I gave birth to Olivia Grace 8 months ago, but the memory is so vivid that it feels like yesterday. After a very long labor with my first daughter, I was anxious to see if labor would be different the second time around. Not only was it shorter, but it was one of the most incredible events of my life.
It was 4 days past my due date, and I woke up at 4:30am during a contraction. They were comfortably 7-8 minutes apart. I let my husband sleep for the first hour so that I was sure labor was actually starting, and then I woke him up. I showered, relaxed and decided to text Elizabeth. She had a two hour drive, so by 8am she was leaving her house to come check on me.
When Elizabeth arrived, I was full of energy and excited. She and I both thought it was early labor because I was talkative and busy, and contractions weren’t getting any closer together. They remained steady at 7-8 minutes apart. My husband and I took several walks around the block visiting garage sales, talking to neighbors and swinging on the park swings.
We finally came home to rest and set up the birth tub so that I could relax in it later on. I still felt like I wasn’t dilated much and told Elizabeth I didn’t want to be checked because I was probably 3cm and didn’t want to feel discouraged. She later told me that she thought I was probably 3cm also. Elizabeth invited a young woman over who was interested in potentially becoming a midwife. It was noon and I felt like spending some quiet time alone in my room. During this 12-1 o’clock hour something inside me shifted. My husband came and prayed with me and I read a little, and then Elizabeth quietly came in to check on us at 1. Olivia’s heart rate and my blood pressure were still great so we decided to just keep doing what we were doing.
My contractions were getting really strong and close together so I asked if I could get in the tub. We had to wait until it dropped a few degrees because it was too hot. By the time I got in the tub it was around 2:00 pm. As soon as I got in the water I felt relief. And then I felt the urge to push. I was totally blindsided because I kept telling myself, “there’s no way it’s time to deliver yet”. However, my body decided it wanted to push. After one or two contractions, Elizabeth asked me to stop pushing (because I needed to slow down a bit) and I told her, “I’m not pushing.” It’s funny to me now, but what I meant was, I’m not “trying” to. By body was doing it on its own. After a few contractions I stood up and said, “Someone catch the baby”. My husband was so completely caught off guard that Elizabeth calmly told him, “Adam, reach down and catch your baby.” And he did. And it was unbelievable.
I climbed out of the tub at 2:30 with Olivia in my arms. I was kind of in shock because of the whole thing. It was incredibly hard. It was incredibly intense. But, I wouldn’t use the word painful at all. My first unmedicated birth was very painful with a difficult recovery. But this time I was ready to do it all again right after it happened. I loved labor and birth and everything.
I know it may sound crazy. But I loved my entire birth experience. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. After I delivered the placenta I lost quite a bit of blood. Elizabeth said she thought it was because my body went from 3-10 cm in 1 ½ hours and it was worn out. But she stopped the bleeding while staying calm and collected. None of us were worried because Elizabeth was so peaceful the whole time.
Overall, our birth experience was wonderful. And I would recommend Elizabeth to anyone who wants to calm, peaceful and experienced presence at their homebirth!