If there is anything that illustrates fully our power to birth…it’s our birth stories.
Unfortunately we don’t have regular gatherings to share our most intimate and powerful moments of birth, so hopefully the more birth stories we can publish out there on the web, the more women will believe in their bodies and power to birth.
We hear all the horror stories, the ones that go wrong especially in the media because that is what sells. It’s all about the money.
Rarely do we get to bask in the beauty of normal, healthy births unfolding as they were meant to.
If you would like to share your birth story, especially if it was a home birth story please post here or email me so we can publish it here. Have a blog? Let’s link them up and share our birth stories far and wide together! 🙂
Mahalo to those who shared their stories with me and allowed for their publication here, enjoy! ❤
Kim’s Birth Story:
Paxton’s Birth Story
I feel a need to start my story at the beginning. When I found out I was pregnant, the first thing I knew was that I wanted a different experience than my first birth. I looked into the hospital on island that is thought to be more natural based, and set up an appointment with a midwife who delivered there. Upon going to my first appointment, I was presented with a contract, basically saying that when I got to the hospital to have the baby, I would comply and do all these things. This didn’t sit well with me…I hadn’t even confirmed my pregnancy yet and they were already telling me how my birth was going to go. I started to research other options.
It was then,I came across my midwife, Selena, who is one of the more well known midwives here. She used to run a birthing cottage, but now goes around the island doing home births. I figured for sure that upon calling her she was going to turn me away. I was incredibly anemic when I delivered my first baby and I knew that made even the hospital providers uncomfortable. When Selena returned my call she wanted to tell me all about home birth and meet with me. I told her that I had some issues that may not allow me to birth at home and her response was“What could possibly not allow you to birth at home?” Upon telling her, she told me she worked with women who had the same blood disorder as me and they had healthy, beautiful births at home. She told me all these things we could do to build my system and I was so optimistic. When she came to our house to meet us, I knew I had to have her on my side.
Selena would visit us every two weeks. She started right away when I was only 6 weeks. I told her it seemed kind of crazy since most hospitals made people wait until 12weeks in case of miscarriage. She looked at me and said “We are not going to think like that.” When Selena was there, the energy was different and everything was possible.
I had a few things come up that I thought for sure were going to upset Selena. First, my blood count came back low, which was not a surprise. I knew I was not going to be able to get to the 10 that everyone felt I should be at to deliver at home.Selena reminded me that was okay. I was making progress and working hard to build my blood and that was what mattered. She pointed out that my platelets were high which was great and I had amazing iron stores, despite my anemia. She worked with me.
At around 33weeks, my blood pressure started to spike. I again, lost it and feared the worst…pre eclampsia. Selena reminded me that it was all relative. I didn’t have any other symptoms of pre eclampsia and my blood pressure, though high, wasn’t THAT high. She brought me back from fear and reminded me of this. It was at this time, I realized how much fear and trauma had surfaced from my first birth. My midwives had given up on me that time…and I was worried it was goingto be more of the same. Selena never did that though.
The biggest challenge came around 34 weeks, when we found our baby boy to be in the transverse (sideways) position. My OB started to seem a little nervous, as they like to see babies turn by 36 weeks to the head down position. I tried everything…chiro…moxa…homepathics…you name it. At 35 weeks, he had flipped to the head down position. I thought this journey was over.
At 37 weeks,we found the baby to be transverse again. This was a bit more nerve wrecking as I knew my OB wanted me to do something about it. Selena worked with my fears…she did a tapping session to release them and she encouraged me to try my other methods of turning him. At 38 weeks, he was back to head down.
I thought the worst was over, but then at 39 weeks I was getting a pedicure and started to feel panic. Upon standing up, I felt a discomfort that only meant one thing.My almost full term baby had turned sideways again. I went home and cried…my husband and I tried to turn him back with rebozo and other exercises. We got an ultrasound later that night and it confirmed he was sideways.
The next morning when Selena came, she discovered the baby to be up and down again. We didn’t know if he was breech or head down. Selena mentioned she was skilled in breech delivery and that if I wanted to attempt it, she would be able to. I trusted her, but it also didn’t resonate with me that my baby would be born breech, so I felt a little worry. At least he was up and down though. In the transverse position, it is not possible for babies to come out. I knew up and down was better than sideways no matter what.
I again,tried to surrender, but was still feeling unsettled. At 40 weeks…my baby flipped sideways again. First I laughed…then I started to feel the panic set in. He felt so stuck this time. He wasn’t budging at all. The next day, I texted Selena and told her I felt something wasn’t quite right. She urged me to go to my OB and ease my mind. She said “Maybe he’s trying to tell you he wants to come.” She always encouraged I listen to my instinct. Upon getting to the OB,we discovered our baby was perfect. His decels were great, his biophysical profile was perfect, his fluid was awesome…but he was breech. The OB looked at me and said “Well I can give you a c section.” I wanted to cry. I knew she was not comfortable with me leaving her office without scheduling something. But I think she also knew I wasn’t backing down. She let me go with no argument.
When I got home, I called Selena. I was defeated. A baby can’t turn back at 40 weeks. Why was this happening tome? I know I agreed I could do a breech birth but it felt unsettling and wrong.I felt like this was not the position my baby wanted to be in. I realized, this was where the panic was coming from. But I didn’t know what to do. He needed to get back down and he was trying to tell me…but I knew I was already doing everything I could to help him. I felt all my fears creep back. What if my blood pressure rises higher? What if there is meconium? What if I just never go into labor on my own? Selena talked me down to the best of her ability, and then let me go. I cried to my husband. I told him maybe I should just end the misery and schedule a c section. He told me he would absolutely not judge me, but that he knew I could still do this. He never felt fear and truly believed in me. During my meltdown with my husband, I got a call from Jaymie, who is our Midwife Under Supervision. She works with Selena, and was at all our appointments. Jaymie just has a way of talking to me that gets through to me. She stayed on the phone with me for around an hour. She told me how she trusts babies…how she knows my boy isn’t doing this to me to hurt me…how we will see the answer soon.She encouraged me to explore all my options so no matter what I would feel safe. She found me a few doctors who would do breech delivery in the hospital if home birth was too daunting to me, she found doctors willing to do a version at 41 weeks, and she encouraged me that above all, I didn’t need to change any plans…it was all up to me. When I still didn’t seem to calm down much, she encouraged me to take a bath and have a little glass of wine. I did as told,and slept amazingly that night.
The next morning, I talked to Sunshine, my doula, about everything. Sunshine was with everyone else…she didn’t feel this was over and knew I was getting my home birth. She suggested we do a fear release, as she had a script to turn a breech baby. I agreed, though apart from calming me, I didn’t feel this would do much.I mean c’mon…turning a baby with your mind? That’s silly! Or Is it?
Later that day, I went to see my chiropractor for a Webster technique adjustment. On the car ride there, I had no idea why I was even doing this. It obviously wasn’t working…I had been going since 34 weeks. Suddenly I heard a voice in my head. I have no idea whose voice this was…it could have been my own. It could have been Paxton’s. It could have been someone completely different. The voice kept saying “Let go…and you will find peace.” (I found this funny since Paxton means peace) Every time I had a doubt come into my head, this voice kicked in. I tried my best to listen, but letting go was not easy…not after all this craziness. I still heard the voice every day up until my baby was born…every time any doubt kicked in, this voice was there. Sometimes I tried to dismiss it, sometimes it balanced me, and sometimes it motivated me. But it was always there.
When Sunshine came over the next night Friday, April 10th, I was calm. I was detached. I was trying not to make any decisions or think about what was ahead.I was going to the hospital on Monday, the 13th, to talk to the doctors who were willing to attempt a breech delivery…just for options. They were going to offer me a version and at the moment I was thinking I was going to allow it. I sat there, eating my brownie sundae and told Sunshine of these plans. She listened without judgment. We were all sitting around laughing and talking, when Mr. P started to move his head. I showed her “Look at this big brick moving in my ribs…look how uncomfortable?” She laughed and touched it…then she started to gently shake it. I asked her what she was doing, and she responded “I’m making him dance.” I giggled…Sunshine was so silly. What happened next was insane…the head started to move down slowly! We were all in awe. She kept tapping him, saying “Come on Paxton!” I joked that she was performing a version of her own. She laughed and assured me that the version would be much more horrid and painful. Sunshine kept encouraging the head down,when he went sideways. I didn’t feel nearly as much panic as I did all the other times he went sideways. I laughed and said “Great, now he’s sideways!”Sunshine said “Who cares? You’re going for a version anyway. If he’s sideways,they have to do less work.” She kind of had a point. I teased her about what she was doing, and she got silly, referring to it as “love taps.” She continued making him dance, but then we had no idea where the head went. After how silly we were, we decided to get serious and do the hypnosis script.
I laid on the couch, as Sunshine read the script, along with some beautiful chime music in the background. I closed my eyes and tried to really focus into letting this be a good experience for me. I got down deeper and deeper into hypnosis…I saw a projection of all my fears on a movie screen, and watched them disappear. I saw my birth for what I wanted it to be. Then, it started to get trippy. I lost any knowledge of what Sunshine was saying in the script. I was at a beautiful scene with a pond and some of the most amazing green grass. I felt my pelvis get warm(and Sunshine explained later that she was talking to the baby and her hand was over my pelvis) and then finally felt something heavy drop down into it. I was calm. I bonded with my baby’s spirit and never wanted to leave this moment. So I didn’t…When Sunshine ended the script and attempted to take me out of hypnosis, my subconscious declined. I heard her stop and heard the music go off, but stayed where I was for another hour,bonding with my baby and soaking up this connection that I truly don’t think we had until this moment. When I came to, Sunshine was gone. I got up and got into bed.
That night,my dreams were trippy. During the final sequence, I had a dream where my midwife was checking the baby’s position and she told me he was head down. I woke up from this dream and upon standing I noticed the bed was all wet. Did my water break? When I went to the bathroom, a huge piece of my plug came out.This was it! I called Selena and told her I thought my water broke. What was even trippier was that she had been dreaming about me when I called! She told me to go back to bed. We made a plan to wait for contractions to pick up and go from there. I started to have some…they got a tad bit strong…then upon laying down they tapered off. Selena encouraged me to rest because she thought it was coming.
On Sunday morning, I woke up to absolutely no change. Everything stalled. Selena suggested she and Jaymie come over and check me, and make a plan from there. I started to panic…if my water did break I was going to have to go to the hospital and get induced. Nothing was happening.
Upon inspection, it was decided that my water did not break. While in there, Jaymie checked me. She couldn’t even get into my cervix to see how dilated I was. This was discouraging. However, I was 80% effaced. She encouraged me that this was great progress. So we didn’t have to make any plans, except to wait for true labor to start. Baby was up and down, but we had no idea if he was head down or breech…yet again. I was going to the hospital the next morning for an ultrasound and possibly a version. Selena was coming. We were making plans on when to meet there. Selena pointed out I was starting to get my worried face on…I swear she read me creepily well. I looked at her and said “I’m just not sure ifI want to do a version even if he is breech. I feel so at peace with where he is right now. He seems to have made his choice and I feel wrong to mess with that.” Selena assured me I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to. She did however, advise me to eat a lot of protein, drink a lot of water, and snack lightly the next morning so the doctors would not “find” anything wrong leading them to pressure induction, etc. I was 41 weeks after all, and this gestational age can be very daunting to doctors.
The next morning, I woke up to surges (contractions) yet again. I felt I didn’t really want to go to the hospital at all…my body and baby were working together and doing things. I just had to surrender and trust it. I texted Selena to tell her I was having the surges, and without me even saying anything she asked “Do you still want to go to the hospital?” I think she knew I had already made up my mind. I still felt uneasy about trusting my instincts. I told her I would talk to my husband, who said “don’t do it…we can go on a hike instead.” I told Selena and Sunshine our decision, and then quickly called Jaymie to confirm that if baby was breech and there was a complication, I would be able to transfer my care to the doctors who performed breech vaginal delivery.
Later that afternoon, Sunshine led Kyle and I on a really beautiful 5 mile hike. I felt my baby drop and drop, lower and lower. I also started to notice a pattern in my surges. Every time Kyle came near me, I would start surging like crazy. When he left the room they would stop. I told this to Selena jokingly and she texted me back seriously to tell me “That’s because you love him. You make oxytocin when you’re around him. “ She encouraged us to snuggle and make out. We did, and surges picked up…but I knew with them not picking up enough he would have to go back to work the next day. This discouraged me.
The next day, April 14th, Kyle went back to work and my surges stopped. I was discouraged. I was giving up. I was so done with this entire thing. Hadn’t Ibeen through enough? Was my sanity not worth it? Why couldn’t I just do what was already coming and schedule a cesarean? What was I doing all this for? I was sitting in the living room with my mom and son and I felt the tears set in.I went in my room, laid in bed and cried. While I was crying, I got a text from Selena asking how things were progressing.
I told Selena everything had stopped. She then asked how I would feel about taking herbs to try to start labor naturally. I told her I would do anything. After talking to Jaymie, she told me she would be over that afternoon. Before we ended our text chat she asked how I was feeling. I told her the truth. Her response was “Well pump yourself up again. You can and will do this. Rest until I get there. I’ll bring a bunch of different options and we will decide what is best.”
I heard that voice again…it was insistent. “Let go…and you will find peace.” I stopped crying. I was going to do this. I told Kyle what was happening and he said he was going to try to get out early. I sat in the bath, with a bath bomb and let the blue water and seaweed soak me up. I had on a hypnosis track called “Come OUT baby.” I listened to it, and I felt Paxton listen to it as well. I came out of that bath a different woman. I had surrendered. I spent the rest of the afternoon watching friends and laying down. This wasn’t over until I decided it was over…and I was deciding to own my birth at this very moment. Then I noticed something upon laying down in bed…I was surging…and it was not Braxton hicks. I timed these surges and they were about 10 minutes apart. I wasn’t excited, but thought it was funny that as soon as Selena was on her way they decided to kickin.
When I opened the door for Selena, I believe she immediately picked up on my changed energy. I told her what had happened and she was happy. She told me she thought the last step in me going into labor was surrendering, and I definitely agreed.She also mentioned, sometimes women who get induced have a thing where their bodies will wait around the second time for a little push. She wanted to give me a little push to see if It would help. I was given a tincture of black and blue cohosh to drink. (one relaxes the uterus, and one prevents labor from stalling) I took that tincture every hour for four hours. After that, Selena applied clary sage to my belly, lovingly. She paused and I really felt her energy connecting with mine and my baby’s. It was what I needed. We laughed as she held my belly and it started to surge. She remarked that I was responding really well already.
After this,she decided to do a cervical massage. This was not a membrane sweep. She simply went up into my cervix and massaged it with evening primrose oil. When she finally got to my cervix, she told me I was a 1-2. Once she hooked on the inside of it, she started instructing me to imagine a rose bud opening. As I did this, she gradually massaged me open. Not even 5 minutes later she said “Look,now you’re a 3.” I was in disbelief. She massaged for a bit longer, showing me some pressure points along the way, and then decided to call me a solid 2. She commented she really thought I would be calling her that night or the next day.I showed many signs of being ready.
After Selena left, I felt different. I was sitting on my ball and surges were coming regularly and with intensity. I could still talk through them, so I still figured maybe I was just crampy from the massage. I looked at Kyle and said “You know what we should do? We should go out to dinner. Then it will happen.” Kyle agreed. My mom did not like this plan, and urged us to stay close by in case things picked up. When I told Sunshine we were going to dinner, she laughed at me. We decided to go to Roys at Ko Olina, which was only 10 minutes down the road.
I got dolled up for what I was optimistic would be my last dinner out for awhile. I had completely surrendered and I was ready to embrace whatever was to come. Upon entering Roy’s, our hostess asked me how far along I was. I responded that I was 41.5 weeks. She commented “You should just have the baby right here.” I told her I just might. I don’t think she realized I was serious.
We had a delicious dinner, thought I think both of us were a tiny bit nervous, as my surges never stopped and stayed regular throughout. The waitress brought over a dessert menu and Kyle asked me what I wanted to do. My response was “If I’m really in labor, you damn well better believe I’m eating dessert first…and if I’m not, I’ll be really upset I didn’t get dessert.”
We paid our bill and left. Walking to the car I started to feel a shift. I do believe in looking back, this shift was into active labor, but of course no one was checking me so I have no idea. Kyle had to hold the car door for me and I had to finish a surge before I could climb in the car. I mentioned on the drive home that “This might just be happening.” Kyle thought I was nuts, as he knew it was. On the drive home he went over a pot hole and I almost killed him. I recalled that this was how I felt with my first birth around 4 cm.
I texted my doula, Sunshine on the way home to tell her that my surges didn’t stop through dinner and were picking up. She told me she was heading over to our house, and for the first time ever I did not argue with her. I told Selena things were picking up and she urged me to time my surges when I got home.
Upon timing,we found my surges were about 5-7 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. Selena’s advice was to go to bed and rest before it picked up. Me being the skeptic, didn’t want to do this. When Sunshine got to our house she remarked that I had SO much energy and suggested a walk. I agreed, and we set out on the steep hill of our street. In hindsight, I’m not sure what we were thinking. As we walked,Sunshine urged me to stop during the surges if I needed to. First I didn’t, but after awhile I realized it was probably a good idea. She took some pictures of this. I must have been a sight to see…I wonder what all the cars driving by thought.
When we got home, Kyle was already in bed. I told Sunshine I was going to try to join him,and she thought this was a good idea. I drank some electrolytes and got into bed. I was just not comfortable. I slept probably 5-10 minutes at a time. I’m thinking it was closer to 5. The surges woke me up and I breathed through them.Finally, at around midnight, I gave up on the fact that I was going to get any restful sleep. I decided I’d message with some friends on the east coast in an effort to keep me laying down so I could at least rest my body a bit…but after about a half hour I grew irritated with this too. Laying down was just not comfortable anymore. I needed to change positions in order to get through this with ease.
I went out in the living room, where Sunshine was resting and labored on my ball for a bit while hanging out with her. She told me to think about texting Selena and telling her where I was at. At this point, contractions were 3-4 minutes apart,lasting a minute. When I texted Selena, she asked me if I wanted to think about taking a bath or shower to help me rest. I told her I didn’t feel I was there quite yet. She responded she thought I was still in early labor, and I agreed.(Though in hind sight I don’t believe this)
Only about10 minutes after talking to Selena, I realized I needed to shift to another position. I decided to try the tub. I stayed in the tub for about 90 minutes. I think this was a great way to allow myself to rest my body…but then I reached a point where even the tub was not doing it for me. After this, it was about3:30am, and I got Kyle up and told him I didn’t think he should go into work that morning. The look he gave me was priceless…a typical “duh Kimberly”moment. Kyle got up and got himself together so he could help me however I needed. He started offering me counter pressure (aka pushing on my back through surges) which was glorious.
After awhile, Sunshine texted me and asked how I was doing. I told her I was uncomfortable and gave her permission to come into our bedroom. I sat on the ball in our bedroom while Kyle did some counter pressure and we all just hung out while I had my spa music going. At around 4:30 I decided I needed another position shift, so we went out into the living room and kitchen. I was starting to tire out at this point and really wanted to rest, so Sunshine propped me upon the couch in a way that would be comfortable through surges. I was able to rest in between and this was really working great for awhile.
At 5:17am, I got a message from Selena asking how I was doing and for an update. I told her I was very uncomfortable. She asked me to time my surges again and tell her. I got a little irritated at this point. I looked at Sunshine and said “I don’t want to text her anymore…and I don’t want to time my surges!” Sunshine laughed and said “You should probably tell her that.” I think she noted that I was at a point where it was probably good for the midwives to head over. My response was“I don’t want to be rude.” I timed my surges, which were now 2-3 minutes apart,lasting a minute. I texted Selena quickly, then handed my phone to Sunshine,because I truly was done with the phone at this point. I really needed to focus. Selena asked Sunshine to update her over the next hour and told her that she and the other midwives were on their way. She suggested I eat something.Since there are no IVs in a home birth, it’s really important to eat in order to keep up strength. Kyle brought me a muffin and a banana. I think I had 2bites of the banana and then picked off tiny bird like pieces of the muffin. I couldn’t eat…but I did make sure to drink lots of electrolytes.
I then reached a point around 6am where I had no desire to be sitting or laying down at all. I turned my nose up at the ball when Sunshine suggested it and from there on out decided I would be standing or kneeling. I also started to be rather directive at Kyle when he was doing his counter pressure. “Higher,lower, harder.” He was awesome and went with it…but he was getting nervous. The midwives were not there yet and he knew I was far into this labor. He was secretly saying a little prayer that they got there before the baby did.
While waiting for the midwives, we took some silly pictures in between surges. I started to feel an intense pressure like I had to go to the bathroom, but every time I tried to go nothing would come out. I didn’t want to push super hard before I was ready and I didn’t have an urge that big, so I let it go and dealt with the intense pressure. It was nagging at me though.
I was standing in the bedroom around 6:30 when Sunshine came in to let me know that Selena had arrived. A few minutes later, Selena came in to say hi. I greeted her, bright eyed, bushy tailed, happy and making jokes. No wonder she was very skeptical I was in active labor. She was great about never letting me know this though. She first took her Doppler and attempted to find baby’s heart beat. It took a good few minutes and was rather nerve wrecking. My belly was so tight,it was hard to find sound at all. Finally, we found the heartbeat, extremely low…and it was perfect. Selena then looked at me and asked “Do you want to be checked?” I laughed and said no. She left it alone and left the room. The other two midwives, Jaymie (the assistant midwife) and Summer (another midwife who was coming as an extra pair of hands) had gotten there during this time as well.
About 10minutes later, Sunshine came into my room and threw it out there. “So…you need to let Selena check you.” (apparently Selena had mentioned in the other room that she did not believe me to be too far into labor by the awfully chatty way I was acting) I looked at Sunshine and said “I don’t want to be checked…if I’m still 3 centimeters I am going to lose my mind.” Kyle rolled his eyes while he set up the drop cloth on our bed and said “You are not 3 centimeters.” Sunshine reminded me I could just let Selena check me and then no one had to tell me anything. My response was “If she’s going to check me, I better get to find out the results. I’m not laying down for all that just to not even get to find out.” The thought of laying down was truly the most daunting part of this for me. But Sunshine is convincing, and I eventually obliged and told her Selena could come in and check me.
While I was waiting for Selena, I was kneeling on the bed having surges, while Kyle pushed on my low back. When Selena came in, she had a blood pressure cuff. She put it around my arm and of course as soon as it started to take I had a surge. I got out “Of course this is going to happen right now” and threw myself against the pillow, while Kyle pushed my back again. When the blood pressure cuff stopped and revealed my reading, Selena just stared at the screen wide eyed. She looked at me and said “Alright…we are going to take that again.” She acknowledged that according to the blood pressure cuff I was having some strong surges. I asked her out of curiosity what the initial reading was during the surge and she said160/100. Yowza! She took it again when I was not surging and it was normal.
Then came the check. I laid down on the bed as we all waited in anticipation of the number of centimeters I was. During this time, Kyle looked at Sunshine and said “She’s a 7. I know it.” Selena reached in and immediately noted the baby’s head was at0 station, and I was 85-90% effaced. She then reached further and said “You’re7 centimeters.” I was ecstatic. Suddenly labor felt so much easier. I knew I was having this baby sometime this morning. Then came our next question…was I delivering a head or a butt? We still had no idea. Selena felt around for a crack but could not find one. She then commented she thought she felt a suture and that it seemed we were dealing with a head. We were about to find out for sure though.
The midwives started to set up the tub for me, and I told Sunshine it may be a good idea to tell my mom to come down and grab breakfast for her and Tristan, my older son,as I knew she wasn’t going to want to come down during any chaos. When my mom came down, I asked to see Tristan, and they came into my room. We talked for a bit and I got to kiss my son. I looked at my mom and said “Did they tell you I’m a 7?” She looked at me and said “Really?” I think this freaked her out a bit,as I definitely wasn’t acting this far in labor. She told me she was proud ofme and that she loved me, and then I started another surge. With that, she leftand took Tristan upstairs.
The surges were really getting intense at this point. Selena came in my room to ask me ifI would mind if Jaymie delivered me, as she is working towards her certification as a midwife and needed to deliver a number of births to achieve this. I was so ecstatic about this and agreed. Jaymie was such a support to me during my pregnancy and I was so excited that I was able to help her along the way. From this point on, Jaymie started to take over. She took the baby’s heartbeat, and encouraged me to relax my shoulders through surges.
I was still in the bedroom when Sunshine came in and asked if I wanted to go get in the birth tub because it was all set up. I was kind of wishy washy at this point…nothing was 100% comfortable. She said “You might as well get your money’s worth…you paid to have that tub.” I laughed and agreed that I would get in the tub.
When I walked out to the living room it was transformed. The tub was really nice…not what I imagined it was going to be, as I’ve seen some really ratty looking birth tubs. I got in the water, and it was so nice and hot. There was a little thermometer in the tub of a duck with sunglasses. This cracked me up and I started to joke around about it. Surging in the tub was nice, but I still very much needed Kyle’s counter pressure. I really wanted to embrace Kyle and kiss him at this point, but I knew in the earlier days he made my surges stronger…and I couldn’t take any stronger than what I had, so I resisted this urge.
While in the tub, I really went into myself and everyone was just sitting around and letting me be. I came upon the realization that I was actually going to have to do this again…I was going to have to go through transition and push a baby out. This sounds exciting when you’re just pregnant and thinking about it, but being in the moment, all the memories of the sensations from my first birth came back.When it is your second baby, there is no denying what you’re in for and what is coming. I wondered how long it would be before I got to this point, very much anticipating a crazy transition. But I was still calm at this point…it was acrazy difference from my last birth. I started to get really hot, and kept asking for cold face cloths on my neck and forehead. I was drinking electrolytes like crazy. The combination of the hot water on my hips and cold cloths on my neck and face was awesome. But then…I had to pee.
I quickly alerted everyone, and they helped me out of the tub and up to the bathroom. I closed the door so I could do my business, and then realized I did not want to leave the toilet. I really wanted to go to the bathroom with the pressure I was feeling. I quickly asked for someone to help me as I was just not comfortable and unsure of what to do.
The door flew open and Kyle and Jaymie walked in, while Selena, Summer and Sunshine hung around outside the bathroom on the steps. Jaymie started trying to take a heartbeat from the baby again while Kyle gave me some good counter pressure. My surges were just too intense at this point. Jaymie placed her hand gently on my shoulders and encouraged me to relax them. I mentioned the pressure and Jaymie suggested it was the baby. I told her I didn’t think so because my water still needed to break. Jaymie calmly just said “That’s okay…and maybe your baby will be born in the caul.” I took a few minutes to think…then looked at Jamie and uttered the sentence “I don’t want to do this.” (It was noted that this was theonly sign of transition I ever went through…I had basically no transition. What a difference from my last birth)
Right after uttering these words, a surge hit me that made me grab up on the window sill,bear down and groan like a cave woman. (I had been completely silent up until this point) It stopped everyone in their tracks. I felt a large bowling ball coming down and realized the pressure was not me having to go to the bathroom…I was having a baby…and the baby was going to come out in the toilet if I didn’t do something. Jaymie calmly looked at me and asked if I wanted to get back inthe tub. I looked at her and uttered “That’s probably a good idea.” Kyle shook his head and said “I’m glad you realize that.” I quickly got up from the toilet and noticed a bunch of blood in the toilet. My only thought was that the stairs were carpeted and I was going to stain them. (something I was laughed at for later on) I booked it back to the tub in the living room. Kyle noted while I was walking that there was a head coming out of me. He nervously alerted Jaymie to this,but she was calm.
When I got in the tub, she got behind me and started encouraging me to push my baby out.Sunshine was in front of me, really helping me work my breathing and energy down. Kyle was still behind me giving me counter pressure. Jaymie told me I could reach down and feel the head if I wanted to. I reached down and felt a little tiny something coming out, noting that I was not even close to crowning,though the pressure was intense. “THAT’S IT???” I snapped. Everyone laughed at me. I think I even laughed at myself. I then asked “Wait…so it’s a head?” They told me that yes, it was a head. I immediately looked at Sunshine and said “You did it!” and started making commentary. Selena then interrupted me and told meI needed to push my baby out. I started pushing again, but not much was happening. Jaymie then realized that with all of Kyle’s amazing counter pressure, he was actually pushing my coccyx (tailbone) in and the baby’s head was not able to descend. She told Kyle he needed to stop the counter pressure.He let go for the next surge, and with that the baby’s head flew down. It was this surge that was the most intense and with the jerk I felt of the head I letout a huge scream. Sunshine quickly focused me back and got my energy downward again.
With acouple more pushes, the baby still wasn’t doing much. Jaymie noted I was stretched to my max, so she didn’t want me to push much more, as she held my perineum for support. She told me to not push through a couple surges so she could check for cord. Sure enough, the cord was wrapped loosely around the baby twice, and was putting even more pressure on my perineum along with the head because of its dangly looseness. (This would totally explain why I felt thering of fire with a vengeance this time around…I never felt it with my first birth) She unwrapped it once but since it was so loose she didn’t feel a need to unwrap it all the way. The head came down a little more. I gave a couple more pushes. The head was out, but the shoulders were stuck.
Jaymie told me I needed to change position from leaning against the tub, and roll over so that I was facing up. This sounded horrid…there was literally a head hanging out of me and I was to turn around? I quickly said “No I don’t want to…I don’t want to…” during my chaotic response, Sunshine said “You’re going to turn over…here you go,” took her hand and gave one final love tap to assist in the birth of my baby where she pushed me. Because I was in the water, I lost my balance and flipped over unwillingly. Sunshine said something to the effect of “there you go.” This was probably a super funny sight to see from the other side.
Once I was positioned, I gave a final few pushes and my baby was out. (Pushing lasted 20 minutes…20 unbearable minutes in my entire 15 hours of labor) Kyle caught him,and he was quickly handed to me. He was motionless and super peaceful, but slightly blue. Everyone started rubbing him. The midwives jumped right in and took his heart beat, which was still great, but he wasn’t breathing. They had me blow in his mouth, and he let out a gasp, but they still had some work to doin order to get him breathing really well. Jaymie attempted to blow in hismouth as well before they started getting the oxygen. Selena never took the baby from my arms and kept encouraging me “talk to your baby…” I told him hi…and kept asking him if he was okay. I was starting to get a little nervous. After a couple minutes, the oxygen was held up to his face and he started to regulate and pink up. I am so thankful I was home for this, as I know if we had been at a hospital, Pax would have been separated from us. He stayed on my belly while the midwives worked around him. I will note, he was attached to his cord/placenta this entire time, so he was getting some great blood circulation and oxygen from the cord. I held him a little longer, and delivered the placenta within about 10 minutes. After the placenta came out, they had Kyle take the baby into the bedroom to try to help him further while they got me situated. I was given an herb to drink in order to stop the bleeding from getting to be too much, and then they helped me out of the tub. When I got in bed, I was handed the baby and he, Kyle and I snuggled together in bed. Vitals were taken on both of us,and my mom and Tristan were brought in to see us. There was so much love in the room. Jaymie anointed Paxton and I with Frankincense oil on our heads and my feet and it was a really special moment. Upon inspecting my placenta, we found that it was perfect with not a single flaw…but what was even more notable was that the umbilical cord was over two feet long. We finally had an answer as to why Paxton was the baby that would not say in the pelvis. His cord was so long,there was no way it could restrict him in any way. I felt so complete finally having an answer and a reason as to why all this happened, and it is a crazy and amazing story to tell. We had a jump roper in there!
The midwives then made sure I ate, helped me up to go to the bathroom, and gave Paxton his vitamin K shot, but not after having me latch him on so he would be the most comfortable. They weighed him and took his length. He was 8 lbs 6 oz and 21 inches long. No wonder it was so much harder to push him out than it was with Tristan, my 6 pounder. It was such an amazing experience. The midwives thanked Paxton for teaching him and we laughed about how crazy of an experience this entire ordeal was for all of us. Jaymie gave me my post partum care instructions, left some chlorophyll with me, and with that everyone left and the rest of the day was spent getting to know and loving on Paxton.
I want everyone reading this to know that despite my having this experience, I don’t feel everyone has to or should. I had so many moments during this ordeal where I thought about transferring to the hospital or getting a c section so I didn’t have to suffer these mind games anymore…and I’d never blame or judge anyone for doing different than what I did. In telling my story, I’m not encouraging anyone to go natural or saying it is the only way…but what I do want to encourage all mommies-to-be to do, is always trust your instinct. Even if others may judge you…we always know what is best for our babies and we get gut feelings for a reason. Also, miracles can and do happen, and just because something happens that isn’t the norm, doesn’t mean we should ever let go of trust in ourselves,our bodies and our babies. Never let someone else tell you how to feel. I’m so thankful I listened to the voice in my head, and I know many people judged me for the possibility of a breech delivery and thought I was crazy…but in the end it didn’t even matter…I let go, and I found peace.
Traci’s Birth Story:
From about 38 weeks, I had been having contractions off and on. There were a few days when I truly believed Parker would be born that day but then the contractions would just fade away. As I got closer and closer to his estimated due date (February 24th), I got more and more anxious for him to arrive.
The morning of his due date, I was slightly discouraged to find that I woke up with very faint contractions, more like Braxton Hicks. I decided since I hadn’t gone into labor yet that we should visit the birth stones in Wahiawa. Jay was working an early shift and arrived home at 1pm so we got the boys ready and headed to Target to get mom and Mayre (my sister) leis for their arrival that evening but we picked up one more lei to take with us to the birth stones as an offering. I let my doula know of my plan to go to the birth stones so she loads up her daughter and joins us up there. It was absolutely gorgeous and relaxing to be up there. I can definitely see why the Hawaiian Royalty would come here to give birth. There was just something so magical about that place. I asked the stones for a quick, healthy and beautiful home birth. I forgot to ask for it to be sooner than later but I figured the implication was there.
Lea took pictures of the whole area. It was beautiful and I was so ready for the baby to come!
We picked up some Maui Mike’s rotisserie chicken on our way home. When we got home, we had some dinner and relaxed a bit before heading down to the airport to pick up my mom and sister. No labor that night or the next day. I was 40 weeks and 2 days when we decided to stop waiting for the baby and try to enjoy the island a little bit with family.
So, we drove up to the North Shore to see the surfers, had lunch at Haleiwa Joe’s where they made me these awesome shrimp tacos (not on the menu/special order) and then we enjoyed some shave ice before we headed over to one of the surf shops. About that time, I noticed my ankles were beginning to swell a bit so I decided it was time to head home so I could rest.
When we arrived home, I took a shower to rinse off the day and relax a bit before dinner. Around 5pm I ate some dinner and we all settled in to watch the movie, “Lucy”. During the movie, I noticed my back was hurting so I laid down on a mattress on the floor my sister had been using to sleep on. I started having sporadic but painful contractions. About an hour into the movie, I decided I would feel better in my own bed so I got up and went to my bedroom. While standing at the end of my bed, I noticed a small gush and rushed into the bathroom just as my water broke into the toilet. It was slightly murky but not dark. It was a yellowy brown. I immediately called my midwife to tell her but she didn’t answer. So I called her assistant, Jaymie and described what I was seeing. She couldn’t see the pictures I sent her so she had me send them to Madeleine. She said the water was lightly stained but we didn’t need to be alarmed.
I then had Jay call my doula, Lea and ask that she come right away. I texted a friend, Casey to bring me pads so I could be around the house without leaking fluid everywhere. I thought I’d have some time between my water breaking and the contractions becoming unbearable. I was wrong. Time then became unnoticed to me. I laid in bed, breathing through my contractions mostly on my hands and knees. My water broke right around 7 pm. I decided around 7:45 that we should get the boys ready for bed so I wasn’t worried about them. My contractions had been around 3 minutes apart at that point but while the boys were saying good night to me, I had a 4 minute break. It’s like the boys being near me slowed my labor enough so I could tend to them. We sent them to bed just before 8pm I think.
Lea arrived at some point, maybe around 8pm right after we sent the kids to bed and she definitely helped me calm down. She suggested that I rest between contractions and had everyone leave the room except for Jay. I remember laying down with my pregnancy pillow between my knees and drifting to sleep between contractions. I’d get about 2-3.5 minutes of rest before I would yank myself up onto all fours to breathe through the contraction. Sometimes I would rock back and forth on my knees to help with the pain. I started having minute long contractions and I was beginning to struggle through my contractions for the next two to two and half hours when the urges to push began. I was begging for Madeleine so I could get into the tub. I wasn’t sure if I was still to early and I didn’t want to stall my labor by getting in too soon. It was now 11pm when Madeleine arrived and I had already had a few urges to push so Madeleine said to just go with them if they were coming.
Then I got into the tub and every contraction came with an urge to push. I tried to push in the tub and he’d make some progress but never could get him to crown. While in the tub, I asked Madeleine to see how far I was and she said I was complete and his head was right there. I reached down and felt his head for the first time! While in the tub, I would push and push but I never felt like he was going to come out. Only once or twice would I feel a sensation around my vagina that he might crown but it always went away when the pushing stopped. Between each contraction I would lay my head down on the side of the tub and just rest. I was exhausted. I don’t think I’ve ever been as exhausted as I was during the pushing.
After about an hour and half, Madeleine suggested I get on the birth stool to push. On my way out of the tub, a big surge hit and I was stuck standing in the tub half squatting while I pushed through the surge. Still no baby. Then I sat down on the stool and immediately knew that wasn’t where I wanted to be. The surges hurt so much more there and I just didn’t like it. I am pretty sure everyone in the house knew that I did not like the birth stool. I protested as soon as I sat down. Madeleine said that’s how she knew I definitely had to be out of the tub, because the more uncomfortable I was, the more likely the baby would come. Evidently birthing a baby is not comfortable business. Who knew?
After the surge ended while on the birth stool, Madeleine checked his heart rate and he wasn’t doing so great so she said I had to get him out soon. We went back and forth about where I should move to next since I was extremely unhappy on the birth stool. They suggested the toilet but that didn’t seem feasible to me. They suggested the bed but all I could think about was getting back into the tub. Finally, I asked to move to the bed. Once on the bed, Jay was told to get pillows and sit behind me so I could lean on him while pushing. So Jay held me up while Madeleine, Tammy (midwife assistant) and Lea all held my legs up and out while I curled into each surge (much to my discomfort!)! After a few pushes his head came through and since his face was in a puddle of fluid, they asked me to push without a contraction and during the pushing, another surge came along with the birth of my baby. I pulled him into me and just laid there against my husband holding our newborn baby.
The bleeding seemed to be more than Madeleine liked but not bad enough for Madeleine to feel the need to administer pitocin. After what felt like forever (probably 20-30 minutes), I delivered the placenta with help from Madeleine. I had a slight tear that was stitched up and then I nursed Parker. I’ve been riding the birth high ever since.
He was born at 12:49am 27 February 2015. He was 9lbs 4oz and 22″ long. My big baby came with a massive noggin measuring 14.25″! I gave birth after just under 6 hours of labor and lots of fighting through thoughts of defeat. I can honestly say this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done!! My beautiful home birth after 2 cesareans!
Haley’s Birth Story:
In case you missed it, here’s Part I.
Although early labor took a few days for me, whenever people ask how long I consider my laboring process to be, I tell them about 6-8 hours or so. That’s because, although the rushes –or contractions – of early labor were uncomfortable, they were nothing like those that came the night of Isaac’s birth, and once things really started getting going, it was a fast and furious process.
[We blew up the pool a day before the little guy arrived.]
After dinner on Monday the 25th, Ben could tell that something in my rushes had changed. I asked him to time them so that I didn’t become obsessed with the numbers, which he did for about an hour. At around 8pm he called our midwife Tina and our doula/birthing assistant Sonya and said that I was having minute long rushes every five minutes. This is when I consider my active labor to have started. My concept of time from that night is hazy – I went deep into my own body and nothing else mattered to me – but I’ll do my best to piece it all together.
At around 10pm, Sonya came by to check on me. At this point I was on the ground in our bedroom, rocking through rushes but having conversations in between. The rushes became more and more intense to the point where the only thing that felt good was dropping to my knees while leaning against the birthing ball, rocking my hips, and moaning or flapping my lips during each exhalation. I focused on loosening my jaw and envisioned opening up – a bright full moon between my legs in which my baby would emerge easily and gracefully – and kept connecting with the baby, telling him there was nothing to fear. Sonya wasn’t sure how long labor would last, so she suggested that I take some catnip and valerian root tincture and try to rest. She asked if we wanted her to sleep in our living room just in case, but since she lives only 5 minutes away I said she should go home and try to get some rest as well.
I took the tinctures and tried to get into bed, but it was horrendous to go through the rushes while on my back. Ben tried stacking all the pillows we had on our bed so that I could try sleeping in different positions in between rushes, but it was too intense for me and after a few minutes I wound up back on my knees on the ground, this time deliriously tired and a bit loopy from the tinctures. I told Ben that he should try to get some rest, so he went to the guest bedroom and laid down while I worked through the rushes, which were quickly getting even stronger and more steady.
At about this point I started feeling really cold and shaking constantly, which made me really want Sonya back. Around midnight I woke Ben up and asked him to call Sonya. I told him that I needed a heater [we had found one in the process of moving] and that I was getting nervous about the process of labor. He did a great job of keeping me calm and reminding me that I was capable of anything.
By 12:30am, Sonya was back at our house – she tried putting pressure on my lower back during contractions, which felt great at first. My mom was doing everything I had asked for – offering me positive feedback and coconut water between rushes – and Ben was reminding me to breathe and gently stroking with my hair, then taking Sonya’s place massaging my back.
Soon I got very introverted and suddenly I couldn’t stand anyone touching me or offering me drinks. I knew it was important to keep hydrated because we weren’t sure how long the labor would last, but at one point I almost started crying because I was so sick of sipping. Robin’s advice of allowing myself to be selfish during labor came to me, and I sternly told people ”Don’t Touch Me” when they’d try to massage me during rushes.
Ben now began filling the pool with warm water as I walked the halls of our home between the rushes, dropping down and circling my hips whenever the sensation would take over my body, which was happening more and more often. Mom and Ben lit candles in the living room and put on some music.
I lost all sense of time and space, and went completely inside to get through the intense rushes. I’m not a religious person [I consider myself spiritual], but my mantra became Give it to God, and I found that if I repeated the phrase over and over during my rushes, I was able to get through them easier. I felt like I was being watched over and didn’t feel so alone in the process.
At about 1am, Sonya recognized that I was progressing quickly so she called Tina. The fear that I felt had since disappeared and it was all I could do to just stay present and focus on getting through one rush at a time. I was on my knees almost exclusively because the rushes were so strong and close together. I told my Mom I couldn’t stand any more coconut water because I was nauseous, and I heard myself saying things like, “What if Tina gets here and says I’m not in labor?” and “I’m just so tired… I just wanna sleep for a minute.” When I heard myself say these things, I knew that I was going into the transitional phase [when I would soon be pushing], but I kept thinking it wasn’t possible to be progressing through active labor so quickly.
The pool looked so warm – and I was still shaking profusely – so I practically begged Sonya to let me get in the pool, but she said it wasn’t time yet [later she told me that getting in the pool would have slowed my progress, and labor isn’t about being comfortable, it’s about getting the baby out]. She and Ben kept encouraging me to walk between the rushes, but I could only get a few steps before having to get back on the floor. Nonetheless, I knew that it would help me have the baby, so I kept getting up. I kept telling the baby it was time; I kept calling out to God.
And then, around 1:30am, Tina showed up like an angel in my doorway. Her presence was so calming to me and her touch was so reassuring that I almost started sobbing right then and there. She watched me through a few rushes [I had started feeling the urge to push] before calmly kneeling down next to me and saying, “You’re feeling lots of pressure in your lower back, huh?” After I nodded she said, “Have you tried to poo yet?” And I must have given her the stinkest eye possible, because that was the last thing on my mind at the moment. She said, “I think your bag of waters is trying to break, and sitting on the toilet will help. Why don’t you go to the bathroom and just try to poo.” She went outside with Sonya to gather all her supplies.
Sitting upright during rushes was so painful for me, but I trusted Tina and felt so desperate to relieve the intense sensations that I was willing to try anything. I made my way to the bathroom and sat on the toilet. When a rush came I wanted to cry, but something inside me said to push through, so I listened. I opened up my legs wide and pushed like I was having a huge bowel movement and POP! My waters literally burst into and about two feet in front of the toilet! Isaac’s head fell into my birth canal so quickly that I felt like he was going to drop into the bowl.
I heard myself scream, “Oh My GOD! MY WATER BROKE!!!” I was shocked; it was the first time I was freaking out during the whole process and I didn’t even recognize my own voice. Ben came into the bathroom and calmly said, “It’s okay Haley, just breathe” and I yelled back at him, “What do you mean? I’m gonna have this baby in the toilet! Go. Get. TINA!” So he went out into the night and told Tina “Haley’s water broke. She’s freaking out.” Tina – calm as can be – took her sweet time gathering her supplies while I waddled – half-naked with my hands between my legs to keep the baby from falling out [or so I thought] – from the bathroom to the living room and asked no one in particular if it was alright to get into the pool yet.
My waters burst around 2am, and shortly after I crawled into the pool, staying on all fours and leaning against the side as the waves continued to crash over me. Give it to God, Give it to God. My body was still shaking, but my mind saw the finish line in sight: I could now push this baby out!
I don’t know how quite to explain the way in which the innate took over and did all the work from here on out. I don’t remember the candles, or the music, or time… but I remember the way my low moans morphed into uncontrollable, powerful roars. I don’t remember just how many pushes it took, or where everyone stood… but I remember feeling as if the entire Universe opened up between my legs to release my son. I remember Tina telling me that I needed to slow down and Ben reminding me that I needed to breathe.
From what Ben says, after I got into the pool at 2 o’clock, it was only about 5 rushes before Isaac joined us at 2:44am.
- Rush – PUSH! – Ouch ouch ouch. Tina feels me in the water and says “Good job. Your baby is in the birth canal… about a third of the way to crowning.”
- Rush – PUSH – I feel myself opening up and hear sounds I never knew possible coming from me. Tina says the baby’s crowning and tells me to feel his head. I feel his head and then feel it disappear back into me, so I say, “oh no, he went back in!”, to which everyone laughs.
- Rush – PUSH – His head comes down and stays down. Tina tells Ben that if he wants to catch the baby, he needs to get behind me now. I hear them telling me to breathe.
- Rush – PUSH! – I am more determined to push this baby out than I’ve ever been in my entire life. I feel the fear and charge through anyway – froggy squatting in the pool and bearing down. I feel like I’ve been torn inside out as the baby’s head emerges from me. I was ready to push him completely out, but Tina tells me to slow down, stop and feel my baby’s head. I’m afraid to touch anything down there because I fear I’ve broken myself, but I feel his head and wait for the next rush, which apparently took about 4 minutes to come.
- Final rush – PUSH – the baby’s body slides out of me, I turn over, and he’s placed on my chest immediately. I’m in shock at how calm, yet wide awake and aware he is from the beginning. Tina says “2:44 am” and tells us to talk to him and rub his back vigorously because he’s a little pale and doesn’t cry [he didn’t actually cry until hours after his birth].
I was in pure shock at how surreal it was to finally meet the little being who has been my sidekick for the past ten months. His perfection rocked me to my core and Ben and I were so in love that it took a few minutes before we realized we didn’t know whether it was a boy or a girl.
I birthed my placenta in the pool before going over to the couch to dry off with my family. Isaac latched onto my breast beautifully while I sipped herbal remedies from Tina, and then Ben got skin-to-skin time with Isaac while Tina helped me into the shower and then bed.
Ben and I stared at our little one for hours while they weighed and measured him, and then left us to get comfy in our own bed. We finally got to bed around 5am, this time as a family of three!
I never spoke much about my “birth plan” because I honestly knew that I would have done whatever was necessary to have my baby come out healthy and happy, but this truly was my perfect birth. Isaac was born at home in a serene environment surrounded by love. I am so grateful to say that the experience was truly life-changing in the most beautiful and positive way, and if I had it to do all over again, I’d do it just the same [I’d just be sure to get some rest the few days beforehand ].
I look forward to sharing my healing process with you all, but for now, I’ll just say that, as it turns out, I didn’t tear open the way I thought I did. I didn’t tear at all, actually. I had two “skid marks” that healed beautifully in just a few days. Nonetheless, I now have a healthy, happy baby, which to me is way more important than temporary pain.
Thanks so much for being so patient as I put together this post. The past two weeks have been the most challenging and rewarding days of all my life, and I’m taking it all one moment at a time. I look forward to the days where I’ll be able to post more regularly again, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying every single moment as this kid’s Mommy:
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