Wanna know why I love birth stories so much? For my families, it's the happiest, most eventful day of their life. And I get to be there for it.
But for those of us who are just witness to it after the fact, we can look at these stories and, almost certainly, relate to the joys, the struggles, the obstacles and the moments that really matter. These stories connect us in a way that no other story can - because in birth you have the highest highs and the hardest obstacles within seconds of each other. I can't think of any other event that encompasses the spectrum of life so perfectly.
Today I want to share Morgan's story. And Mila's. An Paul's. This is the story of how a happy couple became a family of three. And it's a good one, so enjoy!
Morgan reached out to me in June, 2019 - when she was just 3 months pregnant. She was uncertain about a lot in this pregnancy journey, but what she was certain about was hiring a birth photographer. We met for coffee and got to know each other a bit, and she shared about her struggle to get pregnant, which helped me to understand why these images would be so special for her.
In her own account of her birth story, she writes: “...After not getting pregnant for many months since getting off birth control we were still concerned. We were taking ovulation tests, tracking my cycle on an app, taking my temperature, taking supplements and timing sex down to the minute and nothing seemed to be helping us get pregnant. I had planned to go in to talk to my doctor in the summer (after it had been a full year since getting off BC) if we still weren’t pregnant by then."
Then, my first symptom hit. Our biggest fear of not being able to get pregnant was gone, and now our new adventure of pregnancy was about to begin!”
Morgan was very open to learning as much as she could about pregnancy and delivery, and told me during our first meeting that her and her husband were total “newbies” so they would take all the information they could get! She was a star student during pregnancy - reading the books, taking the classes and learning from moms who had gone before her.
She was definitely educated on the process, but was careful not to get too hung up on a detailed birth plan. She knew she wanted an epidural during pushing, but beyond that she would just go with the flow.
“From the very beginning I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as far as delivery day was concerned. I knew I wanted to remain as mobile as possible during labor, but I certainly wasn’t against getting an epidural – in fact, I was certain I’d want one eventually when pain got unmanageable and/or it was time to push.”
And when it came time to push, the story unfolded in a way no one expected… But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Morgan was due on December 16. At one of her final appointments, her doctor suggested inducing labor. For several reasons, Morgan and Paul decided that was the best option for their family. So on December 18, the sun finally rose on what would be their baby’s birthday.
"We woke up at 6:15am, I ate two waffles, grabbed some la croix, and we made our way to the hospital."
Her induction started slowly, first by rupturing her bag of water, and eventually a slow drip of pitocin. She began progressing and soon was 5cm dilated. That’s when I arrived to see a calm and collected Morgan bouncing on her birth ball, breathing between contractions. She was the most conversational and pleasant woman I have ever seen in active labor. I had a feeling she was going to ROCK her birth. I mean, she already was.
“ The contractions were finally picking up in frequency, about every 3 minutes and the pain was really intense, but it was manageable as long as I breathed and counted.”
“Around 4:15 the contractions were getting so painful that I was almost in tears. Paul held my hand while I moaned and cried in pain. Rachel suggested I lay in bed to relax a bit, and I didn’t argue, my legs were shaking so bad that they hurt to hold me up anymore anyway. My entire body was getting the shakes and I couldn’t control the shivers. However, the contractions were so intense that I couldn’t just lay still anymore.”
"As I was turning onto my side to get on my hands and knees I got a contraction – and it was the mother of all contractions, THE WORST PAIN. I started crying saying I couldn’t do this and stared at Paul in complete agony.
Again, Paul asked if I wanted fentanyl or an epidural and I decided that I wanted fentanyl. I looked at Rachael and said that I needed it now and she said it was ok and she’d call it in, but they had to check my cervix again. Then I told her that I just wanted the epidural, the pain was unbearable at this point!"
"As they were starting to roll me back to my back I got another contraction, and this one felt just as painful but I also got this instinct that I needed to push. I told them “Oh God, I need to push.” They quick checked me and sure enough I was fully dilated to a 10 and the baby’s head was right there."
"I went from 7-10 in one contraction! Suddenly my room was swarmed by nurses and equipment and all sorts of chaos that I don’t really remember much of. They told me not to push as there was no doctor but I couldn’t control the urges at all, I pushed out of instinct."
"I squeezed onto Paul as he tried to help me slow my breathing since I was hyperventilating. I grabbed onto so many different nurses arms since so many people were surrounding me. They told me it wouldn’t be long now before I’d push my baby out."
"I remember crying out that I NEEDED the epidural now, I couldn’t push out a baby without it. Rachel informed me that I wouldn’t be able to get one now since it would only be minutes before our baby was here. I cried and kept saying “I can’t do this, I can’t do this without an epidural.”
"Finally, a doctor came in. I didn’t know who she was but Paul said she came in with her arms out, they gloved her up and got her coat on – he said they were very efficient and didn’t waste any time. She introduced herself quickly and finally told me to “bear down” and push. I closed my eyes and pushed as hard as I could, she told me to push one more time, I pushed as hard as I could. I remember feeling the worst sting and burning sensation I have ever experienced and then a rush of snakey body. I didn’t know I was THAT close to meeting our baby but I knew what that last feeling was - my baby’s body coming out. At 4:41pm our baby was finally here, laying on my chest! "
“Oh my God, Oh my God, I can’t believe I just did that.”
"I asked Paul what gender our baby was and he didn’t respond, I asked again and still nothing."
"Finally, I turned up to look at him and saw his tears as he said “Girl. It’s a girl.”
"We were so shocked! We both were sure it was a boy".
"I cried and Paul cried, and our little girl was still screaming. I looked at Paul with tears in my eyes and said “What are we ever going to name her?!” We still hadn’t decided on a girl name. We both kind of laughed as I’m sure we had no idea what we were going to do. "
"I remember that night just being flooded with tears. All my fears of having to be induced, tearing, not getting an epidural in time, possibly having to get a c-section, having a sick baby – they were gone, and I was holding my perfect angel in my arms. I cried because after 10 months of carrying our daughter and a full day of laboring, I had finally met the one who I had been praying for all this time. I cried because even I surprised myself with my strength through labor, I DID IT! I cried because I could finally share with Paul what I had been exclusively getting to myself since March. I cried because I was so convinced we were having a son that I had no idea how much I NEEDED my baby girl. I cried because our daughter was shrieking so loud at birth that I knew she was going to be strong and resilient. I was on such a high and I knew everything happened exactly as it should have - that I wouldn’t have changed a thing."
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