Birth Stories – Summer’s Birth

born safely at home

My first birth was what I would call a typical hospital birth and my second birth was very traumatic because I was early and it went fast. I spent all of my third pregnancy preparing for a more natural and peaceful birth, enlisting the help of my friend, an aspiring doula to be my birth partner only to have the doctor and hospital nursing staff turn my birth into a circus. I am grateful to have had my dear friend there to help guide me and keep me focused because the hospital staff seemed to think I was being dramatic instead of realizing I was already in transition.

All of my fourth pregnancy, I dreaded the labor and delivery. I found myself a new care giver who listened to my concerns and desires. We worked together on a birth plan and knowing I had two children early, she performed routine things such as the group b test early so that I could have the no intervention birth I was seeking. My doula, my best friend, was there every step of the way, helping me make my plan and supporting my plan. The support I had in my fourth pregnancy helped me realize that I had really missed out on my previous pregnancies, labors, and deliveries.  On Friday June 21, 2013 my doctor told me that my preeclampsia symptoms had reached levels that needed to be addressed. She cared and understood my desires enough to give me the weekend to go into labor on my own but told me to be prepared to be induced Monday if bed rest didn’t slow the symptoms.

On Sunday June 23, I spent my day thinking things were maybe starting but not really convinced the baby was going to come on her own that day. I texted my doula throughout the day but went about doing my normal things and spending lots of time resting. Around 4pm, I posted birthday wishes to my twin nephews on Facebook and updated my friends that the pot was starting to simmer. I then decided to take a bath and relax. My beautiful daughter was in the tub with me, eagerly waiting for her sister to join us. We talked, laughed, played and just enjoyed those last few moments of her being the youngest.

The contractions had started but during the entire afternoon, they were five minutes apart, one being very mild and the second one being a bit stronger. I kept going about my day because they weren’t growing stronger or closer together. Around 6pm, I noticed I was losing my mucus plug. I have always lost it the day I gave birth, so I grew excited but still anticipated it would be hours. I let a few people know that while I still wasn’t really in active labor, today was probably going to be the day!

preeclampsia high blood pressure during pregnancy
I got back in the tub and my very excited four year old doula sat beside. I was in touch with my birth coach and she asked me how things were progressing. I told her the contractions were still five minutes apart and not any stronger. At 6:39, I sent my doula a picture of my daughter rubbing my belly, trying to wake up her new sister. At 6:41, I had the first real contraction that caused me pain. I was fairly certain my water broke, but being in the tub, I couldn’t tell for sure. I climbed out of the tub and experienced another contraction.

I asked my doula to come over because I was already feeling like pushing. After the next contraction, I texted my sister that it was time to come over and I sent my daughter to get my husband. I climbed back into the tub and squatted during the next contraction, when it was almost over, I felt relieved that she hadn’t been born while I was by myself when all of a sudden, my baby slid right out of the birth canal and into my hand in the water. The pot had quickly boiled over and my daughter had been born at approximately 7pm in an unplanned, unassisted, home water birth and it was the peaceful birth I had desired.

born in the bathtub

My doula was standing outside our locked house, knocking to be let in and my children were both panicked and excited that their baby sister had finally arrived. My doula and I briefly discussed driving to the hospital or calling an ambulance and decided based on my medical history to call an ambulance. I nursed my daughter while waiting and the EMT asked me how I knew to do that. I smiled proudly, knowing I had empowered myself with knowledge and surrounded myself with knowledgeable people who supported my desire to have a peaceful birth.

baby with doula
the new baby with mom’s (official!) doula, Jaci