In honor of my baby boy’s first birthday, I have finally posted his birth story! And what an amazing story it is! Today, I am able to look back on both of my sons’ births and feel so empowered. I’m so thankful to God and my birth team to have been given the knowledge and power to set in motion something I wanted so badly for myself and for my babies. 

After the birth of my first son, Rylan, I was traumatized. Part of me hates saying that because truthfully, it was a great birth. He was happy and healthy and I was able to have the natural delivery I worked hard for. But because it didn’t go “as planned” (what births do?!), I was traumatized by the fact that birth was bigger than me. Although I did end up delivering him naturally, without an epidural, it was more painful than I ever could have imagined and the whole time I felt like my body was “fighting” delivery.  You can read more about that birth here, but all that to say, is that I was not ready to have another child any time soon, if ever.k

Fast forward a few years later, and the idea of another child didn’t seem so bad. I had no idea how I’d get through labor and delivery, but I decided I’d cross that bridge when I got to it. However, God had other plans. We ended up having two miscarriages before finally getting pregnant the fourth time, which finally stuck.🙂

Soren, ~20 weeks gestation

It was a long journey. The miscarriages took a toll on me emotionally and then made for a long and stressful 41 weeks. Every day I thanked God for the opportunity to be pregnant and prayed to carry this child for one more day. (I get teary-eyed recalling those feelings!) I had to reframe my thinking and really take it one day at a time in order to stay sane.In the end, God was in control, all I could do was to concentrate on the things I did have control over, which was taking care of myself.

“Sweet baby, we are so ready for you. It is safe here and we can’t wait to meet you. We will wait until you are ready but we are all so excited to meet you!”

I listened to my birth affirmations and tried to relax. I told my husband I was going into the office tomorrow. He asked me not to, and I compromised by telling him I’d see how I felt in the morning. 

I woke up the next morning probably sometime around 3-4 am. I didn’t look at the clock because it didn’t really matter. I was tired of looking at the clock every. single. time. I woke up to pee just to find out how little sleep I was already getting. I was surprised this morning, however, at how much my lower abdomen hurt. I chocked it up to being almost 41 weeks pregnant (everything hurt anyways) and went back to bed, only to have the strangest dream.

I was on the moon, surrounded by some fellow Trainer friends of mine. I was grimacing, and they asked if I was in labor. “Maybe” I said, through clenched teeth. I was fearful they were going to be upset with me for being in labor, and having to find a way to get me back to Earth. What an inconvenience I was being! They asked if I would like to go back to Earth to be with my birth team and I said “yes!” and they put me in a rocket to head back to Earth… then I woke up.

It was 5:20am. It felt like the baby was pushing (spoiler alert!) his butt against the front of my belly, which was a new sensation considering I had an anterior placenta this time and most movements were muffled.I was wide awake and wondering if this could be the start of something. I wasn’t sure if it was a contraction or not, so I decided to hop in the bath. One of the ways to tell if you’re having “real” contractions or not is to change what you’re doing – take a bath, take a walk, rest, relax, eat, etc.  So I hopped in the tub and, googled “what does a contraction feel like” because I felt so different than I did with Rylan’s labor. 

I texted my doula, Stacy, at 5:30am to let her know what was going on.

“Pretty sure I’m having real contractions 😉. I’ll keep you posted. I haven’t woken Juan up yet. Going to try to keep resting.”

I turned on my birth affirmations and tried to get my game face on. Holy. Shit. 45 minutes later at 6:15am I texted her back.

“Yep they’re real!!! I’m wide awake haha.”

She advised me to keep resting. At 5:50am I texted my midwife, Amy, and prayed she was available for this birth (the birth center we used had four different midwives available).

“Maybe today’s the day?! Having contractions. I’ll keep you posted!”

I tried hard to relax in the tub, but I couldn’t rest – my baby was on the way!!!I got out of the bath and went upstairs to wake up the boys. Juan was sleeping in Rylan’s bed that night so I woke them both up.

“Rylan, do you want to wake up in the dark today?!” (His current favorite thing). “I think we are going to have a baby today!” He shoots out of bed… “Yes Mommy!!”

I went downstairs and started cleaning the house, making Rylan’s lunch and making breakfast. I wasn’t sure how much time I would have and I just needed to get a few more things done. It could be imminent and in that case I should hurry—or—maybe this would continue all day and I might as well get some stuff done in the meantime? Well, it was a nice plan, but I couldn’t continue for very long. About 45 minutes later and the contractions were really picking up – and I realized I might want to relax. Where did I leave my “labor game face”? Oh yeah, I couldn’t put it back on until I knew Rylan was taken care of. That’s a “multip” for you! Stacy’s recommendation was to “inhale peace and joy, exhale expectations.”

“Really, take a good bit to enjoy the transitions o a family of 4. Spend an extra few min with Rylan. This birth will happen in the proper space and time. Love on your boys. Take a hot bath and talk to your baby. Tell your baby what you want for this experience. Hold the space. Find the calm. Step into labor with joy.”

It was a beautiful message! Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to really read and take action on it because the contractions were starting to take my breath away. I had “technically” started labor less than 2 hours ago and I already had to sit down, close my eyes and just breathe during them.

Rylan breathing with me through the contractions

At this point, I hadn’t said a word to the family about what I needed during the contractions because I hadn’t needed to. I just quietly sat down on the couch, closed my eyes and focused on my breathing. Without a word, Rylan came and sat next to me. He took my hand in his and started breathing with me through the contractions. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced and probably my favorite part of the labor/delivery experience. It filled me with a love I can’t explain and a freedom and permission from him to go ahead and birth this baby. Without saying a word, he said so much to me. I felt his support, which was so important to me, and he made me feel loved, strong and empowered for the birth ahead. (Words straight from my birth affirmations – turns out those really do work if practiced!) I hope that Rylan forever knows how much he did for me in that moment.

It was 8:07am. I was supposed to have a chiropractor appointment at 9:15am, but did not want to go. I told Juan and Stacy that I was starting to feel a little nauseous. The contractions were intense, but currently only 30 seconds long.The time in between varied depending on what I was doing. Every time I moved, it would trigger one, but if I stayed still, I could catch a break. Stacy encouraged me to make the chiro appointment happen – not exactly what I wanted to hear. They were painful, and I used that word. She helped me reframe my thoughts —

“They’re a different “P” word – Productive.”

*Ding* Lightbulb moment! She did such a great job during both labors and all my pregnancies with positively reframing my thoughts. I had such a difficult birth with Rylan, and I really feel like my mind and body fought the labor and delivery. With Rylan, it wasn’t until I shifted my thoughts and words from “my back hurts” to “it’s just my baby” that I was able to make progress and be in the game.

At 8:11am I texted Amy again.

“Ok…we are gonna have a baby today!!! Are you available?!”

I was beyond relieved when she told me she was! Meanwhile, Juan was getting Rylan ready for school. At some point, very quickly, I shifted from being in a happy place to needing absolute silence and stillness during contractions (it got real pretty fast). I would give the boys a 3 second countdown and then they literally had to stop talking and stop moving. It was like everyone was frozen in time in 30 second intervals.The stress level in our house was increasing. Juan was yelling at Rylan to find his shoes, get his things, etc. and it was freaking me out. I told everyone I need everyone on their best, happiest behavior. Juan asked if I wanted to come with him to take Rylan to school, and then we could just head to the chiropractor. And to any normal, reasonable person, this is a great idea. However, I was in full-blown labor, and it was the worst idea I had ever heard. I gave him a look like he was out of his ever-loving mind.

“Uhhhh NO. I want to you take Rylan to school right now, and hurry up and come get me.”

I waited on the stairs, tucked into a tiny pregnant ball, right by our garage door for Juan to get home. I was not having fun. We got in the car and headed to the chiropractor. But past that, I wasn’t sure what to do. I asked Stacy if I should labor at home or at ABC (Allen Birthing Center), where we were going to have the baby. The contractions were “super frequently” according to my text message – apparently correct grammar had gone out the window already – and very intense, but not quite a minute long. 

I walked into the chiropractor’s office a few minutes late and a little hunched over. The girls were all standing at the front desk.

“We were wondering if you were going to show up today, we thought you might be in labor?!”

“I’m in labor” I replied under my breath. I think everyone smiled and did a little “hooray/OMG”, I’m not really sure. Things got fuzzy from here. I walked back to Dr. Dasha’s office, waited for a contraction to pass, then hopped on the table. She barely got a partial adjustment in before I needed a break for another contraction. It was the fastest adjustment of my life, but it took me about 15 minutes to walk from her office back to the car – and it wasn’t far. I had to stop for a contraction while walking, then I needed to pee – so I stopped in the bathroom. Had a couple contractions while in the bathroom – one of which was spent on my knees with my head on the sink, before I made it out. 

The ladies at the desk asked my husband…

“You’re taking her straight to the birth center, right?”

“Oh yeah” Juan said, indefinitely. I remember being kinda mad – I didn’t want to spend all day at the birth center! I thought we would go home, watch some re-runs and just chill for a bit before heading there. But I was in no position to argue. 

Juan grabbed my phone to respond to Stacy, who had asked if she should meet us at home.

“This is Juan,” he said, “We are headed to ABC. Leaving the chiro now. They are about 1 min duration and frequent like every 3-5 min. No real pattern but duration has increased over the past hour. Getting more painful too.”

While in the car, I jumped back on my phone to attempt to talk to her myself.

“It’s me. Hi.. omg…”

That’s about all I could muster, as if I was actually speaking. Thankfully, Stacy was halfway to the birth center already. We exchanged “love yous” and that was the last text messages we sent. I beared down for the remainder of the 20 minute drive to the birth center. Every. single. bump initiated a contraction. Sometimes they were back to back, with only 10 seconds in-between. Other times I got a 30 second break. It was rough, and with every approaching contracting all I could think was —

Oh please, not another one!

Finally at the birth center, I walked in and saw one of the sweetest ladies on Earth, Josephine, at the front desk. All I could think was “does she know I’m in labor?” In hindsight…duh… of course she knew! It was strange to be there, in labor, during the middle of the day when there were people going about their normal day. I slouched my very pregnant body onto the couch, quite uncomfortably, to wait for the next set of instructions. Juan asked if I wanted to move but I couldn’t. I couldn’t sit, stand, lay, nothing. Everything just really sucked, honestly! There was another girl in the waiting room, very close to her due date. “I have to admit, I kind of envy you right now” she said. I told her…

“I get it, and I was you yesterday—but today, I’m not so sure I want to be me!”

We chuckled before the next contraction hit. I loved how respectful she was that during my contractions, she would stop talking. No one wants to have a conversation during a contraction. Well, maybe some women do, but not me! I’m a redhead – I have a low pain tolerance – so this was TOUGH. There was another midwife there asking me questions during the contraction—I couldn’t help but wonder if she had lost her mind. Clearly, she’s not a redhead. 🙂

Amy was finishing up with a patient and was going to meet me upstairs, in one of the birthing rooms. In the meantime, the other midwife had me come back to be checked.

“PLEASE don’t be a 1!”

As in – do not tell me I am only dilated to a “1” and therefore nowhere near delivery time. Flashback to Rylan’s birth, I had been in labor for about 9 hours when I got to the hospital, they checked me, and I was a 1.5! We expected me to be much further along so the news of a 1.5 cm dilation was devastating to me. She got me up on the table and I tried to lay back. “Ouuuuuchhhhh!” I groaned as they tried to lay me back on the table. It hurt so much, that I tried to stop them and sit back up. “You just need to lay back for a minute then you can come back up” they said. OMG… changing positions in labor is PAINFUL! She checked me quickly… “please don’t be a 1, please don’t be a 1…”

“How about a 5?”

… she said. Yessss!!!!! I was elated. This is happening. TODAY! No more being pregnant. No more stressing every day about whether my baby was healthy. This was all going to end TODAY! 

I started my way up the stairs with Juan’s help. We stopped at the bottom of the staircase to have a contraction. I rested my head on the railing and I felt a hand on the small (not so small, haha) of my back. “Guess who’s here” Juan said!

“Stacy!!!! We’re gonna have a baby today!!!”

I was so excited!

Before shit got REAL!

We finally got upstairs and I had a seat on the birth ball. I was still smiling and laughing outside of the contractions. But all that was about to change.I stood up to take off my hooded sweatshirt and my whole world shifted. It was like the baby decided he was ready, at that very moment. 

My memory gets a little hazy from here. The pain was majorly intensified and I was a very unhappy camper. We went into the bathroom to get me changed into one of those super sexy Depends so that I could move around freely without, well, making a mess. I sat on the toilet for a while but that hurt too much, so instead I sat on the squatty potty in front of the toilet. I was feeling pretty nauseous now, so that was a good place to be. Stacy dropped some peppermint essential oil into the water of the toilet, and the nausea subsided for a bit. We contemplated hopping in the shower, but that seemed like too much work. We chilled in the bathroom for a while before that peppermint oil wore off and there was no more putting off the vomiting. Ugh. I HATE throwing up. However, I knew it was inevitable and I knew once I could get through it, it would be finished. It’s also a great milestone because it typically signifies transition, which is hands-down the HARDEST part of labor, mentally, physically and emotionally. Three upchucks later, I was done and ready to move on. 

Being one of the coldest Decembers ever in Texas, the room upstairs was still pretty chilly. Combine that with hormones flying all over the place, and I started to get the shakes. The warm birth tub sounded like a great idea, so I hopped in there. Unfortunately, I was wrong. 

The pain and pressure was so much more intense in the tub. This same thing happened with Rylan as well, but I wanted to believe it would be different this time. Something about sitting on my bum and the um… area… where a baby was supposed to come out of, seemed wrong. I wanted to reposition myself but I couldn’t. Every time I moved, the pain was so unbearable, I just couldn’t. I started shaking my head sideways and saying “no, no no”. I did NOT want to do this anymore. What the hell were we thinking? Why did we want another child? Why did we want a natural birth? Who does this? We are crazy! Juan was holding me from behind, Stacy was next to me and Amy was in front of me.

“You need to start shaking your head “yes yes yes””

Stacy said. Ugh. I knew she was right. I have never shook my head “yes” and so vehemently meant “no” before in my life! But I agreed.

“Why are you saying “no”?” Amy asked, “what are you feeling right now?”

I told her it was because I just felt SO MUCH PRESSURE. She asked if I could try applying a little counter-pressure to that pressure and see what it feels like. I told her “no.” Apparently she also told me I was in transition awhile ago, and I also told her I was not. I guess I’m argumentative while in labor, haha. She asked why I didn’t want to apply counter pressure, and I told her it was because it just hurt so much. After continued debate, I finally conceded and applied a little counter-pressure. “How did that feel?” Amy asked. 

“Well, it felt better when I applied the counter-pressure, but it hurt SO much worse after I let go!” 

She smiled. Why was she smiling?! I didn’t understand what was going on. Amy and Stacy were smiling, maybe even giggling a little and I wanted to die. These people are crazy! They are perfectly calm and acting like this is normal! I made it clear to my birth team that I wasn’t going to do this again. I wasn’t going to have Rylan’s birth, where I tell them for hours and hours how much this hurts and I don’t get any relief.

“I need something to take the edge off. You guys have to do something” I kept saying. “I want Nubane (painkiller) and a nap.” 

Amy calmly said that if I wanted Nubane and a nap I would have to get out of the tub, and she would have to check me first to see how far dilated I was.

She said “I think you’re a little past Nubane sweetie.” 

Oh the pressure! But look at my rock star husband 🙂

I wanted to get out of the tub, but didn’t want to move. I felt so defeated. Why could we not just teleport my body somewhere else! My thoughts started to wander, and I started to lose control a little bit. I contemplated asking them to transfer me to the hospital, but then I knew my pain would not be any different regardless of my location on Earth. I did NOT want an epidural, and if I went to the hospital, I was facing interventions that we were trying to avoid. I was proud of myself for being able to talk myself out of that option and come back to the present moment. I also felt like I HAD to remain in the present moment, and I HAD to remain in control. I wanted to lose it. I wanted to cry and scream and just lose it, but every time I started to let go of my patience and control, the pain escalated. It was so important for me to stay calm.

“What time is it?” 

It was 11:30am. I was so upset by this answer, but I can’t really tell you why. We got there about 10am and so it was shocking to me that we had only been there for 90 minutes. In my mind, we were going to have to be here all day in order to have a baby (Rylan’s birth was 22 hours in total), so in my head, this was just the beginning of a marathon day. 

Finally, I was able to get out of the tub. It took a few contractions, but I got out. I wanted to get to the bed, but I couldn’t make it that far. (Note, it was about five feet away, haha.) I sat on the birth ball, that’s as far as I could go. I was complaining about a backache and wanted to try the tens machine. (I had back labor with Rylan and it was MURDEROUS, I did not want to go through that again). They hooked me up to the machine and it was on a little too high because it shocked me.

I jumped and yelped. “Sorry!” they said and smiled. I’m sure it was funny, but I wasn’t laughing. We tried different strengths of the tens unit but for some reason, it sent intense shooting pains down the sides of my body, through my hips, after each contraction. Tens units are better used at the beginning of labor it turns out, and I was way too far in for it to be beneficial. Since that whole thing sucked, I decided to get on the bed. I jumped onto all fours. Okay, no, that’s a lie. I did not “jump” in any sense of the word. I carefully put one leg on the bed, had a contraction, then put another leg on, etc. etc. There was no “jumping” of any kind happening. Once on the bed, I buried my face in the pillow. I just wanted this to end. This sucked. I didn’t want to do this anymore. I did not want to be pregnant for one more second. I tried to cry, it didn’t work. I just wanted to cry and cry and cry.

Amy asked me… 

“Do you want to try to push a little?” 

“No” I said, without any hesitation. “Um, why not?” She asked again… as if I was here to hang out at the birth center, and not to have a baby. “I don’t want to push because I don’t want to push for hours.” Apparently I was much closer to having a baby than I realized. She said, 

“I think if you start pushing we can have a baby really soon.” 

But “really soon” wasn’t descriptive enough for me. I needed to know exactly how long I would have to push for. Should I start pushing hard? Or just maybe a little? Oh what to do!

Amy checked me… 

“You’re a 9!” 

Oh. My. God. I’m a 9!!!!! Does this mean I’m not going to have time for my nap?! Ugh! I was actually a little disappointed that I was a 9, because there was no nap happening (and no Nubane either!).The only way I was going to get a nap, or a rest, or a break from these freaking contractions was to push this baby out. 

Here… we… go…!

I finally decided to push a little so I could stop being pregnant. I pushed with all my might and then, the STRANGEST thing happened. My body starting pushing too.It was insane! I would push, then my body would overtake me, and push even harder than I ever could. It’s called the Ferguson Reflex and it was super cool! I pushed a couple times, and making sounds I can only describe as “scream-grunting”. I was so embarrassed, I kept thinking about the poor pregnant people downstairs in the waiting rooms and how they were probably terrified of the sounds I was making. Turns out, after talking with Stacy and Amy, those women were elated for me, because what they heard, were beautiful sounds of a baby being born. Now being on the other side of delivery, I totally get that. Man, how crazy is perspective?! 

I pushed a couple times and Amy would say “great job” but there were no measurable words coming out. Nothing that said “he’s approximately 65% out, and if you push 2.5 more times, he will be here.” I needed something more descriptive, but couldn’t ask for it in the middle of my scream-grunting, nor would she probably have been able to give me what I was asking for. My waters were still in tact up until this point, and with another push, I felt the bag of waters pop. It was kinda cool, actually. It was especially awesome that the waters hadn’t broke until now because I was GBS positive with this pregnancy, and had declined the antibiotics unless the birth team deemed necessary. Since the waters broke less than 30 seconds before he fully arrived, I was able to avoid the antibiotics, hooray! 

I still had my head buried in the pillow and was praying,

“Please God let this be over, please just let this be over.” 

At this point, I could feel his head coming out. They instructed me to slow down, and just apply counter pressure to keep from tearing. I did as they instructed, and then pushed again when we were out of the clear. I could feel his shoulders come out (or so I think…). One more time, and I felt the whole rest of his slimy little body pop out. Head still buried in pillow, my words turned to 

“Oh my God please cry, please cry, please cry.”

Praise the Lord, he’s here!!!

Amy and Stacy were reassuring me that he was fine, he just wasn’t crying yet. In fact, they said “he/she/he/she is fine” as to not let me know the gender. so I could see for myself. I thought that was really special. A few seconds later and I heard it. The most wonderful, beautiful sound in the whole entire world. My sweet, sweet double rainbow baby, was crying! I think it was about 4-5 pushes in total and he was out. 

I was still on all fours on the bed, and Amy said, 

“Stay there, I’m going to pass the baby to you like a football.” 

All I could think was… “like a football? he’s so slimy!!!” She carefully passed him through my legs and I grabbed him from under my body. I picked him up, raised him up towards my face so I could see his face and check out his… manhood! 

“Oh my God you’re a BOY!” 

I screamed! We were a little shocked, because only one person guessed it would be a boy, everyone else on Earth guessed girl, so we assumed it was a girl as well.

I turned over and laid back on the bed. 

Finally!!! It’s over and he’s here! And he’s HEALTHY AND BEAUTIFUL!!! 

41 weeks, 6 days, my double rainbow baby

It was amazing. I was still in shock that he was here and it was only 1:26pm. Wow, that was FAST and intense! I layed there while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing, which is best for baby. In the meantime, and during his time laying with me post-birth, he popped on me FOUR times. It was the most poop Amy, Stacy or Krisha (nurse) had ever seen. If that’s TMI – you should have stopped reading a LONG time ago! 

We spent as long as we could at the birth center (about 5 hours) before we headed home. It was so nice after the birth. Everyone just hung out, talked, and laughed. Stacy ran and got us Chipotle, we called the dentist to figure out what to do about his tongue and lip ties, and got breastfeeding established. I was at home, on our couch, by 7:30pm that night, just 6 hours after Soren’s birth.Juan asked me on the way home which birth I would rather have, Rylan’s or Soren’s and I told him I couldn’t pick, because they were both sooo hard! in hindsight, Soren’s was probably “better” because it was faster, and less back labor, but it was so much more intense than I anticipated. Regardless, I’m done having babies. 🙂 

It actually didn’t take too long after the birth (maybe a couple weeks) before I looked back at Soren’s birth with such pride. I am SO grateful to God that He gave us a healthy baby and a labor and delivery I can feel empowered by. God guides moving ships – and that I was! Birth is definitely still bigger than me, but I learned so much in my time before this birth. I did as much as I could to prepare myself mentally and physically and to let go and accept the way the events were going to unfold. It is so difficult to really and truly do that, and I feel so awesome about what I was able to accomplish with the help of SO many people. It was truly a team of people that helped empower me of the years that made this birth possible, and I am so thankful to them! 

Soren Arturo Villamizar was born Wednesday, December 27th at 1:26pm at Allen Birthing Center. He weighed 7lbs, 7oz, had a head full of beautiful dark brown hair and pooped on me four times. 🙂