On New Years Eve we welcomed our second child, a sweet little boy named Leo! This is his birth story…
At 2:45 AM I started to have mild period like cramps that woke me up. I would check the clock each time they occurred and they were about 10 minutes apart. I didn’t want to wake Aaron up in case it was labor, I wanted him to get as much rest as possible. Around 4am Aaron woke up naturally and I told him what was going on. I asked Aaron to just lay with me and see what happens. The contractions continued and we started timing them. They were consistent enough and I started to feel hot and nauseous that we decided to update our midwife, Hayley.
At around 4:30am we called our midwife Hayley to let her know what was going on. She mentioned I get in the shower to see if contractions slowed or continued. After getting in the shower they did decrease and about that time my daughter was waking up for the day. We got her up and played a bit and then I decided to get back in bed around 7am to take a nap. If this was labor I wanted more rest.
After my morning nap I got up, had breakfast and went about our normal morning. We went on a short family walk to help things progress if it was labor. I continued to have contractions but sporadic – about every 10 minutes.
We put my daughter down for her nap at 12-noon and then my husband and I turned on The Office and settled on the couch to relax. I started having dull pressure and at 12:30 my water broke. A little while later my contractions started up again and they were closer together. Contractions were 5-6 minutes apart lasting 30-50 seconds at this point and intense enough I needed to stop and breath through them. Then at 1:20 I lost my mucus plug. I was so grateful when my water broke it was clear because with my daughter it was green due to meconium so we had to birth at the hospital versus the birth center.
When my daughter woke up I went in to get her. I wanted her day to be as normal as possible. I had a contraction while in her room and got on my hands and knees to breath through it and she put her hand on my back through the crib as if she completely knew that mama needed some extra patience & love.
I noticed that my contractions would slow when my daughter was awake and pick back up when she was asleep. So I figured once she went to sleep for the night things would progress. We also started checking my temperature every 4 hours which is protocol once your water breaks to rule out infection. All was good.
Around 3-4pm my contractions continued to progress and my midwife recommended getting in the shower again to see if they would slow or continue. I got back in the shower and was feeling shaky, grumpy and still having contractions. I told Aaron my mood is changing and I am not feeling as calm so I think Hayley should head over now.
At this point I was laboring in our bedroom with a candle going & listening to my hypnobirthing affirmations. I was laboring alone so Aaron could finish Ella’s evening routine of dinner and going to sleep.
Hayley mentioned she would arrive at 6pm and I couldn’t wait! Around 5:30pm I was becoming much more vocal with each contraction and also couldn’t wait for Ella to go to sleep (her bedtime was also 6pm) so I wasn’t alone anymore and Aaron could join me.
Aaron put Ella to bed and joined me in the room and helped rub my back during contractions. Then Hayley arrived and it felt like this was really happening – as if the contractions all day & my water breaking didn’t convince me already ha!
Hayley offered to check me and I said I would like that and I was 100% effaced and 5-6 centimeters dilated. She mentioned I could get in the birth pool now at anytime and that I was officially in Active Labor and there was no stopping me now! Aaron went to fill the birth tub and then helped me walk across the house into the bedroom on the otherside of the house. We set up our office / guest room as a birthing room which we cleaned and cleared out since we are moving soon. So it was the perfect space to birth and on the opposite side of the house as my daughter’s room – which was important to me so that she was okay and slept well. Our home birth room had a bed, our birth pool, candles and soft music.
I really didn’t want to leave the comfort of my bedroom but when I got the “birth room” it was so relaxing. I got in the pool and at first it was uncomfortable and I didn’t know how to lay or sit. I was having horrible back pain. I had the same back pain when I gave birth to Ella. Even though our baby was in a perfect position for some reason I just have really painful contractions in my back when I give birth. I ended up sitting on my knees so I could rest my head on the side of the pool.
From here things progressed quickly & I could tell I was entering transition. I am very vocal when I birth and at this point was saying things like “no no no no” & “I don’t like this”. I am grateful for my midwife who reminded me during contractions to breath my baby down and take low deep breaths which helped at times when my vocals were more high pitched. I could literally feel my body relax better and him move down when I shifted from high pitched tones (yells let’s be honest) to a deeper “moo” like sound and shifted my breath down & out. Soon I started to feel and say something along the lines of “he’s coming!” because I felt him so low. He wasn’t yet, but he was close! My midwife checked me in the pool and I was at 8-9 centimeters.
PUSHING & WELCOME TO THE WORLD!
After a few more contractions in the pool with Aaron rubbing my back each time, it was time to get out of the pool and push. I didn’t want to birth in the pool, I like feeling more grounded when pushing. So I got out of the pool and onto the bed. My instinct was to get on my hands and knees and my midwife helped guide me through the pushes. Personally, I hate pushing. It burns and feels like you’re pushing out a watermelon! At first I was holding back from pushing because I was tired, it hurt and I didn’t want to do this anymore. My pushes were half effort. I honestly thought because I had done this before and my body knew what to do, that he would just come out easier. That wasn’t true for me ha! But then I remembered the sooner I get him out the sooner this would all be over and I dug deep and found a burst of strength to work with my body not against it. I needed to give in and let my body birth this baby. His head started to come out & I didn’t realized at the time but my midwife would put warm compresses on my perineum between contractions to help soften and prevent tearing. Genius. At some point she suggested I flip on my back and the rest of his head came out. Then with another contraction I pushed to get the rest of his body out. This part I was asking “what is happening” and “stop stop stop” because his shoulders and body felt huge coming out. But then… he was out! They put him up on my chest and I heard those glorious cries that meant – we did it. It’s over. He is here. My first question was “Is he okay?” And he was. Beautiful, healthy strong baby boy. Seven pounds eleven ounces of love with the same strawberry blonde hair color and sweet little face as his sister.
My placenta came out about 5 minutes later. My nether regions were still burning while both midwives Hayley and Margo tended to me and baby. I had no tears but Hayley put some numbing spray down there that is typically used if she needed to stitch me up. The numbing spray helped a lot.
The midwives stayed for a few hours tending to me and the baby, doing all the standard assessments to make sure everyone is stable. They left around 12:30am. I ate oatmeal, a larabar and drank water. It took a few tries to get Leo to latch and breastfeed but eventually he did and nursed a few times before the midwives left.
We put Leo in jammies, swaddled him and brought him into our room to all fall asleep together. I didn’t sleep much that night, I maybe slept 1.5 hours. It’s hard to sleep after the adrenaline of birth even if you are exhausted – at least that is my experience. However, it felt so good to just lay in my own bed, with my eyes closed, experiencing no pain or contractions.
Labor was a total of 17 hours. However, the day was slow and progressed nicely. I was in active labor from around 6pm to then pushing out my son at 9:35pm. Active labor, transition and pushing was about 3.5 hours. Fast, painful and at the same time an amazing birth experience.
Every thing I prayed for (or prayed wouldn’t happen) came true. I prayed for a spontaneous labor, labor starting early in the morning, birthing baby while Ella was asleep, no meconium, baby and moms heartbeat to be strong all through birth, no tearing, not too much blood loss, placenta is delivered quickly and all in one piece, baby and mom’s breathing is perfect and we are healthy with no complications and get to stay home. Quit the prayer request! I am grateful for the blessing of our son and I am so grateful for this birth experience. It was hard work and yes painful. But in hindsight it went so smooth, I got to be home and my daughter had no idea what was going on and woke up to meet her baby brother. I am proud of myself for how I coped and labored alone for most of the contractions early on, breathing through them. I am proud of my body for birthing this beautiful boy and so grateful for our little family our four!
WHY HOME BIRTH?
I am a HOMEBODY. I love home. Being pregnant, having a toddler and no family living nearby to help I had major anxiety about birthing at a hospital or even birth center. All the appointments, what would we do when we went into labor? So I reached out to our midwife Hayley because I could not stop thinking about the idea of a home birth, even though I never thought we’d birth at home. It always sounded messy and maybe even… unsafe? After a phone call with Hayley I felt so much confident, realizing that a home birth is just as safe as a birth center. In fact, my research proved that home births (for a healthy pregnancy) can be even more safe than a hospital and have lower rates of interventions. The midwife team brings everything to you. Similar to a birth center, if something goes wrong you would transfer to a hospital. So if a home is just as safe as a birth center, why not be home? That was my thought! Home is also so relaxing and feels so safe to me. Being calm and relaxed during birth helps birth progress. Fear, adrenaline and anxiety can slow labor. So with that we ventured down the path of having a home birth. It turned out to be even more amazing than I imagined. We had all our appointments at home, labored and birthed at home and we didn’t have to worry about when to leave to go to the hospital or birth center. I was able to be with my daughter all day and she didn’t even know what was going on. After birth I was home and could rest in my own best, I was nourished with GOOD food (not hospital food) and I felt so much more at peace and calm. Home birth was NOT messy. The minimal mess was cleaned up by my birth team.
Home birth is best for a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. While a home birth may not be for everyone, it was my ideal birth place.
I did hypnobirthing for my daughter’s birth and again for my son’s birth. The biggest takeaway from hypnobirthing was learning to breath through contractions. Breath in for 4 and out for 8 and repeat about 3-4 times and that is the length of a contraction. BREATHING during contractions and labor is so important to help ease pain and have labor progress.
2:45am – Contractions start and were 10 minutes apart
5am Contractions slower after showering
7am-12-noon Contractions pick up and are irregular throughout morning
12:30 Water breaks
1:20 Lost mucus plug
2:00 contractions slow when daughter wakes from nap
3-5 contractions pick up again. Contractions don’t slow when taking another shower & my mood starts to change
5pm call midwife to head over. I am also over being alone during contractions and ready for the team to be here and do this
6pm midwife arrives & I am 5-6 cm dilated and 100% effaced
6-? In the birth pool, transition, fully dilated, pushing!