I just gave birth to our third baby in May. When I found out I was pregnant, I joked with my husband that since I already knew what a hospital birth and midwife supported home birth were like, we should try for an unassisted birth, You know, for science. He didn't share my desire for the educational experience and asked me to contact a midwife instead.
After locking in my doula (yes, even doulas have doulas!) we interviewed midwives. The ladies at Bend Birth Center helped assist with our first home birth and they were awesome. Since I was using this pregnancy as an educational experience, I decided I wanted to try other midwives in the area. We really connected with Kelsey from Legacy Midwives and chose her to help us welcome our third surprise baby.
The whole pregnancy went pretty textbook. I supported doula clients until I was 34 weeks along and I savored the last few weeks of being a momma of two. I wanted our daughter to be present at her sibling's birth (because, educational experience!) but my husband wasn't too keen on the idea. (I did watch this late 80's Reading Rainbow episode where they followed a pregnant woman through birth. Very PG stuff, but she thought it was cool. She would have been fine).
Like any pregnancy, you just never know when labor will start. I did have a day of contractions at 37 weeks and I thought I may be having the baby, but they died off in the night.
The actual day I went into labor I was restless. I got so much stuff done; did yard work, changed furnace filters, chased toddlers. Once the kids were in bed and my husband pulled me in from outside, I still couldn't sit down. I told him "either I go mow the lawn at 8pm or head to Trader Joe's for ice cream and milk". He opted for the latter.
Contractions started later that night once I finally settled down on the couch. I texted my midwife and doula to let them know what was up and then headed upstairs to try and sleep. I labored by myself until the early hours of the morning. I finally called my doula and mom to ask them to come, then I texted my husband (who was asleep on the couch) to unlock the front door. He sat with me in the dark until I moved to the bathroom and labored on the toilet. My mom and doula arrived at about the same time and Breann started tracking my contractions. She asked if I had called Kelsey yet and I said no. She promptly called her since I was having one every three minutes. Time and space kinda becomes irrelevant when you're having a baby. Hours seem like minutes and minutes feel like hours. Kelsey arrived and everyone watched and waited. At 5:08am I pulled our sweet boy up to my chest. I have to say, this birth was my most peaceful and favorite. It had its painful moments and there were a few times I wanted to cry. But one thing I didn't allow myself to do was fixate on the pain and become fearful. Fear inhibits the birth process and I tried my best to not let it get to me. Total mind over circumstance.
No matter where you choose to give birth, you can have a peaceful experience. Choosing the atmosphere and people whom you feel safe with is important. Not letting fear overcome you is foundational. Birth has its mysteries. Even doulas, midwives and experienced mothers will encounter unknowns that we couldn't plan for. The best we can do is educate and surround ourselves with those who care about and support us in those fragile moments.
Midwives: Legacy Midwives
Doula: Breann VandenBrink
Photographer: Jackie Lee Photography