I thought about having a home birth when I was pregnant with my first son Noah, but ended up choosing a hospital birth. Mostly because I was new to this whole birth thing and wanted to gain the confidence that my body could do it. Since it went so well I knew my next would be born at home. On June 23rd I got a positive pregnancy test at my friend Shannon’s house and then sent the midwife, Debbie, an email. Her response? “Whoohoo….Congratulations!” My mom, Noah, and I went for a consultation in July and I knew I was making the right choice. Prenatal appointments were great because Noah got to play with toys while I chatted with the midwives. During my last few appointments he got to play baseball with Kay (the other midwife) which made him so happy. After hearing Caleb’s heartbeat on the doppler, he nicknamed him Heart Baby.
Aside from horrible nausea from weeks six through 18 my pregnancy went very smoothly. No complications whatsoever and Noah kept me moving. I ended up gaining 47 pounds but I started the pregnancy much lighter this time than I had the last time. On March 8th around 1:00 a.m. I started having fairly consistent, painful contractions. They started to fade at 4:00 a.m. so I went back to bed. Later that morning I went to my last prenatal appointment, and Debbie predicted I’d go into labor that night. Iwent out for eggplant parmesan at a local restaurant with Noah, my mom, and brother. Afterward we walked around Target and I was contracting left and right although they were mostly just Braxton-Hicks. Woke up again at 1:00 a.m. on March 9th with painful contractions. I came downstairs to time them and they were 3 to 4 minutes apart! I lit a candle and bounced on my birth ball while listening to the rain. So nice to share that peaceful time with Caleb during his last moments in my belly. I also chatted with Debbie on Facebook and kept her updated on the contractions. Took my last bump picture, too.
The contractions didn’t seem to get closer or stronger, so Debbie went to bed. I got back in bed from 4:00 to 7:00 a.m. but couldn’t sleep. Painful contractions about every ten minutes kept me up. Finally, I got out of bed and contractions picked up. Noah kept pulling the string on his Toy Story Woody doll and hearing “THERE’S A SNAKE IN MY BOOT!” over and over and over made me want to strangle someone. (More so than usual.) I figured that was a good sign.
Contractions were back to 3 to 4 minutes apart but not very strong. I didn’t want the midwives to come over just to sit and be bored but I also thought maybe I was holding myself back since they weren’t here. I kept feeling gassy and I was afraid I’d suddenly get the urge to push before they arrived. Finally I called Debbie at 9:30 a.m. She, Kay and Whitney arrived sometime after 10:00 a.m. My mom arrived around 11:00 a.m. to watch Noah. I asked Debbie to check me even though I was hoping to avoid vaginal exams. I just wanted to know if I was actually making any progress. She said I was 4 to 5 cm. Sweet. Then my friend Shannon showed up and the fun began. We danced, ate candy, and joked around. I nearly knocked her out with my gigantic bullet belly.
Whitney checked on Caleb. At some point I ate a huge bagel with cream cheese while I updated Facebook. Have I mentioned how much I love home birth?
Debbie suggested a change of scenery around 1:00 p.m. so we went for a walk. Although it was more like Shannon took me for a walk. We were trying to get baby’s head in a better position on my cervix so we used a pashmina to pull up the belly. I’m sure the neighbors wondered what the heck was going on.
Not gonna lie—that was a painful walk. But then we got home and Whitney suggested I do lunges up the stairs, OMG the pain. Shannon was my coach and had way too much fun ordering me around. The contractions started coming really fast and got a lot more intense. I had to stop at the top of the stairs each time to put my head on the floor and horse-lips my way through the contractions while she rubbed my lower back. Any time I tried to stop or started to complain Shannon would tell me to get my butt in gear. I’d say “But it hurrrrrrts” and she’d say “GOOD!” Glad she kept me going because I started to feel kind of “pushy.” Friend and doula, Teresa, arrived about this time and started baking Caleb’s birthday cake (yellow cake with chocolate frosting and raspberries on top). So awesome!
Had Debbie check me again at 3:00 p.m. and I was 7 cm. I asked my husband Brian to start filling up the pool because I knew I’d want to get in soon. I remember Pam, another sweet friend and doula, arrived right as I stepped into the pool. It was great seeing her walk through the door. One thing was for sure … I was well supported! It felt SO good to sink into the warm water.
At 4:20 p.m. I started to push. I’m so not a fan of the pushing stage. It makes me mad because I feel like I’m constipated with a 15-pound bowling ball and it just WON’T. COME. OUT. I was on my hands and knees in a kind of squatting position for most of it, which helped open up my pelvis. I reached down after each push and could feel his head getting lower. That was encouraging. I definitely yelled out some select curse words a few times. Teresa helped me get more leverage with her rebozo which was great.
At 4:57 p.m., after pushing for 37 minutes, Caleb Glen decided to join us earth side. The little stinker was 9 lbs 12 oz and came out with a hand next to his face. But I didn’t need stitches! I’m still amazed. The female body is awesome.
There is truly no greater feeling of relief in the world than after just pushing out a little (huge) human. He was so calm and just as perfect as could be. Didn’t start crying till he was rubbed down with a towel.
Noah was outside playing baseball with my mom and neighbors when he was born. How appropriate. Daddy brought him inside to see his new brother. It really was one of the best experiences of my life.
Thank you again Brian, Mom, Shannon, Teresa, Pam, Debbie, Kay and Whitney for making the day so special.
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!