"The contractions were at their strongest at this point and the thought of standing while having one was not appealing to me."
After getting used to waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, waking up this night was no surprise. I was beginning the last week of my pregnancy and was peeing at least every 30 minutes. However, this time was different because there was definitely fluid coming out that wasn’t pee!
It was 4:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning in late September, the last weekend of summer weather. I began to get pretty excited as I was sure my water had broken. While it wasn’t a gush, I knew something was different. I crawled back into bed, thinking I would keep this to myself as to not alarm my husband, Ryan—only for him to wake up and ask me if my water had broken. Ha! So I told him, “I think so!”
I tried to stay as calm as possible and get some more rest. We were planning a home birth, so I called my midwife later that morning. She thought it was a high leak and would probably seal up because it wasn’t gushing out, but deep down I knew it was the real deal. My plan was to stay as calm as possible, amidst my crazy excitement and to take castor oil the next morning if I didn’t go into labor. Oh, and yes, she asked me if I was having contractions, which I was not. At this point I was wondering what contractions felt like and if they were anything like the Braxton Hicks I had been experiencing since week 16. I can now say: No, they are nothing like Braxton Hicks because they are real.
I carried on with my daily activities for that Sunday, including picking up the rocking chair and washing my unborn peanut’s clothes. Nothing like waiting until the last minute. I was lying on the couch with my husband later that night talking to him about contractions and how I wish I knew what they felt like. He told me I’d better just get some rest, so I went to bed around 9 p.m., only to wake up at 9:20 with my first contraction!
Believe me; when people tell you that you will know when you have one, they are not kidding. It was much stronger than I had expected, and I immediately told Ryan. Things moved pretty fast from there on out. He called our midwife around 9:30, and she instructed him to call her back when they were three minutes apart. I labored in the bathroom during this entire time, on the toilet to be exact. I think my first few contractions were 10 minutes apart, but by the time my husband started recording them (around 9:45), they were seven minutes apart. They quickly escalated to three minutes apart only an hour later at 10:30 p.m. Let me mention here that I had read every natural birth book I could get my hands on and was very prepared for an excessively long labor, or at least a long first part, neither of which happened to me! It was go time from the beginning. By the time my contractions were three minutes apart, I was totally in the zone and pretty unresponsive to Ryan. I was trying to concentrate on breathing through each contraction and resting as much as possible in between.
Linda, our midwife, arrived around 11:30 p.m. (she lived 45 minutes away), and boy was Ryan glad to see her! They began to get all of the homebirth stuff ready (I had everything together in a bin), and I continued to labor in the bathroom in my own little world. I grabbed the softest robe I had because I was freezing cold in between contractions, and I wanted nothing more than to be as cozy as possible. We had a pool for a water birth, but everything had happened so fast—we didn’t even get it filled up!
After quite a few hours of labor on the toilet, Linda suggested I move to the bed. I liked this idea, so I could be a little more comfortable. I tried a few different positions including propped up on my back and on my side and ended up preferring the latter. Around 2 a.m., I started feeling the urge to push, and this is when things got real.
I really just let my body take over, but Linda’s guidance got me through the hardest parts. She instructed me to moan a very low “oooh,” in as low of a voice as I could. Sounds weird, but it helped the pushing contractions go so much easier! By this time my husband was looking out the windows to see if anyone could hear me! Ha.
Linda and he also switched back and forth putting pressure on my low back area, which helped during the contractions. After I had been pushing for at least 30 minutes, Linda suggested I try to use the bathroom because it was important to do before I started pushing. I looked at her somewhat strangely and said, “I’ve been pushing!” Plus, I didn’t really want to move. The contractions were at their strongest at this point and the thought of standing while having one was not appealing to me. However, I decided to tough it out and get up. I made it to the toilet where I had a few more contractions, but was not able to go to the bathroom.
After yelling back toward the bedroom to let her know I couldn’t go, I started to stand up. And that’s when I felt it, something was in between my legs. I looked down and reached with my hand to see and feel my little peanut’s head! I could see his hair, and he was crowning! I told Linda, “Oh my gosh! His head is coming out!” Her response was, “What?! Why didn’t you tell me?” Ha! I’m thinking, well, I didn’t know—I’ve never done this before! So I asked her what to do and she said to lie back down in the bed, as I was already standing and pretty ecstatic that it was almost over.
So at about 3:30 a.m., I waddled from the bathroom over to the bed with his head coming out—quite the sight my husband tells me. I laid on my side and had Ryan hold my leg up while I continued to push with each contraction. I must emphasize here that I felt the urge to push each and every time I did. I did everything in my power to let my body take over completely and do it’s thing; I’m convinced that’s why it was so smooth and relatively quick! After only a few more contractions and pushes, his head came out, and George was born into my husband’s arms at 4:20 a.m. Ryan’s favorite memory is George’s face as he first opened his eyes. He says he looked around like “Where am I?” Ha! Then he cried and peed all over us both. He was a completely healthy and alert baby boy.
The whole experience was more than I could have ever hoped for, and I am so thankful for my supportive husband and amazing midwife who guided me through the process. George is a red head with the personality to go with it, and we couldn’t be happier. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl, but it is interesting because my instincts told me it was a boy from day one. I feel like I also had a sense of his personality just from carrying him for nine months. Now that he’s here so many things make sense! We are so happy and blessed to have had a great homebirth experience and love sharing our story with everyone we meet.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!