To Willow: Who we didn’t name you for 3 days. You were always Willow Sol. Meant to be born on the full moon!
I have been waiting to experience your birth, the birth of my baby but also my birth into motherhood.
On 10/23/18 around 8:30pm I was stretching my hips (nightly occurrence) when I had a gush of water. Dave was in bed and jumped up as I ran to the bathroom. Luckily it wasn’t enough to get on the floor. Dave was confused as to why it wasn’t a big gush! I called our midwife to let her know things seemed to be happening but that contractions had not started. We hoped to be able to get in bed and go to sleep. I laid there making a plan. I was going to fall asleep wake up early with contractions but be able to make it to my 9 am Chiropractor appointment. That didn’t happen! Dave got a few hours, but contractions started around 9pm and I was finally up at 11 pm because as hard as I tried, I couldn’t sleep. I told Dave to get the birth pool ready/set up while I showered. The shower felt great, but it kicked my contractions up a notch. I started being vocal during contractions and even felt the urge to squat down for a few of them. I thought to myself that it seemed odd how fast things were moving. Once I shaved my legs and washed my hair I got out and started getting sick. I sat on the toilet, my contractions were about 3 minutes apart lasting for a minute and around 1:30 am I had Dave call our Midwife and tell her to come. I was really regretting eating shrimp green curry for dinner!
Our midwife arrived around 2:30am. She checked my dilation around 3am and I was 3 cm and 90% effaced. I had no idea what time it was and thought it was only like midnight. It didn’t faze me that I was “only” 3 cm. If being a doula has taught me anything it’s that it doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to dilate, effacement is a better sign.
I started to throw up around that point and labor got much harder. I ran back and forth to the bathroom for a while, we got vitals and made sure everything was good. I never questioned mine or her safety. Dave was with me every moment and I felt safe. He held my hand, swapped out my puke bucket and kept me hydrated!
Around 3:30am one of the birth assistants and our birth photographer showed up. I was finally done being sick and was laboring on the couch. Surprisingly, laboring on my knees laid over the back of the couch really helped. I have bad knees and never thought I would labor on them. I switched from side lying with Dave holding my leg, to standing, to laying over the couch.
Around 4am the other Midwife (who was assisting) showed up and as a team they decided to give me space and let me labor as I wasn’t in “active” labor yet. My midwife went upstairs to nap thinking it would be a while and they would check me again in 4 hours in hopes of active labor. The two assistants waited around in the dining room as I labored with Dave. They checked on me as needed. I decided to get in the birth pool at that point. Labor felt more intense to me and I moved between laboring on my knees laid over the side of the tub, to laying on my side in the tub. I remember starting to think about all the births I had attended as a Doula over the years. How I was sure that only 1 of the natural labor I had been to was “harder” then mine. How silly it seemed to choose natural birth again, that I had done it this time and wouldn’t again
Contractions spaced out a bit to 3-6 minutes apart, not that I knew that. I was in labor land for sure. The midwife who was assisting asked me if I wanted to call a Doula (we had decided to not officially hire anyone and that if I felt I needed that support I would call Doula friends of mine for support) at that point I didn’t want the support as I felt like things were shifting and I HAD to be progressing fast.
I started to get more vocal with contractions and remember crying for a second. Mostly out of surrender. I wasn’t scared. I was just overwhelmed with the idea of laboring longer like this. The reality that I would soon hold my baby, and all this would be behind me. That I would make it through this, just as I had helped so many women.
My birthing area was perfect. I had the pool in our living room. I had hung lights, mantras written from friends, a candle burning from my Blessing Way, an awesome play this, fake candles all over the place and lots of crystals! I kept looking at the mantras and as I rocked in the pool, I repeated that I was safe and capable of birthing my baby. I am a firm believer in creating a space that feels safe and empowering.
Around 5:45am I told the assistant that I felt pushy and that contractions felt a lot more intense. 30 minutes later I got out of the tub hoping to progress with a change in position. Once I was out, there was a bigger shift in sensation, and I asked to be checked. I was SURE I had to be in transition.
At 6:20am my midwife came down to check me and I was 9cm 100% effaced with a cervical lip (a bit more cervix) on my right side. I was so relieved to be 9 cm and we decided to do standing lunges on my right side to create space and remove the lip of my cervix on that side. By 6:30am I was back in the water on my hands and knees pushing! 10 minutes later I felt her move down farther and I knew she was coming fast. My bag of water was bulging. I had intense pressure in my bottom. I remember not feeling like I was getting breaks between contractions. With every contraction I was getting pressure applied to my hips, everyone in the room was working hard to help me. My midwife and I discussed that I wanted to rupture my waters to allow her head to move down farther.
Around 7am she ruptured my water and 20 minutes later I was feeling her head as I pushed! I felt her head and it was so smooth I thought she didn’t have hair, with the next push I felt her head again and yelled that she did have hair, LOTS of it! I was born with a lot of hair so her having hair was important to me. Another 10 minutes passed, she had fully crowned and with one push her head came out. I remember looking up at my midwife and telling her to pull the baby out. I couldn’t imagine willingly pushing her out. Of course, my midwife smiled at me and said to push. I did and there she was!
Our baby girl was born at 7:44am, as I squatted in the birth pool, my husband caught her and we both carried her out of the water. I laid back in the pool and held her on my chest. Dave came behind me and we took it all in! I was so relieved, so unaware of the pain I just experienced. Her face was really swollen so her nose looked big and the first thing I said was, “she has your fucking nose”. We joked in pregnancy that she could look like Dave, except for his manly nose. There she was, so cute with a full head of hair and his nose. I have a potty mouth and I guess that came out in birth!
We got to spend time with her on my chest as we waited for my placenta to come. I wasn’t feeling the urge to push so we got out of the pool. The placenta was still attached to her via the umbilical cord. We wanted to delay cord cutting. We got out of the pool with help from everyone and laid on the couch to deliver the placenta, while she laid on my chest. I was so hungry immediately and requested a peanut butter sandwich, my raspberry flavored BCAA’s and for Dave to pop the bottle of Rose from our trip to France! It was fun to toast to her birth and the hard work we did together as a family
Three meconium poops later she had to be washed off because it’s like TAR! We got into bed as a family, had our vitals done and finally got to weigh her! She was 19 inches long and 8 lbs 5 oz. Soon after we were settled and everything was cleaned up our birth team left, and we got to sleep.
I still can’t believe that my labor was under 12 hours from water breaking to pushing her out! I went from 3 cm to 9 cm in 4 hours and 3cm to delivery in less than 5 hours. She was born with her hand up and based on her facial bruising our midwife said she most likely was facing up at some point but managed to flip into the right position for delivery. All that to say our bodies and babies are AMAZING! I am so thankful for a healthy pregnancy that allowed us to give birth at home. For our amazing birth team, my midwife and friend Morgan and for my amazing partner for being there in every way.
Special thanks to Stephanie of Stephanie BC Photography for our amazing birth photos and this beautiful video of our birth. It still brings me to tears to watch.
I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator and Primal Health Couch. Essentially I am a women's health nerd. I have struggled with Autoimmune issues for the last 10 years, and more recently fertility issues. This along with my birth work, has driven me to self research. I have added a blog to my site in hopes of giving resources to clients or those interested in these topics. I would love feedback and comments.
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