I am so excited to share Kyler’s birth story. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be, and I couldn’t be happier with how it all unfolded. I’m not sure if I ever shared on the blog that we were planning a home birth. We actually only told a handful of people, not because we wanted to keep it a big secret or anything, but because I really wanted to be surrounded by positivity rather than other peoples’ concerns or fear. Kevin and I were confident in our decision to have a home birth and I was working hard on trusting that my body would allow me to give birth this way. I had learned a lot from my previous hospital birth, and I knew if I could remove the mental blockages that my body would follow. This is why it was important for me to maintain a strong “bubble of peace” around me and our birth plans. So when asked, I would say that we were going through a birth center this time – which was true, they were just coming to us 🙂
As I have talked about in my weekly updates, I had a lot of classic “pre-labor” signs over the last few weeks of pregnancy that never turned into the real deal or progressed. However, things started to change on Thursday, May 21st, when I was 3 days past my due date. I woke up feeling off and was super emotional all day. I knew that I was barely overdue, but I had been pregnant for 2 1/2 weeks longer than I was with Kevin, so it felt like it to me. I was tired of these pre-labor signs and contractions that didn’t turn into anything, and I was REALLY tired of all the texts/phone calls/questions I was getting all day every day.
At the same time I felt guilty for feeling this way because this is most likely our last baby, and I knew I should be enjoying the end of pregnancy while it lasts. Basically I was an emotional mess and I just wanted to hibernate and hide from people until the baby was born. Being super emotional is a signpost that labor is near, so I was hopeful it was coming soon. I went for an awesome 3 mile run and felt a lot better afterwards.
On Friday, May 22nd I woke up and posted this on my Facebook, along with a message that said we would be unplugging until the baby was here. I felt instantly relaxed and at peace afterwards.
At my friend’s suggestion, I went out to the store to get a big puzzle and ingredients to make lactation cookies. My plan was to keep my mind busy working on these things throughout the day which I knew would also help my body relax. While I was at the store I noticed I felt uncomfortable while walking around, so when I got home I went for a fast-ish 3 mile walk. I was having random contractions, but I also felt a lot of pains and pressure in my pelvis. The baby felt really low and looked it too – especially once I got back home.
Little did I know this would be my last bump shot!
I worked on my puzzle for a while and then my husband and little Kev came home early. Since it was Memorial Day Weekend, he took a half day at work so he didn’t have to worry about traffic coming home. This turned out to be a VERY important and good decision! Once he got home I felt really relieved. I knew he’d be at home with me until Tuesday because of the holiday weekend, which was super comforting. I kept working on my puzzle and it occupied my mind and kept me relaxed. I felt a little weird in my stomach too, and kept having to make trips to the bathroom.
Right at 4:00 p.m. I felt something leak out of me while working on the puzzle. Having had a baby before and being super pregnant with one on my bladder, I figured it was just pee at first. But it was a bigger gush than that and something I couldn’t control. Then it happened again as I stood up and walked toward the bathroom. It hit me then that this was my water leaking, and that’s how my labor was going to start … again! Just like with Kevin. I’ve been told that labor begins with water breaking only 10% of the time, and I guess I’ve been in that minority both times now!
I wanted to give it a little time before I called my birth center to see if it happened again. It did and was pink-tinged this time, and along with it came some noticeably different contractions. I knew then that this was the real thing. These contractions were still mild but they were more consistent, coming every 7-8 minutes. I was so thankful that my contractions kicked in right away, since I didn’t have any at all for 12 hours after my water broke with Kevin. I tried to stay relaxed, but I was worried about the fact that it was rush hour on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend – not good in my extremely traffic-fillled area, especially since our birth team had to travel to us from various areas. First I called the birth center at 4:20, and the answering service notified the midwife on call. She called me back about 10 minutes later, and I was super excited that it was Kelly, one of the midwives who I had the majority of my appointments with. I love all the midwives at my birth center, but Kelly has always had a relaxing, calming effect on me and I knew she’d be great with me in labor. She asked me how I was feeling and told me to call her back when things picked up a bit.
After hanging up with her I started calling everyone else on the list- I called our birth assistant, birth photographer and my friend Cynthia who would be taking Kevin for us. I knew I might be calling them a little early but I wanted them all to have a heads up because of the holiday. I was so thankful Kevin had taken a half day, or else he would have been stuck in traffic for a lot of my labor!
In the meantime I continued to leak fluid and have contractions, and my hubby was mowing the lawn and then took little Kev out for a run. He knew that he needed to keep him busy because he could tell something was happening with me and was clingy. I decided to eat an early dinner to get some fuel in me, while still monitoring my contractions. When the boys got back inside my husband started getting Kevin fed, bathed and ready to go to Cynthia’s house. I wanted to go in my bedroom to focus on how I was feeling, so I kissed him goodbye and told him I would see him tomorrow when baby Kyler was here. I was so emotional saying goodbye to him, knowing that his whole world was about to change. I am actually getting teary eyed again writing this now. He was so sweet, telling me, “It’s okay mommy. I love you” and giving me hugs and kisses.
After that I went upstairs and starting timing my contractions again. I saw they were now 5-6 minutes apart, and stayed that way for a good half an hour. At 5:45 I called the midwife back to tell her that my contractions were coming more frequently and felt a little stronger. I told her I was going to take a shower to see what happened. While I was in there, they got noticeably stronger and even closer together- happening about every 4 minutes. Kelly called at 6:15 to check in and when I told her that, she decided to start making her way down to our house. Our birth assistant did as well. Around this time Cynthia’s husband showed up and took Kevin back to his house. I cried again watching them leave out the window.
Finally, my husband was able to come upstairs where I was working through the stronger contractions. He was surprised to see how they were only 4 minutes apart and that I was really having to breathe through them- especially since it had only been a couple of hours since my water had broken. At first I liked to lean into the wall, or him, or onto the bed as a contraction passed and then walk around the room in between, but after a little while they started getting too intense to stand through. Instead I started sitting on the ball and leaning into the bed. Sitting on the ball made them even more intense, but it took the pressure off my legs which felt better. I was getting anxious for our birth team to arrive.
Kelly our midwife was the first to get to our house around 7:15, and our birth assistant Marilyn arrived 10 minutes later. Once they had arrived I noticed my contractions spaced out a bit, although they were still strong when I did have them. I knew this can happen whenever there’s a change in environment in some way so I wasn’t too worried about it. Kelly and Marilyn gave us some space after they set everything up and took my vital signs, so that I could continue to focus and get my rhythm going again. Marilyn also rubbed some essential oils on my belly (Clary Sage and Geranium to intensify contractions) and behind my neck (Balance to keep me calm and focused).
It didn’t take long for the contractions to move closer together again, and I think that was because I was so comfortable with my birth team. I went to the bathroom at one point and the position of sitting on the toilet really opened me up. I could feel the baby moving down with the contractions that were getting more and more intense and lasting longer, and I noticed I was losing my mucus plug which was a sign that I was dilating. I also had strong contractions every time Marilyn reapplied the oils to my belly. I started to wonder if I should be checked, since they didn’t offer when they first arrived. The last time I had been checked was at my 36 week appointment when I was 1 centimeter dilated and 60% effaced. I was hoping that all that had happened over the last couple weeks had progressed me some. I asked Kelly if she could and she said sure, but then I had a very strong contraction that made me reconsider. I knew that knowing the numbers could mess with me mentally if I wasn’t as far along as I thought I was. I decided to trust that my body was doing what it needed to and didn’t get checked.
My birth photographer (who is also a doula and has had 5 children, including two home births!) arrived at 8:25, but contractions didn’t slow down this time. It was getting harder to work through them on the birth ball, and they felt like they were lasting forever. My birth team would come in and out to check on me every once in a while, but for the most part they left Kevin and I to labor together. They encouraged me to drink my coconut water and eat something, but my stomach felt uneasy. Marilyn (who is also a massage therapist) gave me an amazing massage and helped me keep my whole body relaxed, so that my uterus could do the work it needed to do. The pain was strong but it was manageable.
I decided that I wanted to get in the tub to help manage my pain so Kevin started getting it ready. While I was in labor in the hospital I LOVED using the shower, and I knew the water would help me relax since things were getting more difficult. I asked Kevin what time it was and he told me around 9:00. I couldn’t believe that my water had only broken 5 hours earlier. What is interesting is that a while ago he had picked May 22nd as the day that our baby would be born. In between contractions we discussed whether we thought he would be born tonight or tomorrow. I guessed early the next day, but things changed quickly after that.
However, pretty soon after I got in the tub I stopped smiling and talking between contractions. They were now about 3 minutes apart and felt a lot more intense, but the water helped take a lot of the pressure away which was nice. I could tell that the water was also helping my body stay as relaxed as possible. Things started to get very difficult very quickly. The manageable pain I had before turned into much more. I was hot and then cold, shaking and feeling the baby move down with each intense contraction. I kept telling myself to open up and let the baby come down. I started to cry around 9:30 because I felt overwhelmed by how fast this birth was going. I knew that feeling emotional was a sign of transition, but I couldn’t believe we were possibly at that point yet.
Meanwhile, Kelly and Marilyn were busy preparing for the birth which they felt would be soon based on what they were seeing. They told me they thought I was in transition, and again I cried because I couldn’t believe I already was. They asked me if I wanted a water birth and I said I didn’t know. I hadn’t had my heart set on a water birth, I just knew I would love the water for pain relief. But once I was in the water I didn’t want to get out. I knew it would feel a lot more intense if I did and I wasn’t sure I would be able to handle it.
At 9:45 I had an extremely intense contraction and felt a burning sensation down below. I told Kelly and she told me birth was happening very soon, so if I wanted a water birth I needed to decide now. I decided I couldn’t possibly get out at this point, so they added more water to the tub so that baby would be completely submerged when he came out which is necessary for a water birth.
With my next contraction I had to hold onto both of Kevin’s hands because my body was bearing down and pushing without me even trying. It was the most intense uncontrollable feeling and I continued to feel the burning. I thought it had to be baby’s head coming out, but they told me it was actually baby’s amniotic sac bulging out. Apparently, I was leaking earlier from the outer membrane, and his inner membrane sac was still intact. In between contractions I was so uncomfortable and in so much pain. They told me to look or reach down to feel the sac coming out but I couldn’t do it – I just wanted him out. They monitored the baby’s heart rate and told me he was doing beautifully, and that I would be meeting my baby very soon.
With my next contraction I just let go. I let my body push and just gave into the pain. It was the most intense feeling I have ever experienced. Kelly told me his sac ruptured on the way out, then all of a sudden I felt his head, shoulders, and the rest of his body emerge underwater.
As soon as I saw him and they lifted him out of the water I felt the most amazing feeling of relief. He was all wrapped in his cord but his eyes were wide open and he was screaming at the top of his lungs. I could not believe my baby was here after such a quick labor and only one real push. He was born at 9:56 p.m., less than 6 hours after my water started leaking.
I brought him up to me right away and kept repeating, “My baby, my baby, I love you, I love you, I did it, I can’t believe it’s already over.” The adrenaline hit me right away and I felt amazing.
This is my “Oh my God, what just happened?” face
I immediately brought him skin to skin and tried to get him to latch on. He didn’t latch immediately like Kevin did, but he calmed down right away. It felt so good to be holding the baby in my arms that I had carried for over 40 weeks. His Apgar scores were 8 and 9, due to his color. He was a little blue but his skin started turning pink shortly afterwards.
The adrenaline rush didn’t last too long, however. I started feeling weak and shaky, so they helped me out of the tub with the baby and onto the bed. I drank some coconut water and ate some fig bars to help bring my blood sugar up, and snuggled with my baby skin to skin while we waited for the placenta to be delivered.
I tried again to get him to latch on and he was able to this time. The nursing helped bring on contractions that helped my placenta come out. They were super painful, and every time another one came I would get hot then cold and shaky.
Kelly said it was basically due to all the hormones that were being dumped into my body after the birth. The placenta took 26 minutes to come out, and when it did they inspected it to make sure the entire thing was there. It’s amazing to me that this organ is what kept my baby alive while he was inside of me.
After that Kevin cut the baby ‘s cord, just like he did with little Kevin. Then Kelly and Marilyn helped get blood clots out of my uterus by pushing down on it (ouch), and they stitched up the 2nd degree tear I had from my one push delivery. After that I went to take a shower while daddy got to do some skin to skin time with his new baby boy. It felt so good to take a shower and get all cleaned up.
After my shower I had some more time with the baby and he nursed again. Eventually they did the baby’s newborn exam, weighed and measured him, and took his footprints. While he was being weighed he had his first pee (which was awesomely caught on camera!), and then had his first huge meconium bowel movement shortly after that all over his daddy 🙂
He weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. He had a 13.75 centimeter head and a 13.25 centimeter chest. He was super wide eyed, alert, and perfect.
Our birth team left around 1:00 a.m. after we took some photos together. It was so surreal to be at home and ready to go to sleep with our baby who was only hours old.
With midwife Kelly (on the left) and birth assistant Marilyn (on the right)
With our birth photographer Sahsha
Last shot before the birth team left… just me and my boy.
The next morning we called our family and friends to share the news that baby Kyler was finally here. I couldn’t wait for Kevin to come home and meet his new baby brother. I missed him so much since this was the first night he had ever spent away from both Kevin and myself. Cynthia brought him back after giving him breakfast and he ran upstairs and climbed right on to the bed. He looked at Kyler for a minute and then leaned in and gave him a kiss. It was so sweet and he was so proud. He kept calling him “my baby” and saying “That’s my brother!” Heart melted.
I feel so unbelievably lucky to have had such an amazing birth experience. After Kevin’s birth I had some doubts that my body would be able to do what it needed to do without help. This birth proved that I could do it. I also know that I had the most amazing birth team and support system, between my husband, Kelly, Marilyn and Sahsha our photographer. I couldn’t have done it without them. Even though it was much faster than I anticipated it would be, it was still peaceful, empowering, and amazing. I never felt out of control or scared, instead I felt strong and confident. I’m so happy I was able to bring Kyler into the world this way.
Welcome to the world Kyler James. You are already loved so much!
Birth photos taken by Sahsha from Rubylee Photography: