You just have to love this story and this family and this true journey. I have heard people say that vaginal birth is traumatic for the baby. Certainly it CAN be, especially when we disrespect the process. But this story shows that a natural birth can be a GIFT to the baby, and the entire family.
The Birth of Roxanna
June 13, 2012
7lb 7 oz
It was June 12, 2012, the EDD for my daughter Roxy. I told myself when I woke up that morning that there was no way she was going to magically come on the day she was “due.” I went throughout the day like any other day. Then around 4:30 pm my Mom, son, and I were out shopping and I began feeling what I thought were Braxton hicks ever couple of minutes. I didn’t mind them any attention until a few hours had passed and I was still having them. I again thought that there was no way this was labor. You see, I never had the whole experience of going “into” labor with my son. We were stationed overseas in Germany when we had him and were induced at 37 weeks because my husband was deploying again. (Looking back all I can think is how selfish and stupid it sounds….. but how thankful I was to be able to give my husband and son a short piece of time together, and how blessed we were that he was healthy) So this pregnancy I wanted to make sure I had that experience. I wanted my baby to come when she was ready. I wanted natural. I wanted to birth my baby, not have her delivered. This was my experience. This was for her. For her heart….
I had planned and researched throughout my entire pregnancy about what type of birthing experience I wanted. I wanted natural. I didn’t want medical interventions. No epidural. I kept telling myself that if I was able to labor 18 hours with Pitocin and no pain meds or epidural while in a foreign country, that I would be able to do it natural again, without pitocin, in America. I had a plan. I found a great doctor that supported me through my pregnancy and labor. He supported my decisions in natural labor, no epidural, leaving the cord intact until it finished pulsing, and letting me pull my baby out and up to my chest.
Then when I was 31 weeks along I had a kidney infection and was hospitalized. I had an u/s done and they found a small pericardial effusion. A small pocket of fluid that surrounds the heart. This hadn’t been there 2 weeks ago when I was scanned. It hadn’t been there my entire pregnancy. I had u/s ever four weeks, which was standard from my doctor I was seeing in Germany. I was told that typically when there is a pericardial effusion that there is something else associated with it. Some sort of chromosomal disorder, hydrops, or other heart defects were just some of the things that were strangling my heart as I sat there and was told that all of a sudden there is something wrong with my baby that until this point, had been perfectly healthy. I was then referred to a specialist who performed more u/s on my little one. Nothing. There was nothing wrong with her other then this small pocket of fluid around her (gorgeous, perfectly developed) heart. I researched all over online and found very little information about a fetus with a pericardial effusion that had NOTHING wrong with them….. I then heard from my mom that someone she knew had a baby that had developed the same thing during the last trimester. When the baby was born the baby had been scanned and the pericardial effusion was gone. The doctors believed that the force from the vaginal delivery created a vacuum like pressure and pushed the fluid away from the baby’s heart.
I had to have a natural birth. As badly as I wanted it before, as much as I believed in myself…..I had to. My daughter needed me too. I couldn’t risk not trying. I couldn’t risk an epidural. I couldn’t risk fetal stress and having to have a c-section because I couldn’t handle what my body was made to do……
So, finally around 9:00 pm that night, I went to the hospital. I was checked and was at 4cm. I walked for 40 minutes, was checked again and was at 5cm. My contractions weren’t very intense. I was up walking and smiling. My mom and my sisters were there with me and we were all laughing and having a good time. I kept thinking that there was no way this was labor. Not for me…. I was expecting the pain and back labor I had with my son. This was nothing. Once I hit 5cm my labor pretty much stalled. I managed to sleep during the night and when I woke up the doctors were talking about sending me home. I took a hot shower around 8:30 am and my contractions picked up. They were more intense now. Every little contraction I focused, reminding myself that this was good pain and that she was that much closer to being in my arms. My husband reminded me to open my mouth through each contraction and did a great job of applying pressure to my back. Around 9:30 am my water was broke and the real fun began.
I was checked again at 10:30 am and was at 7cm. I remember I kept having the feeling to push. I needed to push. The nurse joked and said I was a “pushy broad” because I had told her that with my son I had hit 9cm and HAD to push and he was born 10 minutes later. So she was expecting this of me again. With each contraction I listened to my body. My body said push. I gave gentle pushes, and with that came some relief during each contraction. I was checked again and was at 9cm. It was around 11:20. I began actively pushing at this point. The pushing felt good. It felt empowering. It felt natural. I remember the doctor saying that I was crowing. I kept going. So excited and overwhelmed with emotion. At 11:33 am, my daughter Roxanna was born. I reach down and pulled her up to my belly. She had a short cord and couldn’t make it to my chest. She was here! Finally here! She had a head full of beautiful light brown hair. At that moment I had been blessed. God had made my family complete. The cord finished pulsing and my husband cut it. Up to my chest she went. She was perfect.
I’m so thankful that I was able to experience childbirth the way it was intended to be. Looking back at my son’s birth, it was amazing, but he wasn’t ready to be born. He was healthy and a good size of 7lb 2oz and 21 inches. I’m glad I was able to give my husband the gift of time with our son before he deployed, but I’m thankful that this time around I was able to let her come when she was ready. I had an amazing birth experience with my husband, my mom, my sisters, and my mother in law, my dad, and my Grandma by my side. Roxanna was born into a family of 8 boy cousins, and 1 big brother. She is the only girl of 10 grandchildren for my parents.