Happy Birth Day, Mailey!
Every time I look at the hail damage on my car, I remember the night of Mailey’s birth at the Fort Worth Birth Center. It was a stormy night, but inside Dad had a playlist of Christian music playing throughout the birth. It really created an atmosphere of worship in the birthing room. Mom was willing to do everything that the midwife suggested to ensure a successful out-of-hospital birth.
I love this family. I felt like I’d known them forever. They’re fun and lighthearted and hilarious. We chatted through their whole birth. What a special family.
Mauri has written a special letter for Mailey's first birthday and she has allowed me to share it on this blog post. Here's her story.
Dear Mailey Ann,
It’s hard to believe it has been almost a year since you entered this world. Today, you ate spaghetti, drank cow’s milk for the first time and had pig tails in your hair. A lot of people use the expression, “It feels like yesterday!”, but as a write this I believe that expression was made for us.
I am writing this to you because I love the power of a good story. In a graduate school class I took year’s ago, my professor said something about stories that has stuck with me. “A good story is not ‘just’ a story. It points to something bigger, something larger than ‘just’ the story.” As I look back on your birth story, it points to something so much more. I hope you see that as the story unfolds…
We waited and waited for you. Your dad and I were so prepared. After 10 birth classes, regular trips to the midwives, and meeting with the doula and birth photographer, it was time to just wait. And wait we did. Your “due date” was set for March 7th, but you weren’t bound by any calendar. You did, however, start things rolling in the early morning hours of March 16th. My water broke slowly that morning, and I waited for the strong, regular contractions to arrive. They never really did. At the house I bounced on the big round birth ball, tried to nap, lunged around the house, colored in an adult coloring book to calm my nerves, and ate a good meal. Your dad put a shirt on that he had secretly made. It was such a sweet gift. It was going to be my reminder during labor that I was “strong and beautiful” and that he was a “#proudhusband”. Your dad is very special. No regular contractions were happening throughout the day, so the midwives told us to to come in at 9 p.m. With my water broken, it was important that you be born within 24 hours, or we would need to go to the hospital. So it was natural induction go-time when we arrived at the birthing center.
Our midwife, Carla, greeted us. She wanted to make sure you were okay, so or first stop was to the ultrasound room so we could check on you. You looked awesome in there! Carla stepped out for a minute and came back in with a shirt that matched your dad’s. Then Eva our photographer arrived, followed by Andrea our doula. All in matching shirts! (Each with their own #hashtag.) Your dad had our friend Crystal make the whole birth team matching shirts. What a gift!
With the whole team in their matching uniforms, we began a series of natural induction techniques: cervix balloon, special induction drinks, lunges up and down stairs, more shots of that drink, more essential oils, more lunges. Between rolling on a ball and lunging up and down the stairs, the night grew on and on. Eventually we began a breast pump technique to stimulate contractions, and that seemed to do the trick. The contractions came strong and fast when using the pump but died down when not in use. The clock kept ticking.
We reached the 3 a.m. mark and at this point our other midwife, Meagan, was on the clock. She had a difficult conversation with your dad and I. If we couldn’t get into more of an “active labor” stage we would need to go to the hospital. At that point, I was completely discouraged. I so wanted to have you at the birth center. We were so ready, so prepared. Looking back on the video, I cried tears of disappointment, frustration, and exhaustion. Your dad cried too. He really loves us.
From 3 a.m. on, things changed a little. There was a sense of urgency from everyone. In an attempt to shield stressful pressure away from me, I could hear some hushed whispers between your dad, the doula, and the midwife. Things were discussed such as, how long can we wait here? At what point would we have to make the decision to go to the hospital? Your dad asked if we could just wait until 7 a.m. Meagan agreed.
The contraction pain continued to grow stronger. The breast pump was used over and over and with each session, I grew more tired, more in pain, and more frustrated. At one point, Meagan and Andrea suggested that your dad and I move to the tub room for privacy. Andrea later told me that she experienced one of the most intimate and encouraging moments in that room between your dad and I. Apparently, I was being rather defiant in using the pump, but your dad held it for me and told me that I could do this. That this was the way I was going to get to meet you. I’m not sure if it was the words that your dad spoke or just the way your dad loved me in that moment that made it so special. Andrea said that she left us at that point to be alone. I think it helped. He was able to hold up my belly and sway with me as well. It was some good hard moments.
In the midst of these moments a hailstorm hit the birth center. It was so loud at points, it was hard to hear each other. Lightning flashed and lit up the room; the rain poured, and the contractions grew stronger.
After a few more techniques to move me along in active labor, such as this horrible position called “the banana”, something changed. I asked to get on my hands and knees because I could not bear the pain. I remember putting my head into the pillow and making the strangest noise! It was all I could do to help get me through. Your dad reports that when everyone heard this noise, they all knew I had entered what they call “transition”. Looks were exchanged between your dad and the team, and thumbs up were given! Turns out we probably wouldn’t have to go to the hospital after all!
As I am feeling the strongest pain in my life, a second hailstorm hit the birth center. I was on the bed on my knees and elbows with Andrea standing over me using the rebozo to lift my belly. The storm hit hard. It was deafening. The hail and lighting were so intense. The lightning lit up the room and the hail pounded against the windows. The birth team told me it was unsafe by the window on the bed. I would need to move to the floor. I can’t even tell you how crazy this sounded. How was I even going to move! The pain was so intense. In a haste, a pallet was made on the floor and somehow I was able to move there.
While on the floor with the hail causing quite the disturbance, something changed. You were ready! I knew it! I told my midwife in a shaken, broken sentence that I needed to push. They rushed to get the tub ready filling it from the bath faucet and with buckets from the sink. It was go-time.
When I got into the tub, dawn was breaking. It was still dark but the hail had subsided and the storm seemed to have passed. After a few pushes on my knees, I turned to sit so your dad and I could lift you up on my chest. Two more pushes.
You were born at 7:45 a.m.
Your dad and I lifted you to my chest and began to rub you.
I remember hearing, “Mauri! You did it!” (I have no clue who said it. Maybe I did, in my head!?)
I remember seeing your head full of hair.
I remember crying in this rush of joy and relief.
I remember Meagan telling me that daddy was going to get to do skin-to-skin because I was bleeding more than they liked, and I would need to deliver the placenta quickly.
I remember glancing at the window, your dad holding you in front of it.
It was light out. The storm had ended. It was morning.