The Day Superwoman Was Born
By: Kiara Smith
10 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child, I desired a water birth, but I "knew" I would have to have that coveted epidural drug. And I was absolutely correct! The moment I arrived at the hospital (only 3 or 4 cm dilated), I was screaming in pain and the triage nurse immediately dismissed me to a room and called for the anesthesiologist. Yes, sweet relief was coming!! Once the epidural kicked in, though, I was in for a rude awakening. I had a very difficult labor and delivery, and then an extremely traumatizing hospital recovery. Have another baby one day?? NO WAY!!
Flash forward two years and I'm back in a hospital, being induced with my second child. I was given pitocin...an evil concoction used to stimulate the uterus to begin contractions. At first, I was okay, still able to carry on my conversations between the contractions. After a short while though, I was screaming for the drugs! Epidural it was yet again. Long story short, I had another difficult labor and delivery, and yet another unpleasant hospital recovery. Have another baby one day??? Absolutely NOT!!
Many women are completely against natural childbirth typically for one common reason: the pain. Somehow we have been programmed to believe we NEED drugs...that we won't make it through labor and delivery without an epidural. Even though I always desired a water birth, I "knew" my low pain tolerance wouldn't allow it. If I couldn't handle contractions at 3 cm, how would I get all the way to 10 cm AND THEN push an entire baby out without medication?! It didn't seem realistic, or wise, but my heart was always 'in the water.'
Flash forward 7 more years and I'm 8 weeks pregnant with baby #3! I've just come home from the first OBGYN appointment, ultrasound in hand, overjoyed that (after months of trying) there's really another baby growing inside of me. Somehow a few weeks later I'm reminded of my desire for a water birth. I mention it to hubby and he immediately says, "NO!" And I don't blame him with this low pain tolerance of mine and two past difficult labors. But I had already been doing some research to be sure this was really something I wanted to consider. I asked him if we could just look into it and get more information and he agreed. I then prayed that he would be more open-minded about it as I was 80% sure I wanted to go this route.
I began looking for birth centers in our area and noticed there was not a single midwife at any of them that looked like me. So I reached out to the doula I had with my second birth and she tells me there is ONE practicing Black midwife in the whole state of Texas...and she happens to be 35 minutes from my house! Another prayer answered. Hubby and I meet with her for an interview that should have only lasted about an hour and we are with her for TWO hours! She seems like a family member we never met and now have to catch up with on our entire lives. When we finally leave, I'm now 100% sure about this water birth idea. I ask hubby if this is the route we are going to take... and he's on board. Another prayer answered.
Forget the OB (and hospital), we are going to do a water birth!!! But how much is this going to cost?!?!?! Who cares! I have hubby's support and that's all that matters now. Well, kind of. You've probably heard how expensive it is to have a baby. Hospitals charge for everything...even the toilet paper you use. So I submit a form to a third party company to verify my insurance coverage for midwives and birthing centers. The result: 100% covered. I don't have to pay a dime (not even a copay)!! And yet another prayer answered.
6:00am. I'm awakened by a pain radiating through my body. Sigh, is this going to be another false alarm? I had been having intense Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks. Around 6:30am though, the intensity had already increased. Hubby notices the change in my tone and says we should time the contractions. I'm wondering if we should wake the kids or not. I would hate for them to be late to school if it is a false alarm annnnnd I'd hate to take them to school if it's not. So hubby wakes them up for breakfast because either way, they need to be ready. Around 7:15, the app we are using to time the contractions tells us to go to the hospital! Wait, what?! They just started, it can't be time. We call the midwife and she recommends taking a 20 minute bath to see if the contractions stop or continue to intensify. Needless to say, I'm still in the tub over an hour later! I am definitely in active labor and the water is helping me manage for sure.
Being in the tub is helping so much, though, that I'm afraid to get out! If the contractions are manageable in the water, how will I make it 35 minutes to the birth center??? It doesn't matter though; Teree is calling and we have to leave the house now. Hubby loads the car with our bags before helping me out of the tub. "You're doing great and even better than I imagined," he says to me. Just what I need to hear. He helps me get dressed and apply my TENS machine, while I hope it gives me adequate pain relief for the ride. We get in the car and realize we need gas! Perfect timing, eh? The contractions are very consistent, coming every 3 minutes or so. Surprisingly, I'm not screaming in pain though...the TENS machine seems to be working. I text my mom to let her know we are on our way to the center, and add that I hope I'm at least 6 cm because it's pretty intense.
10:00am. We are at the birth center. Teree and her assistant Kennasha are already there and have the room set up and ready to go. I waddle in and attempt to use the restroom but am unsuccessful. Teree asks if I want her to check me and I say, "YES!" The verdict: 6 cm!!! I begin to say, "Thank You Jesus" over and over...another prayer answered. My mom arrives and is told the good news. It's time to get back in the water though! The contractions are still increasing in intensity and the tub will be my lifesaver. Hubby grabs the bags out of the car and begins to calm the room. The lights are dimmed a bit, the oil diffuser is plugged in, and music from my labor and delivery playlist is turned on. I am leaning over the side of the tub, on my knees, as this is the most comfortable position. Hubby sits outside of the tub within arms reach. I hold his neck with every contraction as he continues to tell me how great I'm doing. My mom grabs my labor and delivery book and has me recite several affirmations and scriptures.
"I am built for birth. I got this."
"I am relaxed and calm."
"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." (Romans 12:12)
"I trust in my ability to birth my baby."
"But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength." (2 Timothy 4:17)
11:20ish. My body is now shaking uncontrollably. It's the most intense, involuntary shaking I've ever felt in my life, and at the same time my body is pushing. I start to scream out because I have lost control. I can't stop the shaking or pushing. If the contractions get any stronger, I won't make it to 10 cm! And again, I'm screaming. "Kiara, let me borrow your hand!!" Teree is placing my hand between my legs and OMG there's a head! How in the world is there a head already? We just got here like 10 minutes ago!! My body involuntarily pushes again. "The head is delivered," Teree says. "Two more pushes and you will have a baby," she says to me. I push twice and hubby reaches down to catch and pass the baby. "Time of birth 11:34am." Wait, what just happened?! WE JUST GOT HERE!!! Of course I'm crying hysterically, flooded with emotions, and still in shock at how quickly it all went...but another prayer answered.
Teree steps in to grab the baby from me. Hubby will do the gender reveal. "No, get the kids first!" I yell. Kai and Malachi come into the room and the baby is turned around toward hubby...we've waited 39 long weeks for this moment.
"It's a GIRL!!!" and after 5 short hours of labor, Micah & superwoman are born...
Hubby whispering encouraging words to me during, and between, contractions.
This is when my body started shaking and pushing uncontrollably. All I could do was grab hubby and wait.
Micah Jean Smith and superwoman are born.
7lbs, 21.6 inches
4:30pm. We are packed up again and ready to head home with our newest little bundle of joy. Yes, you go home the same day when using a birth center!!
A few reasons why I chose water birth...and why I think you should too:
(by the way, water birth was the easiest delivery of the 3, and I would never go to a hospital again!)