BORN TO BE LOVED
LINCOLN STILES WAYNE
Lincoln's Birth Story
Introducing Lincoln Stiles Wayne Pinion, the second love of my life. Here is his birthing story.
First off, I want to say that I know a lot of people who had to do extensive research and think long and hard about what birthing method they wanted to do. That was not the case for me. I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to have a home birth, away from hospitals and doctors and medicine. Not only have I had bad experiences with western medicine and our modern medical practices, but I also believe that God made our bodies perfectly equipped and prepared for carrying and delivering a baby as according to His plan.
Lincoln at one week old
The only way to ensure that medical intervention wouldn't be pushed on me against my will was to do things my own way: at home. That is not to say that my midwife and I didn't have a back-up plan. I had a birthing plan for home and a back-up birthing plan for the hospital. I chose a midwife that I trusted to let me know if anything were to happen that required medical intervention. We had my vehicle gassed up and ready to go in the event that things didn't go well, but I also trusted God to take care of us during my labor and delivery and had no intention of needing to transport. I was blessed with a wonderful delivery and my back-up plan stayed just as that: a back-up plan.
Before I had my baby I had a lot of people question my decision to have a home birth. I got several questions like "what if you decide you want an epidural once you’re in labor?!" Inducement, epidurals, and pain meds are all things that never once entered my mind as I prepared my birthing plan. Women have been having babies for centuries without those things and I wanted to experience child birth just as God intended it to be experienced. He designed our bodies to release hormones and chemicals at just the right time, what I liked to think of as natural medicine, and I wanted to be drug free when I first held my baby.
On November 6th, the eve of little Link’s arrival, I started having reasonably serious contractions. We started timing them some, though we quickly realized that I’m terrible at timing contractions! Despite that, we knew that ultimately things were getting more serious and that’s what mattered. I kept my midwife and mom on speed dial – everyone was just kind of waiting around for updates.
I went to bed that night with the advice that if it was the real deal I obviously wouldn't be able to sleep through it. I did have contractions wake me up all throughout the night, but I was able to get some sleep between them.
When we got up around 6:45am on November 7th, my contractions were still happening pretty regularly. We went down for breakfast and I was still functional, but they were definitely getting stronger. After a nice, warm shower at 9, things started getting much more serious.
Support from my mom and Jenny during early labor
Jenny and I breathing through contractions
Little Sis helping my midwives fill up the birthing pool
I want to take a moment to say something about all of my wonderful helpers. I felt love and support from each and every person that was in that room with me throughout the whole experience. Whether they held my hand, ran down to the kitchen to get me snacks, massaged my neck, took pictures, or prayed on the sidelines, I am so thankful for each of them.
My midwives were phenomenal and made my birthing experience so calm and relaxed. People think of a birth as a stressful and scary thing but my experience was wonderfully peaceful and so much of that is because of them. Even
Lincoln was calm and came out cooing and moaning instead of hysterically crying like everyone expects to hear at a birth. My friend Jenny acted as my doula and it was like she was reading my mind the whole time. She applied essential oils when I needed them, massaged me, tried to keep me relaxed, and helped guide my breathing. Yes, I technically could have done it without her, but I would never have wanted to.
Labor dancing with my wonderful husband
I asked my midwife, Faith, to head our way at 9:51am because I felt like the contractions were getting strong enough that I felt more comfortable having her there with us. It’s all kind of a blur after that. Next thing I knew, the whole gang was showing up, one at a time. Time takes on a new pace during labor. There would be moments where 20 minutes would feel like a lifetime and then there were other times when three or four hours would go by without me even realizing it. I felt like I was in some kind of time warp where everything was just a little convoluted.
Obviously, my strongest support came from my wonderful husband who never left my side. Throughout my entire pregnancy he was my rock and that didn't change when I went into labor. He did above and beyond anything that could possibly be expected of a husband before, during, and after I had Lincoln and I am so thankful that I was blessed with such a thoughtful and amazing man to call my husband. He is the single most considerate man I have ever met and I am so excited to be able to raise my son with such a caring and wonderful role model for him to look up to.
The freedom that came with having a baby at home was wonderful.
The freedom that came with having a baby at home was wonderful. I labored where I wanted to and how I wanted to (unless it wasn't ideal for the baby, like the time my midwife had me to change positions to keep the baby from rotating). I ate as often and as much as I could to keep my energy up.
I labored on a birthing ball, leaning against my husband, on the bed, on the floor, anywhere I wanted. Finally I was dilated enough to get into the birthing pool.
Once I was in the birthing pool I started to get much stronger contractions that were a little overwhelming and I also started feeling the urge to push. Unfortunately, I was not dilated enough to do so and was told to breathe and relax through the urges. That was just about the hardest thing I have ever done because once you get that urge, all you want to do is push.
Taking a moment to rest between contractions
After a couple of hours of laboring in the birthing pool I felt a little warm and tired and asked if I could get a little rest. I wasn't able to fall asleep by any means, but I relaxed in bed as much as I could and breathed through the contractions while Luke encouraged me and held my hand. I wasn't progressing as quickly as I’d hoped and it was a little discouraging, but it was nice to get a little break and try to rest as well as I could while in labor.
Luke supporting me while I labored in the pool
He never left my side
Jenny made sure I was as relaxed as possible
Comforting and encouraging me
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
After a little bit of resting, I got back out of bed and tried a few new positions, and eventually I was dilated enough to push!
At that point Faith asked me if I wanted to finish pushing in the birthing pool or on the bed. A lot went through my head in the few seconds it took for me to answer her. The bed really wasn't all that comfortable for pushing and I had wanted very badly to have my baby in the birthing pool but the water in the pool would need to be warmed up before I could get back in (it is kept at a certain temperature so as not to shock the baby when it’s born). Additionally, I looked up to see that the birthing pool was a couple dozen yards away while the bed was within reach. Needless to say, I chose the bed. It wasn’t ideal and sometimes I wish I had gotten back into the pool because it would have been neat to have him in it, but at the same time, now that I'm looking back I think I chose what was best.
Resting between contractions
Pushing took forever. I would push and push and push, until I felt like I was going to explode and I would only make a little bit of progress. It wasn't until later that we realized the reason I was having so much trouble (outside of the fact that he was a chunk!) was because he was coming out with his hands balled up next to his face. I had to push his head and hands out at the same time which was no easy feat.
Luke wanted to help catch the baby so I was anxiously awaiting the moment when Faith would ask him to leave my side and be ready to catch, then I would know that he was almost here! I pushed and pushed and pushed, convinced that I would at least have busted blood vessels in my eyes. Everyone was encouraging and at one point Jenny said ‘push through the push, Shandra’… and as silly as that sounds, that’s exactly what I felt like I was doing. Pushing into a push – harder than I ever would have thought humanly possible and yet I did it over and over and over again. I vaguely remember a room full of people cheering me on – saying things like ‘he’s almost here’ or ‘oh, Shandra, your baby is almost into your arms’ or telling me how much hair he had or cheering when his head would come out just a little bit further with each contraction.
Never once through all of the pain and intensity did I question my ability to do anything that was required of me.
Mom supporting me as I labored on the birthing ball
Never once through all of the pain and intensity did I question my ability to do anything that was required of me. I didn’t once think I needed pain meds (it didn’t even cross my mind for a second, not even once), I didn’t once think I couldn’t do it (though I did think I was ready for it to be over several times!), I didn’t once question if I was capable of doing what needed done – I just knew I could.
It’s so funny because I have heard women say that once you have your baby, you forget about all of the pain. And not just meaning that once you are holding your baby your pain melts away, but that as time goes on, you truly forget about it. The intensity melts away in your mind. You remember that it was painful and hard, but you don’t remember the depth of it. I feel like when I look back, my memory of the pain has been lightly scrubbed away, like you would a deep stain. Sure, I remember what I went through but the deepest color of the stain has been blotted away. It is so hard to describe or even tangibly understand, but I believe this is God's plan (otherwise there'd be a lot more single kid families!).
The moment Lincoln was being scooped up and placed into my arms, I did a millisecond self-diagnosis check and felt all of the pain in my body, the intensity of pushing left a lot of lingering pain in my neck, face, back, legs, etc… not to mention a million other little pains all throughout my body. I made note of them
as he was placed into my arms and thought ‘I can’t imagine how I could ever forget all of this…’ and I halfway thought, ‘I don’t want to do this ever again!’ and then my baby was in my arms and slowly things started to fade. Sure, some of it was because I was done pushing, done having a baby… but some of it was the hormones God made our bodies to produce to help with all of the pain. I held my little one, unable to actually see him very well up against my face, but I could feel his warmth and hear his little moans (they were oh so precious).
But it’s funny because I know I took that diagnosis check, and I remember some of the thoughts I had in that moment, but I can't accurately recall the pain itself. And even now, only a handful of weeks after having him, the residual pains are finally abating and when I look back at the pain I endured to bring Lincoln into the world it really doesn't seem all that bad anymore. I know it was extremely painful, but it was all temporary and is fading now... It’s all so watered down and different. Twenty-three hours of labor is such a relatively short time in the bigger picture of life and every time I look into his smiling eyes I think he was totally worth it.
A matter of seconds after Lincoln was born, holding onto Daddy's finger with his tiny hand
Everyone talks about that magical moment when you first hold your child – and while I did feel excited and a huge sense of accomplishment when he was handed to me, I don’t think I really understood what was going on. I mean, my head did – my goodness, I had had months and months of planning and preparing and getting my head wrapped around the idea that we were having a child – but I don’t think I truly understood everything. It was the most surreal moment in my life. I had had a million surreal moments since the day I found out I was pregnant. Taking the pregnancy tests (seeing the undeniably positive results almost in a dreamlike way – as if there was a beautiful filter placed over the memories,one that has blurred edges and a dreamlike white balance on them), having the ultrasound (seeing the actual movements and bones of my baby inside of me, knowing what I was seeing on the screen was actually in my belly and would one day be a child in my arms), putting the baby furniture together (our room slowly and gradually changing to conform to what would be the biggest change in our lives), and so many other things… All very surreal moments that I feel like I never truly processed completely and yet those moments are nothing compared to the moment I first held him.
So happy to have pictures of these special moments
Taking in the moment as so many emotions washed over me
I lay there holding him – his slimy little body up against mine, listening to him grunt and moan and make the cutest (and most pathetic sounding) noises ever, while people continued to poke and push on me, check his vitals and color and all of that, and take a million pictures – flashes going off constantly. Luke was right there, stroking his little body, holding his finger, putting his hand on mine. I couldn’t see then, but watching the video, I see that he was in heaven – he was all smiles and you could just see happiness radiating from his face. There was a lot of talking and a little bit of chaos going on, but it was all in the background for me, like a tv in the corner of the room. I felt kind of dazed and a little bit like I was having an out of body experience, but at the same time I was very in the moment with Luke and listening to my new baby breathe and whine.
I thought that once the baby and the afterbirth were delivered then it was all over but that didn’t end up being the case for me. For some reason my uterus wouldn't contract properly, in addition to the fact that I wouldn't stop bleeding. My midwives had to continually push on my stomach, trying to help my uterus contract and get all the blood out. I felt like a tube of toothpaste that someone was trying to get every tiny piece of toothpaste out of. It took a few hours to get everything completely under control and even though it felt a little scary for a bit, I was in great hands and my midwifes took wonderful care of me. It was days before I started feeling normal again – just from the blood loss itself. I drank Chlorophyll and took iron pills for a very long time (mom even made us liver and onions for dinner one night), trying to replenish my blood. For a few days I looked like a ghost every time I moved.
Midwife Faith handing Lincoln to Daddy for the first time after a quick check-up
8 lbs 12 oz & 21" long!
And finally came the check-up and much awaited height and weight of our little man! 8lbs 12oz and 21.5" long! To this day I still do not know how I had such a big baby! Luke and I were both in the 7lb range when we were born and that was what I was expecting, or at least hoping for. Brandi also did a check from head to toe. We had a healthy, albeit chunky, little boy!
Midwife Brandi weighing Lincoln while Daddy anxiously awaits her announcement
Another aspect to little Lincoln's newborn check-up was to get his spine looked at by my boss Dr. Cody DC. He made a special house call that night and gave 'bebe Link' a thorough exam. Because he came out with his fists up by his head he had some misalignments in his neck and atlas.
Lincoln has been regularly adjusted since birth and we are getting it corrected. He loves getting adjusted by Dr. Cody!
Little man came into a world already full of numerous fans. After his check-up he was passed around to meet his grandmas and aunts, all of which were already in love! He's one lucky little boy.
Though we've had a lot of ups and downs since Link was born, Luke and I have been continually reminded of how wonderfully blessed we are to have such an awesome little man. It's so wonderful to look back at his birth and feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, to have been able to see the beauty of child birth in such a personal and intimate way. I have no regrets and am so thankful for every second of it.