It’s hard to believe Augustine has been in our lives for over a month. It seems like just yesterday that we were bringing him into this world. I debated whether or not to share the birth story with you all, but it was such an incredible experience that I couldn’t imagine not sharing it. His birth changed me in more ways than one and it’s a story I hope I remember for the rest of my life. Without further ado, here’s Augustine’s Birth Story.
My due date was at the end of August but in the back of my mind I was thinking we wouldn’t have the baby until September. Most first babies are supposed to be late, right? Also, I had hurt my back a few days before and was really praying that I could heal up before labor. I couldn’t imagine going through labor with the pain I was already feeling- it hurt so badly to walk and sit. I went to my prenatal yoga class on Friday, hoping that it would help loosen things up a bit. In my class there were two other mamas that were due the following week as well. Both of them had been having contractions and bloody show, making them think their labor was imminent. Since I wasn’t having any signs of early labor, I really thought I had at least a week to go. This little guy was ready though!
On Sunday afternoon I started feeling some contractions. They were really tight and similar to menstrual cramps. They weren’t radiating to my back like I had been told, though, so I dismissed them. I knew the contractions were an early sign, but didn’t think today was the day. Nevertheless, I texted my doula to give her a heads up. Early on, Matthew and I decided we wanted to have a doula there to help us through labor. One thing I didn’t realize is that most OB doctors don’t actually deliver their patients’ babies. My doctor, while amazing, is only on call a few days a week. If I went into labor on one of the days she’s not on call, which I did, one of the other doctors in her practice would deliver the baby. So, having one person that we could rely on to be there was so important. Matthew and I both had never done this before and wanted to have the support from someone who had been through countless births and could also be our advocate for a natural, unmedicated, labor. When I talked to my doula she said I should take a shower, eat something, and lie down for a bit. She thought that this might help us figure out whether I was in active labor or not. And, if birth was still a ways away, she wanted me to have my energy. She said she would check in at 9pm that night and see how I was doing.
I took a shower, still feeling the contractions through the water, ate a spinach and cheddar omelet that Matthew made for me, and laid down on the couch to watch an episode of Happy Endings. The contractions continued but they were so strong that I couldn’t lay down through them. This was when I knew it was the real thing. I called my doula at 8pm and told her the contractions were about every 4-5 minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds. She said to run a bath and try to relax and she’d be on her way. By the time my doula came I had thrown up my dinner, was having bloody show, and my contractions were speeding up. She said we should probably head to the hospital.
We live only 15 minutes from our hospital but it felt like the longest drive ever. Since it was after hours, we had to walk through a packed ER, which was a little stressful. They rushed me up to Labor and Delivery in a wheelchair as quickly as they could, though!
I went to Triage where they assessed me and I was already 7cm dilated! Wow! My biggest fear was that I was only going to be 3 or 4! They took me straight to a delivery room! Unfortunately, they had to hook me up to an IV because I was really dehydrated after throwing up my dinner and coconut water. They also gave me some oxygen. Being tied to the IV was the biggest disappointment with my labor because it made dealing with the contractions so much more challenging. While I was able to get up occasionally, I had to labor a lot on the bed. When I was able to get up, though, I would do some lunges and circle my hips. My doula was also one of my prenatal yoga teachers so she was able to help me with some great positions and exercises.
The nurses thought I was going to have the baby before midnight but things were delayed since my waters hadn’t broken yet. I wanted things to happen as naturally as possible, so I didn’t ask the doctor to break them for me. Instead, I continued laboring. Not having my waters broken meant there was a lot more pressure. I also felt like I needed to push about an hour before the nurses allowed me to. They wanted me to hold off, mainly because they were waiting for the waters to break, but also because they wanted to get the baby as low as possible. Finally, we were ready.
The nurses all warned me that my waters were going to break when I started pushing but actually they never did. Augustine was born “en caul,” which means in the amniotic sac. It’s extremely rare and highly revered in certain cultures. Some say it’s a sign of sainthood which is serendipitous since he’s named after St. Augustine. When I heard him cry I couldn’t even believe it. They quickly placed him on my chest and covered him with a towel. The nurses were like, “Do we know what it is?” and I said “It’s a boy!” I accidentally stole Matthew’s thunder because he was supposed to say it but he didn’t know. I saw it was a boy when the doctor placed him on my chest, but no one else could tell from their angle. I knew it was a boy almost all along which was so special. Matthew was in shock because he really thought we were having a girl. He couldn’t believe it! I was so happy to have skin to skin with Augustine for almost 2 hours. I didn’t want to let him go. He was the cutest, cuddliest guy, and smelled like brown sugar and cinnamon. God seriously blessed us!
Bringing this boy into the world was the best thing I’ve ever done. Labor is an intense and scary thing but I’m so happy I did it. I told Matthew the next day that I would do it again in a heartbeat. I actually can’t wait to do it again one day! It’s absolutely incredible what the female body is capable of. The fact that we can create a human body, nourish it for 9 months, deliver it, and then keep it alive off our milk is truly amazing!
We love you Augustine and we are so happy you’re here with us! You’ve already brought us so much joy and love. Our lives are forever changed and we can’t wait for all that’s ahead!
Read more about the first few weeks with Augustine!
photos by Kimber Brown