Birth Photography

“Pizzas are delivered, but you birthed your baby!” – Debra Pascali-Bonaro

Alyssa’s HBAC of Brooklyn Hope

It all began the night of Saturday, May 25th. I had supper at my grandmother’s house with my family and then headed home. Once home, I felt really good with energy to spare which was definitely unusual because the past few weeks were full of body aches and fatigue. I was in a great mood, put the music on and cleaned up the house! Looking back I realize that I was hit with “nesting.”

Around 3am, I woke up and wasn’t able to fall back asleep. I kept having this feeling that the baby hadn’t arrived yet because she wasn’t in the best position for birth. I decided to go back on the Spinning Babies website and research some more techniques for getting baby in the best position for birthing. I then got out of bed and tried the Inversion position (kneeling on couch with arms/head on floor). Within a few minutes I began having contractions that were starting in my back and wrapping around to my front. Much different than the Braxton Hicks I had been having. As Paul and I were chatting, the contractions continued and were five minutes apart about 45 seconds long. I was hoping that labor would finally be starting!

As the night (well technically morning) dragged on, I was unable to sleep. The contractions would wake me up from my sleep. Morning came and I sent my girls to the beach with their grandparents so I could continue to labor. Paul and I walked up and down our street trying to keep things progressing. I also messaged my midwife Kristin to give her a heads up. Then as afternoon arrived, the contractions distanced themselves out. After being every 5 minutes for many hours, they started being erratic, going from every 10-30 minutes apart and weaker. This frustrated me and I was afraid it had all been false labor and that I’d be pregnant for another 9 months. (haha)

Then around 4pm on Sunday evening I decided to do the Inversion position yet again along with a few other little things recommended by my good friend Breanna. (we texted back n forth throughout the day, she has had 2 home births) I still had a nagging feeling that labor was stalling due to position. Within minutes of doing the Inversion, my contractions started back up consistently 5 minutes apart again. I drove over to my grandmothers to enjoy another supper with my family. On the drive over, the contractions were definitely getting strong again. After supper, my family suggested we go for a walk to keep labor going. I decided it was time to head home with the kids and my grandmother had a fit about me driving while in labor, it was quite amusing. I told her I’d try not to hit too many mailboxes. I kept teasing her that I also wasn’t going to tell the midwife or Paul when it was time and just have the baby by myself, this made my grandmother frantic.

Once home with my girls, I read them some books and put them to bed. As I was lying in bed around 8:30pm, I had one doozy of a contraction. It hit me with intensity and my body began shaking/trembling. Breanna mentioned it might be transition and I freaked thinking I *might* be further ahead than I thought and home alone. (payback for teasing my grandmother? haha) I felt flushed, nauseated and felt like baby dropped lower. I messaged the midwife “I think I may need you now” with shaking hands. She called me back and said she was on her way and would send her birth assistants right over as well. I then called Paul and he came home as well.

Within minutes, Paul was home and one of the birth assistants arrived. Paul called my mother to come get Jordyn for the night. Madison however was asleep in bed and really wanted to be a part of the birth so we let her continue sleeping. I had the desire to be left alone therefore I went back into my bedroom to labor. Once my midwife and other assistant arrived at 9:30pm I felt much calmer. Kristin asked if she could pray for me, checked my vitals, checked baby’s heart rate then left the room. My bedroom is where I stayed most of the entire night. As the night went on, I walked in my room, swayed my hips, listened to worship music, rocked, used birth ball, prayed, tried to sleep and showered a couple of times. I told Paul to go to sleep because he would need his energy later to help me through the delivery. I like my space and being alone. Kristin periodically checked on me and at one point encouraged me to try the birth pool but I wasn’t comfortable in it or in the living room with an audience so after a few minutes I went back to my room. At 2am, they brought me pretzels/apples but I was very nauseous and didn’t eat much. As morning arrived I was losing my energy and very tired.

Around 5:30am, Madison woke up and I told her the baby would soon be here. She gave me a hug and headed to the couch to watch her kid shows. At 7:30am, I lost my mucous plug. Labor began picking up but still manageable.

At 7:53 my water finally broke. Contractions were every 2-3 minutes lasting 90 seconds. Labor wasn’t so fun anymore because I knew what was ahead! There are not many words to describe transition, it was incredibly intense. Kristin applied pressure to my hips/back to help me through them. She told me if I felt the urge to push to go ahead and push but I didn’t want to push unless I was absolutely ready so at 10am I asked her to check me (first and only check of pregnancy) and she said I was 10cm.

After that I tried out a few different positions for pushing and none seemed to work well. My hips were throbbing and my lower body felt like it was going to break in half. I began dreading each contraction, knowing how painful they would be. Each time I would think to myself “oh crap, here it comes again!” The contractions made me feel like I couldn’t breathe and like I was going to vomit. I called for Paul during each contraction. I wanted him and an assistant to squeeze my hands so it would distract my mind from the labor pain. The assistants kept bringing cold wash cloths for my head too. At this point, I wanted to escape the pain and run away from my body. I also hit a mental block with pushing. I just did not want to push her out. I wanted it all to stop. I kept fighting the urge to push and kept repeating “I can’t do it” and everyone would say “you ARE doing it!” During all this, Madison sat on the end of my bed helping Kristin with the doppler. Such a wonderful little assistant! She even brought me a spoonful of honey when I was feeling weak.

After a long time of pushing, I finally got my head in gear and realized that I needed to work with my body and push her out or this pain would drag on and on. I finally started putting in real effort and worked with my body. The power and intensity of pushing was terrifying to me. When I pushed with Madison’s birth, the pushing brought relief. This time around, the pushing did not bring relief. I pushed regardless and honestly didn’t care if I tore, I just wanted her out and to be DONE. And out she came at 11:15am.

She was immediately placed on me. I had never held a baby fresh from the womb before. She was so warm, alert and looked right up at us. I was so thankful it was all over! Madison texted my family that Brooklyn was born and to come meet her. My family showed up but was unable to hold her because she was still attached and my placenta had not been delivered. After a while, we sent them away to focus on getting the placenta out. I was very hot and had an irritated feeling so I asked for the cord to be cut at 11:35. The painful contractions came back and I finally delivered the placenta out at 12:12pm. Then once they got me up to pee, they noted that I was losing a decent amount of blood and Kristin gave me some medication and they took turns massaging my uterus. I also had a shot of Pitocin just to be safe. Unfortunately I did end up tearing and needing a few stitches.

Around 3pm, Kristin weighed and measured Brooklyn and we decided her middle name would be Hope. Seemed fitting after the year we had. She was 7lbs 12oz! My biggest baby! I showered and nursed Brooklyn in my bed. Paul brought me a meal and Kristin gave me some Motrin. The midwife and her assistants all headed home around 4:15pm and left our little family to rest. My family came back over after dinner and was finally able to hold Brooklyn. It was wonderful being able to sleep in my own bed that night with my sweet little nursling!

Tiara’s Unassisted Birth of Tobias

Before I begin I’d like to note that I had planned an unassisted hospital birth (as I had with my first son) with plans to labor at home as long as possible.. but ended up being an unplanned unassisted homebirth.

At around 5am on Monday Sept 21st I woke up with severe pain in my left thigh and groin. I could barely take a step and felt as if my entire pelvis would split in half. I went to take a warm bath and came to lie back down shortly after. Every movement was excruciating and I began to think I was developing something called SPD which is a common condition in pregnancy that causes the kind of pain I was feeling. I quickly called my chiropractor to go in and have an adjustment hoping it would help relieve the pain.

About a half hour before I left, the pain subsided being replaced my mild regular contractions about 15-20 mins apart. Once I began pulling out I experienced a very intense contraction that I had to breathe through. It was at that point that I decided I might actually be in labor!!! Lol

I had planned on my husband going to work for a good part of the day because we figured I wouldn’t have the baby till later that night of even the next morning. Nevertheless I had my husband go in late and come with me to the chiropractor because the contractions were strong enough that I didn’t feel I should be driving…

Once we arrived at the chiropractor my contractions were much stronger coming about every 8-10 mins. By that time the pain in my pelvis was gone, BUT I knew having an adjustment could really Kickstart my labor so I thought, “BRING IT ON!”

I had a few more intense contractions before we left and from that point on it felt like labor stalled for a bit (which was good considering I’d really need the rest for how fast it would pick up from that point on).

I’d say after about an hour or so contractions began coming in waves about 5-7 mins apart. Quite bearable but I found myself having to breathe and sway through them. I labored on my own in peace, in my new home, with my kids nearby playing as I listened to scripture and prayed myself through each wave…

It was surreal. It was REALLY happening! And I wasn’t afraid… I completely trusted my body’s ability to labor and give birth naturally and normally WITHOUT any medical intervention.

It was so empowering to be able to move freely through each contraction, walking, standing, squating, swaying my hips and laboring on my birthing ball. With each contraction I feel deeper into myself and began visualizing my body opening up and allowing the baby to descend through the birth canal. At a certain point I began to run a bath and got into the shower while it filled up. Felling the warm water hit my belly was so soothing and relaxing and I swayed back and forth with each contraction until the tub was ready. I still felt like I had plenty of time and I was confident being by myself with my children. I felt no need to call hubby at work and just surrendered to what was happening inside of my body. No tension, no fear. Pain yes, and absolutely bliss. Total serenity.

I got into the tub and my contractions were coming every 5 mins and becoming a little more uncomfortable but still bearable. Within about a half an hour I felt like it was time to call hubby so I did so. Contractions at that point we’re 3-mins apart and very strong. Hubby arrived to me in the tub vocalizing through contractions. He asked if I wanted to go to hospital and I told him no, not yet. I still felt like I had plenty of time left and wanted to continue to labor at home. Within a few minutes I felt like I needed to get out of the tub to sit of my birthing ball. Contractions were so strong that I couldnt seem to find a position that was comfortable enough to labor in. I began feeling like I couldn’t do it anymore (transition) and decided that it was time to go to the hospital and demand EVERY single drug they’d be willing to give me! ( I should’ve known the baby was coming because transition is where I normally become irrational and try to “escape” labor)

I began to stand up saying, “Let’s go NOW!” as I did so I had a massive contraction, my body gave one involuntary push, and my water broke. I could feel the baby’s head entering the birth canal and I knew we weren’t going to get out that door in time.

I immediately dropped to the ground for the next contraction. I could feel my body effortlessly working and pushing on its own without any help from me whatsoever. With the next wave his head was born. Yet another and out came the rest of his body right into daddy’s arms!
I was euphoric! Elated! I had done it!!!! I just birthed my baby unassisted in my own home! Ahhhhhh!!!

As soon as Tobias was born I told me husband to call an ambulance and I checked to make sure he was breathing and looked him over to make sure he was ok and that I wasn’t losing too much blood. Paramedics arrived within 15 mins and we’re surprised to see how calm everyone was. They checked us both and said everything looked great. By then baby was nursing and and I was beside myself. I did it! I owned my birth and I was so proud of myself and my husband. He was amazing through it all (I thought for sure he’d panic) and even strengthened me when I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. It was beautiful and empowering and I’m grateful to God that for this little addition to our family.

Tobias: meaning The goodness of God, was born at home at 3:45pm after 7 hours of labor and 15 minutes of active pushing. 7lbs 11oz 20 1/2 inches long My biggest baby and my easiest pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Surprise Twin Double-Breech Roadside Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Red sign on the side of empty roadI was measuring consistently ahead in fundal height early on and just before the mid-point of my pregnancy my midwife referred me to an obstetrician to have an ultrasound (we’d not planned on having any) to rule out twins, fibroids, excess amniotic fluid, or any other complications. At the ultrasound, we were told there was one baby, no fibroids, and no excess fluid — the doctor said I simply had “a large uterus.” So we went with that as confirmation.

At about 2:30 one morning, I had a contraction that woke me from my sleep. This had happened before, so I waited and felt a few more before I grudgingly got up and decided I’d take a bath to help them stop so I could get some sleep. I went into the bathroom and turned on the light. I saw that a little blood was in the toilet from sometime earlier that night, and wiped to see if there was any more… there was.

I woke up my husband, Garrett, and he called our midwife to tell her what was happening. She said it was probably just my bloody show and to take it easy but to call her if anything else happened. I tried to sleep, bathe, and just relax to get the contractions to stop. I was struggling to concentrate on the book I was reading. This was at about 6:30.

I took another bath, a shower, and tried to lie down and listen to a Hypnobabies CD, but the contractions were too strong for me to really relax. I definitely thought they’d stop. In fact, I thought they’d better stop, since I’d just had the home visit from the midwives on Monday morning. I could have a home birth in 5 days at 37 weeks, but not a day sooner!

I was determined not to be in true labor yet. When Garrett got home from dropping off our son (at about 8:30) and saw me in the bed, he said we needed to call our midwife again and so he did — all while packing a bag. She asked some questions and then suggested we come and meet her to assess the situation and see if I was really in labor or see what we could do to slow or stop it.

We left and on the way stopped at the store to get more minutes for our cell phone. I was low moaning for a while, but then that stopped working. About 45 minutes into the trip, my moans got higher pitched and less controlled. We talked about passing a bank, and how we’d definitely make it a few more hours at least and then a couple of minutes later, my water broke — everywhere! I was finally able to accept that the baby would be born that day, and soon, but we talked and I figured we still had at least a few hours. Garrett called our midwife to keep her updated, and she announced a change of plan — she said to meet her directly at the hospital. She asked Garrett if it was me moaning that she was hearing, and he said it was.

As they were talking, my body gave a tiny involuntary push, and I felt something come up between my legs. My first thought was, “Oh, God, the cord.” But I knew what an emergency that would be, and thought that maybe, just maybe, I had somehow pooped. So I reached down (with much trepidation) and felt, and it was most definitely cord. I yelled, “The cord is out! The cord is out!” and my midwife heard me yelling over the phone. She told Garrett to pull over immediately and get me on all fours to take the pressure off the cord, and to call 911. There was, oddly enough, some traffic on the rural highway that morning, but after about a minute he managed to pull off the road. He got out and threw Bruin’s car seat in the grass (we were, luckily, in front of empty fields on both sides of the highway. It was actually quite a pretty spot) and got me into the back seat, talking with our midwife all the while. She told Garrett to get my chest down and my butt up in the air, and then he called 911.

Somehow Garrett managed to get my shoes and pants off. I could hear him on the phone with the operator and the guy was asking him what he saw, and asking him to feel for a pulse in the cord (he didn’t feel one), and telling him to hold the baby in. By now I was really in it… it was all happening so fast, but I truly was my primal self. The pushing and grunting was happening, whether the 911 operator told me to stop or not. I tried to be compliant, but I couldn’t stop it. There was literally nothing I could do but work with my body and my baby.

It was the most beautiful feeling I have ever experienced. I wasn’t scared — I was totally consumed, growling and pushing. At some point, Garrett touched what he said was just the cord, which I shouldn’t have felt, but it was excruciating. Whether or not the baby made a fluke movement at the exact same time or if for some reason I was able to feel it, I don’t know, but I did try to donkey-kick poor Garrett. I tried to kick him off again (while yelling, “GET OFF OF ME!!”) when the operator told him to flip me onto my back. That didn’t feel right at all, but I tried, and just absolutely could NOT make my body do anything differently than it was doing. It knew exactly what to do, and there was simply no stopping it. I occasionally lifted my head to look out of the window at the trees in the sunshine, and just let my mind feel “universal.”

<<Click here to read the rest of this amazing and exciting surprise twin double-breech roadside vaginal birth after cesarean!>>

Freebirth of Evangeline Rose Perkins

My Beautiful Freebirth of
EVANGELINE ROSE PERKINS
Born at home and into her Mommy’s hand’s
 on June 12, 2013 at 5:05pm
10 pounds 8 ounces, 20.5 inches long, 15 inch head
**********
Throughout the day I did laundry and cleaned like a mad woman. I walked around in my night gown through contractions eating a mango, peach, coconut smoothie that my oldest brought me home from his work. Mmmmm..Delicious. Where else can you pace around through contractions pant-less while sipping on a smoothie—no where but HOME. I talked with my good friends on the phone and facebook and then came to a point when I could no longer talk and needed to concentrate. Things became serious. I was trying to relax my body and allow baby to move down and out, but these contractions were so strog and hurt! I needed privacy and asked to be alone for a while. I squatted……
 I walked…..
 I swayed……
I got on my hands and knees…..
 I bounced on the birthing ball…..
 I sat on it…..
 I laid back….
 I couldn’t get into a position that I wanted and that felt right.
 I asked hubby to come back in and held onto his hands as I leaned back into intense contractions. At this point I told him I couldn’t do it. What was I thinking? This hurt!!! He reminded me that I could and I’ve done it before and I was almost there. How did he know? He was just a man. I wanted to kill him…but only for a second. lol. Oh, I hurt so bad.
I felt the urge to go potty, so I got up and waddled to the toilet. While sitting on the toilet I had another intense contraction and felt to see if I could feel her head. The contraction was pushing her down through me. What an incredible and INTENSE feeling. I realized that the toilet was where I wanted to stay. The support from squatting and the ability to feel her coming down was exactly what I needed. I called for hubby to bring in the extra shower curtain and laid it on the floor. I had another contraction and could feel her shoulders pushing down through my cervix. I had a brief moment of thinking how during my first two hospital births i never remember being so in tune with my body and what I was feeling. Her head was about to crown with the next contraction. I yanked the towels down off the rack and onto the plastic. Hubby asked me what I was doing???….guess he thought it was odd to have a baby next to the toilet. I told him her head was coming and I was going to push her out right there and to go get the camera. With the next contraction I dropped to my knees on the ground. INTENSITY hit.