It’s crazy that I’m writing our birth story! Feels like only days ago that I was 12 weeks pregnant scrolling through the birth stories on Carmen’s page wondering if I should switch from our OB to midwifery (glad I did!).
It was around 2am, three days after my due date that I realized I might be in labor. I had experienced Braxton hicks contractions since 33 weeks, so I wasn’t phased when contractions started the day before. I was trying to sleep, but this was the first time that the contractions were painful enough that I had to focus and breathe through them. I woke up my husband and after a couple hours of breathing though contractions we both knew this was it.
4:30am – We got excited and called Carmen way too early. She kindly told us she would be happy to come, but usually the doula arrives first to feel out the situation. She also reminded us to start blowing up the pool.
At around 5am, my sister and our doula arrived and we all kind of fell into a groove getting through contractions. The contractions were getting more intense, but our doula and my husband were right by my side the entire time using counter pressure, combs, tennis balls, a scarf, and many more things to help. At around 7am Carmen arrived and asked if I wanted to be checked. Although I knew that dilation was not the determining factor of progression, I was still a little nervous when she told me I was only 5cm. I thought I was at least 7-8 cm and I became a little fearful of just how painful this would get. Carmen reassured me that I was doing everything correctly and my body was making progress with each contraction. She asked if I was comfortable with her leaving until I was a little farther along (which I was, but I knew that if I asked her to stay, she would have in a heartbeat).
I was exhausted at this point. I had done the manitou incline (a pretty intense hike) the day before with my sister and was unable to get any sleep in between, so I was a little nervous I would run out of energy. About 30 minutes after Carmen left, I was breathing though a contraction and my water broke (my energy SHOT back up at this point). It felt like a water balloon popped in my belly and I could feel the water rush out. Immediately, the contractions became more intense, and my team and I worked hard to breathe through them. I don’t know who called Carmen, but I remember telling my husband I needed to push right as Carmen walked back in the door. Carmen (very calm, as she always is) told me I could get in the pool if I wanted to.
I got in the pool and started pushing. As a first-time mom, it was scary not knowing what pushing/crowning would feel like, but everyone around me was supportive and encouraging. I pushed for about 30 minutes before the baby’s head started crowning. This was the time when I was especially grateful for my team who just encouraged me that I could do it. It took another 10 minutes of the baby’s head crowning, slowly coming out and then going back in with each contraction, to come out. If I am being totally honest, it was a little scary in the moment. Pushing and feeling the head almost come out, but then having to stop and feeling it go back in. Every time that happened, I would ask Carmen if the baby was okay and every time, she calmly told me that I was doing everything exactly right. She was so patient with me. I finally let out the most primal noise I’ve ever made and pushed baby’s head out. As much as my husband wanted to catch our baby, I had a death grip on both his hands, and he knew I needed him by me. With another big push, Carmen caught our baby and put him on my chest.
12:08pm – Baby was born!
At 12:13pm, we rolled our sweet baby over and found out WE HAD A BOY! Nothing can describe that feeling… My husband and I were just slightly hoping we would have a girl but, in that moment, I knew I was supposed to be a boy mom. It was the best feeling in the world.
I don’t mean to sound all “hallmark-y”, but after that we were all in pure bliss. Yes, I was still in some pain and needed clamps because I tore just a little bit, but everyone was so calm. No bright lights, panicking, or people rushing in and out. We were in our own home. Everyone was calmly cleaning up and chatting. Carmen did not make us feel rushed, we were just allowed to soak up our new little baby. An hour and a half after delivery, Carmen did the newborn assessment and announced that our 8lb 12oz and 21-inch-long baby boy was healthy. 🙂 She stayed for a few more hours and made sure we were okay, and the latch was good, then headed out (returning the next day to check back in).
Carmen set us up for success. She invested her time, energy, and knowledge into my family, so we went into the birth knowing what was going to come. After doing it, I can say a key part of having a successful homebirth is choosing your birth team, and I am so glad Carmen was a part of ours!
–Rebekka, Brandon and baby