- November 2015
- First Baby
- Mom’s Age: 31
- 9 Days Late
- Natural Birth
- 18 Hour Labor
- Sacramento, CA
- Home Birth
- Midwife for Pregnancy: Tuesday Benavidez-Knight, of New Earth Midwifery
- Midwifes for Delivery: Marlene Smith & Kaleem Joy, of One Heart Midwifery
Giving birth is an intense experience, and it helps to be in a place where you and your partner feel most supported and comfortable. If you are dreaming of a home birth and want to hear a beautiful story of a husband and wife’s experience as they welcome their first baby into the world, I share with you my story. Before I begin to share my home birth story I will open with this: My dear dad passed away on November 12, 2012 and I know that he would have enjoyed my pregnancy journey and the excitement that we were having a little girl.
I received my prenatal care from Tuesday Benavidez-Knight with New Earth Midwifery, accompanied by her assistants Chelsea and Marga. They gave us the full confidence that I could deliver my baby at home. To have a home birth I needed to be low risk, and in good health, which thankfully, I was. During pregnancy I had some of the usual things: nausea from week 5-12, low iron levels which I boosted by eating sardines, oysters and mandarin oranges (citrus helps your body absorb iron). I also stayed in shape, working out with weights 2-3 days a week, up until 3 days before I gave birth.
The time was about 5:20am on Thursday, November 12, 2015, I woke up to some very mild, and uncomfortable contractions in my back and stomach. I was nine days past my due date. I used the restroom thinking maybe I had a full bladder pushing on something. My husband, Ryan, lay in the bed next to me, but I didn’t bother waking him. The contractions had stopped coming on, so I went back to sleep for a couple hours and then woke to another. I had a couple more contractions that morning, but I could walk and talk through them.
I had previously scheduled an acupuncture appointment for that afternoon. The acupuncturist placed the needles in spots on my body known to induce labor. Immediately following the session as I put my clothes back on I had a contraction that stopped me in my tracks, and I had to rest against the table. Before going home I stopped by a baby store and bought a few things. I knew it was best to go about my day as usual because the beginning stages of labor can last for a long time. Plus, I wasn’t really sure this was the start of labor.
When I got home at 2:00pm I had two contractions that ached so bad that I dropped down on my hands and knees swaying and moving my hips all around. This helped to ease the pain. Once I was able to get up I changed into a loose fitting pink dress and sat on my medicine ball and was temporarily relieved of my pain. I had a total of eight contractions starting from that morning until about 2:30pm. Thankfully, I was still able to move between contractions.
Around 6:15pm my contractions were coming 30 minutes apart. Ryan text my midwife Tuesday to let her know I was having contractions and throwing up. As my contractions were only 30 minutes apart, we had no way of knowing that I would be giving birth in just a few hours. Contrarily, our midwife assumed I’d deliver by 7:00am the next morning hence her decision not to come over yet.
It was during this time I tried to lay on the couch on my side, but found this position to be very painful. When my contractions came on I would end up stuck in whatever position I was in. I learned really fast that lying down was the most painful position when the contractions hit. I found that I could no longer move around to ease the pain. Though letting out deep moans during each contraction helped ease it.
Around 7:30pm Ryan called midwife Tuesday again because the contractions had moved up in intensity. They were now 13 minutes apart, and lasting anywhere from 55 seconds to 1.5 minutes in duration each time. Midwife instructed me to get into the bathtub which I did. Being in the water allowed me to move my hips around, rather than being stuck.
After about 10 minutes of bath time I decided to get out because I felt like I needed to move into another position. Ryan wanted to make sure I had a food since he knew I was in for a long night. And even though I was not hungry, he strongly urged me to eat some grapes and stay hydrated with coconut water and water, which I did consume. By 8:30pm my contractions were averaging 4 minutes apart. I was not able to move or talk anymore during a contraction. I could sense that what I really needed to do was relax everything in my pelvic area.
Sometime after 9:00pm I sat on the toilet to allow myself to completely relax. Each contraction lasted anywhere between 45 seconds to 1 minute 50 seconds, and were 3 to 4 minutes apart. I continued to let out my deep low moan which helped me get through the pain. Around 9:40pm while on the toilet I suddenly got the urge to push, I pushed 3 times and then my water broke! Thankfully, between urges to push I got a little break and I had zero pain. That was wonderful.
Ryan alerted midwife Tuesday by phone that my water had broken and I was having the urge to push. Ryan didn’t tell me at the time, but Tuesday was at another birth and said she would take an hour to get to us. She told Ryan he could call an ambulance if we didn’t feel prepared, but we were confident that I could give birth at home.
I knew I couldn’t wait that long and while I was in between contractions, I calmly told Ryan that he needed to wash his hands and get the towels because he was going to help me deliver this baby. I can’t believe how calm I was, but I trusted my body 100%. When the midwife knew she couldn’t make it to me in the hour, she immediately sent a backup midwife team. Until they got there I was ordered to blow out each time I felt the urge to push. So there I was on the bathroom floor, on all fours, blowing out each time I had the urge to push.
I couldn’t believe how fast her back up arrived, 40 minutes after my water had broken, there they were. Ryan was so relieved to see the midwives and describes it as three angels walking through the door to help us. I was in between my urge to push, pain free, and as soon as they came in I asked them their names. One of them told me to call her Grandma. They were midwife Marlene, midwife Kaleem, and assistant Christie from One Heart Midwifery Care. I didn’t care that I had never met them before because I sensed their warmth and felt safe with them. Ryan later corroborated this saying it was as though we had known them our whole lives.
Marlene sat behind me and told me to go ahead and push when the urge came which was a relief to hear! Then Tuesday’s assistant Chelsea showed up, becoming the one person who’s face I had seen prior to that day. When Marlene checked me, I was crowning. They asked if I would like to move to my bed to deliver. All I wanted was to stay right where I was in my bathroom on the memory foam padded floor.
After about 50 minutes of pushing, the baby popped out as Ryan and midwife Marlene caught her. Alexia was born at 11:12pm on 11/12/2015.
The baby looked around at the new world before her for a minute or so, and then she cried. She had a full head of hair. I was quite shaky from the ordeal, but considering what I’d just been through, I felt well. Ryan held her first for about 5 seconds before handing her slippery body over to me.
After delivering her, I carried the baby still attached to me by placenta, to my bed where I held her. I delivered the placenta about 10 minutes later. It stayed attached to baby for about 25 minutes and when the pulse was no longer, they prepped it and Ryan cut the cord.
They served me a tea which they had prepared on arrival to help me heal after the birth. Not once did the baby leave my arms for her first 30 minutes. But it was time I handed her over for her examination which was done right next to me in bed.
Chelsea weighed her at 8lbs, 2oz and 21.5 inches long. She scored a 10 on her APGAR!
When it was time to feed her it took some coaching from the midwife, but she latched on within the first hour of her life. Ryan and I felt so cared for.
It was 2:30am. Everyone had left the house. The laundry was cleaned and folded, the memory foam I birthed on was thrown out, extra peri-wash and herbal tea was in the fridge for later. There was no sign of our labor anywhere.
We were alone. Just the three of us. It was a peaceful birth and I will do it again next birth.
With the circle of life complete, what had been a sad day missing my wonderful dad, now is a happy day celebrating his granddaughter’s birth.
The next morning midwife Tuesday came to check on me and the baby to make sure we were doing well. And we were.
Read more of Laura’s adventures as a Mommy at A Sweet Mommy Life
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