Buddha Baby’s Homebirth Story
Buddha baby has his 2nd birthday, July 9, 2012. In honor of his birthing day, I am sharing his homebirth story.
Reflecting back on Buddha’s birth 2 years later. It doesn’t feel like it has been this long. The memories evoked by the photos bring me back to those moments. I can feel and hear everything again when I close my eyes as if I were still there. There was so much joy in this pregnancy and birth, and it has continued in these first 2 years of life.
I did speak with my midwife recently since I am pregnant again, as we reviewed previous births. I didn’t realize how concerned she was about his heart rate because of the cord loop. It’s such a common event in birth, that I don’t think I took it as seriously as it was in this case. Even though I was considering an unassisted childbirth for Buddha, I’m glad that my instincts that morning were to call her and have her here with us.
(aside, Troll-Eater will be continuing to monitor comments. So, please be kind. I won’t see them if you’re not)
And now, the story
This time, I was going to birth in the water. This was my fourth homebirth, each one planned as a waterbirth and I had yet to actually have my baby in the water. My first birth, my labor was so long that I got out of the water to speed things up and I never got back in. The second birth, was a stillbirth on my bathroom floor. The third birth was so fast that we never even finished blowing up the birthing pool. But, number four was going to be different. We had the birthing pool inflated at 36 weeks. We had all of the supplies ready and waiting for a super fast fill.
This would be a water baby…or would it?
I went to bed feeling a little “off,” but I wasn’t thinking much of it because this was my fourth homebirth. Each one had been an entirely different journey, so I had enough experience to know I had no control and my job at this point was to be as relaxed in the lack of control as possible. Besides, when you’re that pregnant every burp, ache, and gas bubble could mean imminent labor. I wasn’t getting my hopes up too high.
But, in the back of my mind I knew that eventually one of those hope inducing twinges would be right.
I was 39 weeks 5 days, and even though I had some time and was homebirthing, my midwives had mentioned that I would be on the clock soon. As if I didn’t already know that. Heh.
I trusted my body and my baby to know when the right time was for him to be born. I knew that I we could do it together.
I played with Gan and Nat before bed. I had a little edge to the feeling that I should enjoy this time when it would be just us. So, we were goofy, laughing, and hugging before bed.
Around 4 in the morning, I woke up and felt that distinctive “pop” of my water breaking. I sat up and told Dave, but decided to take it easy and let him go back to sleep. I decided not to wake Gan and Nat until the morning, even if their brother arrived before they woke.
I had been playing around with the idea of having an unassisted birth and was not concerned about the midwife not arriving in time. I had even told my midwife about it and she was fine with being on-call at the coffee shop nearby if I decided to give birth with just my husband and sons present.
I called my midwife and our doula to let them know my water had broken and contractions were regular, but not bothersome enough that I couldn’t speak or think coherently yet. Unbeknownst to me, they both prepared to arrive quickly because they had a feeling it would go faster than I thought it would.
I couldn’t sleep. I felt on edge. So, I sat on a towel on the birthing ball and rocked. I began timing my contractions by writing them down. I began writing all four digits of time, then that became too hard for me to remember. So I wrote down just the minutes. When I was barely able to write down one digit at a time and realized they were consistently a few minutes apart, I woke my husband again, and he called the midwife and doula. I know I spoke with my midwife, but I don’t remember the conversation particularly well. She was already on her way. My husband began filling the birthing pool on her advice.
I moved out to the family room because it felt good to vocalize and I didn’t want to wake up my sons. I had this feeling of being on edge that wouldn’t leave me alone. My midwife, her assistants, and our doula arrived and they checked Buddha and me out. We were fine and things were progressing nicely.
The birth pool was filling up…
Rocking on Birthing Ball
I related my feelings that things needed to move more quickly. Everyone reassured me that we were progressing well for a fast birth and I would be able to get in the water as soon as the pool was full. But, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t scared, but I felt driven to get things moving.
So, my doula and I went for a two mile walk to get things moving. It was a tranquil, foggy daybreak. We spoke about her life growing up on an island, midwifery school, and, of course, birth. Contractions were quite strong during the walk and I paused at each one to breathe through them. My doula tracked them on her cell phone (yes, there’s an app for that)
By the time we returned, the birth pool was full and I was certain I needed to birth this baby right away. Everyone still reassured me that things were moving for a fast labor.
My instinct said getting in the water felt wrong. I knew this baby needed to be in the air as soon as possible.
So, I got on the bed on all fours to follow the natural progression of labor as I was beginning to feel my uterus bearing down. My midwife checked Buddha baby’s heartbeat and was concerned that it was decelerating and not recovering quickly. So I moved onto my back as I felt the uncontrollable urge to push grow. My midwife decided to give me oxygen as I pushed to help Buddha baby as best we could during this stage.
Gan, my little Doula
I was vocalizing quite loudly by this time and my oldest son decided to leave the room. But, little Gan stayed with me and gave me so much love. His empathy was amazing. As Buddha baby was emerging, my midwife found his cord snugged over his shoulder.
Buddha Born, Check out that cord
Hands on Blue Buddha
Now we had the reason for my instinct to birth him quickly. We knew why his heartbeat wasn’t recovering well. Being a practiced birther, I was able to push him out in a few pushes as my midwife adeptly moved the cord out of the way. He was in the birth canal for such a short time, his huge head wasn’t molded at all. It was a nice round 13 ¾ inches and I only had a tiny perineal tear that didn’t need any stitches. He came out with such force that the left side of his face was bruised and he his left eye was covered with broken blood vessels. He healed up quickly with love and mama milk.
All the brothers get their first view
We waited until the cord stopped pulsating then my husband cut the cord. We saved the placenta for smoothies and encapsulation.
Buddha was quite blue and a little limp, but he perked up well. He had a beautifully thick cord with 3 vessels and weighed in at 10lbs 3oz. He was my easiest birth so far. The experience was intense and I had some fear when I realized his cord was compromised. A cord that prolapses or otherwise compromises baby’s health is one of my birth fears. My midwife reassured me that I could birth him quickly and he would be well.
After Buddha was born, we spent time bonding as a family while my midwife and her assistants cleaned up the rest of the house. When we were ready, they performed a full newborn examination and found him sound. They checked in with us to make sure breastfeeding was going well and reassured me that they were available to assist us with it, if we had any questions. Then they made sure that my family and I were well-fed and content. My midwife and I relaxed together as we talked about the experience. After arranging a follow up home visit for the next day, they left us to revel in our newest arrival.
My husband popped open some champagne and sparkling apple cider. The boys helped slice some cake and we celebrated together.
And someone finally got to enjoy the birthing pool…
Nat and Gan go for a swim
Do you have an inspiring birth story to share? If you have a blog, please feel free to link to your post in the comments. If you don’t have a blog but would like to share your birth experience, please let me know and I would be happy to publish your birth story here. It does not need to be a homebirth or natural birth. Every voice is welcome. I offer this space for you to speak your truth. It can include your name or be published anonymously.