When we first found out we were pregnant it was a bit of a shock. Thirty eight, a five year old, a fourteen year old, and a brand new puppy. I had been saying for years that I was done having kids. The thought of putting my body through another pregnancy was terrifying. With pregnancy you never know what you are going to get no matter what you do to prepare or how you take care of yourself. Let’s face it I was probably the healthiest I have ever been in my life so it was the PERFECT environment for pregnancy. Once the initial shock wore off, which did not take long let’s just be honest, we were excited. In line with being honest, my husband was stoked at the first thought that we might be pregnant. I tell everyone that he would have five hundred children if I would birth them all. But with number three, I knew without a doubt I wanted to do a water birth. Because of how taxing and exhausting pregnancy and delivery can be for your body it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put what I had learned about yoga to the test. I wanted this birth to be a whole new experience. My first pregnancy was great and the delivery was only slightly challenged. I wanted to do a water birth with her but I did not have a good support system and considering it was my first I was easily influenced to make “normal” decisions. I am not really sure why I did not consider water birth for my second but it is probably a good thing because it was a less than easy pregnancy not to mention he had a few things that needed the care of doctors after delivery. I was determined this pregnancy AND the delivery would be the ultimate experience and a joyous one that would complete our little family with a BANG! You know they say “what the mind can conceive and believe it will achieve”. We did just that!
I will say your support team makes a HUGE difference! I have to first commend my little family because they really stepped it up for me. The support was beyond what I had imagined and it made all the difference in the world. More about that and those guys a bit later. My husband and I set out fairly quickly interviewing midwives. We got a few recommendations from our family chiropractor Dr. Marzluff at T3 Chiropractic. We actually only interviewed two, we had appointments with four, but after interviewing Kristy Hammock we both knew she was the one. The Birth House in Wylie first of all is absolutely stunning! Walking in we both knew right away that this was where we wanted to bring our little one into the world. Unlike the other place we went, which felt stale and much like a doctor’s office, here we felt at home. Yes it is in an old house which helps, but the energy and the decor sets the tone for what you are going to experience. When we met Kristy I felt like I already knew her. She was genuine, knowledgeable, and so very kind. I felt like I mattered, like my experience mattered and that was so important to me. I did not feel that with either of the OBGYN’s I had in the past.
My pregnancy was so smooth. WIth the exception of the normal end of pregnancy discomfort, it being impossible to get good sleep or find comfort, along with the heartburn I felt GREAT throughout! I continued yoga until about the last month when yoga just became uncomfortable. I visited my chiropractor Dr. Marzluff weekly for an adjustment and that helped tremendously with the discomfort and preparation for delivery. I did have several “cheat days” when I just could not ignore the cravings, but for the most part I remained at least a vegetarian throughout my pregnancy. My blood pressure was always good, my mood was for the most part great, and the baby always had a good little heartbeat. We did not want to know what we were having but I just knew it was a girl. I was feeling super feminine and was having all the feels! Bouts of tears here and there and the urge to dress up all the time. We did not care either way and just love the idea of it being a surprise.
Fast forward to the end of the pregnancy… At around thirty six weeks I knew I was not going to go much longer. I know my body really well and I could feel the preparation taking place. My other pregnancies went a week and two past the due dates so in the beginning we were thinking we would have a little Valentine baby, but that would not be the case. At thirty nine weeks sitting in a city council meeting watching my husband speak labor started. I was having contractions steady every few minutes and they were intensifying. It was the world’s longest council meeting I was tired and starving. We left the meeting around 9pm and went for food. While at the restaurant my water broke. At first I was not sure because this time it was not a rush like I had experienced before. I was determined to finish my food as I was about to embark on a marathon and needed that fuel to get me through. We called Kristy and she met us at The Birth House. I was on quite the high from the city council meeting, it was a big night for us. We were there discussing a rezoning for a place we wanted to relocate our business to, I was not really taking in what was happening. Kristy was certain that I needed to get some rest and that I had time before the BIG entrance of our little one. She gave me the option of staying there or going home. This is my one regret with the delivery process. I really wish I had stayed there because I just could not really zen out after this and that made my experience more high energy from panic. This was new for me and I did not know what to expect and I got in my head when things got intense. Getting in the car later really offered up a disconnect from where I wanted to be mentally.
So my husband and I went home. I tried to sleep. The hubs was a huge help with that, rubbing my head, repeating mantras, breathing with me, trying to keep me calm. When things got intense just before 1AM that is where I lost all zen! I told him to call Kristy, I knew it was time. By the time we got there it was around 1:30AM. Kristy had the bath going and the space was ready for us. She checked my vitals and in the bath I went. The contractions were so intense. Natural birth is so indescribable! It is pressure, it is incredible, it is connective, it is INTENSE! I was feeling out of body for sure. It was like I was watching myself from above but could see what was happening inside myself. CRAZY TRAIN I know but like I said it is hard to explain. I knew exactly what was going on because I could feel it all! I know now I am a mother fucking warrior! Do not be mistaken there were times of doubt. I remember telling my team “I cannot do this, take me somewhere, it is too much”. They continued to remind me how strong I was. I remember Kristy said at one point “Dana you are no hostage to this place but I know you can do this and you are doing great.” It was those reminders that got me through. It was making sure ahead of time that my team knew my plan, knew to keep reminding me of that plan, and knew that this was without a doubt the experience that I wanted. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that and without them there was no way things could have gone the way they did. They were my ROCK! I remember telling Kristy it was time, the baby was definitely coming. I felt it, I knew!! She was doubtful considering I had not really dilated when she last checked me, but she respected that I knew what was happening. And then she knew! She was shocked we had progressed so quickly but indeed it was time, this baby was making it’s grand entrance!! Three BIG contractions and that was all it took. One thing about this part that was mind blowing is you really do not have to push and I (well I guess we all) envision this crazy business of pushing but that is what the contractions do. Your body is an amazing thing especially when you allow it to operate in the manner it should! My husband was planned to catch June but I just could not let go of his hands. He was in a chair behind me and I did not want him to leave. I needed his touch, I needed him behind me, it was like he was my guide and I could not get through without him there. Kristy was amazing and so calm through the whole entire experience. Those two kept the it zen and made the experience what it was. Baby made entrance to this BIG world at 2:27AM.
I never got to hold either of my other children right after delivery. They were both immediately taken from me because we had fevers. The stress of a hospital and all their “interventions” I am certain were the culprit! When Kristy handed me my beautiful baby all I could think was I DID IT!!!! I remember looking at Kristy and telling her “I DID IT!!!” Baby was with me and no longer inside of me. I do not know how much time passed by before I realized I still did not know whether we had a boy or girl. I did not even care. I was in such a euphoric state. Well a baby girl indeed, healthy, perfect, weighing in at 8.1 lbs and just over 19 inches long! She was perfect. The whole thing was just perfect. Just as we had intended.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate Kristy throughout the entire nine months and those few hours of delivery when I needed her the most. Dr. Marzluff came to The Birth House right after delivery to adjust and check out the baby. I was home by 5AM and slept in my BIG bed with my whole family together. You cannot do that in the hospital. The love in that room was far too BIG for any hospital anyway! The care after by Kristy was just as great as the care during. She came to our house several times and checked our vitals, the baby’s weight, filed the birth certificate, did all the newborn screenings, and most importantly genuinely cared how I was feeling emotionally. No one does that, with my experience anyway. And while I have felt nothing short of a warrior since that moment I brought this beautiful baby into this world it was and will always be important that she cared to know. Women need that! Postpartum is a very REAL thing and most women hide it because they are scared or ashamed. I did with my second and it was horrible. One week after delivery, baby girl and I went to our first visit at T3 for a scan and adjustment. We continue to see Dr. Marzluff weekly for adjustments, baby is a healthy 10lbs 6 weeks post and we are both feeling great.
If you are so blessed to be expecting I urge you to know your options. I realize natural birth, water birth, delivery outside of a hospital is not for everyone, but at least know they are options. There is a great documentary called The Business of Being Born, I would encourage you to watch. There is so much unnecessary fear around childbirth, particularly natural, so much that people think you are some kind of freak if you so choose that option. It is far from freakish, it is incredibly empowering. The connection it offers to your baby is beyond words.