Bella’s Birth Story
Written by Kalyn, Bella’s mama
Written by Kalyn, Bella’s mama
For 23 years I assumed that when you got pregnant you went to the hospital; so that’s what we did. Late October 2012 we had our first positive pregnancy test. Just shy of five weeks I started spotting. Not having seen a Dr yet, we headed to the ER. They assured me this was a regular occurrence and not to worry. They began examining me and talking among themselves like I wasn’t in the room. They scheduled me an appointment for a Dr and sent me on my way with no answers. Not that I knew what to ask anyways. Two days later, still spotting, we see a Dr. He was fumbling the instruments, the nurses were instructing him, there was no communication, and when we left we still had no answers. And so our research began.
While I was watching birth documentaries, my husband was looking for birth centers in our area, and lucky us! There was one about thirty minutes away. We called and scheduled a tour, since we wouldn’t be seeing the Dr again for a couple of days. I was nervous. My HCG levels were low and I had heard the ER doctors say something along the lines of, “well this could have been the pregnancy” while inspecting my uterus and not talking to me. But when we walked through the door I could feel everything in me shift. The first thing that caught my eye was the dozens of tiny footprints on the walls, each with a name, date, and birth weight. A super sweet lady, April, sat behind the desk, and on the wall behind her was this incredible canvas picture of a fresh post partum belly cradling a squishy new born and a gorgeous umbilical cord. I remember fighting the urge to cry as we talked to April about our situation. (She is seriously the sweetest soul I’ve ever known!) Heather came out of an appointment shortly after and we told her what was going on. She drew blood to send to labs and we went on our way. Two days later we saw the Dr again and were told that our pregnancy was not viable and did more blood for labs to insure my HCG levels were decreasing. We were heartbroken, but so thankful that we had met April and Heather. We miscarried on November 7, 2012.
Just six weeks later, we had another positive test!! I immediately called the birth center to see about having my HCG levels checked. Just to cover my bases I also called the hospital where I was informed that the Dr who had just seen me a few weeks prior would not be able to see me because he was graduating before my due date and would be leaving. Ummm, What?! That’s when I decided the hospital just wasn’t meant for me and my babies. We were so grateful that we had established a relationship with the birth center and we began to plan our birth. It was my husband’s idea to birth at home; I think I questioned it for at least the first trimester. I felt so at ease and welcomed and informed from the first moment we walked in the door and I never once doubted if me and my baby were in good hands. Any questions I had were met with knowledgeable and informative answers. I learned so much about myself, labor, birth, and what to expect from the whole experience on a broader spectrum. I even learned how to tell which position my baby was laying in, inside my body!
We had such a beautiful pregnancy. I read the books to read, watched the videos, did my research, talked to dozens of moms….and still nothing prepared me for the day I went into labor. I had prodromal labor for a full 24 hours. Losing the plug and contractions anywhere from seven to sixteen minutes apart, but no actual labor. Then at 5:59 am my water broke. I called Heather who told me to lay back down because this could be a long day and may take a while. You know, because for a first time mom, labor averages 18-24 hours. HA! Contractions were only seven minutes apart, consistently, and getting stronger. I informed Heather and called my family and in no time my tiny house was full of people.
I was on my exercise ball in the living room when everyone finally arrived. The original plan was to have a water birth, but I had no interest in a tub of hot water at the end of August in the heat of the summer, with everything else that was going on. I did need some space though. I walked, what seemed like, 100 laps around my house before I closed myself in the bedroom with my husband and the AC on full blast. I ate a popsicle, which I threw up. I moaned in a deep, guttural trance through my contractions as I bounced on my ball for a few hours. Jon covered me with a blanket between contractions because i seriously NEEDED the air when they were coming on full force and so close together. And then Heather told me to try a few contractions off the ball. I immediately felt the need to push and sat on the floor through two contractions and then made my way into a squatting position between Jon’s legs. He held all of my weight as I began to push. Heather and Kate were in the most mothering “go-mode,” gushing over this little baby making her way down the birth canal, at one point even stating she looked as though she were helping me the way her head seemed to be trying to wiggle itself out. I remember the “ring of fire” being so fitting an expression, and then her head making its appearance. Heather checked for the cord around her neck and told me “one more push” during that last big contraction, and I remember her slipping from my body and into Heather’s hands as I reached to grab my baby and bring her to my chest. It all seems like such a blur and yet so clear at the same time.
Even though I’d never given birth in a hospital, I knew it wasn’t for me. We are planning our third home birth for March and I pray I will be able to bring my baby earth-side in the comfort of my home, like my first two. It was like nothing else I’d ever done. It still is. And I am so thankful for the incredible team at CTBC having been there for us from the beginning. I cant imagine birthing with anyone else.