The week started off normal, trying to get last minute work done before officially going on maternity leave. I shot a lovely session at Burwell Park on July 31st and had both a chiropractic and midwife appointment. I guess I told Rebecca at Roots that I’d be seeing her that weekend to have my baby. I had a feeling she would either be born around the 37/38-week mark or wait until 41. I prayed she wouldn’t wait until 42 weeks so I could still birth her at the birth center.
I wasn’t having much in the line of waves so I assumed it would be a while. Thursday evening, we ate an early dinner and I ended up going to bed much earlier than I normally do. I was unusually exhausted, but chalked it up to being nine months pregnant. I fell asleep around 9pm.
Right at 11pm I woke with my water breaking. I wasn’t sure at first and then went into the bathroom. I called Roots to let them know and spoke to Jahan, the on call midwife. She suggested drinking some cal-mag, taking a unisom and going back to bed to rest. Seth was out walking Astro and when he came back I told him. I tried to get comfortable, but almost initially waves started and I just couldn’t.
I wanted to lie down and sleep but that wasn’t working. I just wanted to be sitting either on the side of the bed or on the toilet. I noticed blood and texted Jahan to let her know. I didn’t think I was actually getting close to meeting my baby this point. As the night went on things got more intense. I threw up around 2:20am and my acid reflux started acting up. Out of my entire birthing experience that was the most annoying part, honestly.
My waves were all in the front, I didn’t have any back labor. As a result, I just didn’t think my birthing time was progressing as much as it actually was. We ended up sending Anne (our doula) a text and she recommended listening to the Fear Clearing track. I remember putting it on and being able to fall asleep for a while. I awoke around 4-5am and threw up again, this time all over the bathroom wall because I was trying to make it in time and didn’t have my glasses on.
From that point on my birthing time picked up and my waves got closer and closer together. I noticed that they would get intense, then calm down, but I’d still have cramps in-between them. At this point I told Seth I wanted to go to HCMC because I knew they’d have drugs there. He calmly said “no, Katie, we’re going to Roots.” Haha! A while later I was in the bathroom again thinking I was just going to tell him that I was going to walk to HCMC by myself if I had to. I realized he wouldn’t go for that, and came to my senses. That was the only time birthing felt harder than myself. From there I was able to manage, but had to concentrate on the waves as they were changing and continuing to take a large part of my focus.
To help get through what I realize now was transformation, I would lay in the bed and just squeeze Seth’s hand while he timed everything. Around 6am waves were lasting a minute and it was time to get ready to head into Roots! I labored last at home on my birth ball. I knew something was shifting when Seth called my mom and she asked if I wanted to talk to her (they were on speaker) and I shook my head “no.” Between waves I reminded Seth to let the rest of our birth team know to head to Roots.
At this point my waves had shifted from very intense to now very pushy. I felt a very natural desire to bear down and did so as we finished gathering last minute items for the birth center. I didn’t realize how far I was until at one moment I felt a really strong wave and wondered if her head might pop out. I did rationalize that she was probably just moving down, but it was good that we were on our way.
We headed out and downstairs to the parking garage where I had one more wave, then into the car where I had two more strong ones. As we pulled up to Roots it was sunny and beautiful outside, a lovely August Minneapolis morning. I grabbed the fence while another wave hit and remembered thinking that it wasn’t very sturdy because I could make it move.
As we walked in Jahan greeted us at the stairs. I felt so relieved! It smelled so good inside and I was so happy to be there, I think I told her that as we headed up. I remember Seth saying, “the big room is already taken, but we’ll be in the purple room.” At that point I didn’t care. We got settled in and I laid down on the bed. Jahan had the assistant get me some tea and honey to help with my reflux. I was getting my mind right to be checked knowing it might be painful at this point in my birthing time.
I was so excited, happy, and relieved when Jahan looked and said “oh, your baby’s head is right there, you can push whenever you’re ready.” She also let me know that it was too late to set up the tub. I didn’t mind, I knew I was getting close to meeting my baby and was thrilled! Seth told me he could see her hair and that it was dark. My legs were very shaky at this point, which I knew was normal and had warned Seth about, so he wouldn’t be scared. With each wave I just continued to focus and let my body do the work. I didn’t feel like I even needed to push, I could just let nature run its course. Jahan had Seth help me take my nightgown off so we could be ready for skin to skin, and then he went back down by the bottom of the bed to get ready to catch our baby.
About 10-15 pushes later and her head was out! It was very, very intense at the end, but in a strange way it felt so good. I remember Jahan saying “get ready to catch your baby” to Seth. As soon as her head came out she started crying and making noises. It was surreal. Jahan said she had never witnessed that before. A wave later and her body emerged. Priscilla Anne was set on my chest, by her daddy, covered in vernix and absolutely beautiful. It was the most surreal, spiritual, and incredible moment of my life.
A while later everyone arrived: my mom, our doula Anne, Mara, and Courtney. It was so fun to see them all come in and see me with a baby on my chest. We all laughed, smiled, and rejoiced. Seth and I had big plans for this birth: snacks, affirmation cards, photos… and it ended up being so much different than that. I love that it was different than how we planned. Shortly after it started raining and I remember looking outside at the day just beginning. I distinctly remember seeing a little boy ride is bike past and thought to myself “what an amazing day.”
Rebecca came in a while later and we laughed about our previous conversation at my last appointment. She said that I was a home birther at heart and need to consider birthing there next time or else coming in sooner. It was a great moment. I did end up with a second degree tear, which Jahan stitched up for me. My stepdad Loren brought me breakfast and right after I ate Priscilla nursed for a shortly period of time.
Then it was time to head home! We stayed at the birth center for a little over four hours, and felt ready to leave when it came time. Mara snapped an adorable photo of us as we left, and we got into our car and drove home.