Saoirse Olena Rose's birth story
Born to Adrean & Bridget
Our Birth Story
Our daughter, Saoirse Olena Rose Mangiardi, was born at home at 40weeks and 1 day on February 28th, 2023 at 4:54pm. She was 9lbs 14oz and 21.5 inches long looking like a squishy little angel cherub. Her birth was attended by our midwife Dorothy and the birth team that she assembled of a second midwife Katy as well as a student midwife, Brea.
For me, labor began at 4:50am that morning. I awoke to a tiny popping sensation and immediately felt that my water was about to break. I had been sleeping on the couch in late pregnancy because it was the only spot where I could find a comfortable position at that point. I had begun wearing adult diapers to bed in the last week because I was paranoid of this very thing happening and being a first time mom, I had no reference of knowing how much fluid I would have and when and where it would decide to show up so thankfully I was prepared. I went into the shower to confirm that it was in fact my water that broke and shortly after I also had my "bloody show" for further confirmation. This was really happening. I gently woke up my husband to inform him that things were beginning, but also told him to go back to sleep and I would let him know if I needed him. I had planned to get some more rest while I could during early labor. I called Dorothy to inform her of things and she asked if I wanted her to come right away or to let me know when things got closer. I opted to wait a while and just update her as things progressed.
I did try resting a bit, but things felt like they were picking up quickly. My abdominal cramps were very uncomfortable and I remember thinking to myself, "slight menstrual-like cramping" did NOT feel like what I was feeling. It was in that first moment that I wondered if I would be strong enough to endure the intensity that was sure to follow. Nonetheless, I looked to my birth alter with positive mantras and I continued repeating to myself, "You can do this, Bridget. Your body can do this. Your baby can do this. You can do this together. It will be hard but you can do hard things.”
I woke up my husband and let him know that I needed his support and asked him to get the
birth pool filled with water. It was discovered at that point that we didn’t have the correct adaptor
that would connect the hose to our shower. Adrean felt like he had failed me, but I assured him
that I would be fine without the pool because I really didn't have bandwidth to care at that point
and I just wanted to remain as calm as I could. Adrean was determined to give me the water birth
I had envisioned so he took a quick trip to the hardware store when it opened and frantically
asked for the adaptor. He was back in no time and while I was still in early stages. This was
around 8:00am. I only remember that because that is what time the hardware store opened.
Things continued to process and moved into contraction surges. I went into a whole different
place internally at this point. I could no longer keep my eyes open because all of my energy
was focused on soothing and encouraging myself inwardly. Adrean took over with the
communications with Dorothy and when my contractions were closer together Dorothy and the
team got on their way to us.
Much of the timeline is a blur for me because I was very much inward and tuned into my body
that I was not timing things out or having much external conversation. I know that I was in the
pool for a chunk of time and it was feeling good to slosh around through each surge in the water.
Adrean was diligently topping things off with warm water as needed and Dorothy was checking
on my blood pressure and baby's heart rate regularly. At some point my BP was increasing so
Dorothy suggested that I lay on my side with the peanut ball on the couch. I desperately did not
want to leave the comfort of the warm water, but I trusted in her experience and wisdom. She was
so calm as not to create any fear for me and I followed her suggestion. My BP went down in the
new position and I continued there for a little while. Eventually, I was up on my feet pacing around
when things were growing more intense. I started to have some fluttering moments of doubt
thinking, "what have I done. How ever will I get through this discomfort on my own?" but my internal mantras returned with an additional outward plea of, "help me Lord, help me Lord." And I believe help did come. I instinctually moved myself to the bathroom located in our bedroom. In there, a robe was draped atop the door and I reached for it with both hands to help me through each contraction surge. When I would feel one coming, I would bear down as hard as I could and go on my tiptoes while Adrean applied counter pressure to my lower back. We got into this almost hypnotic rhythm where we would quietly stand back during the short moments of reprieve and then when I felt a new surge swelling up I would make eye contact with him and he would ready himself to apply the pressure I was looking for while I would bear down on the robe. We did that for a while and Dorothy came to us to check in again. At this point it had been 11 hours or so, and Dorothy wanted me to try a new position because she thought it would help make more progress. We did not want to have to transfer to a hospital, but none of us really knew where things were at because I had requested no cervical checks. I am a bit skittish and I thought that would put my body in a place that would not feel safe to labor.
I stayed put where I was but as Dorothy returned to the spare room with the birth team to give us our space, I noticed a change occurring. For some reason I could just sense that my daughter’s head was ready to emerge soon and I alert Adrean. He calmly but swiftly let the team know and they all three came to where I was. I was in the bathroom, but I lowered to my knees and rested my knees outside of the bathroom into the hallway where there was soft carpet. I remember consciously doing this because I thought If there was any mess it would be easy to clean off the tiles haha. Thankfully at this point they confirmed they could see that my daughter was crowning and they quietly asked me, “where would you like to have your baby?”
The answer was RIGHT THERE. I knew I was having this baby soon and the thought of moving or trying to reposition at that point seemed impossible, so they laid down the medical sanitary mats and I leaned myself back into the support of my husband's arms with my knees still bent while Dorothy, Katy and Brea were facing me from the little hallway in the dark with their flashlight in hand, gently guiding me through the 20 minutes of pushing. I did not feel as if I was pushing, but rather Saoirse was emerging. As she was crowning I recall Dorothy telling me to slow it down a little and so that is when I was intentionally engaging my muscles to control the pace a bit a prevent tearing. This seemed to work because Saoirse was born right there and I ended up with only one painless 1st degree laceration which was painless and I didn’t even notice.
Here was my daughter now in my arms, me in my husband’s arms still. We just stared at her. She felt familiar and foreign all at the same time. I knew her and I didn’t. I just stared in awe. We moved our scene to the bedroom where we shared those first moments together skin to skin and my husband laying right next to me. I remember my daughter’s first latch and just being in heaven that this was really happening. Eventually, I had to continue to birth the placenta. It was taking a bit longer than we would have liked so I agreed to some to help things along. I was tired and weak, but forced myself to stand up and ended up birthing the placenta at the side of
my bed with the help of Dorothy’s birthing stool. I guess I
needed that little bit of gravity to help move it along. I was
offered and given IV fluids because I was feeling pretty fatigued from everything, but I was still
on cloud nine. With some help, Adrean cut the cord and I donated it to Dorothy for research.
Those hours after were so surreal. The ladies were tending to me so sweetly and quietly cleaning
things up while Adrean and I got to focus on soaking in our new life together with our daughter,
Saoirse. I will never forget this night for as long as I live. I would not change a thing. I loved my
birth team, including my very hands on husband, and felt incredibly safe in the container they
held me in to comfortably transition into motherhood. This night was so special and absolutely