As my son’s second birthday is quickly approaching, I am reflecting on his unplanned but awesome home birth.
I had an easy, healthy, low-risk pregnancy, which made me a great candidate for a natural birth center birth. I prepared hard for my birth by practicing yoga, taking hypnobirthing classes, squatting regularly, and eating a high-protein diet. But, of course, I would slip in some chocolate chip cookies here and there! I also regularly got chiropractic adjustments to keep my spine aligned and the baby in the ideal birthing position.
I remember the day I went into labor so clearly. I planned to labor at home and head to the birth center to push out my baby. However, my son had another plan.
The day before my due date, I saw my midwife. I was tired and crampy but felt like the baby would never come out. I did all the tricks to induce labor: massage my feet, walk, and eat spicy foods. It was about 8 p.m. when my husband, mom, and I knew my son’s birthday was finally here. My mom suggested we try to get some sleep because we had a feeling we would have a long night ahead.
At 11 p.m., my contractions started. I immediately put in my headphones and listened to soothing music. I labored in my bed for a bit, switching sides and positions in early labor. My mom massaged my back, ensured I was moving around enough, and helped me get through each contraction. I remember she suggested that I get up and let gravity work. Although this was the last thing I wanted to do, I knew she was right. The best position I found was holding on to my husband and letting my body sink down with each contraction.
At about 3 a.m. I moved on to the tub. This was the most soothing place for me to labor. I kept the lights dim and ran my essential oil diffuser. At this point, I was having contractions about four minutes apart. As I labored in the tub and my contractions progressed, there was a moment I said, “I don’t think I can do this.” My mom looked me in the eyes and gave me the best advice, “Alayna, focus. You can do anything for 30 seconds.” This totally resonated with me. So with every contraction, I would count, which gave me something to focus on.
It was about 5:00 a.m. when my husband spoke to my midwife over the phone. She suggested we meet at the birth center at 6:00 a.m. My husband said we needed to get ready to leave, but I could not bear the thought of leaving that tub and walking down the stairs of my three-story townhouse. Then, suddenly, I had a big contraction and heard a “pop.” My water just broke, and my mom, a labor and delivery nurse, knew we could not wait until 6 a.m. to get to the birth center. We had to leave that very moment.
I got out of the tub and screamed, “The baby is coming!!” And I was right, my son’s head was crowning. My mom remained very calm, but I knew she was freaking out inside. We had no way of monitoring baby, no gloves or supplies.
I remained calm and allowed my body to do what it needed to do. I went into a squat position, using my husband for support while my mom was ready to catch the baby. The urge to push was completely uncontrollable and unavoidable, and that gave me a feeling of relief and excitement.
My son was a larger size, and he decided to come out with his hand on his face. That made pushing him out a little harder, but he was here with six good pushes. I delivered a healthy 8lb 4oz 20in baby boy in my bedroom with no interventions, no monitoring, and no midwife!
This was the absolute best outcome and my dream of having a natural home birth, but what made it even better was my mom being there to help me along the way.