I had an amazing home birth and I would love to share my story! I had a healthy pregnancy and stayed active with bike commuting, hiking, and yoga. Carol’s classes really helped me to relax and take time to enjoy my second pregnancy, which I found harder to do this time since I was so busy caring for my older daughter and working full time as a midwife in a hospital. We plan on this being our last baby and I wanted to do everything I could to appreciate this special time.
Other than nausea and exhaustion, I felt great until the last couple weeks of pregnancy when I started to have pelvic pain and feel very ready to have this baby. I wanted to do every gentle thing I could to help my body get ready for labor. When I was 39 weeks and a couple of days, I went to get acupuncture that was meant to stimulate labor. While the needles were being removed, my water broke! I was so excited. I let my midwife know and headed home. My partner and I were planning on going to our daughter’s preschool graduation together after my acupuncture appointment, and since I wasn’t having any contractions yet, we decided to still go. One of my daughter’s little friends came up to me and asked me if my water had broken! Her mom laughed and told her that was kind of a personal question. I said I couldn’t believe she had asked, because yes it had, about an hour ago! They wished us luck and we went home.
My friend who was acting as my doula came over and had dinner with us. My midwife also came by to listen to the baby, who sounded great. I was feeling overwhelmed by my older daughter’s energy by this point and was anxious for her to get to bed. We told her that the baby would probably be born sometime tonight and we were planning on waking her up for the birth and for her special job of cutting the cord. Her excitement was so sweet.
I had been having contractions on and off for a week at this point, but I literally had not had a single one since my water broke a few hours earlier! I felt like I wanted to try to get things going once my daughter went to bed. My partner, friend, and I started watching a movie while I used my breast pump. Within about 5 minutes of starting the breast pump, I had a very strong contraction. I had to stand up and move around while I had another one a couple minutes later. I stopped pumping, and told my partner and friend that these few contractions were so strong that I already felt like I wanted to start getting the birth tub ready.
While they were working on filling the tub, I called my midwife and told her that labor had just started at about 10:30 pm but I already felt like it was time for her to come over. I had to stop talking and give the phone to my friend. I moaned on the couch through what felt like nonstop contractions while she and my partner continued to work on filling the tub. I was in a lot of pain, but I felt very loved by everyone working to get things ready for me, and I didn’t feel like I really needed anything more from them.
The midwives arrived a little after 11 pm and I vaguely remember watching them set up their supplies. They listened to the baby and told me I was doing great. Only about 40 minutes after my first contraction I was already feeling like I was starting to push a little. I got in the tub, which felt amazing! I experienced such relief from the tub in both of my labors and couldn’t imagine going without it.
Shortly after getting in the tub, I really started pushing. After several pushes that didn’t feel like they were really moving the baby, I checked my own cervix (remember, I’m a midwife, ha!) and felt just a little bit of cervix left in the front. With my next push, I moved my cervix out of the way and felt my baby’s head finally move lower! When I realized the birth was now very close, I asked my friend to wake up my older daughter. I was so happy to see her, and told her she could watch her little sibling’s head get closer and closer to being born! She was so sweet cheering me on. I felt my baby’s head get lower with each push, and finally at midnight, her head and little hand were born into my hands in the pool. I pushed one more time, then lifted her body out of the water. She was tangled in her cord a little bit so I turned her upside down in a little somersault to untangle her. She cried right away, and I couldn’t believe how small she looked compared to my older daughter, who was standing right behind me, giggling with joy. My midwives watched me give birth and were right next to me in case I needed them, but were completely hands off, exactly how I had requested. I was so in love with my beautiful daughters and my partner! And in awe of my amazing body, which had just birthed a baby in 90 minutes, and I had done everything myself.
I stayed in the tub a little longer with my sweet baby. My partner and I announced that her name was June. After I delivered my placenta, my older daughter cut the cord, and I handed our baby to my partner so I could rinse off and climb into our bed. At 2 in the morning we ate the chocolate cake that my daughter and I had made earlier in the evening, which was probably the most exciting thing that had ever happened to her in her four years of life! After some time for breastfeeding and bonding and June’s newborn exam, my family and I were all tucked into bed, and the midwives left for the night.
My first daughter’s birth was also a wonderful experience, but feeling like my family was complete and all together made this truly the best night of my life.