My baby turns 1 tomorrow and in honor of that, I’m writing his birth story. As many people know, my first baby was born via an unnecessary Cesarean. I struggled very hard to cope with what had happened but still felt broken, violated, disrespected and overall not set up for success as a young parent. My husband and I knew we wanted to do things differently next time in a place and with people who had complete respect and understanding of who we were. I became passionate about birth and wanted to help women avoid going through the experience I did with Jude. In May 2014 I began interning with Emily Thompson, CPM to start my journey to become a home birth midwife myself. I started attending home births and seeing such strength, beauty and the capacity of midwife talents filled me with such confidence, inspiration and motivation.
In October of 2014 we found out that we’d be welcoming another life into our little family. We hired Emily as our midwife and planned for our homebirth. I had a wonderful pregnancy and was blessed with little to no discomfort. Since I have a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus, we had expected Ashyr to make his entrance around 36-37 weeks. Well, like everyone says, babies have a mind of their own and they decide their birthday. Around 37 weeks I began experiencing prodromal labor. Prodromal labor is exhausting. It’s days, weeks of consistent contractions in an irregular pattern. I had given up hope of giving birth before 40 weeks the night before and crossed off the next few days on Ashyr’s “guess my birthday” calendar. I had some prodromal labor through the night, got up, walked around, took a shower and went back to sleep. I woke up that morning around 6:30am (Dennis was at work) and found that I had woken before Jude, which was very rare (especially being as pregnant as I was!) I laid in bed, posted on Facebook, and then went into the bathroom. When I sat down, I felt hard pressure against my pelvic floor. I thought this was Ashyr just dropping lower. Then I heard Jude get up. So we did our morning routine and then went downstairs to get breakfast. I caught myself on the kitchen counter as I quietly vocalized through a contraction (that I thought was Ashyr dropping further.) I made my first attempt to call my husband, with no luck. So I called Emily. I still didn’t think I was in labor, but as I quietly vocalized again it became more real. She said she could come if I wanted her to. I told her I was okay for now, since I thought we were preparing for a marathon. Not even 15 minutes later (and a few contractions), it was clear thatI was in labor. I texted Emily to come. I finally was able to get a hold of my husband to tell him, “It’s time”. My mother came to get Jude. Mom, Emily and Dennis got there around 8am. I was in the shower. The water hitting against my back was what felt best in the beginning. My husband wanted to start filling up the pool and I told him that he was jumping the gun; we had to prepare for a marathon not a sprint.
Boy, was I wrong. Labor is different for every baby and Ashyr had his own plan. Emily could see that I was progressing faster than I thought I was. So, Dennis went ahead and started putting the pool together. I knew I wanted to save as much hot water as I could for the birth pool, so I elected to get out of the shower. I labored on the edge of the tub, then the toilet, and my husband. I tried laboring on my bed but as soon as I had a contraction, I had to get up, I knew that wasn’t where I wanted to be to labor. Dennis was able to fill the birth pool enough to where I could submerge my belly. That was perfect. My birth photographer, Monet, and two wonderful ladies, Tiffany and Kristine who assisted Emily arrived after I was in the birth pool. I found comfort in a kneeled squat position in the pool. Everyone was so kind, loving and supportive. Pouring water down my back, giving counter pressure, and offering encouragement as things progressed. That’s what I love most about home birth.
Everyone at my birth believed in me; they never doubted in my ability to birth my baby, they all had faith in me, my body and my baby even when I didn’t. Ashyr Juergen-Gene was born in Colorado Springs at 10:24am May 5th, 2015. His birth inspired and empowered me. It proved to me that I can do things I thought I couldn’t. That I am strong.
That I am enough and more.
I can’t believe my sweet little guy is one tomorrow.
-Shelby Parker, midwife in training and mama to two sweet boys