Gavin's Birth Story
Click here to watch the amazing video - with your kleenex!
The Birth Story of Gavin Mathew
I knew before I was even pregnant with Gavin that I wanted the next birth to be different then Jacob’s birth. I do not regret nor would I change my birth with Jacob because I learned so much that I wouldn't have chosen to do it this way without that experience. Jacob was born in a hospital at 40w4d after I was induced. His labor was long, drugged and stressful on myself and on him. His heart rate was up and down and he aspirated meconium. I ended up with a level 2 tear on my perineum and he spent 4 hours in the NICU being monitored just to make sure he was doing well, which he was. Luckily they never had to insert any tubes or IV's into him, I was able to nurse before any other form of nutrients was given to him and he is a perfect, wild and rambunctious 2 and a half year old today! This next birth however, I knew I wanted to give myself and my baby a more relaxing, drug free, stress free birth that would allow us, as an entire family, to bond from the moment he or she arrived.
Some Decision Making
When Matt and I found out I was pregnant, I got on the computer and began to research midwifery services immediately. Quickly, I found Gentle Beginnings and began to read the bio's for each of the midwives that practiced out of that birth center. Once I read Jenee Ohrvall's profile, something just told me she was it. Her philosophy of the birthing process and her true belief that God made a woman's body to give birth is what I wanted to believe and I knew I could believe it and do it with her. I wanted the option of a water birth and the option to be able to birth they way my own body was meant to birth. We knew we wanted to deliver at the birth center and at our first "meet and greet" appointment, our decision was made and we were on our way!
Matt and I later decided that we would want a doula to be there and help us through the labor and delivery process. Since this was so new to us, we ultimately wanted a coach to teach us and guide us through the process. Then, on "game day" our coach would be there to encourage, support and lead us to our baby boy. I had done some research and decided on Hypnobirthing for our method of preparing for a natural, drug free delivery. We found what we needed and wanted in Melissa Prouty. She came to our home for private Hypnobirthing sessions and couple prenatal yoga classes for myself. She was the first to know I was in labor and was there along with Jenee to help me out of the car when we arrived at the birth center. Her voice, encouraging words, gentle touch, and support and advice to Matt was everything we could have asked for and more. She never left my side the entire labor and delivery and was one of the last people to leave the Birth Center on Gavin's birthday.
On Monday, October 7th, Jacob and I drove the Dallas to pick up Grandma Carol from the airport. We had all hoped there would be a baby here by October 7th since my due date was September 30th but at this point I was 41 weeks and still pregnant. The big joke between all of us was that Gavin was waiting until the 8th or 9th to come so that Grandma could be here. On the way home from the airport we had planned on shopping on Tuesday and going to the zoo on Wednesday because we all were expecting a baby over the weekend. Little did we know!
I went to bed that night with an unusual amount of back pain and even messaged Cindy, my chiropractor, and got her to squeeze me in for an adjustment first thing in the morning to help relieve the pain. At 1pm, I woke up with my first surge. After having 2 more surges I was able to go back to sleep and awoke again around 2:15am with another one. Again, I was able to fall asleep but by 3:00am, I was up for good. After tracking them for an hour, I woke up Matt to tell him I was going to take a hot shower and by 5:00am I was sitting in a warm bath. I let Melissa know I was having surges and that they were about 8-10 minutes apart. I was able to sit in the bath for about an hour and half and I contacted Jenee around 6:45am with the surges still coming every 8-10 minutes. Shortly after getting off the phone with Jenee my surges quickly escalated to every 4-5 minutes and were lasting about 60 seconds. We decided to go ahead and meet at the birth center around 8:30am.
When we arrived at the birth center, everyone was all smiles and it was a very joyous moment to know that the next time I got into the car, it was going to be with baby Gavin. Time stopped once I walked into the Birth Center and even now, I am asking Matt to recall what time certain things happened. When Jenee checked me after getting there, I was disappointed to find I was only 3cm. My surges were happening so frequently she called it dysfunctional labor. I know that ideally at 3cm I should have been laboring at home but I was so grateful I was at the birth center. I felt more relaxed, less stressed and more comfortable knowing that I was there and everyone was around me. I could give in and surrender to my labor knowing that Gavin could come at any time and the drive from home was over. There is no doubt that we will be planning a home birth for our third child (if and when we decide to have another).
Breathing through each surge and taking them one at a time with Matt and Melissa by my side was a lot more peaceful and even easier then I was expecting. I surprised myself by how I was able to handle each surge quietly and how quickly they seemed to pass as I confidently breathed through each one knowing that each surge got me closer and closer to holding Gavin. I also was very surprised by how much I needed and wanted Matt and Melissa's hands on me. I am normally a very "hands off" person when I am in discomfort (sick, injured, hurt, etc.) From the minute I arrived at the birth center to the moment Gavin arrived, I was never alone. Matt and Melissa always had hands on me either messaging me, applying pressure to ease the surges or just laying a hand on me to let me know they were there. If Matt left for a bathroom break, Melissa was there. If Melissa had to step away, Matt was there. If they were both in the room, they tag teamed together. Their hands are what got me through
Laying on my left side was the most comfortable for me and kept pressure off my back which was where a lot of my pressure was. Cindy arrived around 10:30am (we think) and after her adjustment, I felt a lot less pressure in my back and I was able to concentrate even more on breathing through each surge. I remember being checked for a second time and being between 5-6cm and thinking "I can do this!" and "It's working".
A few trips to the bathroom helped get me to my feet and let gravity do some of the work and we think that I got into the tub between 11:30 - 12pm. I remember sinking into the tub and immediately feeling relief from the warm water and was thankful for how much more weightless I felt. The surges were coming stronger and more often but I was able to work through each one just the same because of the water. Jenee asked me to reach down and check to see if I could feel his head and figure out how far down he was. The minute I felt his head I smiled and felt encouraged that he was coming! It was amazing to be able to feel his head and that he was moving closer to us.
Right before my body decided it was time to breath Gavin out, I stood up and was going to attempt to use the bathroom. The minute I stood up, I knew it wasn't going to happen. I don't know if it was the weight of Gavin sinking further down into my pelvis or what but I knew that he was coming and that I needed to squat back down. It wasn't long after, that at an end of a surge, my body just naturally did a J-Breath and I pushed. I can't explain this sensation because even now I am in awe of how my body just did what it was suppose to do. I completely surrendered to the process and let my body guide ME instead of me trying to guide my body. If someone would have told me to stop my J-breaths and resist the urge to push at a surge I'm pretty positive I wouldn't have been able to do it. The tremendous amount of pressure I felt was too much for me to stop. That's how I would explain it, a tremendous amount of pressure. I wouldn't use the word "pain" because I don't remember it being painful. Just a lot of pressure. Thinking about the end result and that with each surge and strong J-Breath he was closer to coming made me stronger. It wasn't long before relief from the pressure came after a long surge and I knew his head was out. Shortly after was another feeling of sweet relief from the pressure and I knew he was here! His head was born in the caul, meaning my water never broke so his head came out with the amniotic sac intact. The sac broke shortly after his head emerged.
Words cannot explain the feeling of looking down and lifting Gavin into my arms. Crying was inevitable but I was so exhausted I almost couldn't let out a full cry. I remember thinking, and I guess also saying out loud "I did it". Every sensation I felt during the entire process vanished immediately and I would do it ten times over just to have that overwhelming feeling of love, thankfulness, and an overfull heart and for that chance to hold Gavin for the first time.
The next few hours were filled with loving on Gavin and watching Jacob be Jacob throughout the birth center (it was a great thing we were the only family there). One thing I treasure the most with this experience is getting to nurse Gavin right away. After getting out of the tub we were able to climb into bed together and I was able to nurse Gavin. The bonding that this 30-40 minutes gave to us was priceless. With Jacob, he was taken to the NICU and it was 3-4 hours before getting to nurse. The herbal bath was amazing and was spent looking at every little wrinkle Gavin had and just staring in awe of God's blessing to our family. We were home and in our own bed by 6:30pm that same night and it has been pure bliss every since.
We got to share our beautiful and blessed day with a birth team full of amazing women that we wouldn't be able to ever thank enough. Our birth team consisted of Jenee Ohrvall with Sacred Path Midwifery, the Gentle Beginnings team, our doula, Melissa Prouty, and our birth photographer, Monica Burkett with a Sacred Project.