Shilo Anderson shares her experience giving birth to son Zephaniah.
My husband and I were in shock when we found out we were pregnant. We had just gotten married and Taylor was finishing up his degree. I have always been drawn to pregnancy, birth, and children, so of course I was excited, but terrified at the same time.
The pregnancy went great, I felt so whole. Carrying another soul inside me is the greatest feeling I have ever felt. The last couple of months of the pregnancy were filled with STRESS. We had several deaths, my husband’s boss, my brother’s very dear friend, both died too soon and my grandma was very sick.
At 32 weeks I went to the midwife because I was having low back pain, which is very unusual for me. She decided to check me and I was beginning to efface, so…she decided to put me on moderate bed rest for a week and see what happened. This just happened to be the week, we were moving into our new house (why do women always move when they are pregnant?). My husband is such an amazing person and he was able to handle it, but it was extremely difficult for me to just sit back and let everyone do everything for me. It was my first lesson in surrendering into motherhood.
The next week brought no good news, my cervix continued to efface and my grandmother (my moms mom) was on her deathbed after a battle with ovarian cancer (chemotherapy is from the devil if you ask me). I was put on full bed rest until I was 36 weeks. It was the hardest thing I have had to do, just sit there and do nothing. Hindsight is 20/20 and I realize now it was a blessing because I will never get to sleep like that again, haha.
Once 36 weeks came along, I knew I had already begun dilating, so when my midwife checked me and said I was 21/2 cm. I wasn’t too surprised. Everyone was hoping that I went into labor right then and there because it was looking like grandma was going to die any day and that meant my mom and dad, who were both supposed to be at the birth (I needed both of them at the birth) were going to have to leave to California.
Tutu (grandma) died about a week later, July 25 and the funeral was scheduled for the 28th. My mom and I cried and cried debating whether she should go or not and I knew she at least had to try and if I went into labor (which instinctly I knew I would) we would just have to hope that she was able to catch a plane with my dad and make it in time. So of course Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I had been contracting frequently, especially at night (no rest for the weary), but Thursday night at about 10 I knew it was different. My mom and dad had just left for California at noon that day, so I did the worst thing possible and fought the labor. I sat in the tub asking my body to please stop, just to wait one more day, but the contraction kept coming every 5 minutes or so. It was horrible. At 5 Friday morning, I finally gave in and called the midwife. Lia came out and checked me and I was 4 cm. I finally gave into the fact the I was truly in labor and that my mom was going to miss her mothers funeral and possibly miss the birth. I called my mom and gave her the news, she and my father immediately got on the first flight back home.
Knowing she was coming helped me relax a little, but I knew I was still subconsciously still fighting the labor.
People began arriving for our babies birth, my mother in law, sister in law, brother, sister, father in law, all three of the midwifes, and then finally at 5 pm on Friday my mom and dad. At that point I was only at 6 or 7 cm. I was progressing very slowly, but once my mom walked in the door my contractions picked up, boy did they pick up.
The midwife had hooked me up to an IV with B12, because I was just exhausted at that point I don’t think I had slept very much for 4 days. When I reached 8 cm she broke my water (something I would not have normally wanted her to do, but I think it was necessary because of the length of the labor).
I labored outside walking, in the shower on the birthing stool, on the bed, on the birthing ball, on the floor, pretty much everywhere.
Finally, at around 9:30 Friday night, at 37 1/2 weeks, I was ready to push. I think I was pretty much out of my mind at that point because I started being a brat to everyone. They were trying to give me honey for energy and I would spit it out. When the babies heart rate dropped and they put oxygen on me a was tearing the mask off. I HATED the doppler and I let everyone know how much I hated the doppler. After about 30 minutes of pushing, I reached down and pulled out our baby boy, Zephaniah Zane. I can’t even explain in words the relief I felt to be done and know that I did it, wow, I did it.
I can’t say I was that interested in Zeph right away. I was so exhausted I just wanted to sleep. After he nursed I passed him off to my husband and mom and they stayed with him most of the night and just brought him to me when he was hungry. When I finally got a few hours of sleep, all I wanted to do was stare at my amazing son. He is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
This was not exactly the birth I had anticipated, but my goals were met and my son is healthy and beautiful. I learned that you can’t have expectations with labor, and I learned how to surrender (which is probably the hardest life lesson there is).
I would definitely do things different with the next one, but I would also do a lot of things the same. Having my son at home was the best decision I ever made, I don’t want to even think about what would have happened if I were in the hospital. Even though there was so much chaos in our lives around his birth, he was still born into a peaceful, safe environment.