When I was 34 weeks pregnant with our pup, gummy bear, Baby Austin (we didn’t know what we were having), my belly dropped low low low. Angie and my OB knew my wishes and my birth plan. Because my belly was so low already they feared the baby would come early. Also, because daddy was almost a 10 pounder, they put me on a low carb diet to prevent the baby from getting too big which might lead to interventions or a cesarean. Well, the kiddo was comfy. We made it to 39 weeks.
“Do I have time to make coffee?”
The morning of October 23 was the norm. I woke up, read (I’m a bookworm), ate breakfast, and enjoyed my one cup of coffee. A few hours later I got super yucky belly… let’s just say I was empty afterward. I knew I was going to be having that baby SOON…and probably not going to have to worry about pooping on the table (YAY!!!). I went to bed early that night.
I woke up at 2 am for my normal every two-hour pee break. I lifted the toilet seat, turned around and began to sit when I felt a trickle, trickle. “Did I just pee myself?” I ended up relieving myself and going back to bed.. 5 minutes later I had a contraction and afterward another trickle. Ahh….ok God, this is it! I timed my contractions from then on out but tried to get as much rest as possible. I rested for another hour and decided it was time to get ready. I took a shower, and as I was toweling off my water broke completely. Yup, this is really it!
I continued to get ready. I braided my hair, put on a little bit of makeup (so I didn’t look like a complete piece of garbage in our first family photo), and loaded up the car. I wanted to make sure Dale got as much rest as possible but then came the time to wake him up, “Hey babe, remember when you said to try and not go into labor in the middle of the night?” In, now, our fourteen years together, I have never seen him wake up so quickly. I’ll never forget his response, “Do I have time to make coffee?” haha “Of course silly. Take a shower if you’d like, too.” We got all situated and ready to go. We took our fur kiddos out potty, Sunset and Forrest, kissed them goodbye and we were on our way.
When I got to the hospital the receptionist and nurses couldn’t believe I didn’t want or need a wheelchair. I think they doubted whether I was actually in labor. Well, the swab test to check whether my water broke was positive and I was confirmed that this was it. I was admitted at 5:45 am at 211 (contractions 2 minutes apart, lasting a minute, for the last hour). My cervix was fully effaced, paper-thin, and at 4cm. My nurse guessed I would deliver by 11 am. My whole birth team was so excited. To them I was a rarity: I wanted an unmedicated birth AND we did not know the sex of our baby. How cool is that? No judging…just support and love.
I had read a book at the beginning of this pregnancy which I highly HIGHLY recommend. Supernatural Childbirth by Jackie Mize. It’s a biblical book about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Through each contraction, I trusted my body knew what it was doing because it was created by God. The nurses and doctor kept mentioning to me “Are you a yoga instructor? How are you so calm? How are you so focused?” Not only did I have an amazing, loyal, supportive, loving, and handsome (if I might add) coach, but God created us “fearfully and wonderfully” and Christ died on the cross to take away our sins, sorrows, and pain. This discomfort I was feeling during each contraction was nothing compared to what Christ did for us on the cross.
The whole day I had worship music playing (Gungor radio station to be exact). During my rest periods between contractions, I was able to lean on the words in each song. I changed positions every half hour or so.
“My Body Was Getting Tired”
2 pm hit and it was time to push. The nurse checked me, and I was in fact dilated to 10cm…but only on my left side of my cervix. My right was still at 6cm. I was basically at a standstill. Now, if you know what that feeling of having to push feels like, you know how hard it is to NOT push. My birth team put me in positions to specifically try and target the right side of my cervix. This was the only part of my day that was a drag. My back started to hurt from laying all discombobulated with this big fat belly weighing me down all crazy like. Unfortunately, my body was getting tired.
It was about 8 pm when my OB called me and said due to my body getting tired my contractions were getting farther and farther apart. I was 18 hours into labor and because my water had fully broken, it risked infection for me and the baby if we waited any longer. She knew I was hugely against any form of intervention, she knew the only way to prevent a cesarean was to get this show on the road. She asked if I would be willing to get a small dose of Pitocin in hopes it would help my right side to dilate. I was instantly doubting whether this was the right choice, but with the support and love from my OB and especially Dale I complied. I was told it would take about an hour to fully take effect and help my right side dilate.
Ten minutes in I lost focus and was filled with fear. I asked Dale “Would you be disappointed if I got an epidural?” He quickly answered, “absolutely not, but you will.” He told me to focus and that I had this. It was at that time I realized, similar to my first birth story, that the devil was in my ear. I had never actually rebuked the devil in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I will never forget…I literally felt him leave the room. I was back focused and within minutes when my nurse walked in to check my IV. I was ready! I begged her to check me…this was really it. She doubted me but checked and sure enough, I was fully dilated within about 15-20 minutes after that very minor dose of Pitocin.
While she got ready and called the doctor she said I could practice pushing, however, I felt lead to. I immediately got on my knees, leaned on the back of my bed and practiced pushing with each contraction. It took a few times and then suddenly I was like “aha” I get it now. I got on my back to conserve as much energy as possible. I pushed with just Dale and my nurse for about 15 minutes until my doctor and her team walked in. It took me about 30 more minutes to get the head out. I loved having a mirror to see my work. As the head was coming out the nurse said: “Aw you have a blondie.” Mind you, we’re both very dark brunettes, so this came as a shock to us. I got his head almost fully out until it got stuck…for 45 minutes. I worked and worked and worked and worked. I asked the doctor “am I having this baby today?” to which she answered yes.
“Beautiful Things Out of Us”
I had spent this entire day laboring and trying to birth this baby, that I was bound and determined now. And then the next song came on which my nurse started singing. A conversation broke out between my birth team. They were all Christians!!! They all started singing and humming worship music while I was pushing. If that wasn’t a divine appointment, I don’t know what is?! My favorite worship song came on next, “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. It was a song I had leaned on through my miscarriage. “You make beautiful things out of dust…You make beautiful things out of us.” I knew this was going to be my baby’s song! It was with that next contraction when my baby was born.
What sweet relief that feeling is…but how much sweeter it is to see our baby. “Do you want to know what it is?” Dale wanted a girl soooooooooo badly. When he proposed he even asked that I’d be his wife and give him little daughters with ringlets. I can guarantee the ringlets but it’s up to his swimmers to decide the sex of our kiddos. “IT’S A BOY!!!” I looked at him slightly worried he was disappointed. With tears in both of our eyes, we both said, “We have a son!” That little squish was then laid on my chest all vernix-y and delicious and my heart was stolen. I had never seen anything more beautiful. His perfect pursed lips, his little face, and his big eyes staring into my soul as if we’ve known each other for years. Like “Hey mom, nice to finally meet you!” That moment will forever be engraved in my memory.
Love Stronger, Trust Deeper
I finish this story out with tears in my eyes. The Lord took this heartbreaking experience of my miscarriage and taught me to love stronger and trust deeper than I could ever imagine. I kept praying for understanding. Now that I have my birth story, it is my best testimony yet. I was able to witness to so many people just at the hospital. Nurses asked, “how did you do it?” Jesus! “How did you stay so focused?” Jesus! God is so good, guys. We may never know why certain things happen to us…or sometimes you do find out.
Our baby in Heaven had to pass in order for this beautiful story to happen. In order for all those people to be witnessed to. In order for me to have this story to tell all of you. In order for me to learn what true faith and trust are.
Our son’s name is Michael Matthew “Royce” Austin. He’s rad in every sense of the word. He’s a total old soul, super social, super goofy and adorable, and so darn loving to everyone. Dale and I are so blessed to be his momma and dada and blessed that when we pass we have another sweetie waiting for us in Heaven with open arms. Until then, my love.
I leave you with this: “Lord you have my heart and I will search for Yours, Jesus take my life and lead me on…” by Delirious
Read Melesssa’s brave and inspiring story of Healing in the Face of Miscarriage
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