Ethan Adam Majestic's Birth Story, written in his mama's words. Photography by Brittany Humes of Brittany Humes Photography located in Akron, Ohio. You can find her on facebook here.
The weeks leading up to labor beginning were busy, but good. With my husband deployed my mom flew out to be with me from weeks 37-39. I had lots of contractions during her visit, some lasting for hours at 5 minutes apart, but no real labor. At my 38 week appointment I was 3cm about 50% effaced and baby was at a +4 station. (For those who don't know, that is crazy low. +5 is considered crowning.) I thought there was no way I'd stay pregnant for much longer at all with the baby sitting that low! So, It was kind of bitter sweet taking my mom to the airport while I was still pregnant and knowing she wasn't going to meet her new grand baby. What kept me going was knowing that my husband was coming home the day after she left. I also had my birth photographer here(who flew in from Ohio!) to capture the birth,(and Will's homecoming!) which was exciting as well!
June 28th 2015 1:20pm- Will comes home! We went to the airport and picked him up. Dani was yelling "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!!!" As soon as she saw him on the escalator. It really was the best feeling to know that he was home safe and sound, and would get to be there for the birth of our baby. I felt really good that day, although tired from not sleeping much the night prior. After we picked Will up we stayed home the rest of that day and Dani was so excited to have him home.
June 29th 2015
The day started like any other day, except Dani was extra happy and excited to have her Daddy home of course. I had a chiropractic appointment at 10:40 that morning. We came home, had lunch and then had a nice family nap all together. After nap we started to get a few things ready for a trip to Costco. Everything was ready to go -keys in hand, shoes on- and I took Dani to go pee before we headed out the door.
As I was pulling up Dani's shorts- my water broke! I came out of the bathroom to tell Will and Brittany (our photographer and friend) "um guys-- either I just pee'd myself, or my water broke!" Funny thing is that no less than 5 minutes before that happened, I joked with them that I hoped my water didn't break at Costco, and they both joked that they wanted it to! After my water broke I called my midwife Tara and let her know. She is so amazing and always calm and collected and very calmly tells me "ok! Keep in close contact with me." After I spoke with her I called my doulas- Emily and Kristen. Both told me to let them know when I wanted them to come. I told them both that I was feeling good and didn't think I'd need them anytime soon. They both told me that things can happen quickly the second time around and to not wait too long to have them come. (Boy were they right?!!) I also called my mom, and my sister Samantha to let them know.
At this point contractions had started but I was able to talk and walk through them. It wasn't more than maybe 20 minutes or so after I spoke with everyone, maybe around 4:00pm that things started to progress quickly. Emily got to the house first and after only a few contractions downstairs with her here, I wanted to move upstairs where we had all of the baby and birth stuff set up. Shortly after we came upstairs I wanted to get into the water. Emily got the bath ready for me and I got in. The water felt really good and seemed to help me relax as well. Contractions were coming close together and were intense and strong. Somewhere around here I told Emily that I think Tara should come. I kept laboring in the tub, with Will and Dani coming to check on me often.
My photographer, Brittany was in the bathroom too, but I honestly don't remember seeing her at all while I was in the tub, and really, maybe only a quick glimpse of her during the whole labor. I was surprised at a lot of the pictures she got just because I don't remember seeing her. I actually had to ask her if she was standing on my toilet at some point because of the angle of the pictures, and she said yes-- but I had no clue at the time.
Ok, back to the birth... Tara showed up around the same time that my other doula Kristen got here, around 5:00pm, I think. I really wanted Tara to check my progress. I was having strong urges to push and felt shakey. I was certain I was in transition. Tara checked me and calmly says, "well, you are not complete, you are at 4cm". For a split second I was crushed. 4?! Seriously? With urges to push like this at only a 4, that was going to make for a long and very uncomfortable labor. (The urge to push was so strong because my baby had been sitting at a +4 station for nearly 2 weeks! Super low!) Then I got my mind in a better spot and verbally said "that's ok! These things can change on a dime." After that, I went back in my zone and kept telling myself "you are going to get huge" (something that I read and that stood out to me from one of Ina May Gaskins books).
Shortly after that I took homage on the toilet. It was a good place to labor. I felt like it was helping me to open up to have this baby. With every contraction I had I would lean into Kristen rocking back and forth to get through them. I would just give her the slightest nod letting her know another one was coming and she just let me melt into her. I really don't know how long I labored on the toilet for, but I don't think it was too long. Tara asked if she could check me again,(she could probably tell by the sounds I was making that I was now in transition),and of course I was anxious to know my progress. I came out of the bathroom and they had prepped my bed for me. Tara checked me, smiled and said "ok, good progress!". Contractions were coming quick and INTENSE. I began to labor at the end of my bed in front of my dresser standing up. I was now leaning on Kristen or Will with every contraction while also swaying/rocking from side to side. The urge to push was SO STRONG. Between contractions I asked Tara what "good progress" meant, and she said that I was 8cm. I went from 4cm to 8cm in about 40 minutes. It felt so good hearing that. I thought (as well as Brittany and Will did too) that I still had at least a couple more hours left before baby was born.
At this point my contractions were so strong and my body was pushing, uncontrollably. I was moaning/yelling so instinctively and primitively. Will had been my lean on, and I was getting pretty loud, this was the only time during my whole labor that Dani asked for Will. She was in the room about 10 feet from me watching a movie on the iPad. Will and Kristen switched out between contractions. Will went and laid with Dani. I had another contraction, and I didn't even realize I was pushing my baby out until I heard Tara very calmly say "um, Will." It wasn't until I heard the tone of her voice telling Will to "come now" that I realized that I was about to have the baby. His whole body hadn't even been born yet and I could hear him screaming! I think I pushed through one contraction, maybe 3 or 4 actual pushes. He came out with a nuchal arm (or where his arm was up around his neck, similar to when a baby is born with the cord around its neck.) I remember the pure relief as he came out and I looked at Kristen and said "I did it!" Then immediately looked behind me to see. Ethan was born at 6:54pm, after just 3 1/2 hours of labor. Will was sitting on the floor and I sat leaned up against him and Tara handed me the baby immediately. I don't remember looking specifically for the gender, but rather just catching a glimpse of Ethan's boy parts and telling Will "it's a boy!" Pretty sure we were both crying (ok, I was crying, Will probably just teared up....) at this point. Dani ran over to see her new baby brother and she seemed so proud. We sat like that for several minutes until I delivered the placenta which Dani thought was "messy". After that my team helped me to the bed where I loved on and snuggled my new baby boy. Tara checked me and it turned out I had actually had a cervical prolapse. She was able to remedy this naturally and holistically.
After we bonded skin to skin, Tara performed the new baby exam and checked Ethan head to toe. She confirmed what I already knew, which was that he was perfect and healthy. He weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 21 3/4 inches long. The doulas got me food, started laundry, and I didn't even see it happening-- but cleaned up everything as well. If I wasn't holding a brand new baby in my arms, I would have never known a birth just had taken place in my home. After the newborn exam was complete, Tara went over some instructions, and went on her way. We stayed in bed with Dani and our new baby and just soaked it all in.
The amazing thing about home birth is the whole time everyone was there for me, supporting and encouraging me. No one told me where to labor, didn't tell me when to push or for how long. They fed me, kept me hydrated, reassured me and never left me alone. It really was an AMAZING birth and one of the highlights of my life. I felt (and still do!) like a rockstar. So many people say bad things about natural birth and it feels damn good to know my body is capable of birth! I am on a birth high and not sure when it will go away. I'm not a "hippie mom", or crazy, but I do believe that how you choose to birth matters. And I believe in women having choices when it comes to birth.