Oh gracious. I’ve sat down to write this post 500 times, but still don’t feel like I’ve given myself enough time to process such an unreal event in my life. Birth is such a surreal experience – exhausting, exhilarating and so very rewarding. And I feel so grateful to say that Bee’s birth was everything I’d hoped for:
On Sunday, July 22nd, my contractions officially began. We’d met our friends for breakfast, joking that this could be our last meal as a duo (although the joke was on me, because Bee chose to wait 3 more days before she made an appearance!). We then headed home to start timing contractions and making sure we had everything prepped for our home birth. Our midwife had given us a checklist a few months prior, so we double checked the list to be sure everything was well-stocked and accounted for!
The day passed quickly as I lounged around and continued to time my contractions. That evening, we visited my mother-in-law’s pool, still timing each contraction (which felt like strong waves of cramps, but weren’t quite as painful as I’d expected — yet!). At some point, we hit the 5-minute mark and each contraction was getting stronger – this was our cue to call the midwife. My water hadn’t yet broke, and I was still smiling and chatting through the contractions, so my midwife instructed us to wait it out until they were 3 minutes apart and call her back once I stop smiling.
We headed home from my mother-in-law’s home and tried to get some rest that evening. We’d had an appointment scheduled with our midwife for the next day, so we headed to bed early to attempt a good night’s sleep. Yet the contractions were getting stronger (although they moved to 10 minutes apart), so I slept in 10 minute intervals throughout the night and left for our midwife appointment the next morning in a very sleepy state of mind.
During our midwife appointment, we worked through a few more contractions and everything seemed to be progressing well. Our midwife guessed that Bee would be arriving within a day or two, so she told us to go home, eat a good meal and feel free to naturally induce as we wish. We celebrated with a big brunch, then we went home for a glass of wine, a pressure point foot massage and a good pumping session. Instantly, my contractions went from irregular 7-10 minutes apart back to 4-minute, strong contractions. Bee was on her way! We called my friend and photographer Betsy, who came to snap a few photos of the early labor process.
Yet Bee was a stubborn one and we worked through strong, 4-minute contractions with no progress for the rest of the day and into the next morning. It wasn’t until 7am Tuesday, July 24th, that the contractions moved to 2-3 minutes, and our midwife was officially on her way to catch the baby!
While I worked through more contractions, Ken started to fill the birth tub with warm water in preparation for our midwife to arrive. Betsy came over again for more photos and soon after the fun began!
Bee progressed slowly but surely, taking her time. We worked through the early contractions in a fairly calm way, thanks to Ken’s amazing support, rice socks, essential oils and lots of honey sticks and Gatorade. It wasn’t until late afternoon that I hit the transitional phase of labor – the most intense part of the birth.
My midwife was incredible. She recommended different positions and techniques to manage the pain, encouraged me with positive affirmations and wiped down my face with a cold washcloth when the pain was too intense.
Around 6:30 in the evening, it was go time. Bee was on her way and it was time to push! And after an hour of pushing, lots of tears and doubts, and an amazing support system, little Bee arrived at 7:45ish. She was perfect, and Ken and I were elated. 7 lbs, 13 oz and 20 1/2 inches long.
We nursed almost immediately, then soaked in an herbal bath while our midwives worked tirelessly to clean up the home (and even turned down the bed for our first night’s sleep as a family of three!). They left our home close to midnight as Ken and I tucked ourselves in — a beautiful start to our new life together.
And this is the part where I thank my amazing support system: our midwife, her birthing assistant, my dear husband and my incredible friend/photographer. I feel so grateful that we were able to birth Bee at home with such a skilled team of caregivers on our side.
Welcome to the world, little Bee! We’re happy to have you here (even though it took you 3 days to arrive!). Clearly, you have your father’s timing. You’ll see.
IMAGE CREDITS: Betsy King Photography
p.s. If you’d like to see a slideshow video of all of our birth photos, Betsy kindly put one together here!twitter, facebook, pinterest, stumble