I can hardly believe that it’s already been a month since we welcomed Rosie earth-side!
I feel compelled to share Rose’s birth story on the blog as it is an incredibly significant event that took place within our home. While Tristan’s birth took place in a hospital, it is certainly no less significant or beautiful – just different – than his sister’s birth.
My experience birthing Tristan in hospital and all that I’ve learned over the past 2 years as an aspiring doula led both me and Shane to home birth as the right thing for our family when welcoming our next little one. I was incredibly excited (although at times a bit apprehensive) throughout the pregnancy for the home birth experience.
We selected a midwife, and her two wonderful assistants, with whom we felt a connection and the relationship only grew over the months of the care they provided. Combined with pre-natal yoga taught by a doula, I was fully prepared for my home birth experience and whatever that would bring.
I decided that January 13 would be the perfect day to meet our little one (visualization is key to achieving your goals!) and even told the midwives so at my 39 week appointment. I even wrote “Give Birth” on the whiteboard calendar in my kitchen under that date.
The two days or so before Rose was born I knew the birth was close. No food was sitting well in my stomach and I was having a few, although irregular, contractions. My parents came into town on the morning of the 12th. We went out to lunch and spent the afternoon at the beach (unfortunately at low-tide). We enjoyed a steak dinner and a few rounds of Rummikub that night before heading to bed.
Around 4 or 4:30am I woke up and realized “this is it – I’m meeting my baby today.” I just stayed in bed, reminding myself to relax and loosen my muscles during each contraction. When Shane woke I shared the news with him. About 6, I went downstairs and told my parents that I was definitely in labor. After that I texted the midwives “today is a great day to have a baby!”
My spirits were high and I was already so relaxed. We all enjoyed breakfast together – me eating what I could. The intensity started to pick up a bit where I needed someone to rub my back during contractions. Shane, my mom, and even Tristan all helped with this. My parents readied Tristan to head out for the morning. I wasn’t sure if I just wasn’t that far along or if I was handling labor well. I let the midwives know that I didn’t need all of them just yet, but one of them would be good to have around just so Shane wasn’t on his own.
After my parents and Tristan left, around 9am, Shane and I headed into our birth suite (aka the master bedroom) to settle in for the labor. I opted to not turn on the music we had just downloaded the night before. Instead, I sat soaking in our jacuzzi tub in the sunshine listening to the birds and our windchime out the window. It was so peaceful.
The assistant midwife arrived a little after 10am. Her and Shane formed an amazing support team, anticipating my needs before I even needed to vocalize those needs. She would provide counter-pressure on my back and Shane let me rest my head in his lap. At some point I got out of the tub and moved to my bed. Everything was still so calm. I was sleeping – even dreaming – between contractions. I’m still amazed by how completely relaxed and loose I was. If my shoulders started to tense all it took was a hand on my shoulder to remind me to relax. While I was still in the bed, the rest of the birth team arrived and were bustling around getting things ready. (I later learned that this was only about an hour before the birth). I was thinking, “I must be close since they’re so busy.” I still was able to completely let go after each contraction, even though they were really close together at this point, and relaxed right back into sleep.
The tub was refilled and I moved back into the wonderfully warm water. I started to push with encouragement from my support team. Pushing was so completely satisfying. I could finally do something instead of just relaxing into the contractions. I never really felt the satisfaction that came with pushing during Tristan’s birth because of the epidural. It was so primal and so amazing that I had the power to bring my baby into the world.
My waters broke at this point, and it wasn’t long after that we met Rose for the first time at 1:58pm. It was such a gentle birth in the water. Gazing at our daughter for the first time my heart was (and still is) so full I thought it would simply burst.
Not even five minutes later, I heard my parents pull in the driveway. They had taken Tristan to the zoo and out to lunch. They weren’t expecting the baby to be here just yet, but were tickled when we were able to announce “It’s a Girl!”
We celebrated later that night with a birthday cake and balloons for Rose!
One of the best parts of the home birth was that I was able to take a shower and sleep in my own bed right away. I was comfortable in my own home and surrounded by my family. I was even able to read bedtime stories to Tristan (and Rose).
A month later and I’m still on a high from such a blissful birth!