Erin Elizabeth’s Birth Story

by Leslie Lytle on May 25, 2012

“I feel newly-defined by this experience, equipped to take on the world, capable of achieving anything I desire, and inspired every moment by our sweet baby girl.”

With joy and gratitude, I send you my daughter’s birth story.

Let me tell you about the most incredible experience I’ve ever had.  I cannot stress enough how natural and automatic it felt. It’s almost as if it just happened, and I was along for the ride.

I woke up Thursday morning, October 7, 2010, at 6:30 a.m. to a little “gush.”  I was only 35 weeks and 5 days along, so I just assumed that I had gotten to the point in my pregnancy where I could no longer prevent peeing on myself. But over the next 30 minutes, I had a few more gushes that couldn’t be ignored. I got in touch with midwife Margie at MCV at 7:00 a.m. and our doula, Amber, at 7:30, both of whom thought it sounded like my water had broken. They instructed us to sit down, eat breakfast, and process what was happening. Then, we were to pack our bags and head to the hospital.  It was totally surreal. I am the world’s biggest planner, and here I was, not ready at all for this to happen. I did manage to stay calm, though. It was abundantly clear that I had no control over what had happened or would happen, so I knew that I just had to go with it.

At 9:00, in the car on the way to MCV, I began to feel fairly regular, mild contractions. When we arrived at Labor and Delivery, I started to have stronger contractions about 3 minutes apart. Got into the room at 10:00 a.m., got hooked up and examined (though they didn’t officially check – in order to avoid infection- being that my water had broken). The OB who examined me was named Eryn!  We thought that was a good sign. They estimated that I was 1 cm dilated. By 10:30, contractions were much stronger and became 2 minutes apart fairly quickly. It seemed that things were progressing quickly; however, there was no way to know that that would not only be an accurate assessment; it would be an immense understatement.

I labored on the exercise ball for a while, and things picked up. We requested that the whirlpool be readied, and in the mean time, decided to go to the shower. I sat on the ball while Matt sprayed water on my lower back. It got pretty uncomfortable there, but people (Margie, Amber, Matt, nurses) were massaging me and speaking to me the whole time, reminding me to relax and embrace the contractions.  Definitely easier said than done! After the shower, I labored on the toilet backwards for a good long while (it’s a really good place to labor!).

At some point, I slipped into “the zone,” a place where 100% of my physical and mental efforts were focused on enduring the contractions. I was not able to really think or even comprehend much else. I knew that people were speaking and moving around, but I couldn’t really see faces or even process anything beyond that. I remember how supremely difficult it was to sip water, but I knew how important it was, so I did it when the straw was put in front of my face. Amber and Matt were able to get my attention at certain points. I remember Matt telling me that I looked beautiful, and having a second to think to myself, “Really??!!!” though I was touched. Amber was amazing at making eye contact with me and constantly encouraging me. Being told, “You are a strong woman” goes very far.

Towards the end of the toilet round, I began to push with my contractions. I immediately felt a sense of control; instead of letting the contractions take me over, I was able to work with them. Everyone suggested that I try to make it to the bed so that they could see what was going on (and so that I wouldn’t deliver the baby in the toilet). I reluctantly made my way there, where they checked me and determined that I was 9 cm heading to 10 and completely effaced. No one told me when or how to push, and I continued to push intermittently when I felt the urge. I do remember thinking, “Wow, these are interesting sounds that I’m making.” At one point, I reached down instinctively, and was amazed that I could feel the baby’s head and hair. It was motivating, but I was extremely uncomfortable and expressed the fact that I “needed” this to end.

After about 15 minutes, and to the surprise of everyone, I pushed out the baby’s head. Margie didn’t even have her gloves on (everyone thought that this would take another hour or two). She shouted, “We have a baby! We have a baby!” With one final push, our baby emerged and began crying immediately. It was indescribable. Erin Elizabeth was born at 1:43 pm and was 5 lbs, 13 ounces, and 18 inches long.

The NICU team did have to come in and evaluate her, but she checked out fine.  The next minutes and hours were amazing. The whole experience was far beyond anything I could have ever have written in a birth plan, envisioned, or dreamed. I had THE MOST INCREDIBLE team of people behind me (including L&D nurse Erin Elizabeth- imagine that!). I felt that everyone there was on the same page, and with that support, I was empowered to deliver naturally and experience the biggest sense of accomplishment and bliss of my life.  I know with every ounce of my being that it happened the way it was supposed to happen. I feel newly-defined by this experience, equipped to take on the world, capable of achieving anything I desire, and inspired every moment by our sweet baby girl.

Megan Edwards is a 31 year old wife and  mom to a 19 month old girl.  She enjoys fitness, and works part-time on a clinical trial in the Department of Psychiatry at MCV.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Jen Stevens May 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm

What a beautiful birth story. Thank you so much for sharing, Megan! You did a terrific job, Mama :)

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