Written by the mama.
Photo by Shelby Springer
A story of preserverance, surrender and transformation ✨
Feb 3rd: I had been having contractions nightly leading up this night but they would always taper off and stop completely by the time I went to sleep. That night I noticed my contractions were more consistent than the nights before. I told Daniel if they continued through the night that it was possible we would have our baby the next day!
Sure enough they continued all throughout the night. The contractions were painless and felt like Braxton hicks contractions and I was easily able to sleep through them.
Feb 4th 2AM : I woke up and was excited to realize my contractions had not stopped. I decided to use the bathroom and to my surprise I realized that my water had broken while I was sleeping. This was new and exciting for me because my water had never spontaneously broken with my previous pregnancies. When I got up I noticed the bloody show, Yay! This was it! Today was the day!
I was really excited but I knew I needed to try and get some rest.
My contractions continued and I slept through them until about 5am. I was too excited to sleep any longer.
5:30AM I decided to take a shower and make breakfast. I noticed it was difficult to move around and get things done because I would leak water with every step and every contraction. My contractions were about 5-10 apart but not painful.
After eating breakfast I decided to lay back down and try to get more rest.
9AM I woke back up and noticed that my contractions had slowed down so I decided to try and get things moving again. I labored with my hubby around the house. I used my exercise ball, did some partner supported deep squats, the forward leaning inversion, and lastly the miles circuit to try and get baby into the optimal position for birth.
1pm things had picked back up and I thought it might be a good idea to go get lunch at the mall and try to walk around for a bit.
On our way there contractions started to get more intense I realized I probably wasn’t going to get very far walking around the mall. We ate lunch and the decided to head to the birth center.
2:30pm we arrived at the birth center.
I was checked and was 6cm dilated. Woo hoo I was in active labor!
By this time my contractions were getting really close together but they felt manageable as Daniel and I worked and prayed through each one together.
By around 5pm I decided it was time to get into the bath.
I labored in the bathtub for a while, I was no longer aware of time or my surroundings. I was in the birth twilight zone.
Things were very intense but I was still relaxed and focused on my breathing. I was shaking at this point and assumed that I was in transition.
6pm Here's where things got challenging.
I felt like I was fully dilated but her head was not descending. I tried to feel what was going on up there and noticed a flap of skin. I instinctively had a feeling that I had a cervical lip but I didn't know for sure.
For those of you who don't know a cervical lip basically means your fully dilated but the edge of the cervix is in the way of babys head.
The midwife suggested I get out of the tub and try to change positions to see if that would help. As soon as I took two steps out of the bath the most intense contractions hit me back to back. At this point I felt I had been managing my contractions well but this was a whole other level. I had what felt like 4-5 consecutive contractions on top of eachother with no break. It felt like a 15 min long contraction. I'll be honest it wasn't pretty, I was moaning and crying in pain. I needed to get back into the bathtub.
Once I got back into the tub I began to unravel and lose my confident composure.
I felt like I couldn't take it anymore.
"This was taking too long.
She should have been here by now.
Why is she not descending and why is her head still up so high?"
I wanted to be checked again but I did NOT want to have to get back out of the bath and lay on the bed.
In the water was the only place I found relief in between contractions and I was able to rest.
8pm came around and the midwife's were changing shifts.
I couldn't believe that our baby hadn't been born yet!
I felt completely defeated. I had been laboring for hours basically fully dilated with no progress of baby's descent. I was no longer walking in faith, I was extremely discouraged and exhausted.
I felt stuck, like there was nothing more I could do. I knew it wouldn't be beneficial to be transferred to the hospital because it would take too long and there was no way I was going to make it anywhere if I had to get up and walk. I refused to get out of the water.
The water felt like my only safe place.
When the next midwife came on I told her I was pretty sure I had a cervical lip and asked if she could just check me in the water. Sure enough it was a cervical lip. This was both disappointing and encouraging at the same time because now I had a reason as to why it was taking so long but I also knew the challenge that lied ahead of me. I asked the midwife what I could do? she said I could wait it out and eventually it will go away on its own or she could hold it back during my contractions while I pushed or I could hold it back myself. None of these options sounded appealing but I was so over enduring anymore contractions.
At this point the song ”Protector” by Kim Walker-Smith started to play from my birth play list.
It starts out:
“I come out of agreement with the lie that you have left me on my own, I am not alone”
Tears began to fall as the presence of God came over me and I felt His nearness once again. That was the moment I decided to get back into faith. I began to declare out loud that I come out of agreement with all the discouragement and lies that I was believing. I broke agreement with fear and death I began to literally cry out to the Lord
“Jesus help me,
I cannot do this without you,
I need you,
my weakness is your strength,
I can do nothing of my own strength,
I need you to help me do this”
I knew what I had to do
I decided I was going to push my own cervical lip out of the way and that through His strength I was going to push this baby out.
With my fingers I pulled the lip out of the way and pushed gently with each contraction until I finally felt her head move past the cervical lip and into position. Thank God!
She was so close now I could feel her coming out. I began to push with all my might until she was finally crowning.
This was so intense for me as my last water birth with Violet I experienced the fetal ejection reflex and didn't have to push at all. This was different, it required all my will power, determination and strength. I pushed until I felt the ring of fire and then I pushed even harder knowing I was so close to the finish line. First her head then one last push and her whole body. Instant relief.
I couldn't believe it, we did it, she was finally here!
The birth of Naomi Grace brought me to the end of myself. I experienced a measure of surrender that I had never experienced before. I was tested and challenged in ways that I never knew but by the grace of God I persevered to the end. A version of me died that day as I embraced a more humbled, deeper surrendered version of myself. We go from glory to glory amen.
I am forever grateful and thankful for my support team especially my amazing husband Daniel Benedetto. I could not have done it without you. You were ever present and empathetic through every emotion I walked though. Your tender touch and physical closeness helped carry me though. You stuck right by my side through it all. The tearful look in your eyes any time I made eye contact with you, when it felt too much to bear. You made me feel so seen and I knew that if you could, you would carry the burden for me. My love for you has grown even more through birth and even more as I watch you interact with and love on our beautiful baby.
And Morgan Bill who doubled as my doula and birth photographer. Your partnership in prayer and confidence to come into agreement with everything we were believing and desiring with such assurance and faith was so encouraging to me. How you prayed over me, for me and with me.
How you encouraged me to sing at times and told me when to relax my body. How you verbally affirmed me and told me I could do it when I wanted to give up. How you were a physical shoulder for me to lean and cry on when I experienced the most intense contractions on my way to change positions. How you held my hands as I leaned over the bath tub. I appreciated it all so much and I felt so incredibly loved and supported at my weakest and most vulnerable state.
And I'm grateful for my midwife's who over saw everything and made me feel safe and remained calm and present with me the whole time. Especially my midwife Ashley Jones who encouraged me when pushing and held pressure to prevent me from tearing. You gave me confidence as you verbally affirmed me and to keep going as I was pushing her out. Thank you for helping to bring Naomi to my chest as I looked at her in utter disbelief that I did it and that she was finally here!