In honor of my baby turning 6 months old today, I decided to share my birth story with you.
I’ve been procrastinating writing my birth story because I wanted to write it out like an actual story but I haven’t had time to do that (with three children, go figure!). But instead of waiting any longer to share my story with you, I will just share it with you the way I wrote it down just days after his birth…
I started my morning in a good mood, surprisingly, considering I was like “SO DONE” being pregnant! My due date was May 10th, but I knew I would probably be “late” considering I was with my last two babies. That night was supposed to bring a full moon so I was hopeful that it might work in my favor.
After making breakfast for my two oldest children, I put on the top 50 pop tunes on iTunes and we danced, rocked, shimmied and shook till we were all out of breath. I heard dancing was good for inducing labor, so I gave it my all!
5:00pm I had a Chiropractic appointment with the darling red-headed chiropractor, Carolin, that I had been seeing every week for my entire pregnancy. I begged her to give me an adjustment to make me go into labor and she assured me that I seemed “ready” and said she didn’t have to do that. She gave me a great little pep talk that made me feel better.
5:30pm After going to the Chiropractor, I went to my midwife appointment at The Birth Cottage. Allison, one of the head midwives and Bethany, the student midwife comforted me when I told them “I’m ALL done! Get this baby out of me!” I begged Allison to strip my membranes and she obliged incredibly gently. I seriously asked her “Really?! That’s it?! That’s not going to do ANYTHING!” (I had my membranes stripped with my first two babies as well, per my request, so I knew what it “should” feel like.) Allison assured me that I was ready to go any minute and gave me a recipe for red raspberry leaf tea that she said might help to push me over the edge (if my body was indeed ready to go).
6:45pm I went to Amigos for Mexican food. I ate a garden salad, jalapeño poppers, habanero hush puppies and smothered everything in habanero hot sauce. It’s part of my “pre labor ritual” as it had worked GREAT for my last two babies so I wanted to re-create my steps as closely as possible since I had such an amazing labor and birth experience the first two times.
8:00pm My husband drove me to Shaw’s so I could buy oatmeal raisin cookies (I had a craving!) and two boxes of red raspberry leaf tea.
9:00pm When I got home, I made a whole tea pot full of Red Raspberry Leaf tea. I used 16 tea bags in my little red tea pot!
10:00pm I drank around two cups of red rasp. leaf tea with half a dozen oatmeal raisin cookies, took 4 capsules of Nature’s Sunshine 5-W, my prenatal vitamins and got the kids ready for bed.
11:00pm Cuddled up in bed for some special time with hubby. They say that helps induce labor too! “What puts them in, will get them out!” We had no idea at the time that it would be our last chance to be intimate for a few weeks.
12:00am I slathered my belly with Labor Balm and then I laid down in bed. Couldn’t get comfortable at all. Couldn’t fall asleep. Felt weird… Didn’t have any contractions though, my water didn’t break, no “bloody show”, just felt not normal.
2:00am Woke up hubby and told him I was having a few, small contractions and couldn’t sleep. He checked my cervix to see if I was dilating and said there was no change from hours earlier (which had been around 3-4cm and had been like that for about a week). So I tried to go back to sleep again. There in the darkness, I remember holding his hand, cuddling close and telling him that I loved him a few times… I was feeling really emotional, weepy and vulnerable but I didn’t know why. It was one of those special emotionally connecting moments that you can’t describe and yet cherish forever. He made me feel like everything was going to be ok. I still didn’t think I was in labor though…
3:00am My son woke up and wanted to get into bed with us and while normally I would let him, something made me think it was a bad idea this particular night, so I went and laid down in his bed with him till he fell back to sleep. Meanwhile, I had 3 contractions that alarmed me! They weren’t just little, braxton hicks style crampy contractions… These felt… productive?! I still wasn’t fully convinced I was in labor though… I was in denial and blamed it on the Mexican food!
3:23am Woke hubby up again and told him the contractions actually hurt now and I thought that I might be in labor. He checked me again and said that I was definitely in labor and had dilated to at least 6cm! I still didn’t believe him at that point but I thought we should start filling the Birth Pool In A Box Eco Mini Plus from www.waterbirthsolutions.com that we had just inflated only days earlier. It was SUCH a cute little tub. Nothing like the one I gave birth in the last time that was the size of a hot tub. I didn’t like how much space I had to move around last time. This one was much cozier and fit perfect in our bedroom. I was so happy to have it and it felt surreal filling up the tub!
4:10am I called my mom and told her I was in labor and to head over to our house in case the kids woke up and needed attention.
4:22am I called my doula and best friend, Cari, to tell her I was in labor and to come on over to take pictures etc. Unfortunately, she had transportation issue and said she would try to figure things out and text me when she was on her way.
4:24am My husband started adjusting the settings on the camera to take pictures of the birth pool and hopefully of the new baby! I was having intense contractions, but I was on top of them, felt totally in control, calm and collected.
4:27am I finally decided I would call the midwives to tell them I was in labor and to head over to our house. I was so nervous that I would call them too soon and waste their time! I wasn’t convinced I was ready to give birth yet.
4:30am My contractions were 1 minute 30 second apart and 30-45 seconds long but I was still able to move around and carry on a conversation with my husband between contractions, so I thought I had a couple hours left to go (in my mind). My husband was busy making the bed, checking the temperature of the birthing pool, getting me water, grabbing the camera and a plethora of other little tasks while I was leaning on the bed, concentrating on my contractions.
4:45am I remember at one point I told him “Damn it all!! I don’t remember it hurting this bad!” and a few other expletives after two really intense contractions.
4:50am My husband took the hose out of the birth pool and told me to get in! “Already?! Are you sure?” I asked him. He nodded and I suddenly had another intense contraction, which thankfully he held me up for. As soon as it was done I got into the birth pool. I settled into the water and leaned over the side of the birth tub, but as soon as I did that, I had a really intense contraction that I couldn’t stay quiet for.
4:55am I wasn’t breathing through these contractions, I was roaring through them. I suddenly felt the urge to push during a contraction and I went with it. My water broke and I felt a huge relief of pressure. Next contraction came right away, I pushed and baby’s head was OUT! My husband suddenly said “I think your water broke!” but I was already pushing again and couldn’t tell him what was happening or to grab the camera or anything. Another big push and baby came all the way out!!! I lifted him up out of the water and yelled “I did it!” as I looked up at my husband! The look on his face was priceless! He quickly grabbed the camera and took this picture…
Dash Alexander was born at 5:00am on the nose and was 9lbs 4oz, 21 inches long. He flew into this world like a little superhero! Literally, just two pushes and he was out. I couldn’t have stopped it if I tried. My body knew exactly what to do and I just went with it.
Less than a minute after he was born, my 7 year old daughter walks in the room, totally nonchalant, and says to me “Mom I heard you yelling and I thought ‘Oh I bet mom is having the baby, I better go check!’ and I was right! I’m good, huh?!”
A few minutes later, our 4 year old son walked in, rubbing his eyes and says “Mom why were you yelling? You woke me up!” with a pout on his face. “Sorry buddy, I was having the baby! Look!” and I lifted the baby up out of the birth pool a tiny bit to show him. His eyes lit right up and he says “He came out!”
It took me a few minutes to realize that it was just the 5 of us, hanging out marveling at the new addition to our family. The midwives didn’t arrive until about 10-15 minutes after the baby was born! Whoops! Luckily, my husband and I were both mentally prepared to have an unassisted birth so we were not worried that the midwives were late or that my doula never arrived. Everything went smoothly and it was an amazing experience.
I delivered the placenta in the birth pool shortly after the midwives arrived. Then I got out, dried off, cleaned up and got into bed with my new little bundle. The kids, of course, wanted to hold their new little brother. Daddy had a turn too…
5:03am After getting looked over, I was told everything looked great ‘down there’ and no tears or damage, even though he was much bigger than any of us anticipated!
My beautiful midwife, Beth, cleaned, measured and weighed my precious boy, checking every little finger and every little toe. I have to say that she really is such an angel and I really appreciated her presence in the hours after my birth. She has the most soothing and comforting voice I’ve ever heard in my life, which pretty much makes her one of the best midwives on the planet, in my book.
Even though I had an amazing labor and birth experience, the “afterpains” were honestly horrendous. I got Wishgarden After-Ease tincture but it didn’t help as much as I had hoped. Ibuprofen barely touched it. It was insane. If you have been told that the afterpains get worse with every child, I can confirm that they are not joking. Holy cow. Way worse than labor. For real.
7:00am I was super nauseous from the afterpains but asked someone to get me yogurt and saltines in hopes that it might settle my stomach. Luckily, that made my tummy a lot happier!
8:00am My 4 year old son was so tired from waking up at 5am that he passed out on my lap. I laid there in bed with my two sons, just admiring their cuteness and enjoying the peace and quiet.
I snapped a pic of Dash with my iPhone and posted it to Facebook and instagram to show off the spoils of my hard work…
Dash took to breastfeeding right away with no issues at all. I was armed with CJ’s Best Boobie BUTTer and found it very effective at soothing sore nipples, chapped lips, dry cuticles and more. Best Boobie Butter contains Shea Butter, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Lanolin, Beeswax, Cocoa Butter and Vitamin E. It is totally edible and safe for babies so you don’t need to wipe it off your nipples before nursing. I absolutely love that stuff!
I felt great within hours after giving birth and was able to get up, walk around and do what I wanted. I was so happy to climb into my own bed between my super soft, bamboo sheets. It was such a beautiful spring day that we were able to open the windows too, which is exactly how I imagined it would be. Everything was just so perfect and for that I am very blessed.
We chose to keep both of our sons intact because we believe that routine infant circumcision is an unnecessary cosmetic surgery that is unethical and outdated. Please research circumcision before making an irreversible change to your newborn baby.
Overall, I have no regrets about my home water birth at all. Everything went as exactly as we had planned, except for the midwives not showing up in time and my doula-friend, Cari, being unable to get to my house. Luckily, my husband and I felt totally confident, calm and empowered delivering our own baby in the privacy of our home. I wouldn’t change a thing and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Thank you for taking the time to read my birth story and letting me share my personal experience with you. I am a strong supporter of natural childbirth and I hope my story empowers other women to have the confidence to reach for the perfect birth that they desire, however it may be.
- My first birth was at an independent birthing center, The Birth Cottage, drug-free water birth that was around 5 hours from start to finish. My girl was 8lbs, 0oz and 19 inches long. I was 40 weeks and 5 days.
- My second birth was an at home, drug-free water birth in a rental birth pool and was around 4 hours from start to finish. My boy was 8lbs, 6oz and 21 inches long. I was 41 weeks and 1 day.
- My third birth was an at home, drug-free water birth in a birth pool courtesy of Water Birth Solutions and was around 3 hours from start to finish. My boy was 9lbs, 4oz and 21 inches long. I was 40 weeks and 5 days.