Submitted by Kayla on Fri, 09/02/2016 - 17:04
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My First Homebirth!

 

It was Sunday, June 26.  I was 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant.  I had been having the start/stop labor for weeks.  A couple of times, I had had a good twelve hours of regular and intense contractions.  But, they never intensified or grew closer together.  My midwife lives almost an hour and a half away, so I worried about her missing the birth, as I was afraid of calling her for a false alarm and afraid I would mistake the real thing for what had been happening for weeks.  

 

But...Sunday morning, I woke up just not feeling good.  And I felt...different.  My husband's alarm went off to get up and get everyone ready for church. I got up and got everyone ready, but completely neglected myself.  My husband asked, "Are you not going to church?"  I slightly laughed as I said, "Nope!"  I think he just took it as my discomfort levels I'd been having in the prior several weeks.  Sitting in the pews was absolute torture on my previously-broken-tailbone that had now shifted outward with the weight of baby bearing down on it.   I didn't really say much, because I didn't really know what to say...("I feel weird, so I'm staying home"?  Not a good answer when your father-in-law is the pastor there!).  But...he knew better than to even ask.  Deep down, I think he just knew

 

They all shuffled out the door to church, and I sat down on the couch with a cup of coffee.  Shortly after that, I sent my husband a text saying, "Contractions are starting again."  They didn't feel obviously different.  But my body knew.  I turned on a documentary on 9/11 called "The Falling Man" (I have no idea why I chose that), and got on my knees and draped myself over my birth ball.  I laid like that and rocked and swayed, and drew invisible figure 8's in the air with my behind (this is good for positioning baby).  I stayed this way for a good chunk of the movie.  At some point, I got up and headed back to the couch for my coffee.  

 

When the family arrived back home, I announced that I needed to take the youngest of my five children out for ice cream. Today.  I've always taken the youngest out for time with just me, just prior to a new baby being born into our family.  But first...my husband wanted to know why I had a huge bowl of whipping cream sitting on the counter.  I told him I got it out to make whipped cream for the mass amount of strawberries we had just picked that weekend.  I wanted to have it ready for the birth team when that time came.  Again...I think my soul just knew that it was time.  So, before getting dressed and taking my little guy out for a treat, he saw his favorite job waiting on the counter--using the beaters to mix up whatever Mommy is brewing in the kitchen.  He grabbed his stool and climbed his bare potty-training bottom up to the counter and took hold of the mixer.  Together, we stood there for several minutes, as I guided his tiny little arm in circles to thicken the cream.

 

My little potty-training helper assisting in making whipped cream...our last picture together before baby is earth side!

My birth team may or may not have realized that their whipped cream was made by a half-naked two-year-old! :)

 

My photographer was pretty excited about this particular snack!
Credit: TC birth photographer

When we finished, I quickly dressed and scooped him up and out the door.  As we got in the car, I noticed my husband down the street.  He was walking like a wild man around our neighbor's car.  I stood there for a moment to try to figure out what on earth he was doing...turns out he was chasing a destructive turkey away from our vehicles.  I got a pretty good laugh.  Definitely had to include that in my birth story!  Anyway, we drove off and headed out together...just the soon-to-be big brother and a very pregnant mama.

 

As we sat eating our ice cream, I noticed contractions I had to start breathing through.  These were definitely different.  He finished his ice cream, and we ran out to get garlic bread for dinner and pick up a movie for our normal Sunday night family movie night.  We chose "The Good Dinosaur."  Once we settled in at home with the movie on, and pizza on the plates in front of my family (I behaved and had a baked potato with plain greek yogurt and organic chipotle ranch dressing), I texted my midwife and told her "Don't get too comfortable."  

She texted back, "How long have you been having them today?"

"Super far apart since around 10:30.  Started getting closer around 3:00.  Definitely moreso and stronger in the last hour," I said.

"Okay, keep me posted," she responded.  Then requested that I time them and let her know how far apart they are.  No sooner had she requested that when I got hit with some seriously intense contractions every 2 minutes and lasting over a minute.  She asked me if I could talk through them...I told her I was mostly needing to breathe through them, but still able to squeak out some words.  She responded with, "Let me know if I should come.  I usually would with them so close."  I told her they were picking up really fast and that they had definitely not been like this an hour ago.  And I expressed my worry that it would stop again because of having been starting and stopping for two weeks.  She suggested that I would know when this is "it", because they will be a :different kind of strong. Maybe that's what they are now?"  

 

I was still so unconvinced that I would ever have this baby, repeatedly saying, "I'm going to be the first person to stay pregnant forever."  She asked again if she should head my way.  I downplayed things a few minutes longer.  She suggested that maybe it was time to get the pool blown up and lined and start filling it.  At this point, I retreated quietly to the bedroom.  Everyone was watching the movie.  I remember hearing my youngest belly laugh at the movie.  It was the first time I had ever seen him react like that to something on the television.  I didn't want the kids to know.  I had prayed my entire pregnancy that I would have a nighttime labor...that the kids wouldn't know what was happening, and that they would go to bed like any other night, and wake up to find their new baby sister to hold.  I laid down on my bed and put my peanut ball between my legs.  The contraction that followed brought me to tears and brought some shakes.  I tried to keep my moaning to myself.  I wanted the kids to enjoy their movie.  I wanted to labor in secret.  And with that contraction, I texted my midwife, "I think it's time."  She responded back, "I'm actually already on my way."  I'm so thankful that she knew what was going on before I was able to admit it.  

Daddy carrying our half-asleep youngest into his siblings' room to camp out for the night.  His crib was still in our room, which is where my birth space was in our tiny house.  
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

When she arrived at 7:55 P.M., she noted in my birth log "standing in kitchen, medicating the dog."  I find this slightly hilarious.  You see, we have a Sheltie who has a lot of...issues.  With this being a home birth, we had to figure out how to help him calm down and preferably not bite the birth team (he is a very...confused...herding dog and has a tendency to heard people).  He's not my favorite.  We rescued him from an abusive home, and despite a loving home for the last decade, he just refuses to let it go.  Even after four rounds of Prozac. We ended up having to resort to Benadryl and a bark collar.  I found that I actually liked him like this!  So did the birth team! It was nice to have a normal dog for my labor and birth at home!

Charlie...waiting patiently for the baby to arrive!
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

At this point, my midwife checked me per my request.  I needed to know if she was staying or if I was sending her home.  I was still 3cm and 50% with baby at -2 station.  BUT...she pushed down to -1 with the next contraction (for those who don't know, "0" station is "engaged."  +1 and +2 mean baby is almost out).  My contractions slowed and I started to cry.  I felt frustrated.  Looks like I'm going to send her home!  She suggested I get in the shower.  I did. Contractions started back up. This was the beginning of me realizing that my contractions would slow with position changes for a few minutes, then they'd start back up again.  I did a few contractions on the ball, and found my ideal spot to be standing at the counter, leaning over it and swaying my hips.  Eventually I added a heating pad to my pelvis, as my husband held one to my back, which brought tremendous relief.

                            Credit: TC birth photographer

 

               Checking on baby when midwife first arrived.
                           Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth birth photographer

 

Contraction.  And freshly-picked strawberries!
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Between contractions.
Credit: TC birth photographer

Contraction.
Credit: TC birth Photographer

 

My hubby trying to figure out how to fill the pool with such a coiled hose :) I love this shot.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Rest.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Heating pads and dad's help.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Intensifying
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

I finally texted my sweet friend (who is also my doula) to let her know I was making good progress, and that maybe it was time for her to come.  She arrived, and I continued to socialize between contractions.  I would have to stop mid sentence, breathe through the contraction, and I would jump right back into wear I left off.  I still wasn't convinced this could truly be labor.  Eventually I realized that, as a placenta encapsulation specialist, I had just finished another placenta for a client, and the bleach soak tub was still awaiting the bleach for all the equipment--which I needed for my own!  So me being me--I went to work on placenta "stuff"--while in active labor! Only me! 

Placenta encapsulation chores while in labor
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Things got a little more intense, and my body began to seek silence.  I retreated to my dark bedroom, with only candles lit.  I sat in the glider that I have rocked all of my babies in, and I relaxed with my eyes closed and the heating pad behind my back.  I soaked in the peace of the space I had prepared.  I closed my eyes and envisioned my baby moving down.  During contractions, I went to the peaceful place in my mind that I had practiced in my hyponobirthing practice.  I was so calm and relaxed.  A polar opposite from the five labors I've experienced in the hospital.  Everyone else sat out in the kitchen and living room and left me in peace.  
 

My birth space.  Taken by my cell phone, so it's really grainy.

 

At about 1:30 in the morning, the waves came a little more painfully.  I instinctively dropped over the side of my bed and reached for my peanut ball from earlier and laid over it.  It's amazing how the body just takes over when you allow it to.  This position brought relief for quite some time.  My wonderful doula applied counter pressure with the heating pad on my back.  It was at this point that I requested that my husband turn on my birth playlist.  I think I knew I would be remaining in my bedroom from this point on.  I continued to just lay over my ball and breathe through contractions, which were still far too manageable for me to be convinced that this was active labor.  

Fetal heart tones during a contraction
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Things continued to pick up.  With this being my first unmedicated birth, I was surprised by the intensity of the lower pelvic pain.  You just don't feel that with epidurals.  It wasn't horrible--but it was a new experience for me, which left me feeling somewhat frightened of it.  But the heatin pad was still continuing to help here, so I was still waiting for that moment of intolerable pain to let me know I was in active labor, as had been with the rest.  I was still socializing between contractions.  And as I did, my hubby and midwife diligently continued to circulate pots of boiling water into the pool to keep it hot for me for when I was ready.  

This was apparently my contraction face for much of labor...and my sweet patient midwife
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

A humorous moment between contractions
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

That belly.  And my trusty heating pad.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

This picture is actually a favorite.  To see my care provider and my husband working so closely together...it looks so simple.  So random.  But I see the relation that was developed between them here.  Be still, my heart.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

He was such a hard worker in my labor.  Always tending to the pool for me.  
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

At 2:30 A.M., I got back down on the floor to lay over my birth ball again.  I stayed here for 45 minutes.  I remember telling my doula, "I'll bet you I'm still only 5cm, and I'm going to end up having to send you all home."  Suddenly, that pelvic pain became quite intense, and that heating pad just wasn't cutting it anymore.  I was time to get in the pool.  NOW.  I stripped down and climbed in at 3:23 A.M..  The relief was amazing.  I announced I wanted a pool in my bedroom from now on.  Pregnant or not!  

"

I requested hotter water, so my awesome midwife assistant fulfilled my wishes!
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

My doula and I
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Kneeling squat position seemed to bring the most relief during contractions.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

It didn't take long for the water to speed things along.  Water, when timed right, can either speed labor up or slow labor down.  And I was afraid of hitting the wrong mark and slowing things, which is one reason I had waited so long.  I've seen it many times as a doula.  I got out to use the restroom, and upon returning, I started to feel pressure.  At 4:18 I stated that I felt "pushy" and was noticing some slight involuntary bearing down at the end of some contractions.  I was starting to sing my birth song at this point.  By 4:33, I was singin' it nice and loud! :) I had to ask my husband to close the bedroom door, because I was afraid I'd wake the children.  I was in transition, and it was the first time I had ever fully felt that.  I think a lot of my yelling was fear of that pain.  I had never experienced it before, and had not anticipated feeling anything quite like that, especially since everything up until that point had been so surprisingly tolerable. 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

 

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

One of my favorite shots of my doula and I
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photgrapher

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

The moment I doubted if I could do this
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

At 4:45, my body began to do tiny little pushes several times during a contraction.  I could feel that familiar "burn" starting.  She was close!  I did one larger longer push with the nxt contraction.  And at 4:51 A.M. my body started a forceful push...I felt a warm gush between my legs and exclaimed, "My water!" (it hadn't broken) and immediately: "SHE'S COMING!"  I felt that ring of fire (I had still been in the kneeling squat position), and for whatever reason, my body told me to lift my bottom.  So all in one contraction, my water broke, I lifted my bottom out of the pool, head born and rotated and delivered her!  

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

The last contraction
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

"She's coming"
Credit: TC birth photographer

                                                                                         

 

                                                                                         And just like that....

 

She's in my arms
Credit: TC birth photographer

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

This moment.
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Looking at my husband, I cried, "She's here!  I did it!"
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

And I got what I prayed for: my husband went to go wake the children and bring them in to come meet their new sibling!

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

 And after all was settled, baby and I settled in for our first latch.

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Weighing time!
Credit: TC birth photographer
 

 

Newborn exam
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Check to see if she has my genetic eye defect
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

A smile for the midwife
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Excited big sister
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Credit: TC birth photographer

Welcome, Hosanna Grace
Credit: TC birth photographer

 

Hosanna and I are doing well, and the siblings all fight over who gets to hold her more.  We couldn't be more in love with her.  And I'm in love with my birth story...it was everything I wanted and more!  

This confirmed my calling into homebirth midwifery.  I am so excited to continue my pursuit!