Thank you so much to this amazing, strong, first-time mama for sharing this beautiful birth story! It was such an honor to get to help welcome this sweet little girl into the world!
Superbowl Sunday 2015 started just like any other day. The sun rose, the earth continued to turn, and yet, my life was about to change more drastically than I could ever imagine. All of the people who had told me things would change when my baby arrived never fully drove home the point of just how much. So when the contractions started low in my pregnant belly at about 11AM, I wasn’t ready for it. I was only 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant and I had been informed over and over again that the odds were high that I would go past 40 weeks for my first child’s delivery. I had just received my birth kit in the mail a couple of days prior!
By late afternoon on February 1st, it was obvious that I was having some contractions. They were lasting about 20 seconds and coming every 15-20 minutes at this point. I was relaxing, eating and drinking and just trying to breathe deeply through them. My dad had come over to watch the game with us and I remember thinking he was probably pretty annoyed with my grunts and moans every half an hour or so. After he left, I popped in the bath to get a really good relaxation so that I would be able to get some sleep if things didn’t progress further. It did the trick, and after a long day of watching the Seahawks lose to the Patriots, enjoying the creative talents of that left shark during Katy Perry’s halftime performance and hugging my dad goodbye, I decided to hit the hay at about 9:30pm. Little did I know this would be the best sleep I’d get in the next several months.
During the night I woke up a couple of times with pressure waves but was able to easily go back to sleep. The next morning, I woke up at 7am and the contractions started getting pretty consistent, lasting 1 minute every 7-8 minutes. I worked hard to relax between them and eat and drink a ton so I could save & build my energy for the birth. Dustin was the perfect partner, getting me food and making sure I had water at all times. He did, however, have to leave me at home during the late morning hours to go to work and straighten a few things up before he was able to take some paternity leave time. I had good luck moving around and through each contraction, so when one began I moved around, bouncing on my birth ball, stretching my muscles and tried to get comfortable.
Later on, we ate some tacos. I had Dustin make them kind of spicy to keep the labor moving along. My doula & my midwife checked in often, asking how things were going. One of the questions was whether or not I could speak through a contraction and my response was, “Depends on if you consider cursing, speaking!”At about noon we were instructed by my midwife, Kate, that we would want to put our plastic sheets on the bed, covering both the box spring and the main mattress, so that we could easily get everything removed and me back into a clean bed after the baby was Earth side. All I could think during this time was that we were about to meet our little boy or girl and how excited I was! Things were moving along, but they were really manageable so I was thinking perhaps it could even be another day before he or she came, but it wouldn’t be too long now, either way. I was about to meet my mini me!
My husband’s dad, John, came over to check in and bring over Dustin’s W-2’s so I could do our taxes. When I said I would get them done, hopefully before the baby arrived, everyone found it particularly funny, but I was still feeling good and I had about 8 minutes between waves, so I didn’t see what was so funny. Then an intense contraction hit and John took off.
Soon after that, my best friend Krystle brought her baby girl, Hazel over to visit me and brought me a Caribou sparkling tea as a little treat. This was at about 6pm on Monday, February 2nd. We were just sitting there enjoying each other’s company between my contractions. This was not like what anyone had ever described labor to me before. All I could think during my contractions was, “pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy & safe” and it seemed to help remind me that my body & my baby was doing exactly what it should be doing.
Krystle had barely made it out of the driveway before I was having pressure every 3 minutes or so. Dustin called the doula at 7:21pm, and before he was off the phone with her, I yelled, “You should really call the midwife too. This is happening, and it’s happening quickly.” There was barely time between waves at this point to recenter myself and they had become much more intense. I tried the birth ball, although I remember moving around a lot trying to find a comfortable spot. I landed back in the bathroom on my hands and knees. Apparently, I was more comfortable there.I went into the bathroom often, because I was able to really let go when I sat on the toilet. So about every 7 minutes or so, I would make my way to the bathroom, sit on the toilet and contract and then make my way back out to the living room and to some of my favorite people. At about 7, I wanted to hold Hazel. I gave her a big hug and I remember vividly how excited I was to have my own little bundle coming so quickly. At that point, something seemed to switch and the waves began to get more intense. I took a deep breath of Hazel’s baby smell and said, “I think we need to call the doula.” Everyone agreed after seeing the next contraction.
Somehow, I moved into the bedroom. I do not remember how I got there but I believe it was because my knees were hurting from sitting on the hard tile in the bathroom. Of course, Dustin and Erica, my doula, who had just arrived, were encouraging me to continue to drink water and eat some snacks to keep my stamina up. I was not very interested, but I did as I was told. Dustin was holding my hand through every pressure wave and was so amazing. My doula, Erica, was rubbing my back and helping me with my Hypnobabies prompts. Piper was on the bed next to me touching my side and Dexter was on the floor looking me directly in the eyes. We were a team, that’s for sure!My midwife called back when she was on the road and wanted to listen to me during one of my contractions. She didn’t have to wait long. Something in the sound of my voice must have told her things were moving quickly because she began to prepare Dustin for the possibility that I would deliver the baby before she arrived. I remember them calmly talking about towels and about him just catching the baby should it arrive. I laughed at the idea of doing it alone, but she seemed confident that I would be fine so I went along with it. She ended up making it in the nick of time, though.
At 8:07pm I did begin questioning if I could do it on my own. Everyone immediately chimed in with encouraging words and making jokes and laughing.
At 8:17pm my midwife Kate arrived and began taking all the baby and my vitals. Everything measured good and she found it funny when I briefly mentioned going to the hospital. She encouraged me by letting me know the baby was coming quick. I wasn’t aware of it, but they were off in the living room filling the tub with as much hot water as we had. Because the baby was coming so quickly, they had to get all the burners running on the stove to heat up some water to put in the tub because we used up all the hot water and it was still only a third full. They got it to a level that at least could cover my big belly and gave the midwife the all clear.
By 9:15pm, I was feeling like I was going to push this baby out any minute, and was making lots of those pushing-type sounds. My midwife had me check to see if I could feel the baby’s head myself. I could!! At 9:20pm, I had a contraction and while I was grunting through it my water broke. So my midwife asked if I wanted to move into the birth tub. I really did, so I moved into the living room and stepped into the birth tub.
The moment I moved my tummy below the water I felt so amazing. The discomfort in my lower back & bum seemed to subside and my belly felt like it was floating. I remember wishing I had gotten in sooner!
I followed my instincts and got back on my hands and knees. Dustin got down outside of the tub and we sat face to face working through the contractions together. I began pushing during contractions because it felt right. Once the baby was crowning, midwife Kate encouraged me to reach down and feel the baby’s head. I did and at that instant I was filled with doubt. “There is no possible way that that thing is going to make it out of where it’s trying to come out of!” Everyone thought that was funny. I remember I was sort of laughing too, but mostly because it seemed like an impossible task. I remember thinking I just wanted it to go back in and stay back in. I could not believe they wanted me to push that thing out of that hole!!
During this time, Kate was finding the baby’s heartbeat. She said it was great and told me that next time I have a contraction I should give it a good push and see what happens. We sat there for a moment, what felt like 5 minutes or more. My midwife added pressure to support my lady bits while I pushed and out came the baby. Kate pushed the baby forward under the water as Dustin and I reached in and pulled the baby out at 9:30pm exactly! I immediately sat back and placed this tiny purple human against my chest, while keeping the body mostly under water for warmth. The cord was still attached and was pumping more of the blood into the baby from the placenta, so we left it just like that for a couple minutes while we waited for it to stop pulsing. We wanted our little bundle to have everything it needed to get started just right!
It was at this point that I had the opportunity to look to find out what gender the baby was, and I saw that she was a little girl! I remember being shaky and not sure so I asked the midwife to double check.
She confirmed that the baby was, in fact, a girl! I immediately began sobbing. I wanted a little girl more than I had wanted to admit and now that I knew I had her, I couldn’t hold back how happy I was! She was so perfect and I was so happy in that moment.
Once the cord stopped pulsing, I gave a good push and out came the placenta! That was an odd feeling. Very different than I had ever heard it described. Kate clamped the cord with the clamp that came in my birthing kit just the week before so that Dustin could cut it. Then she had me give my little peanut girl to my husband, skin to skin, of course, so that I could get out of the tub and go back to the bed to have our first latch. I felt like I had just run a marathon! My legs were shaky but somehow I made it back to my bed. We eventually had my first latch, looked over the placenta to make sure it was all in tact, had Daphne and my exams just to make sure we were both in great health, and I had my first shower.
Finally, at about 1 in the morning on February 3rd, the midwife, the two assistant midwives & the doula headed out and back to their families. And we got to call our family and friends and give them the good news. Just thinking about it now, makes me cry. It was such an amazing 32 hours of birth. I was so blessed and I can’t wait to do it again! My little girl, Daphne Eloise, who we named the next day when the midwife came back to check in, is just the biggest blessing I’ve ever had in my life, next to Dustin and Dexter & Piper. Giving birth to her in my living room, with those 3 by my side the entire time was the most perfect birth and I wouldn’t have changed one moment of it.
If you are looking for a wonderful home birth midwife and team, please reach out to Kate at Twin Cities Midwifery. I would also encourage you to get in touch with my doula & Hypnobabies instructor, Erica at A Blessingway Birth.
I can tell you I will only ever birth at home for the rest of my life if I can help it. It was such a dream come true. Just remember, pregnancy is natural, normal, healthy and safe!
This post first appeared on The Quest for Peace.