Amazing Home-birth — Angelica’s Story
As much as I’d like to toot my own horn as the doula in this story, this mama’s level of preparation was incredible. We had been able to go into fear-releasing meditation before the birth, and she totally received that this birth was going to be a joy for her. She focused, visualized, educated herself, prayed, and decided on the birth she would have. This birth was so much fun for me, the way she described the emotion in the room was right on. Stories like this remind me why I am a doula. Be encouraged by Angelica’s amazing home-birth story. It’s worth the read.
Oct 26th in the wee hours of the morning I started getting strong but far apart and irregular contractions. They would wake me only slightly before I would be able to fall back asleep. In my dreams I was praying throughout each of my contractions and I felt at such peace. By the time I got up that day around 10 or 11 (because of fitful sleep) I texted all my birth team (except my midwife since I was going to see her for an appt at noon) that today might be D-day. My doula (Gloria Hines) responded with such encouragement. She said to rest and not try to make myself go into labor because if it was the real thing it would progress without me pushing it and that she was packing her bags to be ready at any moment.
I went to my appointment that day (38 weeks 5 days) and told her I felt I may be starting labor because the contractions felt very real but by this time they had worn off so I was even doubting my own words. I could tell that she doubted my words as well. I have spoken over myself all 3 pregnancies and visualized that I will go into labor 1–2 weeks early and my first 2 did exactly that and this 3rd one I was sure would follow suit even though no one ever believed me when I would say “I will go into labor at least a week before my due date”. As far as I can remember I had no contractions at my appointment and so after I left, I decided to run errands.
That day I had a few more very sporadic and strong but not painful contractions. That night I had another very fitful sleep with lots of sporadic, irregular and pretty far apart contractions. They were very strong but not painful at all. I would wake and pray then concentrate through each one. I had no fear just perfect peace and would find rest in between. The next morning I got up very late again and didn’t want to get anyone too excited because I still wasn’t sure whether I was in labor or not so I didn’t say anything, only to my husband. I asked if he would go for a walk with me even though it was the first bitterly cold day of the year. I wanted to see if maybe it would regulate the contractions.
So that’s when I texted my doula letting her know my plans and what was happening and that I thought I was in labor but not for sure because it was still so sporadic. She said she felt labor wouldn’t be too far off, so she would come within the next hour. So my husband and I walked about a mile and a half talking and praying and gaining heart connection before this big life event was about to take place. Stopping every once in awhile to focus through a contraction. Many times I was able to walk through them as if nothing was happening which started to worry me. I began to wonder if I was just in prodromal labor again. While on the walk they were as close as 8–10 min apart but would easily go 15 to 20 and sometimes more min apart if I wasn’t walking.
We got back to the house right as Gloria was arriving and you could feel that excitement was in the air. We all begin setting up. I had no problems walking around and helping wherever I could — pulling out what was needed and getting the birth tub ready etc… I had an appetite and was able to eat a meal before I left for walking. My sister Hannah and mother were with me along with my doula and after getting set up my contractions were calm enough we decided we should play cards. But instead, we ended up praying for me, my body, and the birth. We also invited Holy Spirit to be a part of the birth. After that, we just chatted and told silly stories and brought in such a positive giggly environment.
At some point mid-afternoon with still no regularity in contractions and no pain, just strong intense contractions, I texted my midwife what was happening and that I would keep her in the loop. She had no need to come now, it would probably be still quite a while. My doula had set up some incredible essential oils that were diffusing in the air to encourage labor and relaxation then started worship music until my sister Hannah came in with a specific worship playlist she had made for me at my request. The atmosphere was giddy with joy and excitement. There was no room for fear or anxiety here just peace, love and joy. My husband had gone back to work (he works from home) because he had a few things he needed to close out since I was proceeding slowly and we had the time. I was hanging out with my sisters, mom and doula (moving around on the birthing ball my doula brought) after hanging like this for a while we decided I should probably walk again because I was so stalled and contractions were so light when they did happen. So we went downstairs where there is a HUGE open space to circle around 2 living rooms, a dining room and kitchen. My parents run a huge mission home the inner city, and that’s where we were all living together, doing the whole get out of debt and save quickly thing to buy our own first house. Gloria walked and walked and walked with me around the space. Just having light conversation and then every time I would have a strong contraction we would stop and I would lean over whatever was near and she would do the double hip squeeze throughout the entire contraction which brought such incredible relief. We walked and walked. Around 6 pm we had gotten the contractions to around 6–8 min apart so I texted my midwife this saying “come whenever you like, but I’m not sure how far along I am because sometimes this is too easy to even feel like labor”. She decided to head my way anyway since her evening was open.
The funny thing is even throughout all this preparation and me saying “yup this is it” out loud inside all day I’m wondering and thinking I may not actually be in labor this is way too easy. My previous 2 baby experiences were very different. My first son was 16+ hours of strong intense labor that were pretty much 2 min apart from the start and 3+ hours of scream back labor pushing. My second son was only 5 hours from start to finish but right away with regular contractions that got very painfully intense 3 hours in but were from the beginning about 5–6 min apart. And both times when I transitioned I threw up and had diarrhea at the same time and nearly passed out. I had no pushing with my second son I was determined to gently breathe him out and I did. Breathe him out in 2 breaths with no pain. He just slipped right out.
(learn how to breathe your baby out at https://mynaturalbabybirth.com/breathing-baby-out-instead-of-pushing)
I have never had any fear of labor and have always looked forward to it even as the most powerful and incredible experiences of my life. I knew that birth with deep knowledge, experience, wisdom, fearlessness, and understanding, combined with Holy Spirit can be something beautiful and sometimes even painless. And so I have always prepared for my births to be better and better each time but I never dreamed it could be this amazing.
Back to the labor at hand. My midwife arrived as I was still walking. Around 8ish I think. We talked, joked, laughed and hung out I was on and off my birth ball and walking. Snacking with everyone around the kitchen island. Just enjoying the time. We would all stop in the middle of conversations when I had a contraction and silence would fall while I went through it. I felt so loved, treasured, in unity and supported. My husband was now done working on his computer and by my side. Gloria was instructing and helping him do the double hip squeeze and other support measures. So they could take turns doing it. My husband was so loving and supportive, calm and strong in all the roles I needed.
My midwife and her interns (she had 2 of them) said they would go upstairs and rest since we all assumed it would be a long night since things were so easy and smooth. I hadn’t let out a single peep or groan during any contractions yet, and was still joking and playing with my kids between contractions. I was truly having one of the best days of my life. Many times I couldn’t even stop smiling because the love and joy was so strong around me and in me. After my midwife went up to rest around 9ish I decided maybe I should try to rest or nap too since I felt I wasn’t progressing. But my doula suggested the midwife checking my dilation first to better gauge our next actions. I agreed but I was scared to hope I was even past 4 centimeters with how easy things were feeling. Internally I wondered if I would have one of those labors were it would be a day or 2 more before the baby was born. So I laid down holding my breath and crossing my fingers hoping for at least a 5. And she was like “oh wow Angelica, you won’t be taking a nap it’s almost go-time, you are an 8–9!” I was in shock! I couldn’t believe it. I nearly wanted cry for joy how could this be possible?!
So with tub ready to go, we thought it was time that I should go in. The water was still so hot so we cooled it off by adding more cold water. In that time I went through a couple more contractions that were still extremely manageable. All still irregular but anywhere from 4–9 min apart. I got in the tub and just laughed. I remember saying “I don’t know if I can even go into labor in here! I am far too comfortable and relaxed!” Throughout the next hour. My doula instructed my husband, sisters, and mom how to help me best. One would push on my lower back and 2 people would hold the acupressure point in my ankles and another would do the double hip squeeze. It was as if we all labored together. Gloria had specific essential oils that she had now put in to help the transitioning stage and tap into the natural oxytocin euphoria. We also had incredible worship softly playing in the room and still darkness now. Many times I just lay with my head by my husband on the edge of the tub with my arms wide open receiving the love of Holy Spirit.
I couldn’t help but weep at one point with how filled the room was with the love of God. I had never experienced such a powerful spiritual encounter with God in all my life. I felt enveloped by Him.
All I could picture as the contractions got stronger was the Holy Spirit holding my son and carrying him out of my womb. As I knew the time was nearing I began to breathe downward and let out low moans every time a contraction came on. As his head started to emerge it was the first real pain I had felt and kept crying out saying “ow ow ow, it hurts” but no panic or screaming. I instinctually got on my knees and his head popped out and I put my hand down to feel him. I felt I needed to turn on my side in the water to birth him the rest of the way, so I turned over and with the next contraction reached down and caught him as I breathed him out. I couldn’t help but just cry tears of joy as I pulled him up onto my chest. This moment felt like heaven. I was so overwhelmed by love and euphoria, it was magical. I put him on my breast right away and then I heard people in the room saying “she caught him herself” and then a bit dazed I realized “oh wow I had no idea I had caught my own baby.” It had been instinctual. I completely trusted myself. I didn’t even realize I was doing it or had done it. It was exhilarating. My 4-year-old came in at the very end, seconds after he was born and got to bravely cut the cord with his fathers help after it stopped pulsating. Orion was born Oct 27th 11:27 pm at 38 weeks and 6 days. Weighing 7lbs 14oz perfect and beautiful in every way.
I could not have asked for a better doula, she constantly knew exactly what I needed before I even knew. She was the one that facilitated everyone to become a team for me. I could never have achieved that level of unity and support without her. I will never have another child without her being there. My midwife was amazing because she so gave me room to do everything my own way, however, I felt I wanted it to go. She saw that I was so surrounded by support that she didn’t push to insert herself. She knew I was comfortable and helped facilitate that. She watched and noted everything at a comfortable distance. I cannot stress enough how appreciative I was for that. She gently guided the room at the end with her interns to begin the cleaning up without disturbing my peace. They helped me get out of the tub and squat to deliver the rest of my placenta. There had been no tearing praise God!
I had a beautiful, incredible, birthing experience and I hope this encourages anyone reading this. Pain-free smooth births are so possible. Birth is such an intense, engaging, and shaping time for mothers. I came out of this one trusting myself more than ever, feeling powerful, accomplished and ready to take on motherhood. Don’t settle for a birth that isn’t exactly what you want.