I wanted to finally get back to my blog to tell you about my second homebirth.
My first birth was in 2015, at our remote home in the mountains. Since then I’ve become a doula, lactation professional, herbalist, and midwife. I’ve also aged nearly 6 years. To be honest, my pregnancy sucked. I hated almost every minute of it. It was unplanned, I was out of shape and definitely depleted of mineral and nutrient stores. My diet sucked. I was super behind on sleep.
Clearly a great time to make a baby.
Anyway, I survived mild hyperemesis and thyroid issues. I survived the aches and pains and sleepless nights. And thank goodness is finally fucking over.
One of the few highlights of my pregnancy was getting professional photos done. I was 41 weeks pregnant (a day before birthing!) and I decided just to have some fun. It was glorious and I highly recommend it. Even if you’re fat, even if you have a B belly and an apron belly, even if you have stretch marks and its just hard to think about.
Anyway, look at this amazing photo Marlyn took! You can find her stuff here: Marlyn Photographs
So down to the business of birth.
A lot of people have asked me what its like to birth now that I know so much. It’s not that different. It’s just like normal birth, except now I have an annoying voice in the back of my head going, ‘Well it is transition, what did you expect?’
This time I knew that I would hate it (yes I do not enjoy birthing), but that it certainly would end. During my first birth I kept getting stuck in the mental loop that it would never end, I was going to die, and everything would be horrible forever. This time was different, it was more like, ‘I hate this, I sort of want to die, and it’s definitely going to end very soon so I need to push through it.’
Maybe you’ve caught on that I don’t glorify birth here, I’m not a flower and rainbow and positive thoughts midwife. Yes I love birth affirmations and calm, peaceful births. I also love the births when people scream and rage and get mad about it. They’re all valid and amazing, and the way that you act during your labor and birth doesn’t dictate any value on it. Regardless of what you sound like, how your birth goes, or what you think about it after – you did an amazing thing.
Back to my story.
This time I knew it was best to just ignore things until I couldn’t. I didn’t change my plans, even though we had friends coming over to pick up turkeys I had wrangled for them the day before. I figured they wouldn’t mind being kicked off the farm abruptly if I happened to have a baby, and so my thoughts went at 6am when a few haphazard contractions woke me up. I timed them for an hour and decided to get up. They stopped when I began moving, so I brushed them off as early work or practice contractions and began my day.
Our friends came, the neighbors came, we hung around and watched turkey wrangling. I kept having completely random contractions; sometimes they hurt, sometimes they didn’t and so I ignored them. Why time something that would only give me anxiety?
I kept in touch with my midwifery team via text. They were anxious to head over as neither live closer than an hour and a half, and second babies tend to rush into the world. I kept saying no.
In the afternoon people’s voices and presence began to irritate me. I banished my family and friends to the river, save on friend who had already discussed attending the birth with me. We hung out on our newly built back porch while I lounged in our hillbilly hottub. I began to vocalize a little through some painful contractions, that were just starting to come together into something. Sometime close to 5:00PM we called the midwifery team, the birth photographer, and told the family to come back from the river. Apparently around this time the neighbors heard some noise and thought “its time!”, they had just had a baby a month prior and we were very excited to all be birthing.
After that it begins to blur together, the way that births do. I remember people quietly showing up, popping their heads onto the porch, and disappearing again. My son came to give me a kiss and disappeared upstairs with my friend. My husband bustled around inside trying to cook and clean and set up the birth pool. My photographer quietly observed around the edges of things. My dogs came for snuggles and then retreated as I got louder. My midwife and assistant checked in a few times, rubbed my back and head and listened to baby.
Then transition hit. It was really getting dark, and while the back porch was lovely I needed to go inside (I experienced the same urge during my first labor). I yelled and flailed and hated all of it. Feeling your bones move like that just sucks. For about 20 minutes I raged about the pool not being full enough, then I hopped in as soon as it was barely ready and began to push. In a few pushes her head was out, but she wasn’t coming further. My instincts told me to move a leg up, and she popped out. I unwrapped her nuchal cord underwater, and brought her up to my chest as my support team helped me sit back off my knees.
Lyra Phoenix was born at 8:50PM, April 11th 2021.
She was a perfect 6lbs 8oz, with a full head of hair.
My immediate postpartum was a wonderful haze of laughter and tears. My son came down and told me his sister was beautiful, ‘like a diamond in the sky’. He was enamored, as were we all.
PS: you can also have some amazing birth photographs if you hire Jenna! You can find her work here at Jenna L Richman Photography