Babies & Birth Stories

Read stories submitted by Snohomish Midwives’ clients

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"Not once was I afraid. I love that. I am so grateful that I had such a positive birth experience."

On average, first-time mothers give birth around 41 weeks. Due to this statistic, and the fact that my husband and I were in the middle of completely remodeling our home, I had convinced myself that I was going to be the average first-time mom and have my baby at 41 weeks. So when, at 37 weeks and 5 days along, I noticed a small drop of liquid running down my leg, I was in denial that I could actually be going into labor. Not only was I not 41 weeks along, but I hadn’t felt any contractions. This wasn’t normal for a first-time mom either. My husband, Nick, and I decided to call our midwives, just in case. I was told that I should take it easy, but I could continue on with my day, and unless something changed, we would meet for our already scheduled 4pm appointment.

I called my aunt (our doula) to let her know that I might be having the baby that night. She picked up my birth tub and insisted on coming over so she could take me shopping, as I was still missing a few items for my birth kit… I was going to have this baby at 41 weeks, remember? Melissa called around noon to see how I was doing. I still wasn’t having any contractions, so the plan was to meet at 4pm unless something changed.While I waited for Nick to come home from work, I watched the documentary, More Business of Being Born because I was trying to put my mind in a positive place. I was apprehensive about giving birth because 1) I had never done it before, 2) I wanted to have a completely natural home birth, and 3) I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to handle the pain of labor. I felt this way partly because I had horrible back spasms one month before that sent me to urgent care. After my back started to feel better, (Melissa had me see a chiropractor, massage therapist, and an acupuncturist), I was still nervous about giving birth, but I made a deal with myself that I would stay positive and only listen to uplifting birth stories. I also started Hypnobirthing, which was helpful. When Nick, got home, he installed the car seat (yes, last minute), and we went to our appointment. When Melissa checked me, she said that she could feel the baby’s head! I couldn’t believe it. I was already at 3½ cm and I didn’t feel a thing. She asked me if she could help me get to 4cm. I wanted to say no, but I knew that if I didn’t feel contractions soon, I could end up in the hospital, so I said yes. It was less painful than I anticipated. When she told me that I did great, she made me believe that I could really do this. Around 6:30pm, we met with my massage therapist to help get my labor started. When we were done, we went out for dinner. It was around 8:30pm when we were driving down our windy road that I began feeling consistent pressure in my lower back. I wasn’t too concerned because I wasn’t having uterine contractions. Melissa called me around 9pm and told me to get some rest. I believe that her last words were that she didn’t want to come when I was already pushing. Little did we know that I would progress so quickly…

I tried to sleep for a little while, but my mind was spinning, and soon the pressure in my back started getting more intense. At one point, still believing that I was in the pre-labor stage, I remember holding onto my headboard saying out loud to myself, “I thought that you were supposed to be able to sleep through contractions during the pre-labor stage; I can’t sleep through this…” I was leaning over on my bed when Nick came in and asked me when I was planning on letting him know that I needed him. Around 11pm I suddenly became exhausted and I started thinking irrationally. I told him that I shouldn’t have had Melissa get me to 4cm, I shouldn’t have taken the Blue Cohosh, I shouldn’t have had the massage, that way I could’ve slept and did this in the morning. I went on to tell him that I didn’t think that I could do this for 12 more hours, especially since I hadn’t even started having “real” contractions yet. He just held my hand, rubbed my back, timed my contractions, and encouraged me that I could do it. He knew that it was important that I did all of the things that Melissa told me to do, but he listened to me anyway, which is what I needed. Looking back, it’s obvious that I was in transition, especially since I began doubting myself, but at the time I had no idea I was that far along. Then I suddenly felt the urge to push, but I didn’t realize that’s what I was feeling. Strangely, my husband knew, so he called Melissa. She told him not to let me push. She was on her way.

While we waited, I got really hot, so I went outside to cool off. I started hugging the siding on my house, asking when Melissa was going to get there. We live on 18 acres in the middle of nowhere, so it took her a little while to get to our house. I was in a complete daze, but I remember, with such clarity, the sound of Melissa’s tires as they rolled down our gravel driveway, as well as the sight of her headlights as they got closer. It was 12am. I only half remember her getting out of her car and asking how I was doing. I just was so relieved that she was there. Because I was planning on having a water birth, and we were not living in our house yet, we set up a blow up bed near the birth tub. This is where Melissa checked me. Aside from the fact that we were on a blow-up bed, this was difficult because I was already pushing. Once she was able to check me, she saw that I was dilated to 10cm. I was given the ok to start actively pushing. So that’s what I did. It wasn’t until she asked Nick where I was going to deliver, that it really hit me. Not only was this going to happen soon, but my dream of having a home birth was going to come true. She told me that I needed to decide very quickly where I wanted to have the baby. As one would expect, the blow-up bed wasn’t really working out so well. I decided that I wanted to be in my actual bed. So, the six of us ended up in our very small guest apartment that is attached to our garage. I was pushing ineffectively for a while. Melissa explained that she wasn’t going to make me hold my breath and count to 10 like they would do in the hospital, but it would help if I changed my breathing. My friend later told me that it was amazing how fast I started to progress once I listened to her. Soon after I did that, everyone saw the head. Melissa explained to me that this was when the rocking would begin; 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Each time he showed his head, everyone got so excited; it was very encouraging. I lost all sense of time, but it soon began to sting a little. It was out-of-body experience, yet I felt very much in control at the same time; it felt like I was dreaming. Melissa soon told me that the next time I pushed his head was going to crown, and that it would hurt the most that it’s going to hurt, but then he would be born. That’s exactly what happened. At 1:30am, less than 3 hours of being in active labor, I gave birth to my beautiful healthy baby boy!

Throughout labor my contractions consisted of intense pressure in my back, but I wouldn’t describe my birth experience as being painful. It was nothing compared to the back spasms that I experienced one month earlier, and for that I feel very blessed to have had them. Having my baby at home and having Melissa as my midwife was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I never realized how important having a home birth was to me until I did it. As much as I wanted to believe that they would be, most aspects of my experience were not the norm for a first-time mother: I went into labor 15 days early, my water broke 12 hours before I experienced any type of contractions, I never experienced uterine contractions, yet I wouldn’t say that I had painful back labor either, and I went from active labor to transition to pushing to having my baby all within five hours. Thinking back on all of the emotions that I felt that night, the one emotion that I expected to feel but didn’t was fear. Not once was I afraid. I love that. I am so grateful that I had such a positive birth experience. My husband and I are looking forward to having another homebirth in the future, as well as having Melissa and Sarah as our midwives. Even though we’ve done this once, I know that every birth is unique. Next time, I won’t convince myself that I will have my baby at 41 weeks or 37 weeks, because the baby will come when he or she is ready, regardless of what I want or whether our house is done, which by then, it better be!

- Rebecca


Snohomish Midwives   877.869.6105