I knew I wanted a home birth even before I was pregnant. As soon as that + sign showed up I started the hunt for the perfect midwife. I found her (Amanda and assistant Katie), hired her and began my journey through my 3rd pregnancy.
The pregnancy went pretty smoothly with the normal aches and pains. I found an awesome chiropractor that is skilled in working with pregnant women and began to see him regularly. We even took maternity/family photos.
Home birth doesn’t scare me but I made sure to be prepared- hiring a competent, experienced Midwife with an assistant and knowing the hospital was only a 10 minute ambulance ride away kept my mind at ease.
This pregnancy I was very active teaching prenatal yoga and my natural childbirth classes. I taught classes up until 37 weeks pregnant! Yoga is excellent in preparing your body and mind for childbirth.
The last week of pregnancy is always the hardest, no matter how many times you have been through it. You just feel so big like you are in someone else’s body, not your own. You are tired, swollen, emotional and ready for the baby to be outside. I always tell my moms in class- When you are walking around the neighborhood crying “Just come out already!” then you will birth the baby soon!
I was 40 weeks, 1 day pregnant when I had my breakdown. I needed to drop off something at a neighbors house and didn’t want to pack the kids in the car and drive so we set out on foot. Plus my midwife had encouraged me to get out and walk to help the swelling in my feet, a common pregnancy symptom in those last days. So off we headed on our walk and by the time we were headed home I was in tears.
That night around 1am I woke with my first contraction. I stayed in bed for about an hour dosing between them, they were coming about every 15 minutes. Around 2:30am I woke excited and at peace that our baby would be here soon. I got up, went to the bathroom and decided to stay up to eat. I made myself some scrambled eggs, toast and orange juice. I had been struggling to eat eggs through my whole pregnancy but now, during labor, loved them.
I played around on facebook making sure to stay away from any baby-related post- no negativity would inter my birthing bubble! Around 5am my sister, who had flown in a few days prior, got up with LilE so she could go to the bathroom. I told her I was in labor and we would be having the baby soon! She seemed pretty un-excited. She later told me that I was so calm she was sure it would be hours before the baby arrived. Little did she know….
I decided it was time to call in my birth team. Along with my husband, I had planned an awesome team. My midwives, doula and photographer were all ready to join me. The only problem was I didn’t feel like having so many people in the house. I was feeling really good just laboring alone in my warm kitchen. I did call the midwife because, although I’ve fantasied about having an unassisted birth, birthing alone was not the plan. At this time my contractions were 5 minutes apart lasting 45 seconds to 1 minute long. They were still comfortable but strong enough that I couldn’t talk through them.
Amanda and Katie lived about 45 minutes away from me so it would take them time to get to our house. They had been there several times before so were familiar with the route and midwives always keep their cars packed and ready for birth.
After calling the midwife I went to lay back down in bed with Eli. He turned over to spoon me and as soon as our bodies touched my contractions jumped into high gear! Yea for Oxytocin! These contractions hit hard and fast. I was not happy in bed and had to pee. Eli helped me get up and walk to the bathroom. After a few contractions on the toilet I was ready to get in the tub. Eli started the water for me but I quickly told him to turn it off- I didn’t want to get in before the midwives got there. Baths can sometimes speed up labor and mine was already going a full speed. At this point I didn’t know how long it had been since calling my midwives so I asked Eli to call them and find out their eta. Thankfully they were only 15 minutes away.
As soon as they arrived they got me in the tub but unfortunately didn’t put in enough water for me to be comfortable. I was at a non-talking point in my labor and couldn’t vocalize the need for more water. I was just not comfortable, at all. I remember repeating “no” over and over again getting into a rhythm as much as I could as the contractions were coming almost on top of one another.
It was now 7am and Ethan, my 5 year old, was up and in the bathroom to investigate what was going on. Eli was with me and the midwives were making the bed up with the mattress cover. I told Eli to take him into the living room and turn on the tv. I didn’t want my loud groaning to scare him. I hadn’t prepared the kids for labor noises very much because I hadn’t planned for them to be there with me. But as all kids of birth workers (midwives, doulas, childbirth educators, etc.) he had seen more than his share of birth videos and seemed to be unfazed. This was one point in labor where I wished I’d called my doula! I do not like being left alone during labor. It felt like forever but I’m sure it was only a few minutes. Eli took him to the kitchen and got him something to eat but that was short lived and he was back in the bathroom. My midwife found a kids stool, set it right outside the door and had him sit on it. I’m pretty sure that’s where he stayed for the rest of the birth.
Here I am, still in the bath and very uncomfortable. Baby had been sitting low in my pelvis for months and now making her push for her entrance. I could feel her turn inside of me. The most awesome feeling ever. I yelled out “She’s coming!” and both midwives came running. They listened to the baby’s heart tones and they were pretty low. Amanda told me I needed to get out of the tub to push my baby out. These were the best words I could have heard! I loved my water birth with LilE and would have loved to have given birth to my Pisces baby in the water but at that point in time my body was telling me it was not the right way.
They quickly got me out of the tub and I went into a squat on the floor. My baby was coming and we were ready! One of my big goals in this birth was to not have to be told when to push. I wanted my body to take over and tell me when it was time. I was never checked for dilation or received any internal exams. I listened to my body and knew when it was time.
Pushing is my favorite time in birth. Things seem to slow down. Time seems to stop. The room is silent. You and your baby are actively working together in the process. It’s the last moments you are pregnant. I was savoring it, enjoying the moment. Gently breathing my baby out. Ahhh……
Then I woke up and Amanda was in my face and yelled “Melissa! Push your baby out!!!”. Oh, okay! One push she was out to her forehead, the next to her neck and the next she was on my chest. Her cord was around her body which I’m sure was compressed during the final moments causing the heart rate to drop. She was perfect! I turned to Amanda and said “I’m so glad that’s over!”.
My active labor was a total of 2.5 hours with less than 10 minutes of pushing. Cora Elizabeth was born at 7:28am on March 12, 2014. She was 7lbs 7oz and 21ins long exactly the same as her big sister LilE.
I couldn’t have planned a better birth. I had fantastic midwives who supported me in all my educated choices. I have an amazing, supportive husband who held my hand and held me up while birthing our baby. I had a great doula who supported me prenatally and would have been there in a flash if I had called her. I had a wonderful photographer who was sad to miss the birth but got some great shots of our newborn. Thanks to you all for helping us through our first home birth!
Read my first birth.
Read my second birth.