Guys! I can’t believe it has taken me SIX months to write Henry’s birth story! It’s been such a whirlwind, and time has really gotten away from me. Plus, adjusting to two kids hasn’t been the easiest, but we are getting there!
Henry’s birth was probably the most special moment of my entire life. (Hadleigh’s birth was obviously one of the best days of my life as well, but having a home birth instead of a hospital birth was just on an entirely different level). It was so empowering to have an unmedicated birth in the comfort of my own home. To learn more about why we ultimately chose home birth you can check out this post: Why we are Having a Home Birth.
It was just two days past my “due date”. We were getting ready for bed after watching a show that was a little bit stressful (I blame my labor starting because of this!). A few minutes after getting into bed around 11:30, I felt a trickling of fluid. I immediately got up and went to the bathroom. I noticed the fluid was clear, but there wasn’t a ton of it. Knowing it was most likely my water breaking, I put on a pad and tried to go back to bed to get some rest before the contractions started. I had some light cramping immediately after my water broke, but it started getting closer together and more intense a couple of hours later around 1:30am.
I woke up Brendan and told him we should call my midwife’s assistant, Jessica, who would be setting up our birthing pool. While speaking to her on the phone she recommended I call my midwife since my water broke and this was my second baby (it is common for second births to go along pretty quickly). After calling my midwife she said she would be on her way since it was about an hour drive. Ill be leaving my midwife’s name out of this post because the laws in our state are ridiculous and don’t allow CPM’s to assist home births.
In the meantime, I tried relaxing in bed while listening to mediations (Insight Timer has amazing meditations! Highly recommend!). I was a little nervous about not knowing what to expect with these contractions, since my first birth was induced and I remember those contractions being VERY intense. Intense enough for me to demand an epidural.
This time was different though. The contractions came on way more gradually. I remember when my midwife arrived to my house she took a look at me and said “yea we still have a bit of time…if things were ramping up you would not be in that robe still”. Haha…and she was right! My contractions were every 5 or so minutes when my midwife arrived. While I rested, they got the pool and supplies set up in the room. Brendan continued to sleep – I wanted at least one of us to be well rested!
After getting everything set up, my midwife and Jessica slept on the couch. Every so often Jess would come listen to Henry’s heartbeat to make sure everything was going smoothly.
Around 6am is when my contractions started to ramp up. Yep, that robe came right off! They were every 2-3 minutes and getting more intense with each one. I spent most of my time working through my contractions on the yoga ball (HIGHLY recommend having one to help with contractions) and doing a lot of focused deep breathing before deciding to get into the pool. I had my essential oils diffusing and my calm music going to keep the mood light and stress free.
Hadleigh was still sleeping in our house. My parents came to get her at 7am. I didn’t want to wake her up and confuse her even more about what was happening (she’s only 2). One of the sweetest moments I will never forget is giving her one last hug as my only baby.
I got into the birthing pool around 7am. Midwives usually don’t measure your cervix unless there’s an issue or you ask them to. I did want to be checked before getting into the water because I didn’t want to be in the water for too long (to prevent dehydration). She measured me at 7cm so I decided to get into the pool, hopeful my body would progress quickly and the water would help ease contractions.
The water was so therapeutic during contractions. My midwife coached me on different positions as the contractions got more intense. I went back and forth between sitting on my bum and going on my hands and knees. While in the pool, I was in such a trance state. I can’t really explain it. It felt like during those 45 seconds of contractions no one else was in the room besides me and my baby.
Brendan was an awesome doula and did some counterpressure during contractions, refilled my coconut water and snacks, and threw cool rags at my face so I wouldn’t overheat (we got him doing this on camera and it seriously was hilarious! I barely even noticed when he did it because I was really in the zone, but everyone else was quietly laughing at him – he was a bit nervous and when was asked to get me a cool rag he apparently thought he was washing Hadleigh’s face after dinner and just put the washcloth right onto my face 😂).
Around 8am, and still in the pool, I started to get sensations like I wanted to push. My midwife wasn’t convinced I was fully dilated but said I could try to push if I felt ready. After a couple of contractions, feeling like I wasn’t making progress, she checked my cervix again and said I was 9cm. I waited out a couple more contractions, and then started to push again.
Can I just say…I never thought I would be the type of woman to scream while pushing (I didn’t really scream or yell with Hadleigh). But man…the sounds that came out of my mouth while pushing Henry were unreal LOL. After pushing for about 25 minutes, Henry’s head finally came out. My midwife had to assist with getting his shoulders out during a couple contractions, which was a little scary at the time, but he ended up being fine. He made his full debut after about 45 minutes at 9:22am, born in the water! He took about a minute (felt like a lifetime) to cry – but my midwife reassured me that this was normal especially for water-born babies. Then I heard the sweetest cry!
I have never felt emotions like this moment ever in my entire life. Brendan and I just began sobbing as they laid him on my chest. When Hadleigh was born, they scooped her away from me right away. We didn’t get to feel the emotions of them laying her on my chest. This was such a magical moment for me., and for us. It all felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe I just had my baby at home, with no medication, no nurses, no doctors, barely any assistance. I did it all on my own and it felt so empowering.
They kept his cord intact until it stopped pulsating, and we just hung out in the pool until I passed the placenta. Then, the best part about the entire thing, I got comfy in my own bed while they took all of his measurements and Brendan made me breakfast 🙌
My midwives took care of all the cleaning and hung out until I felt comfortable. Then came back to my house a couple days later to check up on me and Henry, which was another awesome part of the entire experience – not having to take Henry to the doctors for a checkup.
I am so grateful and feel so blessed to have had such an amazing home birth experience. If I ever get pregnant again, this will be how I give birth. Giving birth is empowering no matter where you do it, but there really is nothing like having your baby in the comfort of your own home.
If anyone has any questions please feel free to leave me a comment or email me! I am an open book!
Photos taken by Shana Leigh Photography