I love birth stories...

So I thought I should share my own.

This one is my first birth. I chose to do it at home, ON PURPOSE.

Prior to getting pregnant with my daughter, I had been a doula for 18 months. I had attended over 30 births in the capacity of doula or photographer, and I had seen enough to know that leaving your home is the FIRST intervention during labor. Even birth center births would experience a lull in contractions, oftentimes, due to the car ride from home to the birth center. By the time it was my turn to have a baby, I had zero doubt I wanted to give birth in the comfort of my home with a provider I could truly trust.

San Antonio Nurse Midwife entering the birth space

For this birth, that provider was Nikki Brown.

She has 13+ years of experience in hospital nursing and now, over 10 years experience as a midwife. She has a warm, welcoming, light-hearted and honest demeanor that I truly needed as a first time mom.

As I prepared for my birth, I remember her advising me to just stay busy and have something planned every day so that I wasn't driving myself nuts waiting for a baby to come. Haha! Easier said than done, but I forced myself to at least plan to go swimming every day. My girl was due in JUNE in San Antonio! For those of us from here, we know that's basically just south of boiling an egg on the sidewalk type weather... especially when one is round with child.

The week of her birth, I went through a lot of early labor contractions for about 3 days before a real pattern started to form. By Tuesday evening, June 16, 2015, my waters broke, but there was still no real labor pattern— just consistently remaining contractions. 

waiting in the water for birth to happen

For me, this is where the midwifery model really shines...

Nikki never fretted about my waters being broken for a certain amount of time. She watched my actions and my body, NOT the clock.

Instead, we rested and nourished my body. I called my mom to get in town (from Dallas) as quickly as possible and watched some movies while we waited for things to pick up. One of my favorite memories from the night my waters broke was that my husband and I slow danced in my kitchen and prayed together; thanking God for the impending birth of our child after such a wonderful season of "just us." It was so sweet and intimate.

It seems like I was really waiting for my mom to get in town though, because as soon as she got to my house, my labor pattern kicked in - a full 24-26 hours after my initial rupture of membranes. And you know what? NOBODY stuck their hand inside me to confirm I was in labor til I asked for that check.

family watching in anticipation for san antonio home birth

When my cervix was checked, I was 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced so with my contraction pattern, it was safe to say that I would be having a baby soon— ish…

I danced, labored on the toilet, in the shower and back and forth for a few hours. I tried to focus my attention on one spot as each contraction ebbed and flowed. As the intensity rose, I began to moan loudly, always thinking of Ina May’s instructions to think of an OOOpen cervix and make low OOOOHHH sounds…. it came out more as “ooowwww” but I like to think it was effective. Eventually I came to a point of frustration because the pain was inescapable and nothing - position changes, water on the belly, breathing - nothing was helping. I hoped submerging in the birth pool would help. I yelled from the shower that I wanted the birth pool— I wasn’t very nice about it.

In retrospect, this was transition. But most mamas who have been to transition know that you don't recognize you're there til you're out! Haha!

mama and daddy feel baby's head as she is born

They got the birth pool filled up and Nikki, who had left, came back to help me finish things out.

I was in the pool for one contraction before it was time to start pushing. I came through that first contraction thinking how disappointed I was that the submergence didn’t have nearly the effect of helping me through the pain like I had hoped.

When the pushing urge hit me, it was like a mac truck was trying to push a wall through my butt!! I scream/roared like a wild woman! I was surprised! Both to be pushing already, and at the noises coming out of me!!

And Oh that pain!!! I remember thinking, “wait… no! it hurts THIS bad!!!??? Let’s just not do this then. Can I stop now?”

And another pushing wave overtook me. I roared and roared. I was on my knees in the water, and the force caused my butt to float up. Nikki pushed my butt down and told me to push into the floor. It helped a little, but I still felt like I couldn’t get a handle on the force or direct it.

Just when I was ready to give up hope, Trace got into the water with me.

As he wrapped himself around me, I felt renewed hope and love flood through me. I relaxed entirely into him as the contraction subsided.

Then I went into gear. I pulled my legs up and prepared for the next contraction. As the pushing began again, I curled forward and decided to hold my roars in to conserve the energy. Finally the head started to make its way out of my body.

I remember touching the head as my body began to hold open without the force of my pushing and got so excited! I knew I was almost done. A few more pushes with the support of my husband and suddenly, Nikki was asking me to reach down and pick up my baby. 

“Ok! Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!!! IT'S OVERRRR!!! Oh Hi, I love YOOOOUUU!!” and “oh! I survived!!!”

We spent a perfect first 30 minutes or so just looking her over, breathing in the glory of what I had just done and smiling as we met our surprise gender first born GIRL! It was incredible.

When my placenta decided not to expel on its own, we made the tough call for me to go to the hospital and let my baby girl stay home with my mom. My amazing friend, Monica, who photographed my birth (and is now a wonderful midwife herself!) pumped for me and shared milk for my sweet girl while I was gone. I'll never stop being grateful for her.

Thankfully, our hospital stay wasn't terribly long. It was not fun - it was a bit traumatizing, but I got back home to my girl and settled into motherhood and all the incredible waves that came with it.

That birth experience taught me SO MUCH.

I learned what mothers REALLY feel like in labor. I found the importance of my voice. And I found myself reborn as a MOTHER. And I have never been the same.