My Homebirth Story

Indigo MariaBorn at home on October 5, 2010
10:05am, 7lbs, 4oz

As I write this, baby Indigo Maria is 17 days old today.  It is October 22, 2010, just 3 days before Ezrah’s 10th birthday. Ezrah, my first baby, my first birth. It’s time to write my birth story for Indigo because it was such a beautiful experience and I don’t want to forget the amazing details of her homebirth.

I awoke at 4:30am on October 5 with a cramp in my lower abdomen. Still not sure if it was really “time” because she was 5 or 6 days late and I had felt it was “time” every night for a couple of weeks! I went to the bathroom and saw some blood for the first time during my entire pregnancy, so I knew something was happening.

A Pregnant, Jogging Lady
The night before, after dinner, my Mom and I went for a walk hopefully to start labor going. She had come to Fort Collins on September 25 and she and I waited together for over a week. I wanted so much for her to be there while I was giving birth at home. We walked around the block and to the nearby park. When we got to the park, we decided to do a little jogging. Really, a pregnant woman jogging is a pretty funny sight! I was glad it was dark out! After each jogging stint, I would hold my Mom’s hands for support and squat trying to get the baby down further. That was even funnier than seeing a 9-month pregnant lady jogging! We laughed so hard! Then we decided to do “the twist”. “Baby, baby, do you like it like this” we sang. It was a great time I’ll never forget for the rest of my life!

Susie, my friend and doula had been waiting anxiously too. We were all anxious. Susie would check on me everyday and every night. Indigo’s birth was truly the most anticipated of all my babies. Probably because we all knew having her at home would be an amazing, spiritual, Holy experience. And it was.

So at around 5am, a half hour from that first awakening cramp, I had another. Not felt in my back, just lower stomach. I had the infamous “bloody show”,  so I knew now it was starting. I would be seeing Indigo soon! I decided not to wake up Dan or my Mom yet. Dan was SO anticipating the birth and I didn’t want him to get excited too soon. Plus, I wanted him to sleep more, so he could be in good shape. I knew I would be depending on him.

I woke up and went into the kitchen. I did some cleaning; nothing heavy, just straightening up. I sat in the main living room and started to cut coupons. What else was I to do? I felt the contractions coming on regularly. Still not very painful, but getting stronger. I didn’t time them. I didn’t want to be attached to time. I knew from my previous births that it doesn’t help to be all rigid about it. I was just going to let it roll.

Not sure how much time had past, but I didn’t think very much time, I could no longer concentrate on coupon cutting. Do I buy this toothpaste? Did I need this brand of crackers for 25Ï off? I could not process these train of thought anymore!

I decided to wake up Dan. I sat down on the bed b=he sort of rolled over in a half-sleep and I said, “It’s time”. I had been wanting to say that every night for the past few weeks and now I was! He got right up, he was ecstatic, just as I knew he would be. We called Barbie, our midwife. The contractions were still coming and I had to pass the phone to Dan when I was having one while on the phone. I did tell her that I didn’t think I was too far into it and to take her time getting over here.

Then I woke my Mom with the same words: “It’s time”. She smiled so beautifully and said “Did you think the walking worked?” I said, it must have!

Dan made coffee. I called Susie. “It’s time” I told her. She came over so fast. I felt honored that all these people I love were getting ready to help me. We were going to experience this incredible event.

Dan drew a bath and it was still dark out. The bathroom light was too bright so we lit candles. I laid in the tub on my left side. That’s when my consciousness really started to change.

I stared at the candles. I stared at the tiles feeling some pretty strong contractions. I started to remember what labor felt like. I had been waiting to do it for so long and now I was like, “wait a minute, this hurts”. But in retrospect to the next few hours, it didn’t really hurt so bad. Barbie was here. She came in to see me, just as it was starting to get light out. I was glad to see her. She checked the baby’s heartbeat. As I laidd in the bath I subconsciously heard the kids. Jack was getting ready for school. Ezrah had an allergic rash, so he was staying home that day. It was a Tuesday.  I knew the kids were up and around but I couldn’t think about them. It was a surreal feeling and my thoughts were there, but they weren’t.

Before I knew it, the sun was shining through the skylight and the contractions were getting a lot stronger. I actually kind of forgot I was having a baby from all this. I tried to relax my pelvic muscles through contractions and found that easy to do. Sometimes after a contraction, I would feel a very strong pain. It wasn’t a contraction. I remember saying “What the Hell was that?” Susie said it was the baby descending. A few minutes later, I over heard her tell Barbie that the baby seems to be descending pretty fast. I stared at the tiles in the corner of the bath.

Dan put more warm water in the tub. When I would get a contraction, I guess I would tighten my face and eyebrows and Susie told me to relax my face muscles. That helped.

I was working hard to concentrate. More and more I felt the talking around me didn’t help my concentration. I felt bad to tell these lovely people to not talk, but I was trying to survive.

I wanted out of the bath. I went into my room. My Mom and Susie were helping me get my blue tank on and I wanted to wear underwear. Barbie made a comment saying that I couldn’t be too far into it because when Moms are in the heat of labor, they wouldn’t care about underwear.  I sat on the edge of my bed feeling nervous. I felt nauseous and barfed. Susie grabbed a bowl from the kitchen and I threw up in it. I think my Mom held my hair back. I said “Wow, I guess I’m really in labor now”.  I sat at the edge of the bed and my Mom and Susie were kneeling on the floor. In between a contraction, we prayed. My Mom shed some tears. Then I had another contraction.

I came out into the living room and the sun was totally up. My Mom was glad to see me around the house. I had a strong contraction while leaning over the side of the couch. Madi was on the couch watching cartoons. I looked at her through that one. When it was over, I hugged her and then decided to go back in the bath. 

I laid in the bath on my left side and Dan was leaning over the tub. I didn’t need him to say anything, I just needed him there. I stared at the tiles again. This time I saw a minuscule red dot in the tile grout that really helped me! I loved that red dot! It was getting even stronger. There are no words to describe the pain, so I won’t.  Dan brought some of these inspirational birthing cards I made a few weeks before and placed them in front of me in the bath. He covered my red dot! I made these amazing cards to help me through my labor and here I was, just wanting to stare at some red dot in the grout! I couldn’t take the energy to move the cards to expose my tiny red dot. The cards he brought read “One breath at a time”. Another was said “trust in the Lord”. I couldn’t read though, it was too much, so I concentrated on one letter, or maybe a part of a letter.

I smelled burnt toast from the kitchen. Dan and Susie said they didn’t smell anything. My senses were acute.  In between a contraction I was wondered where my Mom was because I hadn’t seen her in a while. (But it could’ve been 10 minutes for all I knew!) I’m sure she was taking care of Madi and I was glad of that, but wanted to see her. I had a bad contraction and said out loud “That was a bad contraction” and Barbie said “no, that was a good contraction”. I was surprised how much that helped. Yes, the bad ones were the good ones. The ones that would open me up to see my baby.

I could feel the baby moving down. It hurt, but was amazing and strong, I wanted to lay on my right side in the bath. I moved and it hurt so much that I had to integrate feeling the contractions all over again. I wanted out of the bath. I moved into the bedroom. I was getting a little frantic when people spoke and I again felt bad to tell them quiet, but I had to get through this the only way I knew how.  I was the one going through it and the help I needed was just their presence and not their words. That was how I needed to get through it.

Getting Stronger Now
Now, in my bedroom, with nothing but my favorite blue tank top on, I no longer cared about wearing underwear.  I was getting pretty un-together.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My breathing was loud and I was making a shhh sound with my breathing. I was on my hands and knees, leaning on Dan. I had a blue striped towel over my back and bottom and I stared at the rug with my head on Dan‘s left shoulder. No way to describe the pain. Dan said aloud. “they’re really getting stronger now” and I heard Susie say “So is she.” That was powerful. I could barely breathe. It must’ve been obvious I was having in hard, because Barbie held  a birth card up in front of my face that said. “Climb This Mountain”. That I could read. I decided I couldn’t give up. I must climb it. I felt the baby move down again and quietly did some light pushes through the next few contractions. Then I knew it was finally time for Barbie to check my dialation which hadn’t even been done yet. I didn’t want to know the whole time and just wanted to ride the contractions and nor be attached to phases of labor or how many centimeters, transition. Not helpful.

I got on the bed sideways and Barbie checked my dilation. “Complete” she said. What a relief! It was so hard to move around, but I got on my left side on the bed. I asked where my Mom was. I heard her say, “I’m right here”.

Burying my head into Dan’s chest, I pushed. He was laying beside me on the bed just like we do every night to watch tv, read bedtime stories to the kids or sleep. Only now we were in our own bed in the midst of having a baby!  Someone was holding my right leg (I learned later it was Dan holding it) and I pushed. I felt like I couldn’t push very hard, but it must have been because I heard my Mom say “She’s got dark hair”.  That gave me more energy to push. I didn’t think I could, but knew I had to. I felt her, or something, come out of me. It must have been her head. They said, “push, Leigh” and I couldn’t because I could barely breathe. But I did push, making those involuntary pushing noises.

And then there she was! Laying on my chest. I did it. I not only climbed that mountain, but I freakin’ scaled it! Everyone was excited and it was loud. Barbie told everyone to quiet down and I was glad she did. I kept saying “Oh my God” because I could not believe it. I just could not believe it. I smiled at Dan because there are no words at a moment like that. Indigo Maria was born and she was laying on my and I was so happy. She was sleeping! I thought, that was a tiring ordeal for me too. I heard someone say, “10:05” What? It was only 10:05 in the morning! Only 4 and a half hours since I called Barbie? What a trip! We were all in awe of her. She didn’t cry at all. I didn’t think I could do it, but then, I did. I gave birth with no drugs, in my home with my family surrounding my baby and me, just as I always wanted. It was exactly how I dreamed it would be. Indigo is perfect.  I’ve never felt so alive in all my life.  ‘Thank you, God”, I said.

That is Madi's picture of my placenta!

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