Ashlee's Home Birth | A Brandon Midwife and Homebirth Story with Tampa Bay Birth Photography

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"I remember sitting at home watching Law and Order and feeling contractions. Nothing crazy intense, just light cramping. I had been whining to my husband, Jared, because I had spent the better part of 2 weeks in prodromal labor. I walked around my house getting my kids ready for bed when I peed myself. At this point, I was the size of a bus, so making it to the bathroom quickly was not happening...at all. As I sauntered my way to the bathroom, I peed again. No biggie. Huge baby. Tiny belly. I remember wondering if I would fit into my sons size 5 diapers. It seemed like a viable option. As I sat down to pee nothing came out. At that moment I realized this fluid was different. It was odorless and clear. I immediately text my midwife. I was a day before my due date so it was possible that my water had broken. However, I had called this woman no less then four times in two weeks positive it was real labor. She told me to see what happened and call her in 30mins if I kept leaking or started having contractions. In about 15min I had leaked a bunch more water so I called her and said I was sure. That is when the fun started.

I called Jared and told him that he needed to come home. Called my mom and said I was home alone with 3 kids and needed help. She came over immediately. In that moment I remembered my babysitter was in Chicago. Insert panic. I called my friend Megan. I caught her as she was leaving our neighborhood for date night. She turned around and picked up the boys for the night. At around 830 my midwife Charlie showed up. My birth photographer Patty came next, followed by my inlaws, and then the birth assistant Erica . My best friend Mikey arrived around 9pm I believe. At this point contractions were slightly painful but manageable. We filled up our pool shortly before everyone arrived. Then we waited. I decided around 930-10 to change into my birth garb and get in the pool. I wore a super comfy bathing suite type top and a flowy wrap around skirt. It was so light and airy I could hardly tell I had on clothing. At around 10:15 I felt the urge to push. It wasnt an overwhelming urge but an urge. At this time I could talk after contractions but they hurt. Charlie gave me the go ahead to try and push if I had to but not to strain or fight. So I pushed and I pushed and I pushed. I knew something wasnt right. I explained to her that I felt the need to push but I could tell her position wasn't changing. Charlie checked to see what was going on. Diagnosis....swollen cervix. Shocker. This seems to be a trend for my lovely cervix. She suggested I go to the bed to better figure out what was going on.

At the point in which I got out of the water things got real. I remember my contractions going from manageable to F-this in what seemed like seconds. Charlie told me I needed to lay on my side and try not to push through a few contractions. If you could have seen my face, I'm pretty sure it was a mix of I will punch you in the face and more F-this. So for an hour, I laid there trying to breathe and focus. Husband holding my hands. Mom, mother in law and best friend quietly encouraging me. Erica, the amazing assistant, helping me to breathe. If I was an on looker I imagine the sight would have been amazing. Not quite so pretty in the moment though. At one point I remember Erica asking me what I needed. My response was for her to 'shut up or leave me alone'....something rude. I remember humming during this hour, breaking the world record for saying the F word, and crying. So much crying. The amount of pain I was in was unfathomable. I was fighting my body's urge with every ounce of my being. I was exhausted and pissed and it had only been like 5hrs. I remember that Nathan's birth took 22hrs start to finish. There was no way in hell I would make it 10hrs let alone 22. I'm pretty sure at some point I told Jared that our baby hated us. I asked Charlie to check my cervix again. The swelling was gone and so was my cervix. Finally I could push.

Honestly I can't remember what time I started pushing, I can't remember what time she was born either. I think it was like 12:24am. Maybe. I pushed once or twice and Charlie asked me to flip on all fours. I remember telling her I couldn't. She told me I had no choice, the baby's shoulders were stuck. Damn it. So in all this overwhelming pain, I Orca style flipped my massive body over. I started pushing. Slowly, and I mean slowly, she started to come. Erica was amazing rubbing my back and keeping me calm. Patty, was silently snapping photos. At one point I forgot she was there. I was mid push and I felt Charlie grab onto my baby, and for lack of a better term, jimmy her out. I needed Jared with me, so when our daughter was born I asked Mikey if he would catch our sweet girl as she joined us earthside. In my last push I instantly felt this empty relief. I had finally in like 10 pushes maybe, pushed what was probably a small toddler, out. I asked if she was born for real, and if I was allowed to turn over. Of course I was- I was just delerious. I flipped to my butt and saw her.

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Olivia Michelle Mills was born on May 1, 2016. She was 9lbs 8oz of chunky perfection. I couldn't believe she was still a she and in my arms. It had been such a rough road getting to her there, that it was hard to grasp her being in our arms. I know at some point she cried but it was not a lot. She snuggled in quickly and nursed. I forgot during all of this that my dog was in the house. My poor pup hadn't left my side when I was walking through the house. He is forever my protector. When my birth haze lifted I realized he was in a panic in my living room. We got everything cleaned up and let him in. He instantly jumped in the bed to check on me. Then he realized Olivia was there. He ever so gently got next to her and smelled her and laid there while they weighed her and checked her vitals. It is a night I will never forget. As painful and horrendous the start the ending was beautiful. We were surrounded by people we lived and in our own home. It was a perfect way to end the baby having season of my life. I will be forever thankful for everyone who made it possible."

Photo credit to the always fabulous Patty of Barefoot Birth and Sweet Plum Photography