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Like a Dragon: A Quick Home Birth

Like a Dragon: A Quick Home Birth

Mallory C. writes about the quick home birth of her daughter Alice Jessica.

“I definitely complained a lot during my pregnancy. Let me tell ya, though, the birth of our daughter, the actual labor and delivery – I have no complaints. My water broke at 2am. Contractions didn’t start until 3:30. I finally woke up John at 5am because they were getting very strong and steady. Heidi arrived around 6am. Our midwife, Anna, arrived around 6:45.

When the contractions were about a minute apart, Anna (German) checked my dilation and said, “You have only a few centimeters.” I thought she meant that I was only a few centimeters dilated, and almost freaked out about having to go to a hospital! “No, no,” she said. “You are about 8 or 9.”

I was SO happy!!!

It took me five minutes to walk from our bed to the bathroom to climb into the pool due to the length and frequency of the contractions. I got into the pool and found that being on my knees, with my feet behind me, leaning over the edge of the pool (which was up against our tub) was most comfortable.

Anna had me say “pa pa pa pa” (like a Midwesterner would pronounce ‘pop’, minus the second ‘p’) instead of moaning or groaning. She told me to not push, because she didn’t want me to tear. I let her know in a very guttural tone, “It’s not meeeeee. I can’t stoooooooop iiiiiit.” Heidi could hear me from downstairs saying ‘pa pa’, and then they suddenly got very low-pitched, throaty, and, she says, like a dragon.

I did not actively push. I did not scream. When I felt our baby’s head move through the cervix and into the vaginal canal, my body was the one that pushed.

My body pushed on the next contraction, and I felt our baby crown. My body pushed on the next contraction (I had no breaks in contractions), and out shot Alice Jessica in one push. She was purple and white and covered in vernix. She did not cry, was very alert, and was flexing her little hands.

newborn vernix

We experienced immediate skin-to-skin while waiting for her umbilical cord to stop pulsing, which was about 8-9 minutes. After John cut her cord, he got to have his skin-to-skin time to keep her warm (I always keep our house cold), and to keep me free for Anna to take care of. I don’t know if it’s because I was weak from the birthing, hunger, exhaustion, or if it was pure adrenaline, but I was shaking so badly everywhere.

holding baby

Anna got me into bed, where she could check me out while Ali and I resumed our cuddling. After the placenta was delivered, Anna went downstairs to give Heidi, John, Ali, and me some time together before she examined the baby.

I did not tear. It doesn’t hurt me to pee.

This was our birth plan, and it all worked out perfectly:
Water birth
Home birth
Delayed cord clamping
Whatever labor position I felt most comfortable
Immediate skin-to-skin
Daddy cuts the cord
No medical intervention
No drugs
No doctor telling me that my labor isn’t progressing fast enough (not like that would have been a problem for this birth!)


mother and father holding baby

Alice Jessica
Born April 6, 2014 at 8:10am (German time)
6 pounds, 11 ounces
20.8 inches.”

5 Hour Home Birth

5 Hour Home Birth

{Editors Note: This story comes to us from Elizabeth. I have to say that I really connect to the start of the story – my own labor started after a long walk around IKEA!}

Our first daughter, Penelope, was born in 2010 in the hospital – natural and with no intervention.  I knew that for our next birth, I didn’t want to be in the hospital, so I found an awesome team of midwives at a birth center just a few minutes from where we live.  At first, we’d intended to have the baby at the birth center but a few months in we decided to go with the home birth.

Mariana was eight days late!  I was convinced she would be early, but I was very wrong.  It was freezing outside, being early December, so I tried to encourage her to come by walking around Costco and the mall.  A week after our due date, my mom took Penelope for the afternoon and my husband Jason and I went to dinner.

We were going to go to a movie, because we figured that would be an awesomely inconvenient place for me to start labor, but instead of the movie we opted for IKEA.  I’d been joking with a friend that beside Costco and the mall, IKEA would be the place to go to start labor.

We picked up Penelope and went home. We went about our evening as usual, and just as I was about to go to bed, I felt my first “real” contraction.  I’d been having Braxton Hicks like crazy for the past three weeks, but this was the real deal – IKEA had done the trick.

I told Jason, and he told me to try to get some sleep.  I tried, but I couldn’t, so I ran a load of laundry and cleaned the kitchen really well.  As I puttered around, the contractions got stronger and my mucus plug came out, bloody show and all.

I called my doula, Liz, after about 45 minutes, at almost midnight and told her how I felt. Liz had helped with Penelope’s birth too, when we were in the hospital. She offered to come over right away, and I told her that I was fine. I didn’t want to get everyone too excited.  I told her I’d call her back in an hour.  After I got off the phone with her, I laid down on the couch to tried and rest.

Just as I’d figured out how to sleep through the contractions, BOOM!  My water broke.  It sounded and felt like an impact, and it woke me up.  I saw that almost two hours had passed since I’d talked to Liz, so I called her and told her that my water had broken.  She got in her car right away.

I woke up Jason to tell him that my water broke, and he started getting the bed and the house ready for the birth.  I took a shower and changed into a sports bra, tank top, and yoga pants.

Lauren, the midwife, had told me at my last appointment that with a late baby there’s the chance that meconium can get into the waters and that they could possibly obstruct baby’s breathing.  She told me to look for a “pea soup”-like liquid if my water broke as a sign of meconium.  Sure enough, there was meconium in the water so I called Lauren right away.

Lauren asked how I was feeling, how the contractions were.  I told Lauren that I was fine, and I was talking through contractions.  There had only been about 2 1/2 hours of labor at this point, so I figured that I was fine and that there was no need for Lauren to head over right away.

It only took Liz about 15 minutes to get to my house. I was bent over the bassinet, with contractions getting stronger, longer, and closer together.  Liz told me she thought I was a lot further into labor than I thought, but I was still convinced that we had hours ahead of us.  As Liz started to make tea for us, the contractions got even stronger.  Liz was helping me with pressure on my low back, reminding me to breathe.

I changed positions as the contractions got stronger – about 45 seconds long, a minute or two apart.  Liz told me that I was sweaty and got a compress for my forehead. She called the midwife to tell her that she thought I was heading into transition.  The midwife started on her way – it would take her about 25 minutes to get to my house.

I didn’t believe Liz or my body – it had only been a couple of hours since my first contraction.  I insisted that I had to go to the bathroom.  Liz didn’t want me to sit on the toilet – she told me that the bowel-movement feeling could actually be an early urge to push.  I told her that I knew it wasn’t pushing – I just really needed to poop.

She let me sit on the toilet for a minute, but as soon as I got there I realized that she was right.  This baby was close.  I found myself unable to get up from the toilet and told Liz and Jason that I couldn’t move.  Liz called the midwife back to ask where she was, and put Lauren on the phone – Lauren told me to get off the toilet, that she was almost there, and that she would not let me have the baby in the toilet!

Liz and Jason helped me off the toilet and onto the bed.  I faced the headboard, and Jason piled pillows underneath my elbows for support.  I took my clothes off, and concentrated on what my body was doing – I was holding the baby IN with each contraction.  Liz asked me to pant to keep my efforts in my upper body, so that I wouldn’t push before the midwife came.

Liz was holding the baby in with one hand and keeping a cold compress on my forehead with the other.  Jason was kissing me on the cheek and telling me how much he loves me.  I was so ready to have this baby!

Lauren got into the house with her supplies, and touched base with Liz to see how I’d been doing.  She got her gloves on, and on the next contraction I pushed and delivered the baby at 4:13am – just five hours after the first contraction, and six minutes after Lauren got to our house.

First Minutes

Mariana was absolutely beautiful, so alive and alert right away.  I held her on my chest as Lauren finished getting everything together.  We did the examinations, Jason weighed the baby (8lb 8oz!) and I delivered the placenta (in the toilet).  The student midwife helped me into the shower and got my pajamas, and Liz and Jason changed the sheets and made the bed.

Fresh Baby

Jason and I got into bed with our brand new baby as Lauren and the student midwife documented the birth.  Liz helped us get comfortable and made sure baby was nursing well.  About two hours after delivery, everything was taken care of and all three of us went to bed.  Big Sister (2 1/2) slept through the whole thing, and woke up in the morning to meet her baby sister.

Liz told me that I didn’t yell or scream even once, except immediately after I delivered.  Lauren congratulated me on how well I’d done, and I replied LOUDLY – “I could give birth in the forest!”.  I don’t know if I really could, and I probably wouldn’t want to try, but I’m even more convinced now that labor is 88% mental preparation – I’d been telling Liz for months that I was shooting for a 4-hour labor.

In retrospect, Liz thinks that I went into transition when I was talking to Lauren on the phone, and they were both amazed that I was talking through contractions like that.  I tend to downplay pain and keep my game-face on, so it could definitely be the case.

Happy Family

I am happy that I had two different births with my two very different and beautiful babies, but honestly I did prefer the home birth.  I felt so relaxed and prepared, and it was so nice to wrap up the birth the same way – comfortable in my bed with Jason and Mariana.
A Fast Homebirth with a Midwife, Student Midwife and Nuchal Cord

A Fast Homebirth with a Midwife, Student Midwife and Nuchal Cord

At 39 weeks and 2 days (39 and 2 by my ultrasound, I kept telling them I was overdue and no one believed me that my due date was Feb 28th!)  I had called my midwife Sunday, March 3rd to ask her to meet me at the hospital. I had come down with a nasty stomach bug and wanted her to give me gravol. My husband and I met her over there, did heart rate, blood pressure, etc. and a cervical check. Being this was my sixth baby and having a history of early previous births, we wanted to make sure the vomiting wasn’t changing my cervix. I was still at 3 centimeters as I had been for weeks, even after a membrane sweeping which ended up giving me 24 hours of back labor and no baby! We went home. She advised me not to be surprised that if and when my stomach flu stopped I’d likely go into labor. I complained and dry heaved all night with what I assumed was more of the stomach flu so I had next to no sleep and I kept my poor husband up whining about it all night.

I got up the next morning, Monday, March 4th after sleeping a few minutes here a few minutes there with cramps in my stomach, which I’m assuming is still the stomach bug. Around 7AM, I get my 2 oldest kids off to school with the help of my lovely mom and tried to relax. I was feeling slight aches and cramps and tried to disregard them because of the stomach flu. By 9AM I told my mom “I think something isn’t right” and it hit me like a ton of bricks. She called my midwife and told her “I think Charlene is in labor”. She could hear me moaning in the background and started to come to meet us. My last birth, which was a homebirth, was only 4 hours from my first contraction to the time she was born.

Through all of this my poor husband was scared to death but very supportive of a homebirth. All he could imagine was blood and guts. He stumbled around making last minute preparations, tidying up, chatting and getting a quick bite to eat. Checking on me making sure I was ok, he was so excited to finally meet the little person he had been talking to, singing to and loving for the past 9 months!

At 9:30 my midwife arrived and decided she better call her attending midwife. She informed me that there is a student midwife who is supposed to be coming in today and was wondering if she could come. After checking with my husband we agreed it would be fine. I was all for letting her get some more experience (we didn’t find out until after that we were her first homebirth!). They arrive around 10:00 or so, greetings were had and they briefed each other about me, my previous births, etc.. My husband and I went outside to get some air and make phone calls to our photographer and close friends to let them know what was going on. My poor husband couldn’t make his phone work he was so nervous.

My contractions started off at about 3 minutes apart and were manageable, painful but I could cope. We sat in my living room in the middle of my floor folding baby clothes that I was going to give to my midwife to bring to a family who needed it. This was around 11:00AM, laughing, joking, chatting and having a wonderful time. The contractions were spacing out and lessening in pain so I started to apologize and tell my midwifes I was sorry, I don’t think today is “the day”. Nonetheless, she said they would stick around just in case (she knew, they all knew but I was in denial).

 After my contractions became a little more painful around 12:00PM or so she suggested I go lay down in my room and relax which I reluctantly did because I felt great in between them. We were sitting in my room, chatting, laughing and they became a lot more intense and frequent. I looked at my midwife around 12:30PM and said “Today is going to be the day, isn’t it?”. She nodded her head. My mom had just head off to work and said she would be back in an hour or so.  After my midwife checked me and felt the baby I had asked her how dialated I was and surprisingly I was 6-7 cm (I was not expecting that at all). I asked her how big do you think she is (just out of curious nature) She said, “oh, about 8lbs 6ozs”. I kind of giggled and said she was crazy (my last was 8 pounds 11 ounces and she guessed 8 10 ounces) and I said I am NOT having another 8lb baby!

 My contractions became noticeably stronger so my attending midwife took my 4 year old out to the table and colored, drew pictures, etc.. My neighbor from downstairs popped in and I asked her if she could please take her down to play as we would be soon having the baby and I didn’t want to scare her, so off she went!

 I had asked to be checked again at about 1:30PM after laboring and feeling very intense. She really didn’t want to but she did, and I was still at 6-7 with a bag of water (my water has never broken on it’s own). So I looked at her, she looked at me and I nodded… she knew to break the bag. As soon as she broke the bag I had a contraction. They were coming pretty fast and becoming very intense by then and I started feeling “pushy”. After watching me bear down for about 15 minutes she decided to check me and when she did she could feel that I was dialated to 9 ½ centimeters but there was a tiny lip that just wouldn’t melt away. With the next contraction she pushed the lip back. This was at approximately 2:07PM.  I remember grabbing her and looking at her so intensely that she was all I could see at the moment. I laid back and looked at my amazing husband who hadn’t left my side for a second and told him his daughter is about to be here. At 2:10PM I heard my front door open and it was my mother walking in. She came back into our room. I looked at my husband and just pushed. At exactly 2:11PM I yelled out “SHE’S COMING, IT’S BURNING!” and at 2:12PM our beautiful daughter Araceli was born, she was very purple and had her cord wrapped around her neck. The plan was for my husband to catch her but our student midwife (being her first homebirth, panicked and grabbed her to unwrap the cord) the cord was not tight but it still frightened her. She was given directly to my husband; the look on his face was udder amazement and awe.

fast homebirth baby being born

He had held her awkwardly in amazement for a few moments and she was then placed on my chest where the 3 of us just snuggled and cuddled. We laid there for a good 20 minutes until we clamped the cord and my husband cut it. The midwives laid her back on my chest so she could snuggle some more and try to breastfeed (which she did with success)! I then delivered a beautiful placenta that we ooohhh’d and awwwwee’d at (it is NOT as gross as people think!). It was about 3pm and my kiddos were getting home from school and after about an hour with new sibling meetings, nanny meetings, people dropping in the midwives weighed her, checked her over etc. She weighed 8 lbs 6 ozs and was perfect! She was born at 39 weeks 3 days (and was assessed to be over 40 weeks, which means I was right all along.

fast homebirth breastfeeding


fast homebirth placenta

This was my 2nd homebirth (my husbands first) and my 6th baby! It was AMAZING! It was so calm, relaxed, serene and wonderful! There is nothing like giving birth and laying in your own bed afterwards to bond, snuggle and get to meet your new little one!

Birth of a Legend

Birth of a Legend

I’m going to try really hard to do this all in order. I was totally in my own little world for so much of this whole event that I know I’m missing huge chunks of the night and I’m sure that lots happened that I don’t even realise, but this is just my story. The birth as I saw it.

At 12:30am on Friday morning, the twee little Tornado called for me from her room. I went in to lay down with her, but she was making me crazy. She wouldn’t settle down, she kept rubbing all my skin (as she always does…and it always makes me nuts) and just generally being fussy. We both finally fell asleep, where I proceeded to have terrible nightmares. Brutal. I don’t even want to talk about them because they freaked me out so badly. At about 2:30am I woke up, very quickly, and had to lay in the dark for a few moments, shaking it off and telling myself that they were just dreams.

I was feeling quite uncomfortable, so I quickly left The Tornado and crawled back into my own bed. And immediately started having contractions. OUCH! I had forgotten how painful they were! I had been reading a lot of really beautiful birth stories, so I had visions of a long, rolling labour where I rode contractions like waves for hours, walking and laughing with Husbandio in between.

Not bloody likely.

I had a few contractions, and decided to go grab my phone because I had no sense of time and couldn’t tell how far apart they were or how long they were lasting. I needed a timer. It turns out that they were about four minutes apart, lasting for a minute. Hmmm…sounds suspiciously like labour, I thought. But I decided to give it a few more rounds, just in case things settled down.

Again, not bloody likely.

At 3:30am, I gave Husbandio the nudge and told him it was time to page the midwives. He did that while I texted the photographer, and we wrestled with whether or not it was time to wake up my mom. After the next contraction, I assured him that it was, indeed, that time. So we called her to come over so that she’d be ready to spring into action when The Tornado woke up. In the meantime, the midwives had called back, heard one of my contractions, and were rushing over. Things were picking up.

The midwives arrived at about 4:15am. They checked my progress (about 6-7 centimeters dilated) and immediately started the IV because I was GBS positive and needed a round of antibiotics. Once that was done, everyone was madly rushing around, trying to get the bed made up and the tub filled because Hello! It’s go time!

At one point, my midwife needed another fitted sheet so I handed her one, and she was like, “No…this is a regular sheet…I need a fitted one.” Well, wasn’t she shocked when it was, indeed, a fitted sheet? I’m not kidding, you guys, I am, like, the Rain Man of sheet folding. It’s my “special skill.”

So to catch you up – the house is in chaos. I’m in the living room, screaming through contractions, Husbandio is getting everything in order, with a super loud air compressor filling up the tub, and people are everywhere. And The Tornado sleeps on. How is this possible?

With The Tornado, I had my epidural very early. I had no idea what labour felt like. You guys, it fucking hurts. I’ve never, in my life, screamed due to pain before. And here I was, SCREAMING. The midwives were wonderful, telling me to blow through the pain (it really did help) and to keep my screams low-pitched, because mine were getting quite high and hysterical sounding which apparently makes things worse. Ok. So I tried that, too. My poor mother tried to breathe with me at one point and I screamed at her to go away. After all the thought I put into a birth playlist, Husbandio asked me if I wanted the radio on and I roared, “NO!!!” Who knew? They kept asking me if I was feeling any pressure or if I thought I needed to push, and no, no, no…it just hurts.

Until all of a sudden, there was the pressure.

Shit. The tub still wasn’t filled. I thought I was dying. And somehow in all of this they wanted me to move myself from the living room to the bedroom? Are they kidding?

Apparently not.

So off we went midwives and Husbandio all around me, getting me to the bedroom. I collapsed, face-down, ass-up onto the bed and stayed in that exact position. There was no moving. Just screaming and fear. Screaming and fear. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared. It hurt SO SO much. I must have had my eyes closed the whole time, because when I opened them, more people were there. Two other midwives had arrived so I quickly said hello and re-closed my eyes. I had no concept of what was going on. Sometime around now, The Tornado woke up and I remember roaring at them to close my door as they rushed her past it so that she wouldn’t see me and think that I was in trouble. And then my water broke. POP! Just like that. OMG this is REAL. This is going to happen. Soon. OMGNONONOI’MNOTREADY! Then I heard the words that changed everything.

The tub is ready.

I wanted to cry. There was no way I’d be able to get into the tub. How? It hurt too much. I was too scared. NO NO NO. Enter the magical midwives to save the day. All hands on deck yet again, and somehow they managed to get me into the tub.


The water was like a barrier that stopped all pain and fear. As more of me disappeared into the water, I could feel the terror lifting. Any part of me that was in the water knew that I could do this. We had this. Husbandio and the midwives (or maybe just Husbandio? I dunno…my eyes were still closed) were pouring water down my back and it was magical. The window was opened so I could get a bit of a breeze, and I could feel it. Everything was changing. I felt superhuman. And thank god because it was time. I took a deep breath and screamed again, but this time it wasn’t terror, it was determination. And when I reached down, there was the head. The head was out! OMG, the head was out! So now it was time for another deep breath. As I inhaled, I must have risen a little bit because I immediately felt what seemed like 50 hands on my backside, pushing me down. The baby had to stay under the surface of the water. So I parted my legs and feet further, sank deeper into the water, and pushed again. I reached down as I pushed and there he was. My baby. I caught my baby! My baby, my baby, my baby…I pulled him out of the water, held him to my chest and just like that, it was over.

My baby.

And everything they say is true. None of the pain mattered anymore. None of the terror. None of it. Because I was a superhero. I did this. Nothing I have ever done has ever affected me so deeply. Nothing could have prepared me for how I would feel when I caught my baby, in my bedroom, surrounded by my husband and some amazing women. This was the real deal.

We sat back and enjoyed the moment for a bit until the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, then Husbandio cut the cord and took the baby to go meet his sister and his Babcia while I got out of the tub (Oh god, don’t make me get out of the tub! Can we buy the tub? PLEASE???) to deliver the placenta and get a couple of quick stitches.

While my amazing mother in law made me bacon and eggs, I sat in bed, nursing my baby, while all the midwives surrounded me, making sure I was doing okay and going over all the details of what a perfect birth it was. I wish I had a picture of that moment, because it was magical. It totally appealed to my love of my tribe and my inner hippie may have been doing some crazy dancing inside my head at this point. I thought my face would break in half from all the smiling.

Total labour: four hours. Total time pushing: two minutes. Yup. I’ll take it. It was magic. I roared out my baby in a bath tub, caught him, and still looked fabulous. THAT, kittens, is success.

I’ll spare you the details of the following week, which we spent in the hospital (DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT) because everyone is FINE and it’s all just a horrible memory. We’re home now. We came home on Friday and spent the day celebrating.

As Husbandio said right after Bob Marley made his appearance, “and then there were four.” Our family feels complete now. Our house just got happier. Our lives just got better. Just like that.

Click the rad mustache picture (taken during her birth) to go to her blog!

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