I am now almost four months postpartum and still get butterflies when I think about the amazing experience I had during my pregnancy, labor and birth.
I found out that my husband and I were pregnant in March of 2018 and surprised my husband with the news in May 2018! Although we were met with some “concerning news” a few times more than expected, we continued to trust that God was with us and our baby. Overall, our pregnancy was great. One met with lots of love, support, and excitement to see our little one in January of 2019!!!
Two weeks prior to giving birth, I left work on maternity leave. My husband and I took the time to attend a marriage retreat as our last one on one celebration before the baby came. Upon returning home, I took the extra days to lounge around, rest and prepare for labor.
How it all started:
On Saturday, January 5, 2019, my husband, myself and a few friends went to a nearby park where we fellowshipped, played worship music on our guitar, went on walks and just relaxed. After our hangout, we headed back home where two of my girlfriends came over to spend some time with me. As my husband cooked and worked on our guest bathroom, we decided to look up some “jump start labor” videos. We came across one on YouTube and as if one round of the video wasn’t enough, we decided to carry out a few sets of the workouts suggested...yeah, that’s when it all started lol!
Around midnight, I felt the contractions coming. I was sure I would be having my baby on Sunday, January 6th, only two days after my expected delivery date. Well, I was wrong. This was just the beginning...Or the warm-up should I say.
On Sunday, January 6, 2019, we decided to skip church service as we thought I was in labor and would be having our baby soon. I contacted my doulas and midwives to give them a heads up on what was occurring. At this time, I didn’t feel anything too strong so I just rested, ate food and binge-watched Law & Order SVU. Sunday night comes and...no baby.
Monday, January 7, 2019
I made it through the night and experienced nothing too intense, but by Monday morning, things were picking up a bit. For sure today was the day, right? No! I was continuing to have contractions that were painful while they lasted but what was worse than the contractions was the inconsistency and discouragement that continued to give me false hope that the baby was about to be here. By this time, the midwife determined that I was in prodromal labor. The best way I can describe it is, intense contractions that rev up mainly at night (so you are unfortunately sleep deprived) and start off with a pattern of maybe three, four or five minutes apart (so you start getting excited and think you’re getting somewhere) just for it to space back out at about 10 to 20 minutes apart...can we say BUMMER... honestly, it was frustrating. This would happen all night. I would fall asleep just to be awakened by a contraction every at least every 5 to 20 minutes max. Just very inconsistent and frustrating. Through it all, I breathed through the contractions, prayed, and trusted God.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019
At this point, I was thinking, "I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE!". I utilized warm baths to help with pain management but the contractions kept me and my husband up all night, and I started to get even more discouraged. I had no concerns that anything was wrong, but I just did not expect to be laboring or having intense, inconsistent contractions for so many days. By now, it was day three and my doulas suggested I go to the birthing center to see what can be done. Walking in the birthing center, a midwife met me at the door and could tell I was in no mood for play and giggles today. She just ran to the back and got the midwife on call lol.
The midwife checks to see how dilated I was- 2 centimeters, and effaced- 100%- I was so relieved (the pain wasn’t all in vain thank God). We discussed several options to help move things along of which I chose to have a membrane sweep. Essentially, she used her fingers to sweep through my cervix in hopes that this would cause things to speed up and help my contractions become more consistent. It worked. Later that night, I was again up due to the contractions that started off inconsistent but became more consistent by the morning.
Wednesday, January 9, 2019 THE BIG DAY!!
Again I started the morning off with a warm bath to assist with pain management. At this point, things are more consistent and have been for almost two hours. I call the midwife on call and we agreed to meet at the birthing center by 12 PM. When I arrived, she checked me and I was now four centimeters dilated and was now being admitted!! We had made progress and I literally broke down crying with tears of joy. Joy because I would have lost my mind if she sent me home!!
So, now it’s time! I text all those I knew who were on standby and praying to let them know it’s time. I contact those I wanted present (two of my sisters in Christ who would be worshiping and praying throughout labor). My husband set up the room (hangs up my affirmations I had written out on colorful index cards, my diffuser, string lights, worship playlist, snacks, etc) as I change into my labor gown and fix myself up because hey, I wanted my baby to meet me looking cute lol.
Within the hour, my doula, Kristian, and friends arrive and by this time we are in full labor and getting things going. I transitioned through laboring on the bed (my least favorite), a birthing ball, the shower, toilet, and tub. I got checked every few hours and was continuing to progress quickly! I went from four to six and eventually eight centimeters and yet my water still had not broken. I remember sitting on the toilet laboring and saying, “God, we started off a little rough, but I need you to redeem my birth story. Let’s finish strong.” See, I had been praying for a Supernatural birth experience where I would labor for two hours and push my baby out in five minutes...crazy I know, but I had faith! Up until now, it didn’t seem to go as I prayed but I stayed positive and recited any scriptures or affirmations that came to mind.
It started to get late as it was about 10 PM now and I decided to have the midwife go in and manually break my water. I was exhausted after so many days of labor and was ready to have my baby! As soon as she broke my water, things went from 80 to 100 REALLY QUICK! I immediately got into the tub once it was ready and felt that I was ready to push. I let out a few pushes that came with a few loud yells. I remember hearing the midwife say, “I need you to take all that strength in your yells, and use it to push. You’re exerting energy that you need to push by yelling”. So I dig deep and ‘silently’ pushed lol. As much as I heard leading up to birth that first-time moms may take ‘hours’ to push I remember thinking, I can’t do this for hours. God, a few pushes and I NEED this baby to come out PLEASE. Just a few more pushes and a few more minutes later, out came my baby! With my husband to the right of me, he caught the baby and had the opportunity to announce the sex. It was a BOY!
It was a moment of pure joy! Although things started off rough, God had exceeded my expectations. He pulled out a strength that I never knew I had. Upon getting admitted, He expedited things in a way that shocked me and all those in the room. Moments later, my friends entered the room to celebrate and FaceTime my mom who, by the looks of her hair, wasn’t prepared to answer the phone to a room of folks lol.
This experience was like no other. Not just because I’ve never given birth, but to see how God was present in worship, how He blessed me with a staff of people to surround me who were all Christians, and even getting me through the two phases I was the most fearful about - transition (I literally looked at my doula at one point and said, “ When will I enter transition?” She said you’re in it now and surprisingly are handling it well lol) and pushing (by Gods grace, pushing our baby boy out within minutes).
I delivered my son Judah Malak Jones (the name means 'praise to my king' from left to right and 'my king is worthy to be praised' from right to left) on January 9, 2019, at 11:32 PM. No complications, no meds, but a long labor, lots of amazing people (Baby and Co Winston-Salem staff, as well Natural Baby Doulas in North Carolina) and ALL JESUS!
On my YouTube channel, I go in depth on my birth story and even share actual footage. Feel free to check it out here!