So, if you travel a few years back you can see my first birth story with Keaton. I wrote it on his first birthday, because I was honestly too upset and raw to write it immediately after.
With Beckham, I had plenty of time to write his story this past year, but if I’m being super authentic a part of me did not want to share it. Having a home birth is so personal & sacred, and it was one of the first things I did just for me, and I kind of wanted to keep it for me. But I also don’t want to forget every detail, and I know I will. So, now on Beckham’s first birthday, I sit down to write and remember this very special day.
With Beckham, I waited until almost 3 months to have an initial consult because I was sweating about choosing a provider. I wanted an empowered natural labor, and I didn’t know where I could find that, especially after having had a c-section. I went with one provider, who had a midwife that believed in me on staff. But at 32 weeks pregnant, I pleadingly convinced my hubby to come with me to have a consult with a home birth midwife. Because my current provider was stressing me to the max, creating a false case for a high risk pregnancy that didn’t exist and was either threatening me that I’d likely have a c-section or trying to convince me of an elective c-section at every moment in between.
I know many people would be fine with that story, but that wasn’t the one I wanted for me. With Keaton, one of the initial downfalls in having a natural labor, was that I had group B strep. Since that time, I had changed my whole life and diet, to avoid having it again. I did not have this time and I was on a mission to have a natural birth.
Seasoned midwives are amazing
Just going to the home birth consult, I felt vindicated. This seasoned midwife and also nurse practitioner was the first medical person to “hear” my story about Keaton’s birth and the trauma I had from it. And really listen…. and even give me sound counsel. However, her price was expensive. Like so expensive we couldn’t afford it, and the cost would be out of pocket. But she told us she would work with us, and I went home and prayed. My husband asked for “a sign.” Call it a miracle, manifestation, I don’t care what. But the next day we got a check in the mail (THAT WE WERE NOT EXPECTING) for a 3rd of the total cost. And we were convinced. We were at peace. We were so happy for that little miracle. It gave me so much confidence that I was on the right path.
So, I started prepping for a home birth, and as crazy as it sounds. I was not one bit nervous, bursting with anticipation (maybe), but peaceful. On my reading list was Ina May’s The Guide to Childbirth and Hypnobirthing. While I had not done a hypno-birthing course, I listened to the cd, practicing and meditating to it every day.
With Keaton I was 12 days late. Beckham was due Wednesday, July 31 and I knew on his due date that I was close. I had been through this once before and experience is the ultimate confidence booster. My intuition knew I wasn’t 12 days away. That whole week before, I was having serious bouts of false labor. One night I even text my midwife, saying maybe tonight was the night, but that I would text her back. My contractions petered out, but I knew I was close.
|A few days before I gave birth!|
On Friday, August 2nd, in the afternoon when my contractions were regular and building (not painful, but present). I thought I was probably in labor, for real. This time round, I didn’t call my midwife. In turn, I actually decided to go lay down at dinner. Every previous time in both pregnancies, when I laid down, my labor would stop. But this time, the contractions pressed on. After 10pm, Jake and I went for a walk. I called my midwife and told her I thought I was in labor, but not active labor. She asked, “why not active labor?”, (because my contractions were actually pretty close together). I told her, because I’m walking, and I’ve been in active labor before; you aren’t walking, when you’re in active labor. She agreed. We came back home, and my contractions chilled out a bit while I talked to my mom and best friend on the phone. Later, I convinced Jake to go on one more walk, cause I didn’t want them to stall out. Which is of course ridiculous, because when you’re really in labor, nothing can stop it. But us moms, need to feel like we have one dot of control. After our walk, I decided to lay down, because I really did think he was coming and wanted to conserve my energy.
|Jake asleep on the floor between walks. He was dying.|
Invest in a doula
One thing I did not have with Keaton was a doula. My doula was not a professional, but a friend who’d also had a home birth, and understood what I needed. However, if I had another baby, I, 100% would hire one, if I didn’t have a friend who was a home birthing mother. At midnight, I text her that I thought tonight was the night, and that I would text her later. At 1:50 am, I woke up in a panic to crazy intense contractions. I was calling for Jake to support me but he was tired and discombobulated. Just then, I text my doula to please come, because I needed some emotional support. Like the loving, amazing friend she was, she text back that she was already at my house outside. She had come when I had text her before. Inside she came and immediately my water broke.
Things were chaotic and I was not at peace. She suggested I get in the bath, but I told her it was too early and I didn’t want my labor stalling out. But she assessed it was not too early. I listened to her wisdom. She helped me to find my center, and I spent like an hour that way, trying to stay relaxed through each intense contraction. I was trying to practice my hypno-birthing, but to be honest, I was uncomfortable and distracted. During this time, she had called my midwives, and they had arrived. This is just one of the many reasons you need a doula. Your doula becomes your advocate, when you can’t take care of all the things.
My midwives suggested I get out of the bath, and as soon as I did, my labor was CUH-RAZY. (Like I’m not sure how people could possibly labor naturally while strapped to a bed in a hospital, if you’ve done this successfully, you are the real champ).
I was crying to get back in the bath. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in transition, (the time when you dilate from 8-10 cms). It was intense. I spent what felt like 10 minutes, but later found out, was actually closer to an hour on the side of the tub, in the most “other” mental place I have ever achieved. Apparently, I was kinda of singing, kind of crying. I guess it was a sing-cry, just focused on getting from one contraction to the next.
I feel pushy
Then, I started telling them that I felt “pushy” (like I needed to push). Funny enough, I kept saying, but “it’s too soon to feel this way.” I had not been “checked” up to this point, so I didn’t know how much my labor had progressed. Getting checked frequently, was a total downer in my first labor. And I recommend against doing it frequently, for anyone preparing for labor. I wrongly assumed that since my first labor had been long and slow, that this one couldn’t possibly be quick and short. Amazingly, if you do something different, you get different results!!! Come to find out, I was at 10 cm and it was only 5 in the morning.
Now, here’s where the story goes a bit south. With Keaton, I had also progressed to 10cm, but oddly, never felt the urge to push. The medical staff had said, its because he was not coming down and engaging with the birth canal.
With Beckham even before my labor, my midwife had said he wasn’t engaged in my pelvis like he should be, he was floating. A few days previous he had actually been turned wrong (posterior I think) and she thought he felt that way again. While it is possible to deliver that way, it’s more complicated. In hindsight, I’m sure this was the case with Keaton too, but with an epidural there is not much you can do to solve the problem, because you can’t move around.
Show me how to stomp
So, from 5-6am, I attempted to push a baby from every possibly position that “wasn’t coming down”. My midwife had told me several times that I need to do large stomps to engage him into the birth canal, but I was so tired between contractions that I just could not pull it together and get the energy. Since this had happened with Keaton too, there was a moment, when I actually thought, “I gave this my all. I guess I wasn’t made to have babies vaginally.”
I was defeated.
But then everyone came to my aid. My doula was texting with my mom. And my mom gave me some encouraging words. Jake was praying and so was his mom.
Suddenly, like an insane shot of energy, I said “teach me how to do this stomp, stomp thing” and I started doing it between each contraction. Within 3 contractions Beckham was jiggling into place and my body was back on track for pushing out this little guy. I was having to wait like 5 minutes between each contraction, because they had majorly slowed down. I don’t remember how many pushes. It was still a several to bring him down after he engaged into my pelvis. But right as the sun was dawning, it took 2 legitimate pushes, and I pushed that little babe out at 7:00am. And he was mad as all stink, for his rough travel through the birth canal. He was alert and didn’t want to nurse. He had the blondest hair and I declared, Keaton was never this small. (However, Keaton was actually smaller). Immediately, I was asking for a drink and shower because that birthing a baby thing, it is hard work.
But at 8 lbs and 22 1/2 inches of perfection, he was all worth it!
Happy Birthday Beckham. Love, Your Mama