In Honor of Home Birth Awareness Week (October 24-31)

I am actually pretty surprised in the fact I have not shared my birth story of my second son yet. Part of it feels private and sacred; where the other part I just know words cannot construe just how privileged we all were to be apart of such an experience. But because of my work I feel it is important for readers, clients, and friends to see where my passion comes from.

On the night of March 6th, I was laying in bed next to my then almost 2-year-old son Max. I remember just playing with Max’s hair, watching the rise of his stomach and the sigh as he exhaled. I just looked at  him head to toe in utter appreciation as I stole these last few moments as a family of 3. I was over due and so over being pregnant at this point, but was not ready to lose the one on ones I had with Max.

It was such a weird experience to be so excited but so scared. So unsure of how I would do all the things. Logically I knew it would all unfold organically, but in my gut it felt like an impossible feat. As I turned over all these thoughts and feelings I felt my pants get a little damp. I had just changed the sheets in our family bed and I was determined not to get them wet with pee? Or perhaps amniotic fluid? S I rolled onto my side to try to not get any liquid on the bed. Getting up then to check and risking Max waking back up was just not an option.

So I got up and went to the bathroom. I was pretty sure at this point it was not pee. But the trickling had stop.  I was not so sure it was my water breaking either. I started to get excited. I just knew things were going to start up soon. I texted my fiancé that I thought my water may have broken and I called my midwife. She told me to keep her posted.

My fiancé got home early from work just in case things picked up. I tried to sleep, but at this point I was getting up every hour to change bottoms because I kept leaking. I now knew for a fact that my waters were leaking. Of course, after hours of this I remembered I had Depends in my birth bag and I put those on and slept great.

I woke up with Max around 7 am and felt good. I had some contractions and was excited to see what the day would bring. I went down stairs and cooked everyone some eggs. I called my mom who was responsible for Max during the birth. I was playing it by ear if he wanted be there for the birth or not. I asked her to come over because I needed to go to the grocery store to get some snacks and food for the birth team and myself. I assumed this would be an all day affair.

As we all sat to eat breakfast things picked up, but I think I was in denial about how quick things were moving. A few times, I had to step away from the table to sway through a contraction and then I would sit back down and eat. About an hour later my mom showed up and at this point I wasn’t able to talk much during a contraction. She laughed at me thinking I would be able to get through a grocery store.

I decided to go upstairs to take a shower as a means to ease some of the back labor I was having. At this point I was getting more then uncomfortable. I hopped out of the shower and yelled downstairs to my fiancé that we should call the midwife and have her come over. She lives about an hour away. Stevie called and she said she would leave and after a contraction I joked and said “don’t worry we wont have him without you!”

As Murphy’s Law would have it as soon as we hung up things got stronger. I was then swaying and groaning through contractions with my fiancé that weren’t allowing me much of a break. I hopped back in the shower and he went downstairs to set up the birth pool. Of course at this point we started to run out of hot water. I got that feeling that I needed to go to the bathroom so I straddled the toilet backwards. And all of a sudden my body started to quiver and push on its own. I screamed for Stevie, as he couldn’t hear me over the pump. I checked myself and felt his head and I started to panic a bit.

I got back into the tub, in about 2 inches of cold water into a squat as Stevie came up the stairs. I told Stevie I couldn’t do this without our midwife. I started to doubt myself and my body. Stevie very seriously looked at me and said,  “yes you can, trust your body, don’t hold back.” I barely even had to push. I bared down slightly and I felt that dreaded ring of fire. I splashed water on my peri- area and panted as to slow my baby down so I didn’t tear. A mere 30 seconds later his head was out. I tried to slow my body and the baby down so Stevie could unwrap the cord that was loosely around his neck. And in one small push later I pushed him out into the hands of his father.

At this point I didn’t even realize my mother, Max, and our dog Tully were all in the bathroom for this bit. Stevie put our new son on my chest. We made sure there was no mucous in his mouth and nose. I rubbed his feet and back as he started to cry. Once we heard that beautiful sound we all took a moment to comprehend what had happened.

We got him and myself covered in towels in blankets as we were still laying in our tub. We then started to notice how much blood I was losing and we got a tad concerned. We called the midwife to explain I was bleeding, to only realize we forgot to say we had had the baby. She was about 15 minutes out from our house. She said if we were that concerned to call paramedics and that she would be there soon. So we called 911 and listened to their instructions. We tried to get the placenta to release and it was not budging and I was continuing to lose blood.

We did a bit of a tango to get baby and me out of the tub. It was a challenge as he was still connected to the placenta, that was still connected to me. We got to the bed and placed the baby skin to skin as Stevie tried to massage the placenta out. Which I believe was worse pain then actual labor. All that happened was a loss of more blood and clots. The fire department came, checked on baby who was fine, and looked at me. They grabbed some more blankets just as our midwife came. They then left.

We decided it was best if my mom left with Max and had him come back once everything was more calm. The midwife gave me a shot to help the bleeding and massaged the placenta. The placenta came out. And I took a pill as well to help the bleeding. We got me mostly comfortable and got me into bed.

I was looking and feeling a little pale and light headed and mostly in shock of what had just happened. We got the baby bundled and swaddled and we nursed. He fell asleep we decided we would try to get me cleaned up. I got to toilet and it all went black. I passed out and had no idea where I was when I came to after she used smelling salts. I ended up passing out one more time before we decided I would lay back in bed and get some fluids. I laid and snuggled my new baby as I got 2 bags of fluids and my blood drawn so we could check to see if I needed to get blood.

After 2 bags of fluids I felt so much better. I was able to get in the tub and take a little bath to clean off all the blood and meconium, and get into comfortable pajamas. While I was bathing the midwife and her assistant was cleaning everything, making the bed, and grabbing me a snack. When I got out I was able to get comfortable and bond with the baby.

Everyone was perfect. I didn’t tear, I didn’t end up needing blood, baby was perfectly happy and healthy and was nursing great. Later that day Max got to meet his new baby brother. I am pretty sure my heart swelled seeing that sight.

I loved everything about this story, all though the precipitous birth, accidental unassisted part was a bit crazy, and the fainting was a little scary, I would have chosen my midwife, her assistant, and having a home birth all over again. I had a unremarkable pregnancy, I was healthy and midwives carry all the essentials. I was well taken care of in the comfort of my own home. And boy, what a story!

I share this birth with you because this is where my passion comes from. I had an idea, a vision of how I wanted my birth to go and how I wanted to feel. Often times there are circumstances that may make that picture change a bit. But in those situations, it is so important to me, to make sure the moms feel in control. They feel empowered to stand up for themselves, to advocate, and at the end of the day to feel good about what happened.

I love helping women start this process long before they are even pregnant as well as way after. It is important for women to support women. To help each other. This is more than just a business but a life goal, the reason I am here. To be apart of these women’s stories. And better yet, to have them become part of mine.