January 31, 2017

A Birth Story - Baby Hank

My past pregnancies and births and season of infertility and miscarriages play such a big role in getting me TO this birth story, but that's a whole blog in itself, so I'll save that for later and just jump in with THIS birth story while it's still fresh in my mind.

I WILL say that this birth was SO redemptive for me.  Even though the birth experience doesn't matter nearly as much as the end result, I SO wanted this birth to be different from my others.  I wanted it to feel WAY less medical, cold, sterile, confined.  I wanted to be WAY more positive and in control as opposed to tense, fearful, and essentially just bracing myself.  I wanted to be surrounded by people who believed I could do it and offered REAL support instead of medical interventions to "take the edge off."  I wanted music, and positive affirmations, and a beautiful environment, and a more active role for my husband.  I wanted my dream birth.

I can honestly say I got it.

38 weeks 3 days:  I told my husband that I was amazed at how much I didn't feel near the end of this.  I'm sleeping well, and I'm relatively comfortable.  I have plenty of belly tightening if I stoop or climb stairs, but no pain associated with it.

38 weeks 4 days:

3:00pm:  I got dressed for church and commented that my belly looked WAY rounder.  It just looked different.  More forward.  As I was walking around the house I would induce random contractions.  Nothing regular, just caused by my activity, but they had more feeling than the belly tightening I had been having.

4:00pm:  I was uncomfortable at church, but the "contractions" seemed to only happen when I was walking.  Totally normal and expected.  I did something similar for TWO WEEKS before my second kid joined us Earth-side.

6:00pm:  I got pho for dinner and over-spiced it, whoops.

7:00pm:  Home from dinner I decided I should lie down and rest to see if the contractions would go away while my husband put the big kids to bed.

8:00pm:  We STILL hadn't packed a bag for the birthing center, so we scrambled to do that since my contractions were suddenly 8-10 minutes apart.  We went to bed expecting this to be the first of many nights of pre-term labor that would keep us up all night and go away by morning.

38 weeks 5 days:

12:00am:  I called my doula to let her know that contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart BUT they were now lasting 1min 15sec (instead of 20 seconds) and they were stronger.  I still didn't think this was it, but wanted to keep her posted.  I just continued to rest in bed as much as possible, even though I was not able to sleep.

4:00am:  I called my doula and the midwife to let them know that contractions were now 5-6 minutes apart and pretty strong.  I started to think this wasn't going to go away in the morning, but planned to keep resting in bed a little longer -- hopefully till the sun came up.  I did my best to take slow deep breaths when the contractions came.

6:00am:  We decided my husband should go to the store to get gatorade and newborn diapers (we're so prepared!) and I texted a friend to plan to come over at 7, and we would head to the birthing center.

6:15am:  We decided my husband probably better not leave me after all, and I texted my friend to just come on over sooner than later.  My husband called the doula and midwife to say that we were getting packed up and should be at the birthing center just after 7.  Contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, lasting a little over a minute still, and quite strong.  Up until this point I've just been breathing deeply through them the best I can.  While Matt got the car and everything ready, I turned on an app called Gentle Birth and listened to some birth affirmations.

6:45am:  Gina arrived and we headed out.  I rode in the back seat and listened to a 30 minute guided meditation/hypnosis in my Gentle Birth app.  It was the perfect length of time to get to the birth center, and it really helped me stay calm and focused.

7:15am:  We arrived, and I stepped out of the car in a night gown and fuzzy boots, haha!  Three amazing faces greeted me on the side walk.  My doula, my midwife, and the fabulous nurse that taught the birthing class where we learned SO much.  I could not have been in better hands.

They led me right to my birthing room which was set up with frankincense in the diffuser, low light, beautiful jars all around the room filled with tiny string lights, and a giant tub full of water.  I sat on the side of the bed and continued breathing through contractions while the midwife took my vitals and my husband set up the playlist on the jambox.

The first song that played was O Come to the Altar by Elevation Worship, and I just cried.  I cried, because I felt safe, I felt calm, I felt overwhelmed, I felt spoiled, I felt happy, I felt excited.

This was SO different than checking in at the hospital, putting on that terrible gown, and getting an IV for group b strep.  Blech.

All of the music we chose for our playlist had an emotional feel and just listening to it made me naturally breathe slower and deeper.  We kept the playlist going the whole time, and it was just really helpful.

At this point contractions were 3 min apart, lasting 60 sec, and strong.

8:15am:  I stood up and felt very light headed.  I asked for the cap to my peppermint oil to smell for the nausea.  I saw stars and definitely thought I was going to pass out, so I dropped down onto the floor.  My blood pressure was 60 over too-low-to-read.  They gave me 30 minutes to drink 12 oz of water to see if that would help.  I had very very low blood pressure during my labor with my second baby, and I was sure this was going to mean a transfer to the hospital.

The cold hard floor felt good, and I didn't want to get up, so I laid on my left side in the fetal position, and they brought me pillows and blankets.

Contractions were 3-5 min apart, lasting 60 sec, and felt more productive.  I was starting to feel pain in my lower back.

9:00am:  My blood pressure got back on track, hooray!!  My contractions were 2-4 min apart, lasting 60-80 seconds, and I was continuing to feel the pain in my back during them.  I was taking long slow deep breathes during the contractions as much as possible, my doula was repeating calm encouraging words, and my husband was pressing on my back.

9:30am:  I'm still on the floor, but my doula wanted me to change positions, so I got on my hands and knees.  The contractions were strong and hurt this way, and I was not a fan!!  2-4 min apart, lasting 60 sec.  Still just breathing as slow and deep as I can.  Not letting any negative thoughts of fear or pain creep in.  The music in the background was so helpful for having something to focus my attention on.

10:00am:  I'm in the most amazing birthing room that looks like a Caribbean resort, and there I was, still on the cold hard floor.  2-4 min apart, lasting 60 sec, more back pain.  I instinctively started making a low deep sound when I exhaled to manage the pain.

10:30am:  I was beginning to feel pressure like I needed to poop, a tell tale sign of progress, but wasn't feeling like I was ready to push out a baby.  I decide to try getting in the tub.  The tub felt AMAZING.  I was able to relax my whole body and feel some relief during contractions, but my lower back really really hurt, and I was asking my husband to push really really hard there during contractions.

10:40am:  They told me the water needed to be warmer if I wanted to deliver the baby there, so I told them we better go ahead and warm it up just in case, because A.  I'm not moving, and B.  There might be a baby soon!!  At some point between contractions I was able to communicate that we would soon get to see what this baby looks like.  I told the midwife, doula, and nurse there that our first was very light skinned, like a pale pink, and our second came out almost dark red!

11:00am:  I was kneeling in the tub with an ice cold rag on my forehead.  My husband was pushing hard on my lower back and I was continuing to make a low deep moaning sound.  A good sign that the end is coming!!   The doula and the midwife were both helping me find the note that would be most productive during contractions.  We basically sounded like 3 cows sitting around the tub mooing, haha!

11:20am:  I started to have the urge to push during AND between contractions now.  Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 80 seconds.

11:25am:  I wanted to push, but the midwife needed to check my progress before she would give me the green light.  Up to this point my progress had not been checked at any point during the pregnancy.  I told her she was going to break my heart if she told me I was 7cm.  NINE!  Hooray.  She wanted me to work through two more contractions before pushing.  I think I worked through one more, but then I just could not help it.  I had to push.

11:30am:  Began pushing along with the contractions.

11:35am:  My water broke.

11:36am:  Henry Matthew Meitl (Hank) was born!  Wow!  What a ride!

Everyone helped me right out of the tub and into the bed where I held baby skin-to-skin for 2 hours before anyone checked a single thing on his precious little body.  What an amazing experience.  They checked him, checked me, made sure we got some rest, some food, and a couple chances to nurse, and then we came on home.

We were at the birthing center for 4 hours when Hank was born.
We were at birthing center for only 10 hours total.
We were not even gone from the house for 12 hours.

Those facts are so crazy to me!!

Here is our playlist:
O Come to the Alter - Elevation Worship
At the Cross - Hillsong
Lord, I Need You - Chris Tomlin
There is a Fountain - MercyMe
At Your Name - Phil Wickham
Hosanna - Hillsong
Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus - Casting Crowns
God, Forevermore - Summit Worship
Break Every Chain - The Digital Age
All the Poor and Powerless - The Digital Age
Touch the Sky - Hillsong
Always - Hillsong
What a Beautiful Name - Hillsong
In Christ Alone - Shane & Shane
Before the Throne of God Above - Shane & Shane
This I Believe (The Creed) - Hillsong
The Only One - Summit Worship
Here are some pics from baby's first few hours earth-side.  Happy birthday, baby Hank!!

January 22, 2017 at 11:36am
6lbs 14oz -- 20" long


  1. Beautiful. Just amazing. Love it! Praise God from whom all blessings flow, ...
    Love to the Meitl Family, especially the lovely momma,

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