This is the story of my third daughter’s birth. My older two are 4 and 2, both of which were home births but not water births. This time the midwives (same ones as with my older daughters) gave the option of renting birth pools so I was excited to try for a water birth this time. I was 40 weeks and two days when labor began. Up until then I was having braxtons and mild contractions I barely noticed for a few days. Both of my older girls were born at 40+2 so it was no surprise when things began the same way at the same gestation. It was May 3rd 2012. At 7pm I began to felt pressure. We were bbq-ing with friends and I was feeling a little crampy. I just ignored it and was able to enjoy the evening.
After our friends went home we put the older girls to bed and watched a movie. I was timing contractions at 7-9 minutes apart but still mild. It was more of a pressure feeling than pain. By 11 pm my contractions were lasting 1 minute or more but had spaced out to 12-15 minutes apart with the occasional few contractions at 5-7 minutes apart. It was still mild enough that I wasn’t feeling the urgency to call the midwives or our doula yet.
We cleaned up and went to bed shortly after and by 1 am the contractions were 3-6 minutes apart and starting to pick up in intensity. I was attempting to sleep between contractions but could not lie down during a contraction anymore so I would get out of bed and kneel beside the bed to breathe through them. I did a self cervical check for curiosity sake but not really knowing what I was looking for, I was only able to determine that my cervix felt very loose and I felt a definite round hard head very low down.
Sometime between 2 and 3 am I went downstairs to work through the contractions on my own. I left my husband sleeping as I was still fine on my own at this point. I would kneel over a chair or lean on a shelf when a contraction came. I woke my husband shortly after and he began to fill the pool. I called the midwife at 4 am and she arrived at 4:40. I was in middle of a contraction kneeling when she arrive and she said “it looks like you’re working hard”. She did a cervix check to determine when she should call the assistant. I was 9 cm with only a bulging bag of waters stopping baby. She called her assistant right away. At this point the contractions picked up and I did not feel a break between them. We called our Doula who was a neighbor and she arrived a few minutes later around 5 am. She commented on how “present” I was at almost complete.
My almost 4 year old was woken up around 5:15 so she could witness the birth. The second midwife arrived around this time as well. We had been preparing her for months by showing her birth videos and talking about babies and how they come out. She was wide eyed and quiet when she came down and needed to wake up a bit but she was happy.
Around 5:20 I could not find a comfortable position on my knees or standing so I got into the half filled pool (we ran out of hot water and were waiting for it to come back). It felt nice to get in, the pressure was relieved a little. My midwife suggested pushing to break the water but it didn’t work right away. I started to feel lots more pressure and started spontaneously pushing at 5:40. I was holding my hubby’s hands while he sat in chair beside the pool when pushing. It was nice to look up at him for encouragement. The water broke shortly after. I pushed until I felt the head coming down and was asked to slow down and breath. It was hard to hold back. Her head came two pushes later, then her shoulders. I pushed once more for the body and she came out into the water. She was born at 5:52 on May 4th, 2012, only 12 minutes after I started pushing and an hour and 20 minutes after our midwife arrived.
I was on my knees leaning over the edge of the pool so the midwife helped scoop her up and brought her through my legs and onto my chest. I sat back and breathed a big sigh of relief, I felt completely exhausted. My Doula said I looked “blissed out”. My 4 year old was excited saying “baby came out of mommy’s tummy!”. I was given a pitocin shot and stayed in the pool for 10 minutes while the cord was attached. I was then helped out of the water and walked over to the couch where the cord was cut by my husband and daughter. Baby started nursing right away and was making lots of big gulps as I already had lots of colostrum.
The placenta wasn’t coming by 30 minutes after so I got up into a squat position to help push it out which worked well after two little pushes. I had very minimal bleeding and zero tears or cuts. Baby Zoe was 8 lbs 2 oz and perfectly pink with perfect 10 apgar scores. She nursed right away and is doing really well! She nursed constantly for the first day and a half before my full milk came in. On day 4 she was at her birth weight still so she really knows how to nurse well!
It was a very uneventful birth, but perfect It was simple and calm and just what I was hoping for like my other births. I have recovered well and feel so blessed I was able to have uncomplicated home births. I was always open to interventions if I had needed them but preferred to keep things simple and as nature intended.
To can also read Kyla’s 1st and 2nd home birth stories.