Home Birth Story: Layla Nash

Our 3rd daughter, Layla Nash, was born on November 21st, 2019 in our home here in Peoria, Arizona.  This was my 3rd home birth and I wanted to share more about the labor and delivery because it was truly the best experience I've ever had giving birth.

I want to preface this birth story by explaining how much fear I previously had around giving birth naturally.  While my 1st home birth was a good experience, my 2nd had given me some PTSD around giving birth.  You see, I had this expectation that my 2nd delivery would be much easier and faster than my first but that's not what happened at all.  The labor was several hours longer and much more painful.  My 2nd baby (Sofia) was 10 lbs with a shoulder distocia (stuck shoulders) and it was the most physically grueling thing I had ever experienced.  In fact, while delivering Sofia I told my husband I wanted to get drugs but at that point it was way too late.

I still remember the pain of that birth vividly (some things you can never forget) specifically pushing the baby out that seemed to last for hours.  I was physically + mentally drained delivering her and even gave up hope that I could ever do it again.  Despite going through the most painful experience of my life I still decided to have another unmedicated birth because I personally believe minimal intervention and drugs during birth is the best thing for mom + baby if possible. Still, I kept 2nd guessing myself.
(Disclaimer: This is not to say I don't support others who choose pain relief during birth at all FYI.  I fully support any mother who chooses an epidural/interventions or even need it for medical reasons.  Its a very personal decision for everyone).

I was scared of the pain and scared of going through that again.  Through my pregnancy I continually prayed for peace during my 3rd delivery.  I prayed for a smaller baby, for less pain, for a smooth and quick delivery and mostly I prayed that whatever happened that I could mentally and physically prepare myself.  And gosh, did God deliver!

The morning of the 21st I started feeling contractions around 10 a.m.  They were consistently about 8-10 minutes apart when they started.  Most of them were not super strong but I almost instantly knew there was something different about these contractions because they were making me nauseous.  That's exactly what I had remembered feeling when I went into labor the first two times, so I knew it was happening again.  However, it happened quite differently than it had previously. By 11 a.m. I knew today was the day and told my husband to come home from work because this baby was coming. 

In my first two labors as soon as contractions started the active labor followed quickly after.  This time I had contractions for the entire day.  Some were 8 minutes apart others were 4 minutes apart.  Some were fairly strong, others were very weak.  The contractions continued all day until about 6:30/7pm and I was (for the most part) able to do normal activity around the house until my midwife advised that I just rest.   I remember feeling so confused by this. I didn't understand why I hadn't gone into "real" labor yet and these contractions were just carrying on all day long.  My midwife told me it was called "latent labor" and that when my body was ready and prepared the active labor would begin.

Around 7pm I laid down on my bed to relax and by 7:30 pm I had 2 extremely strong contractions that led to a bloody show.  That's when the contractions started to pick up.  After that point they were 4 minutes apart and consistently strong.  I told my midwife to come to our house because I knew active labor had started, my husband put the girls to bed and we started filling up the birthing tub with hot water.  When my midwife arrived at 8:15 pm I was already 8 1/2 centimeters dilated!

I labored in the birthing tub for roughly 3 hours just breathing through the labor contractions with worship music playing in the background.  It was honestly the most peaceful experience I've ever had and I can honestly tell you that I wholeheartedly felt the presence of God in that room.  The pain was fairly minimal until the last half hour and I was able to gently breathe through every contractions with ease.  When the contraction started getting even stronger and more uncomfortable I asked the midwife to check where the baby was positioned.  She told me that her head was literally right there and ready to come whenever I was ready to push.  At that point the contractions were incredibly strong and so I decided to take a Tylenol to help manage the pain.  Encouraged by my husband who basically said, "Are you ready to get this baby out?"  I knew it was time to push.

I felt really scared because I was afraid of how long it might take to push the baby out like it had in my 2nd delivery.  My midwife kept reminding me, "This is not Sofia.  This is going to be different. This baby is ready."  At that point I knew I was ready to push.  As instructed by my midwife, I got out of the tub and nervously laid down on my bed on my side.  Although I would have preferred delivering her in the water my midwife was concerned about another possible shoulder distocia and so she advised against it.  My only request was that I not deliver her on my back because I had previously done that and it had been incredibly uncomfortable.  Side lying was definitely a good position to be able to rest my body in between contractions and still be able to push.  With my husband by my side, baby Layla was born just 3 big pushes later (11:27 p.m.)!

I remember just sobbing as they placed her on my chest and feeling so incredibly thankful and empowered.  "Did I just do that?"  I thought.  I literally couldn't believe how quickly, peacefully and painlessly I delivered her.  It was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had in my life, honestly.  I never thought I would say that about giving birth! The entire experience redeemed my belief in natural childbirth and that it didn't have to be a grueling and painful experience.  In fact, it had been quite the opposite this time!

Layla was incredibly healthy and perfect.  She was 8 lbs 11.5 ounces and 20 inches long.  Much smaller than her big sister and mama was THANKFUL for that!

After the birth our midwife stayed for 2 hours to make sure that all was well with me and the baby.  I had no tearing and minimal bleeding and Layla was perfect.  When they left we all tried to get some sleep.  Nora and Sofia slept the entire night in their room and didn't hear a peep. They were able to meet their baby sister when they woke up in the morning and they were thrilled!

I honestly couldn't have asked for a better delivery and I'm so incredibly grateful!  I've been asked why I thought this birth went so much better and I believe it was a few things.  First, I believe Layla was 100% ready.  The latent labor phase in the beginning must have helped really prepare my body to deliver. 2nd she was smaller than my 2nd baby and in a great position. 3rd PRAYER.  Don't underestimate the power God has when you pray specific prayers.  All glory goes to Him!  

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