With my November 14th due date looming, we decided to throw a small family get together for August and Axel’s birthday the week before. On the day of the party I was 39 weeks. We had a great day with family and the kids had so much fun playing with their cousins. That night, I was ready to settle in to another restless night of sleeping. Trying to get comfortable is a struggle towards the end of pregnancy. I was awakened by mild contractions at 2am that night, or early Sunday morning. They steadily increased in strength to where I felt like I needed to get up. I texted my Mom almost an hour later to give her a heads up that maybe (just maybe) I was in the early stages of labor. At 5am I knew for sure that I was in early labor and I asked my mom to come over. I also texted my doula and midwives to give them a heads up as well.
Contractions remained constant but varied in length and intensity. They were coming about every 7-8 minutes and lasting anywhere from 20 seconds to 50 seconds. At about 8am I spoke with my doula again and asked her to come over to my house. In the meantime, I took a short walk down the street with my mom to help move things along. After my doula arrived we talked about the impending labor, went for another walk, and did some early labor activities (like blowing up the birth pool). My contractions remained constant and seemed to be increasing in intensity, but they still weren’t where they needed to be just yet. To illustrate, in between contractions I was able to hold full conversations and laugh with my family.
Because my doula was right on the money with her birth prediction with Axel, I asked her to guess when she thought I’d have Arrow. Her guess was that I’d have him that evening, which was totally fine with me. I just wanted to avoid the marathon birth experience that I had last time with Axel. At around 10am she left and I assured her that I would let her know when things started to pick up labor wise. My midwives were also kept in the loop. We all thought I had some time before I was truly in active labor.
After my doula left I decided to lay down and try to rest up and take a nap to prepare for the journey ahead. My husband helped me through each contraction which noticeably began to get stronger and stronger. Very quickly it got to the point where I could no longer talk between waves and my eyes remained closed. After 30 minutes I asked my husband to bring my Mom into the room. I told her that the contractions were getting to the unbearable point and asked if she could call my doula to let her know that things were picking up. As soon as she hung up the phone I came out of a very intense contraction and my water broke, within seconds I had the incredibly powerful urge to push. This was around 11:30am. My mom immediately called my doula back and told her what was happening, and she sped back to my house in hopes of arriving on time.
When I initially felt the urge to push my mind was sent into sheer panick and terror. I desperately yearned for my home birth and prayed for a quick labor— but I didn’t think it would be that quick. In the words of Kissy from Gone With the Wind, “I don’t know nothin’ bout birthin’ no babies!”. Here I was finally about to have the home birth that I prayed years for, without my birth team for support. Terrified is an understatement. I remember at one point just screaming, “help! help me!”. Luckily, my sister in law was there and she was able to be the calming force that was needed in the room to snap me back into reality.
There I was on my hands and knees on the bed following instruction from my sister-in-law and my mom who were following instruction from my birth team via FaceTime. I concentrated on blowing out and filling my body with oxygen in an effort to fight the urge to push, while my husband (and kids) worked on filling the birthing pool with water. Just when I thought I couldn’t hold back from pushing any longer, the Calvary arrived in the form of my birth team!
I immediately got in the pool and first tried pushing on my knees, but that didn’t feel right. It’s crazy to think how instinctual birth can be, your body truly does know what to do. I turned over to be in a more comfortable position and started to push. In what felt like mere minutes later Arrow shot out into Daddy’s arms and was placed on my chest. The feeling of love, relief, accomplishment, and thankfulness was so overwhelming all I could do was cry. This was it. The moment that was just a dream 4 years ago. After an emergency c section and a VBAC hospital birth, I finally had my home water birth.
My labor was fast. I had my first contraction at 2am and Arrow was born at 12:59pm. Because of that I did experience some significant blood loss. I was given a shot in my thigh after birth and an IV drip. I also had to drink chlorophyll— which basically tastes like sautéed green dirt. It was a little scary for me, but I knew I was in more than capable hands with my birth team.
So, there you have it. The home birth that I used to only dream about finally became a reality. It wasn’t easy, and at one point I was scared beyond belief, but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.