Leo's Home Birth Story (part one)
"After all of this, are we going to have a baby on the twenty-third?"
our midwife, Dawn, casually asked between pushes... knowing full well what she was doing. I felt a surge of indignant willpower flow through my exhausted body as I thought, "the hell we are!" I didn't labor all day to have our baby born a few minutes AFTER 2.22.22 had passed! But I'd been pushing for over five hours and he was still not coming. Was I going to be able to make my envisioned home birth a reality, and bring this baby into the world safely?
Previous days had me feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, even disheartened that baby had yet to arrive. Prodromal contractions had been experienced on and off for weeks, but this night felt different. I was joyful within my body and soaking in quality time with our four year old daughter, Hallie, before we became a family of four. We decided since my husband was working late that it was a perfect night for a movie. The Latin tunes of Disney's "Encanto" had me up and moving, swaying my hips to the salsa and joking about dancing this baby out.
As I tucked our four year old daughter into bed for the night, I felt a shift. I texted Adam who was finishing up a project at his automotive repair shop, letting him know he might not be back to work the next day. Throughout the night I felt the contractions more intensely than the weeks prior and knew I was in the early labor stage. My excitement was growing with the awareness that I was finally going to be meeting our baby soon, yet I also knew I needed to rest up as much as I could for the work to come. I slept off and on between contractions and in the early morning hours, I split my waking time between journaling, watching old "Friends" episodes, and moving about on my yoga-turned-birthing ball. Feeling the contractions growing around 6:00am, I pulled up my contraction timer app to monitor when to tell our midwife Dawn and her assistant Emily to come. Giving them a little heads up text as the roads were icy, I let them know I was in active labor. In the hour from 6:00 and 7:00am the contractions jumped from being between eight and ten minutes apart to three minutes apart. I informed Dawn and Emily of this shift and they headed our way as I continued to labor on the ball.
"Doin' great.... you're doin' great," Hallie said softly.
Hearing these kind words touched my heart and I told her how sweet her encouragement was. She responded, "I was tellin' myself that!" I laughed at her unexpected response, and the blatant honesty of a four year old. She grinned and came over to hold my hand. Adam began pumping up our birth pool as Dawn arrived, checked my blood pressure and both mine and baby's heart rate, and began unpacking her gear. My mini-midwife was instantly by her side, asking questions and excitedly learning all about her equipment.