Nothing could prepare me for the emotions that would fill my head and heart during my second birth experience. Not one word of advice, homebirth video or birth story would have explained the intensity, healing and pure bliss I would journey.
Her arrival date of January 29th, 2015 came and went. Just as her big sister, she decided she wanted to stick around awhile longer. A weeks worth of busy projects from tie dying everything in sight, assembling blessing flags and a birth necklace from friends all over the map. My husband Jeff even got on board planting flowers and cleaning up the house and yard for her arrival.
On February 5th, our midwife Charlie came to the house for our weekly checkup. We were at 41 weeks and the baby was content as always, measuring right on in weeks. She decided we wouldn’t make another appointment and to just call if anything seemed out of the ordinary. So we went about our day after a solid week of start and stop rushes. I felt a little off and had some signs that labor could be just around the corner, but after my last birth, I knew it could also be awhile from now too.
So, like the typical family, we went to target to get out of the house for a bit. I started feeling a few more rushes than normal. So, we grabbed some peanut butter cups from the valentines section, and a special Daniel Tiger show about becoming a big sibling. (Our eldest Harlow has all but worn out on YouTube.) Then we headed for home. I made dinner and then as every night goes, Harlow walked into the living room in perfect two and a half year old fashion, stripped of all clothes but her shirt (she has yet to figure out how to remove it). Then very matter of factly repeat “Bath Please”. Around a hundred times in a row. I decided instead of trying to reach over the side of the tub to bathe her with my rather large baby bump, I would just jump in as well.
Not even 5 minutes later as Harlow drives her boats across my belly in the bath I hear a “Pop!” sound and a big release. Did my water just break?!? I quickly inform my husband of my latest happenings. I went ahead and called our midwife Charlie, even though I was hesitant to get everyone excited about it. She mentioned to time the rushes and try to rest. Of course call if things change.
Slight panic broke out since we both thought it would be some time before we were this into the laboring process. I scurried to get h. out of the bath and at least hopefully she could get a little rest before it all began. Jeff starting texting his back ups for work with no response. My contractions at this point were about 3-4 minutes apart and pretty uncomfortable. Finally, Jeff got the text that his early morning shift was covered and from that moment on, it was go time.
We hopped into bed and out of all of us, H was the first to sleep. I couldn’t get comfortable so I knew it best to let the family rest in the bedroom and I would try to lay on the couch and calm down so I could rest as well. My body had other plans. I labored in the quiet of the night alone for about 2 hours. The rushes started getting so intense, I couldn’t stop vocalizing them. I couldn’t even pull my body up on the couch to rest or walk in between rushes. All I wanted to do was get to the bedroom to let Jeff know what was happening.
I didn’t want to yell and wake the peacefully sleeping toddler. But at this point, it had to be done. After a few mumbles of despair on my part, my husband came out and called Charlie. She was on her way. He also made the call to our doula Tracy.
We had anticipated that our oldest daughter Harlow would just sleep with us as usual, so my husband had to transfer her to another bed in the house since we had everything set up for birth in our bedroom. So with that she somehow transferred without even a blink from one room to the next.
I made my way back to the bedroom just in time to be brought to my knees with a rush right by the bed. Next, I knew I had made it to the bathroom and was sort of stuck on the floor having rushes holding onto my husband for support. Multitasking, he filled the pool as quickly as possible.
It was around 1-1:30 in the morning at this time. the room only dim lit by candles, my lovely midwife Charlie peeks around the corner and simply says, “It sounds like your having a baby.” I couldn’t help but laugh a little. “Yes, I said, she’s coming much faster than I thought she would.” She began to set up her supplies. Right behind her our doula Tracy was here as well. We said our hellos, and I of course apologized for getting them out so late. We joked later after the birth about how nice it was that “I didn’t interrupt the weekend plans”.
Knowing my husband was my go to support person in my eldest daughters birth and there was no doubt in my mind it would be him I would want to hold on to or look in the eyes when things started progressing. So we decided to find a special doula mostly for Harlow in case she was awake and needed entertaining by either my husband or the doula depending on the mood at the time. Amazingly, things just work out. Harlow slept for the very first time solo. In her own bed. Through the ENTIRE BIRTH! It is astounding how things happen like that.
The pool was finally filling and it was time to get in. My whole team helped me climb over the side and into the nice warm water. I want to say it was around 1:30 am at that time. As I rest with my head on my husbands hands on the side of the tub, I could just feel the baby moving down. As much as I would love to be the silent peaceful birther, this birth brought so much empowerment to my body. I kept making deep roaring sounds. All I can recall in my head is my two and a half year old talking about mommy growling like a monster. She would always say this when we read a little book a friend gave us titled “We are having a homebirth.”
So as I roar, I remember having a moment of utter fear of what would come next. The intensity this time was so different from my last long 60 hour labor. With my midwife, doula, and husband reassuring me I was totally doing it, I rushed on. Tracy was rubbing my lower back as Charlie kept watch over our beautiful babies sweet heatbeat.
I decided to turn over so my back could rest on the pool. Soon realizing she was starting to emerge. My midwife asked me if I had reached down to feel her head yet. At first I replied “no way”. During my last birth I did this and got way too excited only to labor for a full day beyond that moment. She finally said, “No, really, you should.”
It was the most powerful feeling ever to reach down and her head was literally half out. I was so elated, I busted into laughter. I couldn’t have chosen a better time to make that move because it inspired me to remember to enjoy the rushes. As I work thru the waves to get her out, a glimmer from my grandmothers vintage mirror glowed up from the water. It made me think about all the mothers before me. Especially my grandmom who alone birthed 4 children and was the toughest woman I had ever met.
Slowly, I work to get my baby out hoping for a smooth tear free birth this time. In what felt like hours, and seconds all at the same time. She came right out into the water! Charlie asked me to reach down and catch her, but I just wasn’t positioned in a way that felt right to grasp her. So I asked my husband if he would like to catch her. He reached around and there she was!
A beautiful lightly, vernix covered little girl! And when she cried for the first time, it was music to my ears!! There she was. A nice healthy “pink” baby (as her sister told us she would be). Her and I sat in the pool basking in the peaceful glow of candles and smiling faces. It felt like a dream. Like everything I ever wanted from birth and more happened in a matter of less than 6 hours! We eventually moved to the bed to finish up the placenta and after delaying the cord clamping, Jeff was able to cut the cord this time around. Charlie guessed the weight spot on at 9 pounds 5 ounces even before putting her in the sling to weigh her.
Once everyone had left and we had our time just the three of us, basking in the newborn bliss. Jeff headed in to rest with Harlow. We didn’t want her to wake alone with all of the new changes. And just as soon as he laid his head down, she woke. He brought her in and hesitantly she crept over towards the bed. “Happy Birthday Baby Sister!” She was so excited, she did not want to go to sleep after that. Eventually after telling her the story and going over all the “cute” and “little” body parts, she fell sound asleep holding her new baby sister’s hand. Even after all the work of labor and birth, I couldn’t fall asleep. I just laid there staring at these two beautiful babies.
Welcome to the world.
Jagger Hazel Davies
9lb. 5oz. 22in. long
February 6, 2015 3:11am
Born in the water
Caught by dad<3
If you are curious about my first daughters birth, or just love birthy stories, you can read her story here.