We are excited to share an incredible birth story today, where this mother so vividly describes the ups and downs of labor, and specifically the mental challenges. The word “surrender” is the theme of her story. This baby was also the first boy to be born at Nashville’s Baby and Co Birth Center! We hope it inspires you!
The Birth of Bowie Fredrick
By Megan Johnson
For the first few months of my pregnancy I went to see a very popular obstetrician, but I was less than thrilled with the experience. It seemed so impersonal – I felt like I was a cattle in the herd.
I hadn’t thought about going to a birth center before, partly because there weren’t any in Nashville and also because I wasn’t sure if I could handle a natural birth. But I’m a regular meditator, and after I was introduced to Hypnobabies I began to think that I might be able to do it. When I found out Baby+Company was opening a new birth center, I called Margaret and asked if they could fit me in. I did some of my prenatal appointments with the midwives at Vanderbilt, and then when the center was finished we moved over there.
My first contractions started Friday late afternoon when I was at Opry Mills mall with my parents. We went home and when I was still feeling contractions that evening, I figured it was going to happen soon. I called my doula, Merrill Durham of Nashville Doula Services, and told her what was going on. Then by 10:30 PM we called the midwife (Taneesha) and she said to come in to the birthing center. I was only 3 cm dilated, but she let me stay there for an hour or so to see if things would progress before sending me home to labor more at home. I was very thankful about that because the idea of getting in the car and driving back home and coming back again while having painful contractions was the last thing I wanted to do! I had progressed enough over the next couple hours so we stayed. It was my ideal birthing experience getting to birth at the brand-new birthing center, Baby & Co! (Bowie was the first boy to be born in the new birth center).
I labored all night and took advantage of the shower and tub, although for the majority of labor I was most comfortable using my hypnobabies hypnosis techniques while in bed. Taneesha was very familiar with it and she knew that I’d be more comfortable staying in bed rather than moving around. It’s funny how time both seems to drag and fly at the same time well you’re in labor.
It seemed like a while before I could go into the tub, but when I did it was very relaxing (as relaxing as it can be having increasing intense contractions) and I transitioned quickly. Hypnosis was great for the first half, but in the second phase I was ready to leave the birth center, head to the hospital, and get an epidural. My doula was so wonderful here. She kept me really steady and encouraged me to work through it. Having my doula there to get me through the pain was a life saver when I said many times that I couldn’t take it and I wanted the pain to stop in the transition period. Both my husband and I said we don’t know how we could have gotten through it without her help. I highly recommend a doula (especially Merrill if you’re in Nashville) to anyone.
When the hypnosis tool I was using wasn’t working anymore, I kinda freaked out thinking I didn’t think I could handle the pain. I said I wanted an epidural but that wasn’t an option. I knew I might get to a point where I would want it and if I were delivering in a hospital, I probably would have gotten it, but I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to give birth so that’s why I chose the birthing center. That decision to switch from an OB to this natural route was guided by spirit – both my spirit guides and Bowie’s spirit. I was told I would have an amazing, life changing spiritual transition if I gave birth naturally. Since my main spiritual lesson the past couple years has been trust and surrender, I saw this as an opportunity to put my trust to the ultimate test. I never would have thought I could do a natural birth. In fact, I had always said when I have a baby, I’m definitely getting an epidural, since I’m such a baby when it comes to pain. Even though I was scared, I trusted my divine/spiritual guidance and decided to go with the birthing center.
Well, when my labor got to the point where my hypnosis tools stopped working, I had no choice but to turn to spirit to surrender and trust that the universe and all my (and Bowie’s) guides and angels would get me through it. I actually didn’t think of turning to spirit in the middle of the increasing pain of the transition period and my mind freaking out. It was Dave who got the message to tell me to do this. When I did, sure enough, a major shift happened. I was told I went from ~6 cm dilated to 10 and fully effaced and feeling the urge to push in about an hour! I was also told that I said a mantra/prayer that I don’t remember saying and still now, I don’t know what it means. What I do remember is a shift in my mind. From that moment on, for the rest of the labor and delivery, my mind was elsewhere. I felt kind of like I left my body, but just with my mind. I was fully aware of what was going on and still felt like I was physically in my body but my mind didn’t freak out because something, like a peace took over and I felt like I didn’t need to think about what my body was doing, I really, truly surrendered.
I had never surrendered my mind and body before. I had successfully surrendered fear over the past year, but never my whole mind and body. It was indeed the ultimate lesson and experience of surrender and trust. I think, now, whenever I feel fear, I will have to remember whenever I surrender to spirit, it never fails to support and get me through anything, if it got me through what most people regard as the most difficult and painful life experience – childbirth.
I was told to get out of the tub after my water broke (this was before the birth center changed their policy, they now allow delivery in the tub). I went back into the bed to push and deliver. I was told that I only was pushing for one hour. I don’t remember much of what was going on around me at that point because the pain was so intense! The final minutes of pushing and delivery was one of the most excruciatingly painful things I have ever experienced. Thank God the excruciating part only lasted a minute. Dave was behind me during the whole pushing time being an amazing coach and getting me through it. When they put Bowie on my chest I was just in awe that he came out of me. They had emergency staff there ready because he had pooped in his sack during labor and they weren’t sure if he aspirated any of it. There was, I was told, at least 10 people in the room at delivery. When he immediately started crying, I was told everyone breathed a sigh of relief and everyone but my birthing center team- midwives and a nurse – and my Doula left the room. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsating Dave got to cut it. It was so nice laying in that big bed with Dave enjoying our new baby for about an hour. I told Dave and kept thinking holy crap, we are parents now. This is our son! He was just perfect!