Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vienne's Beautiful Birth Story

(copied & pasted from an old blog of mine...therefore, this was written a few years ago)

Vienne Juliet's incredible little self was created in late July of '07. This time of the year was coincidentally significant to us because it was exactly 9 months after the conception of our first child, whom we had lost in a miscarriage the day after that previous Christmas '06. I must admit, that when we discovered we were pregnant again I was initially scared and hesitant. And, who wouldn't be? The last time I had conceived I had experienced a traumatic death within my womb. BUT, God is faithful! The month in which that first child was to be born, He placed our precious daughter within my womb. How incredible is that?!
Overall, my pregnancy was spectacular...Thank you, sweet Child of mine and thank you Jesus. Sure, the first 12 weeks were rough. I had bouts of constant nausea and I battled with severe sinus problems...symptoms like a harsh cold that lasted for 10 weeks straight! But, hey, I never threw up and for that I am thankful. Once I cleared the 12 wk. mark, it was smooth sailing for us both. I remember, at 20 wks, when we had our first and only ultrasound taken - that's when this experience became real for both Mark and I. We saw this little person up on the screen, as it grabbed its little toes and pulled them into 'its' mouth. I say 'it' because we opted to not find out her sex. Because of the rambunctiousness of the baby during that experience, we were sure she was a boy. (I later learned that most babies are "active" during ultra sounds because they really don't like the heat of the machine or so my midwife informed me...interesting to consider for the next time).
During the following months, I maintained a healthy pregnancy by eating tons and tons of vegetables, ALL organic foods, taking a whole food prenatal along with cod liver oil, and receiving regular chiropractic adjustments. I believe that these efforts contributed to helping me breeze through those months...I honestly never felt better in my life! My chronic digestive issues took a side seat for a while and I was full of energy (I almost miss the days!).

Early on, way before we even got pregnant, we had decided to have a natural birth with a midwife. Let me tell you, I found the best midwives...what a blessing they were to my entire experience! My prenatal appointments were like friendly get-togethers, on the couch, over a cup of tea. I was given their undivided attention for as long as I needed. I had home visits, where we just sat on my bed and marveled over my belly. None of that cold Dr. office exam room experience when the Dr. just sweeps in and out. This was a true experience...the way it should be. Midwives honor each and every pregnancy and birth...each one is treated like a miracle, as it well should be. Anyway, so our plan was to have our baby at home, in our large corner soaking tub, in our master bath. My master bathroom has windows that look out over the forest...such a peaceful and serene environment.

My due date was May 2, 2008. I celebrated my 30th birthday 3 wks. prior - all plump and happy. As the day drew near, I must admit that I was not ready. Sure, I was excited to meet this child, but I just was not quite ready to give up my self-focused maidenhood. Of course, the Lord knew how ready I was for that! The day before I went into labor, I remember I was romping all around town (Cannon Beach) bursting with energy. I was SURE I would not have this baby for another week. Little Lady inside had a different plan.

That night, at 1:30 am on May 1, 2008, exactly the day before my due date, I went to the bathroom and that's when my first contraction, ever, started. I remember thinking " this just a tummy ache?".  I crawled back into bed and felt another contraction...I started counting them out at every 5 minutes for the next half hour. By 2:00, I woke Mark up. We called the midwife and she just told us to get as much rest as possible and call back when things got more intense. I remember thinking 'well, what does that mean?' So, Mark went back to bed for a short bit. We were both so relaxed about it all. I took a long hot shower. Probably for the next 3 1/2 hours, I quietly labored in the darkness of our bedroom, between the shower and the yoga ball, as things got more intense. Of course, Mark was awake by then and setting things up - pulling out towels and heating water and such. The contractions we progressing, of course, but all I remember was just being in the rhythm of it all. I was not a screamer. I think maybe at one point, I miserably told Mark that it hurt. ha. By 5:30am we called Adele back and told her we thought things were getting more intense, like a minute long and a minute apart, and we asked if it was alright to draw the bath...she emphatically said "YES! she should be in the water!". (I had been avoiding it because I didn't want it to slow things down as I heard that it could if you get in too early). We also called our doula/midwife-in-training, Jennifer, who lived just 20 minutes away (Adele lived an hour and a half away, in Portland). I labored on the yoga ball while Mark prepared the bath. By 6:00am I climbed in. And I remember that the moment I hit the water, I felt the urge to push. It freaked us both out. We were all alone and really had NO clue how far along I really was. My sweet Mark tried to check but he had no clue what he was doing...thankfully, he is not a queezy man. By 6:30 Jennifer arrived and I was already in "transition". She immediately checked my and the baby's vitals and quickly announced that I was already 10cm and ready to go!! Holy cow were we surprised! I knew I had wanted to push, but I was so afraid to without anyone there! I was afraid of pushing too early. Jennifer encouraged me to follow my body's lead...and NOT to force it. I specifically remember her telling me to NOT force a push..but to let my body do the pushing (SOO opposite of what 'doctors' tell you). I learned that when you force the push, that's when you really can tear and it goes against your body's instincts. Your body knows how to birth without you interfering! This entire experience was about me getting in touch with my body and my ability to do what God made my body to do. Incredible! So, anyway, Jennifer stayed at my side while Mark soothingly brushed my hair between contractions. I just remember that Jennifer's presence was so calming and reassuring...she was quiet but so confidently reliable during the hard pushes. Mark says I wasn't really verbal at all, just quietly moaning into my bath pillow. I do remember asking if this was going to carry on for hours and Jennifer just laughed and asked "why do you think that?". I pathetically said "because that's what most women go through..." and she very firmly said "no". I think I might have pushed for less than an hour but I don't even remember it being that long.

The candles in the bathroom were lit, soft praise music was playing, the day was breaking and at 7:38 am on May 1, 2008 a little girl was born. We pulled this tiny little baby up onto my chest and wept over her beauty. We were so enthralled by the pure miracle before us that we even forgot to check her sex for a few moments! And, there she was, 6 lbs 6 oz, 19" long, all curled up and bright-eyed on my chest. Not a peep she made. She just cooed and gurgled and looked up at her Daddy. She was covered in this marvelous thick white coating called vernix that we just rubbed into her skin, like lotion, and let it soak in, leaving her with the most luxuriously soft skin.

By 8:30 am my midwife, Adele, finally showed up! Yes, she was an hour late. She was sure that my labor would last longer. Nope, just 6 hours! As it turned out, Mark and I labored together for the first 5 hours and thankfully Jennifer showed up for the final hour to guide us along. After Vienne's placenta was birthed, we transitioned to bed. Shortly thereafter, my mom and sis finally showed up...totally bummed that they, too, had missed the big event. My labor was so quick that all of our plans for a long and arduous labor had flown out the window.

It was such a beautiful and peaceful experience. No doctors, no cold rooms, no drugs, and no rush. In the end, we were actually happy that most of our expected 'helpers' were a bit late - Mark and Jennifer were the perfect company that strove to maintain a peaceful and lovely labor. I would do it all over again in a heart beat!

And, this is the story of how our beautiful Vienne Juliet came into our world.


  1. Jenny, hi. I know Kinsey from Bible College and found your blog. I just read your post about what happened to your sweet baby and I cried the whole way through. There simply are no words. I am just so incredibly sorry and wish I could hug you and encourage you. I will be praying for you as you remember her Birthday and everything about her. I am just so very sorry for your loss. What a BEAUTIFUL way to remember her. Your family is in my prayers.

    1. Thank you, Jillian. This means so very much to me. Your words are so sweet and warm my heart.