In today's episode we're reading a truly amazing listener email from Brianna. Now, Brianna is a totally badass mama (which you'll hear in the episode). She had planned to birth her daughter in a birth pool at a birthing center, but after pushing for literally the entire night with no real horizon in sight, they decided to transfer her to a hospital, and that's where the story really picks up!
Brianna connected with me on Instagram (which you can do @sarahmbivens as well as @diahpodcast), and emailed me a detailed account of her amazing birth story. I read and re-read her story because it was just too inspiring. As you'll hear, Brianna is a really courageous and strong woman who was determined to bring her baby into the world.
Below you will find Brianna's email to me containing her full birth story (for the readers out there).
If you would like to email your birth story to us, either to read on the podcast or simply to share it, we'd love to receive it! You can email us at hello [at] diahpodcast [dot] com. You can also reach us on Instagram at @diahpodcast.
--- BRIANNA'S BIRTH STORY ---
Sarah and Matthew,
I love your podcast! I just found you guys a couple of weeks ago and can't seem to get enough of it. I'm thrilled to find so much positivity surrounding home birth and even natural birthing in general. I'm constantly reading birth stories and watching videos, so now I get to hear about them too! :) My husband and I have a wonderful 16 month old daughter, Audrey, and we are also expecting our second daughter. I am due June 16th! We are planning a home birth and I am thrilled.
We had planned to have a water birth with Audrey at a local birth center. I labored with her beautifully at home for while, then arrived at the birthing center already dilated to a 6! The rest is a VERY LONG story... I got to a 10 just fine, but ended up pushing for longer than I have ever heard of. I pushed and pushed from about 1AM and all through the night. The midwife finally said she though the hospital might be the best place for me at that point. The last thing I wanted to hear. But I was so beyond exhausted at this point that I was close to passing out. I knew she may be right. I got to the hospital and the staff hurried to get me hooked up and on the bed. They looked at me, all pale with closed eyes, and told me my only option was an epidural because 'I needed to rest'. I thought, "What? Don't they know I've been at a 10 and pushing all night? That my water has broken? That I have been able to literally FEEL her head for hours, but I just can't seem to get her out?"
Unable to fully voice these thoughts, my kind husband asked if there was any other option. He told them that an epidural was simply not something we had wanted. They told us no. They never even checked me that I can remember. So, though we never actually said the word "yes", they told the anesthesiologist to go and get the needle ready. I asked if I could go to the bathroom. The nurses helped me in there and my husband Joe came as well. During the whole transfer to the hospital I had kept my eyes shut and prayed with everything in me to not push. My contractions seemed to have lessened because of this and all the craziness. When I sat on that toiled though and thought about everything that was happening and also how much I hated needles... I reached deep inside to the one ounce of strength I had left and started to push. It was only then that one of the nurses reached down and was shocked to feel Audrey's head. She exclaimed, "She's crowning!! She can do this!!" and my sweet hubbie literally broke down into tears next to me. He said, "You can do this, babe! Just don't give up. I know you can do this! Keep pushing! We can avoid ALL of this if you just keep going!" Well, if my whole body feeling beyond done and ready to birth our baby wasn't enough of a motivator, hearing my husband plead with me like that, full of concern and love certainly was.
The nurses were cheering me on, helping me into all kinds of different positions, doing whatever they could to help the process. I was amazed at how accepting they were of my desire for a natural birth. Maybe an hour passed of more pushing when the nurses called the doctor in. I had stated in my birth plan that I did NOT want to do the whole "purple pushing" thing. Yet here I was, in a hospital with people helping hold me up because I had no strength and a doctor telling me to push with all I had. I had nothing left. I literally pushed so hard near the end that my nose started to bleed from the pressure! This only caused my mom and husband more concern, of course...
At this moment, the doctor tells me that I have the following choices: a vacuum or an episiotomy. My mother, who birthed two of her three daughters naturally immediately encouraged the latter. I consented with one last plea to the Lord. I told Him, "I don't have any strength left... Can you push for me? Please help my baby to be okay. I need you, Lord. Be my strength." Through all of this, there were moments that I truly thought I or the baby may not make it. Joe told me he wondered the same. But after that last plea, God put a song in my heart. The lyrics played over and over in my mind, though I hadn't heard them in years. The comforting visual it gave me was that I was not alone. God showed me a picture of Jesus walking up a hill with me, so I imagined the next contractions as hills that we walked together. Such a beautiful picture!
With that and an episiotomy later, out came my precious baby girl! I had dreaded them saying the words "c-section" the whole time, and even though my recovery was brutal (I ended up with third or fourth degree tearing....all the way through my sphincter, on top of the episiotomy! I was literally torn in half.), I was just eternally grateful that God had answered all of our prayers. We had our baby girl. We had a natural birth in the end, though not without an intervention after all. But we were alive and healthy. On top of everything though, the doctors said my iron levels were low enough to be called anemic. Which explains my extreme fatigue that lasted over the next couple of days as I tried to build that back up.
Sorry I am long-winded! I thought my story might work for your show and possibly be even better if I waited until after I get to experience the home birth we are planning. I've always known I wanted to have my children naturally. Ever since I heard my mom talking to my aunts about the natural births they had as I was growing up. I was awestruck by the strength it must take and just knew I wanted to say that I had done it too.Since my current midwife says it sounds like my problem pushing Audrey out was likely her big head (14") and my petite body/tight muscles, there seems to be no reason at all that this next labor and birth shouldn't be absolutely beautiful and at home where I am most comfortable.
Even if I just get to share this story with you two and nothing else, I hope it brings some joy and encouragement! Audrey lights up every room she walks into and she smiles at the world. She is our little miracle baby indeed.
God bless you guys! Keep up the awesome work!