My First Free Birth
At 2:49 am Yosef was born in the comfort of his home and greeted by his mother, father, and four older siblings. It was my 5th birth and I decided to do a free birth. No midwife, no doctor, and no nurse. I wanted to take full responsibility and birth on my terms this time around.
I was 42 weeks along and my first contraction woke me out of my sleep. It was the first snowfall of the year and the only sounds I could hear were the occasional plow trucks scraping down the streets as I patiently wait for that second contraction. As I feel the next contraction coming, I grab my phone to look at the time. It was 11:45 pm and I was finally in labor!
It was a perfect time for me to labor too. It was Sunday and my husband was home from work, so this homeschooling momma of four children, including an extremely active two-year-old, had an extra hand on this particular day. And by 11:46 pm I was well-rested and with everyone sound asleep I could give my full undivided attention to my first homebirth.
With no one to share this excitement with just yet, I put my headphones in and pressed shuffle on my labor playlist. The first song was just the perfect song, Hadarah Batyah’s "I Need You Now." The acoustic guitar along with the affirming lyrics quoting Psalm 121 was all I needed. So instead of shuffling my playlist, I put that baby on repeat, grabbed my birth ball, and quietly walked to the kitchen to labor alone.
I planned to labor on my own until I needed my husband's support. My husband and I decided to have my oldest child watch my younger children when my husband was assisting me. Since it was so late and the beginning stage of labor wasn't too bad, I was hoping my husband could get as much sleep as possible and that my children could stay asleep and just meet their baby brother in the morning. So I quietly spent my first stage of labor in front of my back sliding doors watching the snowfall as I rocked on my birth ball. Watching the moonlit snowfall while listening to the soft singing of scripture made a perfectly peaceful atmosphere.
As my contractions got stronger I thought it might be a good idea to clear the pipes if you know what I mean. The bad news is that nothing ended up coming out but the good news is that this sitting position I was in with the step stool under my feet, helped me as the contractions got much stronger. Thankfully my husband woke up and met me in the bathroom because now I really needed someone to lean on, both emotionally and literally.
By this time I had to be in transition. With my eyes shut and my husband in front of me, I sat on the toilet holding his hands as he reminded me to breathe. So I kept breathing and when the pain became unbearable I would say "HalleluYah," "this is how it is" and "this pain will pass." And at the first attempt, my husband made to say anything more than breath, I reminded him to shut up and exhaled with a loud "SHh!" Although my husband only tried to tell me I was doing good, I didn't want to hear all that. Instead, I reminded myself with every contraction going forward with, "HalelluYah," "this is how it is" and "this pain will pass."
I was in pain but I knew that I must focus and that affirmation was what kept my peace.
I couldn’t sit on this toilet any longer. So I tried laboring in the shower. I held on to the towel holder on my shower wall and let the water hit my back. With each contraction, it felt like I was carrying a pile of bricks. And as the contraction got longer and stronger, the water hitting my back began to feel as if those bricks were getting heavier and heavier. So I got on all fours in hopes a bath would help. But nope, there was no escape. The labor pains got worse and I just had to get out of that tub.
As I dried off and got my robe on I could hear my husband talking to my children as he was setting up an area for me to labor comfortably on our bedroom floor. My second oldest daughter came to check on us and my husband let her know it was time. She later told me she ran to her oldest sisters room and said,
"I can't believe I'm saying this, but mommy's in labor."
After two long weeks past my due date, we were all anticipating this day. The girls were extremely excited to know that Yosef was on his way and couldn't wait to tell their brothers, who were next to wake up.
The night remained quiet. The children left my husband and me alone in my room. And the girls did a great job keeping their little brothers occupied so dad could assist me and I could remain focused and have peaceful labor and delivery.
As my husband sat on the edge of the bed I got on my knees and labored as I leaned over his lap. At this point, my eyes are closed to help me stay focused. I was now shivering and gnashing my teeth while leaning my head against my husband's chest saying my affirmations and praising Yah. The urge to push was getting stronger but instead, I remained on my knees trying my best to relax and breathe through each contraction.
Just when I thought this would never end the fetal ejection reflex kicked in as Yosef crowned. I let out an awkward scream and at that moment it was as if my husband teleported from the front of me to behind me. At that same time, I switched from my knees to my feet. Still bent over the edge of my bed, the fetal ejection reflex popped Yosef out and my husband caught him. I turned around and my husband passed him to me. He was finally here!
HalleluYah! The pain had passed and Yosef was born in his sack at 2:49 am. He let out a little whine and a minute later he was greeted by his brothers and sisters. No strangers, no poking, no bright lights, no loud noises. Just a quiet snow day born on mommy and daddy's terms peaceful and free.