Hazel's Birth Story
I am so excited to share this sweet birth story, written by one of the moms I worked with. Thanks, Aunna, for sharing your story!
On Easter morning I woke up with a couple of Braxton Hicks contractions, but that had been my life for the past week, so we just continued about our morning, including church and working the nursery. While sitting on the floor watching kids play at church I realized these Braxton Hicks were coming every 10 minutes. When they hadn’t quit by time we got home for lunch, I decided I would do “all the things” to get this “prodromal labor” to go away. I was only 38 weeks and 3 days so I knew there was no way this could be labor. I spent the afternoon eating, drinking, taking a walk, taking a bath, doing spinning babies, and trying to take a nap to get these contractions to subside, all while they got stronger and closer together. This is my 5th baby, and I’m a childbirth educator, so you’d think I would recognize labor when it happens, but I was so convinced it wasn’t time and thought surely this would all subside soon. After keeping my midwife updated throughout the day, she texted round 6:40pm and said “So you think this is it then?” I laughed because I really hadn’t considered it until then despite contractions that were now definitely requiring all my attention. I made one last attempt to get rid of my contractions by making myself a sandwich and sitting on the birth ball at the table in hopes that my kids would distract me from what was happening. That did not work, and at this point I was hoping things would remain calm enough for my husband and mother in law to get the kids to bed before my doulas and midwife needed to come.
Around 7pm I escaped to my room, now fully convinced this was it, and started trying to set up my bed with a plastic sheet and then sheets on top for labor. During contractions I stood at the edge of my dresser and leaned over it, swaying my hips back and forth. I had a couple that took me by surprise with their intensity and made me wish my husband was with me rubbing my hips (he was in the other room working on some things for work and caring for our kids). Around 7:15 I texted him to have his mom put the kids to bed and come to our room to help me set up the bed. At 7:25 I texted my midwife and told her she should probably head this way since she was 1.5 hrs away. I also texted my doulas, Susan and Grace, and asked them to come after 8, hoping my kids would be settled in bed by then. Then I texted Terry, who had yet to come back to our room, that Susan would be here at 8, and Melinda was on her way. He immediately comes through our door and asks rather surprisingly “So, we’re really doing this?” (He was in denial too!) I glanced at him and said, “Yes, we’re doing this!” After we got the bed finished, he started providing counter pressure on my hips during contractions. Once Susan got there she took over with hip squeezes so Terry could hunt down my labor scripture cards and tape them to the wall above my dresser where I was still laboring. Terry stood near my head, holding my hand, stroking my hair, and telling me what a great job I was doing.
Since I had spent most of the day irritated by this “Prodromal labor” that wouldn’t go away, I found myself irritated by the intensity of my contractions, even feeling like these were more intense than I remembered from my previous births. Mentally I wanted to be mad, but all the sudden I just prayed this simple phrase that has kind of become a motherhood mantra as well…”Thank you.” At that moment my mind transition from irritation to gratitude, gratitude that my body was doing exactly what it needed to do, that I was going to meet my baby, that I was safe and secure in my home, that my kids had fallen asleep and weren’t continually trying to “check-in”, and that the Lord had equipped me with all that I needed for this birth. The rest of labor seemed to go so smoothly. I would sway and move as my body directed me during contractions. I would glance up at my scripture cards between contractions. One particular one that was such a reassurance was “Mightier than the waves of the sea is His love for you” Psalm 93:4. I kept reminding myself that God’s love for me and this child were stronger than the waves of contractions I was feeling. Melinda arrived around 9pm. Shortly after that I left my dresser and went to the bathroom (one of the beauties of home birth is you can chug as much water as your body tells you it needs!) When I got back to my room my legs were feeling tired, so I asked Terry to sit in our big oversized chair and let me kneel on the floor resting my head in his chest and lap. I LOVED this position because Terry was able to hold me while Susan and Grace did hip compresses and held a hot pack on my back (such a wonderful feeling!!) Once in this position I feel like transition hit. I had to moan through contractions and was gripping Terry’s arms/shirt with everything in me. I remember feeling a little overwhelmed and I turned my head to glance back up at that scripture. It was just what I needed to get me focused again. I also remember hearing Grace and Susan’s calming voices encouraging me to relax. Melinda checked the baby’s heart tones a couple of times. I was so grateful to not have to move or do anything different than exactly what my body was telling me to do (another beauty of homebirth). I could tell things were getting close based on the fullness I was feeling, and then my water broke. I remember saying “And, my water just broke. Go get Isa! Go get Isa!” We had been preparing our 5yo to be at the birth, so the plan was to wake her up when I needed to push. I knew with the fullness I had been feeling, and then my water breaking that a head was about to come. Sure enough my water broke at 10:07pm, and with the next contraction I had the uncontrollable urge to push. My sister came back in with our daughter who stood quietly and watched. I can’t remember how many times I pushed but I remember Melinda providing hot compresses. I do remember at one point thinking the pushing was harder or not as smooth as my last two children. Little did I know the baby had a nuchal hand, where the hand was up by the ear. I remember feeling like I needed to pause and just breath a second through that urge to push. I could hear Melinda’s voice, but wasn’t really sure what she was saying, but I felt like she was encouraging me in my little breathing break. She told me later that was when she was able to reach up and help that little hand come through (without me tearing at all, which is pretty uncommon with a nuchal hand). Then just moments later our baby was born at 10:14pm! Right in the corner of our bedroom!!! Since I was kneeling, Melinda passed the baby under to me and then I leaned back against our bed and got to meet our sweet GIRL!!! Our not so little Hazel Pearl was born weighing 8lbs, 14 oz!!
After delivery, we eventually moved to our bed where Terry, Isa, and I got to snuggle and ooh and ahh over our newest addition. I specifically requested that we not cut the cord until after the placenta delivered. We waited an hour for it to naturally detach on it’s own. After some pictures of Hazel attached to her placenta, Terry cut the cord while Isa watched.
Looking back at our birth there are so many things that I cherish, but one that I think could only have happened at home was that in labor the only thing I had to do was labor and follow what my body was saying to do. I didn’t have to load up in the car, sign paperwork, meet or see any strangers, answer any questions, defend my choices, explain what I wanted, or ask permission to do anything. I was able to stay completely focused on the task at hand and trust my body without interruption