The birth of Indiana Alice
Saturday, January 21st started out a pretty normal day. I had a couple of contractions that morning that felt different than the prior weeks prodromal labor so I thought to have my mom come over just in case it would happen that night. I was about a week overdue and had been experiencing some early labor stuff for a week so it had to be soon, right? My mom came that morning and we went about our day as usual.
Makana headed to work around 3:30pm and I began having contractions around 4:00pm. they were very light and about 15 minutes apart which meant I had tons of time. Around 8:00pm they started coming every 10 minutes so I told Makana to come home so he could rest if this really was it. That night he made homemade chili for our post birth meal and came to bed. It was very uncomfortable to lay down and labor but I knew from experience that resting now was most important. Makana and Lucy slept peacefully all night and I was able to get a few hours of sleep and then spent a good portion of the night on the yoga ball laboring. Swaying my hips side to side felt really good. They were really close but physically I knew it was still very early. Around 4:00am they were 4 minutes apart so I texted my doula, Natalie, and let her know that I didn't feel like I needed anything but that they were close and intense enough that I had to focus a bit more on them. I sent a text to my midwife as well and she called to check in. I was supported and knew if I needed them they'd be there which was comforting. Around 7am they tapered off to 10-15 minutes apart so I took a nap.
My brother, Corey, who was photographing the birth decided to come over around 9am because he swore the baby would be there soon and didn't want to miss anything. We spent the rest of the morning hanging out watching movies. It was really just a slow day and it made me anxious to feel watched. Everyone was kind of waiting for things to kick into gear. I was contracting every 10 minutes still but they were manageable and nothing to pay attention to. I'd breathe through them and then continue cleaning the kitchen. It was an exceptionally beautiful rainy day and I felt cooped up inside so I proposed to Makana that we get out of the house for a bit.
We got all bundled up, grabbed coffee and went to a park for a walk. It was so nice to spend that time alone. We got there at 3:30pm. Oddly enough, the contractions picked up right away and were about 4 minutes apart. Makana joked how I needed him to press a firm hand on my lower back during them and then I continued to chat away after. He said it'd be cool to have the baby out here. (I didn't think so.). I still felt fine but was alarmed at the timing of them so we decided to head back home about an hour later. Right when we got home we retreated to our bedroom and I had him massage my back during them while I leaned on the wall and swayed my hips.
I literally had 4 contractions and things shifted inside of me. I needed the birth team here now. I texted Natalie and he texted our midwife, Cassie, to come. Erica, another midwife came to assist Cassie. Around 6pm they all arrived minutes from each other. I was so happy to see all of them. The secret in birthing at home is how wonderfully close you get to your birth team. These women cared about me, my family and my birthing experience as well as my safety. I love them deeply. I was still in good spirits at this point and worried that I called them too soon. I was asking if they were thirsty or needed anything. Cassie joked that I am not the doula right now but the one giving birth. Then I decided to take a walk around my kitchen. A few contractions later things felt much more intense. From there labor picked up extremely fast.
Natalie rubbed my back as I knelt on hands and knees. Half an hour later I had Makana start filling up the tub. The water felt amazing and I melted into it. Right away Lucy asked to see the baby because I told her a few weeks ago that the next time I got into the tub there will be a baby. I assured her I was trying to get her out. Lucy was playing with rubber ducky thermometer next to me and in those moments I was in awe at my little girl, she was going to be a big sister. Thinking was I ready? Was she ready? My mental and physical were in two different spaces. I was starting to feel overwhelmed but physically handling the waves of labor.
The next 2 hours are a bit of a blur to me so bare with me as I piece it together. I clenched Makana and wept numerous times. I needed him next to me. Natalie rubbed my back and affirmed me of my strength. Taking deep inhale and exhales as I rode the wave. I could hear Cassie and Erica telling me how well I was doing and I was trying to connect those words with what I was doing. I remember saying, "wow, this is crazy". With every wave of intensity I was overcome with emotions. I will be meeting my baby soon. Here. There are no words to describe how it feels to be laboring in a dim room with your husband holding your hands and first born playing nearby. I thanked Makana for giving me this gift. We kissed a few times and it felt good to be close to him. At one comical point Lucy struggled to take her socks off and started to climb into the birth tub. We laughingly stopped her. Later she came back fully naked and tried to get in. Things were much too intense to have her join.
At about 830 I asked Cassie to check me. She didn't feel much cervix, maybe a small lip. She suggested I get out to use the bathroom to make room for the baby. I felt the weight of the contractions much more out of the water. A few contractions later I insisted in getting back in. A couple minutes later an urge to push overcame me. I was on my knees in the birth tub and gave a strong push. I felt the baby coming so I told them to get Lucy. With the next push I said "the head is out". Lucy was right in front of me wide eyed and curious. The birth team stood close but with the next few minutes I pushed my baby out and pulled her up to me. 8:58pm. I immediately checked and said "It's a girl!". Everyone let out a big laugh. Lets just say we thought she was a he. Again, I began to cry. Like wow, I did it!
I really did it and she is mine. It was unreal. She was so beautiful and so calm. The next 2 hours or so are even fuzzier as we dealt with minimal complications with bleeding but my skilled midwives had everything under control and gave me a shot of pitocin and massaged my uterus. I am forever grateful to my skilled, passionate, loving birth team. For my husband who loves me something fierce. For my brother who willingly attends these births even though he is definitely not a birth photographer. and to my mother who was able to be there and watch her baby have a baby. I am on cloud nine. Indiana Alice, you are so loved.