This was my third birth. My first was delivered at 40 weeks and 3 days. It was a 22 hour failed attempt at a natural labor that ended in a c-section. I was with the wrong doctor and I had no support team around me.
My second was a natural VBAC delivered at 41 weeks. I had switched to Dr. Dickerson and hired René Johnson for a doula. My body began labor on its own and lasted a long 40 hours until baby was delivered. This third baby was also delivered naturally at 42 weeks.
Yes, I have gone longer and longer with each pregnancy. Being “late term” was very difficult for me this go around for some reason. However, I knew 42 weeks is still within a normal timeline to deliver, so I had to stand firm in faith and give my body time to be ready for labor. I was healthy, my pregnancy was healthy and I thank God I have the right doctor who knows what he’s doing.
Dr. Dickerson informed me at my 39 week appointment that he had a family emergency out of state and he was leaving the day after my due date for an entire week. To be honest, this stressed me out, but it was another test in the whole picture to stay faithful in what I know and believe birth is. Any other doctor would have pressured me into an induction before they went out of town, but not Dr. D; he knows what he’s doing... he knows 40 weeks is not an expiration date.
So we waited and trusted. 41 weeks rolls around and nothing has happened, not even a contraction. We laughed when we were able to welcome Dr. D back after his vacation, still being pregnant. At 41+3 we did a membrane sweep, and again at 41+5. At that last appointment my cervix was 2cm and 80% effaced, and we also agreed to go ahead and schedule an induction for the morning of Friday, June 21 (42 weeks exactly). However, the two days leading up to that, I was pumping and walking at home, but they unfortunately did not bring on any contractions. Though I was very against the idea of induction, I was still very firm in my belief God had this completely under control.
The night before, on Thursday evening, we sent our two boys to Grandma’s and finished packing and getting the house in order. I took some Benadryl so I’d be sure to sleep well before my induction. I laid down in bed at 9pm and at 9:11 had a contraction that was no Braxton Hicks (I’d had a few throughout the past week or so but no more than 3 a day). About 20 minutes later I had another. I decided to try to sleep but I would keep track of the contractions on my phone when they would wake me up. My previous labor started during the night also, and I could not sleep at all.
The feeling of being woken up by a contraction was beyond painful for me, so I was miserable for an entire night. This time, I was able to sleep WELL between contractions that came about every 20-30 minutes throughout the night. Perhaps it was the Benadryl; perhaps it was God giving me strength. My alarm went off at 4:45am and as soon as I started getting ready for the hospital, the contractions grew to 5-10 minutes apart. Their strength was still pretty mild and I was able to mostly talk through them. I woke up my husband (who heard me a few times throughout the night, so he suspected what I was going to say) and told him I was *pretty sure* I was already in labor.
We got to the hospital and went straight to a room since I was scheduled. It was such a blessing to be able to skip assessment. Yay! My nurse came in and checked me at about 6:45am and I showed to be 4cm. I was in labor! Dr. Dickerson came in the room at 7:15am to talk about a game plan. He checked me, and I was now at 6cm only 30 minutes later! He looked at me and said “Faith, your body is doing it! We don’t need to do anything. You don’t need the pitocin. This is amazing!”
I just remember slightly losing it at this point in tears as I felt a huge burden release from my shoulders. I knew and believed God could do it because that’s what we prayed for... and look, He did. At this point, I started all the positions... on ball, leaning over side of bed, sitting on toilet, leaning over the sink, hands and knees on the bed, in the aquadoula tub, standing against bed, standing with birthing bar.
I started feeling “pushy” and my hips began to hurt with each contraction only after a couple of hours. We called Dr. Dickerson back in the room, as we felt things were moving along quickly. At this point, I was 9cm and we decided to puncture my water bag to get to the end. This is when I stuck to the position of standing with the birthing bar and squatting into each position. I started to feel more and more pressure with this position; it kept the strong contractions coming. I then moved to hands and knees on the bed, hunched over the peanut ball, because I was getting so weak and tired on my feet.
I remember feeling my body resisting the contractions and trying to hold back. I was remembering the “ring of fire” with my last birth and how awful the pushing was. I told my doula about this fear to put a voice to it and she could now help any way she could. At this point, Dickerson was able to see the baby was posterior and may be the reason she was taking a while to come down. I remember quietly saying, “baby, you rotate and get in position right now in Jesus’ name!” My husband heard me pray this. Then, the very next contraction, I heard Dickerson say, “Oh my gosh! I’m literally watching her head rotate right now in front of my eyes!” She was now in perfect position with her face down!
Dickerson and my doula directed me to turn over and sit with legs up on the squat bar, as that would be the best position for my situation at the time. I felt less in control in this position and really had to listen to my doula’s wonderful instruction on how to press into the contraction, though my body kept wanting to fight it. It was very difficult to be honest, but she was getting closer and closer with each contraction.
It was in this position that Dr. D saw I had an anterior lip which was holding me at 9.5cm. He then manually pushed back my cervix allowing the head to be completely clear. Once he did this, I had maybe 3 more pushes and she was out! And the “ring of fire” fear that was crippling me did not even come to pass. It did not burn like my last birth.
Now having experienced two natural births, I can say the fears I carried into this birth from the last birth were pointless and a waste of my energy. It played out so differently; the timing was different, the pain was different, the delivery was different. God forged a new path for us this time, and our faith has grown!
Our daughter (third child) was born Friday, June 21, at 11:07am (4.5 hours after arriving at hospital) weighing 8lb. 4oz. and 20 inches long. Her name is Katherine (meaning, “pure”) Faith (meaning, “unquestioning belief and complete trust in God”). We were trusting God that this entire pregnancy and birth would grow our faith to a new level, and it surely pushed us there. There are just so many details I did not include. She is the evidence of our Pure Faith. To God be all the glory.