Arabella Ruth’s Birth Story

By Kira Káña    102 Views   17 Min Read

On Monday, September 27, 2021 I started having consistent contractions, but they were about 30 minutes to an hour apart. This lasted all day, never getting closer together. At this point I was 39 and 3 days and nearing my due date of October 1st.

Later that night, when I tried to sleep, the contractions got stronger and got down to 20–30 minutes apart. I tossed and turned all night long and couldn’t get any sleep. I started to think that early labor was near and tried really hard to get some rest while I could, but unfortunately I only got a total of 2 hours that night. (this is important to remember later).

The next morning on Tuesday, I woke up and told James, “I think today is the day. I slept awful and Arabella wouldn’t stop moving. My contractions are still consistent, so try and keep your phone nearby at work.” James went to work and I kept him updated every hour. I also texted my birth team to let them know that my contractions were still going and getting closer together so they could be prepared. Around 3pm, they got down to 10 minutes apart and stayed there for about 6 hours.

At this point, I knew I was in early labor because the contractions were starting to wrap around my belly and I had to take deep breaths through them. I walked, did some squats, spent some time on my birthing ball working on opening my hips, and then my doula encouraged me to do some Spinning Babies movements, specifically the Three Balances during my contractions. When you do it correctly, it takes a while, so James and I spent an hour and a half doing the Three Balances.

After doing those moves, I got in the bathtub to see if it would slow my contractions down (I really wanted to make sure it was the real deal!) but it did the opposite and actually amped things up! After that, the contractions were less than 5 minutes apart! This was around 11:30 pm. We called the midwife, and she told us to meet her at the birthing center at 1:15am! James and I took one last picture together with my belly, grabbed our bags, texted our doula and photographer, and left knowing we would be meeting our baby girl very soon!

Two important things to note: when we called our doula, Jenny, to let her know we were going to the birth center, she unfortunately couldn’t meet us until the next morning. The good news was that our birth photographer, Catherine, was our back-up doula! I felt relieved, knowing that Catherine would be able to help us and that Jenny would meet us as soon as possible.

The second thing was our primary midwife, Kira, wasn’t available either. Throughout my pregnancy, I saw a team of 2 midwives, but one of them I considered my primary midwife and felt more comfortable with because I was able to read her lips and understand her better. And this was because Kira has a birth YouTube channel that I spent months watching her on so I could familiarize myself with her lips and body language. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the other midwife! I just didn’t understand Abigail as well because I didn’t get to practice lip-reading with her as much. I was a little nervous about not having Jenny or Kira there, but I knew I was still in great hands with Catherine and Abigail!

When we arrived at the birthing center, I was in the best mood! I was so excited and still was able to talk through my contractions (somewhat, lol). We met someone named G (I can’t remember her full name) and she was going to be Abigail’s birth assistant since Kira wasn’t available to help. Kira was actually at her other birthing center in Covington filling in for someone but was going to meet us as soon as she could.

I consented to a vaginal exam so we could see how dilated I was, and I was already 7 cm. I did most of the early laboring at home without realizing it! I thought we would be having her within a couple of hours, but boy was I wrong! The contractions at this point were 1–3 minutes apart and got way more intense. I couldn’t talk through them anymore and needed physical support during them.

I started to have lower back pain and needed counter pressure to help with the intensity of it. As the night progressed, I was starting to really get tired and dreaded each contraction. At one point, we got my rebozo blanket out so James could do some Spinning Babies movements and relieve some of the weight off my belly.

James and Catherine both took turns giving me counter pressure on my hips and lower back, and it helped so much. I started to cry from the intensity of the contractions, but I knew I was getting closer to meeting my girl.

James was the most amazing support partner. He held me during every single contraction, except for maybe like 5 of them while he went to the bathroom! I didn’t know what to expect from him during labor, but he exceeded all of my expectations and more! He never complained and encouraged me all night long. He also interpreted for me whenever I couldn’t understand someone. I’m really good at reading lips, but the more tired I got, the harder it was for me to stay focused on lip-reading, so it was really helpful to have James clarify things for me faster.

Every 30 minutes, my midwife came with the Doppler to check on Arabella’s heart rate during contractions, and I hated it so much. The pressure from the Doppler hurt more than the contractions sometimes.

Abigail did another vaginal check to see where I was at in dilation, and I had only gone up 1 cm. I was 8 cm, and she had told me the left side of my cervix was still thick, and we needed to thin it out before delivery so Bella could pass through. That meant I needed to labor on my left side. So I laid on the bed on my left side with a pillow between my legs for a few contractions. Not going to sugarcoat it, it hurt, and I wanted to stop but knew it was going to help progress the thinning of my cervix.

I used my Christian Hypnobirthing in my head to help me get through the contractions, and it really helped take my mind off the intensity of it sometimes. I had printed out the audio transcripts for me to read, but I wasn’t in the mood for that. So I just repeated what I remembered in my head over and over.

The plan was to have a water birth so we were waiting to get in the birthing tub right before it was time, but I was so exhausted and hurting (remember I hadn’t slept more than 2 hours since Monday night at this point, and it was early Wednesday morning). I begged to get in the tub to labor in it, so I did. This was around 6:30 am. The water helped lessen the intensity a little bit and even slowed down my contractions just a bit to where I could rest in between. Which was much needed.

I don’t know how long I was in the tub for but eventually Jenny, my original doula showed up, and I was so glad to see her, but you probably couldn’t tell here because I was out of it. She helped me with some more laboring positions on my left side in the water. The contractions started to pick back up and get even closer together. We don’t really remember why I got out of the tub! I think because Abigail wanted to see if I dilated anymore.

Jenny grabbed the rebozo blanket we had used earlier and helped us do a few more comfort measures tricks. After that, I started to feel pressure in my butt. I was pretty sure I was transitioning, and that Arabella was making her way down, so I told my birth team that I felt like she was starting to come!

While I was waiting for Abigail to come in for another check, James came over to me, and he said, “Kira’s here!” Then Catherine came over and said the same thing. I turned around to see her walk in the room and y’all, the relief I felt when I saw her! Because at this point, I felt like we had done everything and I needed more help-options. Kira asked to check me instead and when she did, she said, “Let’s have a baby.!” I was 10 cm. I cried tears of relief when she told me. It felt like the longest night ever.

She then asked if I wanted her to break my water so we could progress the labor because I was clearly exhausted and dehydrated. I had been drinking water 24/7, but the lack of sleep was making me dehydrated. I said yes and literally right before she was about to break my water, my water broke on its own! I think the relief I felt from Kira showing up relaxed my body enough that I was starting to progress quickly on my own.

After my water broke, Kira had me sit on the toilet to labor a little bit more to help Arabella move her way down. After a while, she asked if I wanted to touch her, and I was able to reach down and feel her. You could see the relief on my face when I did. We were so close!

At this point, it was time to start pushing! (Fun fact: I told James right before this that I see why people ask for drugs now!)

We moved to this squat chair thing (I don’t know what it was called!) I started to push with each contraction. Everyone deserves a doula. Jenny was incredible at calming me down and reminding me constantly to breathe, (I struggled with this badly during transition) and giving me the right touches. After a few pushes here, we moved to the edge of the bed for better positioning. I started crowning and pushing and pushing, but she got stuck. My body was so tired that I just couldn’t push anymore. I begged Kira to pull her out. I didn’t even care if I would rip, I wanted her out!

After realizing that position wasn’t helping either, I moved into a squat on the floor. And after 2 contractions…she was out!

I will never be able to fully describe the moment I held Arabella Ruth for the first time. It was a lifetime of waiting. I’ve always wanted to be a mom. It’s why I was a professional caretaker/nanny for 7 years. I truly feel like I was meant for motherhood, and having her in my arms looking at me for the first time proved just that! I was literally reborn for the second time. The first time was when I accepted Jesus into my heart as my Savior and was born again, a Christian. The second time was turning into a mother.

It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s funny, but right after I had her, I said. “That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life!” I said it with tears and a smile because I knew I would still do it all over again for my sweet girl and for my future babies.

After I gave birth, I immediately did skin to skin with her while they cleaned me up. After a few minutes, they asked me if I was having any contractions and I said no. Didn’t think anything of it. More minutes passed, and they asked me to try pushing so my placenta would come out. I tried a couple of times, but no luck. I was made aware that my placenta was stuck and that’s why I wasn’t having post-delivery contractions. My doula, Jenny, asked if she could help me get Bella to latch because breastfeeding can induce contractions. We thought that if I went ahead and started nursing, I would have contractions and my placenta would come out.

Once it was just James, Arabella, and I after the midwives left; everything felt like a dream. I couldn’t believe what had happened. But like I said, it was all worth it and I would 100% do it all over again. The placenta thing was a rare event but wasn’t harmful to me. I wasn’t in any danger, but with all the emotions and hormones and how I was feeling, it was a lot to handle in a short period of time. Plus, not being able to read lips comfortably stressed me out to the max. It takes mental effort to lip-read and being that tired and meeting new people just made everything so much harder. I couldn’t comprehend a lot until it was too late. It’s one of the reasons why it took me so long to write and share this story, because I needed help remembering everything after a certain point, and had to get James and Catherine to help fill in the blanks.

To my birth team; Kira and Abigail-my midwives, Jenny-my doula and Catherine-my birth photographer and back-up doula:

I could not have done this without y’all. My entire birthing experience was made incredible and memorable because of y’all. I would choose each of you over and over again and will always recommend you. Although my delivery experience wasn’t normal and unexpected, it was handled in the best way and in no way did it affect my views on natural birthing. I would 100% do it over again with the same team because I know I was in great hands. I already can’t wait to experience more births with y’all with my future babies.

The End!