Last summer my family and I decided to go hide for a day at the movie theater movie hopping — we saw one movie together, and then the boys went to another while I watched the next on my own. When we left something small and ridiculous happened, and as I was super pregnant and sensitive I started crying. The guys were both trying to comfort me, and we decided to go to an early dinner.
In the back of my mind I remembered having heard that having a good cry could start labor, so I decided not to worry about crying and let it all go. I cried through dinner at the restaurant, which I’m sure everyone around me was thrilled about.
When we arrived back home I was feeling awful from crying, so I went to lay down. My partner’s parents came over, and at around 7:30 I went out for a walk with the dog. I ran into neighbors who wanted to chat, and started having painful contractions. I made it back home and continued to pay attention — the contractions were strong, but not consistent.
As soon as his parents left, Tim and I went back out for another walk, hoping to keep the contractions going. Once we started walking they stayed but were all over the place — one minute apart, four minutes, seven minutes. This continued after we went back home, and I called my mom to let her know what was happening. I finally fell asleep around 12:30 and woke up off and on over the next few hours.
He found my hand just as I felt a pop and felt a major gush and yelled “OH MY GOD.”
At 3:50 AM I woke up screaming from a contraction, and Tim started fumbling all over the bed to try to find me to figure out what was going on. He found my hand just as I felt a pop and felt a major gush and yelled “OH MY GOD.” I went to the bathroom to check, and sure enough clear amniotic fluid was gushing out. I grabbed a towel to clean it up while Tim was calling my mom.
My parents started to head to our home and I called my midwife, who sent a nurse over. The nurse, Karen, came rather quickly. It seemed like no time had passed, but in that time Tim was busy setting up the birthing tub and trying to help me as best as he could. The nurse was the first to arrive, and when she got to the top of the stairs and saw me wrapped in only a towel she realized how far along I really was. She became the only person I wound up listening to and focusing on throughout the labor — if anyone else said something to me I couldn’t process it until the nurse repeated it or touched me.
For all the pain I was in I was worried the nurse would get there and I would only be dilated to two and still have a long, painful labor ahead of me.
My parents showed up next and my dad took our dog out of the house. From the second I popped out of bed screaming to hours after the birth I couldn’t figure out where the dog had gone — I felt really bad because I probably scared the devil out of him. My dad assured me that the dog was fine, and continued to be fine over the next day. Meanwhile my mom was running around trying to get pots of water boiling for the tub — then then tub was mostly filled and I got into it, but it was too cold to birth the baby in. The nurse checked me and said I was dilated to eight centimeters — I was so glad I wasn’t the girl who cried wolf. For all the pain I was in I was worried the nurse would get there and I would only be dilated to two and still have a long, painful labor ahead of me.
The next thing I knew was that my midwife was there with her assistant, and a suddenly the house was very full of very supportive, educated women. Even though I had everything very organized in preparation for the birth there were still lots of questions about where this was or that was. I was very frustrated and growling “It’s all here, under the table, IN THE BIN” and pointing to various parts of the room where I had supplies all while trying to relax int he tub.
With every contraction I would put my hand outstretched on the outside of the tub — it was a trick I learned from my cousin that helped me stay relaxed. I had just read Breaking Dawn the day before, and the words “it felt like I’d gone from tied to the stake as I burned to gripping that stake to hold myself in the fire” cycling in my mind. The pain was what it should be — my body was doing its work and the pain was bringing me closer to my baby being in my arms. Karen would put her hand loosely on top of mine and talk me through each contraction, breathing and telling me my body was doing its job. That’s all I needed to hear to keep focused.
Eventually Debbie, my midwife, wanted to check me. She said right away that my cervix had a lip, so she needed me out of the tub to have it pushed back. I was still laboring once out of the tub, and wanted to begin pushing but the lip kept coming back. Later I heard that I had pushed our daughter’s head really far out five times in a row, but I kept stopping short and she would slide back in. At some point Debbie was telling me to push past the “ring of fire” and I wasn’t there yet. I thought I was just thinking the sentiment, but my mom told me I said it out loud.
Pushing on the floor outside the tub wasn’t working, so my midwife suggested we move. Luckily Tim and the midwife’s assistant, Becky, had gotten the bed ready in a short amount of time, so in the bed I climbed. I didn’t like lying down to push, so I opted to sit on all fours in the bed. That still didn’t work, and I wound up on my right side with Tim behind me and my mom standing behind the bed behind Tim. Debbie was still holding the lip of my cervix, trying to guide me where to push and Becky and Karen were holding my legs in place.
Once I got her head out I was breathing in a hyperventilating fashion and all I could say was “Okay okay okay okay okay okay.”
Eventually I could feel my daughter moving down, and I told everyone. Once I got her head out I was breathing in a hyperventilating fashion and all I could say was “Okay okay okay okay okay okay.” I had to get the shoulders out, and then she was on the bed. Debbie, Becky, and Karen were scrambling to clean her up a little, look at her, and get her on my chest.
Tim was behind me crying, my mom was crying and babbling, and all the ladies were cooing over how beautiful our daughter Olivia was.
Olivia’s home birth was absolutely something I wanted to do in my life — part of my bucket list, if you will. I never imagined I’d deliver in my bed, but now I realize that this was Olivia’s birth — in the end I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.