Birth Story: Zia Nakya Grai

May 31, 2008 {Amanda & Chris: An intended homebirth turned hospital birth.}

Homebirths were introduced to me at a young age. So young, that it never really made anything BUT sense. At fifteen, I envisioned the birth of my first child. Surrounded by candles, in a gorgeous tub, with soft lighting and a loving man to guide me. Many, many years (and some not so loving men) later, here it was. Ten positive pregnancy tests and a husband that was so excited that the only words he could say for days were: “A baby, a little baby…”

Christina came as an answer to our prayers. Down to earth but not too earthy. Sweet but stern. Patient, oh so very very patient, and understanding. I loved that she was realistic. I also loved that she had experienced births in and out of the hospital and she showed complete reverence regarding them.

My pregnancy wasn’t out of the ordinary. I carried Zia extremely low, I was uncomfortable. That was honestly the biggest “issue”. I attended Bradley classes, I followed the diet to a “T”. I devoted my life to making that baby. What a sweet time it was.

I felt connected to Zia instantly. Before hearing her heartbeat, before seeing the outline of her bottom bulging through my belly. I felt her quickly. I became in tune with her hiccup times, play times and nap times. She was extremely active. I spoke to her, sang to her. As our time being connected neared the end, I began praying, asking God that He lead me in all of the right directions for her safe arrival. I prayed the He would evoke in me the power to save my baby if she needed to be saved. After each prayer Zia would poke or jab, without fail. I would know that she was safe and feel at ease.

One night, May 30th to be exact, my sweet little rockette wasn’t rockin her house down as she usually did. I would tickle her, play music, and she would be quiet. I said my prayer and this time asked God and Zia to let me know at that instant if she needed help. I waited for the usual thud. Nothing. I began to panic. Something WAS wrong. I quickly called Christina. It was 1 am. Without hesitation she met me at the birth center. I lived an hour away. She waited.

The panic began the intense contractions that had been starting and stopping for days. This was normal. Chris and I began to think, this was it. She was on her way. As we neared the birth center, Zia began to move a little more. Of course she did! When we arrived we listened to the soothing beautiful healthy heartbeat, and all felt that her time of greeting us was near. We drove home. I still felt uneasy. I stayed awake most of the night waiting for her. She was quieter still.

May 31. I called Christina, we both agreed that a visit to the hospital might be what we all needed to ease our minds. I had been running a low grade temperature for about a week and would honestly tell people I felt like I was dying. Summer was beginning, it was hot, I was huge–I’m sure this all seemed like normal dramatic behavior for a first time mom. First time, DRAMATIC, COLORFUL, mom.

They hooked me up and strapped me up. Apparently they didn’t like what they saw. This diddly nurse insisted that she needed to perform an ultrasound to receive her “credit”. She needed to do so many and Zia and I were going to be her subjects. She awkwardly pulled the cart over. It was obvious, she was oblivious. I don’t think the hospital sees too many healthy full term pregnancies because they just kept commenting on Zia’s size. She insisted on using this awful torture device to stimulate Zia to move. I said “no”. I said “no” several times. To several things. They insisted that it didn’t hurt her, just got her to move. Well, it got her to jump, I began to cry. I avoided loud places for months because I didn’t want to invade her sweet space and here these morons were buzzing my baby.

They had to call the head of the ultrasound department in. I knew something was going on. She made all sorts of faces. I knew not to really take much of it to heart, they’re techs. JUST TECHS. “There is no water surrounding the baby…you’re not going anywhere, especially to a homebirth…” So ok. There it was. Here I was. In a hospital. I’d never been in a hospital for longer than ten minutes my entire life. I’d never laid in one of their creepy beds, with gross sheets, I’d never been hooked up to stuff. And now I am about to be wheeled somewhere, to GIVE BIRTH. MY BIRTH. My candled, soft music birth had taken a total detour and ended up in this place. They whispered behind the curtain for a bit. She looked in at me concerned. Zia had been on the monitor for a while and WAS showing signs of distress, but obviously not distressing enough. It took the brilliant staff at SMH four hours to admit me. It took about ten nurses to draw blood, take information. Some came in my room and admitted they were there because I was the only person on the floor–and they were bored. I really began to cry.

I constantly heard Zia, so I was not extremely worried. I knew what emergencies required–and four hours of admitting were not in the protocol. The admitting nurse fought to keep Christina out as long as she could. I had my mother and Chris with me, but Christina was the only person I wanted to see and they were keeping her behind iron clad doors, just to be–nurses. She was finally allowed in after asking for supervisors and putting her mighty mighty midwife shield and sword on. She kissed me as I began to cry. The nurses had no clue why I was crying. They became annoyingly and condescendingly sweet. I’ll make the rest of it short.


The best of the worst case scenarios happened. I was dilated enough to be given the chance to start laboring on my own. The Dr came in, broke my water, yes…. my water. As he broke it…. we all realized that there was PLENTY of water. I lost water for about four hours after it was broken. The water–I didn’t have. After about three hours, I hadn’t started laboring on my own so pitocin was administered. It was early evening. The Dr had just began his shift, we all knew I was safe and sound until about four pm the next day, we spoke about it. You hear about it. You think it to be true. How they actually do hold your birth in the palm of their hands and shift schedule, but until you SEE it… it just seems too unbelievably wrong.

For the first sixteen hours of labor I was forced to stay in bed. I wasn’t allowed to move. The nurse had told me that if my monitor were to fall out, Zia would be in great danger and the Dr was not at the hospital. Time could kill her. So for sixteen hours, in agony I laid in bed. I was forced to use a bedpan. I was refused ice at times. At that point I had not eaten or drank a thing in over twenty hours. As morning crept in, the nurses did their usual shift change. I asked for a bedpan. The new nurse looked at me like I was an alien. “Why can’t you just use the restroom?” I then told her the story I was told. The Dr. had been there all night. He was watching and waiting on Zia and I. He had never left. I was more than allowed to get up and move around. For sixteen hours I was on the nurses convenience, during my labor. As the clock danced around, and around my labor went nowhere. Plenty of pain, no dilation. They kept jacking up the juice but no action. The nurse came in and told me I was the first to enter and people were having babies all around me. She said I sounded like a wild animal. I was the only one–NOT on drugs. I am sure I was the only woman she had ever heard in REAL labor.

Two o’clock came… and like clock work… “We need to get this baby out…why don’t you just take an epidural and get some rest….” I refused–they REALLY jacked up the juice and proceeded to check my dilation during those non stop contractions. Still–nothing. Nearing twenty hours of nothing I began to lose faith, heart, strength. Instead of giving me sugar via IV we watched the nurse give me saline….by the time we alerted them it was too late. For weeks I remained swollen due to this mistake. The C word was being thrown around a lot. Finally the ultimatum. “We either give you an epidural now and wait one more hour or you have one before the csection.” At that point you weigh it. C-section, tons of drugs no way to breastfeed for hours, extreme risk…or an epidural…that may not even be in for very long…still risky…still a drug…but if it keeps us out of the O.R. where we are undoubtedly headed, that is what we do. I knew my fate. We all did.

I received the epidural during a monster contraction and I am pretty sure that Christina still has my nails embedded in her hips. I hadn’t even taken so much as a tylenol in years, the epidural threw me for a loop. I was having trouble breathing and on top of all of that I was not numb, but complete almost strapped down, in fact I felt the second Zia dropped right into position. Three o’clock….ten cm…time to push. I am convinced I was made to start pushing entirely too early and if you want to know what that leads to a lifetime of… give me a ring. I pushed, and pushed and pushed and pushed…I pushed through them practically wheeling me out to the O.R. The doctor saw my determination. Looked at my husband and said, “Ok we do it this way…” He insisted I lay flat so he could sit at the foot of the bed. Fine. It was almost over. Everyone was shocked that I pushed on my own, I felt everything. As Zia appeared, an strong odor filled the room, my temperature jumped–high. I began to feel sick, I began to panic. I needed juice, water, something. The nurse refused. She told me she was not in the mood to clean up vomit. I lost my head. Said some awful things. Then–held my baby. 🙂 There was confusion for awhile. If I was sick they were sure she was. They had to take her. I made Chris hold on to her bassinet and never let go, not for a second. This was not what I wanted. I know she wanted me, needed me…. but if she was sick… her care was more important. I was sick, I had to do what was best for us.

Zia, by God’s grace, was perfect. I believe that our God had kept her home, clean and safe. Not at all sick. My infection was treated with hardcore antibiotics and I began to realize as I began to feel better that I truly was ill. Babies die from such infections. It can happen so quickly. I can attest. As awful as the hospital was and as rude as the people were… as far off from candles and soft lighting as it was, I had my baby. She was alive, healthy. That is the thing that truly makes a birth beautiful. Sure, I mourned. I came home to see the birthing pool, and supplies. 🙂 The candles…. but more importantly — WE came home and it truly was now–a home.

Zia splished and splashed in our birthing pool on her first Birthday. Chris, Zia, and I played for hours in that gorgeous June sun. I had my baby, my loving husband, candles, music and a tub…..after all.



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