Decision was made.  My mind was fixed. I wanted this to be different.  I spent 9 months erasing everything I had heard or seen about birth in the movies and tried desperately to replace it with my own hopes of what it could be.   39 weeks.  So happy!  Waiting for the doctor to check me.  “No dilation.  We can do something or not do something” he said.

“Not do something” I said.  I was going to let you come on your own, little girl.  I knew you knew what to do.  I knew you would be here when you were ready and I knew you would come to me healthy and strong.  I had so much faith in you and in God, and I was as prepared as I knew how to be.  While I was willing to wait for you, I secretly hoped you would come soon!  You did….

Sunday April 21,2013, two days before your due date I woke up at 3:00 am.  Thinking my water was leaking and not really realizing what was happening, I cleaned up and went back to sleep!  That same leaking woke me up around 7:00 am.  I ran upstairs much more excitedly this time!  I lost my mucous plug and called the hospital to see if they needed to check to make sure my water wasn’t broken.  Things were changing!  I knew you were coming! They said to come in by noon to be safe.  Instantly you let me know this was it.  Every two minutes I was closer to you than before.  I showered, got ready and had a relaxed morning.  Everything was ready.  We were ready.  At noon I was dilated to a 1.5 and my water had not broken yet.  They said I could go and labor at home.  “Come back when you can’t walk or talk” they said.  I was surprised that they meant that!

It was Grandma Falter’s Birthday and we spent it with family, eating and playing.  Still contractions.  Still consistent.  Growing stronger.  Every two minutes we hugged each other tightly.  I slipped away and found my quiet space.  Your daddy came to comfort me.  He rubbed my back and brought me water and laid with me.  The day turned to evening and the evening into night.  You were closer.  So much closer.  At 10:00 p.m. we played more games, this time only to distract my mind.  Two rounds of Dominos was all we had in us.  My eyes would close and breathing became something I had to focus on very intently to do.  I was shaking.  Daddy blessed me.  He blessed me with strength and peace.  He blessed that I would be calm and be an example to those around me of strength. It was time to go.  You asked me to hurry.  I hoped I didn’t wait too long.  I hoped I waited long enough.

Midnight.  Hospital doors.  Hallways.  Stopping.  Standing still.  Breathing.  Smiling.  I believe there was even a bit of laughing.  So excited to meet you!  Hospital gown. “You’re at a 3” she said.  Disheartened. “Your Doctor said you can stay”…  Somewhat more hopeful…  I understood now why they asked me to wait so long.  I couldn’t believe my body was doing so much with so little ‘progress’ in the way they measured it.  I believed they didn’t know just how much in labor I was!  Mostly because I was still calm and happy.

They drew my bath and I got comfortable.  I was allowed to stay in their the entire labor if I wanted, as long as my water didn’t break.  POP!  Ten minutes later I felt what my water breaking actually felt like for the first time.  We were on our way!  I soaked up every second of that warm water until they made me get out.  “Your contractions are going to be different now.  Much stronger.”  She said.  My nurse was literally an angel sent to me strait from the good Lord above!  She stayed at my side the entire night.  So soft spoken.  So encouraging.  So empathetic and understanding.  She was right.  The contractions were much more intense now.

They had me lay in bed to monitor us awhile and I was doing okay.  I was breathing and relaxing.  Everything I had practiced the last nine months was helping.  They brought me a birthing ball.  The room was quiet, peaceful, warm and the lights were dim.  I sat and leaned my upper body on the bed.  I liked this position much better. This is when things became very intense for me.  Contractions were powerful.  They grew stronger very fast.  Things are still a blur as to what happened from here on out.  I have no idea what time it was.  Time was not the same in that room.   Your daddy and the nurse were taking turns squeezing my hips together with each contraction.  It relieved so much pressure.  I don’t know what I would have done without it.  Their arms would shake and daddy said he was a bit sore from that afterward!  Something very different was happening.  With each contraction all I could do to feel better was push.  Amniotic fluid gushing each time I did, and it felt amazing.  Each contraction grew stronger and I pushed harder each time.  My body began to shake and I knew I was reaching that point of no return.  I thought I was so far beyond the option for an epidural.  I thought you were so close, little girl.  I could feel it was almost time and I was reaching what I believed was the height of my pain.  My body still shaking.  I could hardly breathe or think or move voluntarily anymore.  My body had completely taken over.  My body was moaning quietly and pressing it’s face into the bed.  Between every contraction whispering a “Thank you” to the man beside me who was becoming your father.  His arms were shaking.

The nurse wanted to check me again and it took so long for me to concentrate and move my limbs long enough to climb back on the table.  I relaxed for a moment between contractions.  That time between them was heaven sent.  I felt like myself.  So happy and positive.  “A six” she said.  A SIX!?  I thought I heard wrong.  Taking a deep breath I tried to gather my thoughts.  Never in my life have I felt so unsure of myself as I had in that moment.  I desperately tried to get it out of my mind that I was almost done.  I made it through one more contraction.  This one more painful than ever.  When I could breathe again I asked “How much longer do you think it might be for me?”  She hesitantly replied “Maybe about two hours”.  That reply was almost as painful as a contraction!   If I could take back any decision in your delivery, little girl, it would be asking her that question.  I knew better.  I was so completely struck with fear I didn’t even have time to think.   “I can’t do it.  I need help.”  I almost began to cry and the thought came into my mind  ‘Wait, wait, you are a SIX.  Its not too late for an epidural!’  ” I NEED AN EPIDURAL.  I don’t care about that anymore.” I declared that sentence so boldly!  She asked if I was sure and I WAS.  Loud and proud.  I apologized to your dad and asked if he was disappointed.  He said to do whatever I wanted and I was SURE that was what I wanted.  I read every word of their two page disclaimer of what could possibly go wrong with an epidural and I signed that thing like they were my #1 fan asking for my autograph!  I’m not kidding, the man with the magic needle couldn’t come fast enough.  (It still amazes me how powerful that feeling was to get me think entirely differently than I had for a solid 9 months.)

I was not prepared for what happened next.  One more contraction.  Long, hard, and so intense it lifted my entire body off the birthing ball and pushed the most intense sounds out of me.  When I could breathe again I said “She’s coming.”  My nurse said “Those are birthing sounds.  I need to check you again.”  Looking back now, I can see that my body knew.  My body knew you were about to be in my arms little angel.  You told me you were close.  Ten minutes was all it took from that moment she said ‘six’  to the moment she said  “She is at a nine and a half.  Call the doctor.”  I had been in transition and I WAS at the height of my pain and it was totally bearable for the amount of time my body needed to make the change.  No woman should ever have to experience two hours of that and I wasn’t going to!  They asked if I still wanted the epidural (The anesthesiologist had just arrived) and so happily I said “NO, I’m good!!” The most glorious sense of excitement rushed throughout my body.

“We can’t get a hold of your doctor”  they said.  “We’ll call another.”  I didn’t care.  You were coming.  There wasn’t much time between contractions and I was doing my best to trust my body and let you down slowly.  I could feel your head with each contraction stretching me.  You were almost here.  The nurses stood and waited.  They looked nervous to not have a doctor there.  I wasn’t.  I held on to daddy and my body did everything.  So. Much. Pressure.  So much tension.  Stretching beyond what I knew my body could take.  You were crowning as the doctors arrived and I got more situated.  They stood still.  The room changed.

Leavitt looked at me in the eye and said “Heather, your baby’s heart rate is dropping and its not going  back up.  Its time to push hard.  Three good pushes is what we need to get her out.  Give me three good pushes.  Ready, we’ll do this together.” We waited for a contraction.  They counted…  I pushed.  Long and hard.  “She has hair!!”  they said.  I felt your hair and my excitement grew!  The next push I felt a huge pop!  Your head was out!  One more push and your body was out!

You were laid on me and we felt each others loving embrace for the first time.  So much emotion.  I let out the loudest scream/cry/laugh and the emotions kept coming!  I have never smiled so hard through my tears.  I have never laughed so hard through a full-on sob before.  You cried and I cried.  And God himself stood in that room as a witness.

They cleaned you.  Daddy took you in his arms for the first time and you instantly stopped crying.  Besides my somewhat quieter sobbing, there was silence.  You stared in his eyes and I knew you had been waiting to meet him as much as you had been waiting to meet me.  Watching you two stare at each other was so special.  My heart was so incredibly full.  It had never felt love so strong.  Feeling a mothers love for the first time.  Feeling love for your dad, for you, for my body.  Feeling love from God for what we had all just experienced in its entirety.

We spent the next few hours just us three.  Our family becoming a family.  Filling my heart up beyond its capacity to contain.  So incredible.  So in love.  So overwhelmed with emotion and so glad the hard part was over!!!

Welcome to earth my darling child.


Avenlei Zo

8 lbs 2 oz & 21 inches long

Born at 4:48am on April 22, 2013.

After everything is said and done, I want to add how incredibly grateful I was to have had her the way that I did.  I felt on top of the world for SO long after giving birth to her.  I felt healthy and strong.  I was walking around right after and was in the bath relaxing.  Aven and I had no side effects whatsoever from anything.  No headaches.  No numbness and tingling.   Both of us so alert and happy.   Even with a fourth degree tear I healed up like a champ.  Seriously, I couldn’t believe how quick my recovery was.  My nurse would come in every few hours and ask a list of questions of symptoms.  Each one was a ‘no’.  I asked her what would cause those things and she said “Your epidural”  I said, “Well I didn’t have one, so you can stop waking me up now!”  I felt so good.  Everyone’s experience is so different.  Some women feel a lot of pain and some don’t.  Some women love their epidurals and have gorgeous healthy babies and have incredible stress free birth experiences.  I didn’t judge them before, and I don’t judge them now.  Every birth is miraculous.   And every woman becoming a mom deserves superhero recognition!  I also commend the women who are much more brave than me and have their babies at home or in birthing centers.  I believe we each have the right to follow our hearts and to make that call for ourselves.  I also understand that while we all think we are going to have this set plan of what our babies birth will be like, some things change.  Emergencies happen and that can be very devastating.  I’m realistic enough to know that we aren’t always in control of what happens.  I’m not here to convince anyone to do anything different than what they want.  I’m only here to spread my love and support.  This is what it was like for me.   And anyone who wants to go without the drugs YOU CAN!  And it can be absolutely amazing.


4 responses »

  1. Beautiful story Heather! I love child birth SOOO much! Nothing compares to it. I’ve had my babies both ways and natural definitely brings with it a lot of intensity. But no matter the way…seeing our babies for the first time just outdoes anything in my mind!!
    Your little Aven is a beauty…just like her mom! 😊 good job momma! Something to be so proud of!!

    • Thank you SOOOO much Krista!! You are such a good mom and inspiration to me. And I agree, no matter how any mom has her babies it is a miraculous experience and something to celebrate. Nothing compares. I can’t wait till it’s your cute little Savannah’s turn! 🙂 🙂

  2. I’m a first time mom-to-be… due on April 14, 2014 and I absolutely LOVED reading your story! I’m hoping to go natural and your experience has given me strength so thank you!

    • Thanks Maria!! I’m excited for you, and wish you the best experience 🙂 I am glad that you have found some strength here, and hope you have lots of love and support! I’d love to hear your story if you want to share it when your little one arrives!

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