On April Fools Day, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named, Clark. I wrote a post on how to prepare for homebirth and so when the day arrived things fell into place just as planned. The day before I gave birth I’d been experiencing a little cramping. Nothing unusual but the sense a woman gets when her monthly cycle is going to begin. I had a feeling that it was the onset of labor so I told my husband to be prepared to come home (he commutes an hour away). Just after I called him he left work because he too had a feeling. I called him in the early morning before 10AM and we spent the rest of the day taking it easy.
The cramping had subsided by late afternoon. I was 38 weeks and 4 days and ready to have a baby! I didn’t realize that he’d really come on April Fool’s day as some had predicted. That evening I went to bed at 8:30pm and woke up with surprise to what I thought was my water breaking. It turns out that I had a high leak which means that baby Clark only tore my bag of waters rather than rupture it. With my first my water broke and that was that! This time around it was a gradual process.
I contacted my midwife immediately after discovering the high leak and she told me to rest up since we knew what was coming. I couldn’t fall asleep. I was far too excited to finally meet our newest addition. My mom had stopped by to check up on my at 5AM on her way to work. She was secretly hoping that I was in active labor so she could catch this baby too! Around 9AM we re-contacted the midwife to make sure she was on her way (they didn’t make it to my first birth) and give her a status. It was a sunny and breezy day out.
At about the time the midwife and the assistant arrived (11:30pm) I started to have mild surges. Before the surges, I managed to make labor aide tea, spilt pea soup, tidy the house and arrange our bedroom for birth. The surges continued to stay mild for awhile. It was all so lovely and peaceful. I never once felt rushed or pushed by the midwife or the assistant. They checked Clark’s heartbeat about every hour until active labor begin and then they checked on Clark’s status more often as I began to transition.
A little later that afternoon we went for our last walk as a family and within a half hour the surges became closer and started to grab my uterus much stronger. I repeated the mantra “with every breath I support the arrival of my baby” in my head and that seemed to keep me calm and relaxed. During active labor I applied a few Hypobirthing techniques to allow myself to breath baby out rather than push. When the surges were three minutes apart I made the decision to get into the water birth tub. My husband had lit candles and set the ambiance in the room for the arrival of our son while Bluegrass music (of all choices) was playing in the background. As soon as I sat down in the tub I felt relief and was calm. I allowed my body to let go and find strength within so that I could deliver Clark. I was confident and comfortable.
I labored with my mom and husband by my side. My not yet two year old (turned two on Earth Day 09′) had gone with my husbands parents for a short while but returned just before Clark was born. The surges began to get intense but being in the water was soothing and felt cozy. I never once felt like I needed to go to the hospital or felt like terrible pain. My mom would pour water over my chest during a surge and it would help wash them away. My husband would play with my hair and rub my neck occasionally. I felt like a goddess and was empowered and overtaken. It’s hard to put my finger on it…but it is a euphoric and mysterious feeling, being in labor. It feels as though the universe stops, to bring into it a new child! It was amazing.
I became very focused and my mama bear endearing growls began- Clark was clearing his path and I could feel every movement, each slide, wriggle and attempt. I took deep slow breaths. My midwife was next to my side at this point. Gently reminding me to take it slow and easy. Her soft breath and warm words were very comforting. I can remember looking deeply into my husbands eyes and just feeling his energy and there was so much love.
I started to feel a tingly sensation in my hands then in my body almost as if I wanted to get weak from the flood of hormones my body was creating for arrival. With two pushes in a 15 minute time span Clark entered the world. My husband received Clark and passed him on to me within seconds. Clark was born at 7:41 PM – weighing in at a whopping 9lbs. 3 oz. and 21 inches long! I was in such a state of calmness it’s hard to describe. After I delivered the placenta and cleaned up they were happy to tell me that I did not tear! I felt great and was immediately able to nurse Clark and welcome our new son.
As I look back, I still can’t believe I gave birth four months ago. It was truly unforgettable experience. I didn’t think I’d be a mother of two so soon but I have no regrets. I look forward to watching the boys grow up together and can’t wait to tell them each their birthing stories. I’m grateful to be lucky and fortunate enough to give birth at home and have the opportunity to have a water birth experience. Even though the midwives didn’t make it for the first birth they definitely made up for it with the second. They spent the entire day and evening with me. They cleaned and packed up their medical necessities after labor but did not rush out the door.
That night, I laid my baby into his Moses basket and overlooked in awe as he lay so still and quiet. He did not even make a peep until 4AM. He has been calm and a great sleeper ever since. He’s a peaceful little guy and certainly fooled me!
[This post was written by Leslie Quigley.]