W E ‘ R E P R E G N A N T
My husband and I had been married for almost 4 years. We met in August of 2006, married in September 2008 and found out I was pregnant on May 1st, 2012. I should’ve known, I’d been sick for weeks. Throwing up a lot and having the strangest food cravings (chili dogs and avocados, wtf?). I asked my husband to pick up a pack of pregnancy tests on his way home from work one night, thinking I would just rule it out. I was using the Nuva Ring as birth control for about a year and it seemed to be working. He brought home a 3-pack and I went into the bathroom to just get it over with. Immediately, a bright pink line showed up and it confirmed that I was pregnant. I took the other two tests just to be certain, and they were both positive immediately. I called him into the bathroom and he hugged me while I cried. This was definitely not something we’d planned for.
First Trimester: I went into the OB at Kaiser since we had insurance with them. I was concerned because I’d been spotting for weeks and that was the early sign of a miscarriage. They did a vaginal ultrasound thinking that we’d find a miscarriage, but instead we found a really strong heartbeat. I’d been pregnant for 8 weeks and her heart was already at a rapid rate. She was fine/healthy so far but we waited and hoped for the best. We chose a midwife, Angela Burwick, based out of Claremont CA.
S E C O N D T R I M E S T E R
Fast forward to 17 weeks, we’d told everyone we were pregnant and we got a gender ultrasound done with some family present. We found out we were having a girl. Jeremy accepted a job in Nashville TN and we flew out there to find a place to live and have the baby. We moved to Nashville while I was 20 weeks pregnant with the baby. I started interviewing Midwives in the Nashville area and decided to work with Sheryl Shafer- I am so glad I did. My nausea with baby never ended and went on until around 28 weeks, I went to a perinatologist to make sure baby was growing since I wasn’t digesting any of my food. It took a while, but eventually baby caught up in weight. We decided to name her Noelle.
T H I R D T R I M E S T E R
Waiting, waiting, waiting… At around 26 weeks I gained about 10lbs and baby was up to 6.5lbs at this point. By now we’d purchased all baby-related items, Jeremy painted an old changing table and we’d acquired a rocking chair and bassinet. We started taking Bradley Method classes to have the husband coached home birth we wanted and now we wait… All lab tests came back healthy and I tested negative for step B. We had fun 3D pictures taken of her at 36 weeks. My due date was December 22, 2012.
N O E L L E I S H E R E
Since we found out we were pregnant, we’ve been planning a home water birth- well, we got what we wanted! Noelle Snow Rivera came into the world on January 5, 2013 at 1:39pm. She weighed 8 lbs 6oz- she has perfect coloring, beautifully shaped head, blue/grey eyes. Here is my labor and her birthing story:
I started to feel strange cramping sensations after I picked my husband up from work on Friday night. I was approximately 42 weeks pregnant at that point so my Mom drove with me everywhere so I wouldn’t get stranded alone. My husband and I had dinner plans with some friends in midtown and we had about an hour to kill before we met up. We were walking around and the cramps got more and more intense- having had twice thought I was going into labor I was determined to ignore the symptoms until I felt them much stronger. We met up with our friends for dinner and the cramps got more intense! We took our amazing food to-go, got in the car and went home so I could rest.
About 10 minutes after we got home I was out of early labor and into early active labor. About an hour after that I was in transition. We called the midwife and doula and they both showed up about an hour later. I was active labor from about 10pm until 7am the next morning. This is not the same for every woman, but for me, the pain was excruciating. Contractions lasted about 2 minutes with about a minute in between for 9 hours. By the end of my transition I was exhausted, even while trying to sleep in between. Jeremy slept next to my tub and woke up with every contraction. We had no clocks or sense of time and only knew it was morning by the light coming through the blackout curtains. I made a medium amount of noise. It was truly a chore keeping the tub full of hot water.
I wanted complete silence, from everyone. I didn’t want to be told what to do or bothered at all. The only touch I wanted was my husband in front of me. I wanted total darkness the whole time. I wanted to be able to listen to my body and not be distracted. Concentration was really important throughout the whole labor.
At around 8am my midwife wanted to check my progress. I was terrified she was going to tell me that I’d been in transition all night and I was still only 4-6cm dilated. Luckily, I was at 8 and 9 was on it’s way. I did a lot of walking after that- got out of the tub and did my contractions leaning on high furniture. This really got things moving. By 11am I was ready to go downstairs and start pushing. I had the incredible urge that I completely understand now and totally hated. I pushed for about three hours- completely soberly. I had no sense of time and had lost all faith in my abilities to it at that point. By the end I decided that I was going to get her out if it killed me and I literally thought it would kill me. The very last push left me on all fours in the tub, ready to pass out. The midwife pulled her out from under me and put her on my back. Jeremy cried his eyes out looking at her. I stared at the water and was told not to move because I had a baby on my back. She didn’t cry for a minute. I couldn’t see or hear her and I was about to pass out.
For what seemed like an eternity I stared at the water & then Sheryl told me to turn over and meet my baby! We sat there skin to skin until the tub got too cold to stay in. Seeing her for the first time was incredible- Jeremy just sat there with his mouth open- and couldn’t stop saying how beautiful she is. I just stared at her, trying to keep my eyes open and kept kissing her head. I barely bled after that until after the placenta was delivered- Jeremy cut the babies chord after it turned white.
My midwife asked how I was feeling and if I wanted to get out of the tub, thinking that getting out of a tub was nothing at this point, I leaned on the edge of it to move my body upwards and completely passed out. I blacked out for about 90 seconds and woke up on the floor- they had lifted me out of the warm tub and I was on the floor, on my stomach, unable to move. I hadn’t slept for 40 hours, I’d thrown up all food, I was hydrated luckily but had lost a lot of blood with the placenta. Sheryl immediately checked my blood loss & blood pressure. Danielle, the assistant, monitored my pulse and they decided I was just exhausted. Daddy took over the skin on skin contact and she stayed with him until I could open my eyes again.
Grandma came in and the midwife asked if she was ready to meet her granddaughter. My Mom cried like a baby- for a long time and just looked at her. I can honestly say she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Absolutely perfect and so wide eyed and alert at such a young age. They examined her health and she was declared practically perfect in every way. While I was on the floor, we figured out a way to attach baby and start breastfeeding. She latched on immediately and took in a really good meal that first night. I stayed on the floor until about 9pm that night and Danielle stayed with me until I could get up and get into bed. She told me I was going to bleed for days but it would slow down a lot. I had to crawl up the stairs into my bed and almost passed out from attempting it.
Since then we’ve told family and friends she’s arrived and taken some pictures. Baby is doing great and feeding really well. She’s not very fussy- she slept through the night and we woke up and fed her around 2am. She’s absolutely perfect. It’s going to take a couple of days for me to eat, sleep and recover but I’ve got Jeremy and my Mom here to help me through. I wrote this very quickly, I just wanted to get it down while the memory is still fresh. But here is my labor story.
I am so proud of myself for following through with this. Our midwife said the baby didn’t go into distress once and that I brought her into the world the most gentle and perfect way possible, also, I didn’t tear at all! I experienced everything and while I’d never take what happened back, I certainly don’t think I could ever do it again. I do feel very empowered, I also feel very traumatized. Jeremy and I are absorbing a lot of what happened still. Would I recommend this to everyone? I don’t know. There’s something amazing about getting through it- but something terrifying about it too. I’m still piecing it together in my head while trying to physically heal. That’s all for now- I’ll update more and Jeremy wanted to write the birthing story from his perspective. But she’s here and I couldn’t feel more gushy about the whole thing. She’s absolutely perfect and we did it!