Our home birth was everything we hoped it would be and such a crazy cool experience and something that Ryan and I will always remember together.
On the evening of March 16th, I was standing in our kitchen and I just started to feel different with some tightening in my lower abdomen. I got my phone out and started timing how long the tightening lasted. Ryan walked in the kitchen, looked at me, and asked “Are we having a baby?!”
I labored for about 18 hours before I delivered our baby girl at home. I definitely had no concept of time during it all. At the beginning, Ryan and I would time my contractions and we would text our midwife and keep her updated. I labored at home in various places such as the living room, the shower, the corner of the bathroom with my head pressed up against the wall. Ryan jokes that he would leave the room for a minute only to return to find me in another random part of the house. He didn’t know where I would end up next! It seemed odd that I was in the corner of our guest bathroom with my head pressed up against the wall just trying to breathe through my contractions, but I seemed to just wander and stop where I needed to. Everything was really intense and I just needed to keep myself moving and in a different location to work through the pain. During my labor, Ryan mentioned he felt helpless but he handled it well and I felt his love and support through it all.
Our midwives came to the house about 4:00am on the 17th and then things started to progress very well. They had me use different techniques to help open my pelvis to help our baby drop down. Some of the techniques included using a peanut (physio ball between the knees), sitting on the toilet backwards, and the birthing stool (my least favorite but it was most effective). The birthing stool was basically just a metal seat in a U shape with handles to hold yourself up. I also was in the shower sitting on a physio ball with the hot water running on me. My midwife would occasionally check our baby’s heart rate with a monitor and each time she would tell me something along the lines of “baby is doing great and so are you.” Once I was 6cm, I was able to go into the inflatable birthing tub we had set up in our master bedroom. With every contraction in the water, my midwife told me to put one leg up like in a lunge position to help open the pelvis. I do remember the environment in the room so well while I was in the tub. The only light on was a salt lamp, it was quiet, and Ryan and my two midwives were very calm and encouraging. I remember feeling comforted during this time and very in tune with my body during each contraction. The contractions were so intense. They happened right after each other it seemed like and I am normally a pretty quiet person but I had to use my voice to get through them. During the hours, I ate pretty much whatever I wanted but I found myself not wanting to eat but I knew I needed to. Ryan did a good job of making sure I drank tea and water and ate things like apples, coconut yogurt, peanut butter, and honey to keep my energy up. He stocked up on my favorite snacks.
After switching from the tub and birthing stool for a couple of hours, I was at 9cm. My midwife told me that I progressed so well and baby moved down really nicely because I was able to use all the techniques and work through my contractions so well. My water still hadn’t broke so while I was on the birthing stool, my midwife went ahead and broke it. Thank goodness for all the towels on the ground! They told me it was time to start pushing and I was so relieved because it had been about 18 hours of the same feeling and I was ready to try pushing! I tried pushing on my back but then I was able to lay more on my side and push. Ryan and one of my midwives held my legs for me while I was on my side. I pushed for about 30 minutes on the bed and then our baby was born. I remember the instant relief and Ryan kissing my forehead and saying “We have a baby girl.” We didn’t know the gender so it was a surprise for all of us. Jane was put on my chest and she started nursing and the three of us laid peacefully together for awhile. The moment was so calm and surreal. About 10 minutes after Jane was born she pooped on me while nursing so my hand was just covered in blackness (people weren’t kidding when they say a baby’s first poop is like black tar! Sorry if you were eating while reading this!)
My midwife stitched me up because I tore and afterwards they weighed Jane and took some birth measurements. About 3 hours later, our midwives left and said they would come back the next day to check on the three of us. I remember the three of us laying in bed, Jane was swaddled up between us and I asked Ryan, “Well what do we do now?! This is a lot of responsibility. I’ve never taken care of a little baby!” The three of us somehow managed the first day together (it felt like a blur!). I took a picture of Ryan sleeping with Jane on his chest in our bed that first night and it is still one of my favorite pictures (and his too because it is his screen saver on his phone 😉).
I mentioned being very aware and in tune with how my body was feeling during the labor/birth. I know reading my affirmations to myself daily leading up to the birth helped me mentally. I read them every day and grew stronger and more confident. Mental toughness is sometimes underrated and I’m really glad I had my affirmations with me through my pregnancy. During my labor, I kept thinking of the strong and powerful words I recited each day and I truly believe that got me through it. I had 8 affirmations but here are some examples of what I read each day:
“My body and baby are healthy and strong.”
“I’m confident, safe, and secure.”
“I’m surrounded by love and so is our baby.”
Giving birth and laboring was definitely the most physically and mentally tough experience I’ve gone through. I’m so grateful for my husband and midwives who helped me experience it exactly the way I wanted.
I do get asked why we chose to have a home birth and experience birth this way. I really wanted to be in the comfort of my own home. I was fortunate to have a low risk pregnancy/no complications where I had the option of being at home. We had a backup hospital in case something happened too. I’ve also associated hospitals with sickness, surgeries, and what not and if I was able to bring our child into the world without complications, home is where I wanted to be. I could be in my own clothes (or none if I wanted) and in my own bed and have the freedom of my home. It was an experience Ryan and I will always remember and look back upon and smile.