When I told friends and family about my desire to have an organic (drug-free) birth they often would laugh and say “Good Luck”. I pass out at the sight of blood, can barely get blood drawn, and I’ve never had a surgery. Needless to say the odds were against me.
This was different. The difference is I did this for Zoey. I didn’t do it to prove anything to anyone. I did it because the mom in me knew it was the first of many times where her security and comfort was more important than mine.
It all started at 9:12am on October 30th. My husband Adam woke up to get ready for work. Another morning I woke up to another night past with no signs of baby! Since labor progresses most in the evening, the past week I’d woken up every morning really bummed out. I was so anxious, so ready, and so over people asking me “are you still pregnant?”
I began to drift off again when suddenly I had the weirdest sensation. My body got really cold and I knew I had to stand up…FAST! I stood up out of bed and GUSH…my water broke. It definitely was different than what I expected. It wasn’t just a huge gush of water you so often see in movies, but instead, continuous gushes of water. I ran to the bathroom and in a drowsy state I turned to my husband with a huge grin and said “My water is breaking”. We remained calm and I went straight to my phone. I couldn’t get a hold of my mom and was DYING to! I texted a few of my close favorites and told them my water broke but they were sworn to secrecy! The home birth was a secret and I knew if people knew my water broke, their clocks would be ticking. In hospitals you have 24 hours from water breaking, to baby being born. With a home birth, midwives tend to be more lenient based on how mom and baby are doing.
Around 11am we headed over to my mom’s house, since I still couldn’t get a hold of her! Labor wasn’t picking up but I knew I wanted to be close to her. She still wasn’t home. I felt so anxious, I was starting to have contractions but they were very far apart and not intense. She finally arrived after water yoga to find Adam and I at the house, with huge grins on our faces (I’m still smiling…good indicator of where I’m currently at in the labor process.)
To pass the time and keep calm I watched comedies, read magazines, bounced on the birthing ball, did my yoga positions and just went with each contraction. Not much was happening. My god sister Kelly came after work and we all ate dinner together. Contractions had picked up to every 10 minutes. I jumped in the jacuzzi (cleaned and prepared by my dad with fresh water and no chemicals) with my husband and my god sister sat outside as we played 21 questions. In the midst of contractions, we found ourselves laughing so hard…a common occurrence when the three of us were together. The doulas…a.k.a. the Ashleys…arrived around 10pm that night. I didn’t feel a need for them to arrive sooner. My main doula was with another mom in labor, and I told her to take her time. That birth took 5 hours…I wasn’t so lucky.
When the Ashleys arrived around 10pm I was getting into much stronger contractions, still able to remain calm. My contractions were 2 minutes apart consistently so they called the midwives. Elizabeth arrived around 11:30pm and measured me…I was 1 centimeter. I remember thinking “Are you kidding me? How is that possible?” but she encouraged me that I could move quickly to just stay as relaxed as possible and she would be back.
This is when things get blurry…
Flash to middle of the morning, everyone was sleeping including the doulas, except my husband and I. I remember sitting in the darkness over a computer chair with my husband sitting on the edge of the bed. At this point I was so exhausted I kept falling asleep and he’d catch me, let me rest, then I’d wake up to a contraction. They were getting much stronger. Men never receive the credit they deserve in labor! My husband was beyond amazing, he held me, kept us safe, and was my biggest fan along the way. At this point, I remember thinking, even though this is painful I know there has to be light at the end of the tunnel! My body is meant to do this, soon I’ll have my baby!
Around dawn I opened my eyes and Elizabeth was there. I slept in spurts of about 7 minutes for most of the night. I was so tired I would just fall dead asleep after each contraction. My husband mentions I would go from contraction breathing and moaning to deep sleep breathing, like I just passed out. Elizabeth measured me I was 3 centimeters after 7 hours of intense labor. My spirits started to drop…what the heck was happening? Why wouldn’t I dialate! How much longer could I possibly have strength?
They tried to get me to keep eating, I refused. I didn’t want to feel sick and I didn’t want to eat! I wanted to have a baby! Throughout the next hours I was shifting from shower, to floor, to leaning up on the bed. My parents were incredible. Everyone worked together to help me. When Adam got tired my mom stepped in. When my mom was tired, my dad stepped in. When my dad was tired, doulas were there. The doulas were always available but so respectful if I wanted to be alone with just my mom, dad or Adam.
The next shift midwife, Brooke arrived around 27 hours since my water broke. I was dilated to 4 centimeters. This was the breaking point for everyone around me. I hadn’t opened my eyes in probably 10 hours, I didn’t want to see anyone around me, I was afraid of what their faces might read. While sitting on the toilet (for birthing purposes) my mom sat infront of me and made me open my eyes. She made me promise her that I didn’t want to go to the hospital. I turned to the doula and asked how long it had been. When she told me I said, “That’s way too much time to give up now”
At this point time was ticking. I had to get her to progress and it wasn’t going to be easy. Based on the distant sound of her heartbeat and her progression the midwife knew she was posterior. The doulas held me into positions that made contractions much more painful. Think, if you had a Charlie Horse in your leg and couldn’t stretch it, but instead someone held your leg down. This was the only way to constrict certain parts of my body to move her into the right position for birth. This went on for over a couple grueling hours.
Where God has humor…
Water broke on October 30th…it’s now the evening of the 31st…HALLOWEEN! In the midst of my worst part of labor, I’m hearing “trick or treat” out the window. Familiar voices coming to the door, my parents handing out candy like nothing was happening and me creating my own haunted house screams in the back. It was surreal to say the least. In and out of the shower for what seemed like days, pain that just wouldn’t let up, was this going to end? When I was in the shower towards the end in my head I just kept telling her…”When it’s time to come Zoey…come fast mom doesn’t have much strength left.”
Around 7:30pm Brooke measured me… I had reached 9! I stood up walked into the kitchen shouted it in excitement! FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY.
The doulas and midwives told me, when I have a contraction while standing at this point, bear down. For me, pushing was the scariest part of all. It’s the first time I could actually help Zoey! There was so much pressure. After 8pm I was on the bed, fully dilated, fully effaced, ready to push.
My dad’s favorite side story…”Ashley put on a wild pair of LuLu Lemon pants and said…’These are my lucky pants. When I put these on…babies come.’ Twenty minutes later she comes slipping on the hardwood like Tom Cruise in Risky Business and says…it’s time!”
In a queen size bed, with a 15 watt bulb of light, surrounded by my dad, mom, Kelly, my husband, the Ashleys, midwives Brooke and Karly… I began to push. I had to push for 10 seconds 4 times in each contraction. When the contractions ended I would fall asleep, until the next one came. Brooke measured her heartbeat with a doppler through contractions and it was the best thing for me. Her heart was beating perfectly! She was so strong, and it kept me strong the entire way through! This went on all the way until 9:43pm when she finally shot into this world, LITERALLY! At some point during pushing Brooke told me once she crowned I was going to stop pushing. Well, she didn’t give me a chance. She crowned and shot out like a rocket onto the bed. Instinctually, my husband reached down and picked her up and put her onto me. She was SO warm. She was SO perfect!
Within a matter of minutes, my brother Tom was there. He knew he couldn’t handle hearing me in pain so he was fashionably late!
I cherished every aspect of Zoey’s birth! I wouldn’t change a thing she was perfect, healthy and best of all ORGANIC! I was so blessed to have supportive parents, beautiful doulas, fantastic midwives, and most importantly an incredible partner in my husband. I used to think it was insane when women would say the best day of their lives was the day their child was born. Now, I get it. I am truly blessed.