Bump Squad 5.0 Mama Chloe walks us through the birth of her dreams: simple, sweet and right at home.
About 5 pm on my due date we went out front to hang out in the kiddie pool with Violet, my 21 month old, on the driveway, Matt, my husband, drank a beer and I drank a sparkling kombucha. Around this time I began to feel a weird tight feeling in my stomach, I was not sure if these were just really intense Braxton-Hicks contractions or real contractions — they were different than any contractions I had with Violet. After we put Violet to bed, I told Matt that this may be the real deal and we took a walk down the street. I was still able to walk and talk during the contractions, so we were laughing and reminiscing about Violet’s birth. I remember commenting about how I immediately went into “labor land” with Violet. Matt tells me to let him know when I “go lizard brain” (his term for “labor land”) with this one. I said “Sure, like I’ll know!” and we laughed.
The contractions hadn't stopped, so Matt sat in the living room with me while I bounced on the yoga ball and watched my favorite movie, Clue. I texted Sam (my midwife) around 8 pm to give her a heads up that I could be in labor … but that I’m not sure. She told me to rest while I can. Around 9 pm I went to lay in bed and attempt to nap. I began feeling stronger contractions and began timing them. After about 30 minutes, Matt came to lay in bed with me. He took over timing the contractions for me, and helped me breathe through each one, saying encouraging words.
Around midnight Matt texted Sam to tell her my contractions are about a minute long — and about 3 minutes apart. She said she’d head over, just in case. Meanwhile, I moved back and forth from the bed to the bathroom a few times. Matt inflated the birth pool and started to fill it with water. He also started boiling water in case our water heater couldn’t keep up.
Sam arrived around 12:30, I was trying to get back to the bathroom and was on my hands and knees on the floor next to the foot of the bed during a contraction when Sam walked in. I asked Matt about contraction timing, and he says, “It doesn’t matter. Sam is here now.” I told him I think I’m going into “lizard brain.” Sam suggested filling the bathtub with water for me while waiting for the birth pool to fill up, so I crawled into the bathroom while Matt got the bathtub filled.
I got into the tub, but it wasn’t very comfortable, and I felt very cramped. Matt was very attentive with giving me counter pressure on my hips and keeping me hydrated. During this time Kate, my step-mom, arrived.
We end up needing to add cold water to the birth pool because apparently, our water heater has unlimited capacity! We finally get it to a temperature that I can use, and the deeper water is a godsend. I tried a couple of different positions but a reclined position against the side is the most comfortable for me. Unfortunately, that means Matt has to stand in the pool in front of me and lean over to apply counter pressure to my hips for each contraction. And honestly? The hip pain was by far the worst.
I labored for a while and remember conversing in between contractions — at some point commenting on how lucid I am, compared to when I was in labor with Violet. I started pushing much earlier this time by going with what my body is telling me to do. Sam asked to do an internal examination, this first one this entire pregnancy, to see how dilated I am. The sac is intact and holding the head away from the cervix, which is still a little in front of the baby but is very soft so it’s not something to worry about. She told me to push really hard during my next few contractions to see if it will break. During my next contraction, sure enough, I felt the sac break, which was a weird popping feeling. Sam checks again and tells me the head is just about one knuckle in.
A few pushes ,and I could feel the baby’s head beginning to emerge, which surprised me! I stopped pushing momentarily, but then kept going until the head was out. Sam checked to make sure the cord was not around the neck and told me to give a gentle push. This time I actually felt the baby turn, which was really cool! She told Matt to get ready to catch and one more push brings the baby out. 2:55 am Matt grabbed him and handed him to me, even though the cord was very short.
It’s a boy: Archer! He had a lot of vernix on him — and cried right away.
I held him while in the pool until the placenta was delivered. Sam wrapped the placenta in a pad, and the baby in a towel — cord still attached and unclamped — and handed him to Matt, while I moved to the bed, and wrapped up in my robe. Matt brought him over and he had his first latch.
While Matt and I relaxed on the bed, holding and enjoying our new baby, Sam raided our kitchen to make a post birth meal for me. She made scrambled eggs, sauteed veggies(asparagus and zucchini) and yogurt with honey and fruit. We pop open a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate. We got to spend the next hour or so just relaxing and chatting with Sam and Kate, eating and enjoying our wine.
After a while, I wanted to get Baby Archer wrapped up in a blanket, so I asked if we can cut the cord and do his newborn assessment. Before we started, I gave Sam her midwife gift and then Matt cut the cord. Sam took all of his measurements and newborn assessments. Sam, who was Kate’s midwife and delivered my brothers a little less than a decade ago, used the same scale to weigh Archer! After the newborn assessment, Matt took Archer so that Sam could check me and stitch up my level 1 tear. Kate got Violet up (she had slept through the whole thing) and fed her and kept her occupied. After Sam took care of me, Violet came in to meet her new brother and was, of course, skeptical and a little unsure about all the new things and people in the house.
My dad and my brothers arrived to meet Archer. Then Janet, Matt’s mom, comes by to see the baby and take Violet for a few hours so we can rest. She brought us donuts — and Kate brought us breakfast tacos.
I was surprised at how different this birth experience was compared to Violet’s birth. Sam was my midwife for both, but Violet was born in a birth center. Archer’s home birth was so much more calm. I was struck by the fact that there were only four people there (not including sleeping Violet on the other side of the house), and how relaxing that was. Even though there were only five people in the room for Violet’s birth, there was a training midwife present, I could feel the energy that there were more people outside the room. Not only was my mother in law hanging out right on the other side of the door, they also had other prenatal appointments happening, and I could feel that energy.
I feel very fortunate to have had an amazing birth experience, and the experience I wanted. I had my midwife who I trust, my Step-mom to take photos and just a supportive presence, and my husband, who is a fantastic birth partner.
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