Owyn’s Perinatal Journey has been different from day one in every single way. I am so freaking grateful that I was able to experience things through a different lens this time.
Every blessing, every adversity.
I want to start with some facts about my first Perinatal Journey with Dylan so you can understand this story a bit deeper.
- Dylan was conceived through IUI after trying for 12 months on our own
- I had a low risk easy pregnancy with him
- I hired birth doulas at 17 weeks
- I had no set expectations on pain medication, nor did I know ‘which’ exit strategy was the better option in my head.
- I had a long early labor with Dylan which made me have 3 hospital visits before being admitted.
- I had an epidural around 7cm.
- I tore and needed 2-3 stitches.
- It was in a hospital I had amazing nurses but a doctor I never met.
- I held Dylan after he was cleaned, weighed, wrapped in a blanket and I was stitched. After John had gotten to hold him.
- I had severe postpartum anxiety and ocd.
Since Dylan’s birth I have been engulfed in the Maternal Health community. I have a network of birth workers, maternal mental health advocates and some of the most badass mamas around so I knew that the second time around would be different in some ways but I’m still shocked I was able to accomplish what I did this week.
Also – I want to note the power of manifestation and the universal laws that I believe in before we get any further. This was an intuitive experience from day one to his arrival. I am grateful for the highest good that is within us all.
Okay so here it goes.
Last April, we went to the fertility doctor for a simple question and answer visit. I wanted to start planning for baby #2 but wanted to give enough time to potentially wean off my PPA medication if needed and know more about fertility protocol for second children. He advised that I did not need to wean off Zoloft that it was safe, and that we had options depending on how my cycles were since having Dylan. One last thing he mentioned is that I needed to start losing weight with my next meal. This is a theme you will see through this story.
So we left that appointment with answers and a plan to get off birth control for a couple months and see how my cycles were. So I had a 28 day one for the first time in my life (I was so excited) then followed by a 40 day one that coincidentally landed on the day 1 of the 2019 PSI Conference in Portland I attended last year. (June 26th) I had planned to start back on birth control on my next period- which was still not here around day 39 again so I had just thought ” hey I’m still irregular”. I had acupuncture and asked if she could start a regimen to get them regular so I could proactively plan once we started trying again. She said yes and actually stimulated points that brought on my period the next day. It never actually came and a couple days later I woke up with this nagging hunch that I was pregnant.
I texted John, called my doctor and was advised to take a dollar store test. That night I did- it was positive and August 8th this journey began. That weekend it was confirmed by bloodwork and attended the #mywishformoms summit in Pittsburgh.
So intuitively knew I was pregnant, unplanned without any fertility intervention. What a freaking shock.
The first trimester was full of nausea. I did not have that the first time around it was definitely rough to function. I chose to see a provider that had a group of midwives and basically hired my doula the day I found out. We quickly found out we were also having another boy which I was thrilled about.
Things began to shift around 15-16 weeks.
I knew I wanted things done differently this time so I spent a lot of energy figuring out what that was. A Gentle Birth and Transition to a mother of two was the goal. I wanted a Lotus Birth, but was still fully onboard with a hospital birth. I had expressed this to my family and was met with resistance. I was ready to tell my midwife about my birthplan and things were derailed before I even had a chance.
My blood pressure was taken on this wonkey machine and showed a reading that alerted the midwives and put me on medication that day. I was also given a drink for an early glucose test “just in case” even though there is absolutely no link between Hypertension and Diabetes. However I passed.
I was not happy with how that whole situation was handled and felt like a number not a person with that practice so made the decision to switch to a different provider. I had high hopes from the reviews I had heard and was grateful she had accepted me even though she was not taking new patients. My first visit was 20 weeks and she spent time reviewing my birth plan line by line and even agreed to allow me to wean off the hypertension medication and monitor it myself since I intuitively knew I did not have that issue.
She initially expressed her concerns about the lotus birth but said she would do research before making her decision.
I also had Pubis Sympathis Dysfunction and sought the brilliant help of my pelvic floor therapist- I advise every women to find one and also know my mobility, movement, and incontinence was effected by this.
It took up until the gestational diabetes test time (28 weeks) for my second provider to conclude she was in fact not comfortable doing the lotus birth. Which was really a bummer. I respected her decision and how she handled the who thing and I do not have one negative thing to say about her.
However I do have a major gripe with how their internal lab.
My one hour glucose test came back as a fail and as I read the report I noticed it was based on 50g but the drink I was given was 100g. I questioned this but had no proof. So I proceeded with the three hour test but was confident it would be fine.
Well, apparently the results of that test were not questioned by the doctor and I was labeled immediately as a gestational diabetic and had to monitor my sugars even though to any human with a brain they do not make sense.
- Fasting Result: 146
- One hour: 81
- Two Hour: 153
- Three Hour: 138
I was given instructions to monitor my glucose and would have a nutritionist reach out. I did this without truly changing my diet for 2 weeks and my MFM doctor agreed that they were fine and he asked if the vials could have gotten messed up. Ugh YES! I did continue to check fasting sugars until 38 weeks but they ended perfectly fine.
During this time I was searching for a provider/facility/hospital that would support my lotus birth and plan. I was so nervous this (second) false diagnosis that was plastered on my records would taint that chance however The Birth Center of NJ had accepted me to deliver pending no medication was needed for the GD.
So I made the decision to switch providers at 30 weeks, and choose to deliver over one hour away from our home. All so that I could have the birth I dreamed of being this is the last time I plan to do so. I had to be an advocate for myself the entire pregnancy and not just take the words of doctors but listened to my body and intuition. And feel worthy enough to know I deserved it.
I was so excited that I began to sculpt the vision of my birth now that I found a supportive provider and center. A couple things to know about choosing this option:
- The Birth Center is a freestanding facility
- There are multiple pain management and labor options however an epidural is not offered.
- After delivery, you are discharged within hours.
- It looks like a home, with all patient- focused staff.
- You can have a water birth if you choose.
My vision was: Dylan would be there, I hired a photographer to capture the magic, my family could be there to share the experience in the comfort of a waiting room that did not look like a hospital, I hired postpartum doulas to help with the after care.
And then came the Coronavirus. At 36 weeks everything literally flipped upside down. New challenges that had never been navigated entered our world. My birth plan was no longer plausible. I had to come to peace with the changes that had to be made – although I grieved certain aspects, it was still in tact that I could deliver at the center with my support team and have the lotus birth.
I was counting down to 37 weeks, since Dylan came at 37 and 3, I was confident that Owyn would follow the early suite. So much that I told people my due date was 4/4/20, trying to manifest it however I was very attached to that date. Two other decisions I had made but detached from were that he would be born before the end of the ‘next moon cycle: and the last two ‘weeks’ (of gestation) didn’t exist (39 and 40).
Well …. Universe brought him to me at 38 and 6, on the full moon.
So let’s chat about labor and delivery. Here’s the good part.
I woke up at 2am in April 4th with regular contractions. About 30 seconds long – early labor had started. These lasted about 12 hours which at that point we decided to head up to Union and get a hotel to labor down in before heading to the Birth Center. But would have an easier drive and peace of mind being closer.
Well they tapered off and we decided to head home- Sunday night into Monday they were sporadic, I was able to rest after going through two nights of them regularly so that I couldn’t sleep.
Tuesday they started again. I began painting in my Zen Den to distract me…until they got consistent and longer. I was really hoping this was not another false alarm.
They continued all day and around 5 I called my doctor and was advised to take a long shower to see where it goes. The contractions were 1 minute long 6:30 min apart. After the shower, they spread to 7:30 apart so it was an hour by hour thing. During the shower I asked for a sign that he would be here soon.
I was able to rest and woke up right in the middle of a crystal bowl meditation Facebook live honoring the super moon.
I got my bloody show right afterwards … Although my contraction were not about ten minutes apart. I rested some more until about 2 am, watched Gabriel Iglesias and started timing again- while a pretty wild thunderstorm was going on outside.
Around 4am I was 5 minutes apart and called Shea- worried Dr. P would make me shower again she suggested that I do then call. Something within resisted this advice and cried because of the pain and endurance… I called Dr. P and she said to head up to the Birth Center.
We got ready and left. I labored in the back seat, breathing and working through each contraction that felt like they were getting closer. John drove an hour in downpour and we arrived just after 6am.
I was greeted my the midwife on call, she checked me and I was hoping for a number that would keep me there, well I sure got it. I was 9cm!
Shea arrived- she helped me with counterpressure as the surges struck. The tub was being prepped, I was using the toilet and bed. They broke my water and I was still at 9, so they asked if I wanted to get in the tub. I said yes.
I was in the tub, surges hit and I felt my body pushing, so I let out some screams. After about three contractions, my instincts flipped me onto all fours and the baby crowned. It took a few seconds for everyone to realize baby was out and they advised me to stand up so the midwife could catch him. He came out quickly and immediately was put in my arms.
The staff helped me to the bed and it was there I delivered the placenta and spent two hours with my new miracle until anyone wanted to take him away for exams. He arrived at 6:58am. He was weighed at 8:45am at 9lbs 1oz. We were well cared for surrounded by support. I showered and we were heading home by 12:45pm. It was an incredible experience that emphasized the true strength and power that each mom possesses within and if is encouraged and empowered can do anything!
I was able to advocate for what I wanted and did not stop until I found that support. I listened to doctors but questioned them when my intuition told me to. I am in the upper 200lbs, delivered a 9lb baby unmedicated with vast support from my village. I labored til 9cm before being at the delivery facility thinking I was only halfway through. Birth can be empowering, gentle and positive. You have the choice.
I cannot thank my village enough. My husband, my birth doula, my family, the maternal community that cheered me on throughout. You gave me faith and hope when I doubted myself. You gave me strength to keep going. Thank you thank you thank you!