My son, Ellis, was born at home on the 6th of November, 2015 in our bathroom unassisted and perfectly peaceful in every way.
I had a very healthy pregnancy and worked hard to prepare my body for birth and labor. I envisioned our birth daily, seeing a dark, quiet house, with just my family around me and birthing in our bathroom. Little did I know that my dreams of a quiet birth would be a reality.
Both Tuesday night and Wednesday night before the birth, I contracted mildly for about an hour each evening. We would get ready for bed and sleep very restfully. I felt a decreased amount of activity from the baby on Wednesday night through Thursday morning; I wanted my red raspberry tea first thing that morning to help increase the chance of fetal movement. I felt the baby move very gently and was grateful for the reassuring bumps. Thursday afternoon I had very mild contractions on and off, but in no way felt that I was in labor. I wanted a light dinner and was craving salad, so we all packed up for a family dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s that evening. My sister, Sunshine, and my nephew had been visiting me, my husband, and our two and a half year old daughter for about a week. We returned home and put the kiddos to bed. I had very mild contractions on the birth ball while we watched TV and chatted until about 11 PM when we all went to bed.
I woke up a few times to go to the bathroom that night, and felt fine. I was able to go right back to sleep each time. When I woke up at 2:36 AM to a contraction that was making me shake my leg to distract myself through it, I woke Satch and told him that I was going to time a few contractions to see if we were laboring. Contractions were about three minutes apart. I went to the bathroom and saw a slight tinge of show.
I texted the midwife at 2:50 AM:
Harmony: I’ve been having some contractions and bloody show. Not sure how serious they are, slept in between them for a while, now they are keeping me awake.
Midwife: How far apart are they?
Harmony: Right now 2-3 min, but I’m having a hard time knowing how intense they are. Still talking through them.
Midwife: How long have they been that close?
Harmony: Probably for the last 30 min. I don’t think you need to come yet, just trying to give you a heads up. I was not tracking them for a while, just trying to sleep and not being able to.
She told me to keep her updated.
At 3:00 AM, I went into the guest room and told Sunni that I was contracting regularly, had some bloody show, and had been in contact with the midwife. She said she would stay in bed for a few minutes to get her bearings.
I continued to labor in the living room, walking around during contractions and in between. I noticed they slowed and lost intensity when I sat, so I chose to keep walking around – making laps around the living room, stopping to look at my birth vision cards, walking into the master bedroom and touching the baby things. Satch was sitting on the couch and applying my labor oils to my lower back, tracking my contractions with my phone’s app.
Sunni came out of the guest room at 3:27 AM and sat in the living room with Satch and me. She checked with me if I wanted her out with us. She said, “I don’t want you to feel like a watched pot.” I told her I wanted her out there with us to distract me. We chatted in between contractions, which were still two to three minutes apart. At one point, I questioned if we should all go back to bed and try to get some more rest. Satch was resting in between contractions, sometimes struggling to get the contraction tracked in the app, because he had dosed off. He apologized about sleeping in between and I told him that I didn’t care; I wanted him to get rest for when I needed him later. We were all so at peace and the atmosphere was unrushed, dim, and calm.
Around 4 AM, we started talking about the plan for the kids in a few hours –trying to figure out when to call in child care help and where Sunni and the kids would go, or if they could stay home. We knew it was going to have to be organic decision-making in a few hours based on where I was in labor.
About 4:15 AM, contractions became more intense. I tried sitting on the birth ball and it felt wrong, so I got down on my hands and knees and was rocking to a rhythm. I commented that I was feeling the contractions in my vagina and had never felt that with Maelyn’s labor. In between some of these stronger contractions, I was still picking back up our conversation from the last break. I asked Sunni to fill my diffusers with frankincense and she went into the kitchen. At the end of the next contraction, I felt fluid and said to Satch, “Oops, I peed.” Then, I immediately told him, “No, my water just broke.” They went to get towels and shove them under my knees while I was still on all fours on the living room floor. It was 4:30 AM.
I told Satch to call the midwife. Sunni was on the floor behind me and I asked her what color the amniotic fluid was. She said it was stained, but because of the dim lighting we would need to confirm in different lighting. I asked for my labor oil blend to be sprayed on my lower back, because I was feeling nauseated. I told Satch I wanted to move to the bathroom. I had already started to feel pressure like I wanted to push and was feeling like I should do that on the toilet. There was so much pressure and my contractions were really strong. Satch supported my weight to the bathroom and started moving the rugs out, and Sunni took out the bathroom trash. We all knew instinctually that it would be soon.
I sat on the toilet and the next contraction was so intense. It rushed through me and I prayed out loud that God would give me a break, so that I could get my perspective back. I also said something about just needing to give up control and let go. I did get a break from that contraction and knew that I was going to push the next time one rushed through my body. I asked Sunni to start filling up the bathtub and told her not to get it hot. There was a longer break before the next contraction. Sunni told me, “Your baby is going to be born on November 6th.”
I told them I was so hot; Satch opened the bathroom window and Sunni looked around out in the other room and found a stiff manila envelope on my printer. She brought it into the bathroom to fan me with, but never used it as my next contraction started and I began to push. It felt right and I felt between my legs and could feel the baby’s head. I used the whole contraction to bear down and steadily push. Satch and Sunni tell me that they didn’t know I was pushing. The baby’s head came out and I eased back and waited. I stood up from sitting over the toilet. I was holding the head gently and it was so smooth and round. My hand kept stroking it gently and I remember saying to the baby, “Just wait a minute for me.” The head was so smooth and I was expecting to feel hair, so when I didn’t, I asked, “Is this the head?” For a fleeting moment, I wondered if it was a butt and I was delivering breech. Sunni and Satch both told me it was the baby’s head, and I started right into the next contraction.
Working to push slowly, the baby’s body slid right into my hands and I brought it to my chest. It was 4:50 AM. Sunni also held the baby’s back as it came out, asked if I needed any help, and I said, “No,” and she stepped back. I walked across the floor and stepped into the tub. The baby had the cord looped around its arm and neck, so I loosened the cord from its arm and Sunni pulled it from the nape of its neck over the top of the head. Sunni said, “It’s a boy.” We were all so joyful, especially Satch. I asked Sunni to hold Ellis so I could sit down in the tub. Satch went to get the nose frida, and Sunni cleaned out his nose and mouth. Satch gave me a washcloth to wipe his face and chest. Ellis was moving well and was so peaceful. He had cried softly, as he was coming out and after we had removed the nuchal cord, but he was calm as he lay in my lap in the water. Satch handed me a towel to help keep Ellis warm in the water.
The midwives arrived at 5:05 AM. Satch met them at the door and told them I was in the bathroom. They asked if they had made it in time and Satch told them Ellis was born. They commented that they were not surprised. They checked the baby and were pleased. I sat up in the tub to birth the placenta and we placed it in a two gallon bag and it went with Ellis to our bedroom. I got out of the tub and the midwife dried me off. Satch took a towel, wiped some blood off my feet, and helped me to our bedroom. I got in our bed with the baby and Satch, and I spent the next 30 minutes snuggling with Ellis while the midwives prepared the herbal bath. Maelyn, our daughter woke up at 5:55 AM and Satch carried her in to meet her brother. Satch cut the umbilical cord at 6:10 AM and Maelyn checked to be sure it did not hurt the baby. Ellis and I enjoyed an herbal bath with Satch pouring water over the baby the whole time. The midwives took Ellis back to our bedroom for his newborn check and the whole family watched Ellis get checked and weighed. He was 8 lbs. 11 oz. and 21 inches long. The midwives asked if I wanted to be checked for vaginal tears and were pleased to report that there had been no tearing with only two pushes for delivery. It was then time for me to eat breakfast in bed. The midwives left, and Satch and Sunni resumed the morning routine with the kids with an extra amount of excitement in our home.