A Redemptive At-Home Birth Story | Salt Lake City, UT
Abigail’s Birth Story Slideshow
March in Salt Lake City is an interesting time of year. Spring is on the horizon, you catch a glimpse of it, and then it snows. This particular storm dumped wet, heavy snow, that resulted in a 36-hour power outage. And in the middle of that power outage, Abigail was born. This was the Ferris family’s second birth experience, their first at home under the care of Midwife Gloria Moore with Bearth Midwifery.
Brittany met with Gloria that Friday morning for her routine appointment. Labor symptoms had been showing for a couple days, but nothing was consistent. Gloria asked Brittany how she was doing and her response was a tearful, “I just want to be done.” She opted for a physical exam, was dilated to nearly 5cm with 80% effacement and baby’s position was good. Baby was well, but Britt was tired, hurting, and feeling emotionally exhausted. After discussing their options with Gloria, they decided on a membrane sweep to hopefully jumpstart labor.
Earlier that evening Britt & Garrett dropped off their son, Landry, at his grandmother’s house. Then, they headed out to stock up on camping lights, flashlights, and candles. While they were out Brittany had some not-so-intense, inconsistent contractions.
Later, around 2:30 AM, Brittany woke up to a single, very intense, contraction. She got up to use the restroom hoping for another... and nothing. So Brittany went back to sleep. An hour later, she awoke to several intense contractions, very close together. This time, the waves kept coming.
Around 4:20 AM, Garrett began to gather their birth essentials, and Brittany labored, mostly alone, with the hot shower running down her back. They had just been going back and forth, trying to decide if they should go to a hotel or stay home because of the power outage. It was freezing, but the waves were so intense/close that it didn’t feel like there was time. Garrett was able to secure power from a neighbor’s house across the street by running extension cords to power a portable space heater.
And the moment Brittany called, Garrett came running to be by her side. Gloria arrived around 4:30 AM and the rest of the birth team came about 15-minutes later. When I arrived, Garrett and Gloria were setting up the pool while Brittany labored leaning on the bathroom sink, with her doula and close friend. At one point, Brittany said, “Why are they [the waves] already coming so fast?” Stephanie responded, “Because that is how you have babies, Britt. Fast.” Brittany remembers it feeling so fast. How was it possible that she was already feeling the urge to push when labor started only an hour ago?
While Brittany was alone in the shower, the waves became hard, fast, intense, and immediately felt familiar. The most significant difference between these first waves and the ones experienced with Landry’s birth was that this time, there was no fear in regards to the intensity. When major doubt crept in Brittany connected to birth at a spiritual level. In prayer, she was reminded that God had bought her to this very moment and that He would sustain her through the experience. Those moments alone in the shower were the culmination of the personal and spiritual growth Brittany navigated throughout pregnancy.
In between waves the birth team encouraged Britt to move out of the bathroom and into the birth pool or bed. Britt agreed and despite the pool being ready, she opted for the bedroom. As she climbed up on the bed, the next wave started.
Gloria checked baby’s heart tones in the new position and suggested oxygen for the next contraction. Brittany recalls feeling some internal panic because of the oxygen and decrease in baby’s heart rate. Those were the same two complications that occurred with Landry’s birth that led to a traumatic forceps delivery.
Brittany quickly asked if everything was ok and was met with the reassurance that all she needed to do was focus through each contraction. This time the complications were met with calm confidence, and her body was allowed time to work, without invasive intervention.
Gloria swiftly helped Brittany lift up one knee to 90-degrees to maximize space for baby and help with heart rate. Baby’s heartbeat quickly recovered. Brittany found relief from the intensity with low-toned vocalization. As her vocalizations got louder, she surrendered to each push. Vocalization was one of the only things she felt like she could do as the baby descended.
Transition was fast. Brittany’s moans started to catch in her throat and were followed by an even stronger urge to push. Stephanie & Garrett offered counter pressure, words of encouragement, gentle reminders to stay relaxed and to keep her vocal tones low.
A couple of pushes later Brittany’s water broke, the next push was baby crowning, and Garrett got to feel her head as it came out. Another push and baby’s head was born, and with the next wave baby’s body slipped out, along with a gush of remaining amniotic fluid. Immediately after birth Brittany felt relief. Gloria passed baby to Brittany’s eager arms as she exclaimed, “We did it!” while cradling her baby. Garrett’s behind her, ecstatic!
Abigail Emily Ferris was born earthside (4 days before her guess date) on March 30th at 5:26 AM, weighing 8lbs 4oz and 20.5 inches long. Abigail means ‘my father’s joy,’ and her middle name is Emily, after Britt’s best friend.
After their baby was born, Garrett helped Brittany into a more comfortable position, laying on the bed. They gazed at each other, kissed, and Garrett’s eyes filled with tears. Gloria reminded them that they could find out baby’s sex when they were ready. I knew Brittany was really looking forward to this moment!
Garrett quickly checked, looked at Brittany, and said, “Meet your daughter, Abigail Emily” and then he kissed her. Brittany exclaimed, “I am so happy! I am so happy!”