After trying to catch up on sleep for the past two weeks, I feel like I am able to type up a somewhat cohesive reading version of my birth story.
**This post contains birth photography!**
I had been in early labour for what felt like 100 years. It was actually 6 days, but having 20 minute apart contractions for that many consecutive days gets a little tiresome. So, when I had a fairly intense one around 11pm on the 2nd I didn’t think much of it. Manny had fallen asleep while watching The Good Place after requesting to rewatch seasons 2 and 3 AGAIN because he fell asleep last time while watching it. I started dozing off, and vividly remember giant giraffes destroying the neighbourhood on the show when another contraction really shook me awake.
I decided to hop in the tub to see if this was the real deal or if they were just deceiving me again.
My google search history from 11:30pm – 1am is as follows
“How far apart are contractions in early labour”
“Do contractions feel like poop cramps”
“How to replace exterior windows”
“Recipes for pork tenderloin”
“When to call your midwife”
At some point during my bath and google vortexing, Harrison had woken up and asked Manny to cuddle him in his bed.
My bath had become cold after sitting in it for over an hour and a half, my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart, Manny was basically unreachable, and I had decided that this was probably the real deal.
I hopped out of the bath, got back in my jammies, and wrapped myself in a blanket, sat on my birth ball and forward leaned onto the side of our bed. From 1:30-2:30 I timed my contractions and could no longer focus on anything but breathing and bringing my little baby into the world.
It was getting very intense when I trudged across the hall to Harrison’s room. It truly felt like a victory when I poked my head in and called Manny from his beauty sleep.
He immediately came to the rescue with a delightful double hip squeeze, a hot pack on my lower back, refilling my water bottle, all while somehow managing to take photos for me.
I again felt like I NEEDED to sit in the tub to see if I could bring down the intensity of the contractions. Manny filled it for me, and I sat. And breathed. And breathed. And tried to relax through them.
By 3:30 I looked at Manny and told him I should probably call my midwife.
After listening through one of my contractions she said she would be on the way over.
I stayed in the bath until 4:00, then moved to the living room where I again sat on the ball and tried to sway on it, while death gripping a dining chair.
Luckily, we had set up the whole birth area the day before, because I don’t think I would have been able to that night.
It was 4:30 when my midwife arrived, bless her soul.
It was so strange for me. there was so much I wanted to say but I physically could not form words at this point other than “Manny SQUEEZE MY HIPS.” And “CALL MY MOM”
They filled up the pool (accidentally flooding a closet in the basement which I wasn’t aware of until after) and helped me get into it.
I worked through contraction, after contraction, after contraction. It truly felt like time was standing still.
I remember looking Melanna dead in the eye and asking her how much longer this would take.
She smiled and patted my arm gently and told me that I was doing fantastic, and my body was doing exactly what it needed to do.
My mom arrived shortly after 6:30. She came to my side, kissed me on my head and grabbed onto my hand. I was so afraid of breaking her fingers.
After switching positions from a gentle recline to leaning forward over the edge, things picked up even more than I thought they could.
Manny kept quietly telling me how great I was doing, and that I GOT this.
The sounds leaving my body were guttural. I couldn’t control it.
They weren’t screams by any means, but it was quite the unholy sound.
I remember Harrison waking up, and scampering towards the pool and saying “I WANT TO HELP”.
Manny immediately told him that the most helpful thing he could do is lay on mommy and daddy’s bed, have some apple slices and watch Toy Story.
It felt like the full force of all the heavens were all pushing down directly on the top of my uterus.
I silently reminded myself that this is the birth I wanted, I am a queen, I can do this.
Harrison came out of the bedroom and popped up on the couch and quietly peeked around the corner and smiled at me.
The front door opened and our second midwife arrived around 7:15.
Melanna said to her, “oh yeah, she’s already crowning”
WAIT WHAT. I wasn’t even pushing, I didn’t think it was even time to yet. My body was doing all the work without me really “knowing”.
She told me to give a little push.
holy ring of fire.
Head is half out, still underwater.
Head is fully out.
SWEET RELIEF. I took a deep breath. I couldn’t see a thing, but apparently it was really amazing to see a baby’s head in the water, unaware that it was 1/2 way in the world.
I caught my baby in my own hands.
Euphoria. I freaking birthed a baby. In my own house. In a pool. Shock and bliss and every happy emotion hit all at once.
Harrison ran to come to see. We all looked together to see if it was a boy or a girl.
I asked Harrison if he wanted to get his swim trunks and come in to meet his baby brother.
Harrison came in, and that’s when we noticed the knot in his cord, which I have since learned only happens in about 2% of births. More on that here.
After meeting the baby, he got back out in daddy’s arms and they cut the umbilical cord together.
After finishing up with the placenta, the midwives helped me out of the pool and over to the lay on the couch.
Baby got his first latch like a pro, and I got to enjoy some skin to skin time, and peanut butter toast before his big weigh in.
8lb 1oz and 20” long!
Harrison got to hold his baby brother for the very first time.
I would love to be able to describe this birth in one sentence, but I don’t think that’s even possible. I feel empowered. Knowing what my body is capable of is incredible! I wouldn’t change a single thing about this birth story, it is exactly what I was hoping for. It was a healing and truly remarkable experience. I am so grateful, and feel so blessed.
Introducing, Caleb Alexander John.