I can’t believe she is here! We are officially a family of four. It still feels surreal!
I’m so excited to share Bobbie’s birth story – I was so touched by how much you all loved reading my retelling of Temple’s special birth, and it’s surreal that I’m now sitting here with my second baby girl. The best part about sharing my natural birth stories is that it seems to have opened a lot of your minds to the idea of having one of your own or at least helps you understand why some women choose this route. If you’re interested in the “Why” behind my choice to have both my girls all-naturally, I’d encourage you to go back and read Temple’s birth story first. That’s where I really dive into why we chose this particular path.
Also, it’s so important to me that you understand that I believe every birth is beautiful and unique – this is truly a judgment-free zone. So please return the favor and respect and honor my story –it takes a lot to openly share such a personal experience!
Warning- this is very long, personal post and it was somewhat hard to write. It’s challenging to put the feelings and experiences of birth into words. But, I want to always remember this day in all its truth. I am so proud of my natural birth and what my body was capable of from pregnancy to postpartum. I mostly wrote this for myself so I can always return to this day – the day I brought Bobbie Alexandra Lavey into the world.
I am just now posting my story because I wanted to wait for my birth video to be edited. It’s much more special to share the video alongside the story. I recommend reading my birth story then watching the video so that you better understand the timeline, location, and why I am standing in that intense final push haha.
I also want to remind y’all that you can find the things I was doing during my third trimester to prepare my body and mind for birth in this blog post!
Now to my birth story…
I *thought* it was all starting on Friday, March 6th. I was beginning to notice semi-regular contractions around 10:00 pm that night, so I started tracking them with my app to see if they were progressing and stayed regular. Given this was my second birth, I knew things would likely happen a bit more quickly. Temple’s birth was only 7 hours (which my midwives explained was very quick for a first-time mom) so I was anticipating this one being even faster and wanted to get to my Birth Center ASAP. In retrospect, I probably leaned into that second-baby-comes-faster theory a little too much, and Caleb encouraged me to get some rest until the contractions became more intense. Turns out, he was right! I went to bed and the contractions stopped, so I got a full night’s rest, waking up with a little bit of a bittersweet feeling – happy because I really didn’t want to go into labor in the middle of the night, but bummed because I thought I was meeting my baby soon.
I decided I needed to chill and trust that little miss Bobbie was going to make her debut when she was ready. I knew she was going to be here relatively soon since the contractions were starting and my body was preparing for delivery, so I would meet her soon enough. Saturday, March 7th, Caleb and I took Temple over to my in-laws’ to spend the night. I had a feeling Bobbie may come over the weekend so we felt it best to let Temple stay there so that I could rest. Caleb and I had such a wonderful day together! We started the day with a super long walk with lots of curb-walking on my end (google this- it’s great to help shimmy baby on down haha.) Then, we went to lunch at Homewood, a new restaurant in Dallas I’d been wanting to try. We split the Caesar salad and a burger then took another walk around Highland Park to look at all the gorgeous homes, daydreaming together about which ones we’d want to live in most!
During that second walk I told Caleb I was really getting uncomfortable and having lots of surges, but nothing was super regular or worth tracking yet. I knew I needed to go home and rest since I had been on my feet a lot that day. We got home around 4:00 pm and relaxed, binging Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, one of my fave feel-good shows to keep my spirits high. This wasn’t the time for one of our favorite dark dramas, like Ozark! Then at 5:00 pm, I lost my mucus plug – a big sign that labor is approaching.
We had an easy at-home dinner (pork dumplings from Trader Joe’s + broccoli and rice), and at 7:00 pm my contractions started to become more intense and regular. I got my contraction tracking app out… again! My Birth Center asks you not to contact the on-call number until the “411 rule” goes into play – this means your contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each for at least 1 hour. Since this was my second birth, my midwives wanted me to call their on-call number when I was at a 611 instead (so contractions were spaced at 6 minutes apart, not 4). They knew I was a mama who labors more quickly and wanted to have enough time to get me to the birth center comfortably before the contractions became really intense.
At around 9:00 pm I called Origins’ on-call number. I knew I still had time, but I wanted to let the midwives know that I felt Baby was coming at some point in the next 24 hours. She told me to rest and try to get some sleep so that I had as much energy as possible for labor. I also texted my Doula, Cheryl, and the birth videographer to keep them in the loop. I tried to lay down and get some sleep, but that becomes a little tricky when you’re having a contraction that you’re having to breathe through every 6 minutes! Somehow Caleb managed to sleep soundly next to me, while I laid awake “resting.” ????
At 11:00 pm I had to get up and walk/breathe through my contractions. They were becoming more intense and very regular, and I was starting to get nauseous, which is totally natural. This can happen during your transition from “early labor” to “active labor.” This happened during labor with my first too, so I knew I was officially in active labor. It was after midnight at this point and time to call my midwife. There are two midwives at Origins Dallas, and Megan was on-call. Megan told me to meet her at the Birth Center in 45 minutes. We grabbed our pre-packed birth bags and Caleb loaded the car, heading to the center around 1:15 am. It also happened to be Daylight Savings, so the time change was really throwing us off!
We arrived at Origins Dallas around 1:30am where my Doula, Cheryl, was waiting to greet us. It was a beautiful March night with a full moon and a light breeze. When we got settled inside, Megan checked my cervix and I was dilated to a 6. This is considered active labor, but you still have to get to 10cm before it’s time to push. Megan also put in the antibiotic drip because I was GBS positive this birth. At this point, I just had to stay comfortable until it was time for the real show! I knew based on my experience with Temple that things were likely to progress pretty quickly. I decided to begin laboring outside and do some curb walking to try and speed things up. Cheryl, Caleb, and I spent time outside talking as I curb walked – I wasn’t super uncomfortable and still able to have conversations. The main thing I loved about having a Doula was that she and Caleb could just chat and I could listen throughout labor – SUCH a welcomed distraction.
My midwife really stayed out of our way unless she was checking the baby’s heartbeat, which is super normal during natural births. It sounds crazy, but I remember the midwives telling me in an earlier appointment when I was pregnant with Temple that during labor they don’t do much until it’s time to push. They said the less they have to do, the better the birth for the mama and baby. Physically there isn’t much anyone can do for you other than be by your side in whatever capacity you need and want them. For me, I had Caleb and Cheryl by my side and that was perfect!
Anyway, over the course of the next few hours, from about 2:00 – 4:00 am, I did most of my laboring walking around outside or walking the stairs in the Birth Center. Origins is right next to a beautiful little park area surrounded by older homes that are all pretty and unique. It was nice to walk around with the cool breeze and admire the buildings while listening to Caleb chat about gosh-knows-what, haha! He had a double espresso before heading up to the Birth Center, so he was feeling extra chatty!
After 4:00 am, I attempted to do some more restful laboring, like sitting on the birth ball, but for some reason, every time I tried to sit, my contractions would slow down. It was as if Bobbie began resting too and things didn’t seem to progress as quickly as when I was actively moving. That little stinker liked me on my feet! I was a little bummed that my contractions slowed while in more restful positions because that meant a bath was out of the question while laboring. With Temple, I spent a large part of my labor in the tub.
Instead, I took to the stairs! We would walk sideways to help move my hips and allow baby to shimmy down into birthing position. I would stop walking every 4 minutes to breathe through a contraction that would last about a minute. This is where I want to give my Doula a big shout-out. I almost didn’t hire a Doula for this birth because Caleb was such an amazing birthing partner with Temple. At Temple’s birth, I asked a family friend to act as my doula, but technically, she’s not one. As wonderful as she was, there is a huge difference when you have a real certified doula there. Cheryl was the most amazing guiding light during our birth. She would get me a change of scenery while laboring, having me make a switch every 45 minutes or so, and putting pressure on my low-back during each contraction – it was amazing! The pressure helped alleviate some of the back pain that is common during labor. She would also guide Caleb in helping me mentally and physically. Cheryl would tell him when to hold my hand tight, grab me water, massage my back, etc. The two of them made the ultimate birthing team! So, anyone on the fence about hiring a doula… DO IT! And if you live in DFW then use Cheryl, she’s the best!
At around 6:00 am my contractions were getting super intense and I was really having to breathe through them with intention. I was beginning to do that classic birthing moan. When you start moaning, it’s typically close to push-time (at least in my experience). I don’t really need to audibly make noise until I’m really digging deep through those contractions toward the end of labor. At this point, the only people in the room were Caleb, my doula, my midwife, her assistant, and the photographer. While laboring, the only people in my direct vicinity for the most part were Caleb and Cheryl. The photographer didn’t start capturing anything until around 5:00 am when labor was getting intense. Once your body gets that urge to push, you know you’ll be meeting your sweet baby soon! It’s amazing how a woman’s body just knows and we have that innate urge to push. My midwife, Megan, checked me again and I was dilated to a 9 but my water still hadn’t broken. This happened with Temple too, so I didn’t expect it to break on its own. I labored a bit longer standing/leaning over the bath as they drew it for me. I knew I wanted to birth Bobbie in the bathtub but these big birth tubs take a really long time to fill! I got into the tub around 7:00 am.
Once I got into the bath the contractions were next-level intense and I was ready for her to break my water. The pressure of the water still being intact was super uncomfortable. Caleb said that it was so crazy seeing how much water rushed out when she popped it while I was seated in the bath. I had an instant sense of physical relief and was really ready to push now. My midwife told me to try and breathe through a few more contractions, but I could push whenever I really felt the urge. I remember Caleb praying over me for strength and a safe delivery, and by 7:30 am it was PUSH TIME!
I still have chills thinking about how beautiful the scene was – the tub was surrounded by windows and the morning sun was just beginning to burn through the clouds as I started pushing. I felt God was shining down on my little family as we welcomed our baby girl. Don’t get me wrong, pushing is the most intense thing I will ever experience. Yes, there is pain involved, but you have so much strength and adrenaline that it doesn’t necessarily process as pain in the moment. This is what I worked for my whole pregnancy, and all the laboring is for this. I knew I was so close to meeting Bobbie and each push just got her that much closer to being in my arms.
I probably only pushed 5 or 6 times before Bobbie was here. I gave every bit of energy and power I could muster into each of those pushes and when Megan told me she could see her head I knew I would be holding her soon. I was on my knees with my arms resting on the tub’s edge, gripping and bearing down with all my might. I had just pushed for what I thought would be my last time, but Bobbie’s hands were placed on each of her cheeks, preventing her from breaking all the way through. Megan told me to quickly stand up and that I had to keep pushing. Thank God for adrenaline because it took everything in me to push again without a break. I pushed with all my force and Bobbie’s head was completely out! I was standing in the tub at this point (image below) with one leg hiked up and with that last push, her arms and shoulders broke through followed by the rest of her body.
Caleb was able to catch Bobbie as she arrived and I quickly sat down in the tub as he handed her to me. I learned that this moment is called “The Birth Pause” – the moment when Baby is born and the mother transitions from an intense focus on labor to the beautiful realization that her baby is here. I was in complete shock and awe holding her. Bobbie was here and she was so beautiful. I felt an overwhelming flood of emotions – joy, strength, relief, and so, so much love. Caleb and I cried and stared at her, soaking up this special moment with our newest baby girl.
Even though I knew in those final pushes that Bobbie would be here any second, it still didn’t feel real. I DID IT! I brought our child earthside. It’s hard to put into words all the feelings I had in that moment, holding Bobbie and looking at Caleb with so much love for what we’d created together, and the sunrise flooding through the windows. That moment is my “why” to choosing a natural birth. That feeling is something I wish I could relive 1,000 times and it makes me want to have ALL the babies, ha! If I could describe birth in one word, it would be MAGICAL.
I sat in the water holding Bobbie and studying her beautiful face. The midwives gave Caleb and I all the time we wanted to enjoy this. We were so happy and our hearts were full. Bobbie Alexandra Lavey was born March 8, 2020 at 7:46 am, 8 lbs and 20 1/2 inches long.
I sat in the water for another 10 minutes or so before getting dried off and in bed. At this point, they cut Bobbie’s cord (about 30 minutes after she was born.) They stitched me up while I held Bobbie – I had a second-degree tear (ouch!) due to the way Bobbie’s arms were positioned on the way out. But, the pain from that didn’t process until later – during the birth, I was too focused to feel all that my body was enduring. My midwife then weighed her, did her newborn exam, and helped me get her latched and nursing. My parents and my in-laws then slowly came in as I rested in the bed. After a bit, it was time for my herbal bath. During my bath, my mother-in-law brought Temple to the birthing center to meet Bobbie. I will never forget introducing my girls, and Temple kissing her baby sister’s forehead (and showing off her toy horses, of course!). That was such a special moment and all I felt was gratitude for my two girls.
It was the most beautiful labor and birth. Just as I felt in birthing Temple, it was a truly spiritual experience for me. God was with me through every contraction and he gifted us with the most beautiful sunrise birth. The transformation a mother goes through in birth is hard to describe. We are stronger than before and see life differently now. We are their protectors and nurturers. We are woman, hear us ROAR!
(Below is my birth video. I’m SO proud of myself and this video captures every step so perfectly. The final pushes are a bit intense, but while definitely “up-close-and-personal,” I promise you don’t see anything overly graphic.)