Lilla's Birth Story

Well I guess since 6 months have passed I should write this huh? Better late then never!

It's a long one y'all! So get ready!

Let me just start out with... NOTHING WENT AS PLANNED. I’ve learned to accept it. Some days I wish it would have gone as planned. But mostly I don’t even think of it.

Even before I got pregnant, in fact it was a few years before, after watching a documentary The Business of Being Born (highly recommended!) I had decided I wanted to do a natural home birth. It was something I was passionate about. I did not want to go to a doctor for prenatal care. Instead I wanted a midwife. So the week I found out I was pregnant I called up the only midwife clinic I knew I wanted to go to. I wanted to make sure they had a spot for me as they only take so many clients per birth month to assure they can be present at your birth. 

I believe if you are a healthy woman with no serious health problems and a healthy pregnancy, there is no reason to have a hospital birth. Having a baby is not a medical experience. It’s a birthing experience. We’ve been so conditioned to believe that we need all of these interventions for our bodies to be capable of giving birth and that it has to happen in a short amount of time. Guess what? We don’t and it doesn’t. Our bodies are made whole and perfect for giving birth. Literally, that’s what our bodies are designed to do. Your body will decide when to give birth at the perfect time. For most of us. 

Now, all throughout my pregnancy I did say to myself and everyone I told my birth plan too, that if plans were to change I would absolutely do what was necessary to keep Lilla and I safe. I didn’t want to be that crazy crunchy mom who took her natural birth too serious and put us in danger. I’ve heard horror stories of mom’s who were so super stuck on having a home birth that they would not accept a trip to the hospital even though that’s what needed to happen. I also knew that my midwife would not let that happen. Their top priority is our health and safety. 

The whole 9 (10) months of pregnancy, Chris and I planned for a home birth. We bought all the necessary supplies, I read books, I did my research, and for sure thought that was how I would bring Lilla into this world. Every time I thought about giving birth I imagined doing it in the comfort of my own home. In my bed. In the pool. On the floor, shower, toilet. Anywhere but the bed of a hospital. Do you know why we have our babies on a hospital bed? No other reason than for the ease of the doctor! That’s right. It’s so the doctors can sit in a chair and not have to move around. This is not for the comfort of the woman. Our bodies need to move freely. Laying in a bed actually goes against what the baby needs to do. Which is probably why doctors are always so quick to jump to a cesarian if your baby hasn't been birthed in 12 hours. FYI, 12 hours isn't long at all. If the mom and baby are still in good shape, there is no need for medical interventions. 

Okay, enough about that. Let’s get to the good stuff. 

I thought the whole pregnancy I would definitely not have her on my due date. Due dates are just guesses anyways. I always asked Chris what day he thought I would have her. His answer was always the 10th. One day before my “due date”. I just laughed it off and told him he was crazy. Well guess what. That’s the day she was born! He’s a smart guy, that one! 

On the 8th of September I went to bed and had slightly more what than what I thought was my usual discharge. TMI maybe. But I’m gettin’ real y’all. Throughout my entire pregnancy I had extra. It’s completely normal and something your body does when preparing for a baby. So I didn't think much of it. It wasn’t a crazy amount. Just more than normal. The next day I went to the nail salon to get my nails done to treat myself. I knew it would be awhile before I had the chance to do it again. When I got to the salon I headed to the bathroom. I saw a little bit of blood. Literally just a tiny light drop. Which could have been the bloody show. Another thing that’s completely normal. Again, I thought this was just my body preparing to give birth within a few days. I actually remembered getting super excited when I saw it. It was really happening! So I just put an extra panty liner down and went on about my day. I got home from the nail salon and told Chris what happened. Even though I was excited I also had a little tinge of fear in the back of my mind that it wasn't just discharge the night before. I’m a natural worrier, but I just kept telling myself it’s okay. 

Chris and I had decided to go on a date night. We thought Lilla might be here in a few days so let’s take advantage of our last few days as just us. We were on our way to Orlando to do some put-put and eat at Sweet Tomatoes (our fav date night) but as we were headed there Chris could tell I was extra worried. He told me to text our midwife Marianne and see what she thought. Well I did, and she said it’s better to be cautious then not. She told us to meet her at the office! Here I was trying not to overthink things, but something was telling me I needed to get checked. So we turned around and headed back to Lakeland. We pulled into the office thinking we were going to be on our way back to Orlando to finish our night in no time. When we got inside, Marianne checked me to see if my membranes had ruptured. I guess that’s the medical terminology for your water breaking. And to our surprise, it did! I instantly felt a wave of relief and shock and anxiety and sadness and everything else you can feel when you realize you will be giving birth soon. 

In the midwifery practice, if your water has been broken for more then 18 or so hours and your body has not gone into labor then it’s advised that you go to the hospital to deliver your baby because of risk of infection. Usually your body will go into labor first, then your water breaks soon before baby will arrive. Not the case with me. Apparently your water can break without a big gush. Mine was a very small leak. Here I was sitting on the exam table thinking I would be having a home birth in a few days only to be told we need to head to the hospital because we didn’t know when my water had broken. It could have been more then 18 hours. Could have been less. But to be safe we decided the hospital was the best thing. 

We left the midwives office and called family and texted friends. Once I got home I started throwing together a bag. I didn’t have one prepared because we had planned on having her at home. I way over packed but my mind was all over the place. I was going to have a baby!! I had no idea what was going to happen in the next few hours. Scary and exciting at the same time. 

We got to the hospital and I remember sitting in the room you go into before they admit you, the nurse had just left telling me we were going to have our baby, and I burst into tears. The only thing I was sad about was that Chris and I didn't get to have our last date night. If you haven’t noticed, I really love my husband and love our time together. I was so bummed. It’s funny now. I was going to have a baby in a few hours and all I was thinking about was date night with my man. He assured me it was okay, and we would have plenty more date nights in the future. At least he knows I love him! Ha!

Before we had left the midwives office she told us to text one of the student midwives to see if she would meet us at the hospital and be there with us for support during the whole process. She agreed and shortly after we got into the delivery room, Mary-Catherine arrived. Y’all, if it wasn’t for her I think Chris and I would have lost our minds. She was so calm, talked us through each step, told us what was happening, she brought her essential oils, played music for me, and helped Chris in supporting me. She was our voice. She even got the doctor to let me walk around and use a yoga ball to help me through contractions even though my water had been broken. Usually if your water is broken you have to stay in the bed? From what I can remember. I highly recommend having a doula or midwife present at your birth! It was so nice to have a calm soul in the room. 

*Continued after picture break*

Around 1 am on Saturday the 10th, when I first got into the delivery room they started me on Pitocin. That’s the drug they use to start and speed labor up. Because my body had not gone into labor by itself, this was a necessary step. I didn’t want it, but I had to have it. Like I said I would always do what was best for Lilla and I. Even though we were in a hospital I still wanted to have her naturally. No epidural. I had gone my whole pregnancy and prepared myself for a natural birth I didn't want to change that just because I wasn’t at home. If I could keep one plan the same, that was it. However, I did use the nitrous gas as a form of pain relief. It’s a new (to the U.S.) form of pain relief they are offering at some hospitals for women who want to have a natural birth but still some sort of relief. You have to administer it yourself and once you take the mask off it goes away. There are no lasting effects like an epidural. It kind of feels like a high. You breathe the gas in, feel your body relax, take it off and ride through the contraction. I’ve heard from some women that they didn’t like it. But I loved it. It didn’t take the pain away completely, but that was okay. I had already prepared for a home birth where I would have nothing. Every contraction I used it. The closer I got to the end I could tell it wasn’t dong anything for me anymore but I continued to use it as a repetitive process to keep my mind off the pain.

I was trying to sleep like our midwife advised, but I would doze off and wake back up wondering when things would really get started. Around 5 am, I felt my water break like I thought it would have from the start. I felt something pop, and then all the fluids started comin’ out. I let my husband and midwife know that it had happened and they let the nurses know. After that is when all the real stuff began. Contractions!

The pain was bad and I wasn’t quiet about it. But I stuck with it. I knew I could do it. I was made for this. I don’t think anyone who’s had a natural birth can truly explain how it feels. Other than it feels like terrible horrible cramps x a million and then your butt hole rips. Hahah. Seriously. That’s what it felt like for me. But I think the Pitocin made it extra severe. They told me Pitocin makes the pain a little more extreme. So hopefully next time I give birth I won’t have to have that. I cried. I peed on myself a few times. I didn’t poop. Although I could have cared less if I did. During that process you don’t care. You just do whatever you can to get your baby out. There’s nothing modest about giving birth. Everyone sees everything.

The nurses and midwife told me that once I can’t handle the pain anymore it was time to push. Well that time came. I told my midwife and she got the nurses for me. They checked to see how far dilated I was and I remember her saying, “Wow, she’s already at a 10. That was fast. Call the doctor. You are ready”. Well before the doctor got in there I was already pushing. I guess I was pushing hard and she was coming out fast because the doctor barely made it in there in time to catch Lilla (my mom told me my entire pregnancy, push like you are pooping, not with your stomach muscles. well i did. lol) Even though I ended up in the hospital, I still did all the work. I saw the doctor for literally 15 minutes. Ha! Seriously they told me to stop pushing so we could wait for her to come in. Really?! If you’ve ever birthed a child, or will birth a child. There is absolutely no way you can stop pushing! It’s an urge you just can’t fight. Because, like I said before, our bodies know how to give birth. 

I’m not sure how long I pushed for but I remember her popping out and the pain just washing away. I wanted to do delayed cord clamping but her cord was so short they couldn’t put her on my chest without cutting it. At that moment I didn’t care. I just wanted my baby. They put her onmy chest and I kept saying, “Oh my God, Oh my God”, “ I did it”, “She’s so cute”. I was amazed and so proud of myself. I was on cloud nine. I just had a baby! I couldn’t stop smiling. 

After they stitched me up from a small tear, the midwife ordered me a meal and away we went to the recovery room. All smiles as I was wheeled down the hallway with Lilla in my arms. 

Once my water had finally broken all the way, like how you think water breaks, I think I was in labor for a total of 8-ish hours. That's not bad at all. It went by pretty fast. I knew there was an end and I knew it was a beautiful baby girl. That’s what got me through. 

Lilla was born perfect and healthy on September 10th weighing 8 pounds, 7 ounces and 21 inches long. 

So when I say nothing went as planned, nothing went as planned. 

She has been such a joy and the best thing that’s ever happened to us. We constantly ask each other “How did we have such a cute baby?!”. Lol. She literally has the cutest sweetest round face and her smile is just the best. Just thinking about it makes me smile. 

Lilla Jewell Grainger, you are an amazing little girl, and we know you will do amazing things in the future. You are strong, you are funny, you are beautiful. 

xo, Mercedes

I also want to say a huge, huge from the heart Thank You! to our sweet, incredible, talented, giving friend Jordan Weiland for being there with us as well to capture these moments. She was also super helpful during my delivery. She kept me calm and it was nice to have a friend there to laugh with and encourage me along the way. We love you Jordan! We really, really do!