With my first birth being at a hospital and my second taking place at a birth center, this surely wasn’t my first rodeo. I decided this little surprise baby would be born at home.
Our home is a little on the small side, and it wasn’t what I was picturing. So, after my husband, Adam, and I thought of all possible solutions, we decided that my in-laws’ house would be a better fit. Because summer was coming to an end and the weather was perfect, I decided I wanted it to take place outside in their backyard. My in-laws’ house backs into this beautiful hill full of trees and plenty of wildlife, while also having a perfectly-accessible hospital seemingly two seconds away from where they live if needed. It was perfect, and my midwife was down.
This was my first baby that was late. I was so frustrated because I was huge and ready to meet my stubborn little boy or girl. The day before my little babe was born, I knew that we were getting close. I could feel it. Adam and I spent the day setting up the backyard and walking, and I got a much-needed pedicure. The two older kids spent the night at my mom’s because I knew the next morning was going to be the day.
Prepare for takeoff
I woke up around 4 a.m. next to Adam. I had no contractions at this point, but I knew the second I woke up they would begin—and wouldn’t you know it, I was right. I woke up my husband and told him that I was going to take a shower to see if my contractions would start. I got in the shower and within five minutes my contractions began to make their way around my belly and into my back. Starting off, they were about nine minutes apart. They weren’t too bad; I had experienced the feeling before, and I knew for sure that they were the real deal.
I got out of the shower and started on my hair and makeup, stopping every seven to nine minutes to rock my hips on my yoga ball through the contractions, which made the majority of their way down to my lower back. Back labor is no joke … it sucks.
At around 6 a.m. I decided that it was time to truck it on over to the in-laws’. I wanted to go before my contractions got worse, especially because the car ride always sucks. Besides … I really wanted Starbucks. So we packed everything up, got in the car and were on our way.
We pulled into the Starbucks parking lot and noticed there was an irregularly long line for that early in the morning. I looked at Adam and said, “Screw this, let’s just get over to your parents’ house.” We left right away. It was a good thing we did.
We pulled up, the sun was just starting to come up, and we went straight to the backyard where the tub was filling. The candles were lit, my relaxation music was playing, and the water feature—a small patio fountain my father-in-law bought especially for this occasion—was flowing. It was absolutely breathtaking.
I climbed into the tub and experienced instant relief. Adam sat with me by the tub and timed contractions, going through the Hypnobirthing scripts and pushing on my back like a frickin’ boss. I remember feeling so proud of him; he was my rock.
Around 8 a.m. I asked my midwife to head over, so we could see where we were. Things were feeling more intense, and it felt like things were progressing.
I was now a bit more vocal during contractions. My midwife came and checked me and in her oh so sweet and kind voice said, “OK, Mel, you’re at a 5.” A 5?! I thought I was much further along than that. Seriously, how the heck was I going to do this? Once again, in her sweet voice she reminded me, “That is only a number. Do NOT let that discourage you! Things can change so fast.” And boy was she right!
Because I was only at 5 centimeters, Adam let my mom know that we still had plenty of time. At least that’s what we thought. My contractions were getting a whole heck of a lot harder, and there was a point where I was having a hard time listening to Adam. My midwife stepped in and read me my birth affirmations that were framed around me and coached me through the difficult contractions.
This sweet woman spoke to my soul; she was absolutely amazing. Honestly, everything my husband was saying was right on, but it sounded so much more calming and soothing coming from her. Sorry, babe.
The final lap
I was now falling asleep in between contractions. My midwife was inside the house preparing a few things, and I started feeling “pushy.” At one point I was literally “moo-ing” myself through contractions. I asked Adam to go inside and ask her to check me again, and she said, “I’ll check her in a few contractions. She’s probably at a 9 by now, and I don’t want to discourage her. She will be at a 10 very soon.”
Once again, she was absolutely correct. After a few more contractions, she checked me and let me know I was at a 10, then she said, “OK, mama, are you ready to start pushing?” I swear I heard fireworks and trumpets going on in my head!
“Yes! Yes, I would absolutely love to push this human out!”
At that point, I asked Adam what time it was, and we were approaching 10 a.m. I was in disbelief. Holy crap that was fast. At this point, my parents had barely made it to the house, and I had already begun to push.
This time around was a lot more difficult than my last. My water still hadn’t broken, so my midwife asked if I would like her to break it. I allowed it. At that moment, we realized there was meconium in my water. I immediately asked her if the baby was going to be OK, and she reassured me that everything was fine—but I needed to get the baby out a little faster, so I got to pushing HARD.
Finally, I got to the good pushing, felt the “ring of fire” (yes, it’s a real thing). Immediately after that crazy sensation, my midwife told me to reach down and touch my baby’s head. I was so close. The moment my hand touched it I started crying. I knew I was so close to meeting my son or daughter.
I finally pushed the head all the way out, and I remember it was weird because the baby’s head was out—in the water—for another full contraction cycle. I worriedly asked my midwife if it was OK for the baby to just be chillin’ there in the water, and she immediately assured me we were good to go. With the next push, I felt that tiny—yet also very large—little babe slip on out. My husband caught the babe and lifted it out of the water, placing it on my chest. It was a boy! My perfect little baby boy.
Once out and on my chest, he needed a little bit of help breathing because we found out that the cord was wrapped around his neck and that the cord was also in a perfect knot (he’s gonna be a gymnast apparently). Before we knew it, he was crying in no time.
I got out of the tub, laid out on a bed we set up on the patio and held my precious boy close to my chest. Big sis (Scotti) and brother (Hudson) finally got to meet him, and they instantly fell in love.
We named our sweet, second boy Knox Ryan Knowles. He came in at 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20-and-a-quarter inches long. He was perfect.
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