My Birth Stories

12:38 AM Posted In Edit This 2 Comments »




I have had many requests for my birth stories. So here they are.

After my first, unfortunately traumatic birth, in 2001, in Charlottesville, VA, where I was induced with a drug I had never heard of called Cytotec, for post dates, and because Dr. Klas predicted she'd be 9-10 lbs, "way too big!" I began my path to freedom in Christ in the area of birth. At the time I had thought I had done all I could do to ensure a natural birth. My husband and I had taken a 12-week Bradley course and I had read some books.... What could go wrong, right? WRONG. My only proud moment was that I didn't give in and get the favored, pushed epidural, but to this day I know that only by God's grace and mercy was I sustained my HIS mighty hand through the vicious contractions and not kill or hurt my precious daughter in the process. My contractions were 4 minutes long with multiple peaks, no more than a minute apart. I knew something was wrong as soon as this started happening. I was terrified. But since it's a pill insterted near the cervix, you can't remove it.... My water was broken manually and I thought I was going to die. I can't believe how much pain I was in. It was torture. When I was ready to push, I was supported in the c-sitting position and remember my OB and husband counting in my face. 25 mintues of pushing and she was born. I tore and had to be repaired. Annie Mackenzie was 6 lbs 13 oz and covered in vernix. She was placed on my belly and I was instantly in love! I remember feeling a rush of natural oxitocin and painkillers. I was high as a kite!

When we moved to PA, I decided that I needed to see a midwife and found a CNM in Greenville. Unfortunately, my birth was again, a traumatic one. I went over due again by 10 days... I was in labor on my own (with the aid of prosteglandin gel). But after a stint of walking in a nearby park, the midwife decided to break my water when I stalled at 6 cm, and start pitocin... what I refer to as "liquid EVIL." I ended up with severe back labor and screamed in pain, absolutely terrified. These contractions felt different from before... I really had no idea what was going on. No one told me a thing and I thought I was dying. During this experience, I was given Sta-dol and this made things worse. I would fall asleep between contractions and wake up at the peak screaming in pain. A nurse even screamed in my face to 'shut up because my screaming wasn't helping anything!' I was put flat on my back and pushed my baby out so forcefully, that I broke blood vessels all over my body and face and in my eyes. My baby's heart rate dropped to 70's while I pushed and I had a real sense of urgency to get him out so I pushed even when I wasn't contracting. Not to mention that my poor hubby was terrified as well and said he thought I was dying too. He was worried beyond belief for his unborn son. Our midwife offered no explanation, but had a very intense, worried expression on her face. Austin James-Gregory, 7 lbs 12 oz, was born shortly after midnight. After his birth, I literally passed out. Someone handed him to me after they got him to turn a shade of pink from the blue he had been, and somehow, I hooked him up to my breast and I was out. The photos of us after birth honestly look like a baby with a mommy corpse. I don't remember getting to my room. But at 3:00 am, I awoke with a start and wanted my baby! I rang the nurse's station and they made me ring twice more and took 45 minutes to bring him to me! (He was maybe 10 feet from my room) Only after his birth the next day, was I told that he was posterior and what back labor was. I didn't bond with my baby for at least two weeks. I felt strange. Like I hadn't given birth at all. Who was this baby? Was he mine? Praise God that healed after a while in my heart. But it was a painful process. I often hear from women, hey, as long as the baby is healthy, then the birth part doesn't matter. That is most often from c-section patients. I have to strongly and whole-heartedly disagree with this idea. A woman's birth most certainly matters. It shapes how she feels about herself for the rest of her life. I will even go as far as to say that birth can be a situation in which a woman is abused by her caregivers and then told they were "saving her baby." This is not to say that medical intervention can be helpful when needed.... But that's just it, if you go to a surgeon, to birth your baby, a normal process 98% of the time, you are going to be messed with most of the time because obstetricians are trained to see problems whether they are real or imagined. I can attest that birth does not need a single wire or tube or machine attached to you to happen properly. And that these so-called "helpful technologies" are more of a hinderance than a true help. This is based on my experience, a LOT of reading and education and talking to many mothers. You may disagree, and that's ok. But, I truly believe that in birth LESS IS MORE. :)

When I discovered I was pregnant a third time I immediately put myself on the prayer chain at my church... My pastor joked that it was a bit early to be worrying about my birth.... But he didn't know what I'd been through... I hired a doula, MeriBeth Glenn, at the urging of a friend, Megan Reeher. It was a wonderful decision! I went to an OB in Greenville and was insistent that I not be induced. Toward the end Dr. McFadden was pretty compliant until I was going to be 13 days overdue as of that Monday. So at my check-up, he announced that I had to come be induced on Monday at 8 am. I was horrified. Please GOD, NO! I remember thinking. So my doula suggested castor oil. I choked down some of the bottle on Saturday in OJ. That evening I was crampy. But I didn't think much about it. So I sat on a birth ball at the table and ate dinner and played cards. Sunday night at 1:30 am, however, I woke up with a burning sensation... I got up to use the bathroom and my water broke! Argh? What the? Really?! My body CAN go into labor?!?! Realllly?!?! I was scared because what was going on? I'd never gone into labor before! So I called my trusty doula and she timed my contractions... and decided to come right away. I stayed at home a while and finally decided it was time to go. When we arrived, my sister-in-law, Karin, was the the nurse on duty! I was soooo relieved to see her! I was 5 cm and 80% effaced. I mostly laid on my side on the bed or got on all fours. My doula helped my husband help me and he supported me whan I was on all-fours. My doula directed my vocalization to deeper tones instead of whiney ones and helped me deeply breathe. I felt very pushy but I was 7-8cm and the nurse did not like that, so she had me change positions from all fours to sitting. I tried a squat bar, but it wasn't comfortable. Dr. Segal arrived literally 10 minutes before my son was born. 13 minutes or so of pushing and Samuel Isaiah was born, 9lbs 2.5oz. At one point I tried to reach down to feel his little head and my doctor told me "NO! Don't! Just push!" After he was born I felt shaky and shook a lot. So I handed off my baby to my sister-in-law to be examined. After my birth, when I tried to get out of bed, I found I could not move my legs. I had severe pain in my hips. I was told due to the position of birth (sitting, semi-reclined) I had nerve damage. My lower back was also messed up for quite a while as well. After the birth, I was sitting, holding my baby when Dr. McFadden poked his head in the door and said, "Oh, good! You had that baby! No need for that induction then!" Overall, this birth was much better, but I still felt like there could be more to this birth experience that I was missing.

I don't remember exactly how I first got introduced to the concept of homebirth. But I started off my fourth pregnancy at my OB's office. At some point though, my husband and I decided to hire a CPM. We read a few books my doula lent us on homebirth myths and prayed over the decision. It was no easy task making the switch from medicalized, cold, frenzied hospital, to natural, warm, peaceful home. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law are both OB nurses. At an OB visit, I expressed my desire for a homebirth to my OB. I was going to ask him to be back-up if anything went wrong. His response was "That's fine but you'll die!" Um, excuse me? I said, wishing I could have covered my three children's ears.... "I said you'll probably hemorrhage and die." I left and never returned.

As I planned for my birth, we bought the necessary birth kit and birth pool as I knew water was a great comfort to me my whole life. Dana Rudloff actually visited me for an appointment when Cassi was away and she predicted an eight and a half pound baby from palping. True to form, at 11 days after my due date, I went into early labor that evening. My husband and I watched a movie, ate chicken salad galore (recipe by Verna Prentice) and finally, around 10:30, my midwife, Cassi Toy, came to check on us. She left and around 2:30 we called her back. I remember with this labor being amazed that it hurt, but not in the same way as previous births. I spent my time laying on my side, leaning on our big chair on all fours, and walking around the dining room table. At some point, my doula suggested I do some supported squats with one leg up on the couch. I was told later that my baby was posterior and this is when he turned. (I had NO back labor) After that, I was checked and told I was 7 cm.... My reaction was quite funny. I hooted, "WHAT?!?!?! NOOO WAY!" I had always felt the urge to push at 7-8cm... Not this time. They told me to go ahead and get into the birth pool. I did so and very soon my water broke and soon after that, I was pushing. They rolled me onto my right side and I pushed out Caeden Isreal, 8 lbs 8 oz, very quickly! For the first time, I didn't tear more than a superficial tear that I treated with comfry leaf compress and comfry tea in my peribottle. After he was born, Annie came over to inspect him while I was still in the birth pool and whispered in my ear, "Mommy, the doctor was wrong, you didn't die!" When I review this birth in my mind, I am filled with JOY! I held my baby as long as I wanted and this was my first baby that didn't use a pacifier. He was very well-bonded to me. It was a blessing of a birth, to say the least.

Justus Alexander Corbett was born at 8:52 am Nov. 6th. He was born at home into his Daddy's hands and he was born in water. He weighed 7 lbs 13 oz and was 21 inches long.Justus is a family name on Jeff's side of the family and Alexander was my great-grandfather's name and my grandfather's middle name. Justus means 'upright and just' and Alexander means 'man's defender, warrior." Together we thought of defender of justice.Labor was 11pm-4 am on Tues night then it stopped. Then, I had contractions sporadically Wed night from 1-6am which I mostly slept through. At 7 Jeff called the midwife as they were getting stronger. He was born at 8:52am.So the hard part was from 7-8:52.

I walked almost the entire time from 7:30- 8:40 ish when I got into the birth pool. I had a few pushy contractions I attempted to breathe through and then pop! My water broke.Next contraction I told Jeff "He's coming!" And his head was already out!! I remember instructing my husband NOT to touch him! I have learned that it is a bad idea to manipulate the baby in any way. Funny, but later, he told me he was going to pull on the baby's head in the excitement of the moment and was glad I told him hands off! I tore with the first three hospital births and did not tear for both my home/water births.I paused and then pushed again - trying to give him time to rotate and his body came out in one push as well! (I have never had a baby just SLIDE out before!) Jeff lifted him out of the water and I noticed the cord around his neck and said, “Hold up, there’s the cord around his neck!” I unwrapped it really fast and we started to stimulate him on my shoulder. Jeff said excitedly, “How do we get him to breathe?!” I said, “Just stimulate him.” So I patted his bottom and sort of jostled him around a bit and Jeff scooped water on his head and rubbed it gently. He started to squeak a little and move around. I started to suction his nose with my mouth as I didn’t know Jeff had the bulb syringe out. Then Jeff said, “Wait, I have this.” and Jeff suctioned his mouth out quickly. There was some meconium staining in the water Jeff had noticed when it broke as well which he didn’t mention until after he was born. But we are very blessed to have been in the water so the meconium could be washed away from Justus as he was born, so he didn't breathe it in the way most babies do for a dry birth!! God is so GOOD! Later I discovered he had been a compound presentation (hand by face) and believe it or not, I had NO tearing or skid marks AT ALL! Annie had requested and was able to cut the cord. Annie, Austin and Samuel were awake in the other room drawing and raced in when the baby was born. They were all chanting how cute he was!
The assistant got there five minutes after and my midwife did five minutes after her! LOL. I was amazed by Jeff's presence of mind! He got string out and scissors and boiled them and had the bulb syringe all ready! It was quite an experience!! We weren't planning an unassisted birth, but we were blessed that God was with us!

Throughout the pregnancy God had been impressing it upon my heart to trust in Him. He specifically told me not to trust in midwives, my husband, myself, but only in HIM. This was repeated frequently and I had wondered why. Well, I now know why! Also, while in labor scriptures that came to mind were:

Do not fear for I am with you do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

I was also instructed from the very beginning of the pregnancy to pray for Justus. ‘Pray for this baby,’ God told me. I can honestly tell you that from the moment I discovered I was pregnant, I was OVERJOYED that God saw fit to bless us again. With all our flaws and shortcomings and sinfulness, He still has mercy and wants to bless us anyway!!
So I was overdue by 11 days, which is normal for me, and I had NO internal exams for the whole pregnancy and labor! NONE. This was by far my easiest labor and since my husband was my support with no midwife or doula, I felt so in tune with my body. I knew what to do when. So we can honestly say that we are glad it happened the way it did. What a privilege for Jeff to help Justus come into the world! I can say that I look at Jeff through different eyes. Something changed in my heart when this happened. I can’t explain it exactly but I would say there is a new level of trust and love between us that wasn’t there before. I have a new confidence in him and his abilities as a father and husband and don’t feel the need to question him or worry when I hand the baby over to him. So on top of the gift of our baby, God has given us this unexpected blessing in our marriage. (Photos for this birth are on my blog if you want to look: http://thecorbettsclan.blogspot.com/search/label/home%20birth At the bottom :)

2 comments:

Brenda Wargo said...

Wow, Mandy! That is an incredible story of God's faithfulness to your family. Thank you for sharing it with me and everyone. I pray all children God blesses you with arrive safely and with good birth experiences for all involved. Praise Him!

Mandy2qt said...

Thank you, Brenda. I thought that perhaps if I was transparent and shared this, that people would better understand why I am such a natural birth advocate. I think some women get annoyed with me and my views. But I have been there, done that and I want women to understand that there is truly room for improvement in our hospital is best mentality. We are the ONLY country that has MOST women going to hospitals and birthing with surgeons and oddly, we are 23 in infant and maternal death.... If technology is so grand, why aren't we 1st or 2nd? It's because the hospital, for normal birth, is NOT the safest place to be and that MIDWIVES are a much better choice. If we check scripture, there were MIDWIVES not OBs... Amen.