Lucy turns one today. What a better way to celebrate her first birthday than to remember the day of her birth <3.
I knew as soon as I left Laken's house that night that I wanted to share her amazing story. But I thought it would be best to share in her own words. So here is Lucy's birth story punctuated by some of the images I captured:
"This little girl's birth caught everyone by surprise. I had been having prodromal contractions off and on for a week, so when they started coming again around 11:00 a.m. on a Tuesday I just kept going about life as usual. It had been a real mental and emotional drain to keep getting my hopes up every day only for contractions to stop after a few hours and I was not convinced that this would be any different. These were uncomfortable but not too intense and I thought it was more of the same, I was 39w+4d and knew I could still have a week or two to go before her arrival.
I texted my partner to tell him that I was having contractions and he decided to leave work early since I needed to make a long drive that day. Hazel and Franklyn were with their dad for the week so it was just Bobby and me driving to Tulsa for a midwife appointment that afternoon, it was just a routine appointment already scheduled from the week prior. We arrived around 4:00 p.m., contractions had been in a holding pattern at 6-8 minutes apart, lasting about a minute each since they began five hours earlier. We did the usual, talking about supplements, checking blood pressure, listening to baby's heart, urine sample, etc. My midwife offered to do a cervical check if I wanted but neither of us thought it necessary so I declined. I thought it would probably be disheartening to hear the results of the check, but in hindsight I probably would've been pleasantly surprised.
Since it was just the two of us adults, Bobby and I decided to hang out in Tulsa for the evening after our appointment. At this point I was still having regular contractions and it's pretty funny to think I was actually in labor and just going about life as if nothing was happening. We headed to Cherry Street for a cup of coffee, I had a hazelnut latte that rocked my world, then made our way to Peace of Mind, the most magical bookstore in the state. I always have this sense of calm when I'm there, and the books are absolutely delicious. After that we went to the metaphysical store downstairs and looked at all manner of beautiful statues, prayer beads, incense, woven shawls, and dream catchers. I bought Palo Santo, holy wood, to burn in our home. It's my new favorite store and i felt so happy being there. We went to dinner after i bought my holy wood (I could've spent entirely too much if we didn't leave) and filled our bellies in soup, salad, and pudding, then started on our way home.
My sense of anticipation grew on the return journey, though I didn't dare speak it for fear of jinxing myself. We arrived at the house around 8:30 and I was still having contractions but I wasn't completely convinced that I was in actual labor yet, I could still walk and talk through them. I decided to do a test and take an epsom salt bath, which I had done every other time and which had made contractions stop previously. To my surprise and great relief, contractions continued in the bath and when I got out! I let Bobby know that this was it, we were going to be meeting our little Lucy before sunrise. I texted my midwife and my friend Katie who was photographing to let them both know that labor had started. With my first two children, I had very long labor so I told them both that they didn't need to arrive yet and I'd her then know when things picked up.
It was about 11:00 p.m. when contractions started getting really intense, but I still thought it was probably too soon to call in my team. They were closer together at 3-5 minutes apart, but that phase of labor had lasted several long hours with my other two children. Might as well let them rest, right? At this point I lost track time, I was deep in Laborland and focused intensely on breathing through the pain and allowing it to happen. I had two mantras through this birth, "You must allow it," and "Resistance is Futile" (a la Star Trek TNG). I remember being in the bath again and telling Bobby sometime later to let them both know that it was time to come. Contractions were extremely intense and coming about three minutes apart. I was moaning and roaring through contractions as they got closer together and I had the sudden realization that I was progressing much faster than I had initially thought, certainly much faster than any of us had anticipated.
I felt a lurch in the tub around 12:40(ish) a.m., my body had involuntarily tried to start pushing but I was able to hold back just that once. I looked at Bobby and told him he needed to call Faith right away and tell her to get her back up midwife here (Faith was driving from Tulsa but there is a local midwife she's connected with who sometimes helps in instances such as this). As the contraction ended I got on hands and knees to get myself out of the bath and move to my bed when another contraction hit hard and fast, they had suddenly started coming a minute apart. Bobby kept Faith on the phone as I barely made it to my bed and the next wave washed over me and, without my active mental participation, my body bared down and started pushing through the contractions. It felt like I was dry heaving out of my vagina. I know Faith was on speakerphone this whole time as Bobby mentally prepared to maybe catch our daughter but I would be lying if I said I had any idea what they were saying to each other. I had somehow gotten through transition on my own and had reached the pushing stage, so I was deeply focused on what was happening inside of me. I reached into my body to check my cervix and be sure that I was fully dilated and not just experiencing pressure from the amniotic sack, which hadn't broken, and to my surprise I felt my daughter's head behind the balloon-like bag descending from my body. I guess I was at 10 cm, considering baby was already at +2 station! The bag of water began to emerge. It looked like a white balloon coming out of me and barely visible behind it, still in the birth canal, was a little head looking like a walnut. This is the moment when Katie and Cathy, the local midwife, arrived almost at the same moment. Katie knew intimately what it meant to see a different midwife present (as she had a similar experience with her second child) so she rushed inside in time to start getting pictures of the actual birth. Lucy began crowning in the next contraction as Cathy monitored her heart beat. Bobby had to run out to Cathy's car to get her gloves, which hadn't made it inside during the rush. Lucy's heart rate declined while he was outside so Cathy coached me to start being a more active participant in the pushing that my body was already involuntarily engaged in; it took three or four good pushes to get her head out, and once it was out Katie ran to the front door to tell Bobby to hurry up. Another two pushes later I birthed the rest of her body.
Her entrance into the world was made atchurch12:59 a.m. on November 29, 2017. She was born partially in the caul, which broke as she made her way from my body, and she cried right away. She was placed on my chest in that magical moment that all mamas know so well, she was my biggest baby and my fastest labor. Bobby came in right as she was being pulled out and placed on me. I had a few sweet moments to just send her and love on her then it was time for the third stage and I pushed my placenta out after a few minutes. I was losing quite a bit of blood, though my uterus was firming up appropriately, and I was administered a couple of different tinctures to help slow the bleeding. I can't for the life of me remember them all, but I do recall shepherd's purse being one of them. It worked beautifully!
Faith arrived soon after and she and Cathy went over all of the information for my chart. Bobby made me a smoothie while they talked to help bring my energy back up as I nursed Lucy for the first time. She latched on as Cathy was applying pressure to my uterus to stop the bleeding, the extra oxytocin from breastfeeding helping along the process, and she continued drinking colostrum for quite a while. After she was full, Faith did the exam. She weighed a whopping 9lb 11oz, the poor thing swollen just like I was from all the water weight I had been holding on to in the last weeks of pregnancy, and she was 21.5 inches long. An herbal bath was prepared and I got in with my brand new daughter, cleaning off the meconium she has expelled all over us both beneath the towel we had been wrapped in.
The night wound down after a little while, my bed had been fixed up with clean sheets while I was in the bath so Lucy and I climbed in, Bobby sitting next us. A few last questions and instructions from the midwives and we bid everyone good night and safe travels. It had only been three hours from the start of active labor, through transition, to the moment of her birth, and I was still in shock that she was earthside, lying in my arms. It happened so fast that I was only just starting to process the whole thing. From her quick conception (literally on the first try!) to her quick birth, she has broken my expectations and shattered my view of what I thought was "my normal," and I can only imagine that she will continue expanding my view for the rest of my days. It was a beautiful, peaceful, and fulfilling birth. Laboring mostly on my own was actually exactly what I needed and, though it was unexpected, I'm grateful for the way Lucy's life story began.” ~Laken Shipley-Quinn
Thank you so much for visiting this blog and ready the story of Lucy’s birth. Please help me in wishing Lucy and Laken a happiest of birth days today <3