Let me start off by saying that you can plan your birth down to the tiniest details and when it comes down to it, you get the birth you were meant to have; not the one you planned. I spent months planning Harrison’s birth. We touched up the paint in the extra bedroom; I decorated it with gifts from friends, birth affirmation cards that my doula gave me, and other pretty things that made me happy. I borrowed a birth pool from a friend and had it aired up, waiting for the day. I even had a swim suit ready for my midwife as a joke (she basically swam with me at my last birth). My husband and I decided to buy a GoPro for the birth. He and my midwife would wear it during labor and then we would drop it in the pool during birth. See? All. Planned. Out.
Monday the 28th of March 2016
Mando was out in the garage and I walked out to talk to him for a few minutes. We were talking and suddenly I felt a warm, wet gush. Not a big gush– I honestly thought I had peed my pants. I’m pretty sure I turned red and told Mando I needed to clean up because I’d wet myself. I text a couple of friends how embarrassed I was. One was convinced it was my water breaking but I told her it wasn’t. I came in and took a quick shower and dressed again. I went on about my business but a little later I had another gush. I didn’t feel like I was peeing but also it wasn’t a huge gush, but now I was second guessing things. I started writing a text to my midwife and then decided to not send it and see what happened. After changing underwear another time, I sent that text. She asked me to meet her at the birth center so we could use a test strip and confirm with microscopic evaluation so I did.
I arrived at the birth center around 9:45 pm. The test strip tested positive immediately and it was confirmed with the microscope. Shea sent me home and told me to keep her updated and that contractions should start within 24 hours. I called my friends and family and updated and went home. I told Tori, my doula, to wait to come until things picked up. When I got home I had a small contraction and bloody show, I decided things might go quick and decided to go ahead and ask Tori to come. It was 12:15am when she got here. We hung out, talked, and I had several contractions. They were about 7 minutes apart, but not bad at all. I decided to go to bed a little after 2am. I did wake up with contractions but they weren’t anything bad I really thought it’d be a while.
At 3:50am I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom and I did. That changed everything. Suddenly, my contractions were intense and close together– some less than 2 minutes apart, many around 2 minutes. I became vocal with contractions and my husband heard me and woke up. We woke Tori, who was napping on my couch, and I told her things were picking up. Noah heard us all and woke up. Everyone started getting things ready. Noah began filling the pool, Tori called the birth photographer and began making my bed etc. Between contractions, I was fine and helped get things ready. During contractions, Tori helped me get through them.
During all of this, at 4:00am, after about 3 of those close contractions, I texted my midwife a screenshot of my contraction timer and she asked me the intensity. I replied with a “7”. She told me if I have a few more and it stays at that intensity to let her know. I did. They did. I told her to come. She was on her way and lives less than 15 minutes away. I had a couple of more contractions and realized (along with my doula) that my body was bearing down during them. I told my husband to forget the pool, the baby was coming! I let them know they needed to get the Depends that I was wearing (to catch the fluid) off of me, and to get a chux pad under me. They did. I then got on my knees and leaned into my bed. I was still timing every contraction up until about 5 minutes before he arrived. It kept me busy, but mostly, I would watch the seconds, knowing the contraction was almost over and that I would have relief for a couple of minutes.
I had a contraction and pushed and told my husband to look and see if he saw anything. He said no. I asked him to bring me a mirror because it was happening. He put a mirror under me and asked if I saw anything. I told him no. I was taking a break. I asked the doula to call and see where the midwife was. I dialed the midwife, gave her the phone, and she stepped out. Then came the next contraction. I HAD to push. I pushed and out came Harrison head first, following was the water that his head had been holding in, and then his body all in one swift push.
It’s a boy! Harrison arrived at 4:43am with just his mama and his daddy welcoming him. The doula walked back in and said Shea was around the corner! We had done it! There was joy and excitement. My midwife walked in minutes later and was all smiles. She helped me deliver the placenta and assessed my bleeding. All was well! We took care of cleaning up and checking baby and getting me cleaned up. Harrison had an APGAR of 10 and weighed 7lbs, 2ozs and was 20” long.
We DID think to start the GoPro before he was born. Daddy was holding it when Harrison was born and dropped it to help me so the actual birth is not recorded but the moments before and the sweet moments afterwards (and excitement!) are all captured on video. ❤️
And there it is. Birth. Life. A complicated process, that is as beautiful as it is spontaneous. And just another reminder that even the most thorough plans don’t always come to fruition, despite our desire or intention. Was I a little sad that I didn’t get to have my fantasy birth story? Absolutely. Was I a little scared that I had to do it alone? No. I had Mando, and my doula, Shea was on the way, but most importantly- I had an introduction that I knew needed to be made. I was going to meet my roommate of the last 10 months! So, instead of a fantasy, I was rewarded with the reality of my son, and in the process I was given the gift of a swift labor, a two push delivery, and a story that I will never forget.
Thanks to Dallas Arthur Photography for coming and capturing the moments right after birth. And to Tori for capturing the moments after she stepped back in the room with my iPhone. Here are a few photos from our big day.