The Birth of Benjamin Nicolas Marulanda
July 23, 2018
21.5 inches; 9lbs 7oz
After being 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant I was so ready to finally hold and meet my sweet Benjamin. However, I loved and cherish every “extra” day I got to spend with my baby boy still inside my bump! I have so many pictures and videos of those last few days that I got to enjoy it being just us two.
The night before Benji was born I knew something was different. I had small cramp like feelings for what felt like weeks and an increase in Braxton Hicks. However, that day everything slowed down. I could not stop sleeping. Little man seemed so quiet (which did not worry me because I was warned about this). I allowed my body to rest and I basically slept the entire day. Around 8pm I convinced Jon to let me go to Kroger with him to walk around and get out of the house. During our little stroll I felt some stronger cramps that came and went – and so it began. From about 8pm until I went to bed around 11 I felt those cramps consistently every 30-45 minutes. I listened to the advice we were given and took my 2 Unisom and an ounce of wine so I could rest because I was BEYOND excited but knew I needed to sleep.
I woke up around 1am and felt a contraction –it came and went like a wave. I stayed in bed praying for the strength, courage, patience and all the things I would need from Jesus to have our baby. I also talked to my sweet baby boy during those few hours – cheering him on, praying over him, and expressing how much I could not wait to hold him. Around 3am I woke up hubby and told him I had been having contractions since around 1am. He was so excited – his face got so bright; one of the most beautiful moments I have witnessed.
In to the tub I went! Jon sat next to me and played worship music as I sat and relaxed. My contractions decided to be close together from the beginning – about 2-3 minutes apart and lasted 30-45 seconds. Something that I was not prepared for – something that looking back I am grateful for because it helped me accept that I was not in control anymore and to let go of all the ideas I had and humbly welcome what God had planned for me so that I could bring Benji into the world.
My husband is the sweetest man – after I got out of the tub he put on The Office for me and made me breakfast. This was around 5am. I laid on the sofa watching my show – laughing at Michael Scott. My mom arrived and sat with me next to Jon.
Since my contractions were so close together and so short – my amazing birth warrior (our doula- Deborah) gave us some exercises to do with the peanut ball. So I got on the floor and did these – still laughing at Michael Scott. All I could focus on was the fact that later that day I would meet my sweet boy. The tiny human I had the privilege of growing – the miracle that God granted us. It was a magical time, such sweet moments occurred that morning as my body prepared for the rest of the day. Never will I complain about a Monday again!
My contractions were still too close together and short so Deborah came to us to check in. With some fun exercises down the block (which my neighbors claim they did not see), the strongest cup of red raspberry leaf tea, some relaxing EO, and my first pumping session that made me throw up – we were off to the birthing center for a chiropractic adjustment. All of these moments are engraved in my mind and not once do I remember pain or discomfort. I remember warmth, smiles, support, love and peace.
Disclaimer: I feel none of this for the toilet though – 8 times I used the toilet during labor. Those contractions are out of this world – but effective. It gave me bloody show, had my mucous plug come out AND it is where my water broke. All happened when it needed to – thanks to the toilet.
The drive to the birthing center felt like an hour because every bump on 35 gave me a strong contraction. If you know 35 you know this means I was basically experiencing one big wave of a contraction the entire time.
When we arrived I felt instantly at home. Origins was the best place to deliver our baby boy. I was greeted with soft and supportive smiles that kept my heart calm. It was around 10:30am. I was 90% paper thin effaced and 3cm dilated. Being adjusted felt so good even though I had contractions back to back during the process. After being adjusted I did some exercises on the stairs. Deborah treated me with honey (THE BEST SNACK DURING LABOR) and blessed me with her TENS unit which became my best friend - until I met the tub.
My room was ready, the beautiful glass room. Everything from here on out felt like it went by so quickly. The hours did not feel like hours to me. Time felt as if it froze in a really good way. I had one wave after the next. Each time I was embraced in love. Every single time I opened my eyes I would look around the room and feel so supported. My husband never left my side and was my rock through every step. He held me close; he prayed for me, he showered me with unconditional love. My mom provided me with comfort and her presence reminded me that I was stronger than I knew. They calmly reminded me of my mantra “soft jaw, open hands.” My birth team – are angels sent from above. Deborah made me feel like a birthing goddess – from her words of encouragement, providing me comfort, giving me guidance and making sure my every need was taken care of during the whole journey. I can still hear “that’s the way” in my mind. Motivating me and teaching me how to stay ahead of the contractions in only a way she can. My midwives created an atmosphere centered on peacefulness. They answered my questions - every time they checked my baby boy I would ask, “Is he okay?” and they would respond with such patience and kindness. I was checked again – could not tell you the time and was a “stretchy 5”. I did not want to know because I felt I was in a rhythm and did not want anything interfering with it; I was told afterwards and smiled because good thing I asked not to know!
With each person believing in me I continued to believe in myself. I believed in my strength. I leaned in closer to them and God. I have never in my life felt so natural, so instinctual, and so close to Jesus. I labored in the shower, on the floor, on the birthing ball, on the bed and in the tub. I labored wherever my body felt it needed to be – whatever movements it needed to complete. I gave the whole experience to God and trusted fully in those incredible souls that surrounded me. I felt so safe. So safe that in fact when I learned I was in transition for over 3 hours I was shocked! It made sense after the fact but I was still shocked it was that long. I remember vividly right before I began to push I was so exhausted. It is truly called labor for a reason! I knew I could do it but I also felt the deepest desire to take a long nap. I looked over to the clock and closed my eyes – and I fell asleep. When I opened my eyes I looked around and everyone was looking at me – the room was so still and magical. I glanced back at the clock and noticed I had only rested for a few minutes but that was all I needed. My body was able to give me exactly what I needed each step. To me that is amazing! We are created to birth our babies; it is the most natural process. So much that when in my mind I knew I needed to rest my body knew it too and granted me a little nap. I felt restored and was able to confidently continue into the next phase – pushing! Pushing felt amazing. Finally being able to work with the contraction and I was so excited because it meant I could hold my baby soon. I thought I pushed for a really long time and was again surprised to learn it was only an hour and six minutes. I completely let go – I made all the noises I had to and listened to birth team. I began pushing in the water but being 5’2 means I was slipping and sliding. Listening to my midwife we moved to the bed where I ended up having our sweet angel. I found this strength from within myself that I had no idea was there when pushing- this is the strength that gives me the courage and confidence to be a mom every day.
When people ask me how my labor went I tell them it was perfect. I never thought of needing the medicine (though I did have some words for the toilet). I would do it all over again and plan to do it the same way for any other baby we are blessed with in the future. I love when people ask me because I enjoy sharing my birth story and answering questions that sometimes we feel awkward asking. Such as if I pooped – could not tell you ask my birth team. Did I feel my baby was 9lbs 7oz when pushing – nope could have fooled me! Was the “ring of fire” as bad as they say – to me it lasted a few seconds.
I can close my eyes and see the facial expressions of those in the room during specific moments. Smiling at me with warm eyes. The faces of excitement when Benjamin entered the world – the look on Jon’s face when he held and met our baby boy; these are the moments I cherish and remember. The day Benjamin was born will forever be the greatest day of my life; the day I felt so empowered, loved, supported, at peace – the day I became a mom to the sweetest baby boy and learned birth is not meant to be feared.