I am so super excited to share our newest little’s birth story! Along with sharing the story I am including some of my favorite birth pictures captured by the talented Susan Johnson, CDA Birth Photographer. So, with that, be warned! There is some slight nudity and blood. Don’t like that stuff, don’t look.
I had been having prodromal labor for a few weeks. So waking up on Saturday morning (the 16th) with cramps and contractions I wasn’t at all phased, in fact I was annoyed. I was 40 weeks and 1 day. However, that morning I had some spotting and mucus. That was different to me… but, I settled it in my mind that it was because of the exam I had the day before… when we also discovered I was sitting at 4.5-5cm. The contractions were allll over the place— 3 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes…. Starting and stopping, building in intensity then gone.
Around 11am the contractions were about 6 minutes apart and building in intensity. I was feeling confident that just maybe this could be it. I called my husband and he decided to make his way back home and my doula decided to come over and check in with me and she had some tricks up her sleeve to maybe help keep labor progressing. After doing 3 hours of stairs, sink squats, cowboy walks, crying, processing/talking/weighing all my options with Pam we gave it a rest. Pam had suggested that we drop the boys off with Papa Kent and go to Costco (around 430p). This is when contractions started again— and whoa. They were good and strong the entire time we were walking around Costco. I was crushed when they stopped once I sat in the car for our drive home. I was angry. Frustrated. Exhausted. Anxious. I think I felt a million different things.
Once we were home (630p) we sat down to eat and I felt incredibly moody. I excused myself to the restroom. Upon standing up something shifted. I felt a pain that was incredibly unfamiliar to me. But it didn’t feel like a contraction. I started to panic. Something felt different. Something felt off. I called Rebekah and Pam cause “something feels different” and I wanted them to check on me. I mostly needed assurance that Cameron was ok. Pam arrived minutes later and upon her arrival I felt like labor had started up again and progressing and just maybe things were finally moving in the right direction. Pam was amazing and rallied the troops, started setting things up and made the call to my photographer who arrived not long after.
Rebekah arrived around 7pm and labor had started and stopped again…
…so after an exam we decided to break my water (I was 5-6cm and it was about 830p) because he was so buoyant with so much fluid. This was an agonizing decision for me. It was an option that had been open to me all day. However, I prefer a hands off, no interventions birth. To me, this felt like a big deal. I didn’t want anything interfering with the natural process. I trusted things were the way they were for a reason. After awhile, I grew confident that once we released the fluid he could add more pressure and keep labor progressing. It turns out that I had TONS of fluid and immediately went from 5/6cm to 7cm and he finally lowered down and engaged. Had we not broken my water, I feel confident it could have been hours longer or perhaps another few days of the starting and stopping and prodromal labor.
We danced a little, we did (more) stair exercises, and cowboy walks, we did sink squats and rested…we laughed a lot (uh hello silly cat that jumped into the birth pool), I cried a lot, I sang a little…. it was exactly what I had dreamed of.
When we broke my water around 845pm I immediately entered active labor. It was intense. It was fun and exciting and hard. I reflected a lot on the hard work I had put in with my counselor this year to process secondary birth traumas (that played a major part in trusting my provider, trusting the process, my body and my baby— and more importantly trusting the Lord. Trusting His ways, His timing and His direction. This was a major year for me in my spiritual journey and maturity), personal trauma, and restoring emotional and spiritual health.
I asked to have an exam around 12:05 am because my contractions had so much pressure with them. I was 8cm and she said she could probably stretch me to a 9-9.5 so I said yes- do it! I immediately started feeling pushy. It was then that I hit transition and started doubting. I felt like I couldn’t do it any longer and the intensity was so strong that I began to fight against the contractions. My body was involuntarily pushing and it was squeezing me so tightly that I couldn’t catch my breath and I felt sick. I felt embarrassed, I felt weak. I felt hot, tired and chaotic. I kept saying over and over “I can’t do this”, “I don’t wanna do this anymore”— at one point I even said “I change my mind, I don’t wanna do this, I want an epidural!”.
One of my goals this time was to stay present and catch my own baby. At one point I remember thinking that this is what I wanted but I didn’t like being so present and involved. I desperately wanted to drift into labor land but my mind was already made up.
At this point I sat up and asked to get back into the tub. As I inched my way to the end of the bed each contraction and tightness enveloped me and I couldn’t quite move. Then with the next contraction “ok he’s coming”. I felt a distinct change and swift decent as Cam made his way down. In my mind I was so surprised- I hadn’t been present enough to notice that with the other two! And with that, my entire perspective changed and I became excited and determined to meet him. Soon after that I delivered his head. With beaming joy I kept saying “Hi Cam! Hi baby! I can’t wait to see you!”. With the next contraction I remember saying “I can’t get him out!” Everyone assured me it was ok, and I lifted my left leg to a semi squat (I was on my hands & knees, almost off the edge of the bed) and grunted and pushed with all my might and out he came!
Upon exit he came flying out with tons more fluid (sorry for the squishy shoes Rebekah!!) and he decided to poop as soon as he came out, christening our carpet with meconium. I reached down and grabbed my baby and with the help of my midwife we unwrapped the cord draped around his shoulder and I brought him up to my chest with the biggest smile on my face! All I could do was smile and laugh and giggle.
“I did it!!”
“Is he ok?” (He was more than ok!)
I never made it back to the pool, but oh how relieved I was! I had had troublesome iron levels during pregnancy so upon getting comfortable and the cord finished pulsating I got to cut the cord and we worked on bleeding management and getting the placenta out. That stubborn placenta. I did end up with some tinctures and a shot of pitocin for bleeding and to help with the placenta but all was managed amazingly well yet firmly by my midwife.
Cam latched very well and immediately and we snuggled up to rest before doing his newborn exams. I was in heaven, floating on cloud 9! He looked so tiny! I kept thinking there’s no way he’s more than 8 pounds! He looked so little- but he was perfect!
Our team fed me, got us snuggled up, tucked us in, cleaned up our house and away they went. We snuggled, slept and rested. Home birth was everything I could have asked for, I am so thankful for the birth we had and I am even more thankful for the team we had.
Cameron Richard Brooks
Born at home @ 12:23am
8lbs 15oz & 23” long