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Birth Story Series: Mitchie

I can't believe it’s been a full year since I brought my daughter into this world. In honor of that I wanted to share my birth story. But not only that, my husband mentioned to me how he thought it would be good for others to learn from if I shared the entire experience. Pregnancy and all. So here goes, it’s gonna be a long read.

I found out I was pregnant on June 26th 2019. I was living in a trailer at the time because we wanted to save up money to buy our own place. I was working two jobs, one at the subway and one at a bar. David and I hardly ever saw each other and when we did one of us was never sober. Our relationship was strong from the start but our lives were extremely rocky. We didn’t know what we were doing and we had the pressure of what felt like the whole world on our shoulders and what felt like everyone against us. We were a mess to say the least. I got home from work and for no reason at all I just felt an extremely strong urge to take a pregnancy test. This was the day after the first real and practically only fight we had ever had. Things weren’t looking good and we were straying far away from God. I didn’t pay much attention to the test and honestly expected it to be negative, but when I saw those two little red lines pop up onto it all I could mutter was “oh my God”. I grabbed the box thinking my eyes were deceiving me and checked a million times confirming it was a positive. Again, I repeated “oh my God” First starting as a whisper but then I began shouting “oh my God” louder and louder until my throat burnt. This wasn’t part of the plan, I wasn’t ready, we weren’t ready. This couldn’t be real, it couldn’t be happening. But it was. And oh, my God sure did have big plans for me and David.

I told David later that day when I finally got him to come home, we were always busy doing something but today I just didn’t have time for that. We weren’t on good terms, I didn’t know how he’d react. I was terrified and had multiple panic attacks on my own that day waiting to tell him. He walked into our room and I couldn’t even look at him or say it. I literally threw the test at him. I then looked up at him and he looked back at me and said “I’m ready” and then we both cried. Then and there I knew everything was going to somehow be okay. He made sure I knew it would be. Hell, he even said he was excited!

When you find out you're pregnant especially as a teenager you have so much pressure from the world around you to do things everyone else’s way. I felt like I needed to just follow orders because of course what did I know? The people around me flooded me with unsolicited advice. I was admittedly a smoker at the time. I have smoked since I was 12 years old, and I smoked so much and was so addicted that I would wake up multiple times throughout the night to smoke, I would even choose to stay awake the whole night just so I could keep smoking. I couldn’t even work or go shopping without doing it. I’m ashamed to say I’d do it in the bathrooms or even just right in the middle of the stores with my vape. It was what I thought to be impossible for me to quit. And one piece of advice I was given was “make sure you don’t stop smoking now it will be bad for the baby, you have to wean yourself” This didn’t sit right with me but what did I know? Nonetheless that day I went to the vape shop and bought all no nicotine juices and vapes so I could wean myself off. Low and behold I was able to quit that night and haven’t picked one up since. That wasn’t me, God worked in my life and took that addiction away.

My coworkers and family hounded me about making a doctors appointment to see how far along I was. And so I did. I was 6 weeks along. The appointment went fine, there were way too many questions and I knew I didn’t want any of the weird testing they were wanting to do. But they were shockingly pushing really hard for it and even scaring my husband into telling me we should do it. This was my first experience learning how to say no.

Around week 8 I began to get extreme morning sickness, it lasted all day and even at night. It got to the point I couldn’t hold anything down and any smell would make me sick. It was July 3rd, I canceled work because I was feeling too weak to get out of bed. This is coming from the girl who was a workaholic. I had NEVER canceled before and would beg to take other people's shifts. I really just couldn’t do it. David left for work, he would be back in a few hours. I was just gonna sleep it off. When I woke up it was night when he got home. And I was still too weak to do much so I went back to sleep. The next day, July 4th David left for work and he had only a 4 hour shift. I was thankful for that. I wanted him to get me apples after he got off work thinking that maybe I could at least hold an apple down. As usual he was home late after telling me each hour that he was on his way. (Like I said back then there was always something we were doing, our priorities were not straight) But tonight, he was home 14 hours late. And I could no longer move. I had called my mom a few hours prior and she told me I needed to go to the ER and the only family nearby was my sister who lived 2 hours away. I asked my sister to take me but David got there just before and decided to take me himself.

When we got there as soon as I stepped out of the car I passed out but woke up immediately dry heaving because I had nothing left in my stomach. He had to carry me inside and then they put me in a wheelchair because I was too weak to walk. I told them I needed fluids and that I was pregnant but they ignored anything I had to say. They told me they wouldn’t do anything for me until they did an ultrasound because “there’s no point if the baby might be dead”. This was wrong in so many ways but at the time I didn’t know better and I was too weak to defend myself. So they took me to a room for the ultrasound. They tried it and it didn’t work because I didn’t have any fluids in my stomach. Who could have guessed that? They wanted to do the ultrasound vaginally and I begged for them to just let me drink some water but they refused. They refused to treat me further unless I let them do it and kept telling me they didn’t know if the baby was dead or not and that it was the only way. (Again I didn’t know better yet) So I allowed him to do it. It was a horrible experience, I felt like I was being forced against my will and I cried the entire time. There was a trainee sitting in the corner FaceTiming her friend and laughing the whole time. I felt like I was dreaming. Finally he confirmed that my baby was alive and that I just needed fluids. And then they gave me fluids. And told me I had HG. The rest of the stay wasn’t as bad but was still pretty terrible for the next hour or two that we were there with how rude they were. And this is where my researching journey began.

I wasn’t going to allow my child to be in the care of incompetent doctors who wouldn’t even listen to what I had to say. So I knew I had to come up with a plan and fast. First, my plan was to go to the hospital when in labor and say I wanted to shower and then I would lock the door behind me so I could have my baby in peace and they wouldn’t be able to come in. Clearly there were many flaws with this plan. And then I just decided to google if home birth was legal. And then I found out it was. And after that point there was no turning back.

Research and lots of it brought me to the point I needed to be at. They weren’t gonna vax my child, give her antibiotics eye ointment, take her blood and dna for the pku, test her for who knows what, or give her any vit k crap. They weren’t going to cut her cord early, they weren’t gonna steal her stem cells from the blood, they weren’t gonna wipe off all her beneficial vernix and bathe her. They weren’t gonna put a stupid hospital hat on her and mess up her first chance to latch or regulate her heat. And they most definitely were not gonna tell me how or when to birth my baby. I literally learned how to birth my baby and do my own prenatal care from books and podcasts. And that’s more real research than any obgyn has ever done and I’ll guarantee you that much.

My husband and I moved in with his parents when my HG got to be too much for me to work. I hated that because I loved working and never wanted to depend on anyone for any reason. But it’s what we had to do. I was so sick for months and months. But I learnt how to deal with it. I was so depressed and the only thing keeping me going was the blessing that was the little girl God gave me. Around 24 weeks along I expressed my birth plan to David and he was not for it at all. He was terrified of the idea. He wouldn’t even talk about it with me so I had to drop it for a further time. Every week from then on I would mention it and he would shut the conversation down. And then eventually I told him, we can talk about it and you can be involved or we can avoid it and I can have her on my own, it’s my choice and it’s happening this way whether you want it to or not. And maybe that wasn’t the best way to go about it but it’s what I felt I needed to do. And so then he finally listened. And he was ready to learn with me. We watched the business of being born and listened to lots of podcasts and watched lots of birth videos and that did it for him. He was ready. I was around 36 weeks along when my husband and I moved into our home. I was terrified the whole pregnancy I wouldn’t find a home in time to have our baby in. We were seriously considering motels and I’m so thankful that wasn’t our reality. Once we moved in I started setting up our birth space. I was so excited to give birth. I felt completely at peace. All my fear was gone. And our relationship began to get stronger than ever. And then around 38 weeks and 6 days (by the doctors estimate but if I went by implantation bleeding it would have been exactly 40 weeks) I began to go into labor.

For a few days I had been getting pretty irregular contractions but whenever I’d start to walk around they’d become more consistent until I would sit or lay in bed and then they’d fizzle out. I remember waking up to pee and I had lost a pretty big chunk of my mucus plug and I immediately went to wake my husband up to tell him about it and that our baby girl might be here soon. The day after that I had zero contractions, zero discharge and no more of the plug. I figured it was like my body decided she wasn’t ready after all and I thought the plug was just regenerating itself. The next day the same thing, not even a braxton hicks contraction.

Not gonna lie at that point I decided I would be pregnant forever but somehow I was okay with it and I got all sappy when I woke up to pee that night to more mucus plug and contractions starting again. I kept thinking “what did I do, doesn’t she still want to be in me?” I’m honestly super emotional and dramatic about some things and this was one of them. I tried really hard to just fall back asleep but I couldn’t so I just laid and waited for each contraction to pass. They were all about 5 minutes apart and lasted about 35 seconds each. They started to get more intense and pick up and I'm definitely someone with a high pain tolerance for everything there is except cramps. I remember every time I would even get period cramps they’d make me vomit and I’d have to lay in bed with a heating pad or in a bath for days. So contractions starting to feel less like the intense tightening and more like the familiar period cramps definitely started to make me panic a little bit. I started to breathe really hard through each of them and push my hands in fists into my lower back to try and get them to feel less intense. My husband soon woke up when he heard me moaning through them like I would when I’d have the occasional painful contraction the last few weeks. He immediately moved my hand away and placed his hand on my back to try and help me. As soon as the contraction passed he assumed that was it because usually that didn’t happen too often when I’d get a painful one. He laid back down to sleep right as I got another and then he immediately started applying the pressure again. I got them painfully and consistently from that point on. He asked me if I wanted a bath and I declined it honestly being in denial that I was truly in labor. I figured they’d go away soon and that’s what I told him.

It was around 5 in the morning when things started getting even more intense. My husband got up to let our dog out and I walked around trying to see if it would help the pain, i walked in circles around in our house with my husband holding his hand, I then walked myself to the bathroom and sat in the tub and pulled the shower hose down and started spraying myself with the hot water. I couldn’t even talk through the contractions at that point. My husband kept asking me questions, like should he call into work, (at first I said no) should he start getting things ready, did I want tea, it was all a little overwhelming with trying to focus on ignoring the pain. All I could do was point to things or make hand gestures or try to mumble words in between each contraction. I pointed to the plug in the bath and he plugged it for me and I laid down holding the shower hose on my stomach for a long while. I wasn’t looking at the time so I’m not sure how long I did that for.

I finally decided to get out because I was just so tired and wanted more than anything to go back to sleep. I came back to our room and laid down and he asked me again if he should call into work. I told him it was up to him and what he wanted to be here for, just me laboring all day and then baby coming out or just for baby coming out. I was convinced I wasn’t in true labor and that baby was going to stay in at the very least until late that night. After that I laid back down and tried to breathe through my contractions for maybe an hour but it honestly felt like five minutes. He asked me again, and at that point I began to get pretty snappy and I told him to stop asking me and that I had no idea what was going on because I’d never experienced any of it before. He decided to stay. I took some motherwort tincture hoping it would help with the pain. I started to get on my hands and knees and sway back and forth trying to make the pains ease up, I bounced on my birth ball and then asked him to get the pool ready. He didn’t for a few hours which is probably a good thing but I was annoyed in the moment that when I could muster out words in between the pain that he wasn’t immediately catering to what I was asking of him. I felt like it was impossible to breathe if I was speaking so I wanted to speak as little as I needed. He finally got the pool ready and I got inside as soon as it was filled enough. I was expecting to get this huge amount of relief that so many people talk about but it honestly only felt a little bit better. My husband dimmed the lights and put music on and then left to the kitchen to go cut up some apples and get me coconut water. I ended up feeling the contractions get way more intense and screamed out for him to come back, he came to my side and started massaging my shoulders. The music was too much for me to handle so I asked him to turn it off. The contractions became so regular at that point, only about 2 minutes in between each one and each lasting for about 45 seconds. I was definitely becoming more vocal by the minute. Whenever one would end he would ask if it was okay to go and get me the apples or water and I’d just get all weepy and pull his hands back onto my shoulders. I knew I had no idea what I was doing but I was extremely curious about how close she might be so I stuck a finger inside of myself and I could feel a hard lump underneath my skin. I was pretty sure it was her head behind maybe my cervix or behind the walls of my vagina. I wasn’t too sure but I knew it was part of her body. I got excited and told my husband to feel it. He told me he couldn’t feel what I was feeling but he did think it felt extremely open and different to what it had been like for a while.

I’m not sure how many hours I was in the pool but it stayed warm for a pretty long time even at the point when my contractions became way too much for me to be able to stay still. I wanted more heat, I wanted hot water and I told David that. He tried to siphon some of the water out of the pool with the hose so he could refill more of the pool with hot water instead but it was proving to be a lot more challenging than originally anticipated and he ended up not being able to get any to come out. I wanted to get out and get into the shower but my husband insisted I stay in the pool. I told him I needed to do this and that I needed his help to get out. He finally agreed and helped me back into the shower, I swayed back and forth and had the hose on my stomach in between contractions and then I’d place it on my lower back whenever I would get a contraction. I started to feel extremely tired like I was going to pass out and asked my husband to bring me my birth ball. He placed it inside the shower and I sat on it and tried to sway but decided that was way too much work and also a little unsafe because I slipped off the ball onto my butt in the tub. I placed the ball all the way against the wall in the shower and got back on and then I continued switching the shower head from my stomach to my back with each contraction. My husband asked me if I was done with the pool and I told him “yes for now” He asked me if I’d be getting back into it later and I began to get unnecessarily frustrated again with the questions that I didn’t know the answer to at the time. I told him I didn’t know yet and I’m not sure what else he asked because I kind of just zoned everything out while I tried to focus. He would come in and out of the bathroom with a huge tub trying to dump water down the drain from the pool.

I eventually started to run out of hot water after a very long time of being in there and decided to get out. He helped me out and I didn’t bother drying off or putting any clothes back on, I was too exhausted for much of anything at that point and just went to lay in bed. I took some cbd hoping it would help and maybe I could get some sleep. All I kept thinking was “please just five minutes, I’d do anything for just five minutes of peace” I closed my eyes and hugged my pillows and tried to find that peace some place as I prayed and focused on anything but the task at hand. Each contraction that came I no longer needed to moan through, I just breathed through them while feeling at peace when they’d ease away. I was feeling like I was in the daze when you’re super tired and just about to fall asleep but then each time I’d be woken up by the intensity of a contraction. I laid there for probably about 40 minutes until my husband came back in the room and snapped me out of the daze and then he was laying by my side applying pressure with each contraction I began to get because they started to feel extremely painful again. I asked him how long it had been and he told me about 40 minutes. I asked him to fill the pool back up with hot water because I was beginning to feel pushy. He went to go do that and I struggled to get through the contractions as I was waiting.

I ended up walking to the pool and deciding I was just going to get in whether it was filled or not. I think that’s when transition hit me. I rolled back and forth in the pool and wailed in pain. I honestly felt like I probably looked like shamu from sea world but I didn’t care anymore. I decided it was way too hot and that I was overheating and asked David to bring the fan into the room. He did and I felt like I was sweating so bad. The fan felt pretty good but then the water wasn’t high enough for me so I decided I wanted back out until it was full. I got out and walked down the hall to the living room and David followed me and now that I look back on it I have no idea what I was trying to do or what my intention was. I stood there and looked at my husband completely serious and told him that I thought I was dying and that I just wanted it all to be over. I put my hands around his neck and swayed back and forth trying to get through the contractions that were coming. I then began to panic a little bit and walked aimlessly back and forth in the living room and hall trying to desperately run from the pain which was obviously not possible. I then finally I went and got back into the pool.

From that point on the contractions became the most intense that they had been the entire time. I felt them back to back to back lasting about a minute to two minutes with only about 30 seconds in between. I was on my butt leaning against the wall of the pool and my husband was massaging my shoulders as each contraction would come. I would scream at him each time to go harder or more pressure, begging for relief. He eventually left the room to go and get the apples and coconut water since I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink yet the entire day except for some sips of water after trying to use a motherwort tincture and cbd for pain in the early morning to not much avail. I screamed and cried for him to come back and help me. I’m not sure what I had meant by that. He held the glass of coconut water out for me with a bendy straw while I tried to sip it. He kept insisting I drink more because of how weak and pale I was but it just made me scared the cold from the drink would make me have worse cramps. He tried to feed me apples and I’d get some down but every time I had a contraction if I had an apple in my mouth I would spit it back into his hand so I could breathe through it. I think I attempted to eat like 3 bites of apples total. Eventually I started puking into the trash bag beside the pool. I rolled back and forth in the pool and couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do. All I knew was it was getting too much for me to handle. I ended up on my knees and leaning my body over the edge of the pool. I’d feel my body start to push and it was an insane feeling. I put my finger inside to see if I could see what was going on. I definitely felt the water sac. I wanted to share that experience with my husband but I was far too gone to let him touch me down there. I kept begging him to put pressure on my shoulders and I think I ended up telling him to pinch me.

Once my body started pushing again I felt the water pop and it went pretty fast from there. I told him her water popped and he got very excited, I got extremely nervous because it was at that point when I realized that I was truly in labor, I had finally accepted it as real and that there was no going back. My body continued to push and I began to scream a little bit and my husband would calmingly and lovingly tell me to just breathe and not to push, to just let my body take its time. I screamed angrily at him that my body was doing it, not me. He continued to tell me to just breathe and I continued to scream at him and say that I was. Then I moved my hand down and I felt her head. I could feel her hair. It was unlike anything I thought it’d be. It was such a surreal experience. Her head would come out a little bit and then go back in multiple times, I told David I could feel her head but I don’t think he realized I meant she was crowning. Whenever my body would get a contraction to push her out I would get this intense stinging feeling around the top of my vagina that I honestly felt so much relief from. It felt so much better to focus on a stinging pain than a contraction pain. It only made me want to push so I could keep feeling that instead of the contractions. But I knew better and I knew I needed to let my body stretch if I didn’t want to tear. I was stuck pushing her head and it would go back in and out for about 45 minutes. Half way through that my husband bumped into the pool plug and the air started coming out and I held on tight to the side and began to panic a little bit and started saying “no no no no” over and over even though he was quick to react and plug it back in. That’s when he noticed her head.

He got super giddy and excited in the moment. I didn’t know this but he ended up telling me afterward she had one of her hands against her face. He came back to my side and squeezed my shoulders through my next contraction then tried to quickly unplug the pool and fill the air back up in it that escaped before my next contraction hit. Her head finally started to all come out when fetal ejection reflex kicked in and my body wanted to pause halfway through on her face but I felt myself begin to tear upward so I pushed with it finishing pushing her head out, I yelled to my husband to catch her as that was happening I felt my husband place his hands on her and it startled me into pushing her out the rest of the way hard and fast because I thought she had her head out of the water and I didn’t want her to go back under if she had been up at all. My husband caught her and immediately started to cry and babble about something I’m not really sure because she was what I was most focused on at the moment. I tried to sit down and catch my breath and he helped unwrap her cord from around my leg so I could hold her. I immediately told him to turn the fan off and to give me a towel and to turn off the lights. I placed the towel in the warm water and then placed it over her body trying to keep her warm. She cried the second she hit the air. She continued to cry until we got the towel on her to warm her up. I held her close to my body and just took it all in.

We just stared at her for a while and felt her little hands. She almost immediately tried finding my boob to latch on. Her latch was so strong. I’m not sure how long I was in the pool for but my husband ended up telling me it was time to get out when the water was getting too cold and she began to cry again. I asked him to fill up a warm bath. He did that and then I handed him our daughter as I stepped out of the pool and held my hands underneath myself just in case the placenta was ready to fall out so I could catch it. We reached the bathroom and I got into the bath with my baby and she stopped crying once we hit the warm water. I’m not sure exactly how long we were in the bath but I knew I didn’t know what else I should do in the situation because I didn’t want to cut her cord until at least the placenta was out even though her cord had been white and limp for a few hours meaning she got all the blood and stem cells back into her body. I decided to hand her to David so I could get on my knees and see if it was ready yet. It didn’t budge. I then started to feel strong contractions and I leaned my head onto his shoulder while my body pushed half of it out. It definitely hurt a little bit but I only think that’s because I had torn so it didn’t feel so nice going across that. Up until that point there wasn’t much blood and then the bathtub was pretty bright red. I decided it was time for me to get some electrolytes so I had my husband bring me a glass of coconut water that thankfully I was able to finish without feeling nauseated like before. I sat and waited for the rest of the placenta to come out but part of it was still attached so it definitely took some time. When it did finally come out it did tear a little bit on my side of it. I had a few blood clots that came out behind it as well.

Overall I’d say it went a lot better than I had originally anticipated and I can’t believe I actually did it. I most definitely had pretty horrible pain when I’d pee, I couldn’t really move without having the burning sensation down there and without feeling like my actual butt was going to fall out. I was also fairly dizzy but that all wore off in a few days. I’m so happy that she’s so healthy and happy and that it all went the way it was supposed to, I knew I just needed to trust my body. I knew it was going to do what God created it to do and that I needed to keep my self doubt or fear mongering from others out of the way. I’m so proud of myself and my baby and my husband. I’m so thankful to have had such a supportive partner to help me give birth. The whole time he would tell me I was doing such a good job and remind me that we would meet our baby soon and that I was almost there. He didn’t get upset a single time when I’d scream at him or when I’d get overwhelmed and ignore him. He did so perfectly and I’m so glad that he trusted in me in this process with our first child even when the world around us was so judgmental about it all.

Our relationship has only grown stronger from all of this. Our daughter truly brought us so much closer to each other and God and we’ve been so incredibly blessed to have had her when we did. It was perfect timing, it was all part of God’s plan. He brought her to us to change us from our ways and to bring us closer to him. And now we have the most incredible little gift anyone could ever ask for. Most definitely this was the most empowering and most beautiful experience I’ve had in my entire life and I wouldn’t change a thing. Except maybe I would have filmed it.

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