Selah Grace Facher’s Birth Story
I love birth.
My favorite kind of birth is a home birth – like I had with Kyra, or Shaphirah… or Noriah… but every birth is different. Just like each child is – and this time around, we chose to birth in the Good Shepherd hospital with Sylyna Kennedy, CNM, as our provider. It was the best fit for both unmedicated delivery, and available medical care if needed with my abnormal placenta.
So let’s jump right into her birth date story!!!
December 10th, 2022
Before 7am – I snuggled up to my husband in bed, feeling like I was starting to feel birth waves – but more of a mental feeling, instead of physically feeling them.
I woke up, and could tell my body was different. Waves came off and on, and I spent time in bed, between lying down and sitting up some, as they started changing. I turned on my Christian Hypnobabies app, and started listening to some of the tracks for birth to focus.
I started timing birth waves on my phone, with the “Full Term” app at 7:25am. They started from 57 seconds long, ranging from 24 seconds to just over 1 minute long (though most in the 30-45 second range) for the next hour.
I let Paul know that I was pretty sure this was birth day – and he helped me thru some of the waves and started preparing for us to leave the house. As the kids came in, and asked a ton of questions (as kids do), I could feel the need to be in my own space WITHOUT anyone talking to me.
“We should go ahead and tell my parents” I told Paul. I called my Dad, Shane, and let him know the contractions had picked up – and if he could bring my sister over to watch the kids that would be great.
Our plan was to drive to Longview, and arrive hopefully before transition started – so we would have time to actually get TO the hospital instead of birth a baby on the highway.
These waves were very different – and a big part of that I believe was having the Christian Hypnobabies app to listen to. I had started listening to tracks the month before, and they were filled with relaxing and breathing techniques – that focused on God’s provision for this birth- and how to focus on Him for strength thru the birthing time.
It included prayers and scriptures, and I would play it before bedtime when I was stressed or worried about birth.
This whole second half of the pregnancy, I felt like this birth would be different. Either shorter, or faster, or something – and my birth team agreed. Selah had been sitting low in my pelvis the entire pregnancy, and the last month she had really dropped and stayed even lower.
Paul got all our birth stuff in the van, (which a lot of it had been in there for the last month just in case) – and I gathered last minute things from our room. It felt different this time – where the waves were coming, but they were shorter and firm, but not building up long like they normally do. That had been the pattern for the last 2 months, where I had VERY short birth style waves, from 28 weeks on, but they would be seconds long and that’s it.
Right before we left the house, the waves had picked up to every 2-3 minutes, but they were still only 30-40 seconds long.
My sister arrived to watch our kids, and took some last bump photos – as I had a few deep birth waves.
Our 2.5 year old son Keshet, was very determined he HAD to kiss mommy before we left.
We left at 10:45am, and once I was sitting in the van – they slowed down for the 45 minute drive from Lindale to Longview. I was thankful for the break – it made it much easier!!
I talked with my doula, Amanda on the phone – and told her we were arriving in Longview – and how the waves were coming. At that point, they had slowed to 4-10 minutes apart, and still 30 seconds long – so she encouraged us to go get something to eat, and walk around to get them progressing before we went to the hospital.
My midwife was in Tyler, on her day off – at a doctors appointment – and the on call doctor was not someone we wanted in my birthing space, so I told Paul “Let’s go to Hobby Lobby and get supplies to make a wood name thing for her pictures.”
Once we got to Hobby Lobby, and I got out of the car, the waves picked up dramatically. Like 2-3 minutes apart, still 30 seconds long – and got increasing more intense.
We walked the whole store, without a buggy – while I found all the random things I “needed” … like new macrame pillows for the studio, and yarn to complete the chunky blanket I brought to do in case we ended up sitting for hours waiting for this baby. (Ha!!)
As the waves intensified, I was trying really hard not to scare all the hobby lobby people. I really needed to squat to relieve pressure, so I would find an aisle with no one, put the pillows down, and hold my stomach up and bend my knees slightly. Any amount of moving my body down felt relieving (hello she was SO LOW)… and by the time we got to the front of the building, and I saw the incredibly busy line of people at the checkout – I told Paul he would have to check out while I went to the car to sit.
I had very intense birth wave while walking across the parking lot, in front of the nice Salvations Army gentleman who I was just PRAYING would not ask me how I felt… and it was then I realized “I need to get ready to birth.”
By the time Paul got in the car, we called Amanda back – told her how things were going, and decided to drive towards the hospital – but we were still unsure if we wanted to check in since they would put us in an “observation” room first and want my contractions longer. I really wanted as LITTLE intervention as possible, so we opted to drive to the OBYGN clinic 5 minutes from Good Shepherd and walk to trails there.
Once we arrived, I felt suddenly exhausted – and told Paul I needed to sleep. As he prepped the back seat for me, I leaned over the folded captain chair in the middle of our van and had 2 strong waves – and said “We need to go. I think this is transition. I’ll be shocked if I’m not 7cm right now.”
I had JUST texted my birth photographer minutes before, telling her I was going to nap – and sent her a message saying “Nevermind. Change of plans. Headed to the hospital”. so she could meet us.
Paul and I stopped to pray- pray over my body, and our baby – and the very quickly coming birth.
We called Amanda back, and she let Sylyna (my midwife) know we were headed there – and we arrived 5 minutes later to the hospital.
Funny thing though – we came in the wrong entrance. Apparently the South entrance is not where registration is, so we walked several very long hallways – and by the time we found an elevator – which was broken, we started seeing a few people and asked where we needed to go. 3 paramedics were at the next elevator, and a few nurses came thru, and I was concentrating hard as they asked Paul “Ah is it the big day?” I was closing my eyes and trying to focus on relieving pain, and thought “They probably see this all the time. I’m not even going to try to hide it anymore.”
Then we got around the corner, and I stopped and was contracting hard – and a nurse came around and said something to the effect of “Oh! This is happening – are you okay?” She thought we were just walking the halls for birth – and I told her between waves “I’m not even registered – and I’m in transition.” She was an angel – she whisked a wheelchair around the corner in literally 5 seconds or less (which felt like magically relief!) and said “Okay, Dad, I’m taking her to a room and you can go register her.” I’ve never felt such relief – I wanted to cry.
Paul followed us very quickly to a birthing room, grabbed my wallet, and sprinted out nervously to run downstairs to register me for birth.
I told him “I’m not going to birth her before you get back”, but I don’t think he had confidence in that.
I grabbed my Vetiver oil, which helps you feel calm and grounded – and put that on. It was so calming – ah. SO good!!
Nurses came in, I think 3 of them, and quickly started getting an IV set up and me in a bed. I declined the ugly hospital gown – I already had my pretty one on that I ordered from Amazon… and probably the most painful part outside of pushing her out was the IV. They stuck me 3 times and it was AWFUL – but finally got it in my left hand. They put in saline in the IV, and very quickly my head swelled as I was trying to contract and sign papers at the same time. Paul was not happy, cause he didn’t see why HE couldn’t sign them instead of me.
One of the nurses checked me in the first few minutes, and said “Alright – yep, you’re between a 7-8cm!” I felt relief that I was right – I knew where my body was, which felt good and empowering.
My birth photographer was the first of my team to arrive – Lauren LaBoyteaux, which was exciting cause I thought we might miss getting this birth photographed. She started taking photos, and Amanda Patton, my doula, showed up just a few minutes later as the waves picked up again.
The nurses brought a birth bar, which fits over the bed for me to hold onto. I had planned to birth off the bed in a squatting position – but the waves were coming quickly and I wasn’t sure I would have the strength to get off the bed and focus before the next wave. Instead, I sat up in the bed, and leaned onto the bar. The downward pressure felt better with the gravity, and I could feel her moving down lower into the birth canal. Sylyna hadn’t arrived yet – and the nursing staff could tell I was getting close to pushing – so one said “Okay, let’s get Dr XXXX in here” – and I lifted my head and said “Nope, he’s not in here.” (name omitted)
My doula and one of the nurses quickly communicated together, and my doula let her know that he wasn’t welcome in my birthing space – so that left the other doctor on call – who I had already been told was NOT a good option in my space. (the Doctor the nurse suggested is one I already have birth trauma with, and I’m so thankful for my doula communicating that I didn’t need that stress in my space)
I started praying – audibly, as the waves intensified – “Lord, please slow her down. Slow down, baby girl. I need it slow.” My thought was I needed her to move slower through the birth canal, and also I needed Sylyna to get there.“She’s coming!” I said – and Paul, who I hadn’t realized was already waiting and had been watching for baby girl – got ready to catch Selah. I pushed with the next wave, letting out a cry of pain as she crowned, and my Amanda and Sylyna both told me not to scream but use that energy! (which is a super good reminder because it helps push baby OUT when you use that energy)
I felt relief – and thought “maybe I’m done” – and Paul said “Okay, her head is out” (very calmly and quietly, I might add) and I realized I still had more to do. Sylyna (the midwife) came through the door, slipped gloves on- and moved near Paul as the next birth wave started. The next wave pushed out her shoulder, and there was a pause – and I could tell from the silence of my birth team that I needed her to come out now.
Apparently, according to my doula, the birth team didn’t realize till Paul said something that she already had her head out – because I didn’t make much of a sound.
My doula videoed the birth seconds before his comment, and I got to see it – and it is truly amazing how much I was able to focus and use that energy internally compared to being more vocal, I believe because of the calming techniques I had been practicing thru the Christian Hypobabies app.
Through a concentrated focus on the next intense birth wave, the rest of her body was born. It was HARD because of just how wide she was. She came out purple in color, a head full of dark hair – and not making much noise. They quickly brought her up to me, and I’m sitting on the edge of the hospital bed (it was kind of folded like a chair so I could sit on part of it) – and Sylyna and the head nurse and Amanda all showing me how to get her breathing better. Between all of us, we tried rubbing her down, rubbing her head – as I told her “Come on, baby girl – I need you to breathe better.” She was breathing, just shallow and her color wasn’t pinking up – so Sylyna said “Alright, she’s got the blood out of the cord, Dad, it’s time to cut it so we can get her breathing better.” Paul quickly cut the cord loose, and the nurse took her to get her breathing more consistent.
I felt this sense of calm, of relief, also realizing she needed to make progress quickly – and I mentally said a quick prayer. Her color started improving, Thank the Lord, and as the head nurse weighed her – she said “Wow! She’s a big girl!” and gave the weight in grams, and then said “That’s 9lb 9oz!”
“What?!” I exclaimed. I had NO idea she would be my biggest baby. This whole pregnancy I had been in fear that she would be tiny – I expected a 6lb or maybe 7 lb baby, who might be premature – and here we had a full term 41 week 9+ lb baby girl.
And that – is Selah’s birth story.
There were so many prayers over this pregnancy – by many friends, family, brethren, my birth team – and myself and my husband and children.
It was definitely the hardest on my body for a single baby, although the birth was more redemption – different in almost every way, and quick like I prayed it would be.
I wanted the least amount of interventions in a hospital setting, and the Lord gave me that.
The staff for after birth care was fantastic. Just incredible. Almost every nurse came in to talk with me, we talked about me being a newborn photographer, and their kids, and how they came into the career they had – and I even had some very crunchy essential oil nurses. They loved that my room smelled of essential oils – which was nice.
We were in the hospital for the next day, and released the following afternoon right before 5pm – just 28 hours after we arrived.
and that’s a wrap!!! She is the most intent, serious, smiley, and just calm baby we have had. I’m thankful the Lord has blessed us with her to love and nuture in His Word.
Photo credit for our birth photos:
I was thrilled with Lauren’s art in capturing our birth and first hour! She was amazing and I would hire her again in a heartbeat!