 3:45pm, I was talking to my husband when I felt a small gush of liquid fill my underwear. I said “I think my water may have just broke” and ran to the bathroom. I had never had any experience with water breaking, so I just wasn’t sure. Just an hour before I had been swimming in the pool and talking about how the baby seemed cozy and unlikely to come this weekend. Now, I was seriously wondering if my water was leaking! We called the midwife and got a little guidance. She said to call her back in an hour and pay attention to any contractions. However, contractions started right away. One every ten minutes. My husband ran out to the grocery store, but I immediately texted him asking him to come back. I knew it was all moving faster than we thought. I texted my family and our birth photographer saying they should not get too comfortable for the evening as it seemed we were in labor.When I spoke to my midwife, I think she sensed the urgency in my voice and we all agreed it was time to meet at the birth center. My mom, brother, and sister-in-law came to pick up my oldest with the plan of coming to the birth center a little later in the evening. Upon seeing how I was laboring, they decided they would go ahead to the birth center.

Contractions were about 4 minutes apart. Our drive to Natural Beginnings Birth and Wellness Center in Statesville, NC was pleasant even though I continued to have contractions about 3 minutes apart. We grew anxious and ready to arrive at the center. We arrived around 6:30pm. Nicole (my midwife) met us at the car where I was having another contraction. We slowly made our way into the birth room and I laid down on the bed. Nicole removed my underwear and felt for my cervix. It was shockingly only dilated to 1 cm, but as she moved her fingers, some scar tissue on my cervix broke and I immediately dilated to 4. It was painful and shocking. My labor increased in intensity almost immediately.

Because I tested positive for Group B Strep, Nicole wanted to give me some antibiotics, but my veins did not cooperate and the pain was too much, so we decided to decline the antibiotics after all. Considering how fast labor was going, it seemed unlikely that the antibiotics would do any good anyway. I was lying on the bed laboring on my side with a peanut ball between my knees and it was quite tough. Nicole’s assistant, Courtney, helped me make my way to the birth tub and I instantly felt relief as the warm water swirled around me. It must have been around 7pm. The next hour and a half was a blur of contractions and activity. Our photographer, Alisha Raquel Photography, arrived and started documenting our experience. Nicole put counter pressure on my lower back that was extremely helpful. Jason held my hands and kissed my face. Courtney was great at giving me specific guidance with regards to positioning and focus. Thanks to the birthing class we had taken through Piedmont Doulas, my husband felt fully prepared for his role (this was his first experience being a birth partner) and he was a wonderful support! I’m especially grateful that Becky taught him to knock it off with the jokes starting around transition! At one point, I began to throw up which brought on my bloody show and I really felt things start to open up.

Nicole and Courtney told me I might start to feel the urge to push. I was surprised that they thought we were that close! Things had moved so quickly! Sure enough, I soon felt the physical sensation of my baby moving down deep inside me. Nicole told me to reach down and feel my baby. I knew it was time. I had spent most of my labor on all fours, but I moved to my back in the water to start pushing. With each contraction, I felt the baby stretching me open and fought with my body to accept the experience and let her come. Finally, I knew that the only way past the intensity was through it. I pushed with my next contraction and felt the baby’s head emerge. There was a brief pause for me to catch my breath, but with the next contraction, she burst out of me and I reached down in amazement to see my baby girl!

She was as calm and peaceful as could be despite the tough journey. Her head had been turned slightly, so she had a little spot on the side of her head that quickly disappeared. Beatrice Rose Saturday, August 27th, 2016 8:30pm 7 lbs 10 oz 19 1/2 inches long 4.5 hours of labor

Beatrice and her proud big sister