I’ve shared Finley’s birth story before, but never in this much detail. I wanted to have it written out completely, in a blog, to always be able to go back at read, and to share with any of you who might have missed reading it already. So here it is <3
My birth space had been ready for months. Birth affirmations, tinctures, everything we would need before during and after the birth was ready. I knew my baby would arrive earlier than my due date. It was just a matter of when.
We woke up Halloween morning with a stomach virus. It fiercely took over our entire day and ruined any plans we had for trick or treating with the kids. All of us were sick. I knew I was getting dehydrated by noon, and was trying my hardest to keep any type of liquid down to avoid going into labor while still so sick and weak. That did not work. I was 37 weeks pregnant, and it was baby time. We spent the entire day in bed, just trying to rest. The day was a blur, and finally the throwing up ceased, and everyone went to bed.
My labor began around 2am the following morning, November 1st. I had tossed and turned most of the night already, and began waking up every few minutes to painful contractions. Around 3am, I had to get out of bed. Nothing could keep me still, I needed to move. I paced around, stopping for contractions and grabbing on to the nearest hard surface to sway through the surges. I still wasn’t convinced this was true labor, because I’d been experiencing prodromal labor for over a month at this point. I assumed the dehydration from throwing up most of the day was causing my contractions to pick up, but that with some rest and water they would subside. I decided to shower, and see if that slowed anything down. I know I showered, because my hair was wet the rest of that morning, but I honestly barely even remember it. I think my time in the shower was for me to go away, to “labor land” and get ready for what was coming.
Once 4am came along, I started to realize the contractions were only getting stronger and closer together, so I went to the bed and nudged Jamie. “I don’t wanna do this alone anymore.” He knew before falling asleep I was having some more intense contractions, so he was aware that things were getting serious now. He shot right out of bed and followed me through our bedroom and bathroom as I dealt with each contraction. The stronger they got, the louder I got, and needed his support to stand through them. I remember being surprised with how loud I felt like I needed to be, roaring through every surge. I always imagined myself to be quiet and reserved during natural labor, but there was no way around it, I had to be vocal. I remember with my first two births, laboring to 10cm naturally both times, being somewhat vocal. But this time was different. I had so much back labor now. I found out later that was because Finley was sunny-side-up until I’m assuming crowning. I was also so weak and tired from the sickness the day before.
Jamie began pushing on my lower back at my request, which helped ease the pain for a short time as I neared transition. I’m not sure how much time passed by, but I remember feeling so weak from not eating most of the day, and really wanting to get in the bath. Jamie started it for me, steam pouring over the edges of our tub. Every now and then I was checking myself, searching for my baby’s head in hopes the end was near. This time, there was some bloody show. Oddly enough, that is when it hit me. This was real. I was meeting my baby today. I looked at the red on my fingers and realized how insanely amazing this was. I was in labor, about to have my baby. No one was making this happen. No one was telling me where to go or what to do. Just me and my body working to bring my child earthside. I didn’t need any help. I could do this.
Once I got in the water, things really picked up. They say water can boost labor sometimes, and that was very true in my case. I slowly started to feel small urges to push, which I held back as best as I could, knowing I would need to rest in the bath while I still had the chance. I think this was the point in labor where I felt like I was screaming through every contraction. Jamie later told me that I was not nearly as loud as I thought I was, but I felt like the entire neighborhood could hear me! I was leaning over the tub on my knees as another surge came. There was a very loud and shocking splash. My first thought was “Oh my god my baby just fell out” but of course that was the delusion of dehydration and exhaustion speaking lol. “Holy cow was that your water breaking?!” Jamie asked. And it was. I only knew then because of the intensity the end of that contraction had. I thought I might faint. I needed out of the tub right then and there, so I stood up and we laid out towels and Chux pads in the bedroom floor and shut off all the lights. My baby was coming!
Jamie got the birthing ball for me which I am so grateful for because at the time I didn’t think I wanted it at all. Apparently he knew better. I shifted from my hands and knees, to hanging my arms over the ball with my knees on the floor. The urge to push was impossible to fight now. I couldn’t stop my body from pushing, the urge was deep and primal. There was no stopping it now. I soon felt the burning that could only mean my baby was crowning! Contractions couldn’t have been more than 30 seconds apart at this point and I can remember only wanting a tiny break, just a moment to ground myself. I kept saying “I just want to lay down for a minute” but it was too uncomfortable to lie flat. I tried lying on our bed and immediately stood back up with the next surge. As the burning got worse, I reached to feel for baby’s head again. I looked at jamie with a weak smile and said “I can feel his hair!” The smile faded as I started to believe there was no way I could get this baby out. But my body continued to push. I wanted to fight the pushing bc of the burning, but couldn’t stop. He was coming down so incredibly fast without me even trying to push. I told Jamie “he is NOT going to fit, get me a mirror!” and he did. I took my first look at what was going on down there and said quietly “okay maybe he is fitting” as I realized most of his head was out. I couldn’t believe this. I was doing it! My body was doing this all on its own.
My baby was close, and I knew with the next few pushes his head would be out! Two more surges and then pure relief as his head escaped. There is no relief in the world like that feeling. I felt like I could do anything in that moment. My body gave me a brief break, as Finley reseted between two worlds. I could feel him wiggling, turning himself and getting ready for his hasty exit. I told jamie to get behind me and get ready to catch as another urge to push neared. Another two surges and I felt him fall out of me and into his daddy’s hands. “Oh! It’s a boy!” I heard him almost laugh. I turned around and sat down so I could hold this beautiful brand new creature, and I kept saying over and over “oh hello baby, hi sweet boy!” I couldn’t believe I’d done it. And I was holding my precious little boy in my arms, the very first time ever delivering and being able to immediately hold my child. There are no words to describe how fulfilling that moment was. I was beaming, in another world of pure magic.
It was 6:30am at this point. We quickly walked back to the bathroom and I got in the tub while we waited for the placenta to deliver, which came only a few short minutes later. I noticed shortly after that, that his cord had a true knot in it, which is supposed to be good luck. I felt his cord and stared at it and the placenta, amazed at the beauty of this life sustaining organ. Jamie looked at me and said “Happy anniversary” and I realized it was indeed our anniversary. What a special gift for us to share together after 4 years of marriage.
Once the cord stopped pulsing, Jamie went downstairs to boil the scissors and cord tie we had made with our oldest two children, and brought them back up to me. He also let Jayce into our bedroom, who had just woken up to the sounds of his baby brother crying. Jayce laid in our bed, waiting to meet his new brother, still quite tired from the day before. Jamie tied, and I cut the cord myself. We wrapped Finley up in a towel and I nursed him for the first time. I passed Finley to his daddy and took a quick shower to gather my whits and clean up a bit.
When I came back into the bedroom, I pointed to Finley and asked Jayce “Who is this?” He smiled and said “Poppy Seed!” which was this surprise gender baby’s nickname while he lived in me! We told Jayce it was a boy and he was over the moon. Lilly joined us soon after, met our newest addition, and soon she and Jayce both fell back asleep in the early morning light. The day quieted down. I took a dropper full of my shepards purse tincture, and put a piece of placenta in my cheek to help slow my bleeding a little, while I worked on getting Finley latched on again. The rest of this beautiful morning was a blur of warm joy. I drifted in and out of sleep with my baby in my arms, while the tv played quietly in the background and the kids ate their poptarts on the bedroom floor. We talked about baby names throughout the day (we hadn’t yet decided on one) and all 4 of us finally chose Finley William. William is my dad’s middle name, and we wanted to pass it down the same way we passed Jamie’s dad’s middle name down to Jayce. We let our family and friends know of the wonderful news, all of whom were so proud and excited for us. One of the best parts of this experience was the love and support I had in my choices to birth free.
Although this birth was a difficult one due to illness and exhaustion before even beginning, it was the most empowering and magical experience of my life. Delivering our child at home, alone, with only each other, was so perfect. Finley is the happiest and healthiest of babies, and I wouldn’t trade this memory for the world. My free birth was everything I wanted it to be and more, and the healing I got from it, the bond I have with Finley, is like nothing else in the entire world. Magic. Pure magic.