When you’re expecting a new baby and told your baby’s due date, it’s normal for a woman to get excited and fixated on that specific date, even though only 5% of people deliver on their actual due date.1 Something about that date stays in your mind as the finish line. You look forward to it, count down the days and weeks, and think you’ll finally be able to hold your baby in your arms on that day. With my second pregnancy, my due date was Monday, February 22nd, 2021. Even though I told myself that I would probably go past that date (I went 7 days past my due date with my firstborn), I still couldn’t help but get excited for February 22nd. But that excitement turned to disappointment when my due date came and went, and I still didn’t have my baby girl in my arms.
My first birth experience was beautiful. I wanted to replicate it but, if possible, make it even better. And I did! It was a fast and amazing birth, and it was everything that I wanted. I feel so blessed and fortunate. Once I hit 40 weeks, there were things that I did to encourage my baby girl to come out and help my body to have the best chance at a fast labor. Here is what I did, and here is our home birth story with our baby girl, Lily Belle.
What I Did to Induce My Labor Naturally
Many people have been asking what I did to have the quick birth that I had! At 32 weeks pregnant, I began drinking three cups of Raspberry Leaf tea daily. I also took Gentle Birth (without Blue Cohosh) starting at 35 weeks three times a day and EZ Birth homeopathic supplement (find it here) that my midwife gave me two to three times per day. I worked out three times a week throughout my pregnancy. At 39 weeks, I ramped up my walking. I also started sitting on my birthing ball more frequently and did squats daily to lower my baby in my pelvis.
Once I reached 40 weeks, I was determined to have her that week. I did not want to reach 41 weeks again as I did with my son. So I went on even longer walks, did more squats, used Clary Sage essential oil on my feet, and did acupressure points that can stimulate contractions.
Superstition: I’ll Do Whatever It Takes
The day after my due date, I thought that maybe I should do exactly what I did during my first pregnancy the day before giving birth to my son. That day, I went on a 5-mile walk with a close friend and had a Chipotle bowl with two scoops of their hot sauce for dinner. I went to bed that night, and at 2:45 am, I felt my first contraction, and my son was born at 12:50 pm that day.
Since our baby girl still wasn’t here, I felt I needed to try the same thing with this pregnancy to encourage her to come out. Maybe it’s superstitious, but I didn’t care. I was willing to do whatever it took to get labor started naturally and have our home birth.
So, on February 24th, I went on a long walk with my son around our local park. I used Clary Sage essential oil on my feet, sat and bounced on the birthing ball, did extra squats, and did a little bit of nipple stimulation, which can be very effective.2 I was also intimate with my husband. Something had to happen after all of that. I even went to Chipotle for dinner and ordered the same thing I ate the night before giving birth to my son with two scoops of their red hot sauce. I crossed my fingers that night, hoping I would wake up in the middle of the night with contractions.
My Break Down
I was exhausted and in tears when I went to bed that night. I was so ready to meet our baby girl, and I felt like I had hit a wall and was completely over being pregnant. It didn’t help that everyone around me who was pregnant was having their babies early. I couldn’t help but let my pregnancy hormones take over and cry in bed. My husband embraced me and calmly talked me through it. He said, “You’re doing great, babe. I can imagine how done you feel being pregnant and how ready you are to meet our baby. But she will be here soon. We don’t have much longer.” I calmed down and felt a little better, letting out a good cry and having his support.
I slowly drifted off to sleep but soon woke up to use the restroom, as all pregnant women do. I probably got up four times that night and stumbled to use the restroom in the dark. That was way more than usual, so I found that odd. At 2 am, I couldn’t go back to sleep. My mind was racing. I was thinking, “What if tonight is the night? Maybe the Chipotle will work, and I’ll go into labor soon.” So from 2 am to 5:30 am, I was wide awake. Finally, at 5:30 am, I fell back asleep. When I awoke at 7 am, I was beyond bummed. No contractions, no labor, no baby. I lay in bed looking at my phone, feeling that none of my efforts had worked and that I had another day of waiting.
Shortly after I awoke that morning, my husband came out of our bathroom and said, “Hey honey, there are some blood droplets on our toilet. Are you okay?” I thought to myself, “Huh. That’s interesting. That must have happened during one of my many bathroom trips last night. I obviously am dilating, which is a good thing.” I went to the bathroom to check it out, and sure enough, I had bloody show—a great sign that your cervix is effacing and dilating. But I still had no contractions.
I then walked over to our living room, did an Instagram story saying I was still pregnant, and laid on the couch to spend time with our son. (He was out of school because we had just experienced an arctic freeze in Texas the week prior. Some of the pipes had busted in his school and caused damage. His school was closed for the week due to repairs being made.) We were lying on the couch watching TV, and suddenly I felt crampy. They were very light cramps, but they were there. I thought it was interesting but didn’t think anything of it. They continued and suddenly started coming in waves and a little stronger each time. I began to time them with a contraction timer app on my phone, and already they were each 45 seconds long and 5 mins apart.
Text the Midwife
At 8:29 am, I texted my midwife, Nanci, and told her I had some bloody show and was having some contractions. I sent her a screenshot of the contraction timer app to see that things were really happening. Nanci said that she was a little far away and to let her know when she should start heading over since it would take some time for her to get to me. I hung up the phone and tried to distract myself from the contractions. I thought that this could last for a while or potentially stop. But I was wrong. They were becoming stronger.
An hour later, Nanci texted me to check in to see how I was doing. I told her I could still breathe and talk through my contractions and would start timing them again to see their duration. I told her at 9:30 am that I felt confident it would happen that day. (Which is hilarious to think now because my daughter would make her debut soon after.)
I sent her another screenshot of my contractions at 9:46 am. I told Nanci that they were getting more painful, so she should probably make arrangements to head my way soon. She texted back, saying she was already on her way and should be at my house shortly.
Let’s Get the Party Started
Nanci arrived at our house at 10:10 am. When we walked into my bedroom, it felt like my body knew that it could let go and have a baby. I immediately had a big contraction. Nanci asked if she could check my cervix at 10:20 am. I said yes and I was 7 centimeters dilated. I was elated because I knew I was in transition labor and could get into the tub. My husband drew the bath, lit the candles, had the essential oils out, and ensured that my birth playlist was playing (I made this special birth playlist for me since I was having a daughter). I walked over to the tub and felt much better as I submerged myself.
I had two contractions in the tub, and on the third one, my water broke. It was definitely my water breaking because I felt a big release, like a gush, and the water around me became a little discolored. After two contractions, I felt my body spontaneously pushing my baby down and out. I called out to my midwife, “I’m pushing!” They helped me get into a better position in the tub to push my daughter out. I kept thinking about how intense it all felt and hopeful that pushing wouldn’t take long. (With my son, I had pushed for three hours.)
Push It Real Good
After helping me get into a better position, Nanci walked around and could feel my baby’s head coming out. My birthing team guided me with each push. After only three pushes, Nanci told me, “Get your baby, Nina.” I reached into the water and lifted my baby girl to my chest. It was 10:58 am! As I lifted her out of the water, I thought to myself how much lighter and smaller she felt compared to her brother. When I lifted Liam to my chest when he was born, I immediately thought about how huge he was! I was so happy that I was done and that she was here. I did it! Our home birth was just as I had wanted and prepared for. She is finally in my arms, and she is perfect.
We stayed in the tub for a little while because I wanted to do delayed cord clamping, and I had my husband get our son to meet his new little sister. It was magical.
Everyone there kept commenting on how fast it all happened. When Lisa, the other midwife, said it was only 10:58 am, I couldn’t believe it was under three hours from the first cramp I felt at 8 am to her being born. It took me three hours just to push my son out, but less than that to go through labor and pushing with my daughter. Second babies really do come faster! haha
Even though it was a fast birth, it was definitely hard and intense. But I wouldn’t choose our home birth any other way. It was everything I wanted: my birth music, my husband’s constant support, a fast labor, laboring and birthing in the tub, only three pushes, and a healthy baby. I even got the Jimmy John’s sandwich I had been craving during my pregnancy as my post-birth meal. 😉 I may have been discouraged going past my due date, but I would endure that again and again to have the same birth experience.
Lily Belle, you are an angel, and we are so blessed to call you ours. Welcome to the world, little girl!