03 Jul Meryl, Frank, and Vincent’s Birth Story
PLEASE NOTE: The following story tells of a traumatic birth experience and could be triggering for some. It is our intention to share birth stories of all kinds in order to honor the experiences of our clients, aid in their healing, and celebrate the contributions of our staff. Thank you, Meryl, for sharing your story. It is an important one to tell, and depicts beautifully the transformative power of birth, regardless of how it unfolds. It has been an honor and a privilege to support you on your pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey.
“It was the evening of May 7th, 2018, and I was out at an event with my dear friend Amy listening to a speaker. I was 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I was huge and uncomfortable and very ready for my baby to be an outside baby. I started having contractions, which was nothing new, so I continued to breathe and listen to the speaker. The contractions gradually got stronger and closer together, so I started holding my belly. Amy nudged me and said, “Get up, we’re going for a walk.” Amy proceeded to walk me around the neighborhood, up and down stairs, tracking my contractions with an app, and was coaching me to breathe through the rough waves. When I got home, my husband Frank, our two dogs and I walked the neighborhood and I continued to track my contractions. Some were lasting 3 minutes, I would have a break for about 30 seconds, and another would come on. This lasted for 2 hours. I called the Birth Center and the midwife on call encouraged me to labor at home as long as I could. Frank put on soothing music. I don’t remember much else about that night except the feeling of exhaustion. I fell asleep, and only woke once from contractions.
The next day I headed into the hospital for a previously scheduled Non-Stress Test. The baby seemed quieter than normal and something deep within me said that something wasn’t right. Once at Lifecycle WomanCare for more monitoring, and after looking at the results, Francesca felt that the baby’s heart rate wasn’t behaving as it should. After consulting with Julie, Francesca recommended that we head to the hospital. Francesca accompanied me as we drove over.
Upon arriving at the hospital, I was re-evaluated by a doctor and she determined that an emergency c-section was necessary. I realized then that I had to let go of my birth plan: laboring in a calm, quiet room, the birthing tub, my husband rubbing my shoulders, drumming, burning sage and music. I was about to have the exact opposite experience I had dreamt of. My husband arrived with his uncanny way of matching calamity with serenity. (He would make the world’s greatest EMT.) His calm demeanor provided me with a half second of relief from my feelings of devastation. Despite feeling terrified and powerless, I had no choice but to trust. Francesca emerged through the sea of flurrying scrubs and loud voices. Her presence was welcomed despite her face being filled with worry. She sat next to me and squeezed my hand through the cesarean birth, acting as my anchor, while my husband and doula were asked to wait outside of the room. Once Vincent was born, as calmly as she could, she told me what was happening and what the hospital staff was doing to my baby. She made sure I knew that they were doing everything in their power to save his life.
I am so grateful to Francesca for being there, holding my hand, and having enough respect to tell me what was happening. Vincent spent 8 days in the NICU, which felt like 8 months. Every midwife who visited me during that time treated me with the utmost respect, kindness, and love. Although I had a traumatic birth experience, Francesca and the midwives and nurses from the Birth Center who visited me, called me, supported me, and encourage me to talk about my experience made it possible for me to move through my emotions so that I could and can be present to my beautiful son, Vincent Gabriel. Francesca’s knowledge and quick thinking saved Vincent’s life. I am forever grateful. Vincent recently celebrated his first birthday, and Francesca came to celebrate with us. Her and I are bonded for life, and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be bonded with.”