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Trust in Me: Rose's Redemptive and Nearly Pain-Free Birth Center Birth of Henry Wayne

After my daughter Eleanor turned 18 months, my husband and I decided that we wanted to try for our second baby. We were surprised when we didn’t conceive immediately like we did with Eleanor, who was a honeymoon baby. After trying for four months, we conceived and immediately miscarried. I knew that miscarriage would be emotionally difficult, but I never expected that I would despise sitting in the same waiting room that brought me so much excitement just two years prior. I asked God to give me strength and to bring me redemption from this suffering in some way. I listened to praise and worship music all day long for weeks, just praying that God would help me to trust in His will.

One month after that miscarriage I took a pregnancy test because my period was due any day. I was shocked to see two pink lines. My heart leapt for joy and I immediately started to cry and thank God. My husband was as surprised as I was and we immediately prayed that God would protect this new life inside of me. Our little rainbow baby was with us already.

After confirming that my hcg levels were rising appropriately, I began looking into other groups to receive my prenatal care, mostly because I had not had a good experience with the way my OBGYN handled my care during my miscarriage. I was referred to a local midwife practice by a friend who delivered with that group the year prior. I was hesitant to switch at first but ultimately decided to make the change. I had my first appointment with them when I was 17 weeks along and I was shocked at the immediate and positive difference in care.

My midwife spent 45 minutes with me discussing my physical and mental health, my emotional support, any questions and concerns I had, and what I wanted my birth to look like. I asked about their birth center and she told me that I would have to make the final decision about it by my next visit. My husband was hesitant about the idea of an out-of-hospital birth at first, but after we went to a tour of the birth center and were able to listen to a birth center nurse talk about how they would handle all sorts of emergencies and any special situation that may arise, Sam and I both agreed that this was the perfect place to birth our baby boy. We both left the birth center tour smiling from ear to ear, so excited for the upcoming labor and birth at this amazing facility.

My pregnancy was very easy and joyful and I felt that God was constantly showing up in every detail. I kept busy every day gardening, playing with my daughter, working out 4-5 times per week to stay in shape for birth, eating a very healthy diet, taking all the right supplements, and continued to praise God for this gift of life inside me. Every day I was reading books about birth

and found Made for This: The Catholic Mom's Guide to Birth an exceptional confirmation that I was able to birth this baby in the way that I desired and that God’s design of my body was perfect for birthing MY baby. We took a Bradley Method birthing class which was very informational and helpful as well. I listened to several different birth podcasts every day, listened to Christian Hypnobirthing tracks every night, and was always looking for new reading material about birth. Sam joked that I was becoming a birth junkie but I just felt like the more I became informed, the more confident I was in my decision to birth unmedicated and out of the hospital.

As my due date grew near, I began to get inside my own head about the fears of being in pain and doubting my own strength. I was praying to God to bring me peace and I heard Him tell me “trust in Me.” I began to feel the desire to start declaring in prayer the specific birth that I

desired. There were a few different things that I desired regarding my birth: I wanted my midwife

Stephanie to attend my birth, I wanted an unmedicated water birth, I wanted my husband (Sam)

to catch the baby, I wanted to experience the fetal ejection reflex, I wanted to avoid tearing

(which is obviously not a guaranteed thing), and I specifically prayed for a “nearly pain-free

birth.” I didn’t ask for a completely pain free birth, but for very little pain.

Three days before I gave birth we went to a family friend’s house for dinner and right before I

left she said “Rose, I want to pray over you before you leave.” She sat me down and began to

pray - as she was praying over me she said “Lord, I ask that you give her a virtually pain-free

birth,” and that made me realize that God had heard my prayers and was letting me know that I

could let go of my worries and trust in Him.

On September 28th in the middle of the night I began having contractions that were 4-5 minutes

apart. Those lasted four hours until they fizzled out and I fell asleep. I woke up the next morning,

disappointed that I wasn’t in labor but was excited to see if I had dilated any more since the previous week. I had been sitting at 4cm for two weeks and since it was the day before my due date I was going to see if my midwife would do a membrane sweep at my appointment to try to

get things going. My husband was still in the Fire Department Academy at the time, so I was

trying to have a weekend baby so we would have more time with him at home.

I got myself and my daughter ready to head to my parents’ house and ran to the bathroom one

more time before we left, and I had the infamous “bloody show.” I was so excited because that

meant that labor was near! I arrived at my parent’s house and my older sister was there with her kids and I asked her to tag along to my appointment just in case the membrane sweep would

kick labor into gear quickly. I decided to install the infant car seat before we left which I thanked

myself for later.

At my appointment my midwife, Stephanie, came in. She went to check my cervix and said “Oh

goodness, girl! You’re 6cm and fully effaced! You’re having this baby today!” I was so thrilled. I

told her about the contractions from the night before and she said that those probably dilated

me from 4-6cm. She did a very light membrane sweep but said that she wasn’t going to do

anything too rough because she didn’t want to break my water. She sent me home with strict

instructions to head to the birth center when contractions picked up because she didn’t want to

miss the birth! I called my husband to tell him to stay by his phone and ten minutes later he

called and said that his FD instructor sent him home to be with me.

I decided to stay at my parent’s house since Ellie was down for a nap and once Sam arrived we

all had lunch and I sent him downstairs to take a nap and rest up. I was too excited about labor,

and felt like I was getting antsy. My sister suggested that we take a fast walk to get things

moving so we took a big power walk around the neighborhood. That started giving me

some painless contractions every 2-3 minutes, but they fizzled out whenever I would stop


After about an hour and a half I had a few contractions here and there and they were starting to

feel more like real contractions and Sam suggested that we head to the birth center. I was

nervous about getting to the birth center too early and Sam bribed me to start heading to the

birth center with the promise of ice cream along the way and I caved. We took one last picture

as a family of three and headed out. We got our ice cream and were sitting outside and I had a

few contractions that made me instinctively stand up and sway through them but they didn’t feel

painful. Once we finished our ice cream we headed towards the birth center and I began

doubting whether I was in active labor or not since I wasn’t in pain. So I instead had Sam stop at a thrift store so I could look around for a bit. My contractions started to pick up and Sam saw me

bracing myself against a clothing rack in the store so he called the midwife and she told us to

come right away so we got in the car and headed over.

We arrived at the birth center at 4:23 p.m. I received a dose of antibiotics immediately since I

had tested positive for GBS a few weeks prior and chose to receive them. The antibiotics took about ten minutes to receive and I was able to stand and walk around during. After the dose was complete, I was free to labor however I wanted to. I had initially wanted to go on a walk around the birth center grounds, but decided that I wanted to get into the shower and labor there as long as possible before transferring to the tub. I was curious about how far dilated I was, but I

wanted to wait until my midwife and the photographer arrived to get checked just in case.

I labored in the shower for about an hour and I tried to soak up every moment. When a contraction would come I would close my eyes, breathe deeply, and relax my jaw. I would often

sway through it since standing felt more comfortable at this point. Although my contractions were intense, I never felt like it was anything painful or anything that I couldn’t handle. Sam just sat on a yoga ball in the bathroom, watching me, smiling, affirming me, letting me do my thing until I needed some help getting through contractions. I started to get to a point where instead of using the shower head on my own, I needed Sam to hold it against my lower back while I braced myself on the support bars in the shower. Before each one Sam would read me a prayer intention that I would offer the contraction up for. He also would read aloud some birth affirmations that I had written down to help me stay focused during labor and it was extremely helpful.

I remember standing in the shower laughing with Sam and both of us saying how this was so much more relaxed and felt so natural compared to my daughter’s hospital birth. I kept having the thought that “I’m really doing this. I’m doing so well with these contractions! I can’t believe it. I’m living out my labor dreams!” I labored in the shower for another 30 minutes or so until I started to feel claustrophobic from the steam and decided to labor in the bedroom area for a while. I put on my labor gown and worked through some contractions for a bit until my midwife got to the birth center.

My midwife and my photographer arrived around the same time, at 6 p.m., so I decided to get

checked. I was 8cm. I continued to labor in the room and Sam would support me as I held onto him, he would squeeze my hips as I had a contraction, and would rub my back and shoulders between contractions. What I felt like I needed truly would depend on each contraction, but Sam was on it every time. They continued to be only 4-5 minutes apart but I started to get a panicky feeling when I felt I was about to have a contraction and I decided that this was a good time to get into the tub.

As soon as I got down into the warm water I felt such an amazing wave of relief. I really felt like I could relax again, so between contractions I was just chatting and laughing with Sam and our photographer, Cassondra. I rested my head on the ledge of the tub while I was talking to Sam and Cass, and during contractions I would lay my head down on the towel that I had in front of me so that I could close my eyes, focus, and relax through each surge. I continued to labor and would sway silently during each contraction, making sure to relax my body during each wave and not let myself tense up. After about 20 minutes of laboring in the tub, my nurse and Stephanie came in to check the baby’s heart rate and as they were leaving the room my midwife said “all right, you just let us know when you’re in real labor” and laughed as they left the room.

Sam sat with me through another couple contractions and said that he needed to go to the

bathroom, so as soon as I got through a contraction he hopped up to use the restroom and as

soon as the door shut I had another contraction which caught me off guard because it came

faster than any of my previous contractions. During this contraction, instead of it easing up it got

more and more intense and then I felt a pop and gush into the tub and lightly said, “my water just

broke”. Cass hopped off the bed and went to get the midwife and nurse. Within a few seconds,

everyone was in the room gathered around me. At this point I had my eyes closed with my face in my hands, leaning over the side of the tub and I said “Sam, help me!” He stepped into the tub with me. I nervously said “Sam, I feel like I need to poop!” Sam and Cass simultaneously said “then poop!”. Thinking back on that now, it makes me laugh because it was obviously the baby that I was feeling!

Stephanie was telling me to breathe and relax as I was groaning in discomfort and reminded me

to slow down and give my body time to stretch out. I remember thinking, “Okay, this must be the

ring of fire…and I’m not even pushing, why is she telling me to slow down?!” I heard Stephanie

say “Okay dad, hands down here…annnnd there’s baby’s head! Okay, hon, slow down and try

not to push…and there’s the rest of him!” Following that were Henry’s first cries. I couldn’t

believe it.

My nurse helped me to sit back in the tub and Sam handed me our sweet baby boy. I could hardly believe that I just birthed a baby without any medication and I didn’t even have to push! I

looked at Sam in shock and started to cry from happiness. Stephanie said, “Well, you made quick

work of that!” And I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, “After your water broke, he was

born in three minutes.” I could hardly believe that only three minutes had passed during that

time. He was born at 7:01 p.m. I didn’t actively push him out, my body did all of the work and I was able to experience the fetal ejection reflex which was an answered prayer. Up until my water broke, I never felt like my contractions were painful, just intense, and any pain that I did have was only three minutes - God answered my prayers again.

I sat in the water, holding Henry and soaking up every detail. I birthed the placenta about 15

minutes later. Sam cut the cord then and I handed the baby to Sam while my nurse helped me out of the tub and I walked to the bathroom to get cleaned up. After I was cleaned up and got some underwear and pads on, I sat back down in bed and nursed Henry and he latched immediately. Stephanie assessed me for any tearing and said, “Oh my goodness, you didn’t tear at all, you aren’t even swollen! You did amazing, mama!”

We spent an hour relaxing in the bedroom until we decided to head out to the living area to eat.

Sam cooked us food while I sat and nursed Hank by the fireplace. Our nurse had baked us sourdough bread when we arrived at the birth center so we got fresh, warm, homemade bread slathered in butter and honey which was the most delicious reward after labor. After we went through all of the postpartum assessments, we were sent home and were in our own bed before 10:30.

God showed up in so many ways through my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. I truly believe that this was the very spiritual and intimate experience that I needed to help me to trust in Him more fully. I never realized, until this birth, that birth could be so transformational, but I am truly grateful for the gift of being able to experience birth in the way that God intended it to be: humbling, transformative, empowering, and the ultimate gift of myself for my child. Every time I’m at Mass, I think of Christ’s words, “This is My body given up for you” and how pregnancy, birth, and motherhood is the personification of those words. God truly has given us women a gift that needs to be embraced and not pushed aside as unnecessary suffering, but rather appreciated as an opportunity to unify ourselves with Christ more fully. I know so many people say, “You don’t get a medal for giving birth unmedicated” but you get something far better: the gift of fully experiencing the most amazing thing that your body can do.

Rose is a Catholic wife and mom of two living in the Midwest. She enjoys traditional homemaking and her favorite hobbies include cooking from scratch, beekeeping, gardening, reading, and curating their home to live as the Domestic Church. You can connect with her here on Instagram. Photography by Through Stutzman's Lens Photography.


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