Marisa, 28, Louisiana
Second child, Vegan pregnancy
I gave birth to my first son at 21-years-old- a perfectly healthy pregnancy. I had a scheduled induction and epidural, an 11 hour virtually painless labor and delivery and we both came out healthy on the other side. It was exactly what I wanted at the time.
Just shy of my 28th birthday we decided to have another baby.
By now, I am a different person in a completely difference space than I was back in 2011 and the best and only option for me and baby was homebirth. I am forever grateful for the amazing advice my midwife had given me at my last appointment, “If labor starts during the night, just go back to sleep! Don’t worry yourself, you will need the rest. Time your contractions for no more than an hour, and just rest.”
So, on January 18, 2018 when I woke up around 3 am to contractions, I decided to let my husband sleep, grabbed my cell phone and timed my own contractions, sleeping in between them as they were still very manageable. 10 minutes apart. I feel calm and at peace and go back to sleep. By the time my husband’s 5 am alarm sounds for work, I wake him, “I think you’d better call in. Baby is coming today.”
At this point we decide to get up and prep the bed, putting a water proof cover over the sheets we had been sleeping on and adding a second layer of sheets on top of the plastic cover. Contractions continue to progress, and I make the decision to lay back down, “Wake me up at 7 so I can shower, I want to be clean before getting into the birthing tub” I tell my husband, who is clearly wide awake now and wanting to call the midwife. (I do not. Things are fine, and I don’t really want to be watched as I labor.)
So, I sleep a bit, chat with my husband, and go over the mental checklist I have in my head.
“Is there enough food within reach for Gabriel?” (my 6-year-old sleeping across the hall who we had already decided was more than capable of fending for himself during labor and could be as present during the birth as he chooses).
“Do we have enough towels?”
“Could you bring me clean clothes, something comfortable I can put on post birth.”
I get up at 7 to shower as planned, breathing through the increasing pressure I am feeling across my stomach. Put on a tank top, comfy lounge shorts and cook breakfast for my family. Oatmeal with maple syrup, spelt toast with Avocado, proper fuel to keep me going. I continue to breath through contractions as I prepare my food but can no longer talk through them. I sit down to eat breakfast and watch The Office on Netflix (something light I can half way ignore, to keep me entertained if this lasts a while.) By the time I make it through breakfast I am more vocal and needing to moan through contractions.
We finally make the decision to call the midwife. She lives about an hour and a half drive away but has an assistant who lives about 20 mins from my house.
By now I am losing track of time and cannot get comfortable. I am moving back and forth between the bathroom, my bed and my couch. Comfort is lost and I’m thinking to myself “F***! This is intense, I’m never going to make it through transition!” I get down on my knees and rock back and forth on my birthing ball. After about seven back to back contractions, the pressure changes and I’m feeling the urge to push! I made it through transition! I had expected vomiting, chills and overwhelming self-doubt. Lol.
I call my husband at this point, who had been filling the birthing tub and silently checking on me while respecting my desire for space and quiet, “I’m feeling like I need to push” He suggests that I get into the bathtub, (no water) as the birthing tub is not yet ready. After the next contraction he helps me move.
At that exact moment that I enter the tub, my midwife’s assistant shows up. She is wonderful and quiet and respectful of the space that I am in. After a few pushing surges in which baby’s head slightly emerges before going back in, she suggests that I change position. Moving from hands and knees to leaning over the tub on one knee with the other up, Captain Morgan style.
With the next contraction baby’s head is born and my midwife walks in just in time to witness it! She quickly washes her hands and positions herself for just in case but tells me, “Okay Marisa, reach down, next contraction breatthheeeee your baby out!”
On January 18, 2018 Khai Solaris Johnson is born. 8 lbs and 3 oz of Plant Powered Baby, right into my arms and onto my chest. Baby, husband and I were left to ourselves in the bathroom (my older son made a quick appearance to see his brother but decided he’d wait until we moved to my bed to realllly see him. And so, he left.)
Placenta, Baby and I eventually moved to my bed. Where he stayed in my arms while I was checked (I had a small tear that I chose not to have sutured, it healed perfectly fine on its own!), he was able to feed, and we were able to take each other in.
After a couple of hours, his cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut it, and I finally passed him over to my midwife to be weighed and measured.
Almost six months later and I am still overjoyed each morning when I walk past my bathtub, where I birthed my baby, my way.
January 18, 2018