This is the birth of our son the way I remember it. Written just days after his birth so it is still fresh in my mind.
Born July 25th 2009 at 1:52am 8lbs 4oz, 20inches long
This story starts with the birth of our first child. Roxanne was born in the hospital. While it wasn’t a BAD experience, I realized after the fact that that was not what birth was intended to be. I had pitocin drip, an internal monitor, external monitors, constant blood pressure cuff… so basically I was stuck on a hospital bed for the entire 6 hours that I was birthing. I knew there had to be a better way and after much research and thought I decided before we even conceived our son that I would have a homebirth for my next birth.
I researched the facts about the safety of homebirth and after some time of soul searching I decided for sure what I had known all along- I couldn’t NOT do this. This was too important to me.
Which brings us to the birth.
It was 5 days past my guess date and I was getting very antsy to welcome our son into the world. I felt like I had been really patient up until that point, but I was getting very anxious to meet him! Since my first birth ended up being an induction at the hospital 1 day after my due date, I was working on just trusting my bodies ability to go into labor on it’s own. Also, the fact that I had not really had much prelabor feelings at all worried me that I’d go super late. I was still, even after my guess date, going to the gym almost every day and going to yoga a few times a week. I guess I felt like I should feel worse in the time leading up to my birth. Although I will sat that I said “I’m sick of being pregnant” more times than I’d like to admit and did admit to the midwife and apprentice that I would be pretty emotional if I made it past 41 weeks. I made a list of “reasons why I am happy to still be pregnant” which did help me get through those last few days.
I felt like I was feeling WAY too good to be close to labor that Friday morning (the 24th). We went to toddler storytime at the library (which Matt, Roxie and I do every Friday morning), lunch with my mom and sisters, and just had a good day. My twin sister was in town from Chicago just for the weekend and she was disappointed that I had not had him yet since she was not going to be in town again for a few months. But, what can you do, right?
Around 10pm I went to the bathroom and had some bloody show and starting having manageable surges about every 10 minutes. I could walk during them and talk during them so I figured it was nothing to get TOO excited about, but since I had not really had any surges up until that point at all, I asked Matt to fill up the birth tub around 10:30pm. I figured that we could leave the water in it for up to 2 days anyway and being 5 days past my guess date- I had to be going into labor SOMETIME soon, right? I also texted my friend who was going to be my birth photographer to tell her that it might be sometime that night. Matt will tell you that I apologized WAY too much during my birthing time. Sorry for making him fill up the pool in case it was a false alarm, sorry for needing this or that. He kept telling me this was NOT a time to apologize for anything!!
We called the midwife around 11:15pm just to let her know that I had had some bloody show and was having surges every 10 minutes and that we might be calling her later tonight to come over. I got some birth stuff set up and then tried to lie down and relax in bed around 11:30pm, listening to my “easy first stage” hypnobabies track. Hypnobabies is a program of CD tracks that I listened to during my pregnancy and it really helped me to be positive about birth and also gave me the tools to relax during my birthing time. I set the laptop next to me and went to a contraction counter website to try to monitor how close they were coming. I kept telling my husband Matt that I wasn’t sure if this was the real thing or not (even though in retrospect, I knew it was I just didn’t want to call too early) and that I didn’t think we should call the midwives for a while. I just felt like this was going to go on for a long time and I didn’t want them to just be sitting around the house. They were 5-7 minutes apart so Matt told me that if they kept up for another hour like this that he was going to call whether or not I wanted him to. Good man. So at 12:30am he called our midwife, Jeanne, and told her that they were 3-5 minutes apart and strong. She had told us to call when they were 5 minutes apart because she thought I was going to be quick, so she said she and the midwife apprentice, Amber, would be right over.
At that point I got in the birth tub. It felt AMAZING. While I was managing the intensity okay, the intensity didn’t seem to wear off in between surges until I got in the water. I say intensity and not pain because it wasn’t pain that I can recall- just very strong intensity surging through me. Matt sat close to me (at least someone got some use out of the birth ball!) and put his hands on my shoulder/back and told me “relax” and was the best support person I could have asked for. He helped me to stay calm and relaxed and just let my body do what it had to do. I was very quiet during all of this- just deepening my breath and closing my eyes and going inward whenever a pressure wave would come.
The midwives arrived around 1:20am. Right as they were walking in the door I told Matt to grab a bowl because I was going to throw up. He ran and grabbed something right as I puked over the side of the tub into my hands and onto the towel below. I did catch most of it in the bowl though. Okay, I guess it’s a good thing he called them when he did, because this was not going to be a long drawn out affair.
The midwives got everything ready and kind of stayed away and let us do our thing together. I still felt like I was managing everything really well and it did feel VERY strong, but not painful. Pain is just not the word I would use to describe the feeling. Very shortly after the midwives got to our house (maybe minutes?) I felt a very strong pressure pushing down and out. I told Matt “I’m pushing!” and Jeanne came over the check things out. I was definitely pushing. Jeanne thinks my water must have broke during that first big pushing surge, but I don’t have any recollection of it since all I really felt was all the power of it pulsing through me. I didn’t push actively at all until his head was almost out- my body just took over and did it all for me. I just would say “ahhhhhhhh” and breathe my baby down and focus on relaxing my birthing muscles so they could do their thing. Jeanne supported my perineum, which actually felt really great during the pushing phase. When his head was just about out I believe I did push a little bit because I was just ready for him to come out. I did feel the “ring of fire” burning of crowning and I believe I said a few times “it burns!” and Matt just kept reminding me to relax and I would come back into my peaceful place and it was so powerful and beautiful and amazing! My baby was almost here!!! All my pushing was done holding onto the side of the tub on my knees until Jeanne told me to put one of my legs back “like I’m running a race” when he was just about out.
Roxie, our 2.5 yr old, woke up sometime during my pushing. We heard her cute little “mommy?” while she was standing at her closed door. Matt quickly just went in there and put her back in bed and she went right back to sleep. He was gone from me for probably less than 30 seconds and it was in between surges and pretty early on in the pushing and I did fine without him. I’m so glad she just went right back to sleep (she never really wakes up at night and if she does she always goes back to sleep quick like this) because I really needed him right there next to me. I didn’t even want him to call the birth photographer that I had REALLY wanted there because I just didn’t think I could handle him leaving me for any amount of time. I was just enjoying and managing it so well with him THERE next to me. I needed his presence and touch.
At 1:52am Jasper emerged and I flipped over and he was placed on my chest and wrapped in towels. He was so peaceful! No huge piercing screams like our daughter that was born in the hospital. He was born calmly in water in very low light and he just looked around. I asked Matt to take some pictures then, remembering that I had really wanted something to record this time. So at least we got SOME.
We waited in the pool for the cord to stop pulsing after it was delivered and then Matt cut it. I got out of the pool and went to the bedroom where Jasper latched on for the first time. I remember feeling very shaky, not in a bad way, but just in a cold shivery way. I guess I just had had all that power surging through me and my body was just responding in that way. They got me a blanket to wrap around myself.
During the newborn exam he got a perfect apgar score and we found out that he weighed 8lbs 4oz and was 20 inches long. Just 3 oz more than his sister and just ¾ inches shorter. After I took a shower they checked me out and it was found that I had a surface abrasion but no tearing and definitely nothing that would need any sort of stitching. Jeanne went over everything that we were supposed to know- the comfrey compresses that were still freezing in the freezer, the stuff they had made for me to spray on myself in a peri bottle, etc. They left around 4am and we all tried to get some rest after Matt called his mom and my mom. My mom said she’d come over around 630 or 7am when Roxie woke up so she could take her for the day.
I was wired. No way could I sleep after such an amazing experience. I think it’s also probably all those hormones that flooded over me after the birth. All I could do was just lay and stare at my new son and talk to Matt about how wonderful everything was and had went. He was TIRED but was nice to me when I was being extra chatty and we eventually did all get a little bit of sleep.
Roxie woke up at 6:30am and I went in there and said “Roxie guess what? Jasper came out of mommy’s tummy!” She got all excited, even for how early it was and how groggy she was and said “he came out of mommy’s tummy!” and rushed into our room to see him. She started saying things like “we will change his diaper and give him a paci and he cries” etc etc. It was very cute and she was very in awe of her baby brother. It’s funny- I had stressed so much about childcare during the birth and was planning to have my mom pick her up during the birth, but didn’t want to have to wake her if it was nighttime, but also didn’t want her waking up in the middle of things. So it worked out just PERFECTLY to have her just sleep through it all.
Looking back on the birth, it was one of the most memorable and amazing couple hours of my life. It was very short and very intense and powerful, but painful is not a word that I would use to describe it at all and I feel so blessed to have gotten to opportunity to experience it. It was such an enjoyable experience and now I truly realize how birth is meant to be! Afterpains actually were more painful than the birth!