I wrote this up just a few days after the birth. I’ve edited it somewhat since I’m posting this for public review. I’m so glad to share though. It was such a fantastic moment for all of us.
On Wednesday the 28th I knew that I was feeling close finally. The previous few days I was really wondering if I would ever birth this baby! I think this is a good indication that baby is coming soon! I had woken up in the early morning with an awful muscle spasm in my calf so I was pretty tired all day and not really able to get any extra sleep.
Cam went to work his second night shift that evening. I didn’t tell him that I thought I was closer because I wasn’t sure I wanted him to be there during the birth.
Lily and I finished blowing up the birth pool, set up the video camera on the tripod and I double checked the *supplies I had. We pretty much just hung out that evening.
I had been having a tightening feeling since the day before. I remember telling my best friend Paxye that it felt so odd- like a hug and not uncomfortable at all. I also had period cramp type feelings and slight lower back soreness that would also be typical of having my period. Again, not all that uncomfortable. I wasn’t very hungry when it came to eating supper that night. Lily ate her lentil soup and most of mine as well.
Around 8 pm, I decided to call Cam to see if he could get off work for the night. Getting through to him was difficult because the woman that answered the phone was so excited with “is this it?!” type questions. I had come to my senses and realised that Cam would be devastated to miss the birth. I was having a few more contractions at this point and it was harder to help Lily when she needed it.
Cam came home at around 9pm and I was lying on the couch with contractions becoming a bit more intense, needing more thought and relaxation than the others. At some point I asked Cam to start filling up the pool. I puttered about with random manageable contractions while he filled the pool and Lily attempted to swim in it while it filled. I’m guessing I got in the pool sometime after 10pm.
We had the video camera going and I laboured away with Lily swimming all about me. The contractions seemed to be getting stronger. I didn’t really want to be touched during them and Lily was able to oblige me by not moving around when I had one.
Around 11pm both Lily and I got out of the tub. I puttered about some more. It seemed to felt best leaning my forearms and head on the bathroom counter swaying my hips. I would rotate between this position and sitting on the toilet with pacing the hallway.
Cam lay Lily down and she was asleep in seconds after all that warm pool play. I was having a hard time because I really had to have a bowel movement. I actually did most of the day without really feeling that full sense of relief so it was wonderful to finally be able to have one and there was a noticeable tension released. I decided to get back into the pool.
It actually seemed like I was in transition for a couple hours. Well that’s how long I went through a time were I was saying how tired I was and how I wished I had more of a break between contractions. This finally escalating into how I didn’t really want to do this anymore, I was just too tired and I just wanted it all to stop. I was sleeping in between most of the contractions.
At about 12:30am I started feeling my body bear down. I just couldn’t get in the right position to ease the feeling and was moving all about in the pool. I felt my water break at the end of a contraction and there was slight relief only to be met with another contraction. A couple more later and I put my hand down on my yoni because I could feel the end was near. I was still telling my body to slow down.
Next contraction I was on one knee with my arms on the side of the tub and the head came out. I was holding the head in my hand not moving or saying anything for fear of disturbing that momentary relief I felt. Cam said “I think I see the head” and I thought “gee thanks, it’s been in my hand for a while now”! The next contraction was coming on and I could feel the baby’s body turning in me and the head turning in my hand. What an incredible feeling!! I told Cam this and the baby came out.
When I turned around I realized that our baby was halfway across the pool from me. My body had only been bearing down for 10 min! I didn’t help with any “pushing”. Cam “caught” him and handed him to me. Cam said “it’s a boy”! I couldn’t submerge his body enough in the pool to keep him warm so asked Cam to grab a towel to cover him. I finally had a look for myself and my baby was in fact a boy! Wonderful! My son was born 40 minutes after midnight on March 29th 2007.
We stayed in the pool for a little while longer just talking about everything. When I decided to get out Cam helped hold our son while I stepped out being careful to keep him close since we were still attached. We hung out just outside the pool. I was a bit hopeful that the placenta would come at this point since I was so tired but it didn’t. The cord was totally white and limp so we decided to cut it so I could go lie on the couch where I could be more comfortable. My body was so tired! Cam got the embroidery floss I had braided for the occasion and we tied off the cord and cut it.
My son stayed on my body under a towel while I laid on the couch. Maybe 30 min later I felt the need to bear down again. I handed my son to Cam and rolled over into a kneel on the ready chux pad on the floor. The placenta plopped out and I finally felt empty. What a great feeling! I laid back on the couch with my son while Cam took a photo of the placenta. He also cut a small piece off for me to swallow before putting it in a bowl in the fridge for later. Oscar (our dog) sat silently by just looking. Being on a raw diet I’m sure he was interested in the blood and placenta.
We weighed our son with the fish scale and it read a little over 10lbs with the sling. I rinsed off my body in the shower before heading to bed. Have I mentioned that I was so tired!
My son had his first nurse at this point. I started sitting up but gave lying down a try and was surprised that it was so possible. It took weeks before I was able to nurse Lily lying down.
Cam and I talked for a bit longer in bed and couldn’t hold off on the sleep anymore. Hours later, Lily started to stir. I grabbed my camera on the night stand to catch her first look at her brother. She woke up with a surprise on her face and she immediately turned around to wake Cam letting him know there was a baby beside her! That was so awesome.
After the fact:
I was truly surprised at how little I bled in the following days after this birth. With Lily I had bled heavily for more than 6 weeks, not to mention the fact that I had to have a little cry each time I peed with how sore I was. With this birth my yoni felt normal right after the birth. I had a bit of general swolleness on my whole bottom the next day but the peri bottle wasn’t needed at all. The bleeding started tapering off about 48 hours after Leif was born. The after pains were really sore for about 48 hours when my breasts then became in extremely engorged. Thank goodness for my still nursing Lily to help with that! Leif is nursing really well and often.
*I’ll compile a list of the supplies I had on had here soon.
thanks for sharing this again… I love hearing your birthstory :)
Thank you for sharing this Annie. I feel really privileged to have read it. I was lucky to have two home births (though not water births, and not unassisted too). I had the same midwife for both, and she was very open-minded and forward thinking really, considering the way the National Health Service is in England. I was touched by your comments about feeling the head emerge as that was never anything I thought of doing. Although I birthed naturally, I think I was still fairly anxious about the whole thing. I tore quite badly with my first birth and I think I would have been quite scared of how things were doing “down there”, too scared to touch. Maybe next time.
Aw thanks Dawn! It was such a special moment. I wish I had more pictures but dh was preoccupied with looking at me that he didn’t take very many! At least I have the video I set up before labour picked up.
I know what you mean. When I had my first dd I wasn’t at all in tune with what was going on. I never felt her turn and my hand was pushed away when I tried to reach down. I tore badly too and she was only 6 lbs 14 oz. All my parts were left sore and feeling “broken”. It was just awful.
I can’t possibly convey how different it was the second time with my 10 lb son. Certainly one could say that this is only a difference between first and second child but I know that it also has to do with the circumstances. This time I wasn’t made to feel rushed or scared. My waters weren’t broken artificially to speed things up. I wasn’t told to unnaturally push. I wasn’t physically forced into the wrong position. I wasn’t touched roughly while he was coming out and his head wasn’t twisted or pulled by anyone. I wasn’t shot in the leg with pitocin without my consent after my baby was out.
This time I didn’t tear. I laboured for only 3 hours. I pushed for only 10 min. I wasn’t in shock and smiled when he was born. My tears were because I was overjoyed. I wanted to hold my baby after he was born. I felt like I could have sex that next day! I only bled for a about week. I didn’t cry each time I peed for weeks afterward.
If you have a next time I hope you have an even better experience than your last! You’re so lucky to have found an open minded midwife! Birth shouldn’t the traumatic, scary experience it more often than not is.
Thanks for commenting!
i’m a birth story junkie- loved reading yours. my 3rd ended up being unassisted, as it was precipitous and we hadn’t even called the midwife when Maxine flew out into my husband’s hands. it was so great! it was my 2nd VBAC, first homebirth. thanks for sharing your story
Oh thanks Sarah! I’m glad Paxye convinced me to share it. I wasn’t totally sure but I love a birth stories too so wanted to contribute after all that I’ve read.
Yay! Congratulations on a beautiful, healing birth, and on welcoming a new member to your family!
My favorite part of my second child’s birth was feeling him turn after the head was out. They’re just so smart! :)
I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, but just this morning read your birth story. What a privilege to read – thank you so much for sharing. I’ve had two births in hospitals, and am yearning – YEARNING! – for a homebirth for our next baby. The relaxed way you worked with your body is inspiring. Both of my births, I felt panic, fear, rush, imposed upon…etc. Each story I read of a homebirth only makes my desire for one stronger.
Thanks Amanda! My better second birth all started with wanting something more, becoming inspired that there was no reason I couldn’t have that and then making it a reality. Can you believe that my birth is remarkably similar to the only I imagined having for years before he was born?
Oh, what a beautiful birth story! Thank you so much sharing. It reminds me of my second in the way that with my first I bled for so long afterwards and I was really swollen. I had a really empowered 2nd birth and literally my yoni was in such great shape with minimal bleeding. It was great.
I’m pregnant again with my third and haven’t quite settled into a mindset for this birth-if that makes any sense. With my second I resolved that this would be the best birth ever and it’s not that I don’t want that for this third one–I just haven’t gotten there yet.
I wasnt able to read your birthstory, only snippets as I face how affected I am still by my hospital transfer after attempting a home water birth.
I had believed myself healed along with my body but this will be a long process. It is only seven weeks after all.
I focus on the fact we left the hospital an hour after Joeys entrance and went home with my daughter to the family bed… Yay. also the magic of labouring in the pool and the strength it bought to our bond, both baby and partner. I tell myself I wasn’t in control or responsible for the outcome…I guess we never are.
Thankyou for your wonderful blog, your helping this aussie woman on her mothering journey xxx
Thank You so much for sharing your beautiful birth story. It is very inspiring. Gives me hope for a homebirth for my next child, as our screwed up midwife program here in Nova Scotia made it not possible for my first.