It was around noon on the afternoon of December 16th. I had just got in from the morning with my 3 kids. I had been contracting inconsistently for a few days now but this was a little different. This felt more “real”. Real as it was it was only every 15 minutes or so and “only” 30 seconds. As a doula and witness to many births I knew this could be days still (even though this was my 4th birth)! Nonetheless I cancelled our plans with friends we had that afternoon and even my prenatal appointment with Karen scheduled for the next day. Something just told me I needed to be home. I was in contact with Karen and let her know that I might be having a baby within the next few days.
With our afternoon free I did lots of laundry, baked chocolate chip cookies and even a flourless chocolate cake. It was about 5:00pm when they became very consistent and way more intense at about 45 minutes apart but still lasting about 30 seconds. I let Karen know but wasn’t concerned as they were only 30 seconds and as a good birth worker I know contractions should be at least a minute long to get you into a good active labor pattern. At some point around this time I had my birth ball in the kitchen while assisting my 8 year old daughter in between contactractions in baking the last of the cookies. I was obviously unable to complete the task on my own anymore. I let Karen and Paige know but said I would contact them again in an hour. By around 7pm I found myself laboring in my shower, contractions very close together but still not more than 45 seconds. My husband got home from work around this time and I recall him coming in the bathroom and saying “I guess we're having a baby today." I let my dear friend and doula know but told her if things slow down to please go home (I was still kind of skeptical) as she was bringing her new little one with her.
At some point Karen and Paige were on their way but no rush necessary, I recall texting them very soon after that knowledge (at this point I have no concept of time) simply the word “hurry”. I now knew that I was having my baby any moment now. The 30 or 45 second contractions meant nothing, my baby was coming and fast! My daughter was with me in my bathroom as I sat on the toilet, feeling for our new little ones head between every contraction. At some point Britt (my doula and friend) came in and I felt a sense of relief. If Karen didn’t make it (she lives an hour away) I felt so much better that Britt was there. Tammy (my birth photographer and friend) was there with her and I was so glad since I forgot about even calling Tammy so thankfully Britt did! Britt was talking with Karen and Paige and asked that I lay on my side which I wasn’t having so Britt suggested I get on my hands and knees which felt so great in the grand scheme of things. So at this point it was me laboring in my bedroom on my bed with Joe (my husband,) oldest son (Joey,) and daughter (Sofia,) Britt, Tammy, Karen and Paige on speaker phone. It was pretty surreal ! I never imagined birth this simple as this being my 4th birth but first homebirth.
It was so peaceful, I really didn’t have a sense of much around me. I did feel gentle comfort measures from Britt as well as the tiny hand of my daughter on my hand from time to time. With every contraction now I felt that this could be the one that brings my sweet baby earthside. There was a different voice I heard during one of these contractions and it was Karen! I again felt relief just like I did earlier. I felt like now he/she can come.
Within minutes, I’m not sure how many honestly, my sweet Adrien was born, it was incredible and he was perfect. Karen or Paige caught him and laid him under my belly, I sat up, scooped him up and I recall totally being in the moment. This was probably the most amazing moment of my life. To have given birth among such nurturing and supportive women and to have my family there with me the whole time. Having the presence of my oldest two children was so wonderful for me as well as them. Karen and Paige were so great afterward with everything. There was no rush to do anything besides cherish all the first moments after birth. I remember thinking, as I still do, it doesn’t get any better than this, what I just experienced, what I am experiencing and what I still do when I think about it and just how much it has influenced my life!
Beautiful photos by Tammy Bradshaw, tammybradshawphotography.com