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. Robye delivered her own baby at home, live streaming the birth for her partner, mother, and friends who could not be present. Today she’s sharing her story and these beautiful photos of her unassisted water birth.
If you would like to share your own birth story, visit this post to learn how.
The weeks leading up to my labor were long with prodromal labor since before 35 weeks. I had my midwife for prenatal and postpartum care, but I chose to give birth unassisted with no help from others. At 35 weeks we learned I was 2 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced, and at +1 station! My midwife didn’t foresee me making it to 40 weeks.
May 24th, 2018, was just like any other day. I was 38 weeks and 3 days along. I did a lot of lying in bed watching TV. Like every other day, I had a few good contractions, but these were a little more “pushy” feeling. I called my mom just to give her a heads up about these different contractions. While on the phone with her, at 7:06 pm, my water broke!!
I was so excited that labor had finally arrived! I was home with just my two other children aged 3 and 11. My mother and significant other were both over two hours away!
I called my oldest into the room and told her my water broke and it’s time! I had her start calling the list of friends who wanted to attend my home birth, while I did my hair and makeup, lol.
After 20 minutes I was setting up my birth space and getting things ready. One friend had shown up by now and helped me fill the birth pool. Contractions at this time were around 4 minutes apart and very manageable.
I turned on my Facebook Live for friends and family who could not attend, then I jumped in the pool. My 3-year-old had her bathing suit on and was joining me.
My candles were going, I had my Bluetooth headphones on with my meditation music, and I was ready to embrace these contractions.
By this time, another friend who has attended all of my past births had shown up and was helping to add more hot water to my pool.
I was very calm, and during contractions I made low moans to ensure I was relaxed and breathing. My contractions still weren’t painful. I imagined my cervix opening and baby coming down and out. I was preparing myself for transition, when all you can do is scream, “I can’t do this!”
My contractions were still far apart and painless. I felt I needed to relieve my bowels so I got up and headed to the bathroom. I didn’t want logs in my pool. Haha. Well, I have hemorrhoids – lucky me – and this was the most pain I felt during my whole labor/birth…pushing out those logs! I reached down (not inside) and felt a big bulge!! Oh man, she was coming, but so fast and me not in any pain!
I made my way back to the pool and told my friends, “She is coming!!” I reached inside and felt her head on the tip of my finger. By now my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. All of a sudden my body was pushing. I was lying on my side with one leg propped up. I was in disbelief that I had not felt transition and my contractions did not intensify.
I was telling my baby and my body to go slowly as I inched her out. The contractions were not strong at all, and my pushing was not forceful. Her head finally came out, and my 3-year-old gave me so much oxytocin when she saw the baby’s head and said,”My sister! It’s my sister!” It felt like a long time before the next contraction as we sat and allowed my body to stretch. Finally, another contraction came. It was weak and painless, so I pushed to help her out. The rest of her body came right out, and I sat up and pulled her out of the water and onto my chest.
She was absolutely perfect! My friends are still in shock that she came so fast with only 1 hour and 34 minutes of labor and no screaming or signs of her arrival so soon. Both my significant other and my mother missed the birth, but watched on my live feed.
I felt so empowered and in control. I was extremely relaxed and beyond excited and welcoming of my contractions with no fear or stress. I feel that being so mentally prepared and knowing my body was meant to have babies on its own was what allowed for my pain-free, quick delivery!