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Beckham’s Birth -Incredible story with gorgeous pictures



Beckham’s Birth
As Written By Wendy


Heather Mason Photography

My estimated due date was September 8th. It was September 15th and I still hadn’t had my baby. My first baby was born two days after his due date, and I had an elective induction with my second baby, so going a week overdue was unprecedented for me. But, I was handling it pretty well. I kept a positive attitude as I bravely logged in to FaceBook every day to announce to the world that I had not, in fact, “had that baby yet.” The truth was, I loved this pregnancy. I did not want it to end. I never threw up, I never had heartburn, I never got swollen hands, legs, or feet, I had fabulous blood pressure, perfect skin, and glossy hair. I got very few stretch marks and only gained 35 pounds (as opposed to my usual 55 pounds). I had experienced a great deal physical and emotional trauma from my previous births. With my first baby, I had taken Hypnobirthing classes and had planned to have a natural birth. During the classes, I got the feeling that the teacher, who was childless, did not believe a word that she was saying to us. It made me question my decision to have a natural birth, or if it was even possible. I ended up going in to the hospital too early in my labor and the cascade of interventions and various hospital procedures took over. I was no longer in charge of my birth. I walked away from that birth feeling like I had failed, like I didn’t know how to birth, and that my body was flawed. So, when I discovered I was pregnant with my second child, I assumed I wouldn’t be able to birth naturally, so I just scheduled an induction and an epidural and let the hospital take the baby out of me. My experience was even worse than before. It took many years before I was ready to even think of getting pregnant again. When I did become pregnant with my third baby, I knew I wanted something different. I planned and prepared. I studied and took classes. I certified to become a doula. I took Hypnobirthing from another teacher who had actually had her own hypnobirths. She was able to address issues that my first teacher couldn’t even comprehend. I felt empowered. I knew everything that I, and my care providers, had done wrong with my other births. I was ready to birth this baby peacefully and powerfully.I also wanted my pregnancy to be different. With my other babies, I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I rarely exercised and was put on bed rest. I had pitocin, artificially ruptured membranes, IV antibiotics, epidurals, catheters. and huge episiotomies. I had a hard time bonding and breastfeeding, and I suffered from postpartum depression. So, I decided to change everything. After careful study, I decided to have a home water birth. I didn’t want to have an ultrasound or find out the gender of the baby. I specifically hired a midwife who was known for cracking down on nutrition in pregnancy. I worked with her my whole pregnancy and grew a fabulous placenta, a strong bag of waters, and a healthy lean baby. I wanted to completely trust my body, and my instincts as a woman, to birth my baby.

My greatest wish for my labor was to birth over an intact perineum. I had previously experienced two, extremely physically and emotionally traumatic episiotomies with my other births and I felt that it contributed a great deal to my postpartum depression. I did everything I could to prepare for the natural, normal, ecstatic, healthy birth of my dreams. I planned for my birth with as much enthusiasm as I would my wedding: I hired a photographer, a videographer, a caterer, and support staff. I invited my guests. I chose my perfect outfit. I chose my location. I even chose my birth colors and a birth song. I chose everything.

On Saturday, September 15th, I spent the day walking around Cabela’s and chasing after my kids trying to encourage surges to begin. But my uterus was very quiet that day. I hardly even had any practice surges. After a long day out with the kids, I got a text that it was my brother-in-law’s birthday celebration that night . I decided to go and order something spicy to get labor going. All of the serving staff looked suspiciously at my large belly and asked when I was due. I had to tell them that I was a week overdue, and they all looked at me with sympathy in their eyes.

I left the restaurant and went home and had some “snuggle time” with Dave, in an effort to get surges started. At around 1:30 am, I laid down in my bed and started reading on my phone. I read for about a half an hour and then I felt a surge. A real one. So I texted my midwife that I was in labor. I breathed through it and then texted my doula, Laurel, and she assembled my birth team.

Everyone arrived around 4 am and began supporting me through my surges. I surged on the birth ball, on my hands and knees, in my bed, on my left side, in polar bear position, on the toilet, standing up, basically every position I could think of. Between surges we laughed and ate the delicious food that I had hired Sarah to provide for my birth team. I knew there would be a lot of hungry helpers there that would need to be fed!

But the surges were getting longer and stronger and more difficult to manage. They were more painful than I remembered surges being with my other births. What I did not know at the time was that my baby had grown a short cord, and it had looped up over my baby’s neck. Every time my body surged, the cord tugged dangerously on my placenta and made the pain of the surges almost unbearable.

Katherine Loveless Photography

My surge pattern followed that of most short-cord labors: my surges never got much closer than 5 minutes apart, but they lasted twice as long as a normal uterine surge. The pain of each surge was unimaginable, but my body gave me time to recover between each surge and I used the time to go deeper inside than I had ever gone before.

It was morning, and my birthing tub was filled with hot water. I decided to get in when counter-pressure and light-touch massage weren’t helping anymore. I had labored all night and I needed a break. I was exhausted. I just laid in the tub and clutched the side and cried. At this point, I didn’t want anybody touching me. Nothing was helping. Everyone was sitting in a circle around me, quietly willing me to finally open up and let my baby come.

Katherine Loveless Photography

But I still had a long way to go. I had not had any vaginal exams my whole pregnancy, nor at any time during the labor. I wanted to let my body birth without hinderance. I wanted to fully and completely trust my body to birth my baby and not get hung up on numbers as I had with my other births. So, I was unaware of my dilatation at that time, but I didn’t feel like I was very open. I just laid in the water, feeling completely helpless, and enduring excruciating amounts of pain. I felt like a prisoner in my own body. I could not escape the pain of my surges and I felt like a victim each time another surge would overtake me.

Katherine Loveless Photography

As I lay there in the water, clutching the side of the tub for help, completely lost inside my own head, I heard a voice begin to sing. I didn’t know it at the time, but the clear, beautiful voice was my midwife, Richelle. She sang:

“Come ba-by come,

Come ba-by come…

Mama wants to hold you, daddy wants to bless you.

Come ba-by come.”

Soon every woman in the room began to sing the beautiful melody:

“Come ba-by come.,

Come ba-by come…

Mama wants to kiss you daddy wants to name you,

come ba-by come.”

When they finished singing, the room was quiet and in the stillness, I asked for another song. I remember my mom’s quavering voice beginning the round, “Rose, Rose. ” Again, the closest women in my life began to sing to me and my baby. I felt myself starting to be able to focus my energy on opening.

When they finished the round, I asked for another song and Rachel led out with the version of ‘Blue, Blue Sky” that I sing to my kids at night. She sang as I mouthed the words:

“Whenever I hear the song of a bird,

or look at the blue, blue sky.

Whenever I feel the rain on my face or the wind as it rushes by.

Whenever I touch a velvet rose, or walk by a lilac tree,

I’m glad that I live in this beautiful world,

that my mommy created for me.

She gave me my eyes that I might see

The color of butterfly wings.

She gave me my ears that I might hear

The magical sound of things.

She gave me my life, my mind, my heart:

I thank her quietly

For all her creations, of which I’m a part.

Yes, I know that my mother loves me.”

Then, my mother-in-law began to sing Brahm’s lullaby and everyone again joined in and sang with her. When the song was over, my mother-in-law continued to sing on her own. She sang the words that she had written for my husband, Dave, when he was a baby. As she sang, her voice cracked and quivered with emotion. Every woman in the room was wiping tears from her eyes and cheeks.

Katherine Loveless Photography

Then Laurel began singing Homeward Bound and everyone joined in again. By this point I felt more present. The music had brought me out of a place of darkness and despair and I was finding my strength. The chorus stuck out to me the most and gave me courage. This time, I was able to sing along:

“Bind me not, to the pasture.

Chain me not to the plow.

Set me free

to find my calling

and I’ll return to you somehow.”

Then the room was still again. I was still surging and the surges were getting more

and more intense. They were lasting longer, and the pain was sharper, and I still wasn’t opening. I laid my head on the side of the tub and wiped my red, swollen eyes with my hand. Then, I heard a voice right in front of me. The voice was telling me that she understood how I felt, that she wanted to take my pain for me, but that I was alone and that I was the only one who was going to have this baby. My eyes were closed, and I was slipping in and out of my conscious brain. She kept repeating what she had said until I finally opened my eyes. It was Sarah. I hired her to film and cater my birth, and she ended up being one of the most important members of my birth team. When she wasn’t filming or refilling trays of food, she was holding my hand and talking me through surges.

I kept seeing Sarah’s beautiful, black eyes looking at me from over the edge of the tub, and hearing her voice telling me what I needed to do. I needed to get up and bring this baby down. I made the choice then and there: No more laying in the tub crying and feeling helpless.

I began to get angry. I was tired of hurting. I was tired of being a victim of my surges. I was tired of laying back and letting the pain overtake me. So I sat up. I came back to the room. I yelled! I swore! I told my body to, “DO ITS JOB, and GET IT DONE!” Even though gravity increased the pain and intensity of my surges, I sat up and started doing lunges!

Katherine Loveless Photography

But. my voice soon grew tired of shouting, so Sarah suggested that we put on my birth song, “Grow Till Tall”by Jonsi. I had listened to this song over and over during my pregnancy. As soon as I heard my birth song, all anger left my body and I was flooded with a sense of acceptance. I did not fight the pain of the surges anymore. I let the pain wash over me and completely envelop me. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks as I sang along. I focused all of the negative energy that was in my body out through my voice. I pushed myself up, I lunged, I danced, I swayed, and I swung my hips. Even though Ihad already been in labor for hours, I found the strength I needed to lunge continuously for over an hour!

Katherine Loveless Photography

After I danced and sang along to every song on the album, I went to the bathroom. I asked Richelle to check my dilation. I was ready for a number. She checked me, so gently, and I was only open to 7 cm. I was devastated. I didn’t know how much longer I could do this without pain relief. I was so exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. I wanted an epidural.

I tried to get in the shower, but it gave little relief, so I went into my room with Dave and my midwives and closed the door. I knew the hardest part, transition, was ahead of me. I laid down on my bed on my back. Without thinking, I grabbed my vibrator and put it on my clitoris. I thought about sex. It gave me something to focus on instead of the pain. I rocked back and forth while my midwives pressed on my knees through every surge. I labored this way for a over an hour.

After another check, Richelle told me that I had opened to nine cm., but my bag of water was still intact and there was a bubble of fluid in front of my baby’s head. This was making my labor last longer because the squishy bubble wasn’t putting as much pressure on the cervix as my baby’s head could. Richelle said that if we ruptured my membranes, the suges would get harder and more intense, but I would have my baby sooner. If I waited for the bubble to open my cervix, I could still be in labor for hours. I didn’t have any more hours to give, so I asked her to break the bag.

I got in the tub and Richelle gently reached up and broke my bag. I felt a hot gush of fluid and a moment of relief. But then, all of the sudden, I felt my baby’s head slam into my pelvis and I jumped and thrashed in the tub. “I don’t want to do this! I want to get out of here!” I yelled. I was terrified! But my body took over and instantly I was pushing. I reached my finger up inside of me and I could feel my baby’s head. I stroked my baby’s head over and over with my finger. I felt my baby’s hair and I was filled with an intense desire to push this baby out! With the rest of my hand, I pushed on my perineum and anus to keep it from tearing. The urge to push was the strongest feeling I have ever experienced. With every push, my baby’s short cord pulled dangerously on the placenta and it caused me excruciating pain. All of the sudden, my baby’s heart tones crashed, and Richelle said that I needed to get the baby out, NOW.

Katherine Loveless Photography

I had my hand touching my baby’s head and I could feel the head crowning, but the baby wasn’t coming fast enough. My baby was in danger. I begged Richelle to cut an episiotomy to get the baby out fast, but before she could get the scissors to cut me, I was having another surge. I knew I had to get this baby out now. So I reached down, and with my hands, I pulled my labia apart as hard as I could over my baby’s head. I tore as his head was born.

With my next surge, I birthed the shoulders and my baby floated out and into my arms. I grabbed a floppy baby and hugged my baby close to my chest. I noticed that Richelle was holding the end of the cord. I had wanted the cord to stay attached as long as possible, so I was confused. Richelle said, “Sorry guys, it broke.” as she clamped it. The cord was abnormally short andit was wrapped around my baby’s neck, so when she went to pull it around the head, it snapped.

I held my baby close to my chest and felt the tiny, warm, slippery body in my hands. I realized that I still didn’t know if I had given birth to a boy or a girl. I lifted my baby up and exclaimed to the room, “It’s a boy!”

Katherine Loveless Photography

But, it soon became apparent that my boy, Beckham, was not breathing. He was stark white with gray hands and feet, and he was completely unresponsive to touch. I tried rubbing him and talking to him, and immediately, Richelle began mouth to mouth to get him some oxygen. She kept him on my chest as long as she could, but he needed more care, so she moved him to the floor and kept breathing for him.

Dave held oxygen to Beckham’s nose, and Richelle kept giving him breaths. All I could do was peer helpless over the rim of the tub and beg my baby boy to take a breath. I kept pleading with him, ”Breathe for your mommy…breathe for your mommy…”

Katherine Loveless Photography

As Richelle was working to get Beckham to breathe, I started feeling weak, and lightheaded. I began to feel nauseated and disoriented. Richelle’s assistant, Katie, was holding my uterus and waiting for my placenta to be born as Richelle was still resuscitating Beckham. After a few tense minutes, Beckham finally took a breath on his own and opened his eyes for the first time! Richelle continued to breathe for him and he began to pink up. Eventually he took another breath… and another…and then his eyes flickered open and he began to breathe without assistance.

Katherine Loveless Photography

Everyone in the room was focused on Beckham, and exploded into sobs of relief when he took that first breath. Nobody knew that I was still in peril. Upon Beckham’s birth, my placenta had abrupted and I was hemorrhaging badly into the tub. I felt large placenta-sized clots spilling out of me and the water in the tub was quickly filling with my blood. I began to see stars and felt like I was going to pass out.

The midwives turned their attention toward me and noticed the severity of my hemorrhage. They lifted me out of the tub, placed me on the couch, and administered pitocin in my leg and methergine in an IV. Katie held my uterus firmly between her hands and my doulas cut a piece of the placenta and put in under my tongue. I was pale and weak and I was struggling to stay conscious. I remember thinking that I had to stay awake, because if I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t wake up. I fought hard to keep my eyes open and waited to hold my baby.

Soon he was brought to me and he let out his first cry. I was so weak that I could not lift my head or arms to hold him, so my mother helped hold my baby up, as he attached himself to my breast, and began to nurse.

Katherine Loveless Photography

Once I was stable, Richelle began the work of repairing my labia and perenium that had been badly torn as Beckham was crowning. I endured 2 hours of careful stitching as my husband and mother drove Beckham to the hospital to be checked out.

The hospital confirmed that Beckham had some fluid in his lungs, and he was a bit anemic from some blood loss, but that he was really healthy besides that. They recommended that he be placed in the NICU for observation that night, but since that hospital did not have a proper NICU facility, they wrote orders to have him transferred to another hospital.

I did not want to be separated from Beckham, but my husband was worried and wanted to take him. My mom convinced my husband to bring Beckham home to me before they transferred Beckham over to the NICU. Dave explained that the baby was fine but needed to be in the hospital for observation. I told my husband that wewould stay up with him all night in shifts and observe him ourselves.He very reluctantly agreed and dropped the conversation.

After my stitching was over, I laid down to sleep. But, my baby was screaming in the other room with my mom. During the resuscitation, gas had been trapped in his body and it was causing him extreme pain. I could not sleep because I kept hearing the cries of my baby, and I knew I needed to be with him. So after 18 hours of labor, several hours of stabilization, 2 hours of stitching, and no sleep, I got out of my bed. I hobbled into the living room, took my screaming baby from my mother’s arms, and held, rocked, and nursed him all night long. I remember we just stared into each other’s eyes. When he cried out in pain, I said, ‘ I know baby boy. I know. It hurts. Mommy is here. You are safe with your mommy.”

It took Beckham only a few days to recover. It took four weeks and a blood transfusion for me to fully recover.. During my recovery, I had the love and support of my mother who never left my side, my husband who took over the care of my other two children, my sisters and friends who nursed my baby before my milk came in, and my neighbors who brought in meals and green smoothies every day.

I am so grateful to my skilled midwife and the loving support of my birth team. Without them, the outcome of my birth would have been very different. I am so glad that I chose to have a homebirth, especially becauseI had complications. If I had been in the hospital, my baby would have been taken to the NICU and his entire introduction to life would have been different. Instead of being placed in a bright room hooked up to monitors, Beckham was in a dim room, in his mother’s arms, where he knew he was safe.

This birth changed me. Part of the reason it was such a profound and transformative experience was because of the pain I endured. I do not feel that I would have grown as much as I did without it. I learned who I was and what I was capable of. Most of all, I learned to love the real me.

I didn’t have the birth I had envisioned for myself; I didn’t have painless surges or an intact perineum, but I also didn’t run to the hospital for relief and it was my choice to tear. I was nobody’s victim. My birth was the result of the choices Imade, and I am so grateful that I chose to trust my body and my midwife to bring my baby boy safely into our arms.

-Written by Wendy Rush

Katherine Loveless Photography


As I was recovering, my friend Rachel, who had helped support me through my birth, dropped by my house to visit. She brought with her a poem she had discovered as she was processing my birth experience. I think this poem perfectly illustrates the decision I had to make the day I gave birth to Beckham: would I lay back and be overtaken by pain and fear, or would I stand up and fight?

Simply to breathe

can make him bleed,

the fox whose leg

is trapped, whose will

awaits the kill.

Why should he flail?

Moving hurts,

so he is still.

Around him walks

a prouder fox,

his severed leg

a homily

on going free,

as if to say

it hurts, it hurts

either way.

An Emblem of Two Foxes

written by Barry Spacks

Please feel free to view my birth film here:

(The song featured in the video is “Grow Till Tall” by Jonsi; my chosen birth song.)