Thursday, October 17, 2013

a birth story: winifred shade worrell

The story of Winnie’s birth began weeks before the 10th of October. Actually, I think its safe to say that it began the day I found out I was pregnant with her.


The past 9 months has been something of a trial in my life, a long and hard lesson to be learned in trusting the Lord. It was like there was a mountain ahead of me, casting its shadow on everything, looming larger and more daunting as each day passed. I couldn't see anything beyond it and I didn’t know how I was going to climb it. And I certainly couldn't imagine what it was going to be like on top. That was my reality, this mountain. (I’m sure at this point you are thinking I’m being over-dramatic, to which I say, be quiet! I am not.)  

Because of this reality, I ran myself ragged the last few weeks (ok, let's say months) of the pregnancy, both physically and mentally. I had explored nearly every avenue of research regarding the things that happened with willows birth, in an effort to feel more educated and prepared for this birth (LESSON: ignorance is kinda bliss). I had organized and readied my home to the point of perfection at ANY given time, should I go into labour. I had prepared and blended all sorts of fancy essential oils to help in the specific ways I thought I needed during this labour and delivery. I had taken all sorts of supplements and drank so much funky tasting tea, to help this or that, or to prevent such and such a problem. I had the hospital bags packed for weeks. I had wrote out a very detailed and straightforward birth plan, to ensure everything would go my way. I had every single thing crossed off my to-do list. I was as prepared as I could ever be. Or, at least everything around me was.

I had so much hope to go into labor early (considering the 8lb 12oz baby willow beast that came right on her due date, her size causing many of the complications I experienced) that every day after week 37 was long and anxious. I paid such close attention to every niggle and twitch that my body had, and thought so many times that “this could be it". I wrecked my head thinking that “today could be the day”, that by the end of it, when it wasn’t, I felt defeated. I grew tired of listening to my body. Trusting the signs I thought it was showing me was getting me nowhere. 
Well, I thought it was. But instead, with every disappointed hope, it was getting me closer to the end of myself, which is exactly where God wanted me to be. 

On one of those tired nights, shortly after I decided to let go of the days disappointment, and trust God all over again, I felt (what I thought was) my water break (ill spare you the details of how). And after much prompting from my husband, I rang the hospital to tell them what happened. They told me to come in so they could do a check and monitor me, considering I should go into labour within 24-48 hours. So we did. They did the test, and it was positive for amniotic fluid. So off to a bed int the ante-natal ward I went! 
In the morning a doctor came by to talk about my options, pretty much the only one being inducing labour, THAT NIGHT, not even 24 hours after the waters went. Luckily, I had a very outspoken nurse, (who remembered me from a year and a half ago!) who fought for me to get an extra night out of the deal. Meanwhile, in my own stubborn fashion, I began to carry-out all my preparations to help start the labour I thought was stalling. Liters of raspberry tea! Clary sage on my ankles and abdomen! Pineapples! Countless trips up and down the stairwell! Hypnotherapy! Check, check, and check. Nothing.


The next morning, when the doctor came for me to start the induction process, I was in the shower (I didn’t hide in there on purpose, I swear!), but he had to go work his clinic hours. So by the time I was packed and ready and moved to the delivery room, I got a different doctor and midwife, who didn’t need nearly as much convincing from us, to run some more tests before leaving induction as the last and final option. Long story (not so) short, they did the swab test again, NEGATIVE for amniotic fluid, they did a scan, plenty of fluid around the baby, and they did an exam, waters intact! So, they let me go home. (we don’t know exactly what did happen, but our best guess, considering the result of the first test, was that my “hind-waters” broke, and the bag resealed. I did not pee, I repeat, I did not pee the bed!) 

That one day and two nights in the hospital was the end of the battle for my trust. Every night, when my body let me down, I would put my trust back in God, but always the next morning I took it back. Not this time though. With induction looming the next morning, that one night I just had to let it all go. All for good this time. No take backs. 
I had to trust that God knew what was best. That He knew my body even better than I did. That He is the one who decides the how and when. That He knows how is best to climb the mountain, and that He is the one who will see me to the top.

And since leaving the hospital that day, it was like God gave my hopes for a better birth back to me. Like Abraham putting Isaac on the altar, God wanted me to let it go. To give it to Him, wholly and completely. And by His grace, I did. And little did I know, that also by His grace, I would get that better experience I had wanted from the beginning.

Going home that Friday was really strange. Having expected to have our baby that day, only to go home to life as normal. It was weird. And I think its safe to say that those last few days were THE LONGEST of the entire pregnancy. 


Lets fast forward to Wednesday, the 9th of October. I woke up around 11:30pm to loads of cramps and such, but was so tired of listening to my body and thinking “maybe this is it” that I ignored what I was feeling and assumed I just had to poo. In fact, here are some screen shots of the texts between my sister and i (so un lady-like, I apologise.)


Not even 3 hours after that first text, I was holding our baby girl. 


I woke clay up around midnight, told him that I thought was in labour (but still telling myself that I just had to poo. I even thought on the drive to the hospital, “Oh, they are just going to tell me to use the toilet and go home!”) and he got all the bags in the car while I showered and got dressed. I was timing the contractions at 3-4 minutes apart, so we rang the labour ward, and she said to make our way to the hospital when we can.

We got to the hospital around 1am, and they put us in the little admissions room, where you go to get hooked up to a monitor to time contractions and etc. The room itself is probably 15 x 15 ft, with a small bathroom attached. There is a tall wooden exam bed (like, you need a stool to climb on it) in the middle of the room. On one side there is the contraction and heart rate monitor, and on the other side there is barely enough room for the door to open without hitting the bed. There is a small counter with cupboards in the corner next to the bathroom door, and plastered all over the walls were posters of breastfeeding babies and vaccination information.

They left me in there for some time, without one check or acknowledgement. Little did we know, the labour ward was full to the brim. Every single bed, in the labour rooms and in the delivery rooms, even the operating theatre, was occupied. 

Meanwhile, I was feeling the need to push with every contraction, so clay left to find someone to help. A midwife came in, did a check and told me I was 7cm dilated, and progressing so quickly, that I would have to give birth in that room. So she hustled away to bring in any necessities. 

Clay told me later that this was the moment that he had to let go, wholly and completely. He remembers willows birth all to vividly, and in that moment, seeing the surroundings of where this child would be born, it demanded all of his trust to be in God. Not in a doctor, not in an operating theatre close by, not in a bed with wheels, not in a room with all the proper necessities at hand. Just in God’s all knowing hand. 

By the time the midwife came back and set everything up, it was go time. A few minutes earlier, another midwife brought me a cylinder of gas and air (Entonox) and boy, I clamped down on that thing and didn’t let go! (my jaw hurt for the first few days after, I am ashamed to admit.) (But still kinda proud of myself for progressing that far without any pain relief!). 

After a few more contractions, I was ready to push. (My water hadn’t even broke yet, hows that for irony?) It only took a couple pushes, and at 2:33am, there she was. I heard clay say “its a girl!” and she was placed on my chest. 


Not a single stitch needed or a drop of lost blood in sight (!!!). Not a single one of my many preparations that I had exhaustedly studied to implement were used in that room. 
But here she was, God brought her here. And we were all together, healthy and happy, whole and complete.


I had climbed the mountain. And guys, the view from up here is pretty great. 

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