Birth is such a blessing to give to my children. My second child is the baby who birthed herself. She was coming, ready or not and was born with a fantastic labor at home among friends and family. This is the beginning of her story.
Weeks of contracting daily made denial pretty easy by time she actually decided to come. I went to bed contracting just like I had for the past month, but this night was different. Instead of fizzling out as soon as I went to sleep, contractions woke me up about every hour and a half to two hours that night. However, for the first time during this pregnancy, I woke up and still felt regular contractions. This was so exciting, but I knew not to get my hopes up for fear of being disappointed.
My parents happened to be visiting that weekend in hopes that they could both be there during her birth so the entire house was buzzing the second I told them over breakfast. It was a Sunday morning and the conversation came around to whether or not we should attend church. I was pretty firm that I wanted to go since it would be my last chance for a few weeks, but my parents were a little nervous. We came to a compromise and I promised to let them know if things got intense enough that we would have to leave.
We pulled into the church parking lot and dropped off our baby boy who was seventeen months old at the time (read his story here). I talked to some volunteer and they set up an area in the atrium where we could view the service, but if we needed to get up and leave we could do so without distracting any other attendees. I was so grateful that we chose this path. The contractions would space out to eight to ten minutes apart if I sat, but if I kept moving then I could keep them less than five minutes apart.
Volunteers came up to me to ask if I was okay and I brushed them off with a quick “Yeah, just keeping contractions going.” Of course their eyes got as big as saucers which was hilarious. I paced the entire sermon with no issues and kept contractions going the whole time.
Just keep going
We got home, ate a good meal and I immediately suggested we take a walk to speed things up. Our neighbor was also pregnant and planning a natural birth that December, so I called her up and invited their family to join mine. Our house conveniently lays against miles of walking paths so we just got on our sneakers and took off from our own back yard. The path we chose was around two and a half miles long. I used it all the time with normal walks, but this time was different. We got about a third of the way before contractions got to the point where I needed a break.
A fantastically placed park bench was readily available for us to sit while the kids played on a little playground for a few minutes. We only stopped for about ten minutes because I could feel my contractions spacing out again, so on we went! At this point, I had to stop every contraction and focus so the entire walk took a couple hours rather than the normal 45 minutes. I would lean on a tree or wrap my hands around my husband’s neck and let him support my weight as I relaxed and breathed during the waves.
It was happening tonight
When we got home, my contractions were longer than the space between them and they required all my focus. The contractions were intense, but not quite to the point of pain or vocalization. I was still able to relax and focus inward to ride them through. They were 60-90 seconds long and less than three minutes apart and there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that she would arrive today.
Of course, two hours makes any pregnant woman need to use the restroom and had a bloody show letting us know that dilation was progressing. We informed the midwife that tonight was the night, but I still believed we were going to have the baby in the middle of the night as is common for births.
It was around 5:30pm and unfortunately, my daddy had to work the next day. Not knowing how much longer it would be, we all gave him hugs and sent him home (they live 1.5 hours away from us). Had we known how close we were, we would have waited. Labor is unpredictable.
Arrival of the birth team
We called the midwife and told her to come over just to check, but not to drop everything and run. I answered the door and she was surprised at how put together I looked. She still believed it would a while, but came over anyways just to get her eyes on me and check my progress. At this point in labor, I had to be horizontal during contractions. Laying down relaxing was uncomfortable and my body made me be fully engaged in what was happening. I did a lot of kneeling, rocking, all fours and leaning over whatever surface that was within reach. Sometimes it was the couch, the bed, my husband, my mother, a birthing ball or just on the floor on all fours.
My doula arrived soon after and used counter pressure to help me during contractions. The sensation was interesting. I did not like the fact that I was being touched at all, but I loved the pressure more than I disliked the contact. She used small massages and pressure point as well as simply helping out where ever she was needed between. It was really cute because Michael, my toddler, was watching her and started trying to imitate her movements. That warmed my heart and kept me going knowing that he was going to recognize birth as a normal and natural part of life.
At that point, I was starting to vocalize low moans through every contraction. My midwife suggested a cervical exam around 7:00-7:30 and I agreed just to have the mental push knowing that I was indeed progressing. My hopes and prayers were to be at least five centimeters. I really didn’t have to worry because I ended up being seven centimeters and it was then that I was given the opportunity to get into my beautiful birth pool.
Hello birth pool
That first contraction is water is always glorious. The water puts even pressure around your body like a warm hug and leeches the tension out of your body. My first birth we used this kiddie pool that I got off amazon. For my second birth, my midwife had a heated birth pool that she allowed all her mothers to use if they so desired. Not boiling water sounded like a good plan, but next time I will be going back to my first birth pool. It was much softer, with more padding and I LOVED that the sides were transparent so lights could be used to see everything clear.
Not that the pool mattered for long, because I was in it less than an hour. I would kneel or squat between contractions an leaned forward during each contraction. I did try sitting for a couple contractions and that was highly uncomfortable. My body wanted to be more engaged. My transition was very clear and obvious. Transition is when you start getting those doubty feelings when you are just ready to give up. That is your body telling you to give up, give in and let birth happen.
At 8:25pm, I felt a pop as my water broke. It came with the strangest sensation. There was a heavy drop when she went from just entering the birth canal to crowning in one contraction. I put no effort into it and actually I made an attempt to clench and hold her in longer. That did not work at all. She was determined to be born.
The first push was the involuntary shove that my body lunged into with my water breaking. The second push got her crowning. The third push was the first that I put effort into which got her head out and the fourth push the rest of her came out. Overall, it was ten minutes of pushing and only two of those pushes had any effort on my part. Between my body instinctively doing what it was made to do and the fetal ejection reflex, she arrived fast and furious.
As I lifted her out of the water, everyone sprung to action seeing what I had yet to see. The cord was draped around her neck and lifting her up caused it to tighten. Thankfully, my husband and midwife saw it and slipped it over her head without issue. At that time, I was able to proudly announce that we had a little girl!
I was able to deliver the placenta in the pool which was amazing. I am quite fortunate the my placentas come quickly so five minutes after birth, it was out and my birth team helped guide me out of the pool and to the bed to dry us and warm us both up. Her daddy got to cut her cord just like he had for our son and I was not at all pressured to breastfeed immediately. My first birth, I was encouraged to nurse very quickly and felt rushed simply because I was bleeding heavier than preferred so my midwife wanted that nipple stimulation to help my uterus contract and cut the bleeding short. Thankfully, that was not an issue this time and we were able to recover and nurse when ready.
She happily relaxed the entire time she was being examined for weight, measurements and movement. Her bright eyes took in her surroundings and all the new faces. She ended up being 8lbs 7oz. It was such a special occasion for us that we got that snuggle time. Michael came into the room and actually got to nurse before she did which helped him with the transition. He nursed and just stared at her and she stared right back at him which was the sweetest little moment.
We were asked her name and both of us looked at each other and immediately knew who she was. She was most undoubtedly Felicity Rose.
If you are planning a natural birth or simply want some more information, here are my suggestions on how to prepare for a natural birth. If you are unsure about homebirth, this is why we personally chose to stay home to birth our babies. These are my top 5 recommended readings for anyone planning a natural birth.
I did encapsulate my own placenta as well as made some placenta chocolates, tincture, and healing balm. I learned the techniques I used from this course. I do highly recommend ingesting your placenta to reap the many benefits. I did my own, but ask around your area for some amazing birthworkers to take that burden off you postpartum. If you are in SC, I offer these services to our local community.
Want to read my first birth experience? Read Michael’s birth story.
Want to read my third birth experience and first freebirth? Read Finnick’s birth story.
Do you have an amazing birth story to share? Submit your Birth Story!