"You still here? You haven't popped yet?" As I walked down the hall of my church I wondered if that was the only thing people could think of saying to me when they saw me still pregnant, overdue and huge.
In fact I went 11 days over due. I had an irritable uterus for around 10 weeks, and the past two weeks I had been having contractions off and on. Sometimes rough ones sometimes close together but they always ended with no baby on its way. At my 40 week check up the baby was still transverse so Ann (my midwife) did a version and told me to go walk my hide off. I was miserable and grumpy but I obeyed and at my 41 week check up she was head down, and in position to be born! I was actually thankful to be overdue, I didn’t care that I was a week late; emotionally at 41 weeks I was in a very good state of mind, better then at 40 weeks and so thankful that my baby was going to come when she was ready and not be forced out because of impatience or somebody’s schedule. People felt sorry for me, they automatically assumed I was an emotional wreck and so I understood, I was horribly uncomfortable and miserable, physically but what really matters is what was going on in my head. I was fine. God had blessed me beyond my wildest dreams with this pregnancy and I was going to be patient and happy and wait on His timing.
Colleen Faith’s Birth Story:
I woke up Sunday on October 23rd feeling different. Usually I’d wake up, get up and start the day. That day I woke up and stayed down. I was nauseous, tired, irritable and having stomach problems. I felt weak and smells bothered me, and I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t pin point it but deep down I knew this was the beginning of my labor, but I didn’t want to say it out loud. I called my birth team one by one to let them know of my condition. My doula suggested me trying to eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich and getting lots of rest. Nubun suggested that I should take a walk.
I just glared at him.
He only mentioned it once. All I wanted to do was sleep! Nubun took care of everything and made sure I got my rest. When I woke up from my nap I ate a sandwich and started feeling better, so I decided to roam my neighborhood sidewalks. Nubun and the girls walked with me. It was beautiful outside and the sunshine and fresh air felt good on my skin. Throughout the whole walk I was having contractions and I felt a lot of pelvic pressure. I knew it was almost time but having so many false alarms made me doubt at the same time. I grabbed Nubun’s hand as we were nearing the house. “I know I am in the early stage of labor, I just know it! But…” I said a little disappointingly “I just wish I could have a CLEAR sign!”
About 3 minutes later at around 6:50 that Sunday afternoon I leaned up against our SUV to rest and I felt a gush! Whoooosh! Out came the Amazon river! I think about this moment and I get tears in my eyes. It may sound silly to some but with every pregnancy I have always wanted to have my water break on its own at home announcing the beginning of my labor so that I could be able to say:
“Nubun! My water just broke!” Well, God gave me my little silly desire of my heart AND my CLEAR sign!
Nubun ran up to me and looked at the wet ground. His eyes were big (Imagine that! Ha-ha) and he said “Are you sure?” I nodded my head with a firm “Uh yeah!” I smiled and walked inside the house leaving a trail of evidence. His voice followed me as he kept on repeating “Are you sure? You sure? ANDREA, ARE YOU SURE!” I just giggled with glee and headed towards the restroom. My amniotic fluid just kept on coming and coming. I had more water in me then the average 3 pregnant women! I guarantee it! Nubun ran and got his camera and took a picture of my trail of water, or what was left of it. I called Ann and she drilled me with questions.
“Are you having contractions?”
“Yes, but not very painful ones.”
“Does your water have a bloody show?”
“No ma’am” (a couple of minutes after hanging up with her I got the bloody show)
After a few more questions she hung up with instructions to call her back when my contractions got stronger. I had noticed there were little white specks in with the fluid and Ann told me that it was vernix from the baby. After I hung up with her I waddled over to my camera totting husband. “Nubun! Come look!” and I showed him the little white specks and proudly said: “That is vernix from the baby!” He jumped with excitement. “Oh how cute!” and started taking pictures of it.
I called my doula, Hannah. “I will come over right now if you need me.” I looked in the mirror at my giant baby belly.
“I’m fine now.”
“Don’t try to be brave.” That tickled me because I’ve never thought of myself as being brave before. Before she hung up she told me to call her as soon as I felt I needed her. I started going over my mental list of things we needed to take to the birth center, instructing my husband coach “Don’t forget my yoga ball, or my cupcakes, or my jar of honey. Where is my gallon of water?”
Nubun was Posting on Facebook our progress. That was fun!
Then I took a quick shower and went into the living room. That was the end of my easy labor. Nubun was grabbing a bite to eat when my painful contractions started. After only 2 of them I knew it was time. “Nubun, I’m calling Hannah!”
I was already having trouble talking on the phone but she was on her way. My contractions were getting noticeably stronger and I was upset that Nubun was eating. I hollered at him:
“NUBUN! Oooooh! Nubun!!” and he came as fast as he could but it wasn’t fast enough for me. I am ashamed to say I yelled at him in the hall and started slapping at his arm with frustration:
“You said you were going to be by my side all the time! You… Oooooooooh!! It hurts!” He didn’t get upset at all, he’s a natural birth trained coach he knew the signs. When wife starts beating you, SHE IS IN TRANSITION, he just smiled and said:
“Call Ann we need to go” I shook my head; I wanted Hannah to get there first.
But I did call Ann and told her my contractions were strong but still about 5 minutes apart. I could still talk through my contractions, with difficulty but I could.
“Do you feel pressure on your bum?”
Just mere minutes later, I DID start feeling strong pressure and my contractions jumped to 1 minute apart and were unbearably strong. I couldn’t talk through contractions and I was in full blown transition! Nubun was back on the phone with Ann: “She is feeling pressure on her bottom and contractions are 1 minute apart.”
“Oh No! Get her here NOW!”
I had been laboring on my yoga ball but by the time Hannah got there I had moved over to my hope chest leaning against it in a kneeling position. She came in and stood by my side. I was having a huge contraction that left me trembling and sweating. I looked up at her and said:
“I am in the praying position.”
She smiled and said “That’s a good position to be in right now.” I trembled through another contraction and Nubun and Hannah looked at each other. They both knew they had to get me out of there. After that contraction was over Nubun got me up and walked me to the hall.
"Nubun, did you get my cupcakes?” Nubun was very worried by now. “Don’t worry about them. We have to go.” I took two more steps when I felt another pain coming. Hannah told me to lean up against my husband and so I did. Again I was trembling and sweating through the giant wave of pain.
After that pain was over they were both ready to sweep me off my feet and carry me to the car, (I think that would have been impossible) and then I said the dreaded words.
“I have to go to the bathroom”
Nubun about panicked “But we have to go now!”
“I have to go to the bathroom!”
And so I went and sat there for a while. “Well,” I said “I guess I didn’t need to go after all” Hannah handed me a Depends to wear of which I was very thankful. My water had quit leaking because the baby’s head was in position and serving as a cork, but soon she would move and the flow would start again. I walked back to the hall when again I stopped at the same place and leaned up against my coach to labor through another pain. When it was over I halfway turned to go back to the bedroom.
“I don’t want to go!” I was dreading that 40 minutes drive to the birth center.
“Ok” Nubun said “I’ll call Ann to come!”
“No wait!” I said visualizing the warm soothing birthing tub at the birth center.
“I’ll go.” And I slowly headed towards the door. “Did you get the cupcakes?”
I finally made it to the car and Hannah had so thoughtfully put a big blue pad on the seat. It was around 9pm. This was not a good time to be heading anywhere, right smack during transition. My contractions were lasting longer then my breaks in between and the pressure in my bum was stronger with each one. I should have listened to my coach when he told me we needed to leave the first time. I was half sitting and putting a lot of weight on the hand rest and grabbing a hold for dear life!Nubun immediately reached down and turned on some soft relaxing instrumental music.
After two notes I growled, in a grizzly bear kind of voice, "Shut up" I couldnt find the words to say anything else. He quickly fumbled to turn it off and back out of the driveway at the same time.
And then he was driving superbly, he was as smooth as butter and I didn’t even know he was speeding, but I did notice he was in and out of traffic passing people right and left, that should have given me a clue he was going fast. Hannah had a hard time keeping up, she was driving in her car behind us, they were both worried about cops we didn’t have time to stop or slow down, but God took care of it all.
What a ride! Nubun was so calm and wonderful he would tell me to relax during contractions and for some reason he had to tell me again during every single contraction because I’d forget from one time to the next and RELAXING DOES HELP! It’s like magic, but it isn’t easy to do.
Every time I’d see a curve in the road or our exit coming up I’d holler out “Don’t turn!” because when he turned I would lean and it HURT. But you really can not drive anywhere without making a turn. With every contraction I’d yell it “Don’t TURN!” then in between contractions I would apologize. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you.” And with the very next labor pain “Don’t turn!
Nobody said a laboring Mama was reasonable!”
It was 9:12 and dark. I looked over at Nubun: “How much longer?”
“15 minutes sweetheart” I looked at the clock. That meant 15 more contractions in the car. I squeezed my legs together dreading all 15 of them. But when they would come I’d concentrate on what my body was doing, I visualized my baby getting lower and in a comfortable position to come out. I imagined each contraction was giving her little lungs a massage preparing her to come out and take her first breath. A lot of things flashed through my mind. I remember looking at the lights outside and looking away so I could pay attention to the task at hand. I was tired and worn out for I was laboring and it was the hardest work I had ever done in my life!
And then, we were there! Nubun started to turn into the birth center in spite of me yelling out “Don’t turn!” and then he realized he turned into the office side and not the birth cottages which were across the street.
I was horrified and hollered out “You didn’t turn! Why didn’t you turn! You forgot to turn! Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!!”
When we got there everybody was in the parking lot waiting for us, my three midwives Ann, Michele, and Jenee and Hannah was there too. My chiropractor Dr Taylor was on her way. Ann opened up my car door and saw me. She just knew she was going to deliver that baby right there! I was paralyzed in a strong labor pain. I couldn’t move and she told me to just wait till it was over She asked me something I can’t remember what.
it was but I answered her back in a weak sounding voice:
“Yes ma’am”. She said I didn’t have to be polite, that a lot of Mama’s cursed at them. I never cursed and wasn’t going to start then. Also, I’m pretty sure it takes more effort and energy to get angry than it does to stay calm.
Ann told Nubun to undue my seatbelt and I don’t know how I got out of that car but I did and Ann was holding her hands out and I grabbed them and with my head held low and concentrating on the ground I followed her holding her hands as she walked backwards into the birth center. I was leaving another river of amniotic fluid behind me with every step I took. It was a hard slow walk but I made it, as we were entering my room I had just finished a contraction and I finally noticed Ann’s shoes, she was wearing sneakers. I remembered that at several of my pre natal visits either Nubun or I would ask Ann: “She has so much water in there, what does that mean? Is it bad?” And Ann would smile and she would always have the same calm answer: “All it means is that I am going to have to wear my rubber boots to your birth”
As I was taking my final steps to my beloved birth tub I said: “You forgot to wear your rubber boots.”
The birthing tub was ready it looked warm and inviting Jenee asked if I could get in by myself. Boy! could I? I stepped into that warm soothing water and it felt good! The lights were low and they had all the candles lit. Ann leaned over and in a low soothing voice she said to me: “Andrea, I noticed you have been tensing up and holding back. You are here now, just let it go and do what your body feels like.”
What a relief! I had not had one single vaginal check throughout my whole pregnancy, which is what I had requested, yet I already knew it was time to push. I just knew it! When she said that I immediately got on my knees and with one hand holding my weight up and the other hand across the side of the tub (a possition my natural birth instructor, Donna Ryan had highly recomended) I submitted to my contractions and started working with them. I started pushing. I had heard that pushing was a relief and that it felt good to push but I under estimated HOW perfect it felt and then I couldn’t stop pushing.
I could hear hushed voices talking around me. I was quiet because only with absolute silence could I concentrate on what I had to do. If I made any noise I knew I would lose it. I was experiencing the worse back pain imaginable; I was having back labor, although I remember it like big waves of pain sweeping my entire body and not only my back. What really helped was Jenee and Nubun taking turns pouring hot water on my back.
I didn’t even think about pushing, I didn’t tell anybody when I was having a contraction and that I was going to push, I just knew that was the next step and pushed.
I heard Michele say:
“Is she pushing?” Then I heard somebody else answer: “Oh yeah, she’s pushing!”
Nubun was right beside me and he kept leaning over and kissing my arm, "You are doing good Andrea!" he kept repeating lovingly.
Hannah was in front of me and when I would start to push she could tell by the look on my face, she would nod at Ann to let her know I was pushing. After a few pushes I remember thinking that I had to make some noise because I wanted them to know I was pushing so Nubun and Ann would be ready to catch the baby when she came out, so I would grunt at the beginning of every push. Nubun was behind me saying sweet things to me, of the which I never heard. Hannah was in front of me telling me I was doing a good job, I never heard her either. I was in the zone; I wasn’t listening to anybody or responding to them when they’d give me instructions on what to do. Ann was telling me to move a little to the left of the tub so she could reach me, but I had a hard time concentrating on what she was telling me, and what was worse, I don't know my right from my left!
When I was going through my contractions Ann was praying for me, what a comfort! What a blessing!
Ann told me that when the baby started crowning to give little pushes and to slow down so that she could help me not tear. When the time came I heard her say “Ok Andrea I feel the head, you are not but 10 minutes away from holding your baby.” But it wasn’t but a couple of minutes away when she had to tell me: “Give me little pushes here comes her head.”
Hannah repeated her and I tried, I really and truly tried but when that giant wave came washing over me there was no power on earth that was going to stop me from giving the biggest push of my life, actually I am not sure if it was me pushing or my uterus was doing it on its own, but nonetheless she was crowning! I was waiting for the ring of fire, and the burning feeling everybody talked about but although I did feel it (vaguely) my back labor pain overpowered and over ruled everything. Ann told Nubun and he got in position to catch her. Not even 20 minutes after arriving at the birth center and Colleen came into our lives. She came out posterior and shot out like a rocket! All 8lbs and 14ozs of her! And she landed in her Daddy’s loving hands. He handed her to me and it all happened so fast I barely heard Ann say: “Andrea reach down and grab your baby.”
It took me a little while to pop out of ‘the zone’. I never actually FELT her come out, I wasn't even sure she was out till I noticed my contractions had stopped and Ann was talking to me. I mentally shook my head and looked down as Nubun was handing me my baby, I reached down and picked up my little Colleen! And there is no feeling in the world like it as I cuddled her little body next to mine and kissed her little sweet head. I cried, I had waited so long for this moment. I had already loved her ever since I found out I was pregnant! And now, she was safe and sound in my arms. It was better then I had ever imagined!
She had her cord wrapped around her neck but since she had such chubby little chins they covered it up and it took a few seconds before Ann and I saw it. They just calmly lifted her up and Jenee just pulled the cord over her head and gave her back to me.
Nubun was hovering beside us; he was a happy and proud Daddy. “You made it look so easy honey!”
She was perfect! No problems with her, all 10 fingers and toes accounted for, a perfect little bundle of love. I had secretly wanted a big baby because for the last trimester I had been having intestinal problems and I was afraid my baby wasn’t getting the proper nutrition she needed and I knew that if she came out tiny I would feel guilty even if it was out of my control. But she was robust and healthy as she could be!
I did tear but very little. I had 4 stitches but I was happy and on cloud 9, I didn't care except for the fact that I couldn't hold my baby during the process, but Daddy had a grand ole time cuddling with his youngest!
We were having a party afterwards, talking and having a good time. My sweet friend Tori Gillit came, I could hear her in the hallway. Then she saw me lying in bed and she ran and jumped on the bed beside me and kissed my cheek. What a wonderful friend she is! I was so happy for her to come by, and share my joy. There is nothing like being happy and having a room full of people to share your happiness with! Tori brought her camera with her and took some amazing pictures of our little family. My chiropractor and dear friend, DR Taylor, gave Colleen and I adjustments just mere minutes after Colleen was born. Thanks to that adjustment I am feeling so much better after this birth than after having given birth the last two times. I have no tail bone pain this time around! Yay!
Afterwards my baby and me soaked in our herbal bath, in a cute little claw footed bath tub. It was amazing! Nubun scrubbed Colleens head with a little baby brush until she fell asleep. It was such a sweet time and moment for us! I was covered in huge towels so Tori could take pictures and Hannah could video tape the whole thing, we laughed and had a good time talking about what had happened in the past few hours.
I also had to be catheterized afterwards (Ann told me that I was the first Mama she has ever had to cathiterize at the birth center since it was open, years ago) because my bladder got lazy on me and decided to take a rest. I was still on my natural high I didn't care! Hannah held my hand throughout the whole process and it was a relief! They got 4,800CCs out of me! That is almost a gallon and a half of liquid. Ann just kept on shaking her head.
“I can’t believe it! I can’t believe it. You know they will never believe me when I tell them how much came out of you!” I laughed, and told her that my family would believe her. We were water drinkers! The whole process took like 30 minutes.
Nubun was there and he said: “Andrea labored. Andrea Pee peed. Guess which one took longer?”
One of the things I enjoyed so much about having my birth at Gentle Beginnings Birth Center is I knew exactly who was going to be there, and I considered them all my friends and when the time came they were genuinely happy and excited for me and they were all smiles. We really did have an after birth party, talking and laughing and giggling like an 14 year olds pajama party!
From Left to right: My doula Hannah Reasoner, My chiropractor Betsy Taylor, Me, Colleen, Nubun, My midwife Ann Crowell, midwife Jenee Ohrvall, midwife Michele Masse.
I don't have a picture of Tori at the Center because she was taking all the pictures so here is Tori Gillit my friend and AKA Adele Photography.
When it came time to leave the birth center and go home, I couldn’t contain my excitement! I couldn’t wait to show my little treasure to her two big sisters! When Evie and Jasmine did meet her for the first time, WOW! What fun! They instantly fell in love with her just like their Daddy and I did.
Unfortunately, with all the excitement going on I completely forgot about my beloved cupcakes in the back of my car.
Nubun and I thank the Lord for His mercy and His love He showed on us that day. I give Him all the glory and I thank Him for the wonderful birth team that I had, and the quick, very quick labor-- from the time my water broke till I pushed her out was 3 hours and counting from my active labor on it was merely 90 minutes! Ladies don't ever wish for a fast labor! Yet it was a very safe delivery of our sweet little Colleen Faith Sangjun. Thank the Lord! Nothing short of a miracle!
Welcome to the world Baby Colleen Faith Sangjun!
8lbs 14ozs 20 and half inches long.
Born October 23rd 2011. 9:49pm