Here I was 41 weeks and 1 day pregnant and feeling fabulous. Almost like I wasn’t at the end of pregnancy. Shouldn’t I be miserable? Everyone assumed I was or that I should be. The thought that this baby was never going to come started to seep into my brain. Of course, I knew I would not be pregnant forever, but you start to wonder.
I am a firm believer in baby will come when baby is ready. But if I heard ONE more person say that to me, I was going to scream. My biggest fear was having to be transferred to the hospital to be induced. As each day passed, I was closer to 42 weeks and each day I was still pregnant.
For weeks I had been having tiny contractions here and there. Nothing major, none that told me, “Ok! THIS is labor!” The week before I really went into labor, I would go for five hours with contractions 10 minutes apart. Again, nothing painful or serious, but enough to know my body was getting ready. Since we were having a home birth, every night I would “prepare” my house – in hopes that I would have a birth team coming that night or the next morning. Then, I would wake up each morning…pregnant. I love being pregnant. I feel like I’m that weird lady that would be pregnant forever if I could, but I was REALLY ready to meet this baby. I wanted to hold them and kiss them and know if they were a boy or a girl!
So here we are, Saturday, July 16 (41w1d). Finally, I sent a text to my doula for some words of encouragement. She told me to take a day to myself – no social media, find something relaxing to do, take a bath, etc. I had been having small contractions again, but nothing consistent. I decided to do some acupressure points, drink some tea, organize my craft closet, (insert that other thing you do to induce labor here…a few times) and finally, relax and take a bath and have a heart to heart with this baby. At 10:30 I had one really big sharp pain in my lower abdomen and thought, “YES!! It worked! Let’s see if there’s another….” Ehhhh…nothing. Off to bed I went.
Sunday, July 17 12:30ish a.m. I woke from what I thought might be a contraction. I kept reminding myself what my midwife told me “Labor will call you out of bed.” I doze back off. Woke up again – same feeling. I decide to get up and use the restroom and go back to bed. Again! It’s happening again! But these are not small and are a little painful. I kept referring back to my first birth when I was in labor. My contractions woke me up at 5 minutes apart and I was able to handle them pretty well for a long time. But these, these were a little intense. Another one came. They seemed so far apart but felt like forever. I decided to time them, but also try and sleep in between. At first, 12 minutes apart, lasting 1:45. Then 10 minutes later, another one. Eight minutes later, another one. Five minutes later another one! They weren’t consistent but were coming so fast. I figured this really could be it. I decided to get up and take a shower. In the shower I was only able to wash my hair because I had 3 contractions back to back. There’s no way these are 5 minutes apart, I thought. I get out, another one. I time them, brush my hair, get partially dressed, another one. THREE minutes. By this time it’s 2:00 a.m. and they just keep coming anywhere from 3:30 – 2:45 minutes apart. I take one last photo of my belly at 2:36 a.m. I decided to call my doula to see what she thought. By this point they’re consistently 3 minutes apart, but now only lasting 50ish seconds long. I also call the midwife. More contractions come. I wake up my husband and tell him I called the midwife because I’m in labor. He wakes up and we start getting the room ready. It was also really adorable because he ran downstairs and mopped...haha! I try eating in between; napping is out of the question because I’m too excited!
A little after 3:30 the doula arrives. I’m still chatty cathy but tell her when the contractions come, it’s intense. I kept referring back to my first birth, “They were not this intense until later on…” I make sure we contact my other doula friend and of course, the photographer! Sometime after 4:00 a.m. I’m throwing up. The doula tells Chris to call the midwife. Thankfully, she’s awesome and was already waiting for the official invite to come on up! She came in and I was still able to talk and laugh with her. I labored in a squatting position for a while. I start to feel myself entering labor land. My eyes want to be closed. I want to be by myself. But yet, I don’t want to be alone. Us laboring women are demanding like that.
I attempt to use the restroom and try to give the midwife one last dang urine sample. I had one contraction on the toilet and it was nice to be in a different position. I labored there for a while and ask if I can get in the tub. By this time everyone is here and I know baby is coming soon, or so I hope. The tub starts to get filled but it felt like an eternity before I’m able to get in.
Finally, I get in – “Ahh, this is so relaxi…” Here comes another one. I remember saying out loud “I haven’t even gotten a break!” I have no idea what time it is at this point, but I see that the curtains are getting lighter, which means the sun is coming up! (I told everyone I wanted a day birth, so it was perfect).
I already felt like I needed to push. It seemed to help and felt so. much. better. That and really letting out a loud noise. I don’t even know what to call it – but I remember joking that I hope I didn’t sound like that one lady from that movie with Jennifer Lopez when she attends the home birth and the mom is mooing – haha!
Even though I was pushing, I wasn’t able to feel his head and I started to get discouraged. I realized my water hadn’t even broke! I kept thinking of my birth with Eli. My water broke and he wasn’t born for another 2.5 hours! I thought I was in for the long haul. I pushed some more and this time when I reached down, I felt something – maybe the bag of water? I was so happy there was something happening.
I loved being in the tub but didn’t know how I wanted to sit. I couldn’t find a comfortable position and felt like I was all over the place. I finally got in a nice squat and was trying to hold my own legs and push but felt like it wasn’t working. My midwife was one step ahead and asked my husband to get in. He got in and I had a contraction. I pushed and felt it. The head. The ring of fire. HOLY GOODNESS. That’s a baby’s head! I bare down with my next contraction and push again and his head came out! Nikki checks to make sure cord is off from around baby's neck. I took a moment and felt his head and his tiny button nose. I even laughed, "I can feel his nose!" I wait. I breathe. I asked, "Ok, are y'all ready?" (ha!) I push again and I can start to feel the head turn, I push and I pull baby out and onto my chest. It's 7:18 a.m. - The baby is here!!! I felt so amazing. I’m pretty sure after saying “Hi Baby!!!!” The next words that came out were, “That was SO AMAZING!” I can’t believe I was starting to think baby wouldn’t be here for a while and now I’m holding this tiny, wet, adorable human being!!
Having a home birth was an amazing experience. Right after having Blake, everyone helped me out of the tub and onto the bed. My friend brought me Eli, Chris and Damiane snuggled up to me and we soaked in the new member of the family. My doula brought me breakfast upstairs and the rest of Nikki's team helped with Blake's exam and put away everything from the birth. I was able to get up and take a shower, enjoy the rest of my breakfast and smoothie, get some last minute photos in and before I knew it, Blake was nursing and we were napping.
I cannot believe a year has already gone by. Time is a thief, but we have enjoyed every second of having Blake in our lives.
We love you, Blake!
Midwife: Nikki McIver-Brown/San Antonio Nurse Midwife
Doula: Desiree Sangiuliano-Jemal/Pretty Sweet Doula
Photographer: Kara Gomez/Open Book Studios
All images are from Kara Gomez/Open Book Studios. Film clips were taken by my doula, Desiree.
Last photo of this big pregnant belly! 2:36 a.m.