Jax, was born August 27th (41 weeks + 5 days), at 3:53 AM weighing 7lbs 7oz and measuring 21 inches long.
Since I was a teenager, I’d been terrified of giving birth. I had been told by various people that I couldn’t or shouldn’t have a baby (I was 4’11” and 90 lbs). They’d say things like, “You’re too small to birth a baby, your hips will pop out of place, and you’ll rip in two.” These predictions along with other women’s horror stories terrified me. So, Wil and I decided we would prepare as much as possible and I would have a home birth…
At 5:00 AM I woke to what felt like a tiny kick and a sound… “Pfft!” My water broke. There was no huge gush, but I knew what the sound was from hearing other women post about it. Contractions started almost immediately. We began timing them, but I was horrible at it. I’d hit a button signifying the start of one and then walk away from my phone while in discomfort. Wil called our midwife and she suggested trying not to think about them. Her suggestions were to try to go to sleep or take a hot bath. My hubby called both of our moms while I kept trying to time the contractions.
I couldn’t sleep through the contractions and talking was getting harder, so Wil ran me a bath. Within 30 minutes of my water breaking, I was saying words I never use and repeating, “I don’t know what to do,” over and over again. Looking back, I later recognize this as transition. But at the time, it seemed too soon for transition and I just didn’t know how to feel better. We hadn’t even prepped the pool or several other things we would need for the birth. Wil was trying to grab the hose and get things ready, but I looked at him and told him, “No, don’t do anything. Just be here.”
I’d practiced my Hypnobirthing techniques over and over again, but I couldn’t master them in the tub. I was too busy trying to find a comfy position that would keep my head above water. Eventually, I told Wil this wasn’t going to work and we very slowly made our way back up the stairs and to the bed. I laid down on my side and began to focus on breathing and muscle relaxation. Between contractions all I could tell Wil was, “I want Amber.” I wanted my midwife like a sick child wants Mommy.
I remember lying on the bed and realizing how scared I was. I told myself I could do it and asked Wil to recite our Rainbow Relaxations (a combo of affirmations and visualizations). He began speaking his version of the script over me and giving me a light touch massage. I asked him to repeat it three times in a row while I continued focusing on my breathing and relaxing different muscle groups. I couldn’t get all of my muscles to relax, so I decided to put all my attention on my arms and legs. I concentrated on how those muscles felt light and calm; as if they were floating. I was able to enter a sleep-like state of relaxation and build my confidence. Wil finished his adlibbed Rainbow Relaxation for the third time, and I asked him to pray for me and our baby boy. Amber and her midwifery team arrived somewhere around this time.
I was checked around 8:00 AM, and I was already fully dilated. My midwife was surprised. She told my husband she wasn’t sure if they’d be able to get the pool up in time, but set it up anyways. I was in a good place of relaxation, so she asked if the noise of the pump would bother me. I shook my head and they went to work.
While the tub was being filled, we tried a few positions to try to encourage baby to move down. I sat on the toilet for a while and I felt FER/NER kick in. Amber stood next to me and stroked my hair while I leaned against her for support. Then we moved back toward the room. I stopped and hung arms around Wil’s neck for a couple of contractions. Next I squatted down on the floor, but shot back up almost immediately. Amber said, “Don’t be afraid of the pressure Holly,” as if she was reading my mind. We went ahead and moved me to the pool.
The water was warm and comforting. It made the contractions more bearable, but moments of fear still crept in. Wil turned my oil diffuser on and played the affirmations my friend Kayla had orated for me. A few of my affirmations stuck with me over and over while I was in the tub, “I will be open and ready to accept the path my birth takes,” and, “My body is relaxed. My mind is strong. Jax will arrive in perfect time.”
Fear started to creep in again. I asked for Amber again, not realizing she was still in the room. I just needed to know she and Wil were there. Both of them moved and stayed by my side through each surge. My back pain was intense and I was growing tired. I wanted it to be over, but Jax still wasn’t crowning. I knew our baby boy was going to come out one way or another, and I knew I wanted to birth him at home without interventions. So, I gathered my strength and repeated more affirmations, “I am a conqueror. I am a warrior. My body is a temple. It is capable. I will trust my baby and my body.” I could feel my FER/NER kicking in again.
I’m not sure how long I was in the pool. Despite my discomfort, my concept of time was nonexistent and it passed quickly. Little did I know it had been hours and Jax still hadn’t crowned. My midwife team checked baby’s heartbeat and Amber checked my cervix. All was still well. Jax was just taking his time to arrive.
I could feel Jax’s little head in the birth canal. He’d been moving down VERY slowly. I was excited to feel him, but my body was exhausted and there was still a ways to go. Amber suggested I try sitting on the toilet again to encourage him to move down more. We tried the toilet and then I decided to try kneeling again. I knelt down, but my legs shook too much. I didn’t have the strength to hold myself in that position (I’d been in the delivery stage for seven hours already). I asked to take a break and just relaxed for a few contractions.
Then, Amber suggested moving to the bed again. I had not wanted to push and hoped to have a water birth, but I remembered my affirmation, “I will be open and willing to accept the path my birthing takes.” I laid on the bed and Wil, Kara, and Amber took turns holding my legs on their shoulders. A surge would come, they would lift my legs, and then lower my legs at the completion of each contraction. This allowed me to rest and relax. It was exactly what I needed. I couldn’t feel FER but I continued to push on my own. Relaxing and pushing at the same time. They allowed me to take my time. I chose to push during one surge and breathed through others. With each contraction I had enough energy to push two times, then it was back to relaxing.
Amber told me his head was showing and I felt for him. It was exciting to feel him so close to being Earthside. I pushed again and felt for him. He’d come a little further. After a while I felt for him a third time, but jerked my hand back. I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t made more progress I decided not to feel again, but rather be patient and wait for him to come through.
Our little one crowned for over an hour until, finally it was time to meet him. His head was ready to come through and I felt the burn and a tear. The pain scared me, but I told myself, “That feeling means you’re about to meet your baby.” Just like that, his head was born. I took a short break between contractions and it was time to push again. I could feel him moving and again I felt the burn. I thought it again, “That feeling means you’re about to meet your baby!” I mustered all of my strength and pushed three times during this last contraction. I remember Amber saying, “Open your eyes, Holly. Open your eyes.” I opened my eyes to see baby Jax rising with the final push and he was placed on my chest. My beautiful baby boy laid there staring up at me as if he knew exactly who I was. Finally, he placed his hands in his mouth and cried his first big cry. My heart melted. I never knew I could love something so much!