The day I went into labor was Sunday, August 29, 2010. Every 7-10 minutes I felt my stomach tighten. I walked… I walked so much my feet hurt. I think we took about 10 walks. I was not going to let this be a false alarm. We walked the beach twice that day. It was so relaxing, surreal, and calming. I remember looking at my daughter, Leah, knowing this would be my last day with just her. She was so little, so cute and innocent. I remember trying to snuggle with her, it was so hard to snuggle when my stomach was so big. I wanted to hold on to her littleness. It was very bittersweet, but I was ready to meet my little guy.
I called my midwife, Nicole, Sunday night to tell her the contractions were getting closer and stronger, and she suggested I try to get some rest. I remember laying in bed anxious, excited, and trying so very hard to fall asleep. I think I dozed off a few times, only to be awaken 5-10 minutes later. I actually smiled every time I was woken up by a contraction. I knew I would meet my little Brayden soon. Around 1am I decided I was going to continue walking. I paced back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. I made a little track in the carpet, I was getting more excited by the minute. I remember the tightening in my abdomen to be so much stronger. I had to stop while contracting and sway my hips back and forth. I then called Nicole a second time and told her I think she should come in the next couple of hours. She headed out right away. I thought she was showing up too early, but it was comforting knowing she was going to be here soon.
My husband, Cavan, started to fill up the birthing tub located in our bedroom. I remember it was so warm, the steam from the tub made our room feel like a sauna. I had worship music on, dim lighting, and continued pacing. I remember looking at Cavan. He was so strong, calm, and confident. He made me feel even more calm knowing he was too.
By the time the sun came up, Nicole was here. She instantly made me feel at ease. I remember her saying I was probably 5cm dilated and I could get in the tub whenever I wanted. I thought she was crazy. There was no way I was already 5cm. I guessed I was 3cm. I asked her to check my dilation because I honestly didn’t feel like I was so far along. I didn’t want to delay any progress I was already making. I was really ok with walking for a few more hours. I didn’t at all feel like I hadn’t slept in over 24 hours. I was excited and ready to go! Nicole checked me and I was already a good 7cm dilated. I remember laughing, I was thrilled. I immediately got in the tub and felt instant relief.
My contractions picked up, and I found relief when Cavan or Nicole put pressure on my lower back. Between contractions I enjoyed conversation with Nicole and Cavan. I really felt amazing between contractions. Around 8am my contractions started to get a little further apart. My body was probably just trying to recoup and rest for a little bit. I got out of the tub and straddled a birthing chair. Getting through contractions out of the tub was not fun at all. My stomach was so tight. I remember begging Nicole to allow me back in the tub.
Once back in the tub, I knew I was in transition. I honestly could have been hanging by my toes or on a squishy cloud and it wouldn’t have mattered. It hurt to say the least. But never once did I question whether I could do this. I was so confident in my decision to have a home birth. Even through the really tough contractions I was still praising the Lord for this opportunity
Nicole told me I had to push. My bag of water didn’t break yet, and she felt it was holding me up and that is why my contractions started getting so intense. I remember being afraid. I was only afraid because of my awful experience when I birthed Leah. Still to this day, I get goosebumps when I remember labor and delivery of Leah (and they aren’t the good kind of goosebumps). I started crying telling Nicole I was scared. I remember what this part feels like. She reassured me, she told me, “Jen, this is BRAYDEN’S birth, not Leah’s.” and I pushed with everything I had. I pushed about 4 times. On the 4th time I felt a pop. I was grunting and moaning while pushing, but once my water broke the pressure to push was so intense I couldn’t even make a sound. My body was pushing whether I wanted to or not, so I decided to go with it. I remember listening to my worship music playing. The song “Restless” by Audrey Assad was playing. The lyrics, “and I will rest in you, Lord, I will rest in you” made me have the confidence I needed. I wasn’t pushing alone, and I had faith this was going to be exactly what we asked for. It was amazing, I felt everything (in a good way). I remember Nicole telling me to slow my pushing, but really, even if I stopped, my body would have continued, he was COMING! I was in shock he was out that very same push. Instant relief, then I looked at him. There he was. Brayden. My little boy.
Nothing describes meeting your baby for the first time. Nothing. It is instant love, relief, joy, happiness, thankfulness, and peace. He was beautiful. I remember thinking, I can’t believe he is here. I can’t believe my baby boy is in my arms. I did it.
I am so proud of his birth. I am so thankful for Cavan being so supportive. I am incredibly thankful for Nicole. Never did she make me feel incapable. She believed in me, she knew I could do it. The relationship I have with Nicole even 3 years later shows how much she cares and loves her clients. I don’t just consider Nicole my midwife, I consider her a close friend.