This week on the blog I am recounting my birth stories for my own documentation purposes.  Normal posting to resume next week! 🙂

Because I had delivered early with Harlo, I thought for sure Stella would come early as well. By 38 weeks I was as good as ready to deliver.  The fridge had been stocked, the floors had been mopped, the home birth stuff was organized and ready to grab.  I was so anxious to have a home birth after months and months of reading and planning it after I had delivered Harlo in the hospital.  I had learned so much about what had gone wrong, what could have been different, what my options were.  I felt so empowered to be taking control of my experience, even if that meant stepping outside of my comfort zone.  I didn’t know a single person who had delivered naturally or at home, except my midwife, so I leaned a lot on books and my bradley classes to get prepared.  I had started preparing months before I even got pregnant so to be at the end of my pregnancy just had me so excited to finally get to experience what I had been studying over the last year and a half.  I had really thrown myself to a natural approach to parenting after Harlo was born and I felt such a purpose in this lifestyle.
By the time 39 weeks rolled around, I already felt overdue.  By 40 weeks I was as miserable as a beached whale.  The one part of my “plan” I had overlooked was the possibility that I would go overdue.  But like many other aspects of birth and motherhood, God knew exactly what my soul needed to experience, and going overdue was definitely one of those things.  In those weeks I had been waiting to deliver, I learned more about patience and faith than I had in my entire life leading up this day.  I tried every single old wives tale and tactic to naturally get labor going, all to no avail.  That Monday, I decided to give up completely.  I surrendered to God’s plan, rather than push my own.  I threw my hands in the air, made peace with the fact that I may indeed be pregnant forever, put on some lipstick and had my husband take me out on a date.  It was a good night.
I slept well enough that night, and was excited to be waking up at 9:00.  Harlo had slept in.  I went to her crib to get her for breakfast and as I was bringing her to my (used to be) hip, I felt a little pop along with some leakage.  At 40+ weeks, I knew for certain it could very well be myself peeing my pants, and it could also be my water breaking, so I waited for a minute.  I sat on a white towel and waited for more to leak out.  It did, and clear as day, I decided it was my water.  HALLELUJAH!!!!!! My water had broken.  I was FINALLY going to have this baby.  I called Brady who had barely made it to work and told him to come right back home.  I mosied on, fed Harlo breakfast and then got in the shower, shaved my legs, washed my hair, exfoliated.. all that stuff that makes a girl feel extra fancy. Brady got home in time to see me doing the finishing touches on my toenails (which I’m sure was a sight) and I was happy as a clam.  I had called Janae to let her know I’d be missing my weekly midwives appointment today and she said she would free her schedule and to let her know when I wanted her to head over.  She told me it was fine if my contractions didn’t start right away, and to just enjoy my day until they did.  So, I took that advice, put on my favorite dress (that still fit) and took my family out to lunch.  We met my sisters and mom at Durangos, ate a delicious lunch while everyone nervously exchanged glances and kept staring at me.  This was a first for all of us experiencing a home birth and the nagging feeling like I should be heading to the hospital, I’m sure, was consuming everyone.  After lunch, I still was having very little contractions and leaking a little enough water that a pad was doing the job, so we decided to head to Target.  I bought Harlo a baby doll that she could enjoy when my baby doll was born.  It was a beautiful summer day, and I was going to have a baby!  Life seemed perfect.
We got home around 1:30, just in time to put Harlo down for a nap.  My contractions still weren’t getting regular so I decided I would snag a nap while my 18 month old slept.  I rocked her and had a sweet moment of gratitude as I knew it might be the last time I rocked her slumped over this big belly of mine.  Stella wiggled inside my body, uncomfortable to be squished by her big sister.  I looked so forward to watching their sisterhood begin.  I laid Harlo down and headed to my own bed around 2:00.  I sat down just as a nice, tight contractions wrapped around my belly to my back.  I smiled, it’s what I had been waiting for.  I laid down, but a couple minutes later another one hugged me, and 2 minutes after that, another.  I called Brady in and asked him to start timing.  I got out my birth ball and leaned over it on the stronger ones.  They were coming even and strong.  I was so ready, I felt excitement flood over my whole body.  We called Janae around 3, and told her to not rush, but maybe start fixing to head this way.  I texted Trisha, our doula, the same thing.  By 3:15 though, things took a turn for the intense and I called Janae back and told her to maybe head over sooner rather than later.  She was already on her way.  At 3:30, Trisha and Janae both arrived and I was in full labor.  I was in a wonderful birth zone, completely unphased by anything that was going on around me.  I wasn’t talking or carrying on anymore, I was completely consumed by my body’s efforts to bring my baby into this world.  I kneeled and slumped over my birth ball while Brady put pressure on my tail bone.  Each contraction had a magnificent power to it.  My body felt so strong and powerful.  Between each contraction, the most amazing peace poured over my body.  Chills crawled up my spine in euphoria, and then another powerful wave would crash over me.  It was a wonderful rhythm and I felt each wave bringing my baby closer to me.
My body started to feel heavy and I wanted to lay down, but as soon as I shifted my weigh to lay, I felt uncomfortable.  Brady sat against my bed as I rested my body on to his.  On my contractions he would push me foward so I could curl around my belly, and in between I laid my head back on his shoulder and almost slept during the peace.  After some time, I felt like I needed to go pee.  “Just know, when you empty your bladder, that will bring your baby down and it will probably get a bit more intense.” Janae warned.  I nodded and headed to the bathroom.  Just after emptying my bladder, a big wave came crashing over me and I felt Stella slide a little deeper into my pelvis.  Brady rushed to my side and I leaned onto his strong back for support.  I got off the toilet and a nice warm bath was all ready for me.  I didn’t ever remember them running the water, but it was totally full and looked so inviting.  I slipped off my shorts and stepped in to the perfectly hot water.  I quickly thought back to a time not so long ago that I had got into the tub while laboring.  It was my favorite moment of labor with Harlo and the nostalgia brought back such sweet memories.  I sat in and felt the water devour me in comfort.  I felt cushioned and light everywhere.  Brady poured hot water over my neck and the water leached into my tank top in a wonderful sensation.  I had a strong contraction, I felt an amazing power inside push my baby down even farther.  I could tell exactly where she was in my body.  The contractions eased up and I felt Stella wiggle and readjust into her own little comfort.  We’re doing this, Stella.  You and me. I thought.  Another powerful contractions consumed me again and this time, the intensity made me nauseous.  Just like she knew it was coming, Janae handed me a bowl.  “It’s not fun to throw up, but doing so will help your push your baby down.”  As I heaved into the bowl, kneeling in my bathtub, I felt my body push Stella even further.  She passed through my hips and settled right into my pelvis.  Another contraction came and the intensity had me yelp and panic.  “You’re doing great, Cass.  If it feels better, you can try a quick 2 second push.” Janae coached and like she knew exactly what was going on in my body, that 2 second push was just the medicine I needed.  Then I pushed for another 2 seconds and because it numbed the discomfort, I wanted to push again.  Suddenly I felt extremely hot and had to get out of the tub.  Right. Now.
In what seemed like one swift movement, I leapt out of the tub and kneeled next to my birth ball again with a towel draped over my back and hips.  Just as the thought came across my mind that I couldn’t do it anymore, I felt this incredible weight on my pelvis.  Like someone had set a stack of text books right onto me.  “She’s coming!” I blurted.  “Let’s check ya,” Janae suggested.  She hadn’t checked me since she’d been there.  I had no idea how long she had been there, either.  Time seemed to slip into a completely different universe.
I laid back onto a comfortable area of pillows and blankets that had been set up on my bedroom floor sometime that I hadn’t noticed.  I leaned back and before she even had to check me, she said “Oh yep, there’s her head.  Go ahead and do what you need to do.”  I reached down as I let my body push as much as it wanted and felt the top of her head.  I can’t quite explain it, but I felt absolutely nothing after this.  The pressure of the push and Stella’s body completely numbed any discomfort I was having.  Time stood still as the heavens opened up.  I felt angels all around me.  Brady snuggled close to my side whispering encouraging words.  I was deep in my birth zone working with Stella on what we both needed to do.  I wanted her here in my arms so badly, but I somehow knew that my body needed a little time so I refrained from pushing as hard as I could.  I felt Stella wiggle herself as her shoulders came closer to earth side.  I just merely held her down as I grunted questions to Janae on how I was doing.  “You’re doing it.” she said with a smile.  The top of Stella’s head came out, then her eyes, then her face. “Okay, let that shoulder drop,” Janae said and then she said the words I had waited my entire life to hear “Okay, Cassidy.  Reach down and grab your baby.”  I wrapped my two hands around her shoulders and in the most euphoric sensation, pulled her body out of mine and laid her delicious weight onto my chest.  I felt as if I had taken her right from God’s arms.
“Stella!” I squealed “Stella you’re here! I did it! I did it!” “Oh my Stella! My Stella!!!” I exclaimed as Brady wept into my shoulder.  She was here.  My Stella was here! She was bright eyed as she stared into my face like she had been searching everywhere for me and now she had found me.  My soul felt the exact same way.
Stella was born at 5:26pm, just 3 hours after my contractions started.  I couldn’t believe how little time had gone by.  Harlo, who had been picked up by Auntie sometime during my labor came in just minutes after Stella was born, and was able to meet her while she was still attached to the cord.  She loved her purely and instantly and it was magic for my soul to see.  Stella, who had come out of the womb rooting for food was happily latched right away, just vivacious and full of life as ever.  It was so wonderful to see my baby so alert and receptive right after delivery.  I too felt just wonderful, like I hadn’t delivered a baby at all.
Later that night, I stood strong holding my baby in my bedroom, the baby I had delivered right in this very room just a couple of hours before.  I opened the door and felt the warm, damp summer air fill my room.  A monsoon had passed by our little piece of the desert and the smell of a fresh summer rain consumed me.  I had done it.  I had seen the very capabilities of what my body could do and I was overwhelmed at the instant confidence and respect I had for myself.
Our Stella was here and everything seemed just right in the world.