Its time for another amazing homebirth story! Today’s guest poster is Shelby Sheene. Shelby is a photographer, yoga instructor, and Christian unschooling mama in Florida. She’s been married for 10 years to her husband Thomas and has 3 girls who are 9, 7, and 4. If you don’t already follow her on Instagram, you need to! She posts the most stunningly beautiful, bold, and artistic photos that are so inspiring, yet also keeps it real with her down to earth mom posts! She recently had her first homebirth with her son Ezrael. Her 3 girls were very involved in her birth and made her experience so special. Here is her story!
I will try to write a long and elegant birth story but I feel like his birth was more of a haiku. Lol.. So fast and short and you’re left like “what just happened?!? Did that make sense to anyone else?” So I’ll try to go over what transpired, but in all honesty my mind felt like it was in another place. I woke up after yet another long night of calm contractions. Nothing new.. I’d been doing this and then I’d get up for the day and they would dissipate for awhile now. I would have a quick cry then remind myself baby would be here when he was perfect and ready and start the day. But this morning was different.
They didn’t dissipate. But still they never really became organized either. I stopped tracking them because I could tell they weren’t “perfect enough” to technically call my midwife but I was having some stronger pains with them so really, my husband Thomas and some close friends made me call just to give her an idea of what was going on. Its hard to explain that I knew it was time but factually nothing flagged “the perfect signs” of real labor so even then the denial was still there…
when I called the midwife I had like 3 contractions on the phone with her, a 12 minute phone call, and then one immediately after we hung up. But still I could force myself to talk through them so not a big enough deal yet right? I told her I felt like I was wasting her time calling her so early because they weren’t THAT painful and not perfectly spaced either.. She decided to head my way anyway. She arrived just before noon and said she would just hang out and watch me to see if she felt like she needed to hang out or just stay in the area… After a few contractions I noticed she didn’t leave. It should have dawned on me then this was real.
But no, after all …my last labor (in a hospital bed) was 22 hours…so we weren’t having a baby for a good while right? Maybe tonight or early morning tomorrow.. My husband had just made it home from work and the grocery store as they began to intensify. Funny because I told him he was leaving work too early but he insisted on being there for me during labor. So glad he came home when he did. Within what seemed like a few minutes of him unloading groceries and showering away the grease from work the contractions got stronger.
I convinced myself it’s because I switched laboring positions from standing and swaying to rocking on the yoga ball. After 3 contractions on the yoga ball it was getting intense. So I told the midwife it was just a bad position and she gently said, “Shelby, they could just be getting more intense.” No way though… she had only been there for what? An hour? I moved down onto the floor onto my knees and wrapped myself around the birthing ball. Purely instinctual because it felt better. But then I began to transition.
This is where I panicked last time. I didn’t even know what transition was and thought something was wrong. But this time I was aware and prepared. I tried to let them come and repeat affirmations, but I feel this is where I began to drift away mentally and really vocalize my way through each surge. I faintly heard one of the midwives and Thomas talking and confirmed I was transitioning and they rushed to fill the pool. Just as it was finished filling I could see so much steam and they stated it was too hot to get in. I think I asked them to pour in cold water because I needed to get in NOW.
Somehow I crazily thought if I got in the tub I’d be able to slow things down and rest before continuing to labor for hours. I sat down in the pool of warm water and felt an instant sensation of relief. It only lasted for maybe a minute and then, like a heavy pop, I felt my waters give way and the contraction that came with it made me leap half way out of the water to my hands and knees. My midwife gently reminded me I could birth in any position I wanted but asked me to turn sideways to her so she could watch and to keep my body under the water .
And just like that it was time to push. It was instinctual. I couldn’t NOT push. And there it was- the ring of fire. The only part of labor that truly scares me. But his head wasn’t out like I thought. I reached down and felt the very top of his head but that was it. This was it. I was so close. I was about to meet my baby…I couldn’t stop now. Prepare yourself for some rawness from here on out. I heard my husband run out the front door and yell “right now!” I heard the jingle of my dad’s keys and knew my parents had arrived to see their very first grandson enter the world. I never saw them.
Actually I had no idea who was watching at this point. I pushed again. Pretty sure I yelled the name of Jesus as his head came out. I reached down and could feel his ear. For some reason I zoned in on that. As I waited for the next wave, I gently stroked his ear with my finger knowing he was right there. And we were okay despite the pain. One more push and after what seemed like an eternity but was only 7 minutes his entire body just slid right out in front of me under the water. It was such an unreal moment.
I scooped him up all too quickly and brought him to my chest. He had a nuchal cord just like all my others which was fine but then when I pulled him up it tightened. So the midwife quickly and calmly helped unwrap it and we sank gently back into the water. He was earthside and bright eyed. I remember him letting out a soft cry and some noises but nothing of substance. So with a little help, the midwife lifted him up by the belly and face down as he cleared his lungs with a good solid cry and she placed him back on my chest.
They covered us with a towel and we waited there together skin to skin for the last remnants of his tie to me to stop pulsing. When we were ready, and he had received everything beneficial he could, Thomas cut the cord of his firstborn son. And in the moment all the emotions rushed at me.
He was here. He was ours. Our little boy. Born 4 days past his due date and right on time. The perfect little man cub to our tribe of wildlings.
The decision to have our baby at home was one I will cherish forever. The experience, empowerment, and even recovery was like none other. It feels like I was so blessed I can’t fully fathom it all. If I’m fortunate enough to have more children I will pray for this every time. And I pray that all the mommas who desire a home birth get that dream as well. No fear, no intervention, no doubt. Just love, strength, and empowerment.