Nothing As Planned: The Birth of Mihka Elisha 9/10/21

We love it when parents share their birth stories with us on our Birth Blog. Today's birth story is shared by first time mom, Bianca, supported by Mindful Birth Doula Christa. Join us in hearing her story and welcoming the arrival of baby Mihka.

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9

"When I first learned that I was pregnant, I felt overwhelmed by my lack of knowledge about all things childbirth and parenting. My response was to learn as much as I could in the next nine months to prepare. As someone with a background in science and surrounded by a community pro-natural birth, I was drawn to resources like Natural Hospital Birth, Spinning Babies and Hypnobirthing. Everything I read encouraged hiring a doula, so I was so relieved when I met Tara, who shared further resources like Evidence Based Birth with me and helped me keep on track with my learning goals and birth plan.

Listening to birth stories became a favorite way to prepare. In story after story, I noticed that something unexpected always happened. Nevertheless, I was confident I would achieve my ideal labor experience. I was healthy and low risk, so why not? My only risk factor was being GBS positive, which meant antibiotics, no big deal. I imagined a textbook natural birth; my water wouldn’t break immediately, my baby would be in the right position (anterior), I would labor patiently as long as I could at home, and when I got to the hospital my doula and I would use combination of coping techniques like movement, hot water and hypnobirthing principles to have the ideal unmedicated, natural birth. By month 9 I felt confident and eager for baby to arrive, and I emailed my birth preferences to my midwives.

Of course, that idyllic vision of what my labor is not what happened. The following is an account of the 32 hour labor that defied my expectations at nearly every turn.

My mother arrived to stay with us on Wednesday September 8th. That evening around midnight, I woke up to a pulsing rush of water. Trying not to panic, I texted Tara and called the midwife group, and then remained in bed trying to rest. The midwife group told me I should go to the hospital within 6 hours, but I wanted to try to labor at home. Contractions began while in bed and I noticed they were not the cramping kind or even really in my abdomen, but instead gently radiating through my back. I stayed calm, practicing my breathing, and waited until morning to let my husband and mother know things had started. We ate breakfast and packed the car. During this prep time, all contractions had stopped. I called the midwife group and was scolded for not arriving within 6 hours of my water breaking, contractions or no, so I let Tara know I was headed to the hospital.

Last minute, through no fault of her own, Tara had a family emergency and let me know I would be receiving a backup doula. I received this news with surprising calm, and within minutes Christa, her replacement, had texted me and would meet us at the hospital.

I arrived at the hospital around 9am, where I entered triage alone due to Covid restrictions. The triage nurse was friendly but the exam was incredibly uncomfortable, and revealed that I was only 1cm dilated. Baby was posterior, which explained why I felt contractions in my back.

Once in the labor and delivery room, I met my labor nurse, Tamara, who would be a kind support person throughout my time at the hospital.

My husband and Christa soon joined me. Meeting her for the first time, I found that Christa was cheerful, compassionate and easygoing and I was grateful to have her there. Over the course of the stay, Christa truly was an advocate and supporter. She consistently talked with me about my decisions and options and also shared her own story with me, which allowed me to be compassionate with myself as my labor journey unfolded in unexpected directions.

Christa and I got to work right away. I was hooked up to an IV for fluids and antibiotics and on the bluetooth monitor, and my contractions weren’t yet regular. As soon as baby’s baseline was established, we began with movement and natural stimulation techniques.

Within minutes, the midwife on duty came in with a midwife in training and informed me that they would like to start augmenting my labor. This was not what I wanted, so after asking questions to compare my options, I requested more time to get labor started naturally.