From the very beginning in first trimester, I have had a date stuck in my mind. April 7th. I just knew this would be my baby’s birthday. It was the day after my due date and a full moon would be reigning in the heavens.
We woke on the morning of the 7th with the same level contractions I had been having for weeks, but I still felt my excitement growing. It was today! All day long I felt regular waves and so much pressure and lost a massive chunk of mucus plug. That evening we decided to get dressed up in a maternity dress and walk the trails behind our house. The walk itself was approximately 2.5 miles, but we took over two hours before we got back home due to pausing for rest and some maternity pictures. We got home, put the kids to bed and took it easy since the walk made contractions fairly strong and consistent. However, at 11:45pm I walked out into the street in front of my house to try and catch a picture of the Pink Super Moon in the sky, knowing that I was wrong. Well, to be honest I glared at the moon asking it why it didn’t work. Babe would not arrive today. Maybe tomorrow.
The next day I woke up with far weaker surges than I had when I had fallen asleep so we began all the things to encourage labor. No visible progression was happening. We tried listening to Hypnobaby’s “Come out baby” and I actually listened 3 times that first day because I kept falling asleep during the session and wanted to make sure I took in the whole track.
Over the next few days we tried all the basic induction methods. Frequent sex, a lot of nipple stimulation, Clary Sage, Acupressure massage, lots of rest in the quiet and darkness of our birth space, asymmetrical walking, squats, spinning baby inversions, and every other thing under the sun. Days kept passing and I hovered between extreme frustration that my mild surges continued, but were not getting much stronger and acceptance that I was simply experiencing prodromal labor and things would happen in their own time.
On April 16th (41w4d) around 12:25pm I finished a Chiropractic adjustment and immediately after had the strongest contraction to date followed by my bloody show. Hallelujah, let’s get the ball rolling. Contractions continued approximately 17-20 minutes apart, but 3-4 minutes long each time. They were so spaced out for hours, but crazy intense. Every now and then I would get a “normal” 1-2 minute contraction between these monster rushes. Around 5:30pm I asked for the tub to be set up to deal with the intensity even though they were so spaced out. We got everything set up and I finally was able to get some release when I got in the warm pool around 7pm. We had two 5 gallon buckets with bucket heaters set aside to keep hot water rotating in the pool which turned out to be a genius move and far less stressful than boiling water on the stove and carrying hot pots around the house. Between those two and our hot water heater, we were able to maintain the temperature easily for over five hours. The older kids were eating dinner at the time, but afterwards they jumped in and at 8pm I went live in FreeBirthTUBE, a facebook group dedicated to live streaming planned unassisted births.
Having my children with me in the pool was a blessing and a curse. I LOVED having them close and involved, but hated being touched during my surges. Even the motion in the water at times was overwhelming so I had to warn them to be still and quiet several times.
Finally I began to feel nauseous and vomited into the bowl we already had prepared. That was my switch into transition. Soon after our breaker tripped from plugging in a crock pot with hot rags. The computer crashed, lights went out and we scrambled to get it back up and going. I was the main one who knew how to set up the live and was in no mental state to explain, so for the next 5-6 contractions we rebooted the computer and I reset the live stream 30 seconds at a time between close, strong waves. I was just hoping I wouldn’t start pushing before I got it back up and going.
At 9:26pm, we got the second half of the live stream going. By this time, contractions were my “normal” for transition period meaning strong, fast, hard and on top of one another. I didn’t get more than a few seconds break between them so changing positions was extremely difficult. At the time, the only relief I got was physically lifting my belly during contractions where I could feel his shoulder resting on my pubic bone and constant water pouring on my belly. It took me a while to mentally register that it was his shoulder that I was lifting, but made a lot of sense once I realized it. At this point, they were getting to the unbearable stage of labor which forced me to the point of surrender.
It was during this time, about an hour and a half before birth, the I started to feel the desire to push. For the first time ever, I felt the inclination to push and I REALLY didn’t want to push at all. I refused to fully bear down knowing that I would waste energy if I pushed too early, but I pushed to a point where I got some minor relief and felt myself slowly reach completion. It was very difficult to determine when I switched from voluntary push urges. Eventually I hit a point where I could no longer participate in the live video discussion and fully internalized for the final stretch. Multiple suggestions to switch positions made sense, but were impossible because I physically could not move during contractions and I had no breaks between. Eventually I was able to twist from seated to side lying and almost fell in the water because I ran out of time and the next wave hit.
I remember feeling the urge to poop and knowing it was not just poop. Actually, I didn’t poop at all. I asked and I’m thrilled because I just know my son would have made up a song on the spot of me pooping on the baby and that made me far more anxious than the idea of pooping itself. 😂 I was still trying to wait and when my body fully kicked in, I tensed and felt myself roar more than I ever had in previous labors. The loss of control was wild, feral and terrifying. However, I knew enough to make the conscious choice to surrender. My legs were previously together and forced themselves apart with the overwhelming sensation. I physically could not keep them together and I used my own hand to try and open my pelvis more, knowing that is what needed to happen Several contractions in sidelaying proved that it was not ideal for me so we went for what I knew worked for my body. It was exceedingly difficult to get up to kneeling and all fours, but we made it happen and that is where I finally felt a sense of normalcy and progress. When I got settled, I checked and could not feel babe at all in the birth canal. When I checked again, I felt the bulging forewaters descending during each surge. I was no longer in control. About an inch from crowning, suddenly the bulge was gone and I felt wrinkly skin and hair. I never actually felt the bulging waters rupture, but I knew from my own exploration that they did. It was a short time before his head began to crown and I felt the sting of the ring of fire. I remembered it clearly from previous labors so I knew I wanted to find a balance between breathing him out to prevent tearing and pushing enough to get past that intense burn.
Originally, my son wanted to help daddy catch, but he got scared during my roaring so he decided to just stand back and watch. I crowned kneeling, but it wasn’t enough to get him out. Instinctively, I lifted my right leg to an asymmetrical squat and pushed past the head. Honestly, after the head came out, the shoulders took no effort and he floated right on out into our arms. Both my husband and I lifted him out of the water as he started to pee on us. He definitely made his gender known loud and proud. The relief was instantaneous. Finally it was done and I almost collapsed against the edge of the pool waiting for the placenta.
I physically felt it detach from my womb and asked my husband if he saw the gush of blood I knew was coming; he confirmed what I already knew and red blossomed into the water. Unfortunately, the life stream cut out before the placenta was born, but it came out around 10 minutes postpartum in two good pushes. A few sizable clots came out first followed by the thick organ itself. I did have trailing membranes, so I handed our new son to my husband and twisted gently until I got it to release a few minutes later. It was the thickest placenta I had ever seen and absolutely beautiful.
The first thing we noticed was the two layers of his amniotic sack were separated. The inner sack was almost completely intact with a tiny hole, but the other was peeled back further. The sac was also fused to the fetal side all the way to the cord where it continued up a couple inches before the umbilical cord separated from the placenta. What a beautiful and unique organ.
We stayed in the pool for a few more minutes just soaking him in before we decided to dry off and snuggle up in bed. A quick self check showed only a few surface abrasions and no serious tears which was exciting. Nana got some snuggles while hubby helped me out of the pool through shaky legs and slippery feet. My bleeding was almost a non existent trickle as I dried off and got to the bed.
We decided to do a cord burning instead of cutting which took a while since we used tea candles, but it was a nice way to slow down and honor such a beautiful moment. Instead of a quick snip, we all cheered as the cord finally burned through and our baby was officially his own. We got our first latch and he nursed through most of the burning which kept him otherwise occupied so he didn’t get close to the flames.
As far as recovery went, this was by far the easiest. I used AfterEase tincture to help manage afterburner pains. My bleeding was down to a light period trickle within 24 hours. I did have some retained membranes that passed on the third day postpartum without issue along with some decent clots. I knew it was likely, but we watched for signs of infection and never had any concerns.
12:25pm Lost Mucus plug and began feeling intense contractions immediately following a Chiropractic adjustment
approximately 7pm got in the birth pool with contractions around 15 minutes apart and 3-4 minutes long
9:42pm Felt desire to push, but waited for body to be ready
10:57pm Body kicked in with FER
11:11pm Baby is born
Approx 11:20pm Placenta passes
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 take the H.E.R.B.A.L. Freebirth course which is currently on sale for $10 with the code Covid19. It is a quick read (around 3-4 hours) to help you dig a bit deeper and offers some questions that you need to consider.
Want to read my first birth experience homebirth with a midwife? Read Michael’s birth story.
Want to read my second birth experience homebirth with a midwife? Read Felicity’s birth story.
Do you have an amazing birth story to share? Submit your Birth Story!