My Birth Story | Part 2: D-Day
Updated: Nov 20, 2021
By 40 weeks, my midwife, Nuni had connected us to another midwife in Albany, New York who was confident and skilled in breech birth. Her name is Kristen and she was indeed a gift.
When my first child was born, we traveled from Manhattan to Long Island to give birth at the affiliated hospital, so traveling to give birth in a different city or space didn’t seem so unusual.
There were some reconcilable issues though:
Timing the commute to Albany seemed precarious since there was no way to know when labor could start and whether it would be fast. (We waited. And as it turned out, it was a full week from the day we arrived before labor actually began. A blissful week of date nights and quiet time with my husband. Praise God.)
Their fee was a $4,000 down payment just to get a foot in the door. (We waited. And as it turned out, my midwife advocated for a lower down payment of $1000 where she would reimburse us and give the midwifery practice the difference in payment once our insurance made the payout to her. All glory to the MOST high God.)
We took some time to think it over, whether or not we would make the financial sacrifice to put up the $1,000 on such short notice.
But, it’s important to mention that nothing held us back from scheduling that C-Section except the heavy impression of the Holy Spirit to simply “wait”.
There was so much that happened in that space of waiting. A lot of which had to do with connecting with God as my Father and provider who was already constantly dealing with the anxieties of my soul.
After my thoughts and emotions began to quiet down, I was able to see where streams of provision already existed. It was just on us to resist the impulse to hoard and save, but instead, use the resources for the incredible way that God was making (and trust Him for the needs that would come in the latter time).
Soon enough, my husband and I agreed to give birth at Sage-femme Midwifery in what they called their BirthBNB (y'know, like Airbnb), which was a beautiful apartment attached to their practice.
It was more than I could have created for myself in our own three-bedroom apartment back in Harlem. The sunlight, the slowness, the quiet, the colors, and the smells were all very much what I needed and I didn’t even know.
My due date was November 1st, but it wasn't until after 13 days and lots of preparation that labor started.
In my first experience with birth, I was unmedicated. In hindsight, I found that there were many things that were common but still quite unnatural about it.
The doctors broke my water
I was told not to push when my body felt the strong urge to
After an enormous amount of time forcing my body to absorb the overwhelming impulse to push, doctors told me that my son's heart rate was dropping. (I was probably closer to a C-Section than I even knew at the time.)
Shortly after, doctors not only told me that I could push but for how long. (10 seconds is the magic interval, I guess)
I received stitching without any warning, numbing, information, or consent
I was told where to go and what to do after it was all said and done.
This experience was different.
No hospital would have let me labor for 35 hours with a breech baby.
It would have been a C-Section no doubt.
But, the truth also is that if I had been in a hospital already, I would’ve said yes to the c-section much earlier on.
Because for the majority of labor, I wasn’t sure that my body could do it on its own.
Sure, I had affirmations posted around the home.
I had the oversight of my midwives and doula assuring me that the baby and I were healthy and suggesting natural ways to get things going.
I had the affirmation of my husband who was my hands-on birthing partner, using his body to ease the contractions and reminding me to vocalize with low groans.
I had Christian meditation tracks from the Christian Hypnobirthing app playing that read scriptures to me and prepared my mind for how to experience labor.
I had everything I needed, but the waiting waned on me.
From about 5 am to 11:30 am on Sunday Novem my contractions were about 15 minutes apart.
Hot showers helped me manage my contractions significantly, but the time between then had picked up and then slowed down throughout the night and the early hours of the morning.
By noon, I was too exhausted to do anything that required physical strength to try to bring them from 10 minutes apart down to 2-3 minutes apart which was necessary to make the labor more productive.
I was passing out between contractions and not even aware of how much time was passing between sleep spells.
I convinced my midwives that more than a hot shower or walking outside, I needed rest.
I managed to get about two hours of sleep and around 2:30 pm that day, my contractions were strong enough to wake me up. I still felt a bit uncertain but with the rest that I had gotten, I was able to strategize and think more clearly.
There were a few things I realized and needed to communicate to my husband if I was going to make it through this.
I needed to regroup
I needed to speak more affirmation between contractions. Up to that point, I had everyone saying such great things to me, but what mattered more was what I was saying to myself
I needed to be ready for contractions before they came. I asked my husband to set reminders for the midpoint between contractions so that I could be in a good laboring position and so that he could get placement for the best counter pressure support.
I needed prayer. I needed to really be in prayer about my labor and anything that might have been against us as we labored to bring my boy into the world.
I needed the music that I had prepared. Songs like “Wait on You” by Dante Bowe, “Never Be Defeated” by Rich Tolbert, and “Most Beautiful” by Chandler Moore had sat in my playlist for a while up to that point but I needed them to help me with how I meditated on the process.
Things came to mind for me to say between contractions and I said them. Things like:
"I can do this"
Affirmations to my husband - that he was a great birth partner and amazing father
“Birthing happens a little bit at a time, not all at once”
These things increased my hope and my endurance, but the last two hours of labor were the absolute hardest.
With my refreshed approach to labor, I became more dilated and labor progressed.
I followed the intuitive urges of my body and began pushing fairly early into labor to maneuver my baby down the birth canal. In those hours, my urges to push strengthened. With each push, labor appeared to be more progressive. My water broke naturally. My baby’s meconium was released (which is common for breech babies) and my contractions were slightly closer together than before.
This was already very different from my first birth. With my first son, I was admitted into the hospital at 1 in the morning and had him but 7 am the next morning. I restricted every urge to push and when I was given permission to succumb to the urge, my baby came out with two countdowns from ten.
I honestly wasn't sure that all the work I was putting into having this baby wasn’t futile, so I asked to be checked for real signs of progress.
To determine where I was in progress my midwives did two separate exams. One was done by Nuni, who did all my other prenatal care and the other exam was done by Kristen to assess his breech presentation.
Both of those 60-second exams needed to be performed during contractions with me lying on my back or side.
Which was honestly just the most excruciating part of the entire process. I didn’t want to imagine what being forced to labor on my back or side in a hospital would have been like, but that is why I have no doubts that had I been in one, I would have likely gotten every intervention that they offered.
After those exams it was determined that I was fully dilated, my baby was close enough that they could feel him! But my contractions were not close enough to afford me the strength I would need to actually push him out. Contractions that are 10 minutes apart would not be as productive or efficient as they needed to be.
Exhausted by the pain from just the last two contractions, I lost all of my motivation and hope.
I was back to falling asleep in conversation.
I was back to losing track of time in between sleep spells.
Contractions were getting on top of me again leaving me no time to mentally prepare.
All of my regrouping fell apart and all I could think and say was, “I can’t do this for another night.”
My midwives were talking to me, but I was over it. Eventually, I shared my headspace with my husband and he brought them into the room to discuss the process of a c-section.
There were two options. I could go to the hospital and ask for an augmentation with Pitocin and try to have a vaginal breech birth (with a fight, of course) or I could go in for a c-section in the midst of my contractions (which apparently happens all the time).
When all of the information was on the table, I knew that going to the hospital wasn’t what I wanted, but if this birth relied on my strength, I felt that it might have been my only option.
I had no strength and very little hope, so in an effort to regroup again — as a lifeline for myself, I asked to get back into a pool of warm water. The pool of water from that early morning had been sitting so my midwives suggested the tub as an alternative.
In my mind, I believed that if I could just get into some warm water, I can get some rest and prepare for the next step leading to the hospital.
Before the tub was even full, I pulled myself off the bed to get in.
That warm water, as it did the first time, gave everything it was supposed to give. Rest, warmth, and revitalization. There were moments where I really felt my energy and adrenaline increase and I felt exhaustion abate.
But contractions were coming.
And they kept coming.
And they got stronger.
And urges to push came with deep roars.
After maybe an hour or less time in the tub, I asked my midwives several questions. I was trying to figure out if all time and labor that had passed were worth staying at home and seeing the process through.
Kristen made it pretty plain with one clarifying question, “Are you asking if you can trust your body?”
Both my silence and hers were easy to interpret.
That was exactly what I was asking. And her answer was confident and clear.
The answer was that yes, I could trust my body. But ultimately we had to give it time to do what it was designed to do. My midwives advised me to labor some more on the commode and honestly, by that point, I had no qualms about it. The thought of taking that seven-minute drive to the nearest hospital didn’t seem worth the trouble.
I started thinking about contractions in the car.
Contractions in the parking lot.
Contractions in the waiting room while filling out paperwork.
I had, just minutes earlier, discussed going to the hospital with my husband, but as labor progressed it became less and less of an option.
After all, I was healthy the entire time. My baby’s heart was strong and steady. My blood pressure was in a good place.
The only thing that wasn’t progressing with the process was my mind.
With all the progress that my body was experiencing, I was still in fear of the chances that I didn’t have enough strength or endurance to bring this baby into the world with the body that I had.
Several times, my husband would lock eyes with me and very assuredly say to me, “you can do this. We’re going to do this.”
I would listen, process his words, and nod. With the bold confidence in which he proclaimed it, I had to believe it. I only had enough strength to agree with him.
Another hour (more or less) passed and soon my husband was carrying the weight of everything but my walking feet into the bedroom where I would give birth.
I saw pads on the floor, a stool, and everything my midwives needed to facilitate the birth. In spite of what I had felt and seen in bodily changes, I still looked Nuni in the eyes and asked, “Is he really coming?”
To which, she confidently replied, “Yes, he’s really coming”.
Kelsey, Kristen's assistant, set up a timer which was an indication to me that there was indeed something different about this part of the process.
My husband and midwives coached me through the entire thing, assuring me that I would meet my baby and coaching me to surrender to the contraction and push.
I was surprised at this experience with pushing. It wasn’t as quick as the pushing with my first of course but it was a lot less mechanical.
A lot more powerful.
The hardest part was really waiting for the opportunity to push again.
With every push at the stage of delivery what I felt was truly astronomical. Painless energy surged from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head. I roared with my pushes, not because it hurt, but because there was a great amount of energy being both felt and exerted.
I no longer had any doubts that I would have my baby in my arms that night.
First came his feet. Then one leg after the other. I felt him moving and rotating both during and in between pushes. I felt everything in the very slow and step-by-step process that it was.
When the majority of his little body was out, and there were only a few pushes left, I can remember my husband and both midwives encouraging me in the Lord.
I heard them saying, “Conscious, God is with you. Push your baby out”, and “Trust in the Lord, Conscious”.
I heard my husband in my right ear saying, “you can do this”.
And very soon after, I saw his little body in Nuni and Kristen's hands.
I did it.
I had just had a baby.
After 35 hours of labor, here he was.
He was here with a strong heartbeat. He needed a little boost to get his breathing going, but he was here and he was healthy.
He was worth every bit of the journey... and I didn’t tear or need any stitching.
Usually, I would never go into so much detail about birth. I have yet to watch my own birthing video and I’m not sure if or when I will ever be able to. However, I learned so much about life, babies, and parenting through this experience, specifically the benefits of vaginal birth and the crisis of forced c-sections.
This was a story worth being told.
All Glory to God for the mercy that He gave and still gives that I am living today to tell it.
Legend Isaiah Coore - Born November 14, 2021 - 7 Lbs 0 oz + Breech.
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