Shortly before becoming pregnant, I was inspired to have a natural birth after watching the documentary The Business of Being Born. After researching more on the topic, I learned having the least amount of medical intervention was safest for a low-risk mother and child, and I began to see birth as a right of passage. I knew it was important to go through the experience of childbirth as women have done for thousands of years. I had faith that my body and my child would know what to do.
So when I became pregnant, I figured it would just come naturally to me. I thought I would "just say no". I did grow up in the 80's, after all! I thought little about preparing myself mentally or physically for such an event. As I got farther along, I began to seek out more information and I was still with my OB-GYN. She seemed to be on board with no medication, but other interventions were going to be hard to avoid. At our hospital tour the nurses made it very clear that there were rules and they were not willing to stray from them. I knew that I would have to choose my battles, and I did not want the birth of my son to be full of stress. I left discouraged and uncertain.
When I was in my six month of pregnancy I decided to attend a Le Leche League meeting for information and guidance on breastfeeding. I was also hoping to network with women who had similar beliefs in childbirth. One of the mothers encouraged me to take a childbirth class. At class one my husband and I immediately knew that these classes would give us the tools we needed. At our second class I expressed my concerns about being in a hospital and my desire to have a water birth. My teacher told us about Holy Family Birth Center in Weslaco, Texas and suggested we tour the facility. We went directly over there to check it out. It was a perfect fit! The next week I informed my doctor that I would be transferring my care to the certified nurse midwives at the birth center.
Jack H. Kennedy was born on Saturday, April 3, 2010 at 1:07 p.m.. He was 8 pounds 6 ounces, 20 1/2 inches long, and six days past his estimated due date. My labor went smoothly. It lasted fourteen hours, starting at 11:00 p.m. the night before. In early labor my contraction were forty-five minutes apart, so I slept through the first few hours. When they sped up to every thirty minutes I woke my husband to tell him this was it. He comforted me through the rest of the morning from 2:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m. It was around 9:00 a.m. when I had a contraction that lasted several minutes! After that, my contractions went from eight minutes apart to three minutes apart. My husband and I decided it was time to go to the birth center.
After the not so comfortable car ride, we arrived and my midwife asked to do a vaginal exam. I was six centimeters dilated! We made our way to the birthing bunlagow and once I was able to get into the birthing-tub and float in the water I went into deep relaxation. So much so, that I slept in-between one of my contractions. My husband was in the tub behind me and talked me through each rush. It took me less than an hour to dilate to ten centimeters and I was finally ready to push. I pushed for about forty-five minutes, but it only felt like five to me. The next thing I knew Jack was in my arms. The umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck, but I knew not to worry. When I heard him cry it was stunningly beautiful. After having our moments in the tub, my husband took him so that I could move to the bed and deliver his placenta. Once my midwife delivered the placenta, my husband joined me in bed with Jack in his arms. I had my little family snuggled close for the first time. I would give anything to live that moment again. As we laid starring at our precious son, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had never felt so empowered in my life. I accomplished my goal of giving birth in a gentle and compassionate way. I did not have any medication. I did not have unnecessary interventions. My body and baby birthed on our own terms and own time. Four hours later we bundled up our son and went home. I was the most fortunate person in the world that day.