On January 29, 2017 at 4:46 am, our daughter was born, at home, unassisted.
It was a whirlwind experience – I honestly didn’t know babies could be born so fast! Thankfully we were already planning a home birth and as a Doula, I’ve seen enough births to know that my body is capable and not be afraid of the process.
Here’s the story and a few photos from a day I’ll never forget.
Around 4:00am I woke up in the middle of the night, having to pee, as usual. At this point I was six days past my estimated due date and I really didn’t want to be pregnant any longer. I remember walking back down the hall to our room and thinking, “come on, baby, let’s do this!”.
I got back into bed, tossing and turning for a while. Because baby had been positioned so low for such a long time, things were quite uncomfortable. I had been experiencing cramping and low pressure for the past week but no contractions yet.
Around 4:24 am Chris woke up to check on me (read: my tossing and turning woke him up). I told him to go back to bed because nothing was happening and that I was thinking of going downstairs to eat something (HA!). He suggested that we call the midwives just in case. I told him not to be silly and went to the bathroom again. When I got back he was on the phone with the midwives!! He passed off the phone to me and got out of bed, leaving me to try to convince the midwives that “nothing’s happening”.
By this point Chris is out of bed and wakes up my parents, telling them “it’s time”. They start to fill the birth pool with water and move cars out of the driveway to make room for the midwives. Meanwhile I’m on the phone with the midwives are starting to feel my first real contractions. The midwife convinces me that “maybe something is going on” and lets me know that they’ll start getting ready and make their way to our house in 45 minutes.
I hang up with the midwives, roll over onto all fours and ask Chris to get me my TENS unit while I rock through some massive contractions. We barely have time to get the TENS machine on when my body starts bearing down, getting the urge to push.
At this point I have a quick moment of panic because in the past, as a doula, I attended a birth where the nurses told my client that she was fully dilated prematurely, causing her to push when she wasn’t ready which resulted in a swollen cervix. Because my midwives hadn’t arrived yet I hadn’t been checked and had no idea how far along I already was. So I didn’t the only thing harder than pushing out a baby… trying NOT to push out a baby.
If you’ve been in labor before, you’ll know that fighting the urge to push is near impossible. It’s right on par with trying to stop yourself from throwing up…you can’t do it. Everything in your body is working to push that baby out of your uterus because like it or not, that little person is coming out!
Chris gets on the phone and urgently tells the midwives that I am getting the urge to push and they assure him that they’re already on the road headed our way. It’s 4:39am.
I reach down to feel baby’s head is already there. So Chris and I struggle to get my underwear off, somehow, in the middle of a contraction and by the end of it, her head is already out.
At this point Chris reminds me that my waters haven’t broken yet and while I’m on my knees, bracing the headboard, he’s positioned behind me like a football player ready to catch the baby. And he’s staring face to face with our daughter as she is still in the sac!
Even though Chris is really great under pressure and in high intensity situations, I could hear the concern in his voice so I started coaching him through what to do next and how to catch our baby, since the midwives still hadn’t yet arrived.
Next contraction her body shot out (actually!), the waters broke and Chris was left trying to catch a slippery little human flying out at him with some serious force.
She came out full cry and I directed Chris to turn her upside down so that any fluid would drain out of her mouth. We called the midwives at 4:46am… “never mind guys, baby’s here!”
The midwives, doula and photographer all arrived about 15 minutes later, with baby nestled safely on my chest. We cut the umbilical cord, birthed the placenta, started breastfeeding and after the midwives filled out all the official paperwork they informed me the whole labor and birth only took 16 minutes!! I was shocked.
Even though we didn’t get the birth captured with photos, I’m so glad that Candace Stock Photography was able to be with us for these special moments. The only thing sweeter than meeting our baby girl was the moment when our two children met each other. It melted my heart to see how much Chayton already loves her.
There really was something special about this home birth that made it a family event, a miracle that we all witnessed and a memory that we will all protect. Having Chayton present and my parents part of it was so special. I think our first birth we needed to do on our own, to enter into the world of parenthood together as a couple but this time was so different, the whole family needed to share in this together.
Skyana is here for all of us.
Again, I’m left in awe of what our bodies can do. Birth is so incredible. And I simply feel so blessed to have had the gift of bringing two beautiful children in to this world. I’m grateful that from now on they will always have each other.
And I pray that the world may be a better place because of it.
All photos by Candace Stock Photography who offers both doula services and birth photography. She’s amazing. Please visit her site and give her some love.