This is a great story sent to me by Marvelous Kiddo reader, Kaelee. I loved learning about her journey to a home birth, and how all of her research and preparation led her to a genuine place of peace, which allowed her to face the hard work of giving birth with strength and confidence. The photos of this birth are wonderful, too. To see a slideshow of the birth, go here. Thanks for sharing, Kaelee!
My “due date” was May 13th, but I kept telling myself to expect Hazel to come later. Nevertheless the last week or so was extremely hard. I just wanted to hold my baby in my arms. My sister-in-law, who’s baby wasn’t due until the 24th went in on the 17th for an induction, which did not make waiting for our baby any easier. I knew that we wanted to birth naturally in our own home, and if that meant waiting then wait I would.
Wednesday, at my last meeting with my midwife, I confessed my frustrations. Cathy comforted me, and said she had a feeling that things would start happening on Friday, and she was right. Thursday night I tossed and turned. The sensations I was experiencing were new and different. I asked Mike to take Friday off from work, just in case. He humored me, I think in part, because I had kept him up with my squirming all night.
On Friday we did some grocery shopping, just in case we wouldn’t have another chance to. On the way to the store I vomited. The only time in my life I have gotten excited about throwing up. Something was happening. I kept asking Mike if he thought we would have our baby the next day. We shopped, went home, took a nap, and Mike made dinner. Right in the middle of dinner my water broke, at 7:00pm on Friday May 20th. I hadn’t been paying much attention to the sensations I was feeling, unsure if they were real contractions. They were very distant from one another though, maybe an hour apart. I called Cathy to report the news. She said she would plan on being at our house with her assistant at midnight, unless things began progressing quickly. It was quite a drive for them, so regardless of my progress they would be staying until the baby was born.
I called my sister with a list of supplies, and called my Mom. Mike and I decided it would be best to rest and try to sleep at that point. Everyone arrived around midnight. Cathy and her assistant, Sarah, checked Hazel’s heart rate, and my dilation. It would be a while. We all went to separate corners of the cabin to get some rest. By then surges were more like every 15 minutes. I spent a lot of time going back and forth from the bathroom. It seemed like surges were easier when my bladder was empty. I slowly progressed through the night, with the support of Mike, and the occasional heart rate check by Cathy. I remember emerging from the bathroom many times into a very peaceful, dimly lit cabin. Cathy sipping her tea comfortably in the recliner, and Mike stoking the fire. I was glad to be at home.
As surges grew more intense I climbed into our bath tub for relief. The water was very helpful, and I told mike to get the birthing tub filled and ready for me. They started to get pretty strong around 6 a.m. I climbed in the birthing tub, and worked really VERY hard to breathe through each surge for the next 4 hours. Mike was so helpful here. Many times he reminded me about my (Hypnobirthing) breathing, which I know I could have spent a lot more time practicing. My sister was awake, and snapping pictures. My mother was standing by, I think wishing there was something she could do to help. Occasionally she would wipe my forehead with a wet cloth, or place her hand on my shoulder to comfort me. A few times I recall looking up at each of them to see tears in their eyes, as well as Mike’s. My memory is hazy, I believe I was in sort of a daze, working to relax. The midwives simply watched over us, holding the space. The calm.
I started feeling a little bit of an urge to push around 9 am, but wasn’t sure if that’s what it was. My midwife said she could check me, or I could just check to see if I felt Hazel’s head myself. I tried, and got a bit discouraged because I wasn’t sure what I felt, but didn’t think anything felt like a baby’s head. Looking back, I’m pretty sure that what I felt was a small lip of my cervix, and her mushy head right behind it. I didn’t think that is what her head would feel like at the time, and couldn’t believe that after hours of hard work, no head.
Sometime during that last hour Mike turned off the music, and put on the affirmations. I’m glad he waited until then to pull that out, because it reminded me of so many things we had practiced, that I was forgetting about. I was letting myself get anxious and tense, and it was as if a had been given a pill to make me relax. Peace washed over me.
I had been kneeling in the pool for about 4 hours and my knees and hips were aching. Cathy or Mike, I don’t recall who, suggested I change positions; stand up. I stood and felt a surge coming. I hung my whole body weight around Mike for the next two surges. They were hard, and so close together. I was so tired. Changing positions must have helped the baby to move down past my cervix. After I knelt back in the pool, the pushing urges were so very powerful.
At Briana’s funeral a young birth mother and friend of Briana’s spoke of her own birth experience. She said something that I think I was meant to hear. I do not remember the exact wording, though it was very eloquent. When it came time to push Briana specifically instructed her that she would want so badly to push on top of the sensation, but to fight it. Not to push on top of it or she would tear. She tensed up, she pushed, and she tore. For some reason this stuck with me. Perhaps this was Briana, doing her part. This was Briana being my midwife. When these sensations came, I kept remembering these words. ”Do not push on top of it” I kept thinking over and over. It would get more intense and I would fight against it. I wasn’t trying to hold the baby in, and I wasn’t trying to push her out, I was fighting to relax. Mike had his arms around me, and I was clinging to him, grasping his arms so tightly. Each time one would come, I would tense up and Mike would remind me to take a long deep breath. I hummed loud, or did “horse lips” when I would breathe out. Mike made noise along with me. There was a huge difference in the progress I made when I was tense, as opposed to when I was able to go inside of my mind and relax. I struggled between these two places. The breathing we learned in our HypnoBirthing class for this last stage of labor was the one thing I practiced daily, and was especially important.
During a surge, Cathy told Megan that she better get over there with the camera, because she would only have one chance to capture Hazel being born. She said I had a few more to go. I heard that, and in my mind I said "No way! I am not going through any more of these!" I felt the next surge coming and I pushed, I pushed hard. I was done. I didn’t care if I tore, I wanted to be finished. I pushed, and she came right out. I felt her come out. I didn’t feel burning, I didn’t feel pain, I just felt the pressure, and then I felt it disappear. I reached through my legs, under the water, and Cathy handed Hazel to Mike and I. She was so sticky. We brought her out of the water, and I just stared and stared at her. I was so happy to finally be holding our little girl. She was covered in thick vernix, and she was a crier. She stayed in my arms for over an hour, and I was oblivious to what was happening around me. I remember occasionally glancing at Mike, my mom, my sister, and my midwives, kind of in disbelief. Was this real? Had it all really taken place? Was I really a mom now? After an horu or so, her cord was clamped and cut, and her daddy got to hold her for the first time. I suffered no perineal tears, and no significant swelling. Afterwards I was elated, and felt a rush of energy. The things I learned about birth empowered me to believe that my body was meant for this, and to follow my instincts. That is exactly what I did.
Hazel Fae: Born 5/21/2011, 9:59 AM. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and was 21 inches long.
And my heart was changed forever.
I have been thinking a lot about my choice to transfer care from our OB/GYN to a midwife. It had so much to do with taking my Hypnobirthing class. At the first class I felt something, a peace that I hadn’t felt. When we met (Our deceased midwife) Briana I felt it again, and I knew that this was right. As I transitioned into the world of natural childbirth, that peace went from being a feeling I noticed only around others, into something that grew within me. I thrived in this nurturing atmosphere. This is where my fear faded away, and my confidence emerged. We are so lucky to have experienced something so perfect. We have absolutely no complaints. I learned so much about myself, and grew tremendously from Hazel’s birth.
I loved being able to labor at home in my own space, with the support of four amazing women, and my own husband. What a quiet, peaceful environment for a child to be born into. . I know I did a hard thing, and I know I did it right