Geoff and I were thrilled to welcome our son, Bernard to the world on December 18th. I’d like to share the story of his birth.
At 7:30 am on December 17th, I woke up and as I went to the bathroom for my morning pee, I felt an unfamiliar gush of fluid. It was pink tinged which I had read was a descriptor of my water breaking. I went back to bed and told Geoff and we decided to call the midwives. I spoke with Renee who informed me that me fore bag had broken and that meant things were staring. She said the baby would come in a day or two. “You mean I’ll have a baby in a day or two?!” I said in a tone of surprise and excitement. My due date was still three weeks away so this was a little unexpected. She told me to keep her posted on how I was feeling and any changes I experienced.
The first thing I said to Geoff was, “We gotta get this house clean!” We called Geoff’s mom to come help us clean the house. I got showered, dried my hair and put on makeup. I got all the baby clothes and blankets together to wash and cleaned up upstairs. I knew it was important to keep myself busy and not focus to much on being in labor. Renee had told me to go about my day as normal. I took the dog to the groomers and had Geoff take two last “belly” photos of me — one to go in my journal and one taken in our family room to go in our belly book. At just that moment I felt my first contraction. Not painful, just a tightening feeling in my lower back. That was around 3:00 pm.
Those little contractions continued throughout the rest of the afternoon. I folded laundry, picked up the dog from the groomers, and delivered a client’s wedding album. By the time dinner came around we both had very little energy to think about making anything so we decided to go out to dinner. I chose Mongolian BBQ. My appetite had picked up the last few days, so I figured I could handle it. The contractions were still coming, getting a little stronger. I talked with our midwife at dinner. She said to keep doing what I was doing, don’t think about the next contraction, and call her again when I could no longer walk or talk through them. We looked into going to see a movie, but nothing looked good so we just went home.
Once we were home Geoff went out to run some last minute errands. We still needed diapers, formula (just in case), and I really wanted beef stew right after I had the baby. While he was gone, I continued to tidy up the house while the contractions got stronger. I sewed up the last crib sheet I had to make. I would sew a little, stop and get on the birth ball while a contraction came, then back to sewing. I finished the sheet, put it on the crib and put everything else away. The house was clean. I called my friend to chat a little and just after I hung up with her was when they started to get really strong. I went up stairs to lay down, and then I called Geoff. He told me I asked, “Where are youuuuuuu…” and trailed off. He was almost here but he rushed home. The contractions were really strong at this point so we called our midwives. While we were on the phone with her, I had two really strong contractions, right on top of each other. Renee said she was leaving to come over. I told Geoff to grab the birthing ball, we were going upstairs.
I labored on the bed for a while. The pain was pretty unreal. I knew it was important to try and relax through a contraction but it seemed impossible. As soon as I felt on coming on, I tensed up. I grabbed the bed or Geoff and tried to focus on deep breathing. My dog Charlie cuddled against the small of my back. The contractions were coming fast. Geoff was doing a great job helping me breathe and encouraging me. Renee arrived and quietly set up her equipment them came over to me. She showed Geoff some techniques to help ease the pain. I remember every time a contraction ended I would sort of lose consciousness. Everything around me would go away and I would “disappear” until the next contraction snapped me back to reality. I labored on my side on the bed and in the bathroom for a little while, then squatting and when I got tot tired for that I collapsed not the floor and labored there for a while. About that time our friend Sarah of Sarah Maren Photography showed up to take photos of the birth. I was not in the mindset of being worried at all about photos at that point in time but I am so glad Geoff decided to call her. I’m so thankful for these photos and having her support was wonderful.
I asked Geoff and Renee to help me off the floor and back on to the bed for the last time. It was about 2:00 am by this time and I was into the pushing phase. The pushing scared me the most. Each time I would try to push I would feel the pain and would withdraw. I didn’t know when it would end and was afraid of the pain. I kept screaming and saying “I can’t do it!” So much of it was mental and I felt like I was stopping things from progressing.
Eventually the pushing became more involuntary. I would start to push and my body would continue to push for me. That was a relief! I knew it was getting closer. I started telling myself aloud “I can do this.” That mental shift helped me a ton. I kept pushing and resting. Finally, Renee told me to reach down and pull out my baby. “What?!” I said. “Okay…” I reached down and felt the baby’s head which frightened me a little and I stopped pushing. It also was a HUGE motivation because I knew that he was almost here.
I started to push hard again and felt down around his head and guided him out. It burned so badly but then his head was out! I felt so relieved!! One more big push and his shoulders and little body came out too. I pulled him to my chest and wrapped my arms around him. “Oh my god! He’s so cute! I can’t believe I did it!” I exclaimed. I was hysterical with happiness and joy. It was like I was crying but with no tears. He really was so cute. I felt so much relief. That was the best moment. The whole reason I wanted an unmedicated home birth was to be as present as possible in that moment. It was worth all the pain. I really feel like the pain and hard work makes that moment that much more wonderful. Our son was born at 2:50 am.
Of course Geoff had to snap a few photos himself!
Geoff was SO excited to be a dad. He held our baby for a while while I finished the delivery and took a glorious shower.
He’s pretty adorable for a newborn, if I do say so myself!
After the shower we got into bed. Renee helped me to start our baby breastfeeding. Once we got him latched he started sucking away. He was a great eater right from the start!
Sarah made me a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I drank a protein Odwalla while the baby ate as well. About 5:00 in the morning we finally went to a well-deserved sleep, beautiful little boy tucked in my arms.
I was SO thankful to be at home and comfortable. I never once felt worried about anything and was so grateful for not having to deal with the chaos of rushing off to the hospital. Renee, our midwife was perfect. She was an incredible support. She let me listen to my body and didn’t push me to do anything I wasn’t ready to do. I would absolutely do home birth again. It was definitely a lot of work and painful but so worth it. I couldn’t be happier about our decision to have this baby in one of my favorite places — our home.