This 3rd birth. This unbelievably amazing and empowering 3rd birth. Honestly, I am not sure where to start so I’ll start with my other 2 births for reference. I had had 2 unmedicated hospital births prior to this one. The thought of jumping into the unknown and going down a completely different route SCARED me. I had read about all of these amazing births, researched it to no end, but all I could wonder is if I was REALLY ready for this!
A couple months before Kaya was born, we decided to switch from a birthing center birth to a home birth. I have fast labors and my biggest fear is giving birth in the car or having the worst of my contractions in the car sitting in traffic. BUT I was also afraid of having my baby at home and the unknowns.
If you know my midwife Galyn, she has this way of making you feel like you can do anything. She helps you look your fears in the face and see if there’s grounds for them. After a few months in her care, I knew I was capable of a home birth and that’s truly what I wanted.
Fast forward to 38 weeks, I was dilated to a 1 or 2 and having steady contractions. This was it. I KNEW it. I was ready. We had the birthing tub inflated upstairs, the entire house cleaned, and it was a few weeks before my husband went back to school. Everything was perfect. I called Galyn and she headed over. I felt great. A little nervous, but ready to have this baby. The contractions continued and NOTHING. Not a thing. They didn’t get worse or closer together. We spent half the night awake only for me to fall asleep and wake up in the morning to find that my contractions had stopped. Turns out I was having prodromal labor and my cervix had only dilated to a 5. Since there was really nothing to do, we made pancakes and called it a night. It wasn’t her time and we were just going to wait it out.
16 days later, at around 5pm, I’m at my appointment and decide to have my membranes stripped because my cervix was completely ripened. Galyn looked right at me and said, “See you in a couple of hours. You’re having this baby tonight.” I laughed and rolled my eyes, assuming that it would still be a few days, got in the car and told Joe. He laughed and we headed home. About 10 mins from the house, the contractions started. Not too hard but definitely noticeable. After we got the kids in bed my contractions were all over the place: 20 mins apart, then 7 mins apart, the 15 mins. I messaged Galyn and told her something was happening but I didn’t think this was it. She messaged me back and told me this was definitely it and to call her in a few hours. Still not believing it, we headed to bed. At 11 pm, after being in bed for about 30 mins, I poked my already sleeping husband and said, “This is it!! Start filling up the tub! I’m calling Galyn!”
45 mins later, I’m climbing into the birthing tub not sure what to expect, not sure what to do, but ready nonetheless. The minute the warm water reaches my muscles my contractions were ¼ of what they were. I’m sitting there for about 10 mins and all of a sudden start feeling cold water coming out of the hose. I look over at Galyn and my mom completely confused. Joe comes upstairs and I tell him the water is freezing. He looks at me and says, “Oops! I’m doing laundry and didn’t even think about it.” Yep. He was doing laundry. You can laugh now. It’s totally ok! But he’s a doer and has to be doing things instead of just waiting around. So for the next 30 mins my dad and my midwife’s assistant were boiling pots of water and filling my birthing tub.
Fast forward another 15 mins and I am just sitting there in the birthing tub with steady very light contractions. I glanced at my midwife and told her that I thought labor had stopped again because I was feeling almost no pain. She checks me and I am fully expecting her to say I had stopped dilating but I hadn’t! I was at 8cm and definitely having that baby soon. All of my research had told me that water birth reduced your pain by a lot but I just didn’t imagine it would be that much. At that point she told me I had two options. I could wait until my body just pushed the baby out on it’s own or I could start pushing gently with each contractions to move Kaya into the birth canal and have her engage. This was one of those moments where I felt completely outside of my body. Like I was sitting at a table weighing two hugely important options. Every woman knows that the crowning part of birth is THE worst part. So all I could think was, “Do I just wait and give myself another 3ish hours before I have to endure that pain or do I just go with it and have it happen now?” So I went with it.
I started pushing with each contraction that came. It was the weirdest thing ever but I could literally feel her moving down the birth canal. After about 5 contractions, I looked at Joe and at Galyn and said, “Well. The baby is coming with this next push.” They both looked at me and they both looked at each other and said, “Ummm…..okay?? Are you sure??” So my midwife moved in front of me and they each grabbed a hand as I got into a squatting position. Side note: every time I have a child, the force of the crowning throws me back, but this time I had determined that wouldn’t happen.
Back to the story: The next contraction came and I pushed. And in that push she crowned. And with that crowning, I was thrown back in the birthing tub and no longer facing my midwife but Joe instead. There was her head! And with the calmest voice, Galyn is instructing Joe on how to deliver the baby. “Just give a little push. Ok there’s her head. Ok Joe, unwrap the cord from her neck. Ok, it’s unwrapped, push the body out.” And that was it! There she was. Perfect in every way. Later Joe told me that he was so worried she was going to drown when she was under the water until he realized how funny that statement was. He also told me it was completely surreal delivering her at that moment.
And that’s my birth story. It was perfect. There was a fraction of the pain compared to my two other births. I was able to shower and sleep in my own bed and just feel relaxed. Having Galyn come to me for the 24 hour visit and the 3 day visit was probably one of my favorite parts of the post partum care. I didn’t have to get dressed or go anywhere. It truly was perfect!