If you had told me 5 years ago that I would give birth at home, TWICE, I would have laughed in your face. I would have thought you were absolutely out of your mind. Just give me the drugs. Give me the hospital. Give me the electronically coded bracelet so that nobody steals my baby.
I don’t know what changed for me. It might have something to do with watching my Dad whither away and die in a hospital. Somehow when someone dies in a hospital it seems….less personal. Unnatural. My grandfather passed away doing something he loved – he was outside shoveling snow when he suffered a heart attack. THAT is how people are supposed to die. Peacefully. At home. And perhaps that’s how I came to realize that death AND LIFE were meant to happen at home.
I went into labor about 3:30AM on September 17th. I was laying in bed and just couldn’t get comfortable. I was having a few contractions, but my water hadn’t broken. Historically that’s what always started my labor. This time, labor wanted to leave me guessing. When Bill woke up at 4:30AM to coach classes, I grabbed his arm and whispered, “I’m about 83% sure I’m in labor.” His response was, “Shit. What does that even mean?” He started calling our coaching team to see if anyone could fill in for him. About 20 minutes later I looked at him, still frantically dialing his phone and texting, and said “Remember when I was only 83% sure? Now I’m 99.9% sure.” And so…we called the midwife.
Don’t worry, I was so completely prepared for this birth, everything went perfect and magical. Bill and I got our sheets swapped out, the supplies all laid out, and the lights dimmed. I started listening right away to my Hypnobabies CD’s for labor. And to avoid the awkward transition of having to stagger from the bathroom floor to my bed while 9cm dilated, I decided to labor in my bed.
I found I was most comfortable kneeling on the bed and leaning forward onto the birthing ball. I rocked back and forth during contractions, and occasionally laid down between so I could rest a little. After leaning on that ball for what seemed like an eternity, my contractions started to get really intense. My hypnobabies relaxation techniques kept me relaxed the whole time. I’m not going to bullshit you and say labor was painless. I definitely felt everything that was happening. What I found helpful was that I viewed what I was feeling as productive pain. I visualized the baby coming down, and I let my body do its work.
Once it was time to push, I was hot. Like, burning hot. Bill pointed out that I was still wearing my t-shirt. I guess I was trying to spare myself some shred of modesty…which seems odd when there are people with headlamps staring at my vagina. Hey, I never claimed to be a completely rational person.
It’s worth mentioning that the lights stayed dim, and my soothing hypnobabies CD’s played the whole time I was in labor. I was perfectly in sync with what that lady with her calm voice was saying. She’d start talking about breathing out your baby and starting to push, and I’d push. She’d talk about baby crowning, and baby was crowning. The midwife even commented on how in sync everything was. It was like that lady and her soothing voice was the boss of my labor. Well, except for the part when I felt like I was going to vomit. Pretty sure she wasn’t helping with THAT.
Avery came into the world at 7:10AM after only a few minutes of pushing. Her first experiences in this world were peaceful. Quiet. Soothing. I had ditched the labor ball, and had my hands on the footboard of my bed. I was a little more prepared than I was with Brady. I remember thinking that I needed to lay back so that I could hold her. Only problem was she was completely covered in vernix. It was like someone smeared cream cheese all over my baby. Seriously. I could have stuck celery and raisins to her and laid her out as an appetizer. I was trying not to be grossed out. I was trying to be a loving, excited new Mom. Instead, all I could think about was fucking cream cheese. YUCK.
I kept my hands on her, keeping her warm, for a long time. The longer I held her, the more I realized that I was 100% totally and completely in love with her. She was perfect.
My placenta didn’t want to deliver right away. It was the weirdest feeling. The midwife kept saying, “Ok, now push for me.” I’m like…a champion pusher. I could go pro and get sponsored if pushing out babies was a competitive sport. But for some reason, my stupid uterus didn’t want to contract even one more time. Lazy, lazy uterus. The midwife and her nurse both started to get all rush-y and panic-y when I couldn’t muster up the strength for even one more push. Apparently I was bleeding heavily. The midwife was ready to administer a syringe of something mystical, when she decided I should try eating some dark chocolate. Would you believe that shit worked? The dark chocolate made my uterus contract one last time, and out it came! VOILA!
Everything went as planned. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to bring Avery into this world. Brady stayed asleep the whole time, both our Moms were downstairs when she was born, and my sister was even here. Katelyn got to stay home from school and the midwife let her cut the umbilical cord. How cool is THAT!? I feel blessed to have had such loving, supportive people by my side to help me delivery my beautiful baby girl.