Joy’s Journey

The story of birth is one worthy of telling. It is the story of empowerment, strength, and the remarkable transformation of a woman. Our birthing stories are a thread that tie moms together. We entered our second home birth experience on a much better foot than our first. We have a job, I saw the same midwives for the entirety of the pregnancy and we had more confidence since we have done this before. I thought with this being my 5th delivery it would go something like the others, but with each of my birthing experiences they have their own unique stories and not one was alike outside the fact they each brought forth a beautiful new life.

Our journey began at 37 weeks when I could tell my body was getting ready… then came the tortuous wait. 38 weeks came and went and I found myself at my first ever 39 wk visit- I was 39 weeks 4 days on Tuesday May 21 and the day before had given up hope that I would ever birth this baby. Sounds silly now, but I had convinced myself I would eternally be pregnant. I felt better on Tuesday and was encouraged to find out that baby’s head was locked and loaded, so I knew she wasn’t going anywhere but OUT.

Since we were out I could not waste a trip away from home and going to restock at Sam’s Club while having an inexpensive dinner seemed a logical course of action. While walking through the store I found myself needing to stop because I could not walk through the contractions. Thought nothing of it because I had been having contractions for 3 weeks. We got home and I went straight to resting. Later in the evening I had one of the kids bring me the diaper bag… it held the only known pacifier for Judah. Apparently the bag had been forgotten outside, and when it came to me I received an unpleasant surprise of ants… ants everywhere… all over my arm, all over my bed, all over the floor- EVERYWHERE. Simeon was asleep in my bed, but we managed to vacuum, shake, and squish a zillion ants from the back door to the den. It took me awhile to fall asleep after that.=)

In the morning I still felt the occasional strong contraction surge through my body. They felt different than the others, but there was no pattern and we decided to send JM to work with the idea that if I still felt like this he would come home at lunch. He was home by 1:30. My beautiful midwives told me to call them and give them a heads up so I did, but I did not think anything was really going on- I mean seriously Labor is steady, regular, time able contractions – I did not have that going on. I did not want them to waste a trip all the way out to my house, but they insisted on coming to check on me and baby.

They arrived around 2pm checked my blood pressure and baby’s heart rate and all was good. They decided to stick around for awhile and see what happened… Traffic round these parts is brutal and if they got stuck in traffic we would be birthing this baby solo. They went into the other room and gave me time to just be.

I had my worship music going and had such an incredible peace and then excitement at the thought of today being the day I could hold my sweet baby. By 3pm JM decided to start ‘timing’ the contractions. They were still sporadic, but during a cycle of them he found them being 3 min apart lasting a min. It did not seem like they were that long, but I guess they were. He decided to get the pool filled and set up. In the 15 min it took to get the hose set up and ready and for the MW to get back to me, the contractions had jumped to 1 1/2 min lasting a min. That was around 3:30 and we realized that active labor had started. I wasn’t in pain but they were powerful. I was able to joke, talk, and enjoy the entire labor. Still it wasn’t until I saw the birthing supplies being set up that I really got excited and knew that soon we would see our daughter. I had waited none long months and all of us were beside ourselves with great anticipation of this moment.

The pool took 2 cycles of hot water to get filled and while I waited for it to get ready I sat in the rocker and that slowed things down. It felt so good to get into the warm water and relax. Like a nice, beautiful bath.I eve asked JM how we could make this blow up pool our bathtub. I felt like the contractions slowed down considerably. But when I had them I could feel them working. My uterus was doing its job and pushing my baby down. I was determined to be relaxed and let my body work. I could describe it like an intense workout. When my muscles reached their peak performance I needed to breathe through it to help get over the hump. They gradually got more intense and started working harder. I had been in the pool so long we needed to reheat it and that fresh bit of hot water seemed to be the key to getting things going. I was relaxed, excited, and so ready to meet my baby.I heard the MW talk about how they could tell a difference in how I was breathing through the contractions and that had them get ready for the birth.

I am amazed at how these women can read a woman’s body and her reactions and know what is happening. I had no dilation check, I had no one tell me what was happening to my body, I simply let my body work in its glorious God given nature. I resisted the urge to push. I knew I could speed things up if I did push, but I also knew my body wasn’t ready to push. So I breathed through the urge to makes things go faster. Suddenly I had a spontaneous push, a min later my water broke, and then with the next push our sweet girl was out into our world. It all came together so fast, so easy, and so perfectly. I was so relaxed and comfortable that she was the first birth I was able to witness. I held her in my arms and marveled at the preciousness of life and how simply awe struck I was at how my body could function and bring her forth with no pain. I had prayed for this, and it was a beautiful time of being part of new life. The incubating, the kicks, the dreaming of what they will look like and who they will be. The preparation and the anticipation and in the blink of an eye the promise is held in my arms. Looking at this brand new life. Hearing that first sweet cry. Checking to make sure that indeed she was a girl and had all her fingers and toes and a head full of hair. She was perfect and she was ours.

She was a natural nurser at 10 min old, and kept at it. Soon all 4 of her brothers piled in to meet our Joy. She was an instant hit and everyone fell marvelously in love with her. Jeremiah was able to once again help with the newborn exam and even helped examine the placenta and learn everything about its function.

Joy Anne Menta was born at 6:02pm. 7lbs 14 oz and 20 inches of pure sweetness. Our 5th gift and 1st daughter. Having her at home brought so much peace and family involvement. Having all our children participate in the process, I feel helps them take ownership of their new sibling. We can have them all snuggle up in bed and be present as much as they want. The night was peaceful as I stayed awake staring at this new life. And in the morning the fighting begun over who was going to hold her=) She is so treasured, and a week later she rarely finds herself alone. There are plenty of arms around to hold her tight and she fits perfectly into all of them. Now we have a 13, 10, 4, 2, and newborn in the home. How exciting.