Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Today’s birth story is from Samantha at Modern Day Hippie Mama. Samantha’s midwife almost missed her home birth, but her oldest daughter was there to witness the arrival of her youngest sister. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
When I discovered that I was pregnant with my fourth child my first call was to the midwife. The lovely receptionist, who I had become friends with during my previous pregnancy, reminded me to call my partner to let him know we were expecting.
We didn’t plan on telling our other three daughters that they would be getting a baby brother or sister until I was showing obvious signs of pregnancy, which, thanks to morning sickness, came sooner than later. When our 4-year-old asked, “Is Mommy dying?” we decided it was time to fill them in.
Once they got over the initial shock of the news and the obligatory sibling argument over whether there would be a brother or sister (one wanted a girl, one wanted a boy, and one wanted a puppy), our 8-year-old chimed in that she definitely wanted to be there to see the baby being born.
I thought long and hard about the notion of our daughter being there for the birth of the baby and decided that it would be a good idea. She was well-informed; I spoke with her in great detail about pregnancy, included her in midwife appointments, explained to her what would happen during the delivery, and showed her videos of women giving birth.
She was ready.
This pregnancy, after the initial 3 months of morning sickness, was the easiest of the four. However, just as the others weren’t eager to enter the world on their anticipated date of arrival, neither was this baby. Five days after baby’s due date I decided to give the “induction cocktail” a go, knowing that my midwife and doula were leaving for holidays within the next couple of days.
The day my midwife and I agreed to try getting the labor moving we sent our younger two girls to Grandma and Grandpa’s. My eldest and I cleaned the house, prepared everything for the birth, made a “groan cake”…and waited. [Tradition holds that the scent of a groaning cake being baked in the birth house helps to ease the mother’s pain.] Then we waited some more. Oh! Then we waited some more. By 3 p.m. I was starting to lose confidence that this was going to work. I called my midwife who recommended I take another dose of “cocktail” before giving up all hope.
By 8:30 p.m., I was starting to feel some slight twinges in my belly, but wasn’t sure if maybe I just ate too much cake. I decided to go run myself a bath. My daughter came with me into the bathroom to keep me company and make sure nothing was happening. My partner took the dog for a walk. Within a short time I could feel the contractions were beginning to come on a bit stronger, and I decided to inform my midwife and doula that things were actually starting to happen. I told her that I could talk through the pain and they were only lasting a short while.
That all changed within 5 minutes.
Suddenly, the contractions were one on top of the other. My daughter called my partner and held up the phone so I could scream for him to, “Get home NOWWWWWWWWWWW!!”. He came home moments later and called the midwife, who was approximately 15 minutes away.
This baby didn’t want to wait for the midwife’s arrival, however. We had been planning a home birth, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about an unassisted one! I could feel the baby making its way into the world. I got myself out of the bathtub and onto the bed. I couldn’t help but begin to push. I could hear the panic in my partner’s voice when he declared that he could see the head. Much to my relief, I could also hear my daughter telling the midwife to hurry up the stairs because, “THE BABY’S COMING!!!”. Within a couple minutes and a few pushes with my midwife present we welcomed our fourth baby girl into the world, my eldest finalizing the transition by cutting the umbilical cord while beaming with pride and excitement after having seen her baby sister join us earthside.
My doula arrived shortly after she was born. My partner went downstairs to make some snacks for everyone and left my 2 daughters, midwife, and doula in the bedroom. It was then, when I sat in a room filled with these beautiful women did I realize that I was a mother to 4 girls, and I couldn’t feel any luckier.
This is my last birth story as I’m done having babies, but I couldn’t have asked for a better one. Having my daughter there to experience the empowerment of being surrounded by other women, the miracle of bringing life into the earth, and a sense of calm, rather than fear, surrounding birth was everything that I could ever ask for.
You can find Sam blogging over at Modern Day Hippie Mama. She has a passion for organic wine, profanities, and being a mom. She has 4 beautiful daughters, a dog, and that guy she lives with. They live on the West Coast of British Columbia amongst other Birkenstock wearing, home brew guzzling folk. Connect with Sam on Facebook and Instagram.