It started around 9 a.m. on Sunday morning. Of course, it had to be on a Sunday. We tried to keep our labor and birth low key for both our girls… but of course, both of them decided to start labor on a Sunday. Since my husband is a pastor, there no being low key when he misses church, and you’re past your due date.
The wonderful thing about this birth experience is I could really experience the stages of labor. With my first daughter, I was induced. I won’t go into all the details here, but you can read that experience <here>. Being induced means your body is responding to medication. It is not the natural progression that a woman’s body was designed to go through. But that’s another subject for another day.
My contractions began around 9am and continued all through Sunday. They were fairly consistent yet also inconsistent. However, as the day progressed, so did the intensity of the contractions. But it was all manageable. I breathed through them. I stayed in touch with my midwife and doula. My doula suggested practicing different labor positions so I could find what felt right for me. We made arrangements for the kids to spend the night at friend’s homes just in case the baby decided to come at night.
Evening came and I decided that I would try to sleep. My contractions were growing in intensity, so I texted my midwife and she said that they were still inconsistent for the team to come. Hours past. When the contractions came, I would get on my hands and knees and breathe through them.
11:30 pm. I lost my mucus plug.
Contractions began to come quickly and very intensely. I would lean on the bathroom counter, or get on hands and knees. The breathing and groaning came naturally. It was painful, but still manageable. Finally, I had my husband call our doula and he updated her around 1:30 am.
By 2:30am our entire birth team was there: my husband, my best friend, my doula, our photographer, our midwife and her team including her assistant and her students.
Our birthing pool was set up in our master bathroom. I was surrounded by candles, and words of encouragement from friends. As worship music played, and essential oils diffused, I climbed into our birthing pool. I sat up, and breathed and groaned through the contractions. My doula whispered to me, “if you feel like pushing, you can go ahead and start pushing.” I didn’t even realize it was time. I began pushing. Sitting up was what I had seen in many birthing videos, but it was incredibly painful. Then somehow, without really thinking, I turned over to lean on the pool and get on my knees. The pain was incredible, so much so I even threw up a few times.
My husband and my team were wonderful- rubbing my head, fanning me, and encouraging me. At one point, I said “I can’t do this any more.” And I heard unanimous “you’re doing it!” from everyone in the room. In that moment, I remembered the words written by friends that hung up on flags in my room. I remembered things I had read and replayed them in my mind, “women all around the world are doing this with you right now… you were made for this… you are strong…” And I began to welcome my baby in my mind “welcome my baby. You can come now. Mommy welcomes you.” Out loud I uttered. “come baby. it’s time” And with one final, painful push the baby was born in the water. I picked up our baby, sat down, and wept embracing our answered prayer. After 28 minutes of pushing, our baby arrived at 3:30 am.
Immediately I looked at my husband and asked “boy or girl, boy or girl?” And I heard him say “penis.” Our baby was a boy!!!!! And then he quickly corrected me saying, “no penis.” Our baby was a girl!!!! We wept for joy and praise! Poema Grace was born.
Soon after, the cord detached from the placenta and a gush of blood poured out into the pool. My midwife came over and helped me lay on my bed. I didn't know it at the time, but I was hemorrhaging. The team had me drink fluids constantly. I felt lightheaded. I remember asking, “is everything okay? Am I loosing too much blood?” My midwife replied, “as long as you stop bleeding now, it’ll be okay.”
She had her team bring out essential oils to combat the nausea and make the environment calm. I was never scared. There was no panic in the room. Everyone was calm, and I was never worried.
My midwife informed me that she would have to help get the placenta out to stop the bleeding. She was so gentle and calm. It was polar opposite to my experience with my placenta with my first daughter where no one informed me of anything they were doing; they were loud, they hurt me, and then they denied that I was hurting as I was screaming. They roughly pulled my placenta out. But at home, I was respected. My midwife helped and had me push out the placenta. Thankfully, the bleeding eventually did stop.
Then I was numbed so my midwife could do my stiches. Aside from a few needle pricks, it was not painful at all. She took her time, and our room was calm. Again, a stark contrast to my hospital birth- there was no communication, it was horribly painful, and again they denied my pain as I screamed through it.
I was tended to with food, drinks, and so much encouragement. I was exhausted and especially tired from the blood loss. But I was in my own bed, at my own home.
Poema was weighed and measured there in our home. She had her birth screening right there in our bedroom. And when it was all over, she laid with us in our bed.
The birth team was gone by 7:30 am. Everything was cleaned up, and you’d never know I had just given birth. It was beautiful to be able to recover at home. I was on bed rest for about a week, and I got to do so in my bed. I got to use my toilet and my shower, and wear my clothes. Our kids came home later that day and were eager to meet the baby. They got to hold her and adore her all in our room, at our house.
If we have another baby, I would absolutely, 100% have another home birth. I am beyond confident that if I would’ve birthed at the hopistal it would’ve been another traumatic experience. But this experience was bliss. It was much less painful. It was calm. It was beautiful. It was home.