Balian’s Home Birth Story

My contractions started around 6am with mild cramping, and I decided to get up for the day. I was excited that I was beginning early labor and very grateful that labor started after a good night’s sleep.

My husband would be working that day (he works from home), so I informed him that things were starting and he decided he’d finish a couple of small tasks and then be done for the day.

I monitored my contractions for awhile throughout the morning, but they didn’t change much. It was hard to know whether I’d be holding a baby by the end of the day or if it would be the next day. I really hoped the baby would come by the end of the day so that I wouldn’t have to labor throughout the night.

Around 12:30pm I called my midwife for the first time that day and gave her an update (after things hadn’t changed much). She told me baby would come around dinnertime. Having her idea of a time frame for baby was really helpful. I was able to mentally prepare for what to expect over the next few hours.

Throughout the day, I was making sure to eat a good amount of food, I read a book to distract myself, and I was incorporating movement with each contraction.

Slowly but surely, I started making progress. My husband took our girls to his parents’ house around 3pm when things started getting a little more intense for me. During the time everyone was gone, I made the birth bed, got out my labor outfit, ate snacks, drank a cup of tea and a protein drink, and read a little — anything to prepare myself and keep my mind focused on the goal!

I called my midwife around 3:30 and she told me to take a warm shower and/or go for a walk around the backyard. She said to look for other signs that labor was getting close to changing: my water breaking, bloody show, or emptying of bowels.

I took a shower after the call and my husband came home from his parents’ house. I updated him about the call with my midwife and how I was feeling. He started prepping dinner food in case I was feeling hungry and rubbed my back when contractions were getting more painful. We had been watching The Parent Trap (1961) the night before, so he put that on again for me and I tried to watch through contractions to distract myself.

Around 5pm I was feeling even more restless and having more intense contractions. This is when active labor began. I called my midwife to see if she could come and check me — she told me to call her back in 30 minutes and by then she would plan to come over. My husband called her at 6pm after I had some bloody show and I knew the baby would be coming very soon.

My midwife arrived around 6:15/6:20 and entered the bedroom where I was standing at the foot of the bed laboring. She immediately started setting up, placed a pad under my feet “because I can see that water bag breaking all over the floor,” and encouraged me to breathe with each contraction. After a few more contractions, my bag of water burst all over the floor. This was new for me. With my first child, my water was broken at the hospital, and with my second child (my first home birth), the bag burst just as her head was coming out!

My midwife wanted me to go through one more standing contraction (using gravity to help bring baby down) before getting on the bed. She helped to get me to a half-seated position on the bed and I began pushing. Throughout pushing, my midwife would tell me to breathe slower and push slower at times. I felt the top of his head at one point! After about ten minutes of pushing and two hours of active labor, he was out! My husband and I grabbed him and placed him on my chest. At that point, we didn’t know who the baby was, we were just happy they were in my arms! We looked after a minute or so and discovered it was Balian! I had known it all along and we were so glad that he was finally with us.

3 minutes after he was born!

After a check of baby and mother (making sure cord had stopped pumping and the placenta was ready to be delivered), my husband cut the cord (his first time)!

My midwife then left the bedroom and gave us ample time to cuddle our little one while she filled out paperwork in our living room. With the older children gone, the house was quiet and bonding time with the new baby was sacred. Sweet words and tender kisses were shared by all. The moments after birth were slow and magical.

Some time later, my midwife came back in to record baby’s details. As she checked him over, she explained to us the movements he was making, what vitals she was looking for, and she recorded his measurements. We were shocked to discover that he was 9lbs 8oz! I assumed that since it was my first vegan pregnancy that he would be smaller, but I was so happy and proud (of myself) that he was big and healthy! After those details were collected, she helped me get off of the bed and to the bathroom.

After one last check to make sure her paperwork was completed, our questions were answered, and I felt comfortable, our midwife went home. Her departure is always bittersweet for me, but I knew I would be seeing her again the next day for the 24-hour follow up visit.

Then we began sharing the good news with everyone. The best reaction was from our daughters, who were at their grandparent’s house for the night. Our older daughter had told us that she didn’t want to know until she came home the next day, but when my husband called, she couldn’t wait. After we told her it was a boy, she ran down the stairs shouting, ”it’s a boy, it’s a boy!” Both girls were thrilled, and our younger daughter kept saying, ”I wished for a boy and I got my wish!”

We are filled with so much happiness to have this boy in our family!