Hilary. second time mom.
One Snowy Night: Raegan’s Birth Story
Hilary and her husband, Andrew, live in Nashville with their four-year-old son, Brandon. Hilary had given birth to Brandon with midwives in a hospital setting, and while she loved the care she received, she wasn’t thrilled with the hospital experience. As someone who has medical anxiety, she wanted a more personal touch, and to be able to move around, stand, and use a tub if she wanted. When she discovered she was pregnant with her second child, she chose Baby+Company in Nashville for her prenatal care, labor, and delivery.
“When I was 37 weeks pregnant, I caught some kind of stomach bug or food poisoning and started having contractions. After that, I was in prodromal labor for the rest of my pregnancy, so when actual labor began about three days before my due date, I wasn’t sure if it was the real deal. I was getting ready for bed, but couldn’t sleep because of the contractions. I took a warm bath to relax while I timed them. When I saw that they were already five minutes apart and a minute long, I woke my husband up and told him to get ready.
We called Lauren at the birth center and told her that I could still move around and breathe through the contractions. It was snowy out and the roads were getting slick, so she suggested we come in even though it was a bit early.
When we arrived, Lauren met us at the door. I labored for about forty-five minutes, and Lauren checked how I was progressing. When she did, she looked at me and said, “My finger is in your child’s mouth!” Raegan bit her! Unfortunately, this whacky positioning meant that her neck was at an odd angle to my pelvic bone and we might have to be transferred to the hospital for a C-section. Lauren told me to try to go to the bathroom while she made some phone calls to get a possible transfer ready. When she came back and checked me again, the baby had moved into the proper position and I was five and a half centimeters dilated. I was relieved that we’d be able to give birth at the center!
The second phase of labor took much longer. Even though we came in before midnight, Raegan wasn’t born until nine or ten the next morning. I moved around a lot – from the tub to the bed, on my hands and knees on the floor, and standing up in the shower. My husband was able to take a really active role, which was so important to me. My advice for expectant moms would be to make sure you know what you want beforehand and prep the people on your team. I wanted my husband to hold my hand and put counter-pressure on my hips during contractions, and he was such an incredible coach. That was a big difference between this birth and my hospital experience.
I had used nitrous oxide for pain during my first birth, so I knew I’d want it this time as well. When I first breathed it in, I felt dizzy and nauseous for a minute, but I just took away the gas and the side effects disappeared. It was especially useful later on in labor. I had a lot of stabbing back pain, and I’d breathe in the nitrous as each contraction started, and then take it off during the breaks. It really helped to take the edge off of my contractions.
The last few hours were a bit crazy for me. My water didn’t break until about a half hour before Raegan was born, and when it happened there was an audible pop and a gush, which was weird. I had a lot of trouble staying calm, and I felt pretty out of control in terms of my pain. But Margaret, who had replaced Lauren midway through, knew exactly when I needed extra guidance. When the baby was crowning, she locked eyes with me and made me breathe with her. She really helped me work through the toughest moments.
Even though Raegan was born in February, I still have a relationship with the midwives at the birth center. Just going back to see the people who helped bring your child into the world is a really cool thing. It brings back the whole experience for me, even if I’m just stopping by to say hi and give them hugs. That connection made a huge difference before, during, and after Raegan’s birth.