Hey y’all, I’m SO excited to announce that I had my baby one week ago at 39 weeks! Gabriel was born at 10:58 on Saturday night, September 2nd about 11 hours after my water broke, with only about 5-6 hours of active labor! We had a water birth at home with a team of midwives and a doula. Here’s my birth story! Sorry, it ended up being a little long. But I want to remember every little thing so I left in all the details! 🙂
A few days prior to Gabe’s birth, I had a few contractions throughout the night but they didn’t amount to anything. I was determined that the baby had to stay in until Saturday because that’s when my sister MaryBeth was going to be arriving. We planned for her to be at the birth and also be my birth photographer.
On Saturday morning around 2am I woke up from sleeping with my first contraction. It felt just like a Braxton Hicks contraction combined with mild menstrual cramps. I woke up to a few more of these throughout the night but was able to just go back to sleep. It felt similar to the contractions I’d had a few nights previously so I didn’t think much of them, but continued to have these super mild contractions throughout the morning. Sometimes I’d only get one per hour so they were very irregular. I was supposed to go to work that day, so I texted my mother in law that I probably shouldn’t work since I was having some contractions, and she agreed to come open the campground and I’d just take it easy. I didn’t think this would be the real deal but figured I should rest anyway. Ryan was making me breakfast around 7:30 and I went to use the restroom and realized I had lost my cervical plug (this is the least gross word I could come up with. Haha) I had texted my midwife to let her know about the contractions and again after this, and then she called me. She told me she was actually on her way to another birth right then. She said the other mom was having some strong contractions and that she would probably give birth soon. I could still have awhile before being in active labor but she gave me the contact information for another midwife just in case things picked up while she was at the other birth. All this happening had me so so nervous!! Ryan was being so sweet and telling me it would all work out and how excited he was that we’d be having our baby soon. It was all surreal to me, I couldn’t believe it was happening!
I took a shower and washed my hair and ate my breakfast and then laid in bed watching Friends on Netflix and took a little nap. I was still only having 1-2 mild contractions per hour. I had one stronger contraction and felt my uterus get really tight. I felt a small pop and immediately realized my water had broken at 12:10 pm! I hopped out of bed in a scurry and quickly hobbled to the bathroom. Somehow I made it there in time and our sheets stayed dry which I was glad about..no mess! The water was all clear which made me happy! No meconium. I called Ryan and told him what had happened and at that point he came to give me a hand with that whole situation! For those who don’t know, Ryan and I live and work at a campground where Ryan manages it for his parents who are the owners. Our apartment is connected to the main office, so this made it super convenient for Ryan to be on call at work while things were still early, and he was also able to be with me and help out. He ran out to town to grab a few things we still needed for the birth while I rested. I began texting my doula and the back up midwife to let them know how things were progressing. I was also in contact with my sister who still had not arrived but was on her way from Missouri. After my water broke my contractions started to get a little more intense but they were still not time-able because they were so sporadic and didn’t follow any kind of a pattern. MaryBeth was about an hour away so I was thrilled she would make it just in the knick of time!
Ryan put on some nature documentary on Netflix and whenever I’d get a contraction I’d get on my knees and lean over our ottoman with a blanket over my head. I felt like I was in a little cave. Haha- this was the most comfortable position to deal with the contractions. Ryan would rub my back through them and they would last anywhere from 1-2 minutes. They felt like really rough menstrual cramps along with my belly getting really tight and squeezing in. I texted MaryBeth to stop and pick me up some Chick-Fil-A because the whole pregnancy we joked that I wanted to eat Chick-Fil-A while I was in labor because Chick-Fil-A makes me happy..Hahaha.
This small wish for my labor actually came true and I was pretty happy about it. MaryBeth and her husband arrived a little after 3:00 pm. In between contractions I felt completely normal and was able to laugh and joke around. I could tell when a contraction was coming and I would assume my position under my blanket leaning over the ottoman and sit there and breath through it and really focus on relaxing my body. The contractions were finally time-able and were happening anywhere from 7-10 minutes apart. MaryBeth and her husband went to get settled and I texted her about an hour later that contractions were getting closer together and she should come start taking photos!
Around 4:00 the contractions were becoming more like 5-7 minutes apart and were growing in intensity. I smelled my little bag of lavender which helped me relax and I’d lean into Ryan during contractions. He put on some relaxing chill music…Goo Goo Dolls.. 🙂 And we lit some candles to create a cozy peaceful atmosphere in our room for me to labor in. I had a really rough contraction around 5:30 that actually made me feel a tinyyy bit like pushing so I texted my back up midwife and my doula and told them things were getting more intense and they should make their way over here.
They left right away and got to our house around 6:00pm. My midwife asked if I’d like to be checked to see how dilated I was and I said yes. I was already at 6cm dilated and she said my cervix was already paper thin and baby was all the way down into the birth canal. She said I would probably enter transition before too long. This was very encouraging to me! As a first time mom, I didn’t know how much more intense the contractions were going to get, so to hear I was already really progressed made me very happy.
Time gets really fuzzy for me at this point. I had entered “labor land” and was completely out of it and in my own little world. I had absolutely no concept of time whatsoever. I started feeling like I needed to push not long after this and felt like I needed to use the toilet. I sat on the toilet and labored there for probably a couple of hours. They said sitting on the toilet would really help things along since that position would really allow my body to keep opening up.
At some point they asked me if I wanted to eat anything and I asked what kinds of food we had. MaryBeth’s husband had run all over town and bought a bunch of random takeout food. They told me there was a bag of Red Lobster garlic cheddar biscuits in there. (They’re like my favorite thing ever. Thank you Logan!!) So between super intense contractions I ate a cheddar biscuit and the midwife’s assistant started filling up the birth pool. I wanted to wait as long as possible before getting into the pool. When the pool was filled I got in there and it felt amazing.
The warm water was so soothing! Time flew by for me at this point. I felt like I was only in active labor for a couple hours even though it was longer. I went from laboring in the pool to on the toilet a few times. I got checked one more time a little after 8:00 and was at 8cm. So close! Very shortly after getting checked, I felt like I couldn’t NOT push. I told them I had to push and the midwife assured me it would be okay and that the baby wouldn’t just pop out, so she gave me the go ahead to push if I felt like it, and I did.
Pushing gave me some relief from the contractions. I was on the toilet when I felt like I was really making effective pushes so they helped me get into the bedroom so I could finish up the birth in the pool. It felt like I was only pushing for about an hour in the pool but I’m sure it was longer. I honestly don’t even know, but it flew by! During contractions I labored pretty quietly, just breathing very strongly through them, but when it came to the pushing contractions I was LOUD. Haha…I did not expect to be loud at all but I couldn’t push effectively without yelling so I did, and I didn’t even care.
Through each push I was on my knees leaning over the side of the pool while Ryan was kneeling outside the pool by my face. I squeezed his hands super hard while pushing and he stayed right by my head telling me what a great job I was doing and how proud of me he was and that he loved me. His encouragement was so incredibly helpful for me! The midwives were also cheering me on and telling me how strong my pushes were.
At some point they told me to reach down and feel the baby’s head. Feeling Gabe’s head while pushing was really helpful because I could feel it descending more and more with each push. When his head started to emerge, the midwife told us she saw tons of black hair. Upon hearing this Ryan and I started laughing and I said “I KNEW it!” This also gave me extra motivation to power through these next few contractions to get the baby OUT! I felt the “ring of fire” burning sensation, but it didn’t bother me that much. I knew that this feeling meant that Gabe was just taking his time stretching me out down there so I wouldn’t tear, so I tried to be patient. I wanted him out, but I’d rather him take his time and get me nice and stretchy then to have tearing, so it was all good for me.
With each contraction I thought “This could be the last one!!” and before long, it was! I felt his head come out and immediately felt some relief! My contraction was over when his head was out so I just sat there peacefully, enjoying the relief since his head was out and there was no more burning and no more contraction pain, but the midwives told me to go ahead and push his body out. My doula, told me she was laughing at how calm I was with his head just out and I asked if I should push? Haha- I honestly didn’t know! I was thinking I’d have to wait for the next contraction to push the rest of him out, but they said “Yes, you can push now!” So I pushed without the help of a contraction, and his body just slipped all the way out right then. Yayyy!
The midwives and Ryan guided the baby through my legs and they told me to reach down and get my baby. I reached down and pulled him up to my belly, glanced down and said “OH MY GOSH It’s a boy!” and gave a huge smile! Gabe’s cord was short so I held him by my belly. My midwife said my placenta had already detached so we’d have to cut the cord. They clamped it and Ryan cut the cord and I was able to bring Gabe up to my chest. It was amazing. The placenta came right out after that.
After all this, they helped me out of the pool and onto my bed where I just held Gabe on my chest for about an hour. He was covered in lots of vernix so I rubbed it into his skin. They checked me out to see if I tore. Luckily everything was good except for one small internal tear. They numbed me and gave me a couple small stitches and all was good. I was so happy there was such little damage! After an hour of uninterrupted bonding time, they helped me get up and I took a shower and got nice and clean which felt amazing.
I came back to bed and they did the newborn exam and we found out he weighed 6 lbs and 14 ounces and was 19″ long! The birth team cleaned everything up so quickly! Soon the pool was gone and everything was picked up and back in place. Our birth package included a 24 hour postpartum doula which was so so helpful! They watched the baby while Ryan and I got some sleep, and also helped me to the bathroom and kept up with mine and baby’s temperature to make sure everything was well. They also cooked and brought me food when I was hungry and helped with breastfeeding. It was a truly amazing experience and I felt so incredibly supported throughout the entire process! I was sad my actual midwife was unable to make it to my birth, but the backup team was just as amazing, and surprisingly having an unfamiliar team show up to my birth did not phase me in the slightest. My midwife ended up being occupied with the other birth until sometime In the middle of the next day! I was so thrilled my birth went so quickly and smoothly. The midwife asked me how old I was and I told her I’m 27. She said “well you birthed like a 20 year old!” and they all told me how great I did and how strong I was. It was so encouraging and made me feel very proud! 🙂
I’ll write another post about how postpartum is going because this post is already so much longer than I expected it to be. Haha- If you made it this far, thanks for reading!! 🙂 I wanted to write down every little detail that I could remember so I can have a great record of this amazing night! My birth experience was so amazing, and went exactly as I imagined it would! I never got to a point where I felt like I “couldn’t do it” or felt like I was going to die. HAHA- It hurt for sure, but it was absolutely doable! I hope all my future births will be this amazing!!
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