It’s been about 4 weeks as I finally sit down to write West’s birth story. A big thanks to y’all, my followers/readers, for the support through my pregnancy/postpartum and all of the kind messages I’ve received after the birth of baby number two! I truly appreciate it! This is my experience with birth as I know everyone has their own journey. I fully support that we all have the right to chose the way in which we would like to give birth. This is mine. Alrighty, let’s get into my birth story with baby no. 2…
I was 40+ weeks pregnant, trying to be patient as possible and feeling VERY ready for baby. If you follow me on Instagram you saw all of the crazy things I was doing to try to induce labor: spicy foods, ball bouncing, stretching, inverted poses, eating pineapple, drinking red raspberry tea and the list goes on… I was really doing it to distract myself and have a little fun. Video here! I knew that baby boy would come when he was ready, and he sure did!
It was 2:30PM on May 20th. I had just watched a little bravo (surprise, surprise), and was getting up from my bed when bam, my water broke! It also did with Ford, so I had a feeling it would this go around. I will say, it actually is kind of like the movies. Literally fluid and water everywhere. I called for Luke and he immediately came upstairs. We rang Erin, my midwife, who was already planning on visiting me around 4PM that day as I still hadn’t gone into labor; so we thought. 😉 BUT… no answer!! Luke probably called 20 times, left messages and texted her. My birth with Ford was only 3.5 hours from the time my water broke, so we figured it would faster the second time around. I’m pretty sure Luke was mentally preparing to deliver our baby… For those of you wondering about Ford, he was taking his afternoon nap at this time. We called our nanny Elizabeth and my Mom to come over to help take care of him. This was always our plan and it worked out well.
While we waited to hear from Erin, Luke started setting up for the home birth: tarps on the floors, mattress protector/sheets on the bed and filling up the tub with water. I began to get in a good mental space, reading my mantras and breathing. My main focus was to calm my anxiety/adrenaline. I laid on the bed, relaxed my body and waited for the contractions to begin… Nothing for the first 30 minutes and then, HELLO contractions! I knew they would progress quickly if it was anything like Ford’s birth. Luke started timing them – 4 min apart and 30 sec long, 3 min apart and 45 long, 2 min apart and 1 min long. AND still no word from my midwife. I could feel my anxiety creeping in, so I told Luke to not tell me how far apart they were. I needed to focus on relaxing.
FINALLY we heard from Erin around 3:30 PM and she was on her way. Unfortunately she was in an area of the mountains visiting another mama where there was no service. Nonetheless I was comforted to know she would be with us shortly. My contractions were getting extremely intense at this point and I wanted to get in the tub. During my first birth the warm water helped to relieve some pressure. Trust me, it still hurt like you know what, but it makes it a bit more manageable. I could only assume I was at 9/10 centimeters dilated at this point. The intensity was almost unbearable. I was very much in my head/mentally focusing on getting through each contraction. In my experience I go to “another world”. I’m not present on what is happening in the room.
Erin and her assistant arrived. She checked the babies heart rate and all was good. Again, that was a relief to know. I then began to start feeling pushy. This meant the baby was COMING!! I couldn’t get in a comfortable position in the tub, I felt hot and asked to get out.
They helped me out of the water and I began to push in a squatted position right outside of the tub. Essentially I felt like I needed to bear down and use gravity as my friend. This is one of the many reasons why I opted for a home birth. I wanted to have the freedom to listen to my body and birth in the position that felt right for baby. I can not imagine laying on a bed and pushing – not for me!
My midwife tied a sheet with a big knot in the middle. In my squat-like position I grabbed the knot, pulled it down while I pushed, and Luke held it up opposite of me. He later told me it was the hardest forearm/shoulder workout of his life! LOL I probably pushed with my contractions for about 25ish minutes and then I felt the head crowning… I put my hand down to feel his head… yup, pretty wild! A few more pushes and his head was out. One more push and woooooosh, out he came. I grabbed him right in front of me, sat back on the floor and put him on my chest (picture below). Like, holy shit I just did that AGAIN!! I whispered to my sweet West, “we have been waiting for you. Welcome to world, sweet boy.” He was born at 4:45 PM – a little over two hours since my water broke!! Like Ford, he wasn’t loud and/or crying. Just taking it all in.
We kept the umbilical cord attached to West and my placenta for as long as possible. Luke ended up cutting it after I had birthed my placenta, about 20 minutes later. We also did this with Ford. It helps clean the blood and is VERY good for baby’s gut (microbiome). The vernix was also left on his skin as it’s great for the microbiome. We did not clean West once he was out like you would typically do in a hospital.
They moved me to my bed with West in my arms. Baby started to “breastfeed” – get the hang of the latch and eat colostrum. This pre-milk is liquid gold and boost a baby’s immune system and help fight infection. I laid on the bed and held my sweet baby, taking it all in. The oxytocin high you get after birth is magical.
Luke went down to get make me food. My midwife and her assistant cleaned me up and she checked for tearing. I had one small tear, not enough for a stitch. I was asked on Instagram if my midwife could do such a procedure if needed and yes, she can. Thankfully I didn’t have to.
Now it was time to give West a little check up. Luke weighed/measured him, she listened to his heart and gave him a body exam. All looked good! He came in at 8lbs 9oz and 22 inches. A pound less than Ford but an inch longer. I prayed for another healthy baby boy and was so grateful to have him in my arms. I am filled with SO much joy!
Giving birth the way I wanted to, unmedicated and in my safe space, has been the most empowering experiences of my life. Nothing compares. I am filled with gratitude that my body carried and delivered two healthy babies. The mental, emotional and physical power we hold as woman is truly incredible. I also am thankful for my partner, Luke, in honoring my choice to do this at home. He was supportive, encouraging and loving every step of the way. The connection we have is even stronger after experiencing Ford and West coming into the world.
Below I’m sharing some photos immediately following the birth. They are raw and real. If you have any questions about home births or my experience, please leave a comment on this post. I will get back to you! Again, thank you all for the sweet messages! Sending much love to y’all! xx