Corina Fitch is Gladys’ midwife here….and she was great! 🙂
My name is Gladys, I am a wife and mom of three precious children (one of which is in heaven) and I am thrilled to share the birth story of my son which has enriched our hearts and changed our view on life and birth forever…
Jonathan’s pregnancy came to us as a total surprise after a painful miscarriage in early 2011. But once we got over the shock and fear that losing this baby was a possibility once again, we noticed we had changed. We were no longer victims, but in charge. Not easily lured into mainstream practices just because a “professional” said so, but rather committed to research, to knowing and understanding the reasons why we do things. Our own experience and testimony of close trusted friends led us to make a decision to have our baby at home and my pregnancy in the care of a midwife. I was lucky to find Corina as a referral from my dear friend Jackie and after meeting with her one time; my husband and I knew she would be the best person to walk us by the hand through this process.
According to our calculations, my due date was November 7th but the ultrasound gave us an estimated due date of the 12th. Either way, we were convinced I would deliver in October since I was measuring big and just “had a feeling” things would go faster than my first pregnancy. Well, not only was baby Jonathan late a week and half, but I was in early labor for 4 days. When Corina checked me the first time we learned I had a funnel cervix, and was measuring 3 cm on the outside and was completely closed on the inside. So on November 6th we decided to try some homeopathic remedies to induce labor since my due date was approaching without any meaningful signs of labor. That evening I started having mild contractions and the excitement and anticipation started building up. However, after 48 hrs of false hoping, taking those remedies started feeling like a manipulative chore and my excitement turned into anxiety. After an afternoon of soul searching, I decided to stop taking them and trust that God could and would make this baby come in due time. Accepting that a birthDAY and time had already been decided upon allowed me to release the control and just lean on His timing, convinced His love for us is endless and perfect. After all, the sun comes up every morning and we don’t have to worry about it, right?!
Within 24 hrs my body started contractions on its own which was very exciting. Except that once again, they would come and go, get closer and stronger, and then stop; despite the fact I was walking and staying active. I saw Corina on Thursday that week and when she checked me I was 4 cm on the outside and 3 cm on the inside which was a great sign that my body was working and that I was making some progress but not significant enough; so we went home expecting to have one more weekend without a baby. My contractions were mild enough that I could sleep so my husband and I went to bed early. I woke up about an hour later to a stronger contraction but since I had been timing contractions for days, I was reluctant to time them now. I resolved in my mind that I wouldn’t time them again until I couldn’t walk from the pain. Not sure if that was rebellion or resolution, but it seemed to release all stress and open the runway because my contractions got more intense almost immediately. About an hour later during one of those contractions the baby made a jolting move and my water broke. My eyes opened in shock as I woke up my husband who sprung out of bed in a mixture of alarm and excitement. Since my first birth was at a hospital, induced and with an epidural I had no idea what labor was really like. But once I stepped down from the bed to go clean up I knew this was different and that I was “officially” in the race, with the labor clock ticking and that from now on everything was out of my hands. I got in the shower with steaming hot water running down as I assessed the intensifying surges. I wondered how strong they would get and if I would be able to do this graciously. I must have been in the shower for 20 mins. I prayed thanking God for giving me peace about his timing and for bringing about that moment. I asked for strength to stay connected to my baby as we went through labor so I wouldn’t forget he/she was experiencing the contractions as well. I got of the shower a few mins before Corina arrived. I found that standing up straight was not an option for comfort so I leaned over my bed analyzing my instinctive reactions in awe… women are made to do this whether we know it or not!. I could feel the intensity dial being turned up- I just didn’t know at the time my body was opening up fast. It was almost 11pm when I got in the birth tub. I walked to a living room full of candles, birthday balloons and decorations on the wall made by my daughter Sophia- her gift to the baby, and our expression of love in many “welcome home” drawings and notes. The room was inviting and I could feel the human warmth. Though my eyes were mostly closed I could feel the presence of Corina and her soft movements throughout the room, my husband’s gentle touch and compassionate heart, my daughter’s quiet curiosity, my friend Michelle’s sympathy and strength-filled energy towards me as she cheered with her eyes behind the video camera, Yakova’s encouragement and my baby moving inside with every contraction as if he was communicating, looking for my help for the first time to move us along to the end as fast as possible. In the tub the hot water was amazing. I found my comfortable spot and learned ways to breathe and move through my contractions every time they intensified. At some point, when they were testing my resolve I remember looking over my shoulder at Corina and asking “how much longer?”. I wanted to be brave and strong, but I was starting to admit this was challenging and I wanted it to stop. Even though she smiled gently saying “not much longer” with confidence- I thought to myself “I’m not even going to ask her to check me, because it hasn’t been that long. I’m probably 6-7cm I better keep pacing myself; it will be a while longer”. I kept praying in my mind, thanking God for this moment, for my sweet daughter that would caress my head and for the baby inside my belly whom I was about to meet. Every time contractions got stronger I would speak soothing words to the baby in my mind. I would commit to breathing deeper so he would get more oxygen. I would fix my posture to make sure nothing was adding unnecessary pressure and promising to give into the next contraction even more to allow the process to end along with the pain (for both of us). I was already behaving like a protective mom, sacrificing comfort and nurturing as I sent my positive energy and love. Three hours passed and suddenly, I noticed my body was shaking and shrugging. I couldn’t make any sense of it so I didn’t say anything until I realized a few times later I was not purposely doing so to “fight” the pain subconsciously… I was pushing! I finally said something when I couldn’t stop it if I wanted to and to my surprise, Corina confirmed it was time to push.
I was overwhelmed with emotion…so incredibly honored I get to bring a life into this world. I thought about the baby I lost, and the gift this was for me… a miracle, a baby- a baby that was “feeling” something at that exact moment. No longer a wish or a thought, but I was about to look into his eyes for the first time.
The anticipation of finding out the gender made me even more excited and within a couple of contractions the head came out. I remember seeing my daughter’s eyes light up. I even heard my husband hold his breath with emotion. I was waiting for the next contraction thinking “this was not so bad, I thought it would hurt more”, then the rest of the body came out- that was all I expected it to be. But the love, confidence and overwhelming happiness wiped it all away shortly after. It was a boy! Jonathan Manuel Garcia…An 8 lb 12 oz miracle, born at 1:35am into the skillful hands and careful watch of a loving midwife and the arms of his mom; in the most welcoming and soothing environment with candle light warmth, sweet music and love in the air. All babies and all moms deserve that moment. Jonathan’s birth was a beautiful process that left me knowledgeable, confident, empowered, humbled, honored and very, very, very thankful to be a woman and know the true meaning of being a mom- not just a good one, but the best I can be.
Video Uploaded by MichelleLawsonPhoto on Dec 1, 2011
I was honored to film and photograph my dear friend, Gladys’ birth almost 2 weeks ago and it was such a beautiful experience! Having a home birth is so beautiful and amazing and just filled with so much emotion, It’s hard to adequately describe the experience into words! Here is the Birth Day of Jonathan Garcia. Son to Galdys and Jack. and little brother to Sophie. Gladys and Jack you guys were an awesome team during your birth. I am thrilled to have been able to experience a home birth from another perspective other than the laboring mom! 😉 Your birth was beautiful!
Also: many wonderful thanks to all midwives, you are all amazing and wonderful for what you help laboring moms to do! 🙂 I so appreciate your work and you deserve many thanks as you uplift and serve women and help them to realize their strength and overcome fear and excel in greatness in birth!