Let me start with some background on how we arrived at this birth.
I had a very positive med-free hospital birth experience with our daughter M (now age 2.5), but really wanted to pursue homebirth for this pregnancy. DH said absolutely not. He had too many safety concerns. So I compromised, and found a group of midwives who deliver out of a natural-birth friendly hospital. As much as I loved them, I found that I kept returning to the idea of homebirth. Finally, I decided that we needed to at least meet with a homebirth midwife. If DH still had safety concerns after doing that, fine — I had no problem staying in the hospital. But I needed to know whether or not homebirth was an option.
We met with C, a homebirth midwife, just before New Years. I was 35 weeks along. Afterwards, I was shocked when DH said he was open to switching. It was still a difficult decision to make, particularly that late in my pregnancy, but we finally decided to switch.
Fast forward about four weeks…
On Saturday, January 30, I was 39 weeks 4 days. Despite being close to my “due” date, I was fully expecting to have a few more weeks of being pregnant. M was born two weeks late, as was I. This baby’s head was still high and I had not been experiencing any BH’s or other signs that my birthing time might be drawing close.
At around 3 PM, I was standing in line to check out at a store when I felt two small gushes of fluid. I checked in with C as soon as I got home, and she said to keep an eye on it and call her in a few hours. I continued leaking throughout the evening, but had only sporadic PW’s. Still, when I checked in with C, she said that the continued leaking meant my water was broken, and that my birthing time would likely start within 24 hours. I didn’t really believe her :) But DH and I got the house cleaned up, checked in with our doula and our birth photographer, and lined up friends to help with M.
I went to bed around midnight, listening to the fear clearing session script, just in case any lingering fears were preventing me from really moving into my birthing time.
I woke up to pee at about 1:30 AM. I had lost my mucus plug, and I was bleeding. That’s when I knew that C was right. This was it.
DH and I both panicked a bit. This was our first experience with spontaneous labor (M was induced), and we didn’t know what to expect. We decided to call our doula, P. She had been at another birth, but agreed to come straight to our house. Meanwhile, I timed my PW’s and they were roughly 7 mins apart, lasting around a minute.
P arrived around 3:30 AM and encouraged us to get some sleep. We got her set up in our guest bedroom, and we both felt better knowing she was right upstairs if we needed her. We were able to go to sleep. I put on the easy first stage script. Every now and then, a PW would wake me up, but I relaxed through it and went straight back to sleep.
We all got moving around 8 AM, except M, who chose a good day to sleep in! She woke up around 9:30 AM, and by that time, the PW’s were definitely intensifying. We called over some friends to help with M. DH cooked breakfast for everyone, but I wasn’t hungry by this time, so I just went into our bedroom, put on some more scripts (birthing day affirmations and easy first stage), and relaxed through contractions on my own. The scripts helped a lot. I particularly loved the affirmation, “I am safe, and my baby is safe, no matter how much power flows through my body.” I could picture the power flowing through my body with every PW. It felt awesome! I also remember a couple of times when the scripts said to smile, and I did!
I also figured out that rocking on my hands and knees was the most comfortable position during PW’s, so that’s what I did through most of them.
Somewhere in there, I overheard P mention to DH that I was getting that serious look. One of them called C and our birth photographer, E, who arrived together at around 10:30 AM. C quickly checked my vitals, and everything sounded great. We mostly stayed in the bedroom, playing more Hypnobabies scripts to keep me focused, DH talking me through PW’s and reminding me of my Hypnobabies cue words, P applying counterpressure and a warm rice sock to my back, C checking in on the baby with the doppler every so often.
The PW’s flew by. My cat often wandered under my belly or rubbed her head against my face during them. M broke away from her Disney movies in the living room to come say hi a couple of times. At one point, C said I needed to eat something, so P fixed a plate of apples and peanut butter for me. M hopped up on the bed and started eating them with me, and drinking out of my water bottle! Everyone tried to tell her no, but I told them it was fine. It made me smile. Then she jumped all over our bed yelling, “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!” PW’s are so easy to get through when you have adorable distractions like that :)
Around 12:30 PM, I started noticing that the PW’s were getting really long, and more on top of one another. I knew I was probably in transformation.
Not too long after that, I had a PW where midway through, I stopped the low vocalization that I had been doing and started to grunt. I felt my body pushing and it felt good. When it was over, P asked, “Did that feel different?” and I said, “I think so. I couldn’t tell if I needed to push or if I just wasn’t doing a good job of relaxing through that one.” P said, “Well, let’s see what the next one feels like.” The next one felt much the same. The second midwife, G, had arrived a little while earlier, and she got to work on filling up the tub in our bathroom, while I did some pushing on the bed with DH, P, and C.
With another PW, I pushed, and suddenly felt a pop and a huge gush of fluid — my water had finally broken completely.
Soon, it was time to get in the tub. The water felt wonderful! Pushing itself didn’t feel all that great, so I pushed hard to get it over with. I had a nice break in between PW’s, and I held DH’s hand and closed my eyes and just relaxed, knowing my baby would be here soon.
After a few PW’s in the tub, the head popped out. That was somewhat surreal, seeing my baby’s head underwater! But C assured me that the umbilical cord was still providing oxygen. With the next push, at 1:20 PM, I felt the entire body come sliding out.
I opened my eyes and saw my baby for the first time, and simultaneously heard DH yell out, “It’s a boy!” The excitement and pride in his voice was so evident. It was amazing, hearing my husband say those words rather than an ultrasound tech, coming with all the emotion of seeing our baby — OUR BABY! — for the very first time. I cannot even put it into words. Hands down, one of the highlights of my life.
C put him right on my chest and we just started to laugh and cry. He picked his head right up and calmly looked at us with his deep blue eyes, like he was saying, “Hello, Mom! Hello, Dad!” There were a few concerns with his breathing initially, but after a lot of suctioning, he started crying heartily and pinked up nicely. We had someone bring M in to meet her new baby brother, and she was amazed by him! She kept touching his head and hands. So sweet. Someone asked her what she thought of him and she replied, “I have a big nose. He has a small nose.” LOL!
I eventually moved out of the tub and onto our bed. The entire atmosphere was so relaxed and peaceful. I got W latched on and he nursed for a while, murmuring contentedly the entire time. My doula brought me a sandwich and some fruit to munch on. My photographer showed us how to put prefold diapers on a newborn.
The midwives examined my bottom. I did need a few stitches; I blame myself for pushing too darn hard, rather than remembering my Hypnobabies “Ahhhh” pushing! On the bright side, my midwives told me to use my hypnosis as they stitched me up, just as I’d done during my birthing time. I did, and that made the stitching a lot easier. They even commented on how relaxed I was! Yeah for Hypnobabies!
The midwives also did the newborn exam. W weighed in at 8 lbs 11 oz, and measured 21″ long. A tiny little thing — the first baby under 9 lbs in at least three generations of women in my family.
It all took around 3 hours, and then everyone started to clear out, leaving our new family of four plus my mom (who had flown in from Atlanta that morning to help with M) alone in the house. W and I spent the rest of the evening cuddling in bed. M came in often to visit with me and her new baby brother. She adores him!
That night, I slept with W and DH on one side, my cat on the other. I laid awake for about an hour after one of W’s nursing sessions, staring at my two boys, reviewing the incredible events of that amazing day in my head. Totally blissed out. A perfect way to end one of the best days of my life.
Thanks to Hypnobabies for an amazing and very easy birth experience!