Writing my last post helped me work through many of my struggles and fears as I awaited Sadie’s arrival. The next day I woke up full of peace and this feeling that God would work it all out with the sickness going through our home and Mark not being able to be at the birth. And He did. It was magical, His presence so felt.
First, I have to note that months ago my February due date group did a “What’s Your Guess” game and I said February 20th knowing my late babies. February 19th, I just had this feeling that tomorrow was going to be the day. I cleaned my room preparing for a homebirth, I felt excited and looked forward to labor starting. That night my friend Leslie texted me something like, “I’m feeling labor vibe for you.” I said, “Me too, I think tomorrow is her birthday” and she said she had been feeling the same way for me. She had also had a dream earlier in the week that she was there to catch Sadie when she was born, little did we now that would come true. It’s neat to know how intuition can be so strong!
I was all excited when at woke up at 5am on February 20th with a stronger contraction than Braxton Hicks, but they faded after a few hours, as my usual. I went to my 41 weeks midwife appointment at 10am, she did a cervical check (3cm) and a membrane sweep to see if it would encourage contractions on its own. We discussed the pressure I was feeling from family to have this baby before Monday when I would be considered 42 weeks. She suggested I try a castor oil cocktail at lunch and see how that goes, otherwise do a full castor oil induction on Saturday after a good night’s sleep. We also talked about the possibility of me delivering at the birth center instead of at home for my own comfort level of not having kids around for me to worry and to avoid the sick germs. I bought the supplies and headed home to make myself lunch and a cocktail.
I was only able to get half of the recipe down, I apparently don’t like almond butter! It was certainly easier to drink consistently wise compared to other castor oil recipes, but I should of used peanut butter for taste. By 2pm I was feeling consistent contractions (after getting cleared out some in the bathroom, of course.) they picked up to 2 minutes apart, but then spaced back out. I notified my birth photographer and doula, who both had 2-3 hour drives to make that I was having contractions and tonight should be it. By 4pm I decided to take more castor oil to get things going stronger again (especially if people were traveling to be with me!), I really felt like today was her birthday and wanted to do what I know works for my body. I made scrambled eggs with veggies with 2 ounces of castor oil in it (eggs is by far the best way I’ve found to not taste the castor oil with the 3 inductions I’ve now done with it!). I got it down easily while I packed up for the birth center since I decided that was going to be best for the situation surrounding this birth.
Leslie came to take me to the birth center around 5:30pm, contractions had picked back up to being every 3-5 minutes and stronger. When we arrived we got settled, got out the essential oils I wanted to use, put out the diffuser, etc. and then walked the halls to get things moving faster. I truly was nervous at this point, that these would pitter out like usual and I felt pressure to keep them going so I wouldn’t waste people’s time. My doula, Kristen, arrived around 6:30pm. She is a mommy from my due date group and it was the first time we’ve actually met in person but it felt normal and easy to keep on laboring with her there. My Midwife and 2 labor supporters helped me do some side lying pelvic release positions through contractions to help bring the baby down, Sadie was still pretty high up. That worked and things picked up fast after that!
My birth photographer arrived around 7 pm while contractions got stronger. They had moved to every 2 minutes or so and definietly taking more effort to work through. Leslie said a prayer over Sadie and the birth, which helped center us all I think and welcomed His presence into our hearts and room as we prepared. We continued to set up the room in between contractions, I kept trying to do things like text people to update or set up music but they were coming fast and I had to keep stopping. Leslie and Kristen took turns helping me through contractions while I leaned over the dresser with hip pressure, light touch, or a harder touch massage. It was incredibly helpful and a new experience for me, I haven’t had that in my other births. I found it so nurturing and the touch a welcomed distraction.
We got the tub ready since things were obviously more intense now and I was checked around 8pm and was 4cm. Not much progress since 10am, but progress non-the-less! I got in the tub and while contractions were frequent and strong I was still laughing and enjoying things in between. I could tell things were progressing when later the pressure was getting more intense in my bottom and it reminded me of what I was going to feel when pushing. I always dread pushing and we talked through this fear of mine, they reminded me of how short that pushing time is and when it is time it will be over before I know it. And then I would have a baby!
With each contraction one or both of my doulas/friends would come to my aid, often one massaging my back and the other rubbing my head. It was so peaceful, even if it felt crazy on the inside for a minute as a contraction peaked. They encouraged me with their words too when I needed it, to breathe in deep and that she was coming out soon. I have spent months really praying over this birth and how I envisioned it. I wanted to be calmer, more relaxed, and just surrendering to the process. I truly feel having these 2 wonderful ladies helped me to do that! We all agreed that it was really neat to have an all women birth, nothing against men/dad’s being there, but it felt like how it would of been hundreds of years ago when birth was only a women’s event. My midwife called it a “Red Tent” experience It was super empowering feeding off their strength and knowledge of what I was a feeling. However, I did have to grieve a little and feel sad about Mark not being here to witness his daughter’s birth. But, we both understood and felt at peace that this set up was the best scenario for this birth.
At 10pm my midwife wanted to check me again, which was no fun getting out of the tub and feeling all heavy again! Contractions on the bed were not comfortable at all, I was much more tense. I prayed that there would be change and she said “Good job Momma Bear” as she found me to be 7-8 cm and baby was lower. I texted Mark and family in between contractions to let them know it would be soon! I told Leslie to turn on the video camera because I knew it was close, usually when I get to this point pushing happens soon after. And I was right.
I worked through a few contractions sitting on the yoga ball by the bed while they filled the tub again. There I started feeling shaky and nauseous, I knew transition was hitting. Leslie suggested I smell peppermint oil and it was the BEST thing in those moments. It took away the nausea, gave me some energy, and something else to focus on. I used the bathroom one more time and found bloody show, then got back in the tub (with peppermint on a towel for me to smell!). I assumed the position I had been this whole time when in the tub, kind of a frog squatting position and leaning my head forward on the side of the tub. My body began pushing soon after getting back in. I’m told I started pushing at 10:26pm and she was out by 10:28pm! 3 pushes, my fastest pushing time yet and I powered through it. It was intense as I knew it would be but, I knew it was almost over so I roared her out quickly.
Fun facts: She was born with her hand by her face, her arm popped out before her head, and a bubble of amniotic sac still intact before her head (a caul baby just like her sister Ashlyn!). She also was born in a purple room with the same furniture as her brother Jaxson who was born there. Amazingly, with all that going on and how fast she came out, I didn’t tear at all.
The relief was instant, as I knew it would be. Leslie helped to pull her up onto my chest as I sat back (as was her dream!). Her cord was wrapped around her body and she was blue. She didn’t cry or open her eyes at first, the whole crew quickly surrounded the tub closer and encouraged her to breathe with rubbing and gentle whispers. My midwife suggested we pray and she literally blew life into my daughter’s lungs, along with a few from a mask. It felt like eternity in the moment, but it actually didn’t take long for her to breathe and pink up. I wasn’t scared, I knew God (and my midwives) had this. I knew she would be okay. And she was! For the next hours after that she cried a LOT trying to clear her lungs, but that cry was a welcomed sound in our room We moved to the bed, snuggled skin to skin, and she quickly started nursing (in between her crying).
After resting a few hours and taking a shower, Sadie and I went home with Leslie to continue avoiding the flu germs and fevers going on at my home. This also was an answer to prayer and one of my worries, it was such a help and blessing to have 2 days away being fed awesome wholesome food while my family continued to heal and Mark could focus on the kids. We all missed each other a lot though, and we went home February 22nd on Savannah’s 8th birthday to meet their new little sister! Sadie is adored by everyone, even little Ashlyn. We are so happy for her arrival and in love with her! I love the scowl she has on her face most of the time
Born February 20th, 2015
7 pounds 15 ounces
19 inches long
Bonus! You can watch Sadie’s birth video here.
All black and white photos by Katy Cook Photography