BRIAHNNA & JERRY + BABY EDEN
Birth comes in so many beautiful forms and I was so excited to get to work with Briahnna and Jerry as they welcomed their daughter, Eden, with a water birth at Beautiful Mountain Birth Suites. This was my first unmedicated, water birth and I wish I could bottle up the feeling in that room and keep it with me every day. I found myself on the verge of tears through the whole process, for no reason except that there was an indescribable peaceful Spirit in the room.
Below, I will be sharing Briahnna's birth story from my perspective. I have withheld the more intimate images of her birth, but I hope the ones I have shared tell the story as beautifully as it happened. Please be respectful in any comments you might make!
Here we go:
When I showed up to the Beautiful Mountain Birth Suites, I was really blown away by how homey the atmosphere was. It was warm and comfortable and decorated much like someone's house instead of a hospital. Everyone in the room welcomed me instantly, which was an amazing start to a long day. Jerry was an absolute rock as Bri breathed through her contractions. He protected her, rocked her, massaged her counter-pressure points, played power playlists, and whispered encouragement when she was feeling the toll of the process. Bri had done hypnobirthing training so he played her meditative mantra tracks (I highly recommend them, they're amazing!!). No negative or fearful comments were allowed in her space, only positive energy, and Jerry was quick to enforce this. We could all feel the gravity of it, so we spoke in quiet voices and centered all our actions around Bri's needs. That isn't to say that the atmosphere wasn't happy or energetic! We laughed and joked and between contractions, Briahnna was smiling and chatting with us.
The midwife came in and checked Bri after a bit and reported that she was about 5cm dilated. She encouraged us to drive to the mall right down the street, walk around for about an hour to get her contractions going, grab something to eat if she was feeling hungry, and hopefully get her to 6cm (which is considered active labor).
As soon as Kelbey, Briahnna's best friend arrived, we all packed into the car and headed to the mall. As we walked around, Jerry rocked Bri while she had contractions, got his ring cleaned, we grabbed some food, and carried on as usual. Bri didn't make a sound, she was so strong!!
After about an hour of walking around the mall, we headed back to the Birth Suites as her contractions were really picking up. We got there right as her doula, Laurel, showed up and the timing was perfect! She showed Jerry how to push on Bri's pressure points to counter her contractions and gave her immediate relief. We watched the office as Bri worked towards that full 6cm mark so she could get in the tub.
Finally she was at 6cm and officially in active labor! Laurel filled up the tub with warm water and when Bri got in, she couldn't stop saying how relaxing and soothing it was. There's a reason they call it the Midwives' epidural!
When the midwife came in to check her again, she was at 8cm! Briahnna cried some hard-earned tears and then prepared to work through those last 2 cm. Her labor had been so intense up to that point, with long, strong contractions constantly, but she had been fighting like a freaking champ. She breathed through them deeply with Laurel's help and they had done their work so far! She climbed out of the tub to labor on all 4's on the bed with an exercise ball.
After an hour or so of laboring on the bed, her midwife came back to check her again and her water broke! She was almost ready to push and it was time to get some pushing practice in. Slowly, the team moved Briahnna from the bed to the bathroom to help teach her which muscles to use for pushing her baby and then back to the tub. It was time to push!
This time was as slow as Briahnna needed. No counting, no leg holding, no rushing, no threats. She listened to her body and instincts told her to push with her contractions. Her midwives and doula offered encouragement and guidance when asked, but she knew exactly what to do! Bri's eyes were closed through this whole process and brow furrowed in deep concentration. Jerry was so tender with her, patting her forehead with cool water and whisper-cheering her on.
As baby was crowning, the midwife asked her to turn onto her back, still in the tub. She was pushing with all her strength but her skin would not give and let baby's head out. The pressure was overwhelming, she had been pushing for an hour, and I knew she was exhausted from this marathon. She put her head back and sobbed "Oh God!". Not a curse, but the most fervent, vocal prayer. (I get teary-eyed and goosebumps every time I even think of this moment. I wish you could see my face behind this computer screen, I'm a mess. It's burned into my brain forever and ever. )
For a split second, the midwife said she might have to intervene to help get baby out. Briahnna said "no, I can do it!" and pushed as hard as she could (I have no idea where she pulled that last bit of strength from) and baby's head was born with the rest of her little body quickly following into the water. Jerry came around her side and lifter her out of the water onto Briahnna's chest where we all proceeded to sob with her. Bri's mom melted into the arms of the nurse right next to her, crying loudly while Bri just kept saying "my baby, my baby, my baby, she's soooo cuuute".
Witnessing this birth was life-changing. Not only did I get to see the power of birth and women first hand, but I got to witness a tribe of loved ones gather around this mama and support her as she brought life into the world. Birth is no joke and having the best support team makes all the difference. Insist on surrounding yourself with love and support, and you will give your baby the best start in life!!