The day before I went into labor with Gemma, I had a routine midwife appointment, and a Biophysical Profile ultrasound. Standard for being over 40 weeks. I had already tried a few membrane sweeps, and the baby was cozy as could be. My midwife suggested that a herbal induction would be a good idea, since I was close to risking out of home birth care. I am a big believer in letting baby decide birth days, but said I would consider Sunday/Monday (42 weeks would be that Tuesday) if Baby didn't come over the weekend. Joe and I took the 3 kids to the YMCA to swim that evening. I had the results back that my BPP was a slightly lower number than wanted, so we agreed to a natural induction for the following morning at noon. I let my birth team (doula, photographer, friend/family) know. My neighbor/friend Stephanie, was going to come over at 9 to do my hair. If I had to have an induction, I was at least going to look nice for it.
I went to bed that night, and listened to my Hypnobirthing relaxation track. It was quite a weird feeling, knowing I was going to have my baby the next day. I slept pretty good until 5am. I felt really uncomfortable. Joe was going to work a 1/2 day that morning, and come home when the herbal induction/acupuncture was supposed to start. When he left at 7am, I was painful, but thought it was from how big baby was and the movement. All the kids were up around 730am and I went to get them breakfast. I was having a hard time getting them what they wanted with the continuous pain I was feeling. I finally realized I was having contractions every 4 minutes, and was in labor! I called my birth team at 8:15 and told them I NEEDED them at the house now. I have a history of fast labors once I break through some LEEP scar tissue, so I was afraid I would have the baby alone. I let my neighbor/friends Kate and Kodi know that today was the day, and they came over right after Joe arrived to help me and the kids. I listened to my birth affirmations, while I folded laundry. I literally was on the floor moaning every time I had a contraction with bad back labor, so I thought doing something normal would be a good distraction. Kodi helped change Coral and took some pictures. I let my friend know that was doing my hair, that there was NO WAY I could stand still for it... so messy bun it was!
My mom and Joe's mom arrived around 9. They both missed Coral's birth by minutes, so they were pretty prompt about being here for the big day! My best friend Kacie, arrived shortly after. My photographer Stef, and doula, Staci arrived, and she did some hip squeezes to help with the back labor. We walked stairs, and did some hip swaying. I was only in the tub 5 minutes before Coral was born, so Joe and others got to filling the labor tub right away. I was able to relax in the warm water, and had a great playlist with Prince, Lizzo, The Police, and Jonas Brothers to get me into the groove. The second midwife, Holly, arrived. The water relaxed me a little too much, so my contractions started spacing a bit. I ugly cried in front of everyone, and complained that "This was taking forever"! Mind you, It was maybe 11am by this point, and people had been here two hours tops. I got out of the tub and asked to be checked. I had been a solid 6cm for the last week, so I was happy when Aly told me I was 9cm. I was motivated to get this kid out of me, so I went back to stair walking. My SIL Angela had arrived, so everyone I wanted at the birth was officially there! I got back in the tub when things were more intense and switched the playlist to my ocean wave noises. I used visualization from Hypnobirthing to help me through all the surges. I pictured I was in Akumal, Mexico... my favorite place in the world. I got out after things stalled again. Aly suggested eating something. Due to my Hyperemesis, I think I got 2 bites in of a sandwich before I said F the food.
Staci started doing Lift and tucks on my belly. I said I wanted a break, it was too intense.....and then with a deafening pop at 12:47pm, my water broke. After three natural births, I can say without a doubt, this was the most intense feeling of my life. Baby was higher up in my pelvis. It felt like an elevator went from level 3 to the ground entrance in a second's time. I was mostly quiet before this, but all bets were off now, and I knew what was coming. I SCREAMED for everyone to come down to the basement (Joe, kids, parents were all upstairs). I pulled off my pants and jumped into the birthing tub. I'm so thankful Kate was there at that moment, and got these last few minutes on video for me. I could tell this baby was bigger than the other three and kept saying "oh God, oh God, oh God". In my head, I was saying this baby is flipping huge, and there is no way It is coming out of me! I pushed twice and roared. The head was out. I waited for my next contraction, and Aly told me to lower my butt down into the water and kneel. The contraction came and the rest of the body came out. I caught the baby in my arms and pulled her up at 12:51pm. I started crying. This was almost 42 weeks of HG, and struggling with everything after a previous loss. Everyone in the room cheered! Charles was upset with how loud I had been, and started crying too. Coral and Graham came over to see the baby. Joe announced correctly (He said Coral was a boy), that we had a little girl! It wasn't a shock to me. I felt the whole pregnancy, that I was going to have a girl. I also was rubbing her bum at the time and didn't feel any part. Charles cried again, because he wanted a brother, but got over it quickly.
My after pains came on pretty fast, so I told everyone I needed quiet. The kids, parents, and Angela went upstairs so I could get my wits back. Another 10-20 minutes, and we were back up in my bedroom, doing a champagne toast, and having a pizza party! We were all shocked to find out that she was 8 pounds 8 oz. - three pounds more than Coral, and two pounds more than the boys! I am so blessed that Gemma really did come when she wanted. It was exactly how I wanted the birth to go. All the people I loved and wanted there were present. My pregnancies may be tough, but holding on to that baby in the first few moments is worth every IV, Zofran pump, and sickness. Happy Birthday Gemma Emily!
-Dani (Who also happens to be an awesome Hypnobirthing Doula - Check her out at Dani the Doula!)
Thank you to Tiny Moment Photography for the beautiful pictures!
Flutterby is located in the Twin Cities, and provides Hypnobirthing as well as other classes and services for expectant families. Erin Stertz-Follett, Flutterby's Owner, is a Certified Consulting Hypnotist, Certified Hypnobirthing Educator, and Certified Birth Doula who has taught and assisted hundreds of families. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Sharing is caring!
Erin Stertz-Follett, Owner