Cabin’s Birth Story
The sweetest story of the sweetest babe’s earthside debut. I love you so, Cabin Ollivander. Thank you for showing me just how strong I am. You made me a mother and I am honored to share our story with the world.
Let me preface this with 2 things:
1. We planned and prayed for a homebirth, but God had other plans. Due to a lack of connection with the midwife we hired, we parted ways about a month before my due date. Being full-term comes with a lot of stress and pressure. We were not in a space mentally, physically or financially to hurriedly prep for an unassisted freebirth at home and no other midwives were available. We then shifted our birth plan to reflect a natural birth at the hospital with my beloved OBGYN.
2. This post contains real life images and video footage of natural childbirth. If you are unnerved by the female anatomy, breastfeeding, blood, bodily fluids, etc, then this is not the post for you.
August 8th, 2019. Five days before my due date. I had felt off for several days. I had no energy. I was nauseous. I ran a fever. Everything hurt. Matthew didn’t feel well either, so I was convinced we both had a hellacious summer cold. Spoiler alert: we did not. I was in the early stages of labor and Matthew was having sympathy sickness. (Proof that he does love me. Haha!)
Even though we felt terrible, Matthew worked the night before & I got up and did my normal, daily things that morning. I went and ran errands, including seeing our amazing chiropractors at Bright Life Chiropractic. Dr. Samantha (SHE IS AN ANGEL!) gave me a prenatal adjustment using the Webster’s technique. This is a specific sacral adjustment that aids in a Mama’s pelvic alignment and nervous system function to prep for baby. It has been known to turn breech babies and can help a full term mama go into labor, naturally. (←this. Yep. *Raises hand.*)
In hindsight, I should’ve known we were not sick. We never, ever get sick. But, we felt bad enough that Matthew called out of work for that night. I’ve only ever seen him call out of work once before and that was when he went through an attic ceiling cutting down someone who was attempting to take their own life. (Yeah. If you see a law enforcement officer today or tomorrow, thank them for their service.) Thank goodness he did because at 11:58pm that night, my water broke….allllll over our brand new bed. Cabin owned us before he was even born, yall.
We finally lied down in bed around 11. We were exhausted for hours beforehand, but we couldn’t seem to settle down until then. I feel like my head had just hit the pillow when I heard 2 things: Matthew’s BEAR level snores and a soft, but stern SNAP sound. I felt something warm all underneath me. At first, I thought I was peeing my pants because that kind of thing happens when you are almost 40 weeks pregnant, but the liquid didn’t stop flowing. I jumped out of bed and started excitedly hollering at Matthew, who also jumped out of bed and acted like he was fixing to grab his gun to defend our house from an intruder or something. His eyes were bloodshot and bugging out. It was hilarious. Once he was able to focus on real life, he realized what was going on. I ran and stood in our bathtub so I could lessen the amount of fluids getting all over the house. And he started packing the final things in the car. It wasn’t until I was in the tub that I realized how bad my hands were shaking. My whole body was shaking. IT WAS HAPPENING! CABIN WAS COMING!
Matthew pulled back all the covers and sheets and poured baking soda on the mattress. (A little advice: put one of those waterproof pads on your bed when you reach full term. You can thank me later.)
We jumped in the car and we were on our way to the hospital. I sat on 2 beach towels and a trash bag and Matthew sat in silence in the driver’s seat. He was freaking out. I was freaking out. OUR BABY WAS COMING!
We made it to the hospital at 12:59am. Our favorite nurse, Pamala, was on shift. She helped us get settled in, checked me (I was at 2cm) and showed me how to breathe through my contractions. I wanted to be able to move around during my labor, so she grabbed the bluetooth fetal monitor and got it set up. Cabin’s heart rate was right where it needed to be. Pamala encouraged us to try and nap for the “big day” ahead of us. Matthew fell asleep almost immediately. I took a few small naps, but when 5am hit, I started throwing up. I threw up all over the bed, the floor, my legs. Fun times, yall. Matthew somehow slept through my heaves, but when I got it on my body for the second time, I managed to grab a juice pouch and throw it at him to wake him up.
My contractions started really picking up around 6:30am. Between the contractions and the gal next store wailing and chanting a really haunting song over and over, I couldn’t sleep anymore, so I got out of bed and curled my hair in the bathroom. I figured, we paid good money for our pictures and I had heard that I will forget a lot of my labor & delivery. (reasons why a good photographer is SO important!) I wanted to at least look semi-human in my captured memories. #noshame #extra
Shift change was at 7am. Pamala brought in my day nurse and briefed her on my birth plan and wishes. The 2 of them let us know that my amazing, patient, birth plan friendly OBGYN had been called away on a family emergency and would not be able to attend my birth. Perfect. They let us know which doctor would be on call that day and said he would be in soon to introduce himself and go over things. They checked me and I was at 3cm.
The doctor finally sauntered in around 8:15am. I have been advised not to disclose his actual name in my writings…but let’s just say that it rhymes with Cullivan but starts with an ‘S.’ As soon as I saw him, my stomach twisted into the tightest knots I have ever felt….and they had nothing to do with the contractions.
He was less than pleased with my “lack of progress.” He sat down, looked straight at Matthew and said, “we need to prep her for c-section because there is no way she is going to be able to birth a baby.”
Uhhhh, hi. Hello. I am over here. I am the one in labor! He continued talking to Matthew like I wasn’t even there. I spoke up and firmly let him know that I was NOT prepping for a c-section, especially not when I was only at 3cm and Cabin was in ZERO distress or danger. He hadn’t even checked me yet and it had been almost an hour. He kept insisting on a c-section over and over and over. We continued to decline and hit him with facts. “Well, we at least need to start your IV.” Again, we declined. Andddd unless they planned on gassing me to give me an IV, it wasn’t happening. I was getting plenty of fluids down just by drinking, I wasn’t in distress and neither was Cabin.
He didn’t like anything we had to say. He said he was going to check me and see where I was.
Then, that awful, horrendous, unprofessional doctor went to check me and was so rough and rude. Before I could stop him, he basically fish hooked his fingers and….he stripped my remaining membranes. Without. My Permission. Let me pause for a minute because this next part is SO IMPORTANT. Not only is stripping or “sweeping” membranes painful, it can cause excessive, unnecessary bleeding, premature rupture of waters (if they aren’t already ruptured) and CAN CAUSE INFECTION to both mother and baby. Butttttt that is not the kicker here. That doctor performed an act on my genitals without my permission. Guess what that is defined as? SEXUAL ASSAULT. Friends, your doctors should NEVER EVER do anything to your vagina that is rigorous or extremely painful in this manner. If they do, REPORT THEM. Mothers are being bullied all over the world and it will never stop if we don’t open our mouths and SPEAK UP. Do not let any medical professional bully you into anything you don’t want to do. Ok, stepping off my soapbox now.
It hurt so bad it made me dizzy and I had to physically push his arm away from me to make him stop. He stood up and casually, like he didnt just commit a sex crime, and said something to the tune of “you have 1 hour to dilate at least a full centimeter or we are either prepping you for c-section or transferring you to a different hospital because I wont assume the care of a non-compliant patient.”
Excuse me. WHAT?! Buckle up, friends. It gets better.
Matthew quickly let him know that he could go ahead and get our transfer paperwork ready, because we were done with him. We started packing our things and it took FOREVER for the doctor to come back. When he did he let us know that he was transferring us to a level 2 NICU hospital “because your baby is going to need a lot of help when you finally get your c-section.”
*Insert Eye Roll.*
He decided the best hospital to transfer me to was over an hour away from where we were, which was already almost an hour from our house. Joke was on him, Matthew’s whole family lived in the town with the second hospital.
We called our photographer, Amy, and filled her in on everything that couldn’t be explained through text message. She advised us to just go to Savannah Memorial Hospital. It was only about 20ish minutes from our house, closer to her, closer to our parents, etc, andddd it’s also a level 2 NICU hospital.
I thought that doctor’s eyes were going to roll out of his head. He was so irritated that we soiled his plan. #karma
Matthew began loading the car, with the intent of driving me to Savannah because it was only about an hour from where we were, and that doctor stopped him in the hallway.
He then told him (BUCKLE UP, YALL.) “We really should consider gassing her to *finger quotes* give her an IV, and go ahead and do the c-section. She will wake up with a happy, healthy baby and everything will be fine.”
YALL. THIS QUACK WANTED TO PERFORM ANOTHER MEDICAL PROCEDURE ON ME WITHOUT MY PERMISSION. A FRIKKIN C-SECTION AT THAT!!!
Andddd he thought Matthew would go along with it. He is lucky Matthew didn’t knock his block off right there.
He once again demanded he get our paperwork ready so we could leave. The doctor then let us know that if I left the hospital with Matthew, I would be AMA..and there were conveniently no ambulances available….so he called in -STAY BUCKLED- a frikkin helicopter! He was literally doing any and everything he could to try and make us cave into a c-section. Keep in mind, I was still in active labor, yall. Contractions & throwing up & everything.
Welpppp. Load me up and let’s go, I guess. My baby isn’t going to wait for this circus.
Two nice, male nurses eventually came and got me to wheel me out to the landing pad. They strapped me in and did the best they could to try and make me comfortable. Keep in mind, I was still in active labor, yall. Contractions & throwing up & everything….anddddddd this was south Georgia….in AUGUST. It was nearly 100 degrees with not a cloud in sight.
We got to the edge of town and the older nurse leaned over and told me we had to turn around because “something wasn’t right.” Cue panic attack.
What do you mean something isn’t right?! Is my baby ok?! AM I OK?! What is happening?!
We got back to the hospital and sat on the landing pad for what felt like forever. If you have never had the pleasure of riding in a med-evac helicopter, it is small, and cramped. There is ONE air vent (it was at my toes, so, super duper helpful) )and the walls are all glass. So..i was basically strapped down in an outdoor sauna, in the middle of having a dang baby.
I got hotter and hotter and started to see spots…then, the worst thing happened….i stopped sweating. I started to see spots and got so so dizzy. I heard the door slide open followed by a lot of voices. “We have to get her inside NOW!” I was so incoherent and hot, I couldn’t make out what was even going on.
I vaguely remember being wheeled inside the emergency room and feeling the cool air hit my body and thinking it was the best thing I had ever felt. I also remember Matthew’s face being stark white. He was terrified. Everyone was. They put me in a tiny room and took our vitals. Cabin was still perfect. His heart beat was right where it needed to be. My temp was too high though. They began packing me with ice packs because….yall….i had a HEAT STROKE. A legit heat stroke. Not like “Ooohh Its so hot out here, I’m going to stroke out” as i lounge by the pool sipping a drink. No.
I. HAD. A. HEAT. STROKE.
All because that dummy didn’t complete the necessary paperwork for me to get in the helicopter. He was walking the halls like he was on a Sunday stroll through the park, chit-chatting on the phone. Eventually, the paperwork got squared away, we loaded back up and were in the air again.
Meanwhile, my OB had already called the hospital and let them know what had happened, so they’d be ready for us when we got there. He texted me and apologized for everything that had happened. He is SO great. <3
It was about a 20ish minute ride to Savannah. The nurses fanned me and helped me adjust during contractions. We started to go in for the landing and right as we were about to touch down, I felt a wave hit. “I am going to throw up!!” And I did…all over myself, the nurse, the stretcher, the glass door/wall. I was mortified and the tears started rolling. They handed me off to another sweet nurse who got me into my own room really quickly. I looked at the clock: 12:32pm. I had been in labor for 12 hours already. Woah.
The drive from Statesboro to Savannah is about 45-55 minutes depending on traffic. Yall. I was in that room less than 10 minutes before Matthew was there with all of my things. I don’t know how he did it, but I didn’t ask questions.
Soon, my photographer and her assistant, Lisa, arrived. Turns out, Lisa had just finished her doula training and asked if I could be her first actual birth. YES LORD. PLEASE MAKE THIS BETTER.
I finally got to change and get the throw up and dried sweat off of me, but my contractions had slowed down almost to a halt. It is called “emotional dystocia” and defined as dysfunctional labor caused by emotional distress and the resulting excessive production of catecholamines (stress chemicals.) Super.
You see, when a laboring mother suffers extreme trauma or distress, her body could
eject the baby or pause labor until it feels “safe” again. Fun Fact: Over 130 mammal species can “pause” a pregnancy. For example, in deer, if a female gets pregnant during a significantly dry or wet season, her body may pause pregnancy until conditions are more favorable. In humans, labor can stall just from trauma or significant levels of stress. Soooo be nice to your pregnant friends, yall!
I tried to relax and stretch and find peace in what happened.
We spent the next few hours playing the waiting game. By 4pm, I had only progressed to 4 centimeters. Cabin’s heart still stayed strong and steady. My strong, little babe. Even though I was still flushed and throwing up, I was able to get some NIngxia + water and even a meal down. I bounced on my yoga ball. Matthew and I slow danced to praise music. We diffused SO. MUCH. CLARY. SAGE. I did lots of lunges and squats. The contractions were strong and intense, but tolerable.
At 8:42pm, things took a little turn. A trainer doctor came in with seven trainees. SEVEN. (She had obvi not read my birth plan) She began insisting i get an IV and start a pitocin drip, since i wasn’t progressing to her standards. I reminded her that I was against medical interventions unless absolutely necessary. Even though Cabin showed no signs of discomfort or distress in any way, she kept insisting. I stuck to my guns and provided her with a copy of my birth plan. After about 20 minutes of us going back and forth and me not backing down, she took the hint and left.
Around 10pm, my nausea had really started picking up. I was throwing up more often and couldn’t keep anything down. Amy, Lisa and Matthew helped me get into the shower, hoping the warm water would help the nausea and may help me relax enough for my labor to pick back up again. I was having fierce, full contractions, but they were still SO irregular. I bounced on my yoga ball and sat on one of those bedside potties up under the running water. It took so much tension off of my body and did help with the nausea, slightly, but it didn’t do much for my irregular contractions.
The clock struck midnight on August 10th. By 145am, I finally got to 5 centimeters. Things got a little scary around 3am. I had been awake for over 48 hours. I had thrown up so much, I was weak, dehydrated and so, so dizzy. I could barely focus on anything and my eyes kept going cross eyed. As hard as I tried to fight it, I was still suffering from heat exhaustion from the events of the day before. While I was strong and able to labor on my own in my normal state, the effects of that quack doctor’s actions had taken a toll on my body and my mind.
We had a decision to make. I could keep laboring as I was, and most likely not end in success. My body was just too tired from just trying to stay afloat, or we could try some small, small interventions.
At 3:30 am, I tried to stand up, got dizzy, and almost fell. Matthew sat me down and we talked. We determined it was time for some help and at 4am, I gave my nurse the ok to give me……an IV. If you know me at all. Then you know how absolutely terrified I am of needles. I don’t give blood. I don’t receive vaccinations (this one is not because of the needle, buttttt still.) I don’t get my finger pricked. I have had several surgeries without having an IV until I was knocked outtt. I had gone my entire pregnancy without getting 1 drop of my blood drawn. But I knew in my heart that my body couldn’t keep up in it’s heat stricken, weakened state. My nurse was so sweet. She went down to the peds floor and got some of the numbing cream for me and let me pick the spot where my IV would go.
I lathered myself in Valor and Peace&Calming. We turned up some of my favorite praise songs. Matthew, Lisa & Amy held onto me and prayed and spoke comforting words. After a few short seconds, and a LOT of tears, my IV was in.
They gave me phenergan to help with the nausea and to make me go to sleep. I slept for 45 minutes and during that time, my body soaked up 2 full bags of fluids. When I woke up, I was a new woman. No more nausea. No more dizziness. No more discomfort. I felt like me again!
My contractions picked up and got more progressive. More bouncing. More swaying. Lots of squats. I ate a whole muffin and even though it came from a vending machine, it was the best muffin I have ever had.
By 515am, I had progressed to 7 centimeters! So close!
The devil really started to get in my head around 1030am. I had hit 8 centimeters and the “I can not do this” thoughts were swirling around. The transition phase began and it was roughhhhhh.
Lisa began reading my birth affirmations to me. How had I forgotten about these until then?? We prayed and she said “It is a brand new day. Yesterday is over and today is Cabin’s birthday! You CAN DO THIS.” Anddddddd I sobbed. It was my son’s birthday. He was coming TODAY! I was going to give birth to him and see his sweet face TODAY!
Another shower. More bouncing. Lisa and Amy had me do some crazy downward dog position hanging off the couch. The nurses brought out a peanut ball. Ooooooh I hated it SO MUCH. Mostly because I am extra tiny (4’10 & 140lbs fully pregnant) and the smallest size peanut ball they had was still too big for me. I hated it but boyyyy did it help!
Lunch time came and my contractions had grown very long in duration. Everyone in the room was tilting their heads at how long they were lasting. My nurse checked me and found the source. Due to the unnecessary stress, my cervix was not dilating equally on both sides. One side was 8cm and one was 8.5. Sweet Cabin’s head could not get past that little half inch yet. So, my nurse had me breathe out and pushhhhhh and in a few seconds, she had maneuvered his little face past the bigger side of my cervix.
My delivery doctor came in soon after to introduce herself. She would be “back in a few minutes” to check on me again. But those few minutes were cut short when i sat down on the bed and reached for my water and felt the strangest thing ever: my body started pushing.
We called for the birth team to come in and I could not stopppp pushing. The doctor was so nice and patient. I was already standing up and she asked if I’d like to lay down. ABSOLUTELY NOT. If you have never seen a diagram of a woman’s body in labor with baby in the birth canal, pause a sec, and do a google search. Laying on your back makes gravity work against you and is not the most effective or comfortable way to deliver.
We raised the bed up so I could lean onto it. Matthew stood on the other side holding my arms. The doctor and nurse stood behind me, holding a warm, wet cloth to my perineum and rubbing my legs for encouragement.
My body was pushing. Without any voluntary assistance, my uterus was contracting and bringing my baby out to me. I couldn’t hear or feel anything other than my muscles contracting and Matthew’s soft voice and hands on my sides. My skin felt like it was vibrating and I couldn’t stop pushing. I was in zero pain. It was almost euphoric.
I reached down and felt his little, spongy head really starting to surface. I grounded myself and pushed 4 times.
After 2 hospitals, a helicopter ride, arguments with 2 different doctors, several incredible nurses, 15 packs of Ningxia red, a whole bottle of Clary Sage Essential oil, braving an IV, 4 or 5 showers, hundreds of yoga ball bounces, and 37 ½ hours of labor, at 1:46 he was here.
Within seconds, he was passed through my legs and and into my arms. He was pink and puffy and smeared with vernix….and he was perfect. I hugged him into my chest and heard him cry and suddenly, all of my senses came back to me. I could hear everyone’s tears. I could see Matthew now standing next to me. I could smell Cabin’s head and Geranium oil diffusing. I could feel the cold floor on the soles of my feet.
I got into bed so I could deliver my placenta. It layed on my lap until it completely stopped pulsing, so Cabin could get all of his blood. Once it was almost completely white, Matthew cut the cord. Our good friend, Sheri, took our placenta with her in a cooler so we could freeze it until it could be taken to a sweet, local gal to be encapsulated.
Cabin didn’t leave my chest for a while. We delayed any weighing or testing until the golden hour had ended. During that bonding time, Cabin had nursed like a pro, and I took in every inch of his tiny body. We rubbed his vernix into his skin (do a quick google search on vernix. It’s gooooooood stuff!) My doctor even put up a makeshift, c-section divider so she could stitch me up without me seeing what was going on.
When I was ready, I gave Cabin to the nurse for his measurements.
7 pounds. 3 ounces. 21 inches long. And a head full of dark hair.
The nurse passed him to Matthew and I meltedddddddd. <3
I took the opportunity to clean up and change clothes.
He was here. Even with the hiccups and having to bulldog a few white coats with clipboards, I am still so happy with my labor and delivery experience. I labored naturally, OUT OF BED, with no pain medication. I learned a lot and I am confident in my decision to birth all of my future children in the comfort of my own home.
A few notes:
During labor, we diffused Clary sage and geranium.
During Postpartum we diffused Orange and gentle baby.
During labor, I snacked on raw vegetables, nuts, fruit leather, grapes and some berries. I drank sugar free, cold pressed apple juice, water and Ningxia Red.
Photography & Videography: http://www.becklingphotography.com
Doula: Lisa Larson
Encapsulation Services: http://placentaencapsulationsavannah.com/
For more info on other specifics, check out my Birth Plan Post.
After this experience, I don’t know how anyone could deliver a child and not immediately want to run into the arms of Jesus and thank Him continually for the rest of their life.
Thank you, Cabin Ollivander, for making me a Mother. You gave me the most incredible story to tell. I will love you with every ounce of my soul for all of eternity.