We always encourage parents to write out their birth story after their big day. As time goes on, you'll start to forget all the details and emotions you felt before, during, and after birth. Many parents are worried their story won't sound perfect or be criticized by others, but it doesn't matter, it's your story! We love giving parents an opportunity to publish these raw, powerful stories. This story comes from Melanie Horstman. who welcomed her daughter, Holland Daveney, into the world recently! Here's her story...
"At 1:30am Tuesday December 27th, I woke up from feeling a bit of fluid in my underwear; I thought maybe I had peed myself – one of the many joys of pregnancy, not knowing if you peed yourself or not. I went to the restroom and checked and I had a small amount of fluid in my underwear; anxiety immediately set in. Was this it? Was my water leaking? Am I starting to go into labor?! I texted my doulas, Missy and Jenn, to see what they thought about the fluid and we decided I should try to get some sleep. Shortly after, I started having some Braxton Hicks contractions that were a bit more crampy than usual but they weren’t very regular and they weren’t very strong so I went back to sleep. I woke up around 3:00am with more contractions about every 15 minutes, only being mild in intensity but not being able to sleep through them. It was 4:15am when I texted my doulas to see if they thought it was the real thing or if Drew should call into work as he was about to wake up to get ready for his 5:30am shift. I decided to have Drew call in and I tried to get some rest.
By 8:00am things had really slowed down, I had slept a few hours and woke up with more irregular contractions that weren’t too intense. But I kept leaking a bit of fluid, and had some mucus with a pink tinge to it, so I figured baby would be entering the world soon! I was getting excited that it was hopefully the real deal even though my contractions were very irregular. The rest of the morning I continued to have contractions, about every 30 minutes and they were starting to become truly painful. Around 1:00pm since my contractions had slowed so much I started to do the “miles circuit” to get baby in a good position since she had been transverse here and there throughout the pregnancy. My contractions were very sporadic but were painful enough that I had to brace myself through them. I had texted my midwife to let her know what had been going on all day, and she said it could possibly prodromal labor. While discouraging, I just had a feeling that it would happen soon, so I tried to get some more rest.
At 8:00pm we got Ezra (big brother) ready for bed and we all decided to go to sleep for the night. Right when I laid down more intense contractions started and they were about 8-10 minutes apart. I timed them for the next hour and texted my doulas my progress. They were definitely starting to get more painful, so much so that I decided to take a hot bath to ease the pain at recommendation by my doulas. I got in the bath at about 9:45pm and the water felt great and helped ease the pain of the contractions even though the water barely covered my belly. Once in the bathtub, contractions started to speed up and become much more intense and they were anywhere from 3-6 minutes apart, but not staying very regular or on pattern. Some would be painful for 30 seconds, others for a minute and a half. After texting with my doulas about patterns and pain we decided we should call my mom to come over so that she could sleep over with Ezra while we labored overnight. I went in the bedroom to wake up my husband and let him know what had been going on and that my mom was on her way over. I continued to labor in my son’s bedroom (he was in our bed at that time) on hands and knees bracing myself on the rocking foot rest of the glider all while having my face over the trash can from the bathroom since the contractions were making me nauseated. My mom arrived about 20 minutes after I called her to come over.
At 11:00pm contractions were averaging about 4.5 minutes apart but still varying in length, but very painful and we knew it was the real thing and that our baby girl would be here soon. We texted our doulas and called the midwife to get advice on when we should head to the hospital. We told our doulas we’d be heading into the hospital as I felt that I would be much more comfortable and have less anxiety if she was there with me. At 11:20 we called my midwives to tell them we were going to head to the hospital. Jenda was on call and answered my phone call. I told her the patterns of the contractions and their intensity. Her advice was to stay home a bit longer and get up and walk around to make the contractions more regular. I got off the phone and texted Missy and Jenn and told them Jenda said not to go in yet. Both of them were shocked, and so we called Missy to talk on the phone rather than text. Missy says she knew when I had to hand the phone to Drew during a contraction that it was go time and we needed to head to the hospital. At 11:45 we called Jenda back and said that she could tell Lydia that we were heading to the hospital but there was no need for her to rush since my doula was meeting us there.
At midnight, we headed to the hospital. Getting to the car was rough, every few steps I took I had a contraction. I would make it down a few stairs of our apartment and have a contraction. It was a chilly winter night, but luckily not bitter cold, the cold weather actually felt nice, as I was sweaty from labor. The entire time walking to the car I was clutching my trashcan, since I felt nauseated with every contraction. I got in the car and Drew started driving. I still feel so bad, I yelled at him the whole way begging him not to hit every bump and to be slow with accelerating and stopping as the contractions were extremely painful. It was about a 15 minute drive to the hospital, and probably one of the longest drives to ‘work’ (he works at the hospital we delivered at) he’s ever had.
Once we arrived in the circle drive at the hospital, Jenn was waiting in the lobby. I had Drew tell her to come help me out of the car. Once she got to the car I warned her that as soon as I was going to stand that I would have another contraction, and sure enough I did. From the car to the lobby (about a 50-100ft walk) I had 3 or more contractions where I had to stop and hold on to Jenn or Drew for support so I didn’t collapse to the floor. Once inside the hospital I asked where the stairs were, because I have a terrible phobia of elevators (something I forgot to mention to my doulas prior to labor – hehe oops!). Jenn and Drew frantically looked around for stairs while I grasped the back of the couch in the lobby and continued to have contractions just a few minutes apart. They couldn’t find any stairs within walking distance for me, so they encouraged me to get in the elevator. While my anxiety was super high with getting in that elevator, I had a contraction right as we got in so I was distracted for the ride. We got out of the elevator and got buzzed into labor and delivery. Nurses met us at the doors with a wheelchair and wheeled me to the room. That was the bumpiest wheelchair I’ve ever ridden in – it made the contractions super intense.
Once we got in the room my midwife Lydia was there and they asked me to get up into the bed so they could monitor baby’s heartbeat for a bit and so that she could check me to see my progress. It took me probably about 2-3 contractions to be able to get out of that wheelchair; the pain was so intense I couldn’t move. Once I got in the bed Lydia checked me and said I was 9-9.5 and pretty much ready to go. She motioned for them to get the delivery table set up. Drew and Jenn were by my side the entire time reminding me to breathe and lower my voice with the contractions. I remember yelping a few times in pain, but Jenn was right there to tell me to lower my voice into a deep moan rather than a yelp – it was very helpful!
Lydia and Jenn encouraged me to get out of the bed and get on the birthing stool, but at that point I was in so much pain I could not move at all, so they dropped the edge of the bed and got ready for delivery. We were just riding through the contractions and I suddenly yelled “I think I need to push!” With the next contraction I pushed and my water broke – soaking pretty much everything in its way. ;) With the next few pushes (I have no idea how many it took at this point, but wasn’t very many) baby started to make her way out. On the way, she got compressed in my pelvis (probably because I was sitting/laying in the bed – not the best way to push a baby out) and her heartrate was dropping. Lydia told me where to push and with the next contraction I really concentrated on that part and pushed as hard as I could to get her out. She came out fast and furiously at 1:16am (JUST 45 minutes after we had arrived at the hospital) and was immediately placed on my abdomen. Her being compressed was scary, but what was even scarier was that she wasn’t really breathing when she came out and she was very purple. The nurses crowded the bed and rubbed her down with blankets trying to stimulate her to breathe. They picked her up off of my abdomen, rubbed her some more and she let out a cry. We all sighed in relief and she was placed back on my abdomen. During that time, the placenta was delivered as well, although I don’t remember doing anything to push it out, but I remember feeling it come out! Drew cut the cord then immediately ran to the bathroom; everyone asked if he was okay. Later he told us that with the intensity of baby girl getting stuck, coming out purple, not breathing, and then her finally breathing and everything being okay that it was just an adrenaline rush, then an intense crash that led him to feeling like he was going to pass out. He went in the bathroom to splash water on his face and to take a deep breath. Once baby girl was here we were all so relieved, the pain was all gone for me, almost instantly after she came out. I was filled with joy and excitement and I couldn’t believe that I had just given birth NATURALLY like I always wanted! I did it! I couldn’t believe that I actually did it! Our baby girl was here, and we named her Holland Daveney. ☺
Holland and I spent the next hour or two skin to skin waiting for her to do the breast crawl and latch on to nurse for the first time. She rooted and crawled and positioned herself on my breast after about an hour and a half. After her first breast feeding the nurses took her to weigh her and she weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds 1 ounce! There was a huge look of shock on my face that I just birthed a 9lb baby – and only had a slight tear! I am so thankful for the help of my doulas and midwife. Having the extra support there to help both me and my husband was incredible. It allowed me to be calm and relaxed and trust my body that I could do this. And it allowed my husband to be as hands on or hands off as he wanted and just enjoy the birth of his baby girl. I will forever be grateful for my doulas advice. Had I not listened I would have had a baby in the car or at home!"