Abel's Birth Story

April 02, 2016

After birthing Haven naturally, we knew we wanted to do the same for Abel. We planned to deliver similarly, in a hospital with a family doctor we could see for prenatal appointments as well as postpartum. Unfortunately, there are no providers in Greenville who perform in this way anymore.

After some research, we decided to go to Greenville Midwifery for our prenatal visits and to also have them deliver our child, as midwives tend to be more understanding and supportive of natural childbirth. We still planned to deliver in the hospital, but we soon found out that the midwives had recently opened their own birth center. We decided to go to orientation just to check it out and were very impressed! The birthing rooms were like nice hotel rooms. Real beds, huge tubs, large bathrooms with beautiful finishes. All of this right across the street from the hospital in case we needed to go over there for some unforeseen circumstance. It just seemed like a much more comfortable environment to give birth. We were sold!

We also decided to try a different method for childbirth--Hypnobabies. It basically uses self hypnosis to help during labor. The first time I heard about it I thought "that sounds hippie and weird", but I heard lots of good things about it and figured I'd try almost anything if it would give me an easier birth! I went to the six weeks of class while Clarence stayed home and took care of Haven. Our doula taught the class and it was full of great information and helped me feel ready...as ready as you can be.

Since Haven was 10 days past her guess date, I tried to prepare myself for another long pregnancy. A week before Abel's guess date, I was laying on the bed during Haven's nap and felt a small leak. It was clear, and not a whole lot. I spoke to my doula and she said labor should begin within 24 hours if my water had broken, but nothing happened. No continued leaking, no contractions, nothing. While most people at this point would call their doctor or midwife, I did not want to be induced and knew that if I called, that is what they would recommend. Since I had no continued signs of labor, was not feverish, and could feel Abel moving regularly, I figured it was a false alarm. Still, this put my head in a place of thinking he would be coming any moment. This made the wait for labor very difficult!

The further past his guess date we got, the more sure I was that he wasn't coming. Every morning I would wake up, still be pregnant, and feel so frustrated! It was much harder this time to wait than with Haven. Also, increasing the stress was the fact that the further past the guess date we got, the more pressure I received to think about what interventions we needed to do to make sure we didn't hit 42 weeks. A week after Abel's due date, I started having random contractions, but nothing consistent. By the end of that week, I went into one of my appointments and let them strip my membranes. Kim, the midwife who performed it was said to have "magic fingers" and always put women into labor. Sure enough the next day at 41 weeks and 3 days, on Friday morning, my contractions started coming every 8-10 min. I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks to prepare mentally and tried to relax and wait for labor to progress.

Around 2:30, my doula arrived and I asked her if we could head to the birth center. I really wanted to get in a tub and labor because it helped so much during Haven's labor. When we arrived, around 3:30pm, I was checked and dilated to a 4. They only admit at a 5 or 6 so recommended I walk around the garden for an hour or so to try to get my contractions to speed up. I put on some worship music and walked with Clarence, pausing as each contraction came on.

Photo by Julie Byers
Photo by Julie Byers
As it started to get cold, we went inside and sat on a birthing ball and walked the halls. I asked the midwife if I could please get in the tub as the contractions were getting stronger. She agreed and admitted us around 5:30pm.

For the next 4 hours, I labored in the room, both in the tub and out.

As we neared 9:30pm, the midwife said she needed to check me again to make sure I had progressed. Though my contractions hadn't increased much in intensity or frequency, I was sure I had progressed because the labor was very similar to Haven's. She checked me....and I was still at a 4. I felt dejected and could not believe nothing had changed since 3:30pm. To make matters worse, I was given a choice; either go home until my labor sped up, or allow them to break my water to move things forward.

I was so torn at this point. I remember at the end of my labor with Haven when my water broke on it's own, how intense my labor became. Thinking now that I was only at a 4, I wasn't sure I could deal with that intensity for hours. Also, I felt that my water would break when it was ready to. At the same time, I did not want to go home at that point. After a lot of discussion, we finally decided to go ahead and break my water around 10pm.

Pretty quickly, my contractions became more intense. I laid on the bed while my midwife did some acupuncture and massage on my feet to try to encourage labor to progress.

Photo by Julie Byers
After only about 4-5 contractions, I was pretty overwhelmed by the intensity of everything and feared I couldn't make it through the next contraction, much less hours more of them. Later I would realize I was likely going through transition, but didn't think it would've progressed that fast. I immediately said "I need an epidural", which of course they don't offer at the birth center and I knew this. I didn't want to think of the logistics of moving to the hospital and how long it would take to actually get one, I just wanted one. My midwife and doula laughed to which I responded, "I'm not kidding." They immediately suggested I get in the tub. This helped a lot, but everything was still very intense.

Before long, I could feel my body transitioning into the pushing stage. I felt a sense of relief remembering how Haven was born in about 10 minutes once I reached this stage. What I didn't know was that Abel was a big boy and would not come as easily into the world!

I was kneeled in the tub with my head on the side, grunting and pushing with each contraction. He felt so close each time, but still was not ready to be born.

After about 45 minutes of pushing, my midwife told me to move onto my back so that Abel had room to exit the birth canal. I continued pushing and could feel it was time! My large, big-headed son had a much more powerful entry into the world. The pain was quite intense as his head exited, but then I felt a sense of relief once it was out. I kept pushing, but his shoulders were stuck and my midwife told me to quickly stand up and let gravity do it's work. I stood for a few seconds and out he came!

Abel Yong En (meaning "eternal grace" in Mandarin) Wong, born on Jan 30th, 2016 and 12:06am while "Lord I give you my heart" by Anthony Evans played in the background.

They quickly sat me back down and placed my son on my chest.

Clarence got to cut the cord and then hold Abel to his chest while they moved me onto the bed.

I got Abel back and enjoyed some skin to skin time while I delivered the placenta (such a weird feeling) and they sewed up my 1st degree tear (not bad considering how big we later found out he was).

After an hour of skin to skin and making sure I was ok, they finally weighed and measured Abel and we were SHOCKED to find out he was 9 pounds, 21.5 inches!

Haven was only 7 pounds 7 ounces and we thought he would be similar. No one was expecting such a beast :) He is big and handsome and we are so blessed with this precious miracle! We spent some time thanking God for a safe delivery and prayed for Abel's future.

Delivering at the birth center was a great experience. It felt much more relaxing and I could be calm knowing that I would not be pressured to use medical interventions I was not comfortable with. One downside? You typically stay only 4-8 hours after delivering. Since we delivered at midnight, we figured we would leave about 6am. Unfortunately, a nurse entered at 4am, about 45 min after we finally were able to lay down and rest and told us she would check Abel's stats and then we could head home. It would've been nice to get a few more hours of sleep, but on the plus side we went home and were able to rest in our own bed. I think the timing was due to a nurse shift change and it just made more sense to send us home then have a nurse come in for 2 hours.

My doula, Julie Byers, was great to have throughout the whole process and we were so grateful to have her assist us! Hypnobabies was a wonderful help during the early stages of labor, but once my water broke, I completely lost focus with the intensity of the contractions and was not able to return to a state of hypnosis. Each labor is different though and I know some who enjoyed a wonderful childbirth experience with it from beginning to end.

Just like last time, I told Clarence I'm not doing that again haha. Right afterwards, when it's all fresh in your mind, there's no way you can imagine doing it again. Still, it's amazing what our bodies are capable of! God created an amazing miracle in how He designs a body to grow and birth a child, and I am blessed to see how He brought our son into the world...and used me to do it.

We are now a family of 4!

All photos taken by Julia Elle Photography unless otherwise stated

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