Samuel's Birth Story
I am so happy. Home birth was such an incredible journey I took in the comfort of my own home. I am thankful for the people in my life who truly love and support me. I am thankful for trusting my body, my baby and life. I am so thankful that I have a healthy, happy baby boy who chose me to be his mother. I am forever grateful to have such an amazing partner who was so gentle and caring during my labor... and hands down the best doula I could have ever asked for. I feel extremely blessed.
I found out I was pregnant at the end of January 2017. I remember taking the test. I immediately screamed when I saw two lines. It was probably more disbelief than excitement. However, It really was the beginning of such an exciting time in my life. I was going to become a mama!! We had our own private gender reveal and when we popped the big black balloon, all I saw was blue confetti fall all over the place. We were going to have a little BOY!
Eventually, It was time to start thinking of what we were going to name him. Each name we said never gave us that feeling. We kind of just let it go and didn't give it any more thought. Then a few months later, one day while laying in bed I said out loud "Samuel? I kind of like it". Dillon said that was his Grandad's name. I laughed and said "Samuel Algirdas"... with Algirdas being my Grandfather's name. Just like that, In that moment... We had that feeling. It stuck. We named him without any effort and after our favorite people ever, our grandfathers.
I never visualized my birth because I didn't want to be attached to an outcome. I just prayed that it would go smoothly and that he would come here safely in whichever way that was best for him and whichever way that was best for me. I meditated regularly to stay connected to my body and how I was feeling. I also meditated to keep my mind clear, stay relaxed and make room for positive thoughts. Once thinking about where I was going to have our baby, I felt like having him in the hospital wasn't the best decision for me. I seemed to feel a disconnect with what I wanted and what a hospital could provide. I had met with an OB and did a tour of Sacred Heart. While finished with my tour of the birth center, I stopped by the nurse station in the birthing area. I asked some very real questions and then I shared that I was thinking that I wanted to have my baby with GBO...and that's when I met Hayley. She told me she just got "all warm and fuzzy" when I said that. Hayley shared that she was also a birthing assistant with GBO. I could tell she was passionate about it. Deep down, I knew I was supposed to meet her. Weeks later, Dillon and I were on the way to grab food and he suggested Evercrisp to get a salad. My man... suggesting a salad place for lunch? Amazing, I thought. (He never suggests this place or salads). We were joking on the way there that we would either go to GBO to have our baby or to The Farm in Summertown, TN. We were 100% having an out of hospital birth. Also probably almost 100% on going to Summertown...I was in love when I read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. While ordering our lunch, I noticed Hayley standing beside me. I struck up a conversation with her and we started talking about GBO again. I knew I was supposed to see her. This was what I needed, this conversation, to calm me with something I didn't grow up with--Natural, unmedicated childbirth. I totally felt like it was a sign from God, seeing her there, and I had this deep knowing to trust my path, decision and intuition. That was the happiest salad I ever ate! After that conversation, I knew - We are totally using GBO for our birth! We eventually decided to have him at home.. I loved the idea of laboring at home and never having to leave. Little did I know, having a Home birth would be one of the best experiences of my life. It's now October, a few days past my due date, I was feeling so calm and confident. Samuel was going to come in his perfect time. I had this unbelievable amount of calmness and trust that came over me around this time in my pregnancy. I knew it was all in God's hands and all I needed to do is get out of the way and allow my body to do exactly what it's made to do. With Cindi's ok, I went in to get acupuncture by Dr. Wu. This was such a great visit with...It felt amazing and while I was there he just continually blessed me and the baby. The next day, I went into labor.
On Oct 12, I went to visit Cindi in the morning so she could check to see if I was dilated. That was my first major contraction. She was so calm and said I was 2 cm dilated and my cervix was soft and that was good. Okay, I thought, not having a baby yet! I really didn't think I was close to having a baby. However, Some kind of magic was worked because I ended up going into labor that evening. It's late in the afternoon and Dillon left to work on the boat, and my mom was thankfully at home visiting with me. I was having very light cramping all day and joked how funny it would be to have a baby on Friday the 13th. My mom and I were outside and my dachshund alerted us to a large bird, a Heron, that was stuck in the trees between the balconies. The fire dept and wild life rescuers had to come help get it out of the tree. (This was totally my stork... telling me to get ready because the baby is being delivered). And although this chaos was a wonderful distraction from the dull cramping I was experiencing, it was very clear that my mood started changing--so I called GBO. I was told it was normal to have cramping after sweeping the membranes and they will probably completely stop or get worse. To call if the cramping became stronger or became more frequent. Well, they did. I turned down my shopping trip to Home Goods (That's when my mom knew that this was the real deal--I was about to go into labor). She called Dillon and had him come home. She stayed with me until he arrived. Once he was home; she ended up leaving shortly after to start cooking for us so we had plenty of fresh cooked meals for the next few days. I was feeling fine and told dillon he had to go to the store to get string, paper and color pencils so I can make my last minute affirmations and hang them on the wall. Also, I needed fingernail polish remover. By the time he came home. I was in the tub having true contractions. I no longer cared about my affirmations or my chipped toe nail polish, He comforted me. Since I was in labor, He lit the candle that was gifted to me at my blessing way. We called Cindi. She suggested that I rest. I feel like we called her back again right away. I threw up. There was no way I could rest. I was starting to get so uncomfortable. We called Katie, our photographer, around 8:30 and asked her to come sit with us. I remember being super chatty with her. She was so awesome to have around. I was in the tub for awhile before moving to the bed. I was smiling, laughing and talking. It was sort of confusing how far along I was because I still was talking even though I probably shouldn't have been able to. Once laboring in bed, I stayed in my meditative breath the whole time that way I could get through the contractions... Dillon was just so gentle and caring. He held me and comforted me. My mom came back with food to drop off for us; she came upstairs to say hello to me during labor before she headed back home (as I had planned) but I asked her to stay. She ended up being the most amazing presence. She would step in when Dillon needed a break and then at the same time I was able to be comforted by my mother. I remember just holding her hand and telling her that I loved her so much. I will never forget the feeling I had while holding her hand. There were so many emotions. Every touch she gave was so supportive and filled with love. She just held space for me, which was exactly what I needed at this time. Dillon joked with me and said that as soon as my mom came in to drop everything off for us, she was staying because he wasn't going to let her leave. He felt like he needed her there more than I did. I thought that was such a beautiful thing to say.
While laboring in bed, my water broke. It was a very memorable "POP" and fluid was everywhere. That's when Katie told Dillon that now was a good time to call Cindi and to have her come. My contractions were certainly intensifying now. More fluid came rushing out with each additional contraction I had. Dillon was breathing with me. Breathing between and during my contractions so I would stay in my breath. That helped me so much because there were times I would almost fight my contraction. Dillon stayed with me the whole time. His breathing would help me by reminding me to get back into my meditative breath. I found that It was so much calmer there. So, that's where I stayed throughout my labor. I just remember thinking about the ocean while I was breathing. When I was in between contractions- the water was calm...I relaxed and rested. When the wave was coming, I squeezed his hand and I allowed it to happen. I knew this wave wouldn't last forever. It was going to break and it was going to be okay. I totally surrendered to my body. It was such a beautiful feeling. I was truly allowing my body to be the portal from the spiritual world to the physical world. This was my sacred journey into motherhood just as much as it was my child's sacred journey into this life. This was important for me to do this for him. To breathe, allow, surrender and relax so he could come into the world peacefully. The contractions that were happening at this time were incredibly powerful. I couldn't stand when I tried. I started visualizing my blessing way in my head. I was looking at the most amazing women in my life surrounding me that night. I was replaying their encouraging words over and over and over again. I was looking around the room and watching them hold and pass the very same candle that was burning right beside me as I labored. I could feel them and their words. I could feel how I felt that night. Visualization really got me through this time.
I was feeling the urge to push and vocalizing it. Contractions were getting even stronger and I felt there was no way humanly possibly they could get any closer together. Soon after...around 11 pm--my midwife, Cindi and the birth assistants Hayley and Kat came in. I truly had the perfect energy at my birth. It was almost like I was seeing a long time friend when I saw Hayley come in. I immediately felt the kind energy of Kat and I already knew and trusted Cindi. Everything came full circle at this time. I was so comfortable in my birth setting. It's true, there is nothing more beautiful than that secure feeling. I trusted the people who surrounded me. My contractions at this point were taking over. So strong that I was dreaming of my birth tub. I was so ready to get in. Cindi asked me to come into the bathroom and sit on the toilet for a few contractions. I stayed here for a while. I labored here, all out. Woooo! It was very intense laboring on the toilet. I did not feel very glamorous at all, with my legs propped up on two separate stools! Yet Dillon held me, was looking at me in awe and whispered to me "You are so beautiful". He was just so so sweet to me. So kind and caring throughout my entire labor. He was so present. I am still just so blown away. Cindi was sitting to the left of me. She said "You're probably going to have a Friday the 13th baby". I remember laughing either in my head or out loud... but definitely thinking let's have this baby!!! Can I get in the tub yet?! I could barely get out anything I was thinking. I was really focusing on my breath. Not long after she asked if I was ready to get in the birthing pool and push. I was about to have Samuel. Walking to the birthing pool was so crazy! He was right there and I could feel him. The best feeling in the world was that birth pool. I felt like an astronaut who landed on the moon. There was Instant relief. It felt unbelievably good. I knew I could do anything after being in the bathroom laboring. I was in the pool and had a contraction. Cindy told me I had to push the baby out to get him here. I remember saying "Wait, I have to push him out? He won't just come?" She was like yes, You have to push. I was in a daze. The next contraction I had, I started pushing. I felt like I only had a couple of contractions and I was already crowning. I remember feeling so excited to meet my baby. Later, Katie told me she never heard anyone say they were excited while crowning or even smiling for that matter. For some reason, I was. It was like I had left my body. I had the birth high that people talk about. It was amazing. I reached down and touched his head.... he was almost here. Pushing Samuel out was so surreal. Seeing his body come out and catching him underwater was out-of-this-world amazing. I wasn't even in this world when it happened. He was born on October 13th at 1:19 am. Holding Samuel in my arms and placing him on my chest was magical. Home birth is magical. I started to cry when I heard his cry. It was music. I was so connected. It was the promise that God gave to me, fully realized, he was here- happy, healthy and birthed at home. It couldn't have been any more peaceful. It couldn't have been any more perfect.