In Lindsay's (the birthing mama) Words:
I’m going to start by saying this: admittedly there was a time when Matt and I joked about “kiddie pool” births (meaning home water births) and we poked fun at it. Historically home birth never crossed my mind. With Arie, I did everything the “traditional” way and unfortunately ended up having a very traumatic birth with her. In many ways after her birth, I felt robbed of the initial bonding and wonderful emotions that come with holding your baby for the first time. I had a very long rough labor with Arie (from start to finish it was 36 hours with about 15 of those in active labor). Long story short, when it was time to deliver Arie the umbilical cord was around her neck so when the doctor went to pull it off (she was rushed and rough with it) the cord snapped in half. They had to take Arie away right away to get that taken care of. Meanwhile, the doctor immediately tried to tug on my placenta to deliver it and my placenta ruptured inside of me into pieces. The doctor ended up leaving some placenta inside of me and I was back at the hospital the night I was discharged with a huge infection (that they told me went sepsis throughout my blood). I was so sick and ended up being in the hospital for a week on IV antibiotics. I didn’t get to have immediate skin to skin with Arie or even hold her right away. I was so delirious and did not feel well from the labor that I really missed out on all that initial bonding. The infection from the placenta caused me to be even more sick I could barely care for Arie that first week let alone enjoy our new precious addition.
Fast forward to this pregnancy, I knew I wanted a much better outcome for my birth experience. Since having Arie I have become more natural minded about things and so I realized I have options to help achieve a better birth experience. The hospital was something I initially thought I would still do but I knew I wanted a natural birth with no epidural. As my pregnancy progressed and I thought more about the natural birth I envisioned I began to look into other options aside from the hospital. We toured a couple of birth centers and even began to have conversations about home birth. Initially, we thought we may be more comfortable with a birthing center. The more we looked into it the more home birth stood out to me. I knew Matt would have some initial reservations, but he at least entertained the idea and kept an open mind as we became educated on what home birth is all about. After meeting with an incredible midwife it was so clear to me that a home birth is what I wanted. Matt began to have fewer reservations and slowly became more accepting of the idea as well (talk to him now and he would tell you it is the best thing ever, he is totally sold and in love with home births now). I wanted a birth that would be intimate, quiet, calm, and deeply/spiritually connected with Matt and I working hard together to bring our baby girl into the world and that’s exactly what we got. We ended up committing to a home birth, hired our midwife and also hired a doula for emotional and physical support to help us achieve a natural birth because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. The whole process from the prenatal appointments to the birth to the after-care has been far different (in an amazing way) from the “traditional” hospital and doctor office care. Not that there is anything wrong with the traditional way it works for most people, but having a midwife and doing a home birth has been way more personal with the best care I have ever had.
As I prepared for my birth I learned that my body was made to birth a baby and to trust my body and the process. Medical intervention only needs to happen when necessary. Women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time, so let your body do what it is capable of doing. At the beginning of this pregnancy I still had a lot of fear surrounding birth but over time I learned to let go of that fear and view birth from a totally different lens. One where I am confident and capable. I become excited and focused only on thoughts that would help me achieve a beautiful natural birth where I trust my body and my baby. On 12/7/18 my water broke all on its own at 10:00pm. Contractions and active labor started about 1:00am. On 12/8/18 baby girl blessed us with her presence at 5:36am (that is 7 and a half hours total and only 4 and half hours of active labor). I trusted my body and my baby and it's beyond amazing what can happen when you do this. Although there was a point (or several points lol) where the pain was so intense, I didn’t know how I was going to continue it was truly the most incredible experience of my life. I got all that initial bonding that I missed out on with Arie and the recovery has been night and day compared to my first.
And here's their story in pictures, with a little narration from me!
At 10pm on December 7th Lindsay called me to let me know her water had just broken! I had just fallen asleep, of course, as such is the #doulalife. She said she wasn't really having any contractions yet, but she had let her midwife know that it had happened. I encouraged her to try (I know it's nearly impossible) to lie down and rest even if she couldn't sleep and let nature take it's course. I too, went back to sleep.
She called me back at 1am to let me know that contractions had started and could I please get ready to come out. So I got dressed, made my cup of coffee and 2 pieces of toast (I do this for every birth... It's a weird ritual thing that I always eat the same thing on my way to a birth) grabbed my bag and made my way out to their house. I messaged her midwife, Jetta Anderson of Family First Midwifery, to let her know I was on my way. She was getting ready to come as well.
When I arrived this was the scene... Lindsay was starting to feel uncomfortable laying in bed through contractions and decided to try getting back onto the ball.
Soon enough sitting no longer felt great, so she wanted to stand and I helped show Matt how to do double hip squeezes, a powerful tool in the #doula handbook.
That stage where you just can't get comfortable... And are also so tired... Another attempt at laying down...
At this point I suggested she get in the shower to help with her contractions and to help with her energy. The shower is one of the most magical tools during a natural labor. It helps so much with that place that isn't quite transition but surges are coming fast and the pressure of labor starts to build.
It was now definitely time to get in the "kiddie pool" as Lindsay and Matt used to jokingly call it!
Once Lindsay got into the #birthpool it was apparent to me and the midwives that things were indeed moving along quickly at this point. Both the midwives were now present and near by holding space and supporting this lovely couple as they labored together.
After just a bit, and as happens in physiologic birth, it was clear that her body had started to push. There was no need to move mom onto her back, or aggressively check her cervix. Her body was just doing what it knew to do.
At this point I took over for Matt holding Lindsay so that he could move behind her as he was planning on catching their baby. She bravely vocalized her baby down and embraced her power as a birthing woman. It was magnificent to watch her strength and her surrender to the power of her labor
A quick change of position! Lindsay needed to stretch her legs and all of a sudden baby was on the way out!