I've tried to write this three times now.
To put what's in my heart and memory into words--
it's been really hard for me this time.
Nothing I can say really feels like what is in my heart.
I don't normally put my birth stories here on my blog.
But this is a story that needs to be shared.
Because I feel we too often talk all about how terrible and awful and painful and impossible childbirth might be,
and not often enough talk about how beautiful and divine and sacred
it is to bring life into this world.
No matter the birth story--giving life is incredible.
Even before I got pregnant, I began planning for this birth. I knew I could do it without pain medication, because I did it with Ellie,
and I hoped that if I prepared for it (which I didn't with Ellie's birth), it could be a better, more calm experience.
I didn't know just how perfect it could be.
Nicholas's birth (with an epidural) made me a mother, was gentle and simple, but I felt like it just happened and I was simply along for the ride.
Ellie's birth was intense, fast, and painful, but it showed me how strong I can be, and how awesome the after-birth hormone high is, convincing me to do it again.
Christian's birth was strong, spiritual, and filled with peace.
It was one of the most sacred moments of my life so far.
To prepare, I spent lots and lots of time praying for and imagining the peaceful experience I wanted. I know it sounds silly, but it really helped! So much of labor is just a mind game.
I practiced relaxing to quiet music (try Paul Cardall radio on Pandora if you want some good calming music), I talked--to Kent, my friends, my mom, anyone who would listen--about what I wanted, I found scriptures and hymns that gave me encouragement and hope, I studied positive birth stories, and I brought myself closer to my Father in Heaven than I've ever been before. I knew I'd need His help, and that with Him, I could do anything.
Kent and I hired a team of two doulas, Alie and Heather, to help us, and these two women were invaluable.
I am a social person. I need friends. I need other women,
and knowing that these girls were going to be there for me, with me--experienced and confident and solely focused on making me more comfortable--
I honestly looked forward to my labor. I liked these girls so much that I wanted to spend as much time with them as I could, and I hoped that my labor could be kinda like a little party. I was excited for it!
That afternoon, my midwife stripped my membranes to try and jump start my labor because at my appointment I was already dilated to a 6--it worked! Within minutes I was having contractions three minutes apart. We went home and walked around the block with the kids, then kissed them and left them with my mom and drove back to the hospital.
I don't think the nurses in triage believed me when I told them that I was having contractions every three minutes, because I honestly wasn't in any pain. But I was at a 6.5, and sure enough, every three minutes the contraction monitor would spike.
Once the initial monitoring was done, I was out of that bed! I really didn't lay down at all the rest of the night. I knew that I needed to be up and moving if I wanted to get this baby here that night!
At the beginning, it was lighthearted and fun. Alie kept us laughing with stories about her kids and witty comments. Heather was calming and confident. We talked about our children, pets, life as parents, marriage, church, and our conversations kept me distracted and relaxed. Alie even went to McDonalds to get dinner for us all. (and that mango smoothie has never tasted so good!)
They supported Kent and I perfectly, intuitively, cheerfully, and I am so grateful that everything fell into place so that they could both be there with us (earlier in the day the timing had seemed a little crazy/impossible, but it worked out just the way I knew it would.)
The four of us (Kent, me, and the doulas,) hung out and partied together for a few hours.
As things progressed, my midwives, Kathryn and Mandy, came into the room, and just sat with us, made themselves comfortable, waited and watched with us.
Our conversation became deeper, and we discussed how I'd prepared for this labor. We talked about beautiful things, like the plan of salvation and the divinity of motherhood. I told them how reading The Gift of Giving Life book had changed my perspective about all of this.
I listened to my body as I worked. I moved and swayed, I knelt, I paced, I rocked back and forth. The contractions were intense and hard work, but they weren't pain in the way that I usually feel pain.
I wasn't afraid for even one moment throughout the entire process. I was filled with peace.
Kent and I remarked several times that we couldn't believe that this was really happening, because it felt so easy, so calm.
Before we went in to the hospital that evening, Kent gave me a very special priesthood blessing,
and we knew that Heavenly Father was there with us, that angels surrounded us, and that Christian knew he was almost here.
The hospital room that night was filled with the Spirit,
and when I look back now, I am amazed.
Never in my life have I felt so safe, so loved, and so filled with peace and joy.
I am confident that I had heavenly help, giving me the strength to stand and be present, alert, and aware.
I felt simultaneously both in control and yet completely surrendered to what my body was doing. I knew that Heavenly Father had made me perfectly, and that bringing this child into this life was exactly what I had been designed to do.
That power is a beautiful thing.
After my water was broken, the labor got much more intense. The contractions were painful and powerful, but I was surrounded by supporting hands. My doulas' words and touch kept me relaxed and breathing. I was able to stay on top of each contraction, and I loved feeling my baby come closer and closer to this life.
As I was pushing, Kent was up by my left shoulder, and his words of encouragement and love are some of the sweetest most perfect things he's ever said to me.
I did reach the point where I felt like I couldn't do it, it was too much, too strong, too painful for me, but I knew I was going to reach that point, in fact I welcomed it, and Kent and everyone else reassured me that I was doing it, and that Christian was almost here.
I couldn't do anything but surrender to what my body was doing, and it seemed as if there was a curtain just a couple of inches in front of my face--nothing beyond myself and my baby and our labor existed, but I felt encircled with love; the strong and gentle hands of my husband, my doulas, and my midwives seemed to be added to by the hands of angels.
At that last moment, when I felt I had nothing left to give, I reached beyond the deepest part of my soul and found that, with God, I had just enough,
and then my child was here.
My Christian is a noble soul, and the Heavens aided his crossing into this life.