On April 24th we welcomed baby Fox into our home! He was born at my mom’s house, arriving at 4:43 in the afternoon. This is our homebirth story.
I was due on April 23rd, and so my husband and I drove down to my mom’s house(where we would be giving birth) a few days before to settle in. Sunday the 23rd came and went, and I didn’t feel any closer to bringing baby Fox into the world, so that evening Fox drove back into the city so he could go to work. We had an appointment booked with the midwives for Wednesday, and I was certain we’d be driving to that appointment! When I woke up on Monday morning, I had a few mild, period like cramps, but I’d been having those for almost three weeks and barely even noticed them. I made toast for breakfast, had a shower and started doing some yoga. At my last appointment, the baby had turned a little posterior, and the midwives had encouraged me to spend some time each day on hands and knees or in child’s pose to move him back into the optimal position for birth. I moved into child’s pose, kneeling on the bed and felt my water break. It was 8:30 in the morning, my husband was two hours away and well into his shift at work. I sat on the edge of the bed for a moment a little stunned–this was really happening! I called the midwives–I had no contractions, so they asked me to keep them posted and suggested I could take some castor oil to start contractions, as I’d had a good breakfast, a good nights sleep and laboring while well rested would be good. I called Fox and told him to leave work and head to my mom’s house. I sent my sister off to get the castor oil and went upstairs to chat with my mom. By 9:40(and long before my sister came back with the oil) contractions had started. They started at 50 seconds in length, 3 minutes apart. The midwife called to check in on me at 10:00 and to get a feel for how I was progressing. She let me know she was ready to come when I needed her, and advised me to keep tracking contractions and to call her when I felt she was needed. She told me to eat, drink water and try to rest. My contractions were just too close together to rest, and if my mom hadn’t been so calm and strong I might have panicked a little. I hadn’t anticipated back labor(my entire labor was felt in the back) and I hadn’t prepared myself for how intense these physical feelings were.
Fox and I had planned to labor alone with the midwives, my family had made arrangements to leave us an empty home. When my water broke, I asked my mom and my youngest sister if they would stick around until the midwives arrived. Each contraction was overwhelming, and my mom would wrap her arms around me and coach me through breathing in and out steadily until it passed. When my husband arrived I tried to have a shower but at this point contractions were 3 minutes in length and 1 minute apart. At this point, I didn’t care how close or how long the contractions were, I just knew it was time to get the midwives there. I’ll be honest, labor hurt! As contractions took hold of my body and all I could do was clutch my husband’s hand and moan–and I was loud! For this reason alone it was great to be at home, as I found relief by loudly vocalizing through contractions. Our midwife arrived at 12:00, and I was in the bathtub, groaning and almost yelling through each contraction. The midwife checked my progress and I was 5 centimeters dilated. Before labor began, I thought that keeping track of my dilation would be really useful, but I realized in the moment I didn’t care. I didn’t want to know any of those details. My body just wanted to keep moving. Through labor my sister and husband made sure I ate and drank–I think I ended up eating 4 or 5 oranges and drinking a ton of juice and water. I barely remember that happening, but I think it was probably pretty important in helping me keep going through the entire process. Every time my energy would flag, they’d encourage me to eat and drink a little and I’d be able to move with the next surge.
When the midwife came my mom faded into the background, but I could still see her and I kept telling myself–she did this six times, I can do it at least this once! Knowing my mom was close and that she’d been through this before brought me a lot of comfort.
The midwife held my hand and massaged my legs through each contraction, Fox kept his hand pressed on my back providing much needed counter pressure and somehow as things got more intense, I kept moving through the pain. The other midwife arrived at some point but I barely noticed. There were a few moments where I clutched the midwives hand and confessed that I was scared to be a mom, worried that I wouldn’t actually care about the infant(having never been a baby person), for some reason it seemed really important that I get that off my chest. She listened and looked me directly in the eyes and told me it I could do it, I was made for this and “may all your vibes say, I got this! You’ve got this Raine!”
Right after this the pressure in my back became even more intense, so intense that it scared me and I tried to hold it back but if felt like holding back the entire ocean. My eyes got big and I looked at the midwife and said, “I think I’m pushing!”
After a quick check, she agreed that it was time to push and my midwives coached me through breathing my baby down while my husband held on to me, helping me move from squatting to standing to kneeling over and over again as I labored. This was the most intense feeling I had ever experienced, it was painful and furious but there was no fighting it, I just had to move with it. I felt like I had some difficulty moving him out after he began to crown, and to keep his heart rate steady the midwives had me switching positions every two contractions, which made things feel even more intense. Apparently I pushed for just over an hour, but to me it seemed both like an eternity and a fleeting second. Baby Fox came into the world with one hand above his head, pressed across his face and his legs crossed like he was in the middle of doing yoga(and this is why it felt difficult to move him out). 6 hrs and 53 minutes of labor brought us a healthy 7lb, 9oz little boy.
He was placed immediately on my chest and I started crying, overwhelmed with the realization that I had really, truly done it!
We delayed cord cutting, and my husband cut the cord, afterbirth was easy. The midwives finished their checks and care of both babe and mama, providing a few instructions and cleaning the room before quietly slipping away. I remember those first hours, that first night in a soft, golden glow. Baby Fox laid on my chest, skin to skin making the sweetest little humming noises while he slept. My husband lay next to me and the three of us slept and slept. I felt so incredibly grateful to have those sweet, long moments alone with my new little family, so incredibly proud of myself for bringing life into the world, and grateful again to all those (family and midwives) who worked so carefully to support us. Childbirth is like nothing I have ever experienced, and even now, two weeks later, I am struggling to find words to describe it. Welcome Home Baby Fox!