This story of Melissa’s fifth birth is beautiful and shows us just how different each and every birth can be. This story is full of wonderful pictures…wait till you read who took them…
The year 2012 was full of big changes for our family. We moved to a new state when I was about 3 months pregnant with our fifth child. Our fourth was our first home birth and we knew we wanted to birth this baby at home. Finding a new midwife in a new state can be a daunting task but we found one that fit. My pregnancy continued normally. I love pregnancy! I even decided to do underwater maternity pictures; my first professional maternity photos ever. We planned for my mom, who was present for our 4 other children’s birth, to fly down when I was 39 weeks pregnant.
During my third trimester I told the baby daily that he needed to wait for grandma. Well, he had plans of his own. On 10/24/12 at 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant (the day before my mom was scheduled to arrive) I woke around 1:30am to use the bathroom. I noticed a contraction. I went back to bed and had a few more. I got restless in bed so I went downstairs for water and a snack. The mild contractions continued. Shortly before 3:00am I decided to tell my husband, Adam that our baby may be on his way! Sleepy Adam asked me to come back to bed. I snuggled up with him until the next contraction came that made me sit up in bed. I told him that I had to get up, lying in bed no longer felt right. I quietly walked around my house feeling a sense of excitement! Adam came and joined me downstairs.
Around 3:30am I decided to give my midwife, E, a heads up call. She didn’t answer so I left a brief message. At this time my contractions were starting to pick up a bit in frequency but they were still rather mild. I decided it was time to start gathering our birth supplies and my husband hauled the pool up to our bedroom. I love heat during labor so I asked Adam to heat up my old rice pack for my lower back pain however it smelled horrible and was rather annoying.
Sometime after 4am I decided to call J, one of the other midwives, since labor was clearly picking up in intensity. She arrived about 20 minutes later. I now had to stop and lean over during my contractions as they were getting more intense when they peaked. J observed me and got a hold of E, my primary midwife. I continued to labor, holding onto Adam for support, swaying to the contractions. Adam was my rock during labor. I couldn’t get through it without his support. I decided it was time to wake our 10 year old daughter. She wasn’t happy to be woken until I told her it was baby time. Then she shot out of bed like a bolt of lightning!
My bedroom was dark, my labor music was going, and the tub was getting filled. Things were moving quickly as I was now vocalizing through contractions. During this time my primary midwife E quietly arrived. I remember telling my birth team I was scared to get in the pool because I may not be that far along. But getting in that warm water was like heaven. It provided some much needed relief. Someone got ahold of our birth photographer but she was ill and unable to attend the birth. Our ten year old daughter picked up my camera and starting shooting pictures.
Two of our boys (ages 8 and 6) came into our bedroom around this time (after 5am?). I kept changing positions in the pool. I was beyond restless and really felt like leaping out and sprinting down the street. I was on my knees, then my side, then leaning over the pool. Things definitely felt different this time. Adam followed me, leaning over the pool to hold me when I needed. The pressure was out of control, always my least favorite part of labor. I looked up while in the tub and noticed that C, a midwifery apprentice, had arrived. My whole team was present and labor was in full gear. Someone mentioned I could be checked if I wanted. After a few more contractions in the tub I decided I wanted to get out and get checked. I’m not sure of the time, 6:00 am maybe? I told J to lie because I was afraid I was only 2cm. But I was 8cm! I got back in the tub and soon felt “pushy” but something still didn’t feel right. I checked and felt the squishy amniotic sac hanging down. The intensity was starting to overwhelm me. I was gripping onto Adam during each contraction.
My body was taking over and I was having difficulty letting go…..the pressure. E was using washcloths on my face. I said I was, “ready to quit, I can’t do this anymore”. My team was offering gentle encouragement. Those contractions were strong but I was stronger! After a few more contractions I got out of the tub. I start pushing while on my hands and knees on the floor next to the pool. A few good pushes and my water broke. That relieved some of the intense pressure but I then wanted back in the pool. In the pool I rock, sway, change positions, grip onto Adam, and vocalize through contractions. In between contractions I’m able to briefly rest, which is a nice break. Strong contractions continue. I check and I could just barely feel my baby’s head, but he still had a way to come down. The overwhelming urge to push just takes over. My body is doing what it needs to do but progress seems slow, especially for a fifth baby! I want it over but my team keeps supporting me. I’m starting to wonder what is taking so long. Pushing feels way different then I remember! My body just keeps at it and I’m along for the ride. I sit back, gripping onto J’s arm while Adam holds me.
It was time to get serious! I bear down a few more times. Progress still seems slow, but finally I can feel my baby’s squishy, wrinkly head with my hand. We are so close to meeting our baby. I kept providing counter pressure with my hand. I start saying; “burrrrning, burrrning”… baby is crowning. My hand is glued to my baby’s head, gently guiding. Adam now leaps into the pool. With the next contraction our baby’s head is out into Adam’s hands! …Surprise! Baby is posterior, looking up at us with his eyes open under the water. So, that’s why I had a premature urge to push! Incredible. I tell Adam; “Just wait, just wait”. I put my head back on the pool wall and rest; almost sleep, while we wait for the next contraction. It comes and I gently push our baby’s body into our waiting hands while our midwifery team observes. Baby boy was born at 7:25am! Our daughter continues to shoot photos, capturing baby’s first moments. Adam and I gently lift our baby boy out of the water and onto my chest. There is no describing that moment; nothing else like it. It’s something I wish I could relive over and over again.
The intensity of labor was over and we now had this amazing new person to join our family. I held him close and said to him; “That was fun, wasn’t it?” We also wished him a happy birthday. Our baby was quiet but alert, taking in his new environment. He was also heavily covered in vernix, probably our “cheesiest” baby yet. Towels were placed on him but he was not hatted. Our midwifery team did an amazing job being there to support us but they were very hands off, respecting our space and family time.
Three of our children, who were present for the birth, gathered around the pool to get a closer look at their new baby brother. Our three year old son didn’t want to join us just yet. The midwives in the house and my labor sounds had him a bit uncomfortable so he was hiding out in his room for a while.
We stayed in the pool for a bit just gazing at our new beautiful baby boy. This was another amazing birth but Adam’s first time officially “catching” his child. Adam got out of the pool while we waited for the cord to stop pulsating. Then our 10 year old (only) daughter; who assisted in so many ways during this labor and birth, helped the midwives with cutting the cord.
We climbed into our own bed which is one of my favorite parts of home birthing. We could all bond and enjoy our new baby together without distractions. It’s priceless.
Finlay Roe weighed in at 7lbs 2oz, over a pound smaller than our last baby, and was 21 inches long.