Sierra shares: Birth Story of Monte

Montgomery Shane
January 19th, 2013, 9:13am
7lbs 4oz 19 ½”

I believe in love at first site.

My second birth was vastly different from my first, which had involved multiple interventions (epidural, vacuum, episiotomy, manual extraction) and violated my birth plan in so many ways. With my first child I spent the entire pregnancy allowing fear and anxiety to consume me…I was miserable. Determined not to repeat that I spent my second pregnancy focused on the joy of the Lord, His purposeful creation of this child and I visualized what I desired my birth experience to be like and, as a result, had a beautiful prenatal period (don’t get me wrong, I still had morning sickness and all that jazz, but I truly believe our thoughts can affect our bodies). Here is a link to my first birth story.  My thoughts about many of the things that occurred are vastly different now.

Friday, January 18th, I spent all day thinking about having my baby and desiring to go into labor that night. By evening I felt a little off and just picked at my dinner. I continued having Braxton-Hicks contractions that were probably more consistent than I realized, but since I had been having them for months I gave them little thought. We went a little crazy since it was the weekend – staying up for an extra hour (!!), finalizing our day around 11:00pm. As per my third trimester custom, I lay in bed with rapid heartbeat praying over the night and waiting for sleep to wash over me. And then I was wet. Soaked. So classic it was comical.

My second-baby-larger-belly was, at this point, accommodated by only three pairs of lounge pants, so I switched out the wet pair for the last clean pair and phoned my midwife, Stephanie. Since this was my second birth, I was advised to call again as soon as anything more happened to allow time for travel should Sir Monte make a quicker than anticipated arrival, and in the interim try to sleep. Meanwhile, Matthew “double-made” the bed (a throw-away fitted sheet over a waterproof mattress cover over our normal fitted sheet). After a few more phone calls (parents, our Doula, Rose) we lay down and attempted to ignore the adrenaline surge.

Within the half hour contractions were arriving every 5-6 minutes. We relaxed, waiting and monitoring for a while to see if they would fade, but they remained consistent. We called Stephanie again a little after midnight – she and the student midwife, Crystal, would head our way.

Matthew went around the house making last minute preparations while I lay in bed…not sleeping. By the time our midwives arrived I was sitting on the couch eating oatmeal. Stephanie set up supplies in our bedroom as Crystal checked my blood pressure and baby’s heart rate. As we listened to baby I had a contraction that sent another gush of amniotic fluid – rendering my last pair of wearable pants entirely useless. I changed into my ‘birth dress’ (black cotton maternity dress) with swim top underneath.

Our midwives convinced us that the best thing to do now was sleep, so we headed back to lie down. Through mild contractions I think I was able to catch a few hours of sleep. Crystal came in once an hour to listen to Monte – he maintained a steady heart rate throughout. It was comforting and encouraging to hear his little heartbeat as I progressed through labor.

From about 4:00am on I was up and down – eating, drinking, restroom. I started feeling anxious, so it was hard to stay in one place for too long. I showered to relax a bit while Rose inflated the birth pool in preparation for when I was ready to use it. My goal became to wait as long as I could so that it would be an effective “tool” once things were more intense. I also had no desire to sit in cold water turning into a prune due to getting in too soon.

The early hours of the morning were so peaceful. The entire house was dark and quite, but full of joyful anticipation, like Christmas morning. Laying down in my room left me too much with my thoughts, I needed to be elsewhere and sitting up in order to focus less on contractions. Using a multitude of pillows, Matthew packed me into the couch in the living room where he and the birth team slept amidst the toys my oldest son had scattered about the previous day. As dawn arrived and light was just beginning to seep through the blinds I started to vocalize through contractions, which were increasing in strength and frequency. Crystal and Rose heard the subtle changes in my vocalization and helped to guide me as I hit the more difficult points.

1Meyer woke just before 8:00 and ran gleefully around the living room while I sat on the floor cross-legged. In typical two-year-old fashion he was relatively unfazed by everything. Perhaps it was knowing that he was awake with my Mom to care for him, perhaps not, but in any case I was ready now to submerge myself in water. I arrived at the tub and was disappointed as I looked in, “where was all the water?!” For some reason, I had envisioned water up to my neck with the ability to literally swim around. I quickly came to my senses and entered the wonderfully warm water sitting cross-legged close to the edge and chatting with Meyer about Lightening McQueen and his desire to swim as well.

During contractions I tried a few times to do the horse lip-flutter thing, but did not find it as effective or as amusing as I did while doing yoga with my sister. Rather I continued to vocalize and was thankful for the fact that I was not in the hospital bathroom, lights glaring. I was in my own room – dark and calm with enchanting music swirling in and out of my consciousness.

I progressed into transition and the harder contractions would peak and subside with my “aahh” turning into a pleading cry, my eyes searching the faces around me and silently begging for belief. Fairly certain she could magically make the pain disappear, I turned to Rose and asked, “Can I just be done now?” “That’s up to you,” she replied. I wanted to be irritated, but it was exactly the right thing to say to my stubborn self – I became incredibly focused and determined.

Contractions reached a crescendo around 8:45, minutes after my parents left with Meyer, and I found myself suddenly on my knees, almost an involuntary reaction. Then contractions subsided and my body began to push. It was a feeling both foreign and familiar. Nobody informed me that it was time to push, my body was in control. My mind took a moment to synchronize with this concept; I was just sure I was fabricating the need to push. Once my mind finally embraced the reality, I was able to surrender to what my body was doing.

With each push I leaned hard with all my upper body strength and clenched my fists around Matthew’s and Rose’s hands. With the stronger surges I would burst forth with a wild, jungle-woman cry – not out of pain, but more to center myself in the moment, focusing every part of me into bringing this baby into the world. It was magnificently liberating. I had been praying and reciting scripture to myself throughout, but in these moments I began to ask the Lord to enter my body and fill me with the strength I needed.

3I was asked if I wanted to see if I could feel my baby, but declined fearing he would be further away then I hoped and I would become derailed or discouraged. Minutes later, I was asked again, but this time I knew he had begun to emerge. I felt the crown of his fuzzy little head and Matthew got in position to catch his beautiful son. As his head came forth into this world I felt a slight burning, not nearly as bad as I had expected! The rest of his body quickly followed – what sweet relief. In one quick moment the pressure was gone, the tension in my upper body melted away….and my baby was here. My face was flushed and “glowing” (‘women don’t sweat, they glow,’ says my friend, Tawn) as Matthew handed me our son, who cried briefly, stared at me for a moment, then fell into a peaceful slumber as we marveled at God’s amazing blessings.

This birth was exactly how I had envisioned and hoped it would be. I am beyond grateful to my amazing birth team for helping me to trust my body. I was never checked for dilation, never told to push, always treated with respect. I felt so loved. I cannot stop praising God.


Moments after giving birth, both parents are GLOWING with joy and excitement!!!