A Beautiful Lemon
This pregnancy was the hardest on me, emotionally and physically but I also feel like I really took it all in and was so grateful for every part of it. Emmalyn was so involved and so excited and experiencing it all with her is something I’ll never forget. At one point I didn’t think I’d make it to 37 weeks, but my parents had a trip close to when I was 38 weeks and my midwife also went out of town, so I was stressed about baby waiting for everyone to be present. I saw a chiropractor throughout my pregnancy and was going weekly at this point which was a lifesaver! I learned a lot about what went wrong in my labor with Sage to make it so long and miserable and with this being our first home birth I knew I had to do everything in my power to make it as easy and smooth as possible.
I woke up on the 27th (39 weeks 5 days) and contractions started right away. I was having pain in my tailbone area and they were 8-9 minutes apart. I was an emotional wreck, I was exhausted from weeks of false labor and I was dealing with a lot internally. They quickly became 4-5 minutes apart and I decided to get in the bath because of the pain I was having. The bath got rid of the pain but then the contractions became 9 minutes apart again and then 17 minutes apart and then 1 every hour. Defeated at this point I took some time to reflect on everything I was struggling with mentally. I had a long talk with Garrett and my mom that evening and remember telling them that I felt like I had to work through unresolved issues before my body could fully relax for labor.
I was having contractions on the car ride but not as intense as the ones at ikea. A little while after we got home I went upstairs to take a shower. I got out around 6pm and contractions started to be consistently 2-3 minutes apart. I rocked through them holding my belly and telling baby I was so ready to meet them. I finished drying and curling my hair around 7pm and went downstairs where Garrett had just finished making dinner and he and the kids were eating. I didn’t have an appetite and decided to bounce on my birth ball and continue timing contractions.
It was now about 8:30pm and I decided to call my midwife Cassie to let her know what was happening. I could still talk through contractions at this time so I knew we didn’t need her to head over yet. I went to put some make up on so I felt more put together and while standing in the bathroom the contractions changed and I could feel the shift in my labor. I suddenly was having to low moan through them and I could hear Emma telling Garrett that I was making polar bear sounds which was so cute because we read a book before bed about home birth and the little boy in the book described his mom’s labor noises as polar bear sounds. This is when Garrett took it upon himself to call Cassie to tell her to head over soon, he knew that when I started having to moan that I was getting further along. I called my mom then too and she started heading over with my sister and brother-in-law.
I headed upstairs at this point and started to feel like I was losing my composure, I’ve only ever had back labor before but this baby was in a good position this time so I was having trouble figuring out how to cope through contractions. I thought counter pressure only helped with back labor and since I was feeling all the pain in the front I didn’t know what to do. My mom did a quick google search and found that it does help with all types of labor and once she started applying pressure I felt so much relief! Cassie’s got to the house just after 10pm and we were in my room laughing between contractions and she said that we weren’t quite there yet which I knew because I was way too content.
Not too long after Cassie arrived the assisting midwife Erika and student midwife Jacinta showed up. I decided to tell the photographer to start heading over as I had gotten back on my birth ball and things were feeling more intense. She got to the house around 11:30pm and at this point I felt like I could finally relax because my team was all present!
Cassie came into the room and noticed that I was a little too comfortable on my ball, so she had me lay on my side in bed with one leg propped up on pillows, kinda like using a peanut ball. Things definitely changed and contractions were starting to be hard to find relief through. I got up to pee and came back to the bed to switch sides I was laying on. Around 1am Cassie came back and and said she could hear a change in my noises and she thought it would be a good point to check me and see how dilated I was. I was 6.5 centimeters and definitely starting to feel a bit defeated. Not long after she checked I started throwing up, I had been nauseated for a while now. We decided to try the birth tub to see if the water helped which Garrett had filled using buckets earlier.
I got in and the water felt a little too cool. They had a pot of water boiling downstairs to try and heat it up and that didn’t really help either. Contractions in the water were so bad and I had trouble finding a good position to sit in. I felt like I had to pee so I got out, had a few contractions on the toilet and got back in. At this point my body was so tired and it seemed like my contractions were spacing out a lot to give me a chance to rest in between, almost like my body’s way of gaining strength again for pushing. I remember looking at Cassie and saying that I didn’t think I could do it anymore. I remember feeling so scared which didn’t make sense entirely because I had done this twice before, but I was so worried about not knowing when my body was ready to push.
Cassie checked me when I was in the water and said there was a pretty good amount of cervix still on top so they had me get out and lay face down on a nest of pillows to use gravity to try and get the rest of the cervix to go away.
The two contractions I had in the nest of pillows were the most painful part of my entire labor and delivery! My composure had been long gone by now and I was straight screaming through them. Cassie told me she wanted to try and help me, so she had me lay on the ground and see if I could push past the cervix while she held it. I gave one short push and at this point I was still 9cm. She told me to go ahead and get back into the birth tub with expectations of it still taking a little while longer.
I stood up only a couple feet from the tub, turned to walk to it and immediately crossed my legs and realized I wasn’t going to make it! My hand shot down and I was experiencing FER (fetal ejection reflux) and my body had begun pushing for me so I already felt the head crowning! I knelt to the ground where we only had one chuck pad down since the plan was never to have the baby on the floor in front of my bed, and she literally flew out of me within seconds! 2:11am on 6/29 she was born en caul (still in the sack since my waters never broke) and the sack broke as she slid onto the pad. I went from 6.5 cm to a baby in my arms in 1 hour and 8 minutes! Total labor time from consistent and strong contractions to birth was 8 hours, a huge difference from my past labors! I was in so much shock I just kept looking at Garrett like “did that just happen?!” And I don’t know how but he managed to get his phone out quick enough to record it!
We still didn’t know the gender and I kept the legs closed against me, my mom and Emma kept asking what the baby was but I wanted to be in a better spot to experience this moment. So I got into the tub to sit down and my placenta had already detached. I tried to push in out at first but felt too weak so I waited a little bit. At this point I called Garrett and Emma over to look at the gender with me, I opened the legs and exclaimed “it’s a girl!!!” and all of us were crying tears of joy! Emma’s reaction is forever my favorite! My dad was even in the hallway crying! She and Garrett cut the cord together after I finally birthed the placenta and Garrett took Charlotte for skin to skin.
I got out of the tub to get checked and cleaned up and we discovered I had a 2nd degree tear. Cassie use lidocaine to numb me up, which didn’t work very well on me, and she continued to stitch me closed. Charlotte was given back to me while I was getting stitched because she was ready to eat and she latched on right away! Emma came over to lay with us and was just in awe of her new baby sister! She kept telling me I was the strongest and I was so happy she there for this experience. After I was stitched I got into bed and it was time to get baby checked out and measured/weighed. Emma was so excited to help Cassie with this! We all took our guesses before she was weighed, I guessed 9 pounds and sure enough she was 9 lbs even! 21.5 inches long and just as healthy as can be!!
Sage was sleeping through everything and finally woke up at this point and came into our room very confused by all the people. Garrett knelt with him and showed him his baby sister and he didn’t want anything to do with her. We got into bed for a family photo and you can clearly see how he felt about it all 😂 He finally warmed up though and was in awe of his baby sister!
After making sure we were all good everyone left by 4:30am and it was so nice to get to sleep in my own bed afterwards. I couldn’t have done it without all the support I had! My mom was amazing with the counter pressure, Garrett also did counter pressure and just held my hand and talked me through it all and made sure my needs were met and my Sister made sure to take video throughout and helped Emma when she needed a nap in the middle. Our photographer Kyla was so good at capturing it all and was a calming presence, and our midwife team was incredible! I felt safe and taken care of. I will forever be grateful for Cassie not only just during the birth but also the many appointments leading up to it. I felt heard and comfortable and she always made sure to take her time and talk through everything. They were so good with Emma and allowing her to be involved. I am forever grateful for this experience! I feel nothing but pure joy when I think about this birth. We are so in love with our Charlotte Evelyn!🤍