On December 30th, I woke up very early in the morning to pee. When I laid back down in bed, I felt my water break. It came out in gushes and felt just like I was peeing the bed, except that I couldn’t stop it if I tried. Tyler was stirring in the bed so I said, “Tyler, my water’s breaking.”
Tyler said, “What? Serious?”
Oh man. I wonder what he was thinking right then. He had been getting so excited for baby to come all week!
After he realized that my water was really breaking, he jumped up, helped me to the toilet, and then began changing the sheets, cleaning the house, and getting things in order. Meanwhile, I let my waters come while sitting on the toilet (holy crap, there’s no end to the amount of water that comes out!) and I excitedly texted my midwife and doula to let them know. After a few minutes, I laid back down in bed to get more rest and wait for baby movements and for labor to begin.
About this time, Abby, our 2.5 year old, had woken up from the commotion and was getting very excited for baby to come. Tyler and I had begun our labor video journal, so while I was telling the camera that my water had broken, Abby pipes up with, “Oh! Mommy’s water broken? Mommy’s water bottle? I go fix it!” So she grabbed my water bottle from my nightstand, ran out the bedroom, “fixed” it, and brought it back to me, very proud of herself. Swoon.
Over the next couple of hours, I had regular contractions but they were very mild and honestly just felt like normal Braxton Hicks contractions that I experienced plenty of over the last several weeks. No biggie. I laid in bed and got as much rest as I could.
I asked Tyler to give me a priesthood blessing to give me strength and comfort as I begin to labor and birth. The blessing was very special and it addressed a couple of concerns that I had been silently considering for the last few days. After the blessing, I felt a sense of freshness and readiness.
Tyler went out to get something from the car and while the door was open, I got a glimpse of the beautiful, thick, December fog that covered our street. The fog made the morning feel even more magical.
My midwives came over to check on baby’s heart tones and position. Baby’s heart tones were great and after feeling my belly, my midwife determined that baby was no longer posterior! After chatting for a couple of minutes, the midwives left to let me labor on my own until I felt like labor had progressed enough for them to come back.
About an hour later, I texted my midwife and told her that contractions were getting stronger and closer together. They honestly still felt so mild, though, like Braxton Hicks except I had to focus to breathe through them. Still felt like very early labor. There wasn’t any accompanying pain to the contractions at all, just belly tightening, mild pressure from the tightening, and mild back ache. During contractions, I either stood up and rocked my body gently from left to right, or I kneeled down on the couch and rocked my hips as I rested my upper body on the back of the couch, in prayer position. In between contractions, I rested in a pile of comfy pillows on the couch.
I told my midwife that I didn’t know when they should come back, but I sent her a screenshot of my recent contractions recorded in my contraction timer app. Contractions were lasting for one minute and were about three minutes apart. My midwife asked if it was okay for them to come back over and they did.
The midwives and doula started rolling in. Total, we had one doula and four midwives present – two are the birth center midwives and two were students, one of which was leading my prenatal care and is the one I had been in communication with.
I preferred my house to be still and chill while I labored, so the birth team quietly walked in and did their thing out of my way. Three of the midwives began making me some “padsicles” for postpartum recovery, popped them in the freezer, warmed towels, set out supplies, and then went downstairs to my family room where they could hang out and chat while I labored upstairs. The midwife who was leading my care and my doula both hung out in the same room as me, quietly taking notes.
It was pretty quiet in our house, aside from Abby’s chatter and play. Throughout my labor, she played around the house, showing off her toys to the midwives and painting pictures for us. She thrived on the attention of everybody and I’m so proud of her for how she handled the company and the fact that Tyler and I were busy the whole time. Occasionally, she’d come in the room while I was focusing through a contraction and she would pat my back while saying, “It’s wotay, Mommy. It’s wotay.”
The midwives checked on my vitals every couple of hours and checked on baby’s heart tones, as well, but for the majority of the time, they simply hung out while I did my thing. They brought me water or food when I needed it, too.
I had never gotten a cervical check during my pregnancy and I didn’t get any in labor, either, so I had no clue how dilated I was the entire time. I preferred it that way, because I wanted my body to progress however it needed to without me having a dilation number stuck in my head to either disappoint or encourage me. I didn’t want my labor to be on a time clock, so I didn’t want to know how dilated I was.
They never really talked to me about where I was at in labor, but after reading the record that they kept of my labor and birth, I can see that they estimated my progress in labor at different times. When they arrived at my house, they noted that I was in active labor, around a 6, although I didn’t know I was in active labor. At the time, I thought maybe I was in pretty early labor still. The contractions that I was feeling were so mild. There was the tightening of my uterus, a little bit of pressure, and very slight back ache – but there was no pain, no cringing at the thought of another contraction, no fear. When a contraction came, I sat up from laying back against the couch and took a deep breath in and a long breath out, while listening to my hypnotracks. The contraction surges were easy and no big deal at this point.
Over the next hour, labor was progressing and contractions, while I still described them as mild, were getting stronger. I moved down to the floor in the living room and I rolled around on my birth ball while chatting and joking around with Tyler. When a contraction came, Tyler and I kneeled in front of each other – he lifted my belly with his hands, which provided relief of pressure, and I draped my arms over his shoulder as I breathed through the wave. These contractions were stronger, but like I said, still felt very mild. There was no pain at all, only the tightening of my stomach and some pressure. The tightening and the pressure didn’t bother me at all, there was no fear or dread when a contraction came. I did, however, have to breathe through the contractions, deep and long breaths in and out, because I could feel my body working.
Working is really the only way I can describe what my body was doing and what I was feeling. No pain, no hurting, and only a little bit of pressure. Honestly, I was surprised how little pressure I was feeling – I expected so much more. But instead of all the sensations that I expected my body to feel during labor, all I felt was work. My body was working on getting baby out, and it didn’t even need me to do anything but breathe through it. My body knew how to work, it knew what to do, and it didn’t feel bad or scary at all.
I ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich.
Now I had been in active labor for a couple of hours but I still thought I was in early labor, because everything felt so mild. A midwife popped in the room and asked for my consent for a cervical check to see how dilated I was. I declined. She said something like, “I just worry that you’re close to complete and we don’t know it.”
And I was like “Whaaaaaaaat? I don’t even think I’m in active labor yet, though..?”
She said, “Oh, lady, your contractions are telling me that you’re definitely in active labor.” My contractions timing did align with active labor, after all. She picked up my foot and felt my ankle (I have no idea what she was doing) and after putting my foot down, she said “Yeah, I’m going to say you’re around an 8.”
I didn’t believe her though. Transition? I was in transition? I didn’t even think I was in active labor at this point! I had previously thought that I would know I was in transition when I started to feel out of control or panic or ask for an epidural. But I was just chilling in my living room, breathing through contractions with Tyler, happily resting in between. I had complete control.
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Well I brushed off what my midwife had said and just took it as a compliment that I was doing well with labor. I labored on for a while longer, still handling labor the same. After a little bit though, I started to feel a little discouraged that labor wasn’t progressing quicker, since I still thought I hadn’t hit active labor yet. I honestly had no idea how close I was to meeting my baby. At this point, I had only been in labor for less than three hours.
I tried thinking of how I could help labor along, and decided to have Tyler rub some geranium and myrrh essential oils on my lower back and ankles, since they can help contraction effectiveness in labor. After he finished that, we thought about doing some stairs to help move things along.
I told my lead midwife, who had been in the same room with me and watching me, that I was thinking of walking around the house and doing some stairs. She smiled and said, “You are more serious now,” which meant that I was talking slowly in a low, quiet tone and wasn’t expending much energy so that my body could use more energy through contractions.
I asked, “I am?”
I didn’t know that I was becoming more serious. After going back and watching the birth video, though, I can definitely tell that it was happening.
As you can imagine, doing stairs while in transition really helps keep labor up. Haha! Looking back now, I can’t believe we did this. I bet my midwives were silently laughing at me. But hey, I had no idea that I was so far along in labor. Everything had been pain free and in my head, I was still describing things as “mild.”
Well, I went up and down the stairs maybe ten times, having to stop and the top or bottom for a contraction to pass. Tyler was always right alongside me, and when a contraction came, we would hug while standing, my arms draped over his shoulders, his hands either lifting my belly, providing counter pressure on my back, or squeezing my hips. We breathed through them together. When I forgot to breathe, he kept breathing long and deep breaths, reminding me to follow in sync. He was the ultimate labor partner, guys. ULTIMATE. Starry eyes, my heart exploding. Being one with him in labor seriously kept my oxytocin and endorphin levels HIGH, which is probably why I was so calm, relaxed, and happy the whole labor. So much love.
After going up and down the stairs around ten times, we went back upstairs. When we got back upstairs, I had a couple more contractions in the living room and at this point, I thought, “Okay, I’m in active labor.” Less than an hour from baby being born.
The contractions were the same as always, no pain or hurtful sensations, just a little bit of pressure and a whole lot of my body working. I really wish I could describe what working felt like, but I don’t know how. But at this point, my body was really getting to it. I could feel a lot of work happening during those contractions. Tyler remained with me, and I melted on him with each contraction. My doula was behind me with some of the contractions, providing some hip squeezes as an extra measure to relief pressure. There were a couple of times when I began to feel faint from all the work my body was doing. I prayed for strength and my midwife and doula reminded me to breathe in deep and let it out slowly. That totally worked and took away the faint feeling.
I really just wanted to sleep. I was in such a relaxed state the entire labor, even during the contractions. There were only a couple contractions that I tensed up through. Because my body was doing some serious work and because I was in such a relaxed state the whole time, I felt soooo drowsy! I told my lead midwife that I just wanted to sleep. She gave me another spoonful of honey to help keep my energy up.
With each contraction, Tyler and my doula breathed with me and they both recited positive affirmations to me and then I would repeat them aloud to myself. This helped me SO MUCH. I had three walls covered in positive affirmation posters that I read daily during pregnancy. These affirmations rolled through my thoughts throughout the whole labor and they were so powerful. When a contraction wave was building up, I’d say, “talk to me” and they would tell me my affirmations. Man, those simple words were little beauties.
My lead midwife and doula came over and said, “If you want to have a waterbirth, we need to fill the tub now.”
That’s when it really clicked for me that I was so far along in labor. I realized that I was about ready to push. It was really weird for me because labor had been so smooth. I had expected to feel insane pressure from baby moving down, but I only felt a bit of pressure at this point. In my head, I was like, “Really? This has been so easy, though!”
I turned to Tyler and said, “I can’t be in the tub without you.” I needed him right there with me. He hurried to the bedroom to change into his swimsuit between contractions. Meanwhile, somebody was helping me into my bikini top and another midwife was helping Abby into her swimsuit. I can’t help but think of how silly it is that everyone was racing to get into their swimsuits while our baby was only forty minutes from arriving.
After getting my swimsuit on, I sat on the toilet while waiting for the tub to finish filling. I had two contractions there, one while hugging Tyler and one while hugging my doula who stepped in for Tyler while he was… somewhere… I’m not sure where he disappeared to. Towels. He was getting towels.
Around 12:40, I had been in active labor for about 3.5 hours, only realizing that I was in active labor for about half an hour. The tub was about full. It felt so good to sit on the toilet, and I almost didn’t want to get off, but I knew that labor sensations could fade with while in the water, so I got in the tub. Abby hopped in, too, then Tyler. Our bathtub is a larger jetted tub, but I’m still surprised that we all fit in there! I was kneeling down in prayer position, with my arms folded over the edge of the tub, head resting on my arms. Tyler was now behind me, crouched down, in a perfect position for providing counter pressure and hip squeezes, as well as catching the baby.
Abby was on the other side of the tub by the faucet, playing with her miniature dinosaurs, sharks, and whales.
I had a few contractions before I began feeling the urge to push. When the urge to push came, it was pretty strong! There was much more pressure now and my body felt so overwhelmingly sleepy. It was so hard to not just pass out and sleep there on the edge of the tub. My body must have utilized so much energy with each surge. Fortunately, labor is awesome because we get to rest between contractions. I was slumped over the edge of the tub the whole time, relaxed.
As baby began coming down, I also felt a lot of stretching as my body opened up for baby. The stretching wasn’t painful either, just intense stretching. There was also the “ring of fire.” I think that was the most intense part of the whole labor and birth process. I visualized it in my head as a very thin, orange ring. It burned as I pushed. The burning sensation was the closest that I got to pain during labor and birth, but I still didn’t think of it as pain while experiencing it. I thought of it as a very intense feeling. It appeared briefly during the surges, but passed quickly.
While slumped over the tub, pushing, I thought, “How is everyone fitting in this bathroom?” There were the three of us in the bathtub, plus four midwives and one doula. All in our bathroom.
I also was staring at the floor most of the time and noticed that one of the midwives had a tiny hole in her sock and I could see one of her toes peeking though. I thought about that a lot during pushing, too. Haha
At one point, I thought to myself, “Would I even want an epidural right now? Nope. No need for one.” That was the only time during labor or birth that I ever thought about any type of pain relief. It wasn’t necessary or desired. Hypnobirthing for the win.
Around this point, Abby was over on her side of the tub, exclaiming, “Baby is coming, Mommy! Oh! My dinosaur’s having a baby, too!” Gosh, I love her.
Tyler and my midwife wanted me to switch positions so it would be easier to catch the baby. I tried moving – it was impossible. My body needed to stay in prayer pose, resting my head and arms on the edge of the tub.
I pushed for a total of thirty minutes. I was quiet during all the contractions leading up to pushing out his head. As I pushed out his head and body, though, I roared like a bear through a few contractions. Sweet relief when baby began crowning. Once he began crowning, he was out within just a couple of contractions. His head came and what a wonderful feeling that was to have it out! Tyler said, “I can feel its face, babe!”
I visualized baby’s face as I pushed two more times for baby’s body to come out. While pushing for his body to come out, I did not have the urge to push AT ALL. But I knew I had to push him out soon so I put everything into it and out he came! As his body came out, I moved back to allow Tyler and the midwife room to catch baby. Abby had been planning to help catch baby as well, and when the time came and the midwives encouraged her to move forward and help pick baby up out of the water, she didn’t want to. She watched as Tyler and the midwife caught baby. I think Abby had the same thoughts that I did – it actually happened? baby came out? After all, we talked about it happening for months and here it happened, exactly as we said it would.
They put our baby in my arms.
At this point, I felt INCREDIBLE relief. My body no longer had to work out a baby, and I felt my body just melt. I had to first process the fact that I succeeded in labor and birth before I could process the fact that a baby was in my arms. I felt an incredible sense of accomplishment. I did it! And I didn’t even tear at all! I followed my body’s cues and birthed out this baby who I had been carrying for 40 weeks and 6 days. I felt so proud and powerful, but not in an uppity puffed up chest kind of way – it was more of an “I just used my sacred, divine womanly nature to bring more life into my family” type of proud and powerful. I could barely speak. I was in shock. I just kept looking around at everybody, quietly whispering “I did it. I just had a baby. I did it.”
When baby came out, baby still had water in his mouth and the last thing we wanted was for his first breath to be full of water, so our midwife tipped him forward and let the water fall out of his mouth. She set him on my chest and he took a good breath and let out a little cry. I was relieved to hear that cry! As the midwives were listening to baby’s lungs while I held him in my arms, they noticed that his breathing wasn’t great and his lungs seemed pretty wet still. He wasn’t crying anymore. I could see him breathing, but I guess he wasn’t breathing as well as he needed to be. One midwife asked if she could have him for a moment. I handed him over and while leaning over the tub so he was still right in front of me, the midwife vigorously rubbed his back to help stimulate better breathing. He gave a real good cry! She handed him back to me and asked, “His lungs sound wet still. I’d like to give him something called Carbo Veg to help clear his lungs so he doesn’t have to do so much work. Its a homeopathic.” I consented, and they put two tiny little tablets in his mouth. I rubbed his back some more. He was breathing on his own, but needed a little help, so they put an oxygen tube near his face to help him breathe easier.
I was still processing the birth when Tyler opened baby’s legs and discovered the gender. I looked and saw for myself while Tyler was announcing. A boy! We made a boy! Tyler was crouched behind me again, hands on my shoulders, peeking at our baby over my shoulder. I turned back at him and the look of joy on his face is something I won’t forget. Gosh, I love him. We made this little baby together. We worked through this labor and birth together. A little baby boy.
We decided to get out of the tub now, since baby was getting a little cold. I passed baby boy to Tyler as I got helped out of the tub. I was shivering like crazy and a little in shock. We got to the bedroom and laid down with baby on my chest. He got all warmed up and kept the oxygen tube next to his face for a couple of minutes, and then he was good to go on his own. I birthed the placenta and I could now rest. They checked our vitals. We were both healthy and well. I drank two glasses of carnation instant breakfast, took some ibuprofen, and got to cuddle my little baby. We nursed and relaxed together, keeping each other warm. Tyler and Abby hung out on the bed with us while the midwives cleaned the tub and did towel laundry, popping in a couple of times to recheck our vitals.
After we got to the bed, Abby was wrapped up in a towel and sat on the far side of the family bed, away from me and the baby. She took a few minutes to process. She sat quietly, thinking about what she had just experienced and what she had seen. After probably ten minutes, she made her way over to our side of the bed and peered over at baby again, and said “Oh! That baby so cute!”
After a couple of hours of bonding and getting to know each other, we cut the cord and did the newborn exam, which including weighing him and measuring him. 8lbs 7 oz, and 20 inches long! Tyler cut the cord. Abby wanted to help, but was a little hesitant so Tyler did it on his own. Oh, baby pooped all over during the exam. Hahaha. He also pooped meconium on his way out of me. Such a pooper.
After the newborn exam, we got him dressed and began to think about names. This was the first time that Tyler and I had ever discussed baby names. We decided on Jameson Peter Davis.
The midwives left four hours after Jameson was born, and we spent the rest of the day in awe of what we had just done and who made his way into our family. Abby was swooning over Jameson, as were Tyler and I. He is absolutely perfect. He’s completed us. We love him so much! I still can’t believe that this little guy is here now, cuddled in my arms.
Our birth experience was so wonderful and it provided much healing for us both, especially since Tyler carried some trauma from Abby’s birth. We did this together and we did it well. The decision, long prayed over, to have him at home was the best decision for the birth of this baby. We labored and birthed unhindered, able to do what we needed to together. I’m proud that my body was strong enough to do it – I always knew it was. I put my trust and faith in my body, in Jameson, in my birth team, and in God. And God carried us through.
I asked Tyler if he would change anything about this birth, and he said “Let’s get a bigger tub next time.” He’s perfect, you guys.
And there it is. The story of Jameson Peter’s four hour labor, home water birth, and entrance into our world and family. One of the very most perfect days of our lives.