I chose to do a home birth for my second birth for several reasons. I knew that to minimize the number of interventions I wanted to labor at home as long as possible before going to the hospital. I started wondering why I didn’t just plan to stay home for the actual birth if I was already planning to do almost all of my laboring at home. I knew with a home birth I could be reasonably sure that the midwife I chose would be the one attending my birth. This was important to me because during my first birth, the midwife who happened to be on call had a significant negative impact on my birthing experience. And finally, I knew that even if I was with a great midwife practice, I would still be subjected to the non-evidence based hospital policies that I did not agree with. I also felt very secure in the knowledge that I could transfer to a hospital if needed and would be attended by a doctor I trusted.
To prepare for this birth I walked 2-3 miles almost everyday, attended Labor of Love’s Aligned and Ready class, and did the Hypnobabies Home Study. I attended Labor of Love’s Bold Wisdom for Birth Series for my first birth and wanted to build on the knowledge and skills I gained there. I chose to do Hypnobabies because I wanted to practice relaxation techniques I could use during labor. I enjoyed listening to the Hynobabies tracks each day. It forced me to set aside time each day to practice relaxing my body and focus on what I wanted and envisioned for my birth. I found that I was looking forward to this birth and was not anxious.
I woke up around 6:30am Friday, September 4, 2015 feeling some mild cramps every few minutes. I got up and dressed to go on my usual morning walk with my neighbors. I remember telling Alan what was going on and that it was probably nothing. I thought this was a good sign that labor would start in the next few days and expected the contractions/cramps to go away. I got Anna up and dressed, we had breakfast and then went on our walk around the neighborhood. The contractions continued throughout the walk, but I never had to slow down or stop for them. This was the Friday before Labor Day weekend so Alan had decided to work from home for the day. He stayed with Anna while I went to the grocery store to get some last minute items (including a cake mix to make a birthday cake for the baby). At the grocery store the woman bagging the groceries looked at me and asked if was I was going to have the baby that day. I just laughed and said soon, my due date was the next Tuesday. After lunch I put Anna down for her nap and took a nap myself. I thought the contractions had stopped but when I laid down I felt them again. I decided that I was just going to embrace it and listened to my Hypnobabies “Birthing Day Affirmations” track. You aren’t supposed to listen to this track until you are beginning labor or want labor to begin. I was able to take a 2 hour nap. After I woke up we all walked down to the neighborhood pool around 3pm. It was while we were at the pool that I started to pay attention to the contractions a little more and noticed they were coming about every 10 minutes. I also had a harder time just sitting still during them, I started pacing. Around 5pm I told Alan we needed to go home. I had a harder time walking home and I started to panic a little as I realized I might be having a baby today! I called my parents who were driving to Atlanta that day and told my Mom she needed to come straight to our house instead of my Aunt’s house because I thought I was in labor and I needed her to take care of Anna.
When we got home from the pool, I took a shower and made myself a sandwich because I knew I needed to eat quickly. My contractions were about 2-5 minutes apart as I rushed around trying to get everything ready. I called my midwife and she told me to lay down and time the contractions for an hour, they were probably so close together because of all the moving around I was doing. I also called Teresa, my doula. She was going out to dinner with her family and said to call her when I wanted her to come. I went upstairs to lay in bed and time contractions. I put on my Hypnobabies Easy First Stage track and relaxed through the contractions. The contractions were about 7-8 minutes apart. I really enjoyed listening to the Hypnobabies during this time. This track really helped me relax and welcome the contractions. It told me chant “Open” during the contractions and then to smile after each one and I found myself really doing that. I was able to really embrace labor and get excited about meeting my baby soon. This was something I struggled with during my first birth.
After a couple hours, around 8pm, I decided to move downstairs to the basement where we were planning to do the birth. Alan had put Anna to bed and we called Teresa and my midwife, Charlotte so they could come. They arrived by 8:45 and I remember feeling bad that I had called them too early and they would be here for a while. At this point I gave up timing the contractions and told them they could if they wanted to but I didn’t care how long or often they were so don’t tell me. Charlotte offered to check my progress but I declined. I was worried I wouldn’t be very far along and would be disappointed and discouraged. I was restless and couldn’t decide what position I wanted to be in. I went back and forth from my hands and knees to sitting on my birth ball to sitting on the toilet. I also stopped really listening to my Hypnobabies tracks. At some point I remarked that I felt like a zombie. I was in my own world. I knew people were with me, but I didn’t care to talk to them or listen to their conversations. Teresa told me I was in Labor Land.
Finally around 10pm I decided to get in the tub. It was relaxing, but not the “epidural like” pain relief I had read about. Eventually my body started pushing and Charlotte checked me to make sure I was complete. I had a little lip of cervix left so Teresa helped me breathe through several contractions before I started pushing again. I think that was the hardest part of the whole thing. Finally the baby was crowning and Charlotte told me to ease the head out but I pushed as hard as I could and the head came out all at once. I just couldn’t hold back. Tess Elizabeth was born at 11:12pm on Friday, September 4, 2015.