The "one support person" policy.
Two weeks before my due date I was told I'd only be allowed one support person during my hospital delivery. Birthing in the hospital was already a compromise to my birth plan, but I wanted that "in-network cost" so I found peace in my choice.
Until the "one support person" policy.
To deliver unmedicated, I needed my husband, doula, and mother-in-law by my side. I couldn't compromise my birthing team on top of sacrificing a water birth, eating during labor, and intermittent monitoring.
As the day went on, more hospitals joined the "one support person" policy. Rumors about ZERO support people being allowed in the delivery room started circulating. That's when I called it. It was time to change providers and birthing locations.
Finding a new provider two weeks before my due date.
I investigated birthing centers before choosing to deliver in the hospital so I was familiar with my local options. I immediately called Wasatch Midwifery to see if they were available for my March 26th due date.
THEM: "We're super booked but we can get you in for an initial prenatal appointment next Tuesday the 17th at 10am."
ME: "Ok, cool."
I released a huge sigh of relief. My body apparently did too.
Lil Dickey and contractions.
TUESDAY, MARCH 17 - The day of my first appointment with my new provider
1 AM - Contractions woke me up, but I was able to get back to sleep figuring they would go away by the time I needed to wake up for my prenatal appointment.
4 AM - Contractions woke me up again. I could no longer sleep through them so I sat on the couch and binged "Dave" (the new Hulu show created by Lil Dickey 😹). I didn't want to get too excited yet, so I didn't wake up my husband about my contractions.
8 AM - I got ready for the day like normal to see if the contractions would calm down. I even joined my work's stand up meeting via Zoom and made breakfast for our four year old.
9 AM - I told my husband that I needed him to drive me to my prenatal appointment because my contractions were too distracting.
10 AM - After the 45 minute commute, we arrived at the birthing center. I told my new midwife that I've been having contractions for the last 9 hours. "Is there any bloody show," she asked. "Umm yes," I responded as I was still trying not to get too excited. I asked her to do a cervical check.
HER: "You're definitely having this baby within the next 48 hours. You're at 4cm and these contractions aren't going to go away."
1 PM: My husband and I arrive back at home to labor for a few hours.
3 PM: 👇🏼See my husband's text convo with our doula 😹
4 PM: Our doula arrives at our house with a birthing ball to help me through contractions.
5 PM: We make the journey back to the birthing center for active labor.
After another 45 minutes of laboring in the car, we returned to the birth center. I stripped down and got into the shower. I spent a lot of time in the shower. Nothing is as vulnerable as being tit ass naked in front of 3 nurses you just met, your mother-in-law, and your husband. This was my sacred birthing space and everyone did an amazing job of allowing me to be myself. At this stage in labor, there was no room for embarrassment anyways. At this point, it had been 8 hours since I switched to Wasatch Midwifery as my new provider.
The back labor became overwhelming while I was in the shower. I was at 6cm and the baby needed to turn posterior. With the help of my birthing team and nurses, we moved to the bed and went through a few contractions in child's pose to open up my pelvis.
Good hell, you could tell when that baby got into the right position. "Let it be big" was my go to affirmation for every surge now. Things started to move quickly and everyone in the room could tell that I was reaching 10cm except me. I was in denial that I was close to having this baby even with the contractions getting stronger and closer together. Affirmations, breathing, and mindfulness carried me to transition, but as soon as I entered this phase... my body went into survival mode. I let go of any control I had over my body and allowed it to do its thing which meant quite a bit of moaning and yelling. I always thought I'd have a "gentle" "quiet" birth... 😹
As soon as I hit transition, we moved to the tub where I thought I'd be delivering this baby.
did not come naturally to me. Finally, 10cm! I played around with pushing over the next few contractions to see what it felt like, but it didn't make sense to me. I read stories about how normal, relieving, and innate the beardown reflex is. I was waiting for that natural impulse, but it didn't come without coaching. I began to overheat in the birthing tub... the place I thought I was going to gently deliver. But, I had prepared for things to not go according to plan. So out of the tub and onto the birthing stool I went.
While moving from the tub to the stool, I kept saying "this feels so weird, this is so crazy". I could feel a foreign object moving between my pelvic bones as I walked across the room at 10cm. That was actually a very cool feeling.
Because of how big the back labor surges were, sitting down was unbearable. My nurses moved me to the bed for a micro rest between contractions before the hardcore pushing began.
I was pushing for about an hour.. I think. I had no sense of time in labor land. My strongest memory during this phase was hearing my husband coaching me through each push. I could hear my nurses and midwife telling me how close this baby was to being born and telling me to "push, push, push" but I was still in denial. When I heard my husband coaching me on, that's when I started to believe this was really happening!
During these last few surges, there were at least three sets of hands on me carrying me through each contraction. Two nurses were helping me hold my legs up because I was so exhausted. My doula was holding my right arm and my husband had my left hand.
I felt a "pop" and my bag of waters burst. This baby was almost born in her sack! I then felt another "pop" and there she was. Her head was out. The very next contraction and set of pushes, she was on my belly. Born at 11:42pm, twelve hours after my initial prenatal appointment with my new provider. You could say we broke the ice pretty quickly.
(If you're a Utah native, she was born a few hours before the 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit in Holladay, Utah. This was a crazy time to be having a baby.)
I snapped out of labor land when I saw her. The last 22 hours of contractions vanished, there wasn't any more pain, and my mind was clear. I couldn't believe I had done it. I couldn't believe she was here. The first thing I said when I got my hands on her was, "SHE'S SO SQUISHY".
Not even 10 minutes later, I delivered the placenta and needed a shot of pitocin to control the bleeding. We delayed cord clamping until it was completely white, then spent the next hour skin to skin, nursing, and marveling at how beautiful she was. She had a perfect latch. 🙏🏼 (.)v(.)
Three hours after the delivery, we went home to cozy up with Penelope Bleau Knowles in our own bed.
I'm so grateful that Salt City Birth and Newborn captured this experience. It was the hardest most transcendent and gratifying thing I've ever been through. The support that I received from my birthing team, my angelic nurses, doula, and midwife brings tears to my eyes every time I think of them. Every birthing person deserves this kind of support no matter what shape their pregnancy takes and no matter where or how they deliver.
If you're feeling uneasy about the current state of your birthing situation because of COVID-19 regulations, I encourage you to look into what other options are available to you. Even if you stick to your original birth plan, you'll have done the diligent work to know you're choosing what YOU want. You deserve to have that peace of mind when it comes to your birthing experience.
Thanks for reading 💜
I definitely shit myself while pushing
I had a 2nd degree perineal tear, but the stitches helped heal up the tear after a few days postpartum
My entire labor was 22 hours long
I was originally going to deliver at Orem Community Hospital but switched providers to Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness basically the same day that I went into labor
Jimmy Johns has never tasted so good as when I was in transition
I studied hypnobirthing and mindfulness to prepare for my unmedicated birth, but I completely forgot to listen to my hypnobirthing tracks once the contractions got intense
I hung up affirmations around the birthing center, but only looked at them once the entire time
I only had 3 cervical checks while in labor (at 4cm, 6cm and 10cm)
I chose to have a pit put in for antibiotics because of a previous positive group b strep test
We experienced a 5.7 magnitude earthquake 5 hours after my delivery
Adrienne Brown and her team are 10/10 🤩
Katie Forster is a 10/10 doula
After fearing that I wouldn't be allowed to have my doula or mother-in-law at my birth, they were both in attendance
We were able to go home three hours after my delivery