This is a birth post. I’m a birth junkie and birth doesn’t gross me out at all, so take that into consideration before reading this post if you’re not into that sort of stuff. I’m not censoring this post. I love birth and I think it should be celebrated and documented and shared.
I’m so anxious to get this written down while every detail is fresh on my mind! I had the perfect birth and I don’t want to forget any of it.
I was having a tough time being patient. Ben was born 10 days early and Adalyn 2 days early, so I’d never seen a due date pass me by while still pregnant. That made it tough when June 3rd came and went with no signs of baby.
On Monday morning, June 4th, I woke up with some pretty bad contractions. I started getting what someone has so affectionately named “bloody show.”
I got really excited and knew that it meant this was it! I started texting friends and getting things ready. I called my midwife. Tim stayed home from work. We were about to have a baby!
But then the contractions started getting farther and farther apart. Eventually, by the afternoon, there were no contractions at all. I’ve had my share of prodromal labor with this pregnancy, but this one hurt my soul especially badly because the bleeding really made me think it was time. It was also difficult because I’d actually told a lot of people that it was time. I felt like I’d let everyone down when the contractions petered out.
I went to bed hopeful that my midwife was right, that bloody show meant a baby was imminent and that perhaps nighttime would kick the contractions back into gear.
But when I woke up Tuesday, June 5th, with no contractions, I cried. Literally. I was so upset, so let down, so ready to give up. It wasn’t the waiting that was so difficult, it was the labor that would start and stop that was killing me. I could handle not having a baby by my due date, but something about being teased and then let down over and over again was agonizing.
I took my midwife’s advice and tried to put it all out of my mind. I made up my mind that I would ignore all future contractions and make decided that baby wouldn’t be coming until 42 weeks and I was going to be okay with that. I threw myself into some sewing projects, wrote a blog post and took what would be my last belly picture.
Tim and I got into bed around 8:00 or 8:30. The contractions were 6-7 minutes apart at this point and getting pretty difficult to deal with. I tried and tried and tried to sleep. Sleep was not happening. Finally, around 9:30 or 10:00, I reluctantly told Tim that this had to be it. The contractions had been getting stronger, longer and closer together for hours at this point. That was textbook labor, right? Even if it wasn’t my textbook labor.
I ran a warm bath and got in. I’ve never used water in labor before, but was shocked the second I got in by how much relief the warm water actually offered during contractions. The bath really kicked my labor into gear and once I got out, they were unbearably strong and 4-5 minutes apart.
I dealt with the labor as best I could at that point, and shortly after, decided to call my midwife and wake Tim up. I asked him to go ahead and fill up the pool. This was it! I had finally decided I could admit I was in real, definite labor and we would be having a baby soon.
My mom woke up about that time and helped Tim get some things ready and tried to help me get through each contraction. I laid on the bed with my rice bag (throw it in the microwave = instant relief) and started vocalizing through the contractions. Oh, I was definitely in real labor.
My midwife, Cheryl, her assistant, Cheryl, my mom, Cheryl (yeah…), Tim and my sweet friend, Lizz, who is a photographer and also happened to break her foot on this very night (saint, right?) all were there, in our bedroom, to witness the birth of mystery baby #3. Time was starting to become irrelevant to me at this point, but I believe it was somewhere between 1:00 and 2:00 when everyone showed up. My contractions would vary between very close together, at 1-2 minutes if I stood up, to farther apart, at probably 3-5 minutes if I was laying down.
That gave me some sweet relief. Just hearing someone else confirming what I was pretty sure I already knew. Things were happening faster, I was starting to feel like I would honestly die. I was so exhausted I couldn’t see straight. That’s also not something that’s ever happened even though all three of our babies were born early in the morning without any sleep the night before. I was utterly wiped. I didn’t know how I would gather up the strength to get through the rest of the birth.
I think I yelled something like, “Why is this taking so long?!” at some point. I was starting to get upset.
Tim got in the pool with me, which was awesome and relieving.
She told me to get into a squatting type of position to encourage the bag of waters to break. I did that until my legs started falling asleep but my water still hadn’t broken.
A few more pushes later, baby’s head came out. It was so much more difficult to push this little guy out than it was Adalyn. The pain was worse, it took a lot longer (Adalyn came out in one contraction) and he was just in a different position. Once his head came out, I honestly thought there was no way I could get the rest of him out. I just knew it would either kill me or we would have to go to the hospital to finish the process with a c-section because there was just no way he would fit. Hilarious in hindsight.
Luckily my midwife stepped in to remind me that I could do it and I was doing it and helped Tim really pull (I think he was scared to pull hard) while I pushed, and out he finally came! Right into Tim’s hands at 5:53 a.m., almost 14.5 hours after my contractions started.
He had a hard time breathing at first, just like Adalyn, but my midwife helped us rough him up a bit to get him to breathe consistently (he was breathing and red, unlike Adalyn who was turning blue, he just wouldn’t consistently breathe). You could hear he had a little junk in his chest, so she sucked it out and shortly after, he was totally fine. Well, he was perfect.
I don’t remember exactly when it was that we decided to look to see if he was a boy or girl, but surprisingly it wasn’t the first thing we did. I remember we were kind of holding him at first, just snuggling him up and trying to reassure him everything was okay, and then we were like, “Oh, boy or girl?!” It was one of the coolest experiences in the world to see for ourselves what our baby was, rather than by ultrasound like we did the last two times.
Getting to be at home, in our own bedroom, alternating between a pool and our own bed, snuggled up with my husband with people we love surrounding us as we brought our baby into this world was so indescribably perfect and amazing that I will never find the right words to do it justice. It was comforting and empowering in a way that I never knew birth could be. I was in charge. I did what my body told me to do. I didn’t mess with the birth process or force the birth process to happen earlier than my body wanted it to. I (reluctantly, I’ll admit) waited for Landon to tell me when he was ready to come. I was the one to tell everyone else when he was about ready to come out. I was the one who first felt him descending. I was the one who pushed him out in the way I wanted to push him out and my husband was the one who caught our baby. He was born straight into his home. In a peaceful, dark, quiet environment, right as the sun was rising. He met his siblings a few short minutes after he was born.
I had my membranes stripped right before my water broke with Ben. I also had my membranes stripped multiple times in the end of my pregnancy with Adalyn and eventually asked to have my water broken when I was 6cm dilated and not in active labor. This time, I knew I wanted to be left alone. I wanted my body to do what it’s supposed to do with absolutely zero intervention. This is part of the reason I opted for homebirth. My midwife is not into intervention at all, so she made me stick to this desire even when it got tough at the very end. She never checked my dilation, not until those final few moments to assure me that the baby was ready to come. She is a believer that messing with a cervix, even for something as simple as a dilation check, can interfere with the body’s natural birthing process. She left me alone entirely, let me listen to my own body, taught me to trust in my body completely. For the first time ever, I now know my body is 100% capable of birthing on its own.
The recovery has been incredible. I don’t feel like I had a baby yesterday. I feel like I could go outside and do cartwheels, but that would sort of be against my midwife’s wishes so I guess I’ll restrain myself. I had one tiny tear and no stitches. Woot!
Landon is absolutely perfect in every way. He is the best nurser we’ve had (by leaps and bounds) and so far seems to be pretty chill. But, you know, they always are in the beginning.
He slept through the night his first night beside me in our own home in our own bedroom.
All is well with the world.