My First Home Birth Story
Updated: a day ago
Today, I wanted to get my birth story down because I have been asked a lot about it and because it was a beautiful experience I will never forget.
Prior to giving birth, I think it's hard to understand exactly what it's going to be like and I loved hearing and reading other women's stories. I also think it's important to share the rare experience of a home birth. Maybe you'll even consider one for yourself after reading 😉.
On Sunday, January 8, 2017, which also happened to be my "due date", my husband and I woke up very exited wondering if this would be the day our son would make his way into the world. I made my Better Baby smoothie and he had some coffee. Around 10 AM we decided to take a bath and relax. Looking back, this may have contributed to the beginning of my labor. The water felt great on my big belly. Since moving to our house with a big tub in the master bathroom, my husband's love of baths, and the beginning of pregnancy, I have become a huge bath fan. As I got out of the tub and dried off, I noticed something trickling down my leg. I had frequented the bathroom and didn't think it was pee but didn't want to get overly excited thinking it was amniotic fluid. In our Hypnobabies course we learned from our instructor and doula that I should do the "walk around test" to see if additional fluid was leaking or not. I paced around the bathroom for a few minutes and nothing really happened. The amniotic sack does not always break in a gush like the movies or TV and I was hoping for another trickle, indicating a leak. A few minutes passed while I brushed my teeth, and suddenly more liquid came dribbling down my leg. It's a strange thing to be excited about when the liquid in question could be urine and to look at another person and have them see you basically pee yourself, but I told my husband to text the midwives and our doula.
The midwives instructed us to get out the home birth supplies that I had ordered and test the amniotic fluid with a swab that would change colors if it was in fact amniotic fluid. I must have been too excited, because I didn't really read the instructions. The swab did not turn dark brown indicating amniotic fluid, instead, it remained bright gold. "Did I really just pee myself?", I asked myself. No...couldn't be. My husband reported this to the midwives and they said to keep them posted of any progress since I was not having any contractions at that point. I called and let my mom know, saying that it may or may not be "birthing day". She lives five hours away in Iowa and decided she would come right away.
Around 11 AM I noticed something pink at the bottom of the toilet. In our class we learned that this could be "bloody show" meaning labor may be coming on soon. I wasn't sure, so I texted the doula with a picture asking if that's what she thought it was. She agreed - hooray! Usually, if you see bloody show, you can head to the hospital. Since I planned a home birth, I just took it as a sign that things were really progressing and this really was the sign that was really our birthing day!
For some odd reason, my husband decided that this would be an excellent time to go the the grocery store and make chili for everyone? Since stairs were no longer my friend, I remained in our bedroom blow drying my hair and putting on some makeup - because duh, I need to look fabulous on my birthing day 😉 . I called downstairs, "Do I hear you chopping and making chili?" as more fluid gushed out. He said, "Yes." I was a bit confused why he wasn't making the bed up with the shower curtain protector and black sheets I bought (to hide blood of course) and blowing up the tub we planned to use...he stayed downstairs longer than I'd like but 🤷🏽♀️. At that point, I didn't understand what a contraction was. All I knew, was there was no beginning or end to the slightly crampy feeling I felt. I wasn't uncomfortable either.
Just as I was finishing around 3 PM, my mother-in-law arrived and I decided that laying in bed with my two dogs 🐕 🐕 was a good idea. I turned on my Hypnobabies "Birthing Day" track and tried to relax. Then I started to notice waves of cramps that required me to close my eyes.
My mother-in-law suggested we started tracking them, and after three of them, we noted they were a little more than five minutes apart, lasting around a minute and a half. My mother-in-law's response was "Isn't that pretty close together? Shouldn't you call the midwives?" All the numbers about timing of contractions that I had learned went out the window at that point and I relied on my husband to call the doula and midwives. I couldn't remember if that was close or long for contractions or what. My mother-in-law took our dogs so we wouldn't have to worry about them getting over protective with the arrival of the doula and midwife entourage.
Our wonderful doula, Heather, suggested that this would be a great time to get into a bath. I turned on the jets while my husband held my hand through each contraction or "wave" as we call it in Hypnobabies. Time was flying by with my eyes closed, an hour had gone by when I asked. I asked for a big fan to blow on my face while I was in the bath and as the waves intensified, I was starting to hyperventilate a bit, breathing faster than I should have. My face tingled. One moment I was wishing for Heather to arrive, the next, she was there holding my hand.
As time moved on, I was instructed to get out of the tub for the midwives to check me. This was the most uncomfortable part of the entire experience. Getting out of the bath, a wave hit me and I was frozen, naked, dripping wet and helpless while someone wrapped me in a towel. I walked to our bed from the bathroom and laid down. Waves continued and I could not wait for them to be done checking me. All I heard was a whispered "eight". My husband said, "Eight what?" 😏 I knew it meant dilated to eight cm which did not phase me. I knew they were trying to keep it quiet since every woman wants to hear ten so she can start pushing. Then they asked me to do some contractions/waves in different places - all excruciating. On the bed, by the couch, and on the toilet. That's when I understood how someone could want an epidural and how I knew I needed to get back in the tub. I knew I could not leave the tub again or EVER give birth on land!
The lights were dim, someone kept the water warm, and I always had Pedialyte on ice or water from a straw while I labored. Talking was not an option. I could not answer any questions that were did not have "yes" or "no" answers. I don't remember my mom's arrival and by the time the doula, midwife, and her nurse entourage were there, I did not care who saw my naked body in the tub. I floated, somewhat sideways. I felt intense cramping that I wanted to stretch out but could not. Then suddenly, my belly shuddered with such an intense feeling that I can only describe it as something like a sneeze or throwing up. Something my body could not stop. Muscles tensed all over my belly. I had no control over it but my body decided it was time to push. I remember looking at Heather 😳 with wide eyes, not understanding what was happening. She reassured me it was my body doing the pushing for me. I had the "Pushing Baby Out" track playing on repeat.
I tried to get some relief by changing positions to my hands and knees. I wanted to stretch my legs out as far as I could in the bath. The waves got closer and closer together. I was doing yoga-like "ahhhhhhs" through each one. It felt like with each "ahhhh" the pain was coming up out of my belly and out of my mouth. The midwife told me to push through those involuntary waves. My eyes were closed this entire time and I couldn't wait for his head to be out. They told me they needed to turn the jets off so they could see and brought out the flashlight. Finally, his head was out but I worried it would go back in! The midwife was telling my husband to get ready to catch and asked me if I wanted to feel it with my hands. I simply responded, "OH I CAN FEEL IT." and continued pushing. I was so glad they told me I should stop pushing when a wave was over. The small periods of time between pushing were much needed and relieving. Baby's head was underwater, breathing through the umbilical cord - what an amazing thing! Then with one final push he was out! My husband caught him and the midwife told me to open my eyes and look down as he passed our baby to me between my legs and hands. This was the first time I noticed the water was tinged pink with blood and the memory of our son floating up through the water to me is burned into my memory forever. I pulled him up out of the water and onto my chest, and leaned back. I had done it at last! I sat there in disbelief, happy, and tired after about an hour of pushing. Baby was calm as a clam and just looked around. He gave out a small cry which everyone seemed happy about. He looked up at me calmly and I was just filled with joy and love. It was surreal.
I looked at my beautiful boy and took some pictures with our new family of three. I felt the cord pulse and we waited until it stopped before cutting it. Baby went off to be skin to skin with dad while I got out and dried off. I was helped to our big cozy bed to hold baby and begin breastfeeding right away.
It was such a relief and comfort to be in our own bed with our brand new baby! After an hour or so alone with baby and husband, the midwives checked me for tears. Luckily, there were none and I did not need stitches! Thanks water birth! They did a new born exam, weighed him, and got his little footprints inked. He was a happy healthy eight pound eight ounce boy born at 9:08 PM.
After everyone was done, we tried to sleep around 1 AM. It was hard to sleep because we were so excited. It's crazy to think it only took six hours. I liked to contribute some of that to medjool dates. Now as I enjoy a bath, I love reflecting and looking at the exact place our son was brought into this world - what a special place it holds in our hearts. ♥️ 🥰
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