Maryland Area Homebirth Options

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Birth Stories

Kamlyn's Homebirth Story

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Let me start by saying I am not a first time mom. Kamlyn was my second birth, but I never expected things to be so unpredictable. With my first daughter, I never once made a trip to the hospital thinking I was in labor. The day we drove to the hospital, I knew it was the day. About 18 hours after, we had ourselves a baby girl. Pretty cut and dry.

~ * ~

Kamlyn was different in so many ways.  At 36 weeks, 6 days, I swore I was in labor. I even texted my midwife to tell her, "Soon." 6 hours later, nothing. I texted her the next morning disappointed. 38 weeks and 39 weeks again, the same thing. Then everything was quiet. Not even a braxton hicks contraction. 40 weeks came and went. Nothing.

~ * ~

At 40 weeks and 4 days I had an appointment with my midwife. I told her I was done. More done than I thought possible. My first daughter was early, why did this baby have to take so long? I asked for any "natural" induction thoughts she had. Some were ridiculous, like standing in a freezing cold shower for 15 minutes without making any noise. I'd rather be pregnant a year than do that! We talked about herbs and thought that might be a good choice. Then she checked my cervix (at my request) and said a stretchy 4 cm. I thought great, maybe I won't need any help after all. I went out and bought the herbs anyway. My midwife was optimistic. She said in the next day or 2. I really didn't want her to be born Thanksgiving day, so I felt good about that.

~ * ~

Since labor hadn't started, I started the herbs bright and early Tuesday. A few mild contractions, but nothing serious. I stopped at 4pm, since they didn't seem to be working, and I didn't want to labor all night.

~ * ~

Wednesday morning at 4AM, I had the "its time" contractions. I stayed in bed about 15 minutes, but with each contraction I was sure I was going to groan or make some loud noise and wake up my husband, my daughter or both! I finally nudged my husband and said, "its today". He mumbled something incoherent, and I said, "Don't worry. Go back to sleep. I'll wake you when I need you." I stumbled out of our bedroom in the dark and paced the hall for a few minutes. Contractions kept coming. And I was thinking, "These really hurt, this MUST be real."

~ * ~

I woke up my mom and asked her to fill the birth tub. First she had to blow it up and the pump was insanely loud. We should have planned better, but it was too late. My daugher and husband slept through the noise anyway. Finally it was full of air and we started filling it with water. Contractions were still coming. I was sure it was a good sign. I brushed my teeth and contemplated a light breakfast. I settled on a bowl of cereal. By 7:30, sunlight was shining through the window and the pool was mostly filled with water.

~ * ~

Shortly after, my  daugher woke up. She saw the pool with water and asked if the baby was coming today. I told her probably as the contractions were still coming. She asked if she could go swimming and I said after breakfast.

~ * ~

Slowly, the contractions trailed off. By 10:30 I was on the phone with my midwife practically crying. This was torture. Either get labor going, or leave me alone I wanted to scream. She encouraged me to try the herbs again. I used them for over 2 hours every 15 minutes. Nothing. Not a single thing. I was disappointed, discouraged, and just tired. I took a shower and took a much needed nap.

~ * ~

When I woke up, mom had dinner ready. I ate, but didn't really feel hungry. I forced it down, knowing that not eating wasn't going to get the baby out any faster. After dinner, the water in the birth pool was freezing and it only made sense to drain it. Mom said she'd take care of it, but wanted to take a shower first.

~ * ~

I joined my husband in the basement to watch a movie. It was an okay movie, but I simply felt distracted. Mom must have taken the longest shower on the planet, as by the time she got out, there was no hot water. I helped mom rig up the hose to drain the pool thinking it was such a waste to have spent all that time filling it up. She started draining the pool and I went back downstairs to watch the movie. My daughter asked me for an ice cream cone, and I thought, "What the heck." And got up to get it. I brought one for my husband too, but didn't want one for myself. That should have told me something, but instead, I just figured I was disappointed.

~ * ~

Suddenly I felt a twinge, nothing more. I helped my daughter with her ice cream and felt another, only more intense. I went upstairs to see how the pool draining was going and had a contraction strong enough to make me moan. Mom asked, "Should I stop draining the pool." I said, "No, I'm sure it’s just another false alarm." We joked about how it would just figure that this baby would wait until the water was empty. Mom said she'd stop, just in case. There was maybe 4 inches of ice cold water in the pool.

~ * ~

I went back downstairs again and another contraction. This one, I couldn't ignore. I got out my birth ball and tried rocking. That felt wrong. I leaned over it, and felt my baby turn so her face was to my back. The relief on my back was almost enough to make me forget the next few contractions. But, I was still watching the movie, so it wasn't bad yet. I realized I had to pee, and waddled my way to the bathroom. As I tried to get back up from the toilet, another contraction hit me, and I cried out for my husband. I didn't know what else to do, I was suddenly scared and sure this was it.

~ * ~

It hurt. Hurt so much I wanted my midwife, now! My husband, I am sure, thought I was either over reacting or faking or something. This all happened in less than an hour.  I told Kevin I needed to go upstairs and that he needed to call the midwife. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me, "We have time." The next contraction I was hanging from his neck moaning, tears streaming from my eyes. Transition hit me like a freight train, and it was time.

~ * ~

I am pretty sure my husband panicked. I told him to grab my cell phone, but he said Mom could call the midwife. She however, was still upstairs and probably didn't know what all was going on. I could hear her cleaning the kitchen as she has been known to do when nervous. Somehow, we managed to get my daughter upstairs, bring my birth ball and grab both Mom's and my cell phone (they look the same) between contractions. I had just enough time to get upstairs and throw my phone at my mom. I said, "call my midwife." and then cried through another contraction. My husband still seemed a bit shocked.

~ * ~

Another trip to the bathroom and again I found myself dangling from my husband, thinking, "Why was I in such a rush to get here?!"  It seemed like days before my midwife arrived. But since she lives 15 minutes away and I only remember 2 contractions, it was probably more like 20 minutes. She brought her stuff in and checked Kamlyn's heart rate. I remember her just standing there, watching me. Not in an annoying, staring way, but in an, "you can do this. I believe in you" sort of way. It was that presence that reminded me that I could do this, as up until then I was trying to hide from myself, if that was even possible. I had let myself begin to get out of control, but she brought me back by just looking at me.

~ * ~

I kept staring at the birth pool, praying there was enough water. I looked at my midwife and said, "Is there enough water?" She laughed and I stripped off my clothes and got in. What really is "enough water?" anyway.  That pool was my safe haven. I was still crying, moaning and groaning and crying. At some point, the other midwives arrived. I heard them whispering and someone finally said, "Low sounds. They will help the baby come." Something finally clicked in my head. I stopped saying, "I can't do this." I stopped screaming in my head, "I want a hospital." Someone else said, "You are already doing this."

~ * ~

I was in transition and couldn't even bring myself to admit it. I was so sure that I had hours left of this torture and I forgot to see the experience for what it was. I rationalized in my head that the 30 minute drive to the hospital in the car would be far worse than enduring this for a bit longer. I finally quieted myself. The house actually became silent. I focused like I didn't realize possible. Occasionally I would moan, but there was no other way to know when a contraction was coming.

~ * ~

I asked for someone to rub my back and like magic I had my focal point. I passed the contractions counting how many times that hand on my back made a circle. Ridiculous maybe, but I relaxed. I focused. I was "in the zone."  Aside from the immense strength it took to maintain my focus, I only remember a few things during that time. 1, I remember screaming at my husband for talking to me during a contraction. Every interruption forced me to refocus and find my happy place. I would moan through a few contractions trying to find it again. 2, I remember crying when someone told me I should go to the bathroom. I didn't want to get out of the water, but I was too chicken to pee in the pool. The contraction I had in the bathroom was horrible! But then I was back in my nice warm pool, ah, bliss. I also remember someone bringing me cool towels and water. What a relief they were. Finally, I remember saying, bring a bucket, I think I might puke. I never did vomit, but that let me know, I was there. I had reached the worst part (as vomiting was my worst fear). As long as I didn't vomit, I knew I could do this.

~ * ~

For some reason, I suddenly left labor land. I said, "Something is wrong. This is taking too long and this baby isn't lined up right." They checked Kamlyn's heartrate again, and said she is fine, and asked if I wanted to have my cervix checked. I am pretty sure they already knew I was 10 cm, as they had been encouraging me to push if it felt right. It had only been 3 hours.

~ * ~

When they told me I was 10 cm, I was shocked, elated and thought I was ready to get this baby out. I wanted out of the tub for a bit, and they brought in their birthing stool. But, the pain was too great. Not the contractions, but the pain of something sharp trying to rip out of my belly. It was clearly Kamlyn's elbow, but every time the midwife tried to move it, I screamed, "Stop touching me." Or "That hurts too much!" The pain was so great, I wasn't pushing, no matter how I wanted to convince myself I was. I felt defeated.

~ * ~

My midwife finally had my husband get into his swim trunks and get in the pool with me. He fell asleep, something my midwife claims she has never had happen, not in 30 years of midwifery. I sort of slept too, leaning against his body. We stayed there for about 5 hours or so, with Kevin occasionally snoring in my ear. The 2 other midwives left to attend another birth. It was again silent for a while.

~ * ~

After several contractions where my body tried to force me to push, no matter what I wanted, I found myself again alert and ready to be done. I got up and said, "I'm ready, but first I have to pee." Just that. My midwife had been sleeping in one of our chairs and said okay and grabbed a bag of things she would need. As they tried to even get me out of the water, we all realized, there was no way I was going to get to the bathroom. Even getting to standing up had the contractions one on top of the other. I found myself squatting during each one, pushing my baby out, for real this time. Plus, the reality was, I couldn't pee, even if I wanted to.

~ * ~

Back into the water I went. Oh the relief. I was pushing semi reclined, in a funky bridge type yoga pose. Very unorthodox, but it felt good and was working. It felt so good to be pushing. I couldn't feel the contractions anymore. It was just me working to get my baby out. Somewhere near the end, my daughter had started to cry. She was sleeping in Mom's room and woke to find herself alone. My husband left for a moment to comfort her.

~ * ~

While he was gone, I managed to make good progress. When he returned, I remember the midwife opening up some things from her bag, checking my box of birth supplies and putting on gloves. I knew this was it. I would be seeing my baby soon. She asked him if he would like to catch his daughter. I couldn't think of anything more beautiful and was thrilled that he said yes. I didn't have the energy to show emotion about it, but my heart was feeling it anyway.

~ * ~

Kamlyn was still in the sack when she crowned. Suddenly my water broke and it floated away from her face. Her hair was floating there in the water, waiting for those last few contractions to push her out. When I finally got her head out, I wanted to just keep going and get her out. My midwife instructed me to wait, as she was trying to move her hand out of the way. She had it tucked up tight by her chin, and we never did manage to move it. She did however finally turn and I was again pushing her out. Her shoulders were out in no time, but she was still wedged in there. I remember saying just pull her out, which of course my midwife refused. One final push and my baby's hips were free. Kevin guided her into the water and then my midwife brought her up to my chest.

As soon as she cried, I heard my daughter jump off the bed and yell, "My sister is here." She was so excited to have her baby sister. It makes me cry just thinking about it. It was an especially beautiful moment for me.

~ * ~

I remember as soon as she was born feeling a bit uncomfortable with her cord. There it was, just swaying back and forth in the water. My midwife later mentioned that it was about twice as long as the cords she normally sees. That explains why there was so much touching me. After it was done pulsing we cut her cord and passed her off to my husband. Up until then she had been screaming. She settled down quickly and just took things in.

~ * ~

I delivered my placenta in the water, which made a horrible mess, but kept the rest of the floor clean. I finally got out of the water and ever so carefully made my way to the blow up mattress on the floor. After I was settled, they weighed and measured Kamlyn. 9 lbs 3 oz and 22 inches long. I am still in shock that I birthed this baby, at home, without a tear.

~ * ~

This was an experience I will never forget. For 4 weeks I said I wouldn't do it again. I wouldn't have another baby, and wouldn't do a homebirth. I guess the pain was too fresh. I have since changed my mind. I wouldn't do it any other way if I can help it.

Categories: Homebirth with CNM