There’s no place like home for a birth. On August 5 we welcomed Audrey into the world at home with the help of a skilled Midwife. It was an amazing, challenging, and peaceful experience that went exactly as planned. Although she won’t remember it, Audrey is truly lucky to be Born at Home.
My contractions began early Saturday afternoon. After a walk they reached a regular and consistent pattern for about two hours so we called my mother to pick up my 1 year old, Hannah. I called my midwife and she suggested I eat and rest, so I did just that. The contractions subsided through the evening and my husband and I both got plenty of sleep.
We woke up in the morning determined to restart labor ;) and headed out for breakfast at a nice little cafe. Mild contractions started again on the ride, but they weren’t unsettling. I startled the waitress by questioning if our food arrived so quickly because my husband told her I was in labor. A few patrons congratulated us and we headed back home to take a short walk. We were beginning to make progress with stronger and faster contractions, but they eased up each time I stopped moving. I continued the delicate balance of trying to facilitate labor while not exerting myself until the early afternoon.
At two, we decided with the Midwives that I would go for a walk, take a nap, and after a meal they would break my water to help speed things along. The energy from my husband’s delicious pancakes was exactly what I needed as my labor immediately became stronger. I eased the pain by managing my breathing and took Tylenol. Relaxing between each contraction helped me conserve energy and the Midwives offered gentle massage and encouragement to help me through the more challenging pain. It was clear that I was making progress, but laying down was hindering Audrey’s passage.
I took a shower with my husband’s support and bore through three strong contractions. Afterwards I returned to bed and rested briefly before choosing an exercise ball for support to keep me more upright. I cried and whined like a baby. Well, not like Audrey because she rarely cries. The midwives encouraged me to use deeper sounds to redirect the energy down through my body. Cue tribal chanting sounds. It worked because the pain reached a plateau and I gathered the last of my strength to perch on a birthing stool. I felt the “ring of fire” and knew all the work was about to pay off. After strong pushes through three contractions Audrey was born into the hands of a midwife. I held her immediately and watched as she delicately opened her eyes for the first time. With newfound energy, I laid on the bed with her on my chest for several minutes. She was so willful as she moved her head and reached higher towards her first meal. I waited impatiently to deliver the placenta, but it finally came out during a contraction and I felt immediate relief as I nursed Audrey. She got cleaned up while I ate steak and mashed potatoes and then relaxed and bonded with her Dad during my shower.
The three of us fell asleep together and had no troubles meeting Audrey’s first needs of rest and milk. I relaxed and excitedly waited for the morning to introduce Audrey to her new best friend, Hannah. We’re all blessed to have Audrey in our home and our hearts, but her true gift in this world is being a sister.