Dean Forrest Collie was born Tuesday night at 11:12pm on September 24, 2019. He was a hefty 9.8 pounds and 21 inches long, so it seems he took his time in utero very serious. He came prepared for a famine, but pretty sure he hasn’t been hungry for a second yet.
Our Birth Story
Since Dean is my first I knew all the signs meant he would most likely make his appearance after his due date (whomp, whomp). The week of his due date my body started getting into gear and I had 4 really rough nights of pre-labor with nonstop belly pains and some complimentary puking. Not ideal, but also exciting, this was ACTUALLY going to happen and the Lord wasn’t going to keep be pregnant forever. My due date came and went with no regard for my readiness and we knew we needed to hunker down with some distractions for a few days. I woke up Monday, Sept 23rd to contractions at 6AM. They were coming at a steady rate of 25 min apart and lasting about a minute…..I knew we were getting closer and prayed all the pre-labor fun was going to help actual labor be more effective and quick. LOL. Labor and babies do what they want.
My parents were in town and staying at the hotel down the street from our house, so I text my dad about getting breakfast and headed to meet him at the hotel. We had breakfast and then walked the hotel stairs a few times together and I headed home to nap a bit. If today was the start, I knew I needed a solid balance of activity and rest to prepare for what was ahead. I spent Monday resting, doing stretches, and monitoring contractions. Around 5:30 I text Dru he needed to come home early from work because contractions were ranging between 4-7 min apart and lasting 1.5 minutes, sometimes 2 minutes, each time. That’s a LONG contraction if you guys didn’t know. 120 seconds feels like 10 minutes. I was regularly texting my birth team and we knew we’d hang home a while longer til the contractions were closer and more intense. I took a few baths and sunk into the sweet season of knowing my body was doing hard work. We laid down to try to rest/nap that night between contractions and let my body do its thing. Around 12:15AM I felt a big gush and jumped out of bed (a comical 40+4 pregnant move) and sure enough my mucas plug came flying out with the craziest amount of water. I ran to the bathroom and was just standing there laughing at the ginormous mess and endless water surges while Dru hopped out of bed to get towels. I text my birth team and we decided to meet at the birth center in one hour, so I just stood there in the tub laughing at all the fluids continuously coming out of me while Dru loaded up our things.
This was IT. I was so excited and really felt my body had been working hard all day, I also didn’t want to get ahead of myself since I knew they’d check me upon arrival and I didn’t want to be disappointed if I had not progressed as much as I was hoping. Regardless, it was a fun moment to gather our things, load up, and head out for our baby. The day had been so peaceful and sweet and calm. Everything I had hoped it would be. We were ready to move onto the next phase!
We arrived at the birth center and my birth team helped load in our things and started prepping the room and filling tub. We were just waiting for the midwife to arrive to assess me and we’d have a better idea of what was ahead. The lights were getting dimmed and birth supplies unpacked.
My midwife asst, Megan, took my blood pressure and it was a little high. Not wild, but notably high. They said let’s wait a minute and retake it since there was just lots of commotion going on. They took it again and it was way higher (159/another number). Not cool, blood pressure, not cool. We waited a bit more to take it manually and this time is was even higher 189/another high number.
Ok, well this was not in the plan. I haven’t struggled with high blood pressure and this was really just a bizarre situation. I felt fine. I felt at peace about my laboring. I felt excited about what was ahead. I definitely didn’t feel like my blood pressure was rising. Dawn (midwife) checked me and I was also only 1.5 cm. which seemed mindblowing considering it was after 1AM at this point and I had been having contractions since 6AM the previous day making seemingly no progress.
Dawn was so kind but also confident that a birth center birth was just not an option with blood pressure issues and we needed to discuss my birth plans at the hospital and decide which we’d transfer to. It was a lot to take in all at once, we hadn’t even been at the birth center 30 min and now we had to leave. However, I also knew only being 1.5 cm along, my body was not making progress as it should have, despite very intense contractions. Knowing I didn’t feel off or sick, but had two strong signs my body was giving me and having a birth team I fully trusted that were confident what needed to happen meant Plan A was getting bypassed for Plan B and I felt very at peace with going to the hospital. We agreed and headed to the hospital to get checked in. We were barely in our room as labor picked up and Rachel, my doula, and Megan, midwife assistant, helped me work through each contraction while also decorating the room.
The banners went up, candles got put out, snack station setup, and contractions coming in hot.
Everyone agreed this kiddo was in a weird position (Sunnyside up) which is not ideal for birthing babies. Also, he was just so long. That’s what everyone had been saying towards the end of my pregnancy…”we can feel he is so long”. He was also balled up and squished in there. Bless him.
We did all the moves and positions for hours on hours to help him have space to move and flip. I was checked and progressed to 4cm and although it wasn’t tons it felt somewhat progressive. Hours and hours later of more intense contractions and I was at 5.5 cm. This was disappointing and seemed so incredibly slow. 13 more hours of laboring and my body basically camped out at 6cm despite all the contractions and position changes and hard work. I knew I needed to reevaluate the game plan because I was beyond exhausted and we still had a long road ahead of us. After some discussions, it was time for an epidural and a nap. Hallelujah. Moving onto Plan C.
With each change, I felt it came at the right time and I made each choice with a sound mind and heart. From Plan A to Plan B to Plan C, I didn’t dread the change but truly felt at perfect peace with each choice for me and my baby.
I got some much needed sleep and then spent every 30-45 min a new position hoping for this guy to get some movement and shift. Their examinations could feel him low, and they could feel a little swelling on the part of the head they could feel because he had been camped out without more dilation for so long.
As time progressed, every time I’d change a position Dean’s heart rate would get real funky for a bit and we’d watch it settle back into normal range. Up until this point his heart rate had been very steady and healthy, so this wasn’t something anyone was freaking out about, but were all acutely aware of. We hadn’t even started pushing yet…which would certainly be far more straining on him than my turning from hands/knees to my left side.
A few more position changes and his heart rate started taking longer to recover and I was level 10 aware and not comfortable with how sensitive he was becoming. My birth babes, Megan and Rachel, started the conversation about considering another birth option, a c section. I welcomed the conversation because my Birth Plan was to have a beautiful birth with a healthy baby boy…my options A, B, C, & D were facilitators of my overall goal and could be adjusted as needed. We all agreed the Dr would by soon to do an examination on me and baby and we wanted her wisdom then we’d make a final call.
Dr Brunnabend (a total rockstart dr, btw) was calm and said I was finally almost 7.5cm after 40 hours of labor, however, there were signs and indicators from my body and the baby that were important things they were telling us. She wanted me to decide, but if those indicators were foretelling of the future, then I was definitely at risk for an emergency c section. I had already known in my heart what I wanted to do. I just wanted a confirmation from her. They gave Dru and I the room to discuss and it was a solid 20 second conversation. The goal was a beautiful birth, not a vaginal birth. We were in tune to my body and the baby and were happily signing up for a c section. Moving onto Plan D.
We informed the team and things moved pretty quickly from there as they prepped me, the OR, and provided us and my family and team all the details of what would be happening.
We were ready to go and they wheeled me & Dru back to the OR. I got the shakes really bad from the anesthesia and as soon as they started cutting me I started puking. That was solid experience, but don’t ask me how it felt to have the baby removed because I puked that ENTIRE time so I have no clue, lol. My puking stopped in perfect timing for when they pulled him out and showed him off to me through the clear screen! He was SO BIG. I DO NOT KNOW HOW HE WAS INSIDE ME. They then put him on my chest and left him there for a while and boy was that all the feels while I could feel so much of what they were doing putting all my parts back inside my body. All that tugging is sure a feeling you remember. My uterus started contracting and I didn’t realize I’d feel contractions during that part but I soaked in all the views of my little guy and then they took him to measure and weigh him while they finished things up in me.
When they said he was 9.8, I was floored! Then she said and he’s 21 inches! Dude is a hoss. They finished me up and we were wheeled into our postpartum room to recover and revel in our baby! So many feelings, so much peace, and boy do I have an endless amount of gratefulness and thankfulness for the people who piled in the room after that had never left my side, remained calm and encouraging and protective, and who I know where years beyond exhausted but got to see this little piece of heaven gifted to us we ALL worked so hard for.
It was such a sweet night and moment. All the hard work, all the plans, all the prayers, and all the ideas of how we’d get there had fallen into one accord for our sweet baby boy. God’s perfect timing, his perfect peace, and his wisdom was evident. We had the best care, the best team, and a most perfect baby.
Isaiah 26:3 is the most accurate description of our evolving birth story.
You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.
And these verses to..
Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing can make them stumble. Psalm 119:16
Then my people will dwell in a peaceful place, in safe and secure places of rest. Isaiah 32:18
So what happened to our birth plan? It was perfectly accomplished. I have a rad c section scar, a beautiful birth story, deep gratefulness and love for my birth babes and family and am not sure how I could love Dru or Dean and our big ole family more. We truly operated in perfect peace with no fear of the people surrounding us, the environments we were placed in, and the evolution of how our steps were ordered. The supernatural is surely the best place to rest in. It allows us to soar over changes and through adjustments and rather fight them embrace them and trust the giver and author of life isn’t off duty….he’s right there in the middle.
Soon to be mama’s – birth is truly beautiful and magical despite the hard. You can do all the physical work you want ahead of time (and you should!), but I truly believe the heart work you do trusting the Lord, and knowing his voice will be your greatest setup to reign in a fearless environment no matter how your plans evolve.
Big thanks to my whole birth team who laid the way for me to have the birth of my dreams! You were champions and I am deeply grateful. I was confident when I picked you ladies and my birth only affirmed, I make REALLY good decisions! I needed each of you and together we surely did something extraordinary.
Midwife: Yvonne Silbernagel, A Mother’s Love Midwifery
Midwife Assistant: Megan Jennings, Nature Blossom Birth
Doula: Rachel Wiggins, Little Lamb Birth Services