Sunday night we went to our church’s youth group meeting, It was a final goodbye to the youth pastor and he wanted to go out with a prayer and worship service. So I spent the evening losing myself in worship, getting prayed over and reconnecting with God. My relationship with God has suffered a lot in the past 10 months or so and I spent time repairing it. I let go of some things I was holding on to and when I walked out I felt ready. I felt good.
That night I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions and more of them were painful than usual. This had been happening for the past few weeks, so I didn’t pay too much mind to it. Just figured my body was getting ready and was hoping I was slowly dilating.
At 4:30am or so I was awoken with a painful contraction. I was like “ow”, so then I rolled over to my other side. Then I had another and it hurt too. Switched positions again. This went on for probably about an hour before my sleep muddled brain realized that every contraction had hurt and was radiating to my back. Then I felt an odd pop feeling down below. No water or anything, just a pop feeling. I decided to get up and start timing my contractions. It was 5:30am.
I sat on a chux pad on the couch just in case, made a grumpy facebook post about being awake and nerded while I timed. Seems the contractions were about 4 min apart. Consistantly. That’s interesting. All of a sudden I felt a gush and realized my water broke. It was 6:30am. I kind of sat there in disbelief for a few min when I realized I should probably wake up DJ. And call the midwife.
I went upstairs and told a sleeping DJ I didn’t think he was going to work today. He was all confused and sleepy and I told him we were having a baby today instead. That woke him up pretty quick. I updated him on the events and I called Dina the midwife.
She was going to get up, shower and head over. No rush, but she was on her way. That was fine. I decided to shower and the water felt so nice. I got out and realized I should give a heads up to the rest of my birthing team, Regina our photographer and Anastasia our Trinity minder and birth support. So I called them both and told them no rush or anything, but baby is coming today and get childcare etc etc.
I emerged from the shower, got dressed in a comfortable dress and realized that the most epic storm had hit. I haven’t seen it rain that hard since we had a hurricane blow though. I came downstairs and watched the storm in my backyard in awe of the awesomeness of it. I felt like Caleb was being announced into the world with the storm.
I ate breakfast and we straightened up the house and made room for the birth tub. Still having contractions every 3-4 min by the way. Around 9:30am the midwife arrived and checked me. I was dilated at 2 and still had a long way to go. She told me my contractions would probably slow down and that was ok, she wanted me to rest anyways. She left at 10am and I laid in my darkened room trying to sleep. Too bad I was too excited to sleep. She told me I would know when to call her back. Having previously had a doctor with a very medical hospital birth, this statement was a little confusing to me, but I went along with it.
I gave up on sleeping and came downstairs around 11:30 to lay on the couch. Around 12 midwife called again and suggested we get the contractions going again and gave us some suggestions. 15 min later I was having strong ones 3 min apart so the walking began. My birth team all took turns walking around the complex with me and rubbing my back through contractions. If I sat down, they started to space out, so I had to be standing and rocking my hips or walking the whole time. I had been in constant communication with my midwife via text and calls.
I labored in the backyard for a while leaning on a chair, then sitting in the grass. But the sitting was just no good. I could not speak though contractions anymore, but I was fine in between them. At some point I had a hot dog for lunch. This is about where my sense of time starts to get messed up.
Around 3:15pm I declared to DJ that he needed to call the midwife because I wanted her here now. I was grumpy even in between contractions and know I had progressed quite a bit. She was asking him questions and I just kept repeating in the background “She needs to come now. I want Dina here now”. DJ began to blow up the birth pool. Dina was at my house in a half an hour with her student midwife arriving a little later. She was right, I knew when I wanted her back.
She checked me and I was dilated at 6. Yay!!! I labored on my hands and knees for a while on the bed while my people filled up the tub. The hose was going too slow, so they were using pots and pans to fill it. This is comical in hindsight. But you gotta do what you gotta do right?
Dina then asked me with a smile on her face if I would like to get in the pool. I was like yes omg right now. Into the tub I went and it felt very comforting. I labored in the tub in various positions. The most comfortable was sitting cross legged and rocking on my hips side to side. I had a lime popsicle at some point. It got too hot for baby Caleb after a while, so I labored on the birth stool for a bit. This was about 7pm. On the birth stool I got really queasy and informed everyone that a bucket or bowl might be a good idea because puking was going to be happening. I threw up. While that’s not my favorite thing, I knew it was good and I was probably entering transition.
I got back into the tub and became more vocal. I started putting the cold washcloths over my face to tune everyone out. I didn’t want people touching me because my skin hurt. My midwife was calmly watching me and knitting. She would check Caleb’s heart beat at variable times and ask me questions. Otherwise I was left alone to do what I wanted, which is what I needed. She was so good about balancing my need for space, and her need to take care of us. Around this time I also declared that I didn’t want to do this anymore and I just wanted to take a break and cuddle. I had a long break in between two contractions and I rested. I kept thinking that this was really going to hurt when the next one came and it really was a big one. I kept wondering if I would know when to push. I had directed pushing with Trinity so I wondered how I would know. I was very introverted and contemplative.
At 7:50pm a contraction came. I was reclining on my back and my body involuntarily rose up and pushed. Someone yelled “I think that’s pushing!!!” and everyone jumped pool side. After the contraction I confirmed that yes I was pushing apparently. That was insane. I had never experienced my body doing something like that on its own. This was very different from the doctor directed pushing with counting I had previously experienced.
I pushed in the tub till 8:20pm in a bunch of positions. I got him far enough down that he was just a fingertip from the opening. I just could not make any more progress in the tub so I moved to the birth stool. After two contractions I could not do the stool anymore it was killing my back bad. So midwife suggested we go upstairs to my bed.
I knew I only had about 2 – 3 min to get upstairs and get set up in bed before my next contraction. With just a little assistance from DJ my husband I walked up my stairs with a baby in my birth canal. I could not understand why the midwife was telling me to spread my legs as I flew up the stairs because the reality of how far down the baby was had not hit me. In a flurry chux pads were put down and I jumped into bed in time for the next contraction to hit. I pushed flat on my back and that was working very well. 7 minites after jumping into bed he was crowning and I was howling about how bad it hurt. OMG the name ring of fire does not do that justice. Midwife was dumping tons of arnica oil on me and baby to help stretching.
At 8:53pm Caleb was born into DJ’s hands and placed onto my chest. He was covered in vernix and crying like a champ. I was shocked. OMG there is a baby on my chest. I kept saying “oh my god. oh my god.” I did not cry, I was too shocked. I looked him over to make sure he had everything and make sure he was a boy. And I was just amazed.
At a few minutes old DJ anointed him with oil and prayed over him. And I just still sat there gaping at Caleb.
I birthed him in my home with no meds. It was amazing. I would never do this in a hospital again. I was surrounded by love, support, and calmness.
I feel empowered and strong.
Welcome Caleb, my promised gift from God.