Giving birth in a hospital was never an option in my mind. I have always wanted to have my children at home surrounded by those I love. I myself was born at home along with my three sisters, so needless to say I was raised without fear of giving birth naturally. When I became pregnant, I immediately had another conversation with my husband Eric about my desire to have our baby at home. I was expecting to have to do a lot of convincing, but Eric was on board right from the start.
My pregnancy went along just fine, my visits with Jan were always laid back and easy going because I didn’t have a whole lot of questions since my mother had her children at home and I grew up watching our birth videos on our birthdays.
The last time I saw Jan was at our home visit at 36 weeks. I had carried Daphne very low in my pelvis my whole pregnancy, and Jan always had a hard time feeling for her head when documenting the baby’s position. She was a “headless baby,” Jan would tease, but by process of elimination we would deduce that her head was far down in my pelvis. Because of this, at my 36-week checkup, Jan decided to do an internal exam (which is not the norm), just to see if she could feel the head. And sure enough Daphne’s head was right there and I was 2cm dilated and 80% effaced. I was shocked! Was I going to go into labor soon? Jan tried to ease my anxiety by telling me that I could stay like that for weeks.
I was expecting to go into labor after my due date, since most first time mothers are late. But my water broke at 4 in the morning, 6 days early. It felt like something inside me snapped. I sensed it right before it happened and sat straight up in bed, and then snap, and I ran to the bathroom. Eric came into the bathroom a few seconds later, and after seeing the wet spot on the bed asked, “Is what just happened what I think just happened?” For the first time in my pregnancy, I felt nervous and scared. I called Jan just to let her know my water broke. She told me to go back to bed and try to get some rest, and to call her with an update when contractions start. I also called my mom and dad, (who were going to come to the birth) just to give them the heads up.
I tried to go back to sleep, but I started getting really crampy in my lower back right away. Then after about an hour or so, I threw up. I was noticing my back pain would come and go really intensely for a few seconds and be dull cramps in-between. “Lovely,” I thought, “Back Labor.” Poetic justice, since I gave my mother back labor. After only a couple of hours, I was miserable; no early labor for me, I skipped right to active labor. I couldn’t hold a conversation anymore, so Eric called my mom and Jan with the update. They said they would be getting on the road. Jan was a good hour and a half away and my mom about 50 minutes away.
I spent most of the time on my hands and knees leaning on my exercise ball with Eric rubbing firm counter pressure on my lower back. I think I threw up a second time before my parents arrived around 7:30am and Jan arrived shortly thereafter at 8am. After my team got everything ready, Jan wanted to check me and I was almost 8cm. “Wow,” I thought. “No wonder this was so intense.” By that point, I was too exhausted to move, so I ended up staying on the bed lying on my side so Eric could continue to rub my back.
I felt the urge to start pushing around 10am. I could only push during contractions so it took a whole hour to push Daphne out. I remember thinking at one point, “I don’t think I can do this.” I was so tired; my back labor had taken everything out of me. Jan said, “You’re already doing it Kacie, you’re doing it.” My mother chimed in as well, and they said in unison, “If we could take your place, we would. Even knowing how much it hurts, we would do it for you because we know what is at the end. We know how it feels once you have that baby in your arms.”
And boy were they right! At 11:15am after only 7 hours of labor, I got to reach down and pull Daphne Grace into the world. Nothing can describe that moment. All the work, all the pain, all the blood, sweat, and tears are so worth it for that feeling of pure joy when you give birth naturally. It’s absolutely amazing what our bodies are capable of….and I too would do it all again, in a heartbeat.