The home birth story of our 3rd child started on our due date. We stocked up on groceries, did some final errands, rested at home, and then decided it was time to walk around the Harrison lagoon. The night before each of our children have been born, we walked around the lagoon completely accidental. But this time was intentional, seeing if the lagoon walk really does put me into labor each time!
The rain held off enough for a quiet evening stroll and the kids were quite happy! We came home and did some exercises to help turn baby into the best position for birth. We tried to fall asleep despite a giddiness that came over Josh and I like we would be meeting our baby the next day.
Sure enough, the process started at 4:30 am the next morning!
It was slow and irregular to start. My mom came over at 6 am and we tidied the house (mostly she did). The kids woke at 7 and were beyond excited to have grandma there! We sang and danced and played while contractions were mild and still inconsistent. Josh and I went for a walk down to the park then back home. Eventually, I was feeling tired and just wanting the process to speed up so our team could join us. Josh and I went to our room and did some hip dips and rebozo work to once again encourage baby into the best position. My sister, Kara, came and took the kids to play.
We then fell asleep!
The rest was just what we needed. At 11:45 am I awoke with a contraction and a text message. Mom and I got some lunch and started watching a movie. My contractions started to come quite consistently, increasing in intensity and length which is a sign of active labor. I reluctantly texted my midwife at 1:30 pm after mom insisted (I didn’t believe things were progressing enough to be contacting her yet). We got a text back saying she had another midwife available so we were good to go for a home birth, that was a HUGE relief considering how our plan for a home birth with our 2nd didn’t pan out! I also woke up Josh and he started filling the birth pool while my sister-in-law Edol, mom and I walked in our parking lot. That didn’t last long as I just wanted to be on my birth ball and in my home.
It was time to assemble the team!
We invited our guests: friends Amy, Trinda, Julene, Hannah (our friend/babysitter who would be helping with the kids), and sisters Amanda and Kara (to come back with our older children). It soon was a full house! Josh called our midwife Cheryl and she came quickly with all her home birth gear. She checked on baby and he was in a good, anterior position (Yay!!!) and I was 6cm dilated and “stretchy” which meant I would dilate the rest of the way rather easily.
To me, 6cm didn’t seem like much and I figured it would be a few hours until baby arrived. It wasn’t discouraging but my mind started running off with how intense my contractions already were and how they would only increase. I kept thinking, and eventually saying, I couldn’t do it any longer. As a trained doula, and knowing my previous births, I can look back and know I was in transition (almost fully dilated, close to giving birth)…everyone around me knew it but at the moment, it just seemed impossible and like I had so much farther to go. Also, I was just 6 cm and dilation can’t happen that quickly, can it??? (Moral of that story is that you CAN’T doula yourself, you need a team of wise women who can see it for what the labor really is without all the doubting thoughts and emotions!)
Now for the birth pool.
The team was boiling pots of water (5 at a time!) to fill up our giant birth pool after our hot water tank emptied. I was anxious to get into our tub as I knew how amazing that water would feel…it was just taking a long time. Daina, the 2nd midwife arrived as well as the student midwife, Krista who was actually off call but was too excited to miss our home birth. At one point Cheryl asked if we had an alternative place to birth in case the pool wasn’t ready…that’s when I realized we might be having our baby much sooner than I thought! I had 2 very intense contractions with the “pressure/pushy” feeling and thank the Lord that the final pots of hot water were being poured into the pool. I hopped in (they actually added more pots when I was in which made it the perfect temperature).
My body completely relaxed, it was AMAZING!
Josh climbed into the pool to be ready to catch baby. Everyone gathered around and I called for our oldest child to come downstairs to watch the birth. I had my first contraction in the pool and it popped my membranes (my water broke), then a little rest, then a pushing contraction that I tried to breathe through and take my time with….that didn’t work and I birthed baby’s head. I wasn’t in a good position for Josh to catch baby as he ended up holding me up in the tub. Our baby was born with the next contraction at 3:33 pm, only a few hours after active labor started. I caught him myself which was lovely. The midwives rubbed him down and unwrapped him from the cord and quickly passed him back to me.
It was all so lovely, true bliss!
The placenta was birthed easily after that in the tub and then we moved to the couch. Eventually, we went up to my bed to have a couple minor stitches (not fun, but my babies come out so fast). My family took down the pool and put my home back to normal. I was tucked into bed and just rested and fed baby. My team all left slowly and quietly. I am so thankful for everyone who was there to support us and be apart of Barrett’s home birth story. I am truly blessed with such a phenomenal experience.
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