It was Friday evening on Valentine’s Day when all the excitement began. But first, a little bit of a back story to understand where I was and why. When I first got pregnant and begin thinking of the possibilities of where to have my baby, the desire for a homebirth grew at a rapid rate. Honestly, I felt that it was the only way I wanted to bring my baby into the world. But as I felt my options were limited for finding a caretaker and with my husband being worried about our distance from a hospital (just in case), I went with a certified nurse midwife at a local women’s clinic and planned on a hospital birth.
I kept researching and learning more about the various tests and routine care that I would receive with the CNM and hospital staff and I was not happy with what I was finding. A lot of unnecessary tests and chemicals were involved and I feared the hospital setting. I woke up often in the night with panic attacks just thinking about the hospital and being forced to submit to inducement and other things that I disagree with, especially the routine newborn care that typically happens right after birth. I did not want anyone sticking my baby with needles or pressuring me into anything I did not agree with.
After a belittling experience with the CNM, I felt I really had to make a change. She wasn’t willing to listen to me about my choices in prenatal care; so how would she listen to me when it came time to give birth? I couldn’t trust her. And fear during birth will slow down labor and cause all sorts of issues. I did some more research and made some phone calls and found a certified professional midwife that lives about an hour away from our home. I was preparing for a homebirth!
The problem was that my husband was still extremely worried about the “what ifs” and our distance from a hospital. We talked it over and I spoke with my parents and we came to the decision to have the baby at my parent’s home in the Memphis area. They live within five minutes of a hospital “just in case” we had an emergency. I still would prefer my own home, but if this was how I was able to soothe my husband’s fears, we could find a happy medium.
Everything progressed smoothly. I had an amazingly easy pregnancy. A little nausea during the first trimester, a little back trouble that was easily solved by the chiropractor, and some sleepless nights from my whale like shape, I really didn’t have anything to complain about. Every visit with my midwife, Lynda, made me feel more confident and secure in my decision for a homebirth. She is very knowledgeable and experienced in her work and truly cares about her clients and their families. What a wonderful blessing it is to have choices in birth care!
Since there is nothing momentous to share about my pregnancy, I will move on to the birth of our dear little boy. As I said, it was Valentine’s Day when things got interesting. I was at my parent’s house waiting and waiting and waiting. Our little man decided he was going to wait almost two weeks past his due date (which didn’t bother me other than I was ready for him to arrive).
I crashed my sister’s valentine’s dinner with her boyfriend and was cleaning up our homemade fondue when my water broke. And it was a gush, all the way down my leg and in my shoes and on the floor. My first reaction was nothing at all. I tried to process what just happened and as I realized what had just gushed everywhere and that I was going to have a baby, I froze. It didn’t last long, though, I called out to my sister and her boyfriend that my water just broke and they jumped up from the couch in the living room and we all stared at each other for a minute, processing what to do next.
Once reality hit and we were breathing again, we started taking action. My sister and her boyfriend started calling my parents (who had called about fifteen minutes earlier when nothing had happened yet and were planning on going to a movie). I stripped off my pants and rushed to the bathroom to clean myself up a bit. I felt a little soggy after the gush. Then I called my husband.
Josh was just about to reheat some fantastic leftover spaghetti for his Valentine’s meal all alone in our cabin in the woods. That plan got changed real quickly and he started making his way to my parent’s. My contractions hadn’t started yet, so we knew he didn’t have to rush too much to make the 70 mile journey.
Next on my call list was my midwife. We talked for a bit to give her a heads up that baby was coming soon! Mom and Dad got home and Josh arrived and we were all in a little bit of a tizzy. There was definitely some excitement in the air as we knew we were going to meet Dylan before the weekend was over!
I figured there was going to be a bit of time before anything happened so I decided to go to bed and get as much sleep as possible so that I was well rested for the big event. I got a decent amount of sleep, but was awakened around three in the morning. My contractions had started. I felt ok and wasn’t alarmed by the pain. After lying in bed for a little while I decided to try walking around to help feel more comfortable. I ventured downstairs and wandered a bit and ate a snack.
At this point I pulled out my essential oil kit and started applying the ones that were supposed to be helpful. I really believe they worked! I used Clary Sage to help my contractions be effective. (And I seriously think that helped speed up my labor!) I put a blend called Serenity on my wrists to help me stay calm and relaxed. I used Black Pepper massaged into my lower back, when the pain got really strong. I also mentally visualized my body opening up each time I had a contraction. So much of labor is mental and I feel like that helped me progress quickly. I was only in labor for fifteen hours, which is great for a first baby!
Everyone eventually woke up and they were all very good about minding my wishes. I knew before hand and told them that I would do best during early labor if everyone went about their usual business and let me handle the contractions on my own. I tried using a birthing ball, but that was not good on my back. Being down on my hands and knees felt good on my stomach, but still made my back hurt a good deal. The most comfortable position was to be walking and then leaning up against a door frame or table. It also felt really good to rock my hips during a contraction. I don’t ever remember reading about that as a way to help with the pain, but it just came instinctually. Josh was helping me time the contractions and massaging me with oils. It was very comforting to just have him stand by me.
By early afternoon, my contractions were steadily coming between three and four minutes. I was in contact with my midwife throughout the day and she sent her assistant, Penny, over to help coach me through the contractions which were getting more intense. I’m really glad she came when she did! I was still doing well, but she helped me relax and focus, even with the little things, like making sure I didn’t wrinkle my forehead. I was having back labor most of the day and finally the little guy spun around. She was able tell where the baby was positioned by the location of his heartbeat. Soon, she made sure Lynda was on her way. I appeared to be close to having the baby!
When Lynda and her other assistant, Kimberly, arrived we moved into the room I was going to give birth in. They quickly set up their supplies and at this point I was still feeling good. She checked me and found that I was 8-9 cm dilated. What a relief it was to hear those high numbers! Shortly after this, I hit a zone. It was time to really focus. I turned all my thoughts inward and really let my body do its thing. I had some Serenity diffusing in the room to help me stay calm.
There was never a point where I felt that I couldn’t get through it. My contractions definitely increased in intensity and were quite painful, but it was such a different pain than anything else and I knew it wasn’t going to last forever so I felt confident. I did reach a point where I started to feel weary. I had been on my feet most of the day and was continuing to labor by squatting by the bed, rocking my hips. I was ready for it to be done, not because of the pain, but because I was tired.
Lynda suggested I move to the bed when I started feeling the urge to push. This was a relief to my tired body, but now the real hard part was starting. I don’t know if I was just not very good at pushing or if it was having to open up those pathways, but it seemed to last forever. Afterward I was told I pushed for an hour, which isn’t too long, but it felt so long! I was really in a zone now.
Penny did an excellent job coaching me through the contractions and making me focus. Lynda was amazing at helping me learn how to push and keeping me informed on the progression. There’s more to it than I thought! Kimberly tended to me by helping me with sips of water and holding a cool washcloth on my forehead. Josh was there the whole time being supportive and giving me a hand to squeeze when I needed it. Just his presence helped me feel calm.
After what seemed like the longest hour ever, I felt progress in my pushing and realize that the baby was almost here. Those last few pushes where strange. There was an intense burning, but at the same time the excitement blotted out almost all other feeling. Finally, our little guy squeezed out of me and was placed in my arms. There are no words that can describe that moment! Only a mother knows.
All my focus turned to this tiny human that just appeared in my arms. I don’t remember much of how my body was feeling nor if there was any more pain as the placenta and things finished up. All I know is that there he was, finally in my arms, little baby Dylan. He got toweled off and Josh cut the cord and we just stared at him as he was breathing his first breaths of life. I was stunned at how tiny he was and how amazingly perfect. I am still stunned at being blessed with such a beautiful little boy.
Looking back, I don’t think there is anything I would have changed about my labor and delivery. I feel like I was strong and confident throughout. My husband says I made it look easy. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it was definitely smooth and better than I could have anticipated. I am extremely blessed to have such a wonderful experience. I know that God was with us throughout. He brought the right people into my life to make it a positive experience and he truly blessed us with an amazing little baby. I couldn’t ask for more.