Well, here we go!
The birth story of Josephine Yael is in fact, sure-enough a whirlwind. I remain to be thankful for the way things went during my pregnancy and labor. Every little obstacle was a learning experience. We were faced with challenges and had to make difficult decisions in our birth plan. The tough times forced me to count on our God. He was there for us through thick and thin. All in all, pregnancy was the best thing that my body ever put me through. During the whole process, Teddy was my biggest support. Truthfully, with a team like that, I would do it again! Again and again.
In the second trimester of my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with an infection. As it turns out, Group B streptococcus (strep), or GBS infections are common in pregnant women. Realizing that GBS may have a negative effect on my pregnancy, I played it safe. I chose to go with the antibiotic route. Ending the antibiotic treatment before the bottle was empty, Teddy and I begin to research more conservative ways to treat the infection without the devastating effects of antibiotics. I found that various sources supported what Teddy was recommending to me. We decided to gently treat the infection with probiotics and bring balance to my body through food-based antimicrobials. I started taking 2-3 garlic cloves a day. I would also consume probiotics through kombucha or kefir. As planned, in a week or so, the infection was gone. Thank God! That was my first obstacle.
At week 35, we checked for GBS again and the test results came back negative. However, due to the previous GBS findings, my midwife insisted on IV antibiotics during delivery. She was very firm on her position and made us feel that we are going to hurt our baby by not taking antibiotics. After researching GBS, we found that insistence on IV antibiotics during birth was based on very weak research according to Cochrane reviews (the gold standard for scientific research).
I couldn’t believe this was happening. I remember me being so upset that day. As expected, Teddy and I rejected that offer. That was the whole idea of us going to a midwife in the first place. We envisioned the birth of our baby to happen with as little interference from the outside as possible. IV antibiotics meant that the newborn baby’s microbiome would certainly be destroyed - especially in the critical step of its formation during passing through the vaginal canal. The microbiome is too valuable for proper function of the body - it’s even called the “second brain”.
To be honest, I was scared. The side effects of untreated GBS are severe. I prayed to God every day to give me enough faith through it all and wisdom for the right choice. I asked Him to speak to me clearly through my husband. And that is what He did! Teddy was firm in his beliefs and research that we are making the best choice in our situation. Looking strong on the outside, I broke down every time on the inside. I didn’t want to make any mistakes that will affect my daughter in the future. I didn’t want to mess up and then have to live with it for the rest of my life. Therefore, I prayed hard. I found the answer in my husband.
My recommendation is to develop a birth plan with your husband and have clear communication with the midwife from the very beginning before complications arise. Teddy and I, while flexible in response to reality, had a firm position on approaching birth as naturally as possible.
For us, the word “natural” defines simplicity. It defines trusting the body and using a minimally invasive approach.
For hundreds of years, women gave birth without an entire team of medical practitioners. Babies and mothers around the world survived the process of birth with several simple rules. Eat healthy, drink water, and stay active for 9 months and then push on the last day. God put the most amazing healing power within the body and our goal is to trust in that. That is why we did not go with IV antibiotics, vaccines, or even vitamin K shots after birth.
When I was in active labor, our midwife told us that she will not work with us anymore unless we would follow every medical recommendation (antibiotics, continuous ultrasounds, etc.). Quite the situation to have while in active labor. We ended up delivering with another doctor. Thank God she turned out to be absolutely amazing.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved working with my midwife. We shared personal stories and laughed about life. Overall, we had a great time together during every appointment. But once there were “complications” with my health, we begin to speak two different languages. I understand that midwives have to follow the system in order to keep their licenses; however, it wasn’t the greatest experience to have to go through.
Once my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, we drove to the hospital early that morning. Although I was only 1 cm dilated, they decided to let me stay anyway. After a few hours, my contractions completely stopped. We did everything we can from our side to help them start again. Since I wasn’t sure if my water broke or not that night, the nurse suggested that I get pitocin to force the contractions again. In my situation, it was dangerous for the water to be broken for a long time. Considering the risk factor of GBS and not going through with antibiotics, pitocin was the way to go.
Just like that, the contractions were officially forced from 0-100. Being in SO much pain that followed up with vomiting 4x, I only lasted 2.5 hours without the epidural. At this point, the bath, the bouncy ball, or even my own husband couldn’t help me with anything. I successfully got injected with the epidural and dozed off. I got 3 hours of sleep before delivering our miracle baby. I began to push a little after 12am and got to hold Josephine at 2:43am.
Josephine was born absolutely healthy weighting 7.4 pounds. She passed every test that the doctor advised. After a 32 hour stay at the hospital, we were dismissed home on August 21st. That day all of our prayers were answered. A beautiful, baby girl has entered this world where SHE can be the helping hand.
We’ve come to a conclusion that things don’t always go as planned. ESPECIALLY labor and delivery. While sticking as close as possible to the birth plan, we had to learn to accept the situation and make the most of it. Overall, I am happy with the way things turned out to be. The epidural allowed me to relax my muscles and prepared me for pushing. Would I go the same route again? Yes, in a similar situation! But under different circumstances, I would love to experience giving birth without any pain killers. I want to be completely in sync with my body as it goes through this wonderful thing called - birth.