My entire life, the only thing I ever knew for certain was that I was destined to be a mother. You know the type of young girl that tries to breastfeed her dolls? Yeah, that was most definitely me. So when I saw those two pink parallel lines, nothing had ever felt more right and if I am being honest, nothing had ever felt like more of a shock!
Years before I got pregnant, I became obsessed with learning about physiological birth. With all my research, I discovered that birth is not a horrific event one must endure to have a sweet babe in their arms, like Hollywood would often have you believe, but a beautiful, instinctual, and completely natural rite of passage for a woman.
There are a lot of reasons why I chose to have my baby at home. But to put it simply, I believe women should give birth where they feel most safe and comfortable, for me–that was home.
My husband and I started interviewing midwives, thankfully in our area there are a lot to choose from. We ended up with a duo, one midwife with over 40 years experience attending home births and one recently certified midwife who brought in a fresh perspective.
I absolutely loved being pregnant; I honestly had never felt more myself! I stayed very active, saw a Webster Certified Chiropractor regularly, and did a lot of pregnancy stretches, including the Miles Circuit by Spinning BabiesⓇ to get babe in the optimal position. Of all the books I read during my pregnancy, my two favorites were Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth and The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth.
My “due date” had come and gone and I had no signs of labor. I knew my baby would come when they were ready, but the waiting game is no joke!
The morning of November 10th, 2021 around 8:30 AM, I was laying in bed texting a friend when I heard a ‘pop’! I had heard so many other women explain this noise, so I knew exactly what it was! I sat up and immediately went to the toilet where I lost my mucus plug and had my first gush of water! Contractions started immediately, about 10-15 minutes apart. Each contraction brought another gush of water. Contractions were mild; they felt like light period cramping.
I had not an ounce of fear in my body, nothing but pure joy and excitement that soon I would have my baby in my arms. I trusted the process, I trusted my body, and I trusted my baby.
Around 9:30 AM, my husband texted our midwife to give her a heads up that my water broke and that today could be baby day! She encouraged us to go on about our day, to ignore the sensations as long as possible, and to call her when we were ready for her to come over!We made breakfast, went for a walk, and tidied up the house. I prepared the Ginger Lemonade labor-aid from The First Forty Days, that I planned to drink throughout active labor.
We made lunch, and I had finished my lunch just in time, because contractions picked up quite a bit after we ate. I was still able to talk through my contractions, and still very much mild compared to what was to come, but they were getting pretty close together, about three minutes apart. I thought it was odd they were so close together already because I still felt there would be many hours until I were to meet my baby. I asked my husband to call the midwife to get her opinion. He took this as “call the midwife and tell her to get here immediately”.
Around 3:00 PM, we moved up to the birth room we had set up, so I could start using my birth ball. I was leaning over the ball, swaying my hips when the back labor started.
Back labor is typically associated with the baby not being in an optimal position, but as far as we could tell, our baby was in a great position. Maybe he was moving in and out of different positions. My pelvic floor PT mentioned that some first time moms experience back labor just because all of those muscles have never been worked like that before.
When the back labor started, things obviously got a lot more intense! My husband rubbed some diluted peppermint essential oil on my back and that was so cooling and relieving but it did slow contractions a bit. We started to diffuse clary sage essential oil, which is known for its ability to speed things up in labor.
Talking through contractions was getting difficult, so my husband started to fill up our birth pool. Shortly after getting in, our midwives arrived. It was around 5:00 PM at this point. I was leaning over the side of the tub, swaying my hips, while my husband gave me hip compressions for hours, but I was completely unaware of how much time had passed. I got out of the birth pool a few times to go to the bathroom or to try different positions outside the tub, but each time I immediately wanted the relief that the water brought, so I ended up back in the birth pool quickly. I found a deep moan to be relieving and holding hair combs in my hands to be a helpful distraction. I said over and over and over again in my head “the only way out is through” and “each surge brings me closer to my baby”.
Around 9:30 PM, I was entering transition. I knew this, because I told my husband “I just want to escape my body”. Still, I had no fear, I knew this intensity meant that the end was near. I never doubted my ability. There were a few contractions that I had a hard time surrendering to; my husband reminded me to breathe and try to relax every muscle in my body.
At 10:30 PM, I started to feel the urge to push. My midwife recommended to avoid actively pushing and to let my body do the work to push my baby down. I continued to sway my hips in the pool until eventually I told my midwife that I wanted to push. Shortly after 11:00 PM, I got out of the birth pool and onto the bed where my midwife gave me a cervical check to make sure I was 10 cm dilated. I was. I sat on my bed, leaning back on several pillows with my husband by my side and began to push with each contraction. My husband said he could see the baby’s hair! I continued to push and my midwife told me to reach down and feel my baby’s head. She then began to gently press on my perineum and told me to slow my breath as the head crowned, and out was our baby's head! And then with one more push, the body emerged. Right on to my chest, my perfect baby was here. I was expecting a baby covered in vernix, but with being a week past “due”, there was no vernix left on my sweet baby’s skin, there was little hair on the head, and a mole on the left cheek. My baby didn’t cry but their eyes were open and I could tell they were breathing. Our midwives covered us in a towel while my husband and I took it all in. After a few minutes, I told my husband we should check the gender, though I already secretly knew because I had felt his testicles while holding his bum up on my chest. A BOY! Our perfect boy, Robert Llyod IV, was here.
During the golden hour, my midwife helped guide me to getting Bobby to latch. About 30 minutes after our son was born, I felt a contraction coming. I gave a little push and birthed the placenta. My husband cut the umbilical cord and our midwives weighed and measured him. My husband warmed up some nourishing vegetable stew that I had made in preparation, and not that it was anything special, but it was the best meal I had ever had. Then, my midwives drew us an herbal bath that is good for healing the perineum and the umbilical cord. I got in with Bobby and held his head while he peacefully floated in the water. After the bath, our midwives helped get us to bed. With a sweet baby skin to skin on my chest and several pillows behind me, our midwives said goodbye, and we went to sleep. A family of three.
A special thank you to my friend, Jessie, for asking me to write my birth story for her website.
Through my years of research, I can confidently say what we are putting in and on our body matters! Food, skincare, and even clothing. A lot of clothing today is made from synthetic materials that are petroleum by-products. Polyester is essentially plastic and the polyester fibers shed microplastics that end up in our air, water, soil, etc. The microplastics and the other harmful chemicals, such as formaldehyde, that can be found in polyester and other synthetic materials, can even be absorbed by the skin! For these reasons, among many others, I try my best to clothe my family in organic and natural fibers. It is better for the environment and it is better for health. I was so happy I stumbled across RASKANA because not only do they have fashionable maternity clothing (Why is that so hard to find? Almost half the population will be pregnant at some point in their life. lol) but they also prioritize sustainable, natural fibers! I can’t wait to get pregnant again and load up on all the RASKANA French Terry Sets.