Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021 | 40.6 wks.

“Please tell me I’m not going to be pregnant forever.” I said it a little jokingly but as the words came out of my mouth, I started crying. It was late Saturday evening and I was calling my mom for support. I was starting to feel a little “stuck” since I had thought Julian might come a little early. I had my labor supplies ready for several weeks already. I had been keeping the house clean and cooking and baking in preparation. I was starting to feel like I was living one day over and over again.

I felt confident that my body knew when the time was right and I felt pretty good physically but the constant readiness was getting to me. I hadn’t realized how alone and stuck I felt until I was talking with her. Simply voicing what I was feeling and knowing she understood, made such a difference. She prayed with me and encouraged me to keep on keeping on.

Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021 | 41 wks.

We spent Sunday afternoon and evening at my parent’s house. Mom and Dad and my youngest siblings were gone for the day. The others were at home, working on a puzzle and having a family day. My sister just younger than I, Doris, had sent me a text that morning telling me that they were all talking about us having our baby. She jokingly asked if I wanted to take the “Midwife’s Brew” so they could finally hold him. I laughingly said, “the answer is no.”

I had been listening to the Last of the Mohicans audiobook and when we came home that evening, I cleaned up the kitchen a bit while Aaron rocked Jaden to sleep. He fell asleep on the chair and instead of waking him up like I probably should have, I trimmed my nails and got ready for bed while listening to my book. It was 11pm by then so I woke Aaron up and climbed into bed. We talked a for little bit but then fell asleep.

I had been passing a lot of mucus the last two days when I went to the bathroom. I had been having discharge for several weeks but this was quite a bit more distinct. Other than that, there was nothing else to hint that I might be going into labor soon. 

Monday, Oct. 4

12:30am Jaden woke up crying so Aaron rocked him back to sleep. He woke up again almost right away so Aaron brought him into the bedroom and rocked him on the glider we had gotten for the baby. I had to go to the bathroom and when I came back to bed, I felt a tight crampy feeling at the very bottom of my stomach. My round ligaments sometimes felt similar depending on how I slept but that was more often just on one side. I laid back down and tried to sleep but I was uncomfortable enough that I sat up on the edge of the bed and gently rocked for several minutes. It seemed to go away so I laid back down. I was almost immediately uncomfortable again though and had to get up again. I decided to get up and walk around to see what happened.

1:10am I walked around the kitchen for about 15 minutes and definitely noticed a coming and going sensation with the tightness. I felt pretty sure I was experiencing labor contractions at this point and told Aaron so. I told him to sleep while he could and then went back out to the kitchen to prepare my red raspberry tea, orange juice, and gelatin gummies for labor.

2:02am I called Jeanie, my midwife, and let her know that I thought I was in labor. My contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. They were regular but not so intense that I had to quit everything I was doing. 

2:45am I woke Aaron up and told him that we’re definitely having a baby today. He got up then and helped me, (or I helped him) get the living room ready where we had planned to set up the birth pool. After covering the floor with plastic, Aaron inflated the pool. By then I was really hungry so he made us some scrambled eggs and watermelon. I was eating my eggs when I suddenly had a really intense contraction. I pretty much lost my appetite after that. I ate some watermelon yet and was glad I had been able to eat some food before the birth.

By this point I was really tired since I had only slept for 2 hrs. I sat on the recliner in the living room, propped up with pillows. I rocked a little, especially during contractions and focused on keeping my face and hands relaxed like I had learned from the Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth book. Contractions were pretty intense by this point but I still managed to feel a little rested by dozing in between them.

4:09am I called Jeanie again to let her know contractions were consistent at 3 minutes apart, lasting 40 seconds, and much more intense. She asked if I wanted her to come, (she had an hour drive,) but I told her I was still doing ok. I wasn’t in a hurry to have her come since I felt confident in what was happening and trusted my body to do what it knew how to do.

I also didn’t want her to come and be here unnecessarily long before the birth. I felt comfortable and safe in my space and was relaxed because I knew I didn’t have to go anywhere. She asked if I was ready to get in the tub. I had been thinking I’d like to, but again, didn’t want to get in too early so I was relieved when she suggested it. 

My sisters, Joan and Karena, had planned to be here for the birth. I had been calling them every so often but no one picked up. After I talked with Jeanie, I asked Aaron if he wanted to go over and tell them they could come over and sleep upstairs so they’d be here when it was time. My parents only live a minute from our house but I thought it might be good for them to come over since I didn’t know how long it would go yet and didn’t want them to miss it. Aaron let them know and when he came back, he started filling up the tub.

I passed a little bit of reddish mucus when I went to the bathroom. My contractions were really intense by this time and I decided to try another Ina May technique. She talked about how joy and gratefulness can really impact your body in labor. When a contraction came, I would intentionally smile, almost laughing, and say, “thank you, thank you Jesus,” and “come, baby, come.”

As silly as it sounds and felt, this helped me to remember that my body was doing what God created it to do by bringing me closer to my baby with every wave. “Come, baby, come,” helped me to embrace the waves and my coming baby, opening up my body to give birth.

5:30am The tub was filled as full as possible til the hot water ran out. I got in the tub then and the water was pretty hot. It felt really good and I immediately felt my body relaxing. I was already pretty warm and sweaty by this point from my surging hormones. I asked Aaron to add some cool water as well as fill it more fully in general. The deeper water, now slightly cooler, was much better. I was feeling a little light headed so Aaron got me a cold washcloth that I used to cool my face.

I was starting to feel a little pushy during contractions and began to concentrate on uttering deep low moans to keep my energy centered and under control. Aaron was starting to express some anxiousness about having Jeanie come. I was still doing just fine but when he asked if I wanted her to be here in an hour, I said, “yes.” He called her as well as tried to get ahold of my sisters again. Joan was unable to come since she had to be at work. Karena still hadn’t come over either.

Around 6am I was definitely feeling like pushing and started to do so with the contractions. My lower back was pretty sore and I felt a lot of pressure. I asked Aaron to massage my back as I kneeled in the tub with my arms and forehead on the side of the tub. That really helped to counteract the pressure and felt especially good during contractions. I could tell Aaron was still feeling a anxious, partially because he felt a little helpless as well as the fact that Jeanie wasn’t here.

He went into the bedroom to get the diffuser and as he was gone, I felt a really strong contraction and urge to push. As I did, I felt my water break and the baby start to move down. I called Aaron saying, “Come quickly, the baby’s coming!” He ran out to the living room as another contraction came. With that push, I felt Julian crowning and tried to pause and relax.

With Jaden, he had crowned, and then retracted just a bit several times. I was expecting the same with Julian and was surprised when I felt his head coming out with the next push. I don’t know exactly what the timing was during these pushing contractions but it felt really fast to me, almost like this all happened during one contraction.

6:12am I reached down and felt a headful of hair and two silkly little ears. Feeling around his neck to make sure the cord wasn’t wrapped around it, I felt a tugging sensation. In a slightly agitated voice, I asked Aaron if he was pulling on him to which he answered, “no!” (This is hilarious to me in hindsight because I had my hand on Julian’s head and there was no way Aaron could have had ahold of him. Jeanie later explained that it was actually Julian himself stretching his neck and wiggling as his shoulders turned to enter the birth canal.)

After this slight pause, I pushed with another contraction and his entire body was born. I told Aaron to catch him and he brought him forward between my legs before I sat back and scooped him up to my chest. As I leaned against the side of the pool holding my baby in my arms, I half laughed, half cried, totally ecstatic and still realizing that Aaron and I had just delivered our own baby.

My biggest concern was making sure that Julian was breathing well. Babies born in the water don’t usually cry and can even seem a little “dazed.” Because the warm water is so similar to the environment they were just in, the birth process is much less abrupt and babies tend to appear much more relaxed. I knew this to a certain extent and didn’t feel like I had to “make him cry” to make sure he was ok but I did wipe his nose and swipe his mouth with my finger to make sure they were clear. He seemed to be breathing well and cried a tiny bit but mostly he just lay in my arms, relaxed and peeping his eyes open every so often.

As we sat there, taking in our little miracle and drying him off, Jaden woke up. Aaron brought him in to the tub and we showed him his new little brother. He took a little time to get oriented but was obviously excited and seemed to understand that this was the baby we had been talking about for so long. After spending a little time looking at the baby as we explained what was happening, he sat on the couch watching his favorite video of himself playing when he was younger.

We had planned to have him present for the birth as long as he seemed peaceful and ok with the process. That had been planned with the idea that that my sisters would also be there. The timing of his waking up couldn’t have been more perfect because it allowed him to be a part of the process at a point that i didn’t need Aaron to be all “hands on deck.” It could have gotten really interesting if he had woken up any earlier since it was just the two of us. 

6:45am I felt several contractions and then the placenta passing. Once the placenta passed, I handed Julian to Aaron so he could hold him since the cord was now only attached to the placenta sitting in a bowl instead of to me. He helped me get up and wrapped in a towel and then I on a chair to rest my shaky legs a bit before I got ready to take a shower.

6:50am Just as I ready to get up to go take a shower, Jeanie arrived. She had gotten delayed by getting pulled over but was quickly dismissed when she told the officer what was going on. She cut and clamped the cord and checked the placenta to make sure everything was intact. It all looked perfect. She then helped me to the bathroom to get showered and cleaned up while Aaron held Julian. 

It was the absolute best to be able to take a shower and crawl immediately into my own bed and cuddle my baby. After Julian had nursed for a while and Jeanie had taken down the details of his birth, she weighed and measured him. I was so surpried to hear that he weighed almost 9lbs! This birth had felt so easy and gone so fast. While there are definitely situations where size can impact birth, I felt that my birth was much more effected by the confidence and safety I felt throughout the whole process.

Aaron cleaned up the living room and emptied the tub during this time, popping in and out of the bedroom. We spent some time as a family sitting on the bed, holding Julian and I got my sister, Doris to take several pictures. My mom and sister came over around 8am to see Julian and hear the story of his birth. A little later another one of my sisters, Karena, and younger brother came over for a little bit. They took Jaden home with them then and after asking Aaron if there was anything urgent that needed to be done yet, I asked him to let the rest of it sit for now. He was more than happy to and the three of us cuddled up in bed.

We spent a long time looking at Julian and letting it all sink in. When I asked Aaron what he thought about everything, he told me that it was definitely a little nerve racking at the time because he felt a rather unprepared but that he would definitely do it again. Then, being tired from our long but rather sleepless night, we slept.

Julian Michael’s Unassisted Home Birth Story

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