March 9, 2024

Valerie's Birth Story

"It was exactly the birth that I had been visualizing and praying for: fast and safe."
This was Valerie’s third birth with us and her first time on the blog!

To be fair, we do have a picture of Valerie on our brochures. Now all of you lovely folks get to hear from the face you may have already seen. One of the benefits of being in Brookhaven’s care is that we really get to know you. Misty, our midwife from Harrisonburg, has attended all three of Valerie’s deliveries!

It was midnight on the morning of my 41st week. I felt restless and couldn’t sleep so with a burst of energy I decided at that moment that the kitchen cupboards all needed to be wiped down. Maybe that should have tipped me off that labor was in the near future.

I finally settled back in bed to be awoken by dull cramping at about 5am. They were consistent and I was taking deep breaths through them but stayed in bed another hour to rest. By 6am I was up in the living room and started to time them out, 10 minutes apart and intense enough to have to lean on the counter and sway through. I visualized letting all my muscles loosen during each surge. I was ready to meet my baby this morning! I woke up my husband, Andrew, and with one look he knew immediately that I was going into labor. He sprang up to start a pot of coffee and we made a few phone calls to give our people heads up that we thought this was going to be the day. I ate a small bowl of oatmeal with mini chocolate chips (for the celebration of it all!) and started drinking one of my electrolyte drinks to rehydrate from the night.

By 7:30 each surge was coming stronger with less time in between. Misty called to see how I was progressing and caught me breathing through a contraction. I told her I felt like they were coming on fast and intense, not as much space in between as I had remembered with my two previous labors. I went to my bedroom and the only position that seemed right was to kneel beside my bed so I could rock up during a surge and bury my head into the mattress. I heard a new voice in the hallway and a light touch on my back and looked to see Misty’s face, the comforting assurance that my team was here and this baby would be soon. I quickly needed counter pressure on my back and I felt the rotation of Andrew and my doula, Lisa, pressing and kneading down on my lower back. Andrew was working on filling up the birthing tub and I couldn’t wait to get in.  I started to cry at the relief and anticipation of it all. After all this time, it was finally happening!

The tub finally finished [filling up] and I stepped inside to what I can only describe as the biggest feeling of relief like a drug had just been administered but in the form of steamy, warm water. I smiled and took a deep breath, secretly wanting things to maybe back off intensity wise to get a break. But this baby was ready to come out! The next surge came while I was sitting forward-facing and I felt that the baby was really pressing down on my tail bone so I flipped back over to be on my knees, head on the side of the tub–my go-to birthing position! Each surge was growing in intensity and I started to have to release a moan to work through the pain. Between each surge, I said to myself, “you are one step closer to meeting your baby”. It was such a motivating affirmation to repeat throughout labor. My sweet 6-year-old daughter decided she was comfortable enough to stay and she periodically came in to smile at me and see if the baby was here yet. I didn’t know until that morning if she would be present for the birth but I am so happy that she was there. It is a special bond that I will treasure forever.

I felt my water bag slip down and pop, releasing pressure and also my baby sliding deeper down. “The baby is coming!” I yelled out. In the next contraction, I could feel the head and “ring of fire” sensation but then I could feel the baby retreat back some. I worked through the next few intense surges until I felt the head crowning again. I told myself “you CAN do this” and with all my might opened up and pushed the head out, in what felt like an explosion of strength and relief. Everyone told me to pause and take a breath, I still had to push the rest of the body out. Andrew was behind me in the tub and with the next contraction, I pushed the shoulders and body out. He caught Baby and carefully passed it underwater through my legs and I pulled Baby to my chest. There SHE was. A baby girl, beautiful, wide-eyed, and quiet. A few moments later she let out a cry and we were helped out of the tub and onto the bed. She began nursing right away and after some skin to skin time, Misty helped my daughter cut the umbilical cord.


It was exactly the birth that I had been visualizing and praying for: fast and safe. We spent the rest of the day staring at her beautiful face in the comfort of our home. She was finally here and our family complete.

Other blog posts

See all