Yesterday was Leeland’s first birthday. I can’t believe my little monkey was born a year ago and I certainly can’t imagine my life without him. I’d like to share with you the story of his birth. It was such a different experience than my daughter’s birth and a day that I’ll always cherish.
We had been planning to have a home birth. I had made it past 37weeks so everything was a go to have the at home water birth that I had wanted. My estimated due date was January 27th however my labour began at around 5am January 23rd. It started with my water breaking. I woke up to go to the bathroom and discovered my water had broken. I got up walked around but wasn’t really experiencing contractions so I decided to quickly clean my house. I had a sudden surge of energy and cleaned my house in about a half hour then I woke Ricky.
We called my midwife but I still wasn’t experiencing any real contractions. I was group b strep positive and chosen to have antibiotics during my labour*. So because my water had broken I was supposed to begin antibiotics within 4 hours. My midwife told me I could either begin them at home and wait to see if contractions picked up or I could start them at the hospital. Starting them at the hospital would mean an induction if labour didn’t progress quickly enough. We chose to start the antibiotics at home as I wanted to avoid an induction unless absolutely necessary.
By the time my midwife arrived I was feeling very light contractions. She was missing the right equipment to administer the antibiotics so she had to head back to her office to get them. Luckily for me by the time she returned my contractions had picked up a bit so an induction seemed unlikely. I hate needles but sadly I had to have an iv remain in because I was supposed to have the antibiotics every 4 hours until baby came. We knew we were having a boy but we were still torn between two names, Leeland and Jamie.
My midwife went home and told me to call her as soon as the contractions were closer together. Slowly but surely they picked up over the next several hours. My perception of time is kind of foggy but eventually my midwife returned as my contractions got closer together and much stronger. My mom and Ricky filled the birthing pool while my younger sisters played with Isabella. We ran out of hot water so we had to boil water on the stove to get the pool to the right temperature. At some point Ricky put some music on, the complete discography of Jack Johnson. I was able to get in the pool which definitely helped eased my labour pains.
At some point the second midwife arrived. I really appreciated that my midwives didn’t poke or prod me or continually check my dilation. I was able to just relax and let my body work. It wasn’t until the contractions intensified and I started to feel An urge to push that I was checked and it turned out I was 10cm and Leeland (I had told Ricky that I felt that was our baby’s name) was crowning. My midwife told me to reach down and feel his head and I remember saying I was too scared. At the time I was worried that I’d poke his soft spot or something.
My body told me when to push, not my midwife or a doctor or a nurse. I did what God made me to do. Though it felt like forever I only pushed for about 45 minutes or so. It was pretty painful and definitely hard but totally doable. In my own head I felt like I was screaming but after the fact everyone there told me how quiet I had been. Ricky said he was shocked by how little noise I actually made. At 2:09pm Leeland was born, 8lbs 9ozs and 21inches long, to the song Better Together. He came out with his hand by his face and because his arm was up I had 3 1st degree labial tears. I remember feeling myself tear which was probably the worst part of my entire labour.
The cord was around his neck but my midwife slipped it off as he came out and pulled him up into my arms. I held him to my chest and kissed him and told him I loved him while he screamed. It was such a miraculous moment. Ricky cut the cord (which we delayed) and Leeland and I vacated the pool. I held him skin to skin until it was time to deliver the placenta. I decided to do it naturally and did so problem free about 20 minutes after Leelands birth. I was given the option of stitches but since I wasn’t bleeding badly I opted out of them (to be honest I was petrified of the idea of needles in my nether regions and was much too chicken for the stitches).
With the help of my mom and one if the midwives I got cleaned up and dressed. Then I got to curl up in my own bed with my new baby. My midwife helped me start breastfeeding and luckily it went very smoothly. Isabella was able to snuggle with us and it was nice to be at home with both my children and their daddy.
I’m so thankful for and happy with my birth experience. It left me feeling confident in my body and stronger than I’ve ever felt before. I’m so glad that I was able to have the outcome I’d hoped for. I actually really enjoyed my labour and look forward to the possibility of having another home birth someday. Although I may not remember every detail of that day in its entirety I can honestly say it was one of the happiest days of my life (right up there with the day Isabella came home). I love my children so very much and thank God for them every day.
*If I were to test positive for group b strep in a future pregnancy I’m not sure that I would have the antibiotics again.