I keep waiting for the right time to write this. Evening, quiet, no one needing me and our house cozy and warm. Morning sun, hot coffee and silence. Afternoon nap, dark chocolate and a mimosa. Those times don’t happen within this new scope of normal. I don’t quite know where to find those breaks yet…
Then all the upheaval happened and I have been waiting for relief. For health. For confirmation. We left the hospital against doctors orders and while that comes with some triumph it also comes with a heavy burden of responsibility. Waiting to hear the phone ring and confirmation that our intuition was right.
Today we headed to the pediatrician and were given all the confirmation we need. Our girl is healthy, strong, growing and perfect. Pink and perfect. Her blood work is looking good and I feel like I can finally breath. So, here it is…
On Thursday April 26th we did it all… pineapple eating, stair climbing, sex, super long walk, spicy thai food, evening primrose oil and raspberry leaf tea. I was 40 weeks 3 days and feeling beyond finished. We put Nolie to bed and around 9pm I started having a few easy peasy contractions. They didn’t feel painful, at all, but were consistent. They stuck around at around 6-9 minutes apart but didn’t feel like much of anything. They were stronger than braxton hicks but not painful.
I tried to go to sleep but was too excited. Charlie slept and I watched TV just passing the time, keeping one eye on the clock.
At about 4am they started to get stronger. I felt that even though these were very manageable that they were the real deal. I woke Charlie up to tell him…
I told Charlie to go back to sleep and I started to get ready.
I started praying and praising God. I couldn’t believe that we were at this point. That I was close to that Moment. We were going to do this. I started praying about her position. Worrying about her position. Fearing what might happen. I didn’t want to call the midwives. I was terrified that they would come, check me and send me to the hospital. I was anxious about ending up having the rug pulled out from under me all over again.
I did what I always do when I am overwhelmed, worried or anxious- I got into the shower. It was about 7am. While I was in the shower Charlie called the midwife. She decided to head over and check me and then get all of the supplies set up and then head to the Birth Center for her days appointments and come and check in on me in between.
Nolie woke up. My contractions stayed very manageable and about 5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. They still didn’t hurt, they felt like a very tight and long braxton hick. When Nolie awoke Charlie went into her room ” Nolie, this is it! This is the day Mama is going to push the baby out!” …she was so excited. She and Charlie sat on the bed and cuddled while I stood and swayed through contractions. Nolie was darling through it all “Mama you are working hard. Your body does it.” Those sweet words spoken so truthfully from two year old lips were the perfect ‘birth coaching’. My body kept going and it felt easy. This was so different than last time.
At about 8am the midwife showed up and while she was checking me my parents showed up too. It was a whirlwind. Our tiny home was bursting now. E, our midwife, checked me and found that I was 4cm, 75% effaced and that the baby was in the perfect position (!!!!). The joy, relief and excitement was palpable. I said hi to my parents and stayed in my bedroom, starting to want to be alone. Everything got stronger. My baby was in the right position, my Nolie was cared for by people I wholly trust and my body was trudging ahead slowly. I was only 1cm more dilated than I had been the week before but I felt like this was the real deal.
E noticed that I was sounding a lot different than I had only moments before. She let me know that she didn’t feel comfortable leaving me unless she checked me again. It had only been about 30 minutes since the last check so I didn’t really expect much change. She found that I was now 5(stretchy to 6)cm and fully effaced with the baby low. She decided to stay since that change all happened so fast. We were now officially in “active labor” (5-10cm).
I was done having our house so full. I felt strong and ready but was starting to have to really pray and focus through each contraction as it happened. My parents left to take Nolie to Seattle to await our call (thinking it would be hours and hours away, if not overnight).
As soon as they were out the door I started to feel very different. I stood pushing down on Charlie and looking at him in hopes of finding some relief in his calm- instead I threw up. That lasted two contractions (they were close together but very short). The force of throwing up caused my water to break. I headed into the tub.
Charlie was cooling it off with cold water- it was still hot from filling it moments before. This was the opposite problem than what we thought was going to happen. I was so worried it would be too cold by the time I could get into it. Instead he was putting cold water into it as I was gingerly stepping in.
I felt calm for an instant and then it immediately got intense and so hard again. Our Doula showed up just after I got into the tub and started rubbing my face with a cold cloth. I said ” Nothing is comfortable” and then “she is low, she feels very, very low!” the baby was moving down and I could feel it.
I didn’t feel any of pushing with Nolie. I was aware of when I was having a contraction but I didn’t feel her move through my pelvis or crown. I just pushed hard for the 10 seconds that they counted for me and that was that. This time was far, far different.
I felt like my body was opening up and pushing her down and out. I had no control over it. ” I think I am kind of … pushing?” was all I could manage to say and my midwife just said “that is fine, just go with it” and I did. I moaned, yelled, sang a deep and loud song. And without giving a single decided push our sweet girl came right out.
“Charlie, her head it out!” Our midwife said this and it was a shock to me. I didn’t realize she was already out! With the next contraction the rest of her came out and we met her.
I was so shocked. So in love.
I just kept saying. “She’s here. So fast, this was so fast.” She was born at 10:06am only half an hour after my parents left. I progressed from 5-10cm in an hour and a half and my body pushed for less than 8min. The whole birth was a dream come true. A huge answer to my biggest prayers and felt like an endless miracle.
I called my Mom from the birth tub and they hadn’t left town yet. I was so thankful- Nolie got to meet her sister before she was even 30min old. And both girls wanted to nurse immediately… it was just right.
We ended the morning by sharing a meal with everyone who was there. My parents, Nolie, our doula, our three midwives and our photographer (who didn’t get there till just after the birth because everything moved so fast!). My favorite meal. My Mom’s veggie lasagna and a big glass of our favorite champagne.
I can’t even begin to say how incredible and different Home Birth is. I feel like it contributed so wholly to why our birth experience was so calm and easy. I felt at ease to labor and as soon as Nolie was cared for and I didn’t have a worry about her I was able to just have the baby… no fuss. I was checked twice total and pretty much never left the comfort of my own bedroom.
This birth was the redeeming and encouraging experience I have dreamt of prayed for and prepared for. I cannot encourage other expectant Moms enough to research, read, pray, talk to everyone you can and make every effort you can to have the birth you want. You can be your own advocate and go into birth informed and ready to make decisions.
If you have any questions about why we chose home birth, our experience or anything else… please ask! I am an open book and would love to share more.