Theo was born on May 6th at 1:56am at home. Yes it was a planned home birth (I’ve been asked this a lot, ha). This birth was such a redemption from Eli’s birth, not because Eli’s was a traumatic birth, but because Matt was hospitalized and, overall, it was not what I imagined. The birth itself was short and good but having Matt hospitalized, coming home with a baby but without his dad, spending the first week of Eli’s birth with Matt in another room. All of it was so sad for me and it took me a long time to be able to process it all.
So here’s the story of Theo’s birth: Matt and I went out for dinner on Friday, May 4th. During dinner I was having what felt like achy Braxton hicks. I had been having them for months now so I didn’t think much about it until I realized they had a bit of a pattern. That night, right as we were going to sleep at midnight, Eli woke up and he was up until 4am (and so were we). The entire night I felt the slightest pain come and go, but again I didn’t think much about it because I figured I was just tired. It wasn’t until I went to sleep and woke up again that I started to freak out. And then, I saw some spotting. This was the first sign I noticed when I went into labor with Eli. That morning (on Saturday) I happened to have a home visit with my midwife. I am so grateful for God’s perfect timing because I was really battling bad anxiety over going into labor so early. I wasn’t ready emotionally and I hadn’t really prepared our home for the baby. I mean, the crib was in a box and the last stuff I had ordered for Theo hadn’t come in (his crib is still in the box so there’s that). He didn’t even have a name. I was not really ready for this child to come into the world. And most of all, I was so scared of giving birth before it was time. My midwife dropped off the tub that morning (as originally planned) and she tried to put me at ease about giving birth at 37 weeks. I say tried because I spent the rest of the day in bed, drinking a ton of water, denying that I could be in labor and fighting off an anxiety attack. We didn’t tell our parents or pretty much anyone because, again, I was in complete denial that anything was happening. I started canceling appointments and meetings for that day and the upcoming days because, as I told myself, I needed to stay very still for a week so this baby wouldn’t come. Obviously that’s not how it works, but at least I tried. During the afternoon, Matt took bump photos of Eli and me just in case I went into labor.
By night time I texted my doula/birth photographer/friend, Lauren, that I was having contractions that were lasting a minute long every 5 minutes. But I felt fine. I really did. They weren’t painful or bothersome but they were definitely happening very consistently. She got to my place by 10pm and I thought we would all go to sleep and maybe reassess by the morning (I think my uterus was laughing at me at this point). By 10:30pm it all hit and I was in active labor and this is when I finally realized that it did not matter how still I was, this baby was coming. I laid down to try to rest in between contractions but about 30 minutes later everything started to move pretty quickly as I went through transition. At this point, Lauren and Matt got the tub ready while I moaned through my contractions. (I cannot tell you how much I love moaning through contractions. It makes them so bearable). I got in the tub at around midnight and Debbie, my midwife, got there shortly after. I labored in the water for a little less than 2 hours when I finally had a crazy urge to push. This birth was such a different experience than my hospital birth with Eli. With Eli, I arrived at the hospital at 10cm and immediately was told to push even though I did not want to. It made me hate pushing. Debbie, however, told me to not push until I couldn’t not push. So that’s what I did. I waited and waited and then with one push I broke my water. Two contractions later, Theo was born and I caught him. It was the most surreal thing. I had Lauren, Debbie and Matt supporting me through the birth but I was the one in charge of it. I wasn’t checked for dilation once or told what to do. I was allowed to listen to my body and call the shots. While Eli’s birth was still great, I felt so much more empowered with this birth. Giving birth at home was a dream come true. We got to get into bed shortly after I was stitched up and as we waited for Debbie to do all the newborn tests and measurements. And then, by 5am, we were all sound asleep in our bed. I think I only slept about 45min that whole night but still felt so rested.
That morning, when Eli woke up, we got to introduce him to his baby brother. He didn’t care but it was still cute ha. I’m just so glad Eli slept through all my moaning. It all worked out so perfectly. It wasn’t until later that day that we finally got to FaceTime our parents and surprise them with Theo’s sweet face. It was a shock for everyone. No one (including us) had any idea that this sweet boy would be making his entrance so early but I’m so glad we were all healthy and good!
Birth is so incredible. It really is. I think it’s so sad that women aren’t more empowered and encouraged. I feel like our culture spends so much time scaring women about labor that it prevents them from trusting their bodies and the process. I know not every birth is ideal but I still think women could be given more tools to trust the body that God so perfectly created to birth babies.
My pregnancy and labor wouldn’t have been as great as they were had they not been for the following people who really pushed me to trust myself through it all. I so highly recommend them to anyone in the SoCal area:
My midwife, Debbie at Tribe Midwifery
who now feels like a friend to me. So grateful for her cool and collected yet reaffirming and encouraging personality.
My doula and birth photographer, Lauren Guilford
, who kept me centered the entire time. I love love love having her at my births and can’t imagine having to push out a baby without her.
Kathy Killebrew with Imagine Your Birth
. We took her full class with Eli’s pregnancy and it rocked my world. It made me wish I was a doula or midwife because dang, birth is amazing and the more you know about it, the more incredible it is. We took a one day refresher shortly before Theo was born.
My chiropractors at Focus Chiropractic
who made this pregnancy pain free. Getting adjusted is one of my favorite things while pregnant. I so highly recommend it to every pregnant mama. It will make your pregnancy and labor so much better.