Our second pregnancy was accidental. Jason and I had been indecisive for several years about whether and when to have a second child. But we were thrilled when we saw the positive pregnancy test. We knew right away that we wanted to have this baby at home. The hospital birth of our son five years earlier was a lovely and natural water birth but we couldn’t help but feel that it had been unnecessary for us to be in the hospital. So we made calls to several home birth midwives. Our first interview was with Trillium Midwifery and we felt an immediate connection with Emme. We didn’t end up interviewing anyone else.
Our prenatal care was amazing. Our appointments were at Emme’s home and each one lasted an hour, giving us time to talk and get to know our team. We brought Eliot to each appointment and he loved being a part of the process (and playing with Emme’s great toys). Having our appointments at Emme’s home, always with a warm cup of tea, where there was intimacy and comfort, was a blessing and wonderful preparation for birth. As I approached 40 weeks, I felt completely at peace and ready to meet the sweet baby in my belly.
My water broke on Monday night a little after midnight. It was 2 days before my due date. I hadn’t yet gone to bed, but after a quick talk with Emme, I laid down to try to get some sleep. Jason stayed up and filled the birth tub. I had intermittent contractions throughout the night and didn’t sleep well, mostly due to anticipation. Neither of us got much sleep. The next morning I got up early and went for a long walk with a friend, hoping that it would get things moving along, but there was no change. Emme came over around 10am to check on me and the baby. Everything was great. Emme commented that her head was so low that she couldn’t really feel it. We agreed to touch base later in the day.
After dinner that evening, Jason, Eliot and I took another walk. My contractions were becoming more regular and I was pretty tired. We talked with Emme and let her know that it was still stop and go. After making sure that our house was tidied up and everything was ready for the birth, we went to bed around 10pm. Around midnight, I felt like I couldn’t lay in bed anymore and I got up. I knew at that point that my labor had started in earnest. My contractions were still between 6-10 minutes apart but they were definitely getting stronger. I took a long shower and mentally prepared myself for whatever was to come. It was a Blue Moon that night and I spent a few minutes outside taking in the full beauty of the moon under which my daughter would be born (and getting a huge mosquito bite on my belly in the process).
After checking out the moon, I decided to sit on a birthing ball to see if it could help me get into a rhythm. I started my birth playlist and relaxed, while Jason and I chatted and kept track of my contractions. It felt so calm and peaceful and the birthing ball was definitely working its magic. Around 2:30am, we called our team and asked them to come over: Emme, Julie, Rebecca the second midwife, Margaret our doula, my friend Kristen who would be there for Eliot, and our birth photographer, Megan. Everyone showed up over the next forty minutes or so and we all got cozy in the living room. I was able to talk between my contractions and I continued to labor on the ball. I remember feeling incredibly comfortable, safe and surrounded in love at this point. We woke Eliot up around 4am to make sure he would have enough time to fully wake up before the baby arrived. It was important for him to see his sister’s birth. As my contractions started to intensify, Margaret suggested I try laying down in bed to rest for a couple of minutes. I agreed and we moved to the bedroom. The first contraction I had in bed felt so much more intense than all the others and I knew that I was ready to get into the tub. By this time, I was in a labor fog and had lost all sense of time. I got into the tub and remember that the water felt so warm and took the edge off the contractions, which were very intense at this point. I know that I labored in the tub for about an hour before I felt the need to start pushing, but at the time, it felt like only minutes to me. It is so incredible what birth hormones can do! I remember Margaret helping me through contractions and Jason and Eliot encouraging me. When I started pushing, I came out of the fog a bit and realized that Margaret was reading out loud a set of birth affirmations that I had written several days prior. I focused my mind on them as I allowed my body to open for my baby. After 4 or 5 good pushes, Emaline Ophelia was born at 5:55am. I distinctly remember hearing the song, The World Exploded Into Love All Around Me, playing from my birth playlist as she came into the world. Jason caught her while Eliot stood right next to him. The moment felt absolutely perfect to me, filled with so much love.
After the birth, Jason, Eliot, Emaline and I moved to our bed where we stayed while both Emaline and I were checked. She weighed 8 lbs and was 22 inches long. Emme guessed the weight exactly! By the time everyone left our home several hours later, everything was cleaned up, I had eaten, there were cold compresses in the freezer and perineal rinse in the fridge, and we were all tucked cozy into bed and ready to sleep.
Our home birth was everything we had hoped for and more. We were able to bring our daughter into the world in the most peaceful and loving way. Eliot was able to watch his sister’s birth. Jason was able to catch his daughter. I was able to labor in my own home, surrounded by my family and a care team that honored and respected the normal and amazing process of birth. We feel so incredibly blessed, both to have had the birth we did and because of the precious life that joined our family that morning.