Mila Rose is 8 days old and it feels like she has been here in our world forever, but also a fleeting second, both at the same time. I’m still in awe of how peaceful and special her birth was.
A little backstory: Three years ago when we had Grey, I knew I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth with a midwife, but in a hospital. We had him early and quickly (36 weeks and 6 hours of labor) at Einstein Montgomery with Valley Birthplace and we loved it. The hospital was awesome with respecting our wishes (no eye ointment, or hep B for baby) but they did hook me up to the constant fetal monitoring for the most time, which I didn’t love, and they did give me antibiotics (my group B strep test was the day I went into labor so they didn’t have the results yet) during labor, which I also didn’t love. I now know I could have declined these, but didn’t at the time.
When we found out I was pregnant with baby girl, I decided to switch practices to Midwifery Traditions, as I had a few friends who had their babies with Kathy, Kara, and Allison and spoke highly them. The first appointment when I met with Allison, I explained that I had an amazing birth with Grey, pretty easy, popped him right out, and I wanted to have this baby at Einstein again, but this time no constant fetal monitoring or antibiotics. And she was like “Okay. You know you could totally do this at home right?”
And I kind of said “ohhh yeah that’d be cool but it’s not really for me and I dunno and blahhhhhhhh.” She said something to the effect of “We will do whatever you want, but you know how to birth your baby. We aren’t going to deliver your baby, you are. The mom births her baby. You know how to do this.” It was SO empowering and made me stop and think. DAMN STRAIGHT I can do this at home.
So, on the drive home from the appointment it just became more and more clear. I was having this baby at home. I called my friend Logan who had just had her sweet Aspen at home with Kathy, and picked her brain. I told Chris what I was thinking and he said “Okay babe.”
That man of mine. 😍😍😍
Once I make a decision, I am ALL IN. We spent 9 months reading all we could about homebirth, the safety of it (spoiler alert: VERY SAFE.), how it all works, and visualizing exactly how it would go. Our thoughts have power. Our minds have power. I had no room in mine for “what ifs” and fear. I only visualized how I wanted our day to go. People always asked me if I was nervous, and the answer was always no. I wasn’t nervous, I was so excited, and couldn’t wait to have our homebirth and meet Mila in our own home, with Grey and Chris and my mom there with us.
My whole pregnancy I was nervous of Mila being early like Grey. To birth at home I needed to be 37 weeks and Grey came at 36. No worries there, because this girl was happy to stay warm in my belly until 39 weeks and 3 days. It did start to get hard at the end. I generally felt great physically, but the waiting of “when will this happen” was a total pain. If you know me, you know I don’t do well with not knowing when things will happen 😂 I like to plan.
On Tuesday, January 9th, I woke up at 3:15am with some mild cramping really low in my belly. I just thought I needed to use the bathroom. Around 3:45am they were staying more consistent so I decided to try out the contraction timer on my baby app on my phone. (This was new to me. With Grey, I never had contractions I could time.) They started out 3-5 minutes apart and lasted 30-60 seconds each time, but were pretty mild. I just sat in the bathroom and timed them, I didn’t want to wake Chris up for nothing. After about an hour, I decided to call our midwife and see what they said. Kara answered and said just to try and go back to sleep and call back if I had any bloody show or my water broke.
Went back to timing them while walking around our dark living room in silence. I started to get out the birth affirmations my girlfriends made me, and I lit the candle that we all tied strings around at my blessingway. The girls all wore a piece of the string around their wrist, and tied one on the candle for me to light during Mila’s birth.
They stayed consistent with time and length, but got more intense. This whole time I was still convinced I wasn’t actually in labor. Around 5:30am I called my mom and asked her to come over, then I woke Chris up and asked him to come keep me company. I called our videographer and photographer to let them know I was in labor.
We started slowly getting out the birth pool, towels, and made the bed. At some point I played some Big Poppa “‘Cause I see some ladies tonight who should be havin’ my babyyy, babyyyy.” And then eventually I called Kara back and said it was getting more intense. She said Kathy would be over shortly to check on me.
Grey woke up at 7am, and came out of his room SO excited that baby sister was coming today. He was the sweetest little doula. The first thing he said when he saw me (mid-contraction) was “If your belly hurts, why don’t you get in the tub?” My boy knows what’s up. 😂 My Mom arrived shortly after, and Kathy got to us around the same time. She checked me, and I was 4cm. She thought that we still had a ways to go. She said she was going to run some stuff up to her office about 15 minutes away and come right back. In the back of my head, I was like “Oh man.” because I knew that when I had Grey, I went from 2cm to 10cm in less than an hour and half. She headed out and I got into the tub. Chris made me a Zyng bomb (ice, Ningxia, and Zyng) and gave me a cup of crushed ice to eat. I made him put on Oceans by Caleb and Kelsey on repeat. My mom and Grey mostly played in his room, but he’d come check on me every now and then.
Our photographer (Meg) and videographer (Danielle) arrived a little after 8am. By that point, I every time I had a contraction my body felt like it was trying to push and I was starting to freak out inside. I was asking Chris to call Kathy and see how close she was to coming back. Luckily she was about ten minutes away. When she got back, I told her I felt like my body was trying to push and asked her to check me again. She was like “I mean, I’ll check you, but your body knows what it’s doing.” She never was able to check because I kept having contractions so we just carried on. I had been laboring leaning over the side of the tub, but then switched to laying back against it.
This is where I started to get panicky and kept saying “I’m scared, I’m scared” (Mamas - you know what this is. Transition. When you start to think that you cannot do it and are really scared - know that you’re in transition, that’s normal, and you’re almost done!!!!)
I knew in the back of my head that this was transition and I was almost ready to have her. Kathy was so calm and reassuring the whole time and kept telling me that I was doing it and I was doing great. I felt a ton of pressure and reached down and felt her head. I was still in panic mode and didn’t want to relax enough to let her come out. I said to Chris “I just cannot get comfortable. I need to get comfortable.” And then Kathy looked at me and said something like “Oh you’re not going to get comfortable until she’s out.” And that snapped me out of being scared and I was like “HALE no, this baby is coming OUT now.” I didn’t push, I just relaxed as much as possible and tried to breathe her out. My body kind of pushed itself, and all of a sudden her head was out! I knew my mom and Grey would want to see her born, so l yelled “MOOOOOM! Grey!!!!!!!” And they came out of his room. Chris said Grey’s face when he came around the corner was like the biggest LIT UP smile as soon as he saw what was happening.
I couldn’t quite get her body out, so Kathy reached down to help her out. Then she handed me a baby and I’m pretty sure my face looked like “WTF just happened.”
She was perfect.
After a few minutes, I had to stand up and get out of the tub to deliver her placenta. That’s a super awkward waddle from the tub to the bedroom. I got onto our bed, snuggled Mila, and Grey came and sat next to us. We let her cord totally stop pulsing before Chris cut it. Her placenta came out, and I needed just a few little stitches. (Thank you Claraderm!!!!!!!) Kara took my placenta to encapsulate for me.
After a little bit, my mom took Mila and I got up to take a shower. Then I got tucked back into bed with a cup of coffee, fruit, and some food with my sweet baby on my chest.
And we’ve been snuggling ever since 😍😍😍