Well, you’d think that with this whole Coronavirus thing I’d have a ton of time on my hands to finally (FINALLY) share Eden’s birth story.
If you were thinking that, you’d be wrong. I actually I have less time since the toddler/newborn combo leaves my hands quite full most days.
In a rare moment of calm I’ve decided to share this experience. Atlas is playing pretend airport in his room during a designated “quiet time” and Eden is sleeping in the wrap on my chest. There’s no way I will finish this entire story in one sitting, but onward we go.
The morning of my labor was fairly normal. I was one day past her official due date which was Sunday, February 16th. Originally, I was given a due date of Valentine’s Day but because my cycles tend to be longer my midwife moved the date back a bit. So Monday the 17th started like any other, I mean any other day where you’re the size of a walrus and you have nothing to do while you ponder an impending life change. You know, fun times right?!
9 – 11 am
Geoff took Atlas to school and after a morning of playing fighter jets. He left me yelling “bye bye mama B-2 bomber”, which was a pretty heartwarming way to say goodbye to my only child for the last time. I took my dog on a walk to a chiropractor appointment and I felt what could only be described as “poking and stretching” down there. More fun times. I texted my doula and midwife just to let them know that I was feeling something different, not knowing if it had any meaning at that point in the game.
They both, separately told me I should eat a lot and take a nap that day which sounded like a red flag – do they know something I don’t know?
After my adjustment I walked to the grocery store to grab a few more things for the house even though – in my nesting frenzy – I kept us stocked pretty well.
11 am – 3 pm
I planned to nap – I really did – but I had this insane level of energy that day and I did, as it turns out, end up cleaning the floor boards. So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that when I got up after taking a little rest that afternoon I had fluid dripping out of me. I thought my water was breaking, but it wasn’t. I guess there’s something called the forebag and the hindbag. The forebag was leaking, so there wasn’t a gush of water in my case… Just kind of a slow drip. Nonetheless, tt was the beginning of the main event.
4 – 6 pm
I alerted my doula and midwife and they both seemed pretty chill about it in the sense that they didn’t think anything would happen immediately. I planned to update my midwife the next morning or sooner if anything significant changed.
So I left for a walk with my pup and my husband before going to pickup Atlas from preschool. On the walk, I was cramping but not having what I would call “regular” contractions.
On our ride back from the school it felt like they started to regulate a bit and start spacing out in intervals. While not particularly painful they were more rhythmic about every 8-10 mins.
Since Atlas was home, the great debate began about whether or not we should sent him off to a sleepover or if we keep him home. The hope being that if labor started, he could sleep through it. After my midwife asked if our friends would be open to taking him in the middle of the night we decided to call in reinforcements. There was no way I was waking up my toddler in the middle of the night to kick him out of the house. My contractions were picking up slightly so after dinner I gathered up his stuff (he already had a bag with essentials packed) as Geoff gave him a bath. When he left for his sleepover, we let him know that Eden would probably be coming soon and he would get to meet his new sister soon!
7 – 11 pm
After he and Geoff left, I tidied up a bit and started prepping to take a bath. When Geoff got home he made me a cocktail (a classic whiskey drink called a Lion’s Tail) and I slid into the bath for an hour or so of chill time. I spent that time texting with friends, getting pics of Atlas having fun at his sleepover, and sipping my drink. The lights were off, candles lit, and essential oils to calm as my contractions stayed about 8-10 mins apart. It seemed too soon to tell how quickly things would pick up and I tried not to get ahead of myself.
After the bath I got dressed and Geoff and I sat in the living room to watch some Seinfeld. This show is a throwback to my childhood and a self-proclaimed “show about nothing” which is exactly what you need when EVERYTHING is happening in your body but you are not at all in control. We also turned on some Modern Family to continue the laughter and distraction.
We headed to bed around 11pm.
11 – 2 am
The contractions were uncomfortable enough that I was not going to be falling asleep anytime soon. Around midnight I went into the living room to lay on the couch and listened to a podcast about quantum physics. Yep. I did that. It actually helped a lot because the topic was so high level for me that I really had to pay attention in order to understand. This helped get my mind off the increasingly uncomfortable things happening in my abdomen. Around 2 am I talked with my doula and we decided she should come soon because I didn’t want to wait until I was too uncomfortable to talk.
2:30 – 3 am
I woke up Geoff and let him know that she was on her way, and then I had a “looser” bowel movement… which I sure as heck remember from Atlas’ birth. It’s the body’s way of getting everything out in preparation for everything coming out.
Meghan arrived and I was in the bathroom feeling fairly nauseous. I vomited a bit but mostly was just having to really focus on getting through the contractions at this point. They were coming in much stronger and I would get really hot with the nausea and then cold from the sweat. I eventually made it off the bathroom floor into the living room on the couch. I breathed through it while she and Geoff changed the sheets on the bed to get it ready in case I ended up birthing there. I had to vomit again so I headed back to the bathroom. They were back by my side, rubbing my back, and reminding me to breathe well. I laid on the floor for a bit, side-lying felt best as it kept the pressure off the front of my abdomen. During this time they were setting up the birthing tub in the living room and getting it ready.
I only know that time cause I saw it on Meghan’s phone as I was getting up to go lay in bed. She thought I should get off the hard floor to a softer surface for my hips. I laid in bed but pretty soon after I felt the need to barf again. I am pretty sure this was transition and I definitely got everything out of my system. I went back to bed for a few contractions and then I felt a lot of pressure that felt like the urge to pee so I went back to the bathroom and ended up sitting on the toilet for a bit. At this point I started moaning a lot with the contractions. The midwife told Meghan to get me off the toilet cause the baby was probably coming sooner than they had thought. Elizabeth, my midwife was on her way and I was ready to be in the water, but the tub wasn’t full enough yet so I had to hang on the couch until it was ready.
Well unfortunately – or fortunately, I was more ready than the tub and the urge to push just came over me. So with each contraction, holding onto the arm rest of the couch, on all fours, I would yell my hardest and my body would bear down. Meghan made sure I was yelling in a low tone to move everything down in my pelvis and not up in my chest or throat. This was remarkably difficult to do in the moment. After a handful of those, the need to push and the stretching was so intense that as I was screaming I felt her head pop out! (my thoughts at this moment – OMG YES! I’m almost done!) After another contraction, more screaming, her shoulders popped out. One more contraction, another push and her chest finally slid past with her feet to follow. Elizabeth arrived about 5 mins before she was born and was there to catch her right on the couch.
I brought her up to my chest right through my legs and laid down on the couch feeling all kinds of “what just happened to me” mixed with “I can’t believe I did that”. We laid there for a while, delivering the placenta and waiting for the cord to stop pulsing which happened about 20 minutes later. Geoff cut her cord and we moved to the bed after that.
It was probably the most crazy, awesome, painful, and raw experience I’ve ever had. I was so impressed with my body, thankful for choosing a home birth, and elated for Eden to have a very smooth entrance into this world.
The birth was the culmination of months (and years) of preparation and my choice to birth at home was a decision based on many factors.
First there was Atlas’ birth, which forced me to take a hard look at what I wanted for my next pregnancy. We did not enjoy the hospital experience and the whole situation put me in a state of stress rather than safety.
Additionally, his labor was complicated due to poor positioning. For Eden’s pregnancy, I chose to visit a chiropractor regularly and do my own work at home to optimize her position and my own body’s alignment. I purchased programming from a prenatal-postpartum exercise specialist as well as visited a pelvic floor Physical Therapist in the months leading up to the birth. I felt confident having many more resources for fitness, breathing, and overall health this time around.
Emotionally, I was reeling from a previous miscarriage. I engaged in a lot of therapy and self-work to heal from that disappointment and the fear I felt during Eden’s first trimester.
I was majorly disappointed in the insurance process throughout the miscarried pregnancy and during the beginning of Eden’s pregnancy. I chose to avoid the stress of dealing with the current health care system and leave insurance out of it all together. I opted to use my resources to support people who were doing amazing birth work in the community and not shell over thousand of dollars to a crooked system with less than stellar mother-infant outcomes.
I believe that Eden’s simple birth was the outcome of me taking ownership over all parts of the process and being very intentional and diligent in the areas which I could control. I also knew that when it came time to labor and birth her, I would have to let go of that control. The only way that surrender would come was if I knew I had prepared well and assembled a birth team of individuals whom I deeply trusted.
I am so grateful for the support of my chiropractor, my doula, my midwife, and my husband for leading, guiding, and trusting me throughout the whole process. It was magical and I’m so happy to have this sparkling little girl in my life now!