I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions on and off for days, weeks really. Sunday afternoon the Community Roots Collective was screening the documentary “Why Not Home” at the downtown library. I had taken my kids to church that morning, stopped by the store with them, and took them home to be with my husband while I headed to the library to set up. I was having contractions off and on all morning but thought nothing of it really. I felt pretty good. I had the most energy I’d had in quite a while.
When the film started, I found a seat on the end of the row, as I would inevitably need to pee again before it was through. I was having contractions throughout the film and panel discussion and thought I should start timing them just in case. They were about 3-5 minutes apart continually. Hmmm… could these be real contractions? I couldn’t remember how to tell!
I have had 2 prior births. One at a hospital and one at our home in Tallahassee. My home birth was SO different, just in how relaxed and at ease I was. I firmly believe your ability to birth comes 90% from mental preparedness. You have to really BELIEVE that you can do it. You have to be psyched up and not let fear/doubt/others’ words get in the way which is why I think home is the best place to do it if you can. I’m also a strong introvert so I’ve not felt comfortable with having anyone present at the birth besides my husband and the necessary medical professionals (in this case, my midwife and student midwife/assistant).
After the to Why Not Home panel discussion had ended and the audience questions answered, people were milling around and visiting. I spent a few minutes chatting with a few folks afterward, even commiserating with some “overdue” moms about being ready to have our babies (even though I was just past 38 weeks!). We were packing up everything to leave. My husband texted saying he was headed home from a birthday party with the kids and would be there soon. I texted back that I was getting ready and would be on my way too. Now it was just the folks from the Community Roots and the Tampa Bay Birth Network still left in the theater. I decided to make one more trip to the restroom before heading home. As I walked out of the restroom and back into the theater, I felt a strange ‘pop’ sensation and felt my waters start to gush. Was this really happening right now? Good thing I was outside.
I opened the door to the theater and called Charlie’s name. Isn’t it lucky when you’re with your midwife when your water breaks? “Yes…..?” Charlie answered, walking toward the door knowing something was up. I just stood at the door and told her my water just broke. “Are you serious?” she said. “Um, I think so” I laughed as fluid continued to drip from my legs. Of course, the first thing she did was take out her phone and snap a picture of me. LOL I had then gotten the attention of everyone else in the room, who of course are all doulas, midwives, and other birth workers. What timing! Charlie thought we MUST get a group picture before everyone disperses. There were no towels handy so someone grabbed a tablecloth from one of the tables and gave it to me to stick between my legs. HA! Good thing I was wearing a dress! We snapped the picture, everyone laughing and me awkwardly holding a table cloth between my legs while continuously dripping warm fluid everywhere.
We found my stuff and decided Charlie would drive me home (good thing she’s awesome and also drives a stick shift). Charlie called my husband on the way out and the library desk woman got a good laugh at us while we were leaving- my wet shoes were squeaking all the way out!
I only live 5 minutes away so we were home soon. We walked inside to my husband VACUUMING. Now, I can count on one hand the number of times he’s done this in the past year. That nesting must have finally rubbed off on him! Charlie checked my vitals, checked the baby’s heartbeat, and then left to go get dinner. We called my mom to come get the kids (we chose not to have them present since it would just be the 2 of us). I changed, got a good protein rich meal, and started bouncing on my exercise ball. My contractions were still steady, if not slowing down, but weren’t getting any stronger in intensity. We decided to watch something and try to rest.
At some point we got into bed and slept a bit. I kept being awoken by contractions and thought “this is it -they’re getting stronger” only to have them peter out again. This happened all night. So we kept going back to sleep after a few hours of trying to get my contractions to work more. It turned out well because we got 4 or 5 hours of sleep.
By about 5am I realized I had to poop. (Better before than during, am I right?) You have a similar feeling anyway in labor because of the pressure of a baby’s head being right there. I had tried laboring in different positions, gotten in and out of the shower, even tried nipple stimulation (which had really helped during my first labor) but labor still wasn't progressing enough so I decided to try to poop even though I was kind of super nervous about having my baby right there on the toilet! Seriously.
But, it worked. Not long afterwards my contractions picked up and I could really feel them growing in intensity. I went back to my bedroom so I could really get down to business and in the zone. I had my birth affirmation flag up, my birth candle going, and the lights dimmed. I was moaning with each contraction and talking to my husband between. Soon, I couldn’t talk so easily and I didn’t want my husband to talk. Then, I had such a big contraction that it scared me. I looked at him and told him he’d better call Charlie.
It was about 7:15am when we called and Charlie was there by 8am. She quietly entered, spoke to me, and immediately started making sure I was comfortable. She got me cold washcloths and turned my fan on- little things that made a huge difference. Why hadn’t my husband thought of that?!? I wondered. That’s when you know when you are really in transition, when you are just super annoyed at your partner. ;) It’s also how you know you have a great midwife, she anticipates your needs. Jen, the student midwife, had arrived sometime in there and they started quickly getting things together. At this point my vocalizing was getting quite loud and intense and at some point Charlie asked if there was anything I needed and I said “yeah, my baby.” Very soon after, I started to push. And I don’t really mean push, because my body was just bearing down on its own. On my hands and knees, screaming into a pillow on my bed, I gave birth to our second son.
At 9:27am, Augustin Kelly made his way into the world into daddy’s hands.
After that, it all just seemed a breeze. He latched well. There was no issue delivering the placenta. I didn’t even need stitches, as I had an episiotomy and tear previously. I was nervous about after birth pains but got an amazing tincture from Barefoot Herbals, kept up on my ibuprofen and fluids, and never had a problem!
They say third babies can throw you for a loop, but this guy decided to make it easy for me, and the midwives. He even made it a fun story to tell. I’m so thankful for a smooth birth experience. Why not home, y’all?! ;) Welcome, Augie. We’re all so glad you’re here.