This past week we celebrate our FIRST Year here at Plano Birthplace! What an amazing year it has been. So what better way to keep celebrating then sharing the Birth Story of our very first birth. As Cassandra and I were talking, we thought it would be a fun way to not only celebrate our first year but also Christopher first year.
The Birth Story of Christopher Carwell
My son’s birth was so different from my daughter’s. Both were special, but my son was second- which meant I wasn’t the terrified, believe everything the doctors said, ignore my gut instinct because I couldn’t possibly know more than my doctors about my own body, first-time mom. This time I was prepared. I had researched. I had asked a million questions—questions that I didn’t even know to ask the last time. This time I found a midwife whose single piece of advice was “you are a strong, empowered woman whose body is capable of birthing your baby. You know and will know what to do and when. Trust yourself. Trust your body.” I left her office and sat in my car and cried. At 30 weeks pregnant, I had finally found someone who believed in me and supported my choice for a natural childbirth. I immediately transferred from the local OBGYN to drive an hour away to Jeannine at Plano Birthplace.
On our first official appointment, Jeannine asked me to describe my ideal birth—from the first contraction to holding my son. She said a mama’s brain is an extremely powerful thing and she was right. Every detail played out exactly like my ideal experience.
My water broke around 3:15 am on September 5th. I sent out a group text to Jeannine, my photographer (Kourtnie) my doula (Lori) and my mom (Michelle). Contractions were very mild and about 15 minutes apart. I alternated between excited nesting and relaxing across the bed with my husband. We woke our 4-year-old daughter up around 7 am and dropped her off at her MDO program. We didn’t tell her what as going on just yet. By 11 am my contractions were still mild and about 12 minutes apart. My mom arrived, and we walked all around the neighborhood all afternoon, but contractions weren’t getting any stronger or closer together. We met Jeannine and Lori at the birth center around 5 pm. We were concerned labor would continue to progress slowly similar to when our daughter was born. We wanted to avoid any unnecessary medical interventions and the hospital, so we were given Black Cohash and Bark Root Cotton drops, castor oil, and instructions for nipple stimulation and curb steps. We went home with a plan to meet back at the birth center at 9 pm if there was little to no progress.
We made it home by 6:30 pm and were loading back up in the car by 7:30! I was in “active labor”. I sat quietly in the back of the truck with my mom while she applied counter pressure on my hips and lower back during contractions. I turned on my music app on my phone and “I Saw God Today” by George Strait was the first song that played. At this point, I went into the most amazing peaceful, other-worldly, inner place that I never knew existed. I was fully aware of what was going on around me, I answered when spoken to, but I was very much in a different place. It was this peaceful reverie. We arrived at 8 pm, and the contractions were about 4 minutes apart and 1 minute long. I was dilated to 4-5 cm. Jason, Lori, my mom and myself all went outside for a walk. It was a gorgeous clear night, with a full moon and a gentle breeze. Lori and Jason took turns putting counter pressure on my hips during contractions. Around 8:45 we went back inside. Jason changed so he could get in the shower with me and my mom braided my hair and helped me undress. Jason continued with counter pressure while Lori used the shower head to apply warm water to my lower back. Around 9:30 we did a quick check and I was almost fully dilated. I got in the tub. I spent most of the time between 8:45 and 10 pm with my eyes closed and completely consumed in breathing down the contractions in my peaceful reverie.
I held Jason’s arms while I was in the tub, and I remember asking him if I was breaking his arms because he looked so awkward leaned over the tub! Just before 10 pm, there was a lull in my contractions. I asked Jeannine what was happening, and she said, “it’s time to have your baby. He’s ready.” I started to panic. “No, not yet, I’m not ready yet.” I asked Jeannine what to do and she repeated what she had said in the very beginning. “Trust your body. Let it do its job. It knows what to do.” The “pushing” phase was really short. The way the body takes over and releases the baby was one of the most humbling and empowering experiences of my life. Christopher Ray Cardwell made his debut at 10:10 pm on September 5, 2017.
My ideal experience that Jeannine and I discussed in July:
My water would break at 3 in the morning, giving me quiet time by myself. It would be on a day that Jordyn had MDO and we would drop her off and grandparents would pick her up. My mom and I would walk around the neighborhood and spend some time together just the two of us. Active labor wouldn’t happen until the evening, and we would walk under a full moon with a gentle breeze. I would give birth in a bath tub and Jason would kiss me on the forehead. We would be home that night, and there when Jordyn woke up the next morning.