Sheena Kolehmainen’s Birth Story
(Grace Christian Kolehmainen Lewis– born May 30, 2007)

It was ‘round midnight on Sunday, May 27th when I felt the first contraction. I knew it wasn’t Braxton Hicks…this was the real thing. And it was the first of what would prove to be many, many real ones. But labor progressed at a snail’s pace. By Sunday evening I was barely three centimeters dilated. By Monday evening I was still only three centimeters. So I took a hot bath, had a glass of wine, and went to bed.

By Tuesday I was exhausted, tired of the pain with no progress, and feeling discouraged. I lay on the floor of my bathroom that morning and began to weep. At that moment I confronted some very deep-seated emotional issues related to my pregnancy and the birth of the baby. I made a decision as an act of my will to completely release and forgive the baby’s father for walking out on us 6 months prior and for saying that the baby was not important to him. I began to talk to the baby in my womb and reassure her that I loved her, that she was welcomed, wanted, and desired. I told her that she would be born into a safe place and that she would be loved.

Later that evening I called Cathy again and she decided to come on out. I was barely 4 centimeters dilated. So she put me on an electric breast pump; a nipple stimulation technique that helps move pre-labor into active labor. It worked! Around 10 pm on Tuesday night, my labor kicked in. Cathy helped the progression by stretching me internally during a few contractions. That was the most intense pain of the whole process. At one point I had a vision of Jesus on the cross. I heard Him say to me as I wept and cried out in pain, “I know your pain. You don’t know mine, but I know yours.” I knew at that moment that He was there with me and that He was empowering me to endure and to finish strong.

The baby's head was transverse, so she needed a little jiggling to get into the right position. As the night rolled into the early morning, Cathy asked if I would be ok if she broke my water at that point. I was exhausted and in quite a lot of pain. I didn’t care what she had to break if would help get the baby delivered. It seems like as soon as she broke my water, the intensity escalated and never came down again. I crawled back into the bathtub where I wanted to be for her birth, and within minutes I was pushing. After only 7 minutes of pushing she was finally out!
I was overwhelmed and completely dumbfounded…I couldn’t believe I was actually holding her in my arms. Within a minute of her delivery, she opened her eyes and looked directly at me. I wonder what she was thinking…
It was quite a journey.