It isn’t often that I get to hear the birth story from the mother’s point of view. I can’t thank her enough for sharing her story! I hope you enjoy.
On Thursday, January 24th, my husband Daniel and I went to a bible study at our friends Nick and Katie’s home at 7pm. I was 6 days past my “due date”. We all prayed that the baby would come that night. I started feeling tightening in my stomach before we left their house. We got home a little while later and I felt like we should go on a walk because something felt like it was changing and I was hoping it would “gain momentum,” if that was even possible. We started walking briskly and I even jogged. By the time we got back home I thought I was having regular contractions but wasn’t sure. We sat in the living room and relaxed while I bounced on my exercise ball. I finally started to time contractions at 9 pm and noted that they came every five minutes for an hour. Around 10pm I decided to call my midwife Emmy Trammell. She was in New Orleans but said she would send Nicki, her intern and assistant, to be with me. I had known Nicki for a while now as she had been present at most of my prenatal visits at Emmy’s office. I also called Joylynn, who was going to photograph the birth. Joylynn lives right around the corner from us, and so she arrived shortly after we spoke. I was in my bathtub trying to relax through contractions when she got to the house. I was soon on my way to another world. I could somewhat vaguely hear Daniel talking and Joylynn snapping photos, but I couldn’t really hear them. It was as if I was on an airplane and the noise around me was muffled. Physical feelings were becoming muffled too. I couldn’t feel much, my body must have started blocking out the pressure of labor. I didn’t feel pain, but pressure. I surrendered to the waves of contractions and everything started going so fast. Contractions were strong by now, and I drifted deeper into that strange yet enjoyable mental state that many refer to as “labor land”. I got out of my bathtub and got comfy in my bed. Nicki arrived at 11 pm. She massaged and put pressure on my back during the contractions, which relieved a lot of the tension. She suggested that I walk around the house and try different positions. It didn’t sound like it would feel very good but I was open to trying different things, so I agreed. We walked to the kitchen and I leaned over the counter for a contraction and soon realized that I preferred to be in my bed. I walked back towards the bedroom but was stopped in the hallway by another contraction- they were coming quickly now – I leaned into it and let out a loud groan, and after it passed, I hurried to my bed so that I could settle in before the next contraction, which were about a minute apart by now. I never expected to make such strange noises. The noises and moaning really helped relieve the pressure. It was as if there was so much energy bottled up inside of me and if I didn’t let it out through my voice, the pressure would build. I remember looking at people but not really feeling like I could make eye contact. I really was in another world. I had never experienced anything like this. Emmy arrived around 12 am and upon seeing me and how I had progressed, immediately checked to see how dilated I was. When she announced that I was completely dilated, everyone started moving and working quickly, as the birth pool was not yet set up. I would have never anticipated things progressing so quickly. After a few rounds of vomit, I decided to stay close to the bathroom. Then I tried a few contractions sitting on the toilet, and all of a sudden I got the urge to push! It was involuntary, like a reflex. I remember yelling through a contraction: “I’M PUSHING!!!!” At 1:10 am my water conveniently broke on the toilet. I remember seeing gloves and hands and even my dog’s paws. For some reason I don’t remember seeing faces. Everyone scrambled to check on me, and my loyal [worried] furry friend had to be locked up because he was constantly in the way of everything. My husband set up the birth pool, and connected the hose from the laundry room and filled it as much as he could. I had already accepted the fact that I may not get to deliver in the pool. I felt like this baby was coming. Still laboring on the toilet, I looked over to my own bathtub and wondered if I should just go ahead and fill it and get in. I waited for the next short break from contractions. I got up from the toilet and made my way over to the birth pool and decided to get in. The water felt so good. All the tension melted away. Contractions slowed down and I was able to take a break. About four hours had passed now. I felt so energized from adrenaline yet sleepy as I am not one to stay up late. The tub was only about one fourth full but it still felt wonderful. I knew the end was near. I was really ready for this to happen. I moved around in the tub and tried different positions with each contraction. I was getting closer. At 1:45 my baby was crowning. I reached down and felt something that was not me. I felt her head. This gave me the motivation to keep pushing. At 1:47 am, on my knees and leaning over the edge of the pool, I pushed and her entire head was out, followed by her body. I felt relief immediately. I turned over and had to pull her through my legs so I could turn around from being on my knees to on my bottom. I brought her up from the water and the cord was wrapped around her neck twice. Emmy and I both tried to remove it at the same time. I was too excited. Emmy unwrapped the cord and I sat back against the pool edge and brought my baby to me. She opened her eyes and let out a cry. My birth team put towels on us to keep her warm. It was the best feeling in the entire world. Nicki listened to her heartbeat while we stayed in the tub a few minutes. With baby and cord still attached, I decided I wanted to get out of the pool and get comfortable in my bed. My baby girl immediately found and latched on to my breast and was a very strong nurser. Breastfeeding brought more contractions, which I didn’t expect (the things no one ever tells you or you don’t think to ask!) and at 2:20 am I delivered the placenta. My husband cut the umbilical cord at 2:30 after it stopped pulsating. A little while later, my new bundle and I took an herb bath together in my bathtub. Later, my birth team examined me and found a small suture that they took care of while my family visited with Ezra in the living room. The next few days were absolutely blissful. I experienced an overwhelming amount of adrenaline that lasted for a couple of days. I couldn’t stay seated. I couldn’t rest. I couldn’t sleep at night. It was pure energy. I didn’t really have any recovery period like I expected I would. I felt great. I bled very little thanks to the arnica that Emmy gave me. The midwifery care that we had postpartum (as well as prenatal, delivery, etc) was absolutely the best. Emmy and Nicki came to our home to check on me and baby every day for a few days and then every other day. I didn’t have to worry about anything. Ezra had a mild case of jaundice, so we stayed upstairs in a sunny bedroom so that she could be exposed to the sun. Birthing at home was such a great experience. It was private, personal, and convenient. For me, I can’t imagine birthing any other way.