Laura and Chris’ story:
February 4th, the due date, came and went with no signs of labor. A couple of days later we had the biggest snow storm of the winter. We live out in the woods and were a bit nervous that the midwives wouldn’t make it to us in the storm, but it passed and I was still pregnant. The morning of February 9th was fairly normal, I thought, because I had never had a baby before and have no idea what contractions might feel like! After timing them for a bit and getting over the initial denial phase, we accepted the fact that this could be it!!!
We were SO ready to meet our baby and find out the gender! The afternoon was filled with timing contractions, laboring over a yoga ball with Chris putting counter pressure on my hips, my mom, dad, and pregnant sister feeding me snacks and ice and occasionally relieving Chris and taking over hip duty. And my dogs stayed very close to me and were the best support puppies you could ever ask for. Then Peggy and Shari arrived! They checked on our baby’s heartbeat and checked me over and then started setting up the birth tub in our bedroom. I was PUMPED for that birthing tub. Quite possibly one of the best things ever- there was a hot tub in my bedroom! As soon as that tub was filled, I scooted upstairs as fast as I could and hopped in. I labored in the tub for about an hour and a half with Chris holding me and supporting me the entire time. A birth playlist of relaxing music played in the background and the lights were dimmed. I completely let everything go. I gave into my body and turned off my mind, which I had been practicing with hypnobirthing. I let out loud, low moans through each wave to help my body open up and when transition came I could feel my whole body shudder. It was like the entire world was shaking. I let out some crazy laughs and continued to breathe as deeply as I possibly could. THEN you relax and there is this magical moment after transition where your body pauses and rests. I was ready to push this babe out! As I started to push, my water had just broken and we could start seeing our baby’s dark hair coming out. Peggy and Shari coached me on my breathing so I could control the pushes and stretch my skin slowly. I reached down and felt the little head coming out and was soooo excited! A few more pushes with Chris supporting me, my mom taking photos, and my sister and dad holding my legs, our baby arrived! We pulled her up to my body, cut the cord and she took her first breath. Once we were all out of the tub and on the bed we finally realized that we had a daughter!!! Hadley Jean was born at 11:24pm and she is perfect. Chris and I both couldn’t believe the experience we just had bringing our daughter into this world. We were able to experience her first moments in this world and our first moments as a family in the comfort of our own bedroom. Shari and Peggy checked her over and helped with getting her latched. They checked me over and helped me shower and pee for the first time (slightly scary but not really at all when you have Peggy and Shari supporting you.) I had minor tears and did not need stitches, which I had been terrified of for months (thank you very much, perineal massage and coaching to push slowly to prevent tearing!) Once Peggy and Shari gave us our directions and made plans to come back the following day, they left and we looked at each other like “holy moly, what just happened!! That baby just came out of my body!” I felt SO empowered! I had been training my body physically for childbirth and training my brain mentally and emotionally for childbirth and had just accomplished exactly what I set out to do. My husband, Chris, was just amazing. My dad, mom, and sister April were an incredible support team. Peggy and Shari (and not in attendance but equally as important, April and Ivyrose) made me feel safe. They coached me in all my appointments leading up to the birth to help prepare me, and by being my birth team, they gave me the feeling of safety so that I could deliver my babe at home with no worries or concerns holding me back. I knew they would keep me safe and keep my baby safe. Their knowledge and expertise has given me the best birth experience I could ever imagine.
April and Collin’s Story
My home birth journey began when Laura first told me she was going to have her baby at home and my first thought was, “I would never do that!” I had just found out I was pregnant myself and knew I wanted an unmedicated birth, but I wanted the safety of the hospital, as I believed at the time. Collin and I had our first meeting with the midwives to discuss how they assist during hospital births. We walked out of there and decided on the car ride home that we wanted a home birth instead! I don’t remember exactly what they said to us that day, but we immediately trusted them and learned that home births are incredibly safe with the right support. We then began to prepare and learn all we could about pregnancy and birth.
At thirty weeks pregnant, I attended my first birth ever, the birth of my niece at Laura’s home. I am so grateful for the experience because it allowed me to see how amazing birth, specifically a home birth could be! It was nothing like the movies! While it was a very peaceful water birth,it was still a powerful experience and being pregnant myself, I couldn’t help but feel nervous for my own birth. I allowed myself a week to panic and then refocused on my hypnobirthing practice and preparing my mindset for my own birth.
I was feeling so prepared and confident that my parents, sister, and Collin would be there to support me during the birth...and then Covid-19 happened. While having a home birth gave me the opportunity to choose who would be at the birth unlike at hospitals, we decided it was too risky for my parents to attend due to their age. I was devastated. I also couldn’t spend the last month of my pregnancy with my family. We had many social distancing backyard get togethers during that time. We even spaced out my last appointment enough at the end so I could have a hug from my parents before giving birth. It was definitely needed as my due date approached.
On April 20th, my due date, I went to my appointment with April. She sent me off saying that the baby probably wouldn’t come in the next few days and to try walking and other things to get things going. We went for a walk that night and went to bed thinking it could still be a week or longer until we met our baby. At around 3 AM, I began to feel crampy but went back to bed. I didn’t realize until around 5:00 that the cramps were probably contractions. I texted my mom and sister that I was having contractions and to stay tuned for updates! I remained in bed until 8:00, when Collin asked if he should take the day off. I told him I wasn’t sure and was surely in denial that the baby would be coming soon. We began timing contractions and they were 3-4 minutes apart, but they were only 30 seconds long. We texted April and Peggy and agreed to keep them informed. Laura arrived around 11:00 and we worked on a puzzle and watched a show as I labored. Active labor kicked in around 1:00 and I bent over the stairs in my living room while Laura and Collin took turns pushing on my hips during contractions and encouraging me to drink water. My Contractions were still very close together but they weren’t long enough for April to come over just yet. My parents were checking in a facetime with us on and off throughout the day. We told April to come over at around 3:00 and she arrived around 3:45. As she set up her equipment, my water broke and I felt the urge to push. I asked her to check me because I was having a hard time not pushing during contractions. She checked me and gave me the all clear to push. I was still in my living room! She encouraged me to move up into the bedroom that was set up, so I could get into the bed right after. I have no idea how I made it up those stairs! I got on my hands and knees and with the next contraction, I began pushing. My parents were on a facetime call, and I could see them cheering me on on the computer screen in front of me. After just a few pushes, we could see the head, covered in blonde hair! I could feel movement with each push and this baby was coming fast! I knew I needed to go slow so I wouldn’t tear but it was hard to slow down. April said that I was stretching nicely and not to worry. The head came out on the next push followed by the rest of the body right afterward! The baby was handed up between my legs and Collin announced that it was a boy, Lochlin Joseph, born at 4:20. Despite him coming into the world like a rocket, I only had a small tear that didn’t need stitches.
We moved to the bed and Lochlin wanted to nurse right away. April and Ivyrose cleaned everything up. My parents came over and met Lochlin through the glass door. Then everyone left and we were alone to enjoy our baby by 7:00. It was such a whirlwind but the whole time I felt so supported and safe. It was such a relief to be home and sleep that first night in our own bed.
Before our own births, we didn’t know what to expect from home birth and felt anxious about the unknowns that came along with it, especially during a pandemic. After experiencing the comfort that comes along with laboring and giving birth at home, as well as the incredible support we received from Full Spectrum Midwifery, there is no doubt that we will continue to have our babies at home and spread the news about the joys of home birth!
Hypnobirthing class at Wellspring Hypnotherapy with Carolyn Lewis
Acupuncture (at 38 and 40 weeks) with Stewart Cohen
Prenatal yoga and strength training classes at Evolution Yoga