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Homebirth Info


Next Session:

5pm, Sunday, March 19th, 2023
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image1This pregnancy was characterized by pain and discomfort and tons of Braxton Hicks contractions. I was continually having regular – painless but intense – contractions almost the entire pregnancy. So when the day finally arrived, the onset of labor was much more ambiguous than I would have imagined.

January 19th was my 39 week checkup with my midwives. I woke up to some bloody show and sort of giggled and said “oh no, here it comes!” But I didn’t really think it was The Day. Máiri and Elizabeth arrived at our house just moments before I got a text message from my brother-in-law Michael letting the family know that my sister Karyn’s baby Rumi had rocketed into the world – healthy and squalling – a few hours earlier in an unplanned homebirth. I was ecstatic! My midwives hugged me and gave congratulations and we joked that now that my sister had given birth, it was my turn. I laughed and said I had a very strong feeling this little one would wait until Erin was back from Jamaica the following week.

After my checkup, I called my third midwife Katie and told her my sister’s news. She had been a sounding board for me throughout this pregnancy as I processed my feelings about my surprise pregnancy and my sister’s prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. She was so happy for me and my sister and said that now I could have my baby. I laughed and said “I’ll give you a call later!” She said “Great! See you tonight!” And we hung up.

All that day I had strong Braxton Hicks contractions, but it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for this pregnancy. I finished up a task from my Association of Placenta Preparation Arts course I wanted to finish before baby arrived, and distinctly remember saying “Okay, baby, I need one more week.”

The day was not out of the ordinary. Took Malcolm to school, worked on my course, did laundry. Nothing was “ramping up”. Nothing felt different.

That evening the BH contractions were stronger and I decided we’d better double make the bed. I said to  “if I don’t do it, the baby will definitely come tonight!” We made double-made the bed, I started a big pot of tortilla soup to freeze for after the baby, we fed the kids and sent them to bed. The contractions were more noticeable, but not painful.

image2At 8pm, I went downstairs to watch some TV. I think I was watching X-Files. I couldn’t decide if I should do a kick count or time contractions. It was weirdly ambiguous for a third baby. I was emailing someone about getting together and I wrote “I may actually be in labor right now, so I’ll have to play getting together by ear.”

Baby was very quiet. Her usual evening dance party was subdued and languid. I decided to go to bed.

I laid in bed for three hours unable to sleep. Waves were coming and going, more intense, but still not really what I remember as “real” labor. Each time one overtook me, I had the oddest sense that my pelvis was heating up. In my minds eye, all my bones glowed a deep fluorescent orange. I couldn’t sleep, so I called Mairi and she asked me to time the contractions for a few minutes. To my great surprise, were 2-3 minutes apart and 75 seconds long. I called Mairi back and basically said “I can’t sleep, and I have to stand during contractions, but they aren’t too strong and I can talk through them. I’m going to take a shower and I’ll check in with you in an hour.” It was 12:45 am.

I messaged Odile and Rose – my doulas – and let them know what was going on. That was the last they heard from me for several hours.

I went to get into the shower and thought “oh no. I feel like I have to poop.” I sat on the toilet and strong contractions overtook me. I actually did have to poop, though, and didn’t have the baby on the toilet, thank goodness. I got in the shower at about 12:50 am and instantly I was in the throes of serious labor. I sang through 20 minutes of contractions and then got out. I called for Kevin and said “get them here NOW.” He disappeared and I was alone, floating on the waves of labor, trying to keep above the ever deepening water. I went to the bathroom again and was moaning through heavy contractions on the toilet when Mairi and Elizabeth arrived.

Things got very blurry then. The contractions were fast and furious. I tried to breathe through them, but each one made my bones feel like they had been heated to orange molten lava. I actually could feel the bones of my pelvis moving and it almost sent me into a panic. I was leaning over the side of the bed, saying “you have to calm down, you have to calm down, deep breaths”. Someone listened to the baby, someone rubbed my back, someone told me I was doing a good job.

I moved to the end of the bed and was overtaken with the uncontrollable bearing down of spontaneous pushing. I felt something big and round pressing against my perineum and felt the shocking sensation of what I thought was a baby flying out. Then there was a splat, and I realized my water had broken. It was very odd – instead of a pop and gush all over my legs and the floor beneath my feet, it shot out backwards and landed in a neat little puddle about a foot behind me. It really did feel like the baby’s head came flying out. Talk about a bulging bag…

Then there was a mad, ferocious pushing contraction that nearly pulled me to my knees in its intensity. After that, Mairi gently suggested I crawl up into the bed so I didn’t have to maneuver getting into the bed with a wet and slippery baby in my arms. I said plaintively “my legs are so tired!” and in the back of my mind I thought “That was ONE CONTRACTION. How can you be tired?” And then my inner doula patted my outer laboring self on the back and told her how strong she was and we crawled onto the bed together.

Then I heard Katie’s voice saying I could guide the baby’s head out if I wanted to. I thought 1) when did Katie get here and 2) it’s time for that already?? Kevin had gone down stairs to unlock the door for the photographer (who never made it) when Mairi urgently called for him to get up here now if he didn’t want to miss it. Her head came out and I said “THANK GOD” and the her body came out and someone passed her between my knees, white and pink and purple and slimy and so so so beautiful. I touched her tiny fingers and little ears and then gathered my sweet screaming (my god, the loud, loud screaming!) Caroline to my breast. Oh the blessed relief and overwhelming joy. It was 1:55 am.

Lucy was there an instant after Caroline was born. She stomped in the room as I was looking at Caroline, still on hands and knees and catching my breath. She said “What’s going on in here?!” Mairi motioned her over and I heard her voice, tiny and hushed with wonder “A baby!” And then, more practically, “Someone is going to have to clean these sheets.” She laughed and said she thoughts he noise was us running around and playing with Malcolm. Malcolm stayed asleep.

We snuggled together. The placenta was born after more effort than I would have liked, I held Caroline and nursed her and breathed in her intoxicating new baby smell. Katie did the newborn exam – 7lbs 14oz, 19.5″. My smallest baby by half a pound! I took a wonderful shower while Kevin held our new daughter. I crawled into bed. Lucy did skin to skin.

Malcolm snuck in later that morning, strangely shy. I remember him edging into the room, back against the dresser, hesitating. Then he saw his baby sister and fell instantly in love. We all five snuggled together. Deliriously happy.