The Homebirth of Jack: Birthday Time
A little after midnight on December 14th 2021 I awoke for my nightly scheduled emptying of the bladder. This is when I took the peanut ball out from between my legs. I quickly thought to myself "Welp no contractions" and back to sleep I went.
I rolled out of bed around 3am to once again go pee. For the last couple weeks every time I wiped I was hoping to see some mucus or even bloody show and was quickly disappointed every time. But I did notice a little more mucus this time! Which I thought I kind of felt when I got up out of bed. I wasn't noticing any major contractions so I laid back down. As I was laying back in bed I felt a huge jolt and pop feeling. Almost like a rubber band snapping. I thought to myself "Did my water just break? Theres no way he just kicked me." So I laid there checked the time it was 3:07am and waited for another contraction to see if with the contraction anything else started to leak or come out. The contraction came (still not really any different than the braxton hicks i'd been having) and I didnt really feel anything come out. So I figured well let me get up and just scope out the situation. I got up out of bed started to walk to the bathroom and immediately started to feel a little something. So I quickly waddled through the door and BOOM...splash! I had a very large gush that soaked my panties right there on the bathroom floor.
Good thing I got up out of bed! So here I am panties on the ground soaked standing there LAUGHING my ass off. I was so freaking excited because it was happening!!! I called out to Blake, while still laughing and standing in my puddle, "Babe my water just broke!" Confused he was like "What? Really? You need to call Nancy!" Then proceeds to tell me he stayed up working late and just laid down at 1am. I told him to go back to sleep because I didn't really feel much as this point. Except excitement.
I texted my doula Mariam and birth photographer Stephanie and shared the news we had all been waiting for and of course sent pictures of my water puddle. What's crazy (but not really because as doulas I feel like this happens a lot to us) they were both weirdly awake. Around 3:30am I took a quick shower and was reminded by my doulas to try and go back to bed. I called Nancy, my midwife, and let her know my water broke and I was going to try to lay back down. She asked me how my contractions were and I wasn't really paying attention so I took the next few minutes to time them. I texted her at 4:03 and said they were about 4 mins apart sometimes sooner but every other one was a little more intense still very calm in my mind. As soon as I sent that text I noticed the next one changed and she said she was on the way. She's a bout an hour drive so I let the girls know Nancy was on the way and we proceeded to have the "should we come now conversation". Typical for pregnant person to be worried about everyone being there too early or being here for ever but I think everyone could tell this was happening so I asked them to join.
I then called my friend Lindsay Mumma for a pep talk and to share the news. I decided she shouldn't try to come because she would miss work. Lindsay thought I had some time, probably because of how well I was coping on the phone, but I knew that wasn't the case. Haha. Although I would have loved her presence I just felt comfort hearing her voice. Plus our other friend Lisa was also on the way with 3 month old daughter, Navy, and 8 year old daughter Brooke in tow. Lindsay, our friend Claudia, and I were all there at Navy's birth in September and it was just so special to be surrounded by that much love and support. After getting off the phone with Lindsay I started to play my Christian Hypnobirthing tracks. They were so comforting through my pregnancy and during labor. after a few minutes I decided to wake Blake up. I felt bad he only got like maybe 20-30 mins of sleep but things were picking up to where I needed to focus on my contractions and just focus on breathing. It was also nice for him to just rest his hand on my sacrum. The little bit of pressure and warmth from his hand felt really nice.
We headed down stairs to meet our team. Stephanie made it to the house first a little after 5:00am and a few minutes later Nancy and Mariam were walking in. Lisa and her daughters followed shortly after. At this point I was managing well listening to the hypnobirthing tracks. I would opened the door greeted everyone with hugs and then a contraction would come and I would lean over the counter or the couch and breathe and sway through them. In between I was laughing, talking, excited and so happy everyone had made it! I had a couple more contractions and Nancy took my vitals on the couch. We were discussing if we should start filling up the birth pool or not. So we headed back upstairs so Nancy could check me to see if filling up the pool now made sense. [On Friday at my last appointment with Nancy I opted to have her check my cervix and I was 2cm, 70% effaced, and Jack was very low. ] Emma, Nancys birth assistant and a long time midwife, had also arrived!
Everyone headed upstairs into our bedroom where Nancy checked me. At around 5:45am I was 6cm and 100% effaced! I knew it and I felt it. Things were starting to change quickly after that. So they started to get the pool ready. I switched from listening to the tracks to putting on my Welcome Jack playlist. Which consisted of mostly worship music sprinkled in with a little bit of reggae. I remember waiting at the end of the bed for the pool and noticing my sounds started to change. I was now humming, swaying , squatting down, and low moaning through contractions. I knew in my mind we were getting closer. Since I went 5cm to having my daughter in an hour I knew a fast labor was a high probability. I focused on contractions and my team focused on filling the tub and getting everything ready. It was like everyone worked quietly in synchrony together. Blake stepped away for a few minutes to help with the tub and I am so grateful we had other people there to help because I NEEDED HIM. I wanted him near me so I could rest on him and feel his comforting grasp. So he quickly came back and supported me. Our hot water heater ran out of water so I was waiting for the pool to be filled enough to get in. As soon as I could I got in. Man that felt niceeeeeee. But I also got into the tub and immediately just stayed in the the position I was in. In my mind I knew I had to be in transition.
I couldn't move. Blake sat in front of me while I held his neck and rested my head on the side of the birth tub. Brooke poured warm water on my back while Lisa and Mariam were helping bring hot boiled water up from the kitchen. I had my eye closed for a lot of the remainder of birth. But what was beautiful was how aware I was with what was going on and where everyone in the room was. Like I could feel their energy and presence. I started to moan and feel like grunting. With the contractions I would feel a really strong urge to bear down and poop all at the same time. At one point I said "I feel like he's coming y'all". Which my midwives assured me he definitely was coming. Haha. That position was really weird for me. I felt very exposed and even though I didn't think pooping would be that big of a deal I just couldn't "let go". I felt like I was fighting the urge to poop or something.
Up until this point Logan was still snoozing away so we had Brooke go wake her up and she was in and out of the room. Making sure to give me a play by play of all the things coming out of mom. Haha.
When you get close to the pushing stage they are monitoring the baby much more than during active labor and I can't exactly remember when but they started having me change positions in the pool because of Jacks heart rate. Generally babies heart rates will dip during a contraction (hello they are getting squeezed through a small canal) but they want it to come back up to a certain rate and in a specific time period. So they were monitoring that and had me move a round a bit to see if different positions would be more favorable for the baby (very common so I wasn't very worried in my head). Nancy checked me and I was 10 cm with a tiny bit of cervix (some call it a lip) left so she told me I could push and try to get that out of the way. I wasn't exactly feeling the urge to push push. Like I felt like he was super low and coming but I didn't have that overwhelming urge to bear down and push him out just yet. So they got me out of the tub to go to the bathroom where I finally was able to poop. YAY. What a relief and I think I was holding that in and it was mentally just messing me up. Funny. After I went to the bathroom I immediately then felt that urge. So they helped me up off the toilet, because at that point it is so hard to move unless you have to, and got me on hands and knees on the bed. I lost all track of time while I was in the tub. Which I guess was about an hour according to Emma during our postpartum visit. So I have no idea what time it was at this point. I remember pushing once on my hands and knees then they gave me some oxygen and I laid on my back/side.
In her very calming nature, Nancy had made a comment that Jack needed to be born with the next contraction and with Blake, Logan, and Kona(who was in arms reach at all times) all on the bed I started to push. I think it shocked everyone when I pushed and boom you saw his head crowing. I felt a very very warm sensation and at the time I thought it was Nancys warm compress but turns out it was just Jacks big ass head. As he was crowning I got to reach down and feel him for myself. A huge gush of water came out with his head and as we waited for the next contraction Logan gave me a kiss and told me "Your baby is coming!". The next contraction built and Nancy talked me through as I pushed each of his shoulders out one at a time. Then boom he was out! I couldn't believe how big he looked. He looked huge! I was just filled with so much joy. Logan got to watch her brother be born, Blake and I got to welcome our son into the world, and I got to give birth surrounded by God and the best people I could have asked for.
Jack Taylor Eno was born at 7:50am weighing 9lb 12oz and measuring 23 inches long!
He was in fact...HUGE!
Birth Song - What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship
My next post will be about my immediate postpartum experience and my deeper thoughts about my birth and home birth journey!
Providers - Nancy Harman CNM of Birthwise NC & Birth Assistant Emma Ricci CPM
Doula - Mariam Lam of Designated Doula
Birth Photographer - Stephanie Capps of Sacred Spaces
Special Appearances - Kona (GSD), Lisa, Brooke, & Baby Navy