This is Lucy Ruth’s coming into the world story, this is not a place for me to convince you of home birth or midwives or water birth. In fact, there is no place for me to convince anyone of that. People who want to know more about those things will go and find out, and for those of you who have already made up your mind, my words aren’t going to change that. Our culture’s attitude toward birth begins with fear. I can relate. That’s my attitude toward most things in life. But this verse comforted me greatly throughout my pregnancy and birth, “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3” And I am thankful to have grown up believing birth is natural and giving birth naturally is natural. And to have had a group of people who share that belief surrounding me during my birth is overwhelming. I am so blessed to have experienced life coming into the world in such an intimate, worshipful and loving way that I truly hope others (my daughters especially) will be able to experience the same journey one day.
This is Lucy Ruth’s coming into the world story.
At 41 weeks and 5 days, I woke up in the night, around 3am with mild pressure waves (contractions) that were coming and going for an hour before I asked my doula to come over. I was not convinced this was it, so I felt safe asking her to come and watch and help me determine. After being there a half hour, she suggested I lay down and try to rest. I did, Charlie did and we woke up around 7:00am. Lucy Ruth was still in my tummy, nothing was going on and I felt silly. I went downstairs to find my sweet doula resting on the couch with our puppies. She was gracious and kind and assured me it was good practice. Later that morning we went to pick up our kids from their Nana’s house (they had spent the night) and set off to get a Christmas tree. I’m so glad we did this! Though my belly felt huge and I felt tired, it was a sweet family outing, our last as a family of four as it turned out.
Later that afternoon, we decorated our tree and spent more sweet time together. Throughout the day, I was having pressure waves on and off. None were too strong and certainly none of them were close together. I just carried on with life, asking God for peace for my heart. That evening, after dinner, we were all sitting on the couch watching a kid’s movie when suddenly I felt a gush and sprang off the couch saying, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I ran to the bathroom and realized my water had broken. How funny! I’ve never experienced that before so it was quite a surprise. I looked at the time, 7:30pm and realized I needed to make a decision about kids. We could try to put the kids down but if it really was my birthing time, that could get tricky with having to fill up the tub and do all the other things we needed to do. So we called Nana again (she was a lifesaver!) and she came to pick up the kids at 8:00 o’clock. She left around 8:10, I had already texted my midwife, doula and friend attending the birth that my water had broken and they were all on high alert.
I texted my doula at 8:15 letting her know I was going to listen to a *Hypnobabies track and “get in my zone.” By 8:30, I was pretty sure this was it so I texted her back that she could come on over, but not to rush. In the meantime, I listened to music, swayed, breathed and prayed. Charlie was busy filling the tub, making sure my water bottle was full, lighting candles and being the master mood setter that he is.
My doula arrived around 9:00pm and spent some time watching me. I told her that she could determine when to give my midwife the call to come as I always have trouble determining how far along I am. After watching me for a bit, we both felt like getting in the pool would be good. My pressure waves were 7-10 minutes apart at this point, strong when they came but slowly progressing. But that all changed very quickly! [Doula note: like, really quickly]
Just a quick note, if you’re considering having a baby, consider doing it in the water. Upon entering the tub, I knew one thing and one thing only, I didn’t want to get out…ever. The water is calming, relaxing, warm, comforting, and any other adjective that may brings to mind delicious, cozy feelings, that’s what the tub is during birth.
My sweet friend arrived around the time I entered the tub, and I remember I was going to greet her in between waves. But then I didn’t have the chance because things really began to change. Within ten minutes of being in the tub it was obvious that my pressure waves had gotten closer and a short time later, it became even more obvious that things were picking up. I remember saying to my doula, “Do I need to tell you if I feel pushy or do you just know that?” Her response was perfect, “You don’t need to tell me.” At this point, my midwife still wasn’t there and my doula had gloves on. I remember thinking that I was close but also knowing that my midwife would make it because I wanted her to. I don’t think I was holding anything back, but I do believe that your mind is a powerful tool created by a powerful One. And in my mind, I knew that my midwife would be there very soon so if I just continued to remain patient and peaceful throughout my waves, she would be there.
It was probably 10:20 when the waves started coming quickly and my sounds began to change from breathing through waves to allowing them to wash over me and I felt myself entering the pushing stage. I remember becoming aware that my midwife had arrived and then my body just took control. I felt the big push coming as Lucy Ruth’s head came and I remember bearing down, expecting it to end in a few seconds as her head came all the way through. But it didn’t end, so I continued to bear down (and grow louder…and louder), “Why isn’t her head through yet?” I thought. I thought. But I did not worry. There was no cause to worry. No one sounded or looked worried, and though it was challenging, I was confident that my body could do this and my people would help me.
I felt my midwife feeling around Lucy Ruth’s head and jostling, then she slid my hips back in the pool closer to her. She and my doula both instructed me by saying something to the effect of “Easy” to which my body automatically responded by backing off. At this point, I was still on my knees, leaning forward toward Charlie, who was supporting my arms. Then my doula said, “Norie, I need you to move your leg forward.” I was bearing down again, the low birthing sound as loud as ever, my midwife was still feeling around her head and as soon as I drew my knee up and my foot hit the bottom of the birthing tub, Lucy Ruth came swiftly into the world at 10:28pm.
My midwife said, “Norie, pick your baby up.” I was physically spent, perhaps more than any other birth, and thankfully my doula recognized this and scooped up Lucy Ruth and placed her in my arms. I remember telling Charlie to sing the doxology, which he did, beautifully.
That wasn’t planned, but it is something we do often in our home when we receive good news or blessings. I’m glad it was on my heart and that he was willing to do it. The pregnancy, the birth, sweet Lucy Ruth definitely culminated into one of the greatest blessings of my life.
As Charlie and I dreamily gazed upon Lucy Ruth, details were shared about what had happened exactly and why she had been stuck for those seconds. As you can see in the pictures, Lucy Ruth had her elbow up over her face.
When my midwife realized this, she tried pulling her arm down, but Lucy Ruth is my child, so naturally, she yanked it back. Essentially, her elbow was stuck in my perineum and had I continued to simply bear down or my midwife just pulled, I probably would have torn. After a couple of arm wrestling bouts, my midwife suggested I move my leg but being in my zone, I had to hear it from my doula who quickly relayed the message. Having my leg moved up opened up my pelvis just enough for her elbow to come through, over her face and allow her to enter our world without causing me to tear at all. How grateful I am for a professional, experienced and wise support team!
Most babies born in the water take a little time to truly come around to being out of the water. I was expecting it to be a quiet, snuggly time with Lucy Ruth in the pool but she hadn’t enjoyed someone trying to move that cozy arm in her face so she spent the first 20 minutes of her life sharing that with us! We didn’t mind. After 41 weeks and 5 days of her being inside me, it brought tears to my eyes to finally hear her on the outside of me.
Here are the first words sung over Lucy Ruth by her father:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost
This was my third birth using Hypnobabies. However, I wanted to use Hypnobabies a little differently this time, as my main desire was to be more present during this birthing experience. So I decided to rely on Hypnobabies when I needed it, staying in the “center of my light switch” for most of the birth. Basically, I didn’t want to be completely “off” so I created an image in my mind to help me achieve that experience. During my hypnosis practice, I would picture a cave and practice going deeper and deeper into the cave, it becoming darker and darker. Then I would practice hanging around outside the entrance of the cave, thus practicing the ability to remain more present but venture into the cave when I needed to do so. My goal was to remain at the entrance of my cave for as much of the birth as possible, and I believe I was able to do just that. I would not recommend this for women using Hypnobabies for the first time, but since I know that hypnosis compounds upon itself making it easier to hypnotize every time I do it, I trusted my ability the third time around to use Hypnobabies in this way.