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  • Cindi Denbow

The Birth Story of Mavie Brígh

In the midst of trying for baby 3 I knew the birth would be different. I was determined to have the experience of natural birth I've always wanted and knew I was capable of. With my first I was too passive and was talked into an early induction at 39 weeks for having such a miserable, painful, itchy pregnancy. I had a large amount of medical intervention that lasted 29 hours ending with a cesarean. Details aside, I was so drugged up on narcotics that I don't remember meeting and holding my son for the first time. Pictures and thankfully a video camera hold the only "memory" of the moment I became a mother. The pregnancy, the labor, the birth, the newborn stay at the hospital was a nightmare of nightmares. I felt broken and robbed of what should have been a happy time in my life.

My second pregnancy I wouldn't back down from my fight for a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean.) With an Ob that had faith in me and my persistent pleading for more time, I was able to go 10 days past my due date (each day more stressed out than the last) and went into spontaneous labor two days before my scheduled csection. Labor at home was comfortable but as soon as we got to the hospital my confidence plummeted with the constant cervix checks and the anesthesiologist coming in and out asking how I'm doing with hints of his pain relief. I was tense, cold, hungry, and afraid of another csection. Caving, I got an epidural, and 45 minutes later my son was born. Forty five minutes! I was crushed. I could have managed another 45 minutes for a natural birth. But, I got my vbac! I could do it!

Trying for baby 3, I was even more headstrong about having a natural birth. I went to GBO before I was even pregnant to attend a class for exploring the GBO options and told my husband that we were going to have a homebirth if we got pregnant and that was that. Pregnancy was wonderful. I soaked in every moment and enjoyed every second I could. GBO became my second home filled with people I was comfortable with, bonded with, and felt like "these are my people." That means a lot for a pregnant girl needing a bit of confidence to have a hbac when so many outsiders spit out negativity and raise an eyebrow to having a baby out of a hospital let alone after a csection.

At the 36 week home check, I will never forget, chatting with Christina for at least 20 minutes about where I want to have my baby. Upstairs? Downstairs? This room that room? By the end of the conversation she just looked at me and pretty much said "where ever you end up is where you will have your baby. Don't over plan."...

 I had envisioned how it would go, and planned a water birth renting a birth pool. I prepared my downstairs for everything to happen there. I had hung up birth affirmations, had essential oils ready, had baby hats and my giant birth supply box ready to go with the pool nearby to blow up when the time came. I relaxed there, did my breathing and focus practice there, and pictured it happening there. I planned on the kids being there just after birth to meet their sister. I wanted my oldest to cut the cord with daddy. I watched numerous homebirth videos and swooned over all of the photography and videography they had of their labor and birth. Catching their own babies and pulling them up out of the water, their faces seeing their baby for the first time and the look of relief and pride of "I did it". I mentally prepared and pictured my own labor and birth going just like that... Silly me.

My due date of October 22nd came and went and I wasn't worried and I wasn't stressed to go into labor before a cut off. I was relaxed and ready for her to pick her day. As the days went on I had contractions here and there but nothing strong or regular. Monday, October 27th, at my appointment with Carla we did a sweep to stir things up and I was 1-2cm. I went home with some cramps and eventually started having contractions 10 minutes apart. Getting excited I decided to go to bed and get rest for the big moment. Then I woke up in the morning with nothing. A little upset but decided to brush it off. By 9am that Tuesday I had a large amount of bloody show. Yay! Contractions came shortly after at an average of 5 minutes apart. They weren't too strong but definitely noticeable. They lasted all day and by 3pm just stopped. I called a friend to come walk with me and the boys to the park and maybe get things going again. I crab/cowboy walked up and down my stairs, I bounced and rolled around on my yoga ball, I did lunges and squats, I cried an ugly cry out of frustration, but they were gone.

Wednesday morning GBO called me, knowing how frustrated I was, and told me to come in for another sweep and NST. My cervix made progress so it put my mind at ease that my contractions weren't for nothing and my body was working. When I walked out of GBO I had a contraction, then another, and another. They were stronger than the previous days and somewhat regular. By 10pm they were getting really strong, but didn't seem very consistent, some 3-5 minutes apart some 10. They took all of my attention and all I could focus on was breathing. I texted Carla just to let her know and tried to get some rest. Ha. Tried to get some rest. They were strong and inconsistent and any position to try to sleep felt worse. I watched a movie (or three) while the rest of the house slept peacefully. By 4am I was pretty exhausted with maybe an hour total of sleep and my contractions felt more and more spaced out and much less intense. Feeling defeated and frustrated I texted Carla again to let her know what was going on and she had me take a bath and try to sleep. I grabbed some relaxing essential oils and filled my bath tub. The bath made my contractions basically disappear but at that point I didn't care, I just wanted sleep. I slept hanging over the tub then I was able to get a few hours in bed before needing to get up for the day.

Thursday October 30th and contractions were gone but I had another appointment with Cindi at 10am. I asked my husband, Wes, to stay home despite not even being in labor. I felt like I had cried wolf to him all week with the stop and go contractions but today was different. I called my mom to watch the kids while we went to my appointment. Cindi did a major sweep and I was 4 maybe 5cm already. Confidence boosted! It was almost instantly that contractions started and during another nst they were 10 minutes and pretty strong. On our way home around noon we decided to pick up lunch to bring home for everyone. I waited in the car while Wes went in for panera and my contractions were really kind of painful but I associated the pain with being tender from so many sweeps. All of a sudden I needed sleep and I couldn't keep my eyes open I was so tired so I slept between the contractions until we got back home. I had no appetite but tried eating anyways while pausing frequently to breathe through contractions and at one point told everyone to shut up during one (sorry!). They were strong and seemed to be about 4-5 minutes apart and I really wanted to take a bath and try to sleep a little more. Apparently I sat in the tub for an hour with Wes by my side, but to me felt like it was 5 minutes. I was back and forth between sitting on the toilet to pee and sitting on my bed. I wasn't timing them but they were still scattered. Some were close together and even right on top of each other while some were far apart. 3pm I asked for my mother in law to take the kids to her house. I don't know what compelled me to do so, I was upstairs in my room and they were outside at the park, but I had a feeling I'd go into the night with this labor and just wanted them elsewhere for the night. My contractions sucked. I couldn't do anything but just sit motionless and breathe really deeply until they were over and between them I was shaking and shivering but felt normal. 3:30pm and Wes was getting the kids situated with grandma outside to leave when I texted Cindi about the contractions. I asked her if it was too soon to fill my birth pool and walked off to go pee, again. When I stood up I had a much more intense contraction, then another right on top of it. Cindi tried calling me multiple times and I couldn't even hear my phone through the contractions. We had a quick chat and I felt kind of in a fog so when she asked if she should come over I said yes. (Glad I did!) The contractions, while insanely strong, didn't seem close enough or even rhythmic. They were still going from close together to spaced out and it kept killing my confidence that this was the real deal labor. I felt like I was going to be in labor forever. I was still in my room sitting on the side of the bed in the dark when Cindi arrived around 4:30. She timed how long my contraction was (something I didn't even think about doing) and they were lasting 60 seconds. Went pee, again, and had Cindi check things out. "Oh wow!" was her reaction and telling me I was pretty ready at an 8! My cervix has a lip/scar tissue so with one contraction she wanted me to bear down while she pushed it aside (uh, ouch.) Then another without her pushing it. My legs were shaking and shivering like crazy! She asked if I had a photographer so I immediately texted my best friend/photographer to come now! Right as I sent it, Carla texted me so I asked her to come, too. Cindi had me go empty my bladder, again, and sent Wes downstairs to go start filling the birth pool. Around 5pm-ish the birth team was here and getting things ready. Lorrie was in the bathroom with me checking vitals and checking baby's heart rate. My bff/photographer was here and said hi. I was kind of embarrassed; I had totally neglected cleaning my bathroom while my focus was on downstairs so I kept apologizing. I sat on the toilet for a bit and Lorrie asked if I wanted to move to the bed but it was actually more comfortable sitting there. At 5:11 my water broke with a contraction. It was a small pop and small gush and as I told Lorrie mid-sentence my baby was coming, RIGHT NOW. It was INTENSE pressure and I was involuntarily pushing. Lorrie got me up and it was a slow but tried to be dash to the bed as she had someone run to get Cindi. The next moments are difficult to describe or find the words to describe my experience. Have you seen a movie where someone has a near death experience and the world goes quiet around them? Everyone around them is a blur and their words are almost muted as if underwater. That was me. At this point I had no idea what was going on around me. I felt my baby coming and couldn't focus on breathing, all I could do was push and make noise. I got to the bed and was told to get on all fours. Somehow my yoga ball from downstairs was in front of me to lay on. I was grunting and yelling as the world around me disappeared. I couldn't tell you who was in the room or where, what anyone said to me, I have no idea what happened. I was in another universe and the only thing I was aware of was my body and my baby coming. I felt her head and faintly heard Cindi tell me she was crowning. At this point it was an out of body experience. I wasn't in any pain but could feel everything and was peacefully in a quiet world as I pushed with all I had. At some point Cindi told me to put a leg up, I asked for water, I told Jessica I was sorry for squeezing her arms so hard (still, so sorry!) I'm told that everyone was encouraging me and that my mom was telling me I could do it and how strong I was while I said I couldn't do it... I have no recollection of any of that. I'm telling you, I was in another world! As quick as it started it was over. 9 minutes and she was earth side in her daddy's hands at 5:20pm. It was instant lights on and I was back on earth and here was my baby. I was in such a disoriented state that all I could focus on was sitting down and picking my baby girl up to me. I think Cindi tried telling me something but the world around me was still muffled. Deep breaths and saying hello to my baby girl, reality started coming back into focus. I did it!! Holy hell, I did it! My daughter was here, and a healthy 8lbs 13oz 21" of perfection delivered at home by the greatest birth team I could have ever asked for. I was caught completely off guard and wasn't totally prepared for things to happen yet. My contractions weren't the textbook "transition" times I was waiting for and if Cindi hadn't called and basically told me she was coming I would have waited too long and she wouldn't have made it! I truly didn't think I was close, and had convinced myself that it was another day of irregular contractions. My birth "plan" went nothing to plan but exactly how it should have and was meant to and I wouldn't change a thing. So much for that water birth! All night long I sat in awe of what just happened. I couldn't believe I just had a baby naturally, so fast, and at home! It was so surreal and absolutely amazing. Completely different from how I pictured my birth going, and it was so much better than I could have ever imagined. I'm forever changed by that moment and so unbelievably thankful for Cindi and all of GBO. Because it all happened so fast, I don't have the adorable labor pictures, big brothers helping out, or the sweet candid shots of my husband being his awesome self while I labored looking out the window for that perfect black and white picture. I don't have it on video either, and that's okay. My photographer captured the moment things got crazy and that moment is all that matters. It makes for one hell of a story anyways.

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