On November 27th, 2010, I gave birth to my third son, at home, un-medicated, in a tub. Think I’m crazy? Well, I might have been, but I wasn’t afraid. My first two births were uneventful – they each took about three hours in a traditional birth center/hospital setting. I figured having this baby at home would be just like having it a birthing center, except I could be in the comfort of my house without additional distractions or intervention. There’s a saying, “We make plans, God laughs.” Well, I think in my case, she was actually rolling on the floor and wetting her pants.
My husband, Brian, and I knew we had an action-packed Thanksgiving weekend ahead of us – having this baby boy was not on the itinerary (he wasn’t due until mid-December) – and I was determined to go to one last adult party before being shackled to a newborn. The holiday came and went without incident. Brian got up the next morning at the crack of dawn to face a mob of crazed Black Friday shoppers and enjoy a hockey game. I slept in. That was the last good night’s sleep I’d get for awhile.
Around 5 p.m., I made dinner, got my kids bathed and waited for Brian to get home. When he got back around 7, I told him I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions most of the day. I didn’t want to be the girl who cried “labor,” so I put off bothering our midwife, Jenna. Then, around 10:30, my son Bryson tried to crawl into bed with us. I had to send him back to his room – the pain had increased so much I couldn’t even hold a conversation. So I just lay there, changing positions every few minutes to help relieve the mounting pressure as my husband snored peacefully.
For the next half-hour, I walked around, washed dishes, took a bath, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, about 10 minutes to eleven, as I was walking up the stairs carrying an exercise ball, I felt a warm trickle stream down my legs. It wasn’t a watery flood of amniotic fluid like you see in movies, but more of a bloody one. I knew at that moment I had lost my mucus plug.
I calmly went back into my room where my husband was still sound asleep and, although I was gentle, I might as well have used a bull horn and told him the bed was on fire by the way he shot up. It was time to call Jenna.
I knew in my gut this baby would arrive soon, but Jenna was not convinced. She asked what was happening, how I felt, and said that this was probably just the beginning stage of labor. She recommended I call her back in 30 minutes. That’s when I decided to completely ignore her medical advice and demanded she get there, NOW! I explained to her that I’d never lost my mucus plug before, and I knew after the hours of “fake” contractions that this had turned into the real deal.
A few minutes later, Brian called my mom so she could start her hour-long drive to our house. I went back to bed and that’s when things really started to pick up.
The contractions got increasingly agonizing, like a vice grip taking over my massive belly. Thankfully they only lasted about 30 seconds (I would count down each time, praying it wasn’t a second over). I lay on my bed or sat on my ball and tried to keep my breathing under control. Meanwhile, Brian began filling the birthing tub with water. I had no idea this would require him to helplessly clutch a hose against a shower head that didn’t fit as water sprayed his face, poor man. (If you are using a tub, make sure you have figured out how to fill it before going into labor.) Forty-five minutes later Jenna arrived.
It was now a quarter after one in the morning and I was ready to get in that tub! Normally I would rather pluck my toenails out one by one while watching Jersey Shore than walk around naked in front of anyone. I had planned on wearing a bikini top in the water so I wouldn’t feel so exposed, but it’s funny how when you’re in labor, all modesty goes right out the window. I threw my nightgown off so fast you would have thought I was Jenna Jameson.
The water felt amazing; the warmth and buoyancy definitely relieved some pressure. I sat for a while, but still wasn’t quite comfortable, so Jenna suggested I get on my knees. Booty in the air, I faced my husband as we breathed through each contraction (thank God my kids weren’t awake). The breathing, in combination with the cooling water, sent chills through my body. A few minutes later my mom arrived. The only words I could groan to her were, “Hi mom” and “turn that camera off!”
I could feel the increasing pressure and knew my baby was going to make his grand entrance soon. Even though I was letting out freakish grunts, Jenna was perfectly calm and soothing. My last yell actually woke Bryson up; he knocked on the door and, in a flash, the pain was over. Our new baby, Nolan, had pushed himself into this world with little effort from me. It was magical.
I quickly turned back to a sitting position and grabbed my baby boy up from under the water. I couldn’t believe it was over. There was no intervention, no dangling IVs or bothersome nurses. The room was quiet and all that existed was our baby and sweet tears of joy. After less than two hours of active labor, Nolan Steele Walsh was in my arms.
Moments later Brian brought Bryson in to meet his baby brother and my mom woke up Tyler, who thought he was dreaming. We all gathered on our bed and relished the amazing miracle that had just taken place. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect birth.