Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of our ongoing series of birth stories featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. This is Brittney’s second solo home birth, unattended by a midwife or doctor. You can read about her first unassisted birth here. We know that unassisted birth can be controversial. Please remember to be respectful when commenting or replying and refrain from personal attacks.
If you would like to share your own birth story, visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
By November 9th, 2019, it felt like I had been pregnant for years. Most of the day I felt fairly normal, until around 4:30 in the afternoon when I had to use the bathroom and realized that I couldn’t stop peeing. Of course, it wasn’t all pee. I had begun to leak water. However, I honestly wasn’t too sure. So, when I thought I had mostly stopped having the longest pee ever in history, I got up and went out to the kitchen. Suddenly, there was a small puddle of water beneath me. That seemed to confirm it.
My husband was there and I nearly broke into a fit of giggles about how I peed on the floor. “Your water broke?” he asked nonchalantly. I admitted it had. We hugged each other and laughed a little nervously. It wasn’t long before I noticed some serious cramping.
My husband decided to take my youngest to the store and pick up a few things I might want. I asked my oldest child to stay home with me in case I needed help with anything. She was happy to stay. She entertained me for a while as the contractions grew in strength, singing songs she had made up herself. We hung out in the bathroom where I would sit on the toilet for a bit and then stand up to get through a contraction. I felt like I needed to lean over the sink and make my lower half as weightless as possible.
At some point my daughter disappeared and my husband returned, telling me about the dinner he was going to make. The room began to look different. I couldn’t seem to voice the words in my head. I waved him away as politely as I could. He would still check on me occasionally and rub my back a little before going back to cooking and making sure our 2-year-old was well occupied. I just needed the reassurance that my son wouldn’t be there dangling off of me.
I quickly set up my waterproof sheet on the floor next to our bed, which is also on the floor, and put a few towels on top of it. I stacked some pillows on the mattress to lean forward onto. After a few more attempts to get through contractions while standing, I finally retreated downward onto my self-designated birthing spot. Now I was fully in it.
I began moaning and doing my best to keep the sound flowing, as it seemed to help me stay afloat. With my knees on the floor and my arms gripping the pillows tightly in front of me, my body was in control. I attempted to quiet my mind and began rocking back and forth now, as opposed to side to side like I’d done while standing. I kept thinking about how I should try to perceive the sensations as interesting instead of painful. Some of the time, I found I was able to flow through part of a contraction as though I were simply witnessing an intense feeling, observing a wild ride that my body was on. Though, much of the time, I was experiencing it as the most intense pain I’ve ever felt, only comparable to the birth of my son.
I tried not to let my sounds become long, loud OWs and kept them OHs or, even better, AHs. I felt like the AH sound was best for opening myself up and allowing the safe passage of my child.
At some point, I came to a long pause in between contractions, quite unlike any break I’d had thus far. I was completely relaxed. It felt so good. Too good, even. I wondered if labor was stalling. Then I realized, it was the calm before the storm. It was almost over.
From that point on there were no more breaks. A series of contractions created a tidal wave effect. I tried to be loud enough to keep from being swallowed up in it. I was grasping my husband’s hand that felt so nice and alive and steadfast compared to the pillows that were apathetically rocking away with me. Then my son was there. He approached with concern. My husband scooped him up and they settled in next to me.
I was beginning to feel like some gentle pushing would make me feel better. Either that or I was desperate to get the labor over with. I felt my baby descending and offered an encouraging, “Come on, baby.” I pushed a small amount more and heard my bones crack inside. Suddenly, I felt as though I were drowning. I couldn’t breathe right or make the sound flow. My heart fluttered. Then my baby came through, rather quickly, onto the soft towels beneath me.
She cried out instantly as my husband moved her up toward me. Then he looked at the clock and said, “it’s 7:07.” I was shocked at the reminder of time. Labor had lasted only 2 1/2 hours.
My son whimpered a bit. I let him know I was okay as I flipped over and brought our baby up to nurse. She latched on almost immediately. My son looked overjoyed as we explained “baby-sister” to him. Two words he seemed to know well. Then my older daughter arrived and we all gathered in awe around our newest family member. This little one we named Mika.