21 May 2019

Our Son's Birth Story

Before Alex & I ever started trying, I knew that I wanted a homebirth. Giving birth in a hospital didn't fit what I had envisioned, but being the person I am, I was still prepared and opened to it if it played out that way. So once we found out I was pregnant I started my care under an amazing midwifery team. As each month went by, I was looking forward to having my dream homebirth. At 35 weeks we ordered the homebirth kit and we were excited to set up the birthing tub in our living room.

It was a Saturday by the time 36 weeks rolled around and things were starting to get real. Especially since I knew I only had one more week until I could legally give birth with a midwife. One more week and I would be in the clear if our son decided to come a little early. Sunday came and I was pretty sure I had lost some of my mucus plug the night before. This was a good sign because it meant that the baby was right on schedule and birth could happen in the next few weeks. On Monday, the day before my midwife home visit, my mom came over to help me tidy up. It was a busy day and I went to bed feeling exhausted and excited for the home visit.

Then suddenly I'm startled awake at 4am by an intense gush of fluid that just wouldn't stop coming. I raced to the bathroom and quickly realized what was happening. My water was breaking - three days before I could have a homebirth! I was shocked and devastated and scared. I yelled for Alex and he came running. After I explained to him what happened (and was honestly STILL happening) he called the midwife. At that point, I didn't have any contractions so I was to relax, get something to eat, and take a shower because I was indeed going to the hospital to give birth. My only option now was to ride it out at home.

Even though I was prepared for the possibility of a hospital birth (and had made a list of things to bring) I never got around to actually packing anything. So instead of relaxing, I was frantically looking for my list so I could start packing. But of course, I couldn't find it, so there I was throwing everything I could think of into my overnight bag. Alex was already on the phone with my parents and they were on the way to our house.

That's when my contractions started. We tried timing them and they seemed steady and properly spaced but getting stronger. That's when I knew that I had to leave for the hospital right then. I just couldn't wait any longer. I kissed Olive goodbye and we all headed to the hospital. Alex driving as fast as he legally could with me in the passenger seat eating a banana (because, you know, sustenance), my Mom in the back and my stepdad in the car behind us.

By the time we made it to the hospital, it was 5:30 in the morning and we were a little too frantic to figure out where to park. I vividly remember parking in the wrong parking garage, getting to the elevator only to be told we were at the wrong area. I was about to crawl out of my skin! My contractions were mild in the car on the way there, but by the time we arrived at the hospital the intensity increased. We finally found the right parking area but once I got out of the car the mere act of walking into the hospital was absolute torture. I had to stop every time I had a contraction. Meanwhile, my Mom and Alex were telling me to keep moving - to go faster - and I was standing there yelling at them like a crazy person. I couldn't keep moving. The contractions were just too strong and standing in one place helped me focus on riding them out.

Alex and I were whisked into a room where a nurse checked me. I was already 3cms - in less than an hour. This baby was coming and fast! Alex called up Megan and she raced up to the hospital just as my contractions were really starting to ramp up. I was excited and nervous but I felt really lucky because even though I wouldn't be having the home birth I planned for I was still provided with a nurse midwife that made sure I could deliver the way I wanted to. The lights were dimmed, I was able to have a wireless fetal monitor, and I was able to move around as I pleased. In the delivery room with me was Alex, my Mom, my sister and my best friend (Megan).

Hours went by with me moving and making some sort of low growling noise (yes - growling - it totally helped). The contractions were unlike anything I had ever felt before. They came fast and hard but I was able to relax in between them, which honestly made all the difference in the world. Megan would watch the monitor and coach me as to when the next one was likely coming and how intense it was showing they were.

At one point I tried the birthing ball, but it didn't help the way I thought it would. Walking didn't help either. My contractions were too intense for it. I just remember lying on my side in the bed with Alex behind me constantly rubbing my back and petting my head. Megan was in front of me and every time I reached the height of a contraction I would push my palms into her palms as hard as I could as she pushed back. I had no idea that what Alex and Megan were doing would help - but it did. I remember my Mom saying encouraging things to help and it was really just amazing.

I felt like a wild animal and honestly, it was incredible. I sounded like a mama bear in that delivery room. I just gave into the pain and rode the contractions like a wave. And before I knew it I felt the intense urge to push. The nurses kept telling me to wait. One side was effaced more than the other, so I switched how I was laying to help speed it up. Fighting the urge to push was the absolute worse. All my body wanted me to do was push. I kept repeating that I HAD to push and Megan kept sternly repeating, "Don't you dare fucking push". After another check, I was fully dilated and completely effaced. I was finally able to start pushing! I remember feeling shocked and scared and completely empowered. This whole labor thing was actually coming to an end and I was doing it with absolutely no drugs onboard *except nitrousoxide.

It felt weird to push, even though that's all I could do. I had to push just right, and for a while, I felt like I was doing it wrong. Thankfully the nurses and midwife were coaching me how to do it and damn it took so much concentration to push the right way. I was so intently focused on it that the pain wasn't as intense. I had to put my chin to my chest and push, push, push. I'm pretty sure I was making a lot of long, low guttural sounds at this point, but it helped so much.

The next thing I hear is, "I see the head" and I immediately turned to Alex. He looked me straight in the eyes and I so clearly remember that feeling of utter disbelief. I felt shocked. It had only been 8 hours (!!!!) since my water broke and here I was giving birth almost a month early. But oh my god, we were about to meet our son! I looked at Alex completely dumbfounded and kept pushing with all my might. Pushing that little baby out was the most intense feeling ever and once he was out I felt such an overwhelming feeling of relief.

I was so busy giving birth that I didn't even know that it was a dreary and rainy day. But it's so befitting - especially for me because I love gloomy days. And when the nurse placed my sweet son on my chest it was still drizzling outside. That moment, when I felt his weigh on my chest, had my cheek on his head, that's when my whole world changed. Being able to hold him for the first time was indescribable - there was just so much joy and I just fell in love with him instantly. And somehow my love for him has grown even more - and unbelievably - it's still growing. But I guess that's what motherhood does. It makes you fall in love a thousand times over.

Even though our son was born a little under 4 weeks early he didn't have jaundice, he didn't need to spend any time in the NICU, and we were even able to leave the hospital after only three days. My recovery went well and I only had a first-degree tear with no stitches. Honestly, I'm still in shock about that one.

What's funny is how things work out exactly the way that they need to. There was no way I would have had a successful home birth. There was an extra lobe on my placenta and instead of me being able to push it out in one piece, it came out in three. The midwife said that if I would have given birth at home, I would have more than likely need to be rushed to the hospital. I can't even imagine how scary that would have been.

Seriously though, pushing out the placenta was truly the hardest part of the delivery for me. It hurt so bad - so much so that I just couldn't seem to do it. The doctor mentioned something about putting me under in order to get it out and I was determined to do it on my own. I didn't just go through un-medicated labor to be put under - no thank you! It was happening, no matter how much it hurt. Alex said there was a lot of blood and that he was too scared to tell me at the time. It was pretty intense for everyone. My Mom was standing in a corner crying cause she was so worried. But I was finally able to push it all out and the doctor made sure there was absolutely nothing left behind. Ouch!

But none of it mattered. Because our son was finally here. Alex & I both did skin to skin with our baby boy. And we spent those three days taking it all in. Family and friends came to visit and everything was so perfect... even if it was a hospital birth.

So, there you have it... our son's birth story. I'm sure there are parts I've forgotten... but I know that Alex would tell you how in awe he was of me during the birth of our son and that he knows how much I love him because I was demanding the nurses get him some Tylenol for his backache. And surely, Megan would tell you that I sounded like an animal when I was in labor. My Mom would tell you how proud of me she was and my sister will just tell you I looked and sounded like a lunatic. ;)

But it was beautiful and messy and hard and intense and magical and raw. His birth story wasn't what I had planned (at all) but I wouldn't change it for anything in the world.


  1. Gosh, Danielle! It feels like I was right there with you! You are a great story teller!