A little background…
My first birth at the hospital with Greenville Midwifery Care went so well that I couldn’t wait to have a homebirth with our second. My husband hesitated for half-a-second until he met Carrie with Hatched and he was on board. This pregnancy was a little different than my first. It followed a miscarriage so I was kind of a wreck until I could feel baby move. I’m one of those that likes being pregnant – it is pure magic! Although this time around, it came with a few less than magical moments…one of which was rising blood pressure about 2-3 weeks before baby and another was a positive strep-b test. Ugh. I was a little rattled, but I made a point to focus on what I could control – walking daily, chiropractor visits weekly, and listening to Hypnobabies.
Everyone said since baby one came quickly that baby two should follow suit, but I was still a little nervous hoping I wouldn’t be the exception to that generality. This baby was due Super Bowl Sunday! My first baby came at 41-3 weeks so I was assuming he’d be late too; however, towards the end I started to feel like we would be watching the Super Bowl with this little one in our arms. Later, my midwife confirmed she had the same feeling…crazy how that works!
Our 38 week appointment was a Monday and my midwife sent me home with a blood pressure cuff to monitor it at home because it had been rising the last couple of visits. On Tuesday our doula came over and she gave me some things I could try to support my blood pressure. I did them all and my numbers stayed where they needed to be! Wednesday I had a presentation at work and came home elated that all my “big work stuff” was done! Now to focus baby coming!!
Almost baby time…
Wednesday evening I had period like cramps – this was new. I woke up Thursday morning to a little bloody show and some mucus plug. I thanked my body for these signs and texted my midwife and doula on the way to work. (With my first baby, these signs showed up about three days before she was born.) At work, I started to really get things in order in case baby decided to arrive sooner than later. Friday morning I woke up with more good “baby is getting ready” signs. I was pretty convinced that I would have the baby that weekend. I even told my husband to start finalizing things at his work as he was planning to take two weeks off with me. I had an appointment on Monday with my chiropractor but I really thought baby was coming before then so I called her and she squeezed me in Friday after work.
Welllll….Saturday comes and goes and all is totally calm. On Sunday, my husband took my daughter to his moms and left me home to relax. I swept, mopped, took a long walk, scrubbed baseboards, tops of cabinets, and air vents….I texted my midwife that I thought I was nesting (which I had not experienced with my first but thoroughly enjoyed).
I got up Monday a little disappointed to be going to work, but excited to go to the chiropractor that afternoon. I let go of thinking about when the baby would come accepting that it could still be weeks away.
Or it could be tonight…
I went to bed about 8:15 that Monday night and woke up at 8:45 feeling like I had to go to the bathroom (not surprising). When I stood up, either I peed myself or my water had broken….I walked out to tell my husband and my knees were literally knocking. I remember feeling shocked that I was having this adrenaline response – my water didn’t break with my first until I was getting in the tub to push. I was thinking about a birth story (local hypnobabies momma) where things went FAST and I didn’t want things to escalate too quickly but I was also thinking about being strep b positive and that the clock was now ticking (luckily this thought didn’t stick around too long). I decided to lay on a towel on the couch to see if it was really my water leaking. After about 5 mins, I confirmed it was my water and not pee! I texted my doula and midwife that my water was leaking but I had no pressure waves. They said “Great!” and told me to get some rest!
Dutifully, I got back in bed, turned on the Hypnobabies Deepening track, and got some sleep. I woke up to some pressure waves and downloaded an app to time them. They were consistently seven minutes apart – I was happy for some action, and still a little concerned things could speed up so I texted our doula about 3am…who reminded me to sleep. I put my phone away and focused on hypnobabies and dozed in and out sleep being stirred by pressure waves until daylight.
My husband couldn’t go back to sleep – he got up, showered, baked cookies, and made a hash brown casserole! Daddy nesting! When the sun came up, I got up and waves continued, some stronger than others. My husband took our daughter to school and our doula came over. It was so helpful to see her.
Things were not speeding up, but Julie hung out for a bit and gave me amazing peace of mind about my water being broken. We blew up the birth tub which I am so grateful for. I cannot imagine listening to the pump or waiting on it if I was in active labor! She offered to help us try to speed things up but also pointed out daytime may slow things down. She expected the evening would for sure bring baby! We decided she should go home and we’d all just relax.
We had lunch and went for a long neighborhood walk. Pressure waves were consistently five minutes apart and made me pause. It was kind of surreal walking the neighborhood that day. Little did anyone know that I was in labor and about to have my baby in our home!
I laid down when we got back and the waves got stronger. It was more comfortable to be sitting up. I was torn about what to do. I knew if I was uncomfortable things were likely progressing better but it sure felt nice to just stay sitting up. I had my husband call our doula and get her advice. I decided to suck it up and go lay back down. I listened to hypnobabies and things really started picking up around 4:00 maybe. I don’t remember looking at the clock too much. I do know I couldn’t be alone anymore, and I couldn’t imagine trying to time waves with my phone. I made my husband come lay with me. Pressure waves were intense laying on my side. I asked him to use the relax cue. With each wave I would say “welcome” and “open.”
When I decided I needed to get up it was hard. Like, it took me five minutes to sit up in the bed. I’m not sure why. We texted our doula and midwife at that point that things had picked up. I kept going back and forth on whether or not our doula should come. I remember telling Will to tell her to come and then to wait and then tell her to come, haha! I think at one point during this, they showed up and talked outside because I wasn’t a very good texter, haha!
Eventually, I ended up in the shower at maybe 5:00. I still couldn’t let my husband leave my side…which was the same from my first birth! I was saying “peace” and the pressure waves were quite strong in my back. The shower was nice! The waves kind of froze me when they happened. I didn’t want to be touched much. I just remember wanting to stand very still and hold my husband’s hands lightly through each wave.
While in the shower I felt the pressure move lower so Will texted Julie to come on over – this was pretty much just like my first birthing time so I was hoping baby was close. Also, with my first birth we never thought to call the midwife and here with baby two I don’t think it crossed my mind to call Carrie at that point. Thank goodness for Julie. I felt relief knowing she was on the way.
I got too hot in the shower so I got out and was shivering so insisted Will put a heater on me…then I was sweating and Julie was waving a towel around to cool me off. Probably transition but I didn’t consciously notice it at the time. So here I am standing in the living room quietly waving my husband close when a wave would come. Hypnobabies birthing day affirmations were playing for the 107th time that day. It really helped to keep me grounded. I told our doula I felt like I was stuck to the floor and couldn’t move to which she replied “I noticed.” It made me laugh.
At some point during this Carrie came in the house quietly and the tub started filling. I remember thinking “oh my gosh. This is really happening! I’m doing it!” Carrie listened to the baby while I stood there with my feet glued to the floor. I remember her asking me if I wanted to be checked and I replied “I don’t know.” I was pretty focused on getting through each pressure wave. I really didn’t want to know a number…in my heart I felt like I was very close to ready to push. I tried sitting in the birth ball and it was awful. I stood back up and Julie squeezed my hips through a few waves and suggested I “bring out my inner Shakira” and get my hips moving – which also made me laugh! I leaned over our recliner and swayed my hips and it felt really good! I could feel my hips open more. I remember being thankful that I went to the chiropractor the day before. I knew my body was as aligned as it could be!
I stood for a few more birthing waves. This time the “peace” cue was followed by the f-bomb. Another sign things were probably going well! I’m not sure how my husband kept a straight face through that.
I remember feeling like it was “go time” when they said I could get in the tub. We were going to meet our baby! It’s an intense feeling when you know you’re about to birth a baby. I got in and asked Julie if I could push. What’s funny is I really don’t like being told what to do except in both births I’ve asked for someone to tell me what to do, haha! I know it’s because I trust and respect the women surrounding me. Who wouldn’t want their input?!
She told me if I felt like it I could push. I gave some loud pushes. I remember feeling comforted with Julie on one side, Will on the other, and Carrie and Jennifer behind me. I was very drawn to the affirmation, “Smile and know that you are very safe.” It was dark outside, candles were flickering, and a flashlight in the tub allowed me to see what was happening. This part is all kind of a blur. I remember asking/needing Julie to say affirmations for me. Her words were always exactly what I needed to hear. Will gave me sips of water and was my rock. His quiet reassuring presence is exactly what I need during my birthing time. I listened to Hypnobabies pushing baby out track and it helped me focus. Hypnobabies also lightens the mood for me because she says some funny things in such a serious way. Will and I would always joke around like “my cervix is a gold ring and it is going to melt like butter.” I mean who says that? I do apparently and I love it!
I remember I really needed the cool wash cloths on my neck and forehead because I was sweating. I had relief between waves – it is wild how your body takes over and works! I talked to myself and baby through most of pushing. I really wanted to imagine baby sliding down and out. I was on my knees and my body kept wanting to stand up out of the water. Carrie kept saying “keep your bottom in the water” and I remember thinking that was kind of funny. I also kept saying “help me!” over and over as baby was about to crown. I’m not sure what kind of help I thought people could give me, but luckily their words of affirmation were enough, haha! As baby crowned, I reached down to feel his head and I remember thinking it was amazing! I was the first to touch my baby! (I was not brave enough to this with my first birth!) I was so incredibly proud of myself and I fully realized this dream was coming true. It was happening!
I also felt some movement as he crowned and I said, a little panicked, “I think he’s going back in!” In my mind, it totally felt like he was about to go back in and I would have to push his head back out. Everyone assured me babies don’t do that. I was just feeling him rotate which was exactly what he was supposed to do. The pause between when the head comes out and the rest of baby being born is so weird. As I waited on the next wave I kept asking “Is he okay? Are you sure I don’t need to try to push right now. Is it okay to wait?” Again, they assured me he was just fine, and didn’t make me feel silly or self-conscious at all…just fully supported. In a few minutes, baby was out…in a blur they’re telling me to reach down and grab him. Carrie helped me pick him up and hold him. Jen came and gave him a big suction from his mouth and he cried really loud! Whew…we did it!! His birth had a nice slow warm up and then came quickly with active labor really only being from 4ish to 7:20ish when he came earthside at 39 weeks 2 days.
I looked at Will and Baby and couldn’t believe we’d done it! I felt amazing! We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before cutting it and then they helped me from the tub to the couch. Will held our baby skin to skin while I birthed the placenta. Then I laid on the couch with baby and he latched like a champ despite having a quite visible tongue tie.
I did end up needing a few stitches so Will got more snuggles while I lay in bed getting fixed up. Afterwards, we all got tucked in bed and hugged our birth team goodbye! Will fed me the hash brown casserole he’d made that morning while I nursed our baby in bed and we brainstormed names for him! We stayed awake until almost midnight gazing at each other and getting to know each other in this new way. The newborn gaze is probably one of my most favorite things in the entire world. (We also realized our dog had been locked in the other bedroom since like 5pm…oops!!)
What a way to welcome a baby – surrounded by pure love, peace, joy, and gratitude. I can’t imagine a better way to start changing the world, and I am in awe of the women who dedicate their lives to helping women transform into mothers. It was such a powerful experience and one I will treasure forever. Thank you to my husband for believing in me, and thank you to Julie and the Hatched team for helping me to believe in myself. And finally, thank you baby boy for cooperating and knowing just how to be born!