My birth story starts on June 2nd, nearly an entire day before Raya’s actual debut into the world. I was 41 weeks + 1 day and fearful of risking out of homebirth care.
So on June 2nd at around 3:40 pm I took 1 tablespoon castor oil in some orange juice. Four hours later (after cramping and “system clear outs”) I took my last dose of 1 tablespoon castor oil in orange juice. My mom has always mentioned that’s how she got ME out and after lots of research and a talk with my Midwife I decided it was worth a shot. (Even though the statistics for naturally inducing labor with castor oil was only 57%.)
I called my Midwife after an hour, because they were 5 minutes apart. Michael began to fill up the birth pool. This was happening!!! Yay!!!
Finally at around 4:30 am they said it was too early. I needed to go back to sleep. They didn’t want me to over extend and exhaust myself. My contractions were ones I could laugh and talk through, so they wanted me to wait it out until they were bigger, stronger, and more consistent. Before she left, I was checked real quick and was 6 1/2 – 7 cm dilated.
I was SO disappointed! At 9 days PAST DUE I was more than READY to meet my baby girl!
But the exhaustion was real and I fell asleep minutes after they left. I was woken up an hour later with the most intense “cramping” of my life. I thought it was delayed reaction to the castor oil, so I headed to the toilet! Sitting there on the toilet the thought crossed my mind, “I must have had a bad reaction to the castor oil – my intestines are going to fall out of me!”
After two strong, painful waves I woke Michael up with the realization that it was actually labor and it was moving very, very quickly.
I called my mom who rushed over in minutes. Michael asked, “Did you call the Midwife yet?” But I just handed him the phone… the contractions were SO bad, so all-consuming I couldn’t talk or A N Y T H I N G ! (Which is what I remember the Midwife telling me was “real” contractions!)
Michael called the Midwife (who had only been home 22 minutes when we called!) She was on her way!
I felt pressure. Honestly, this is where it gets a little hazy. Michael and my mom were flying around me, talking on speaker phone to my Midwife, and I remember I just HAD to get into the birth pool (that was lukewarm now from sitting out all those hours!)
One contraction in the tub, I didn’t feel like I needed to push. My Midwife on speaker was so calm and collected, she said, “Then don’t push. Just when she’s ready.”
Second contraction in the tub, I needed to push. I could feel her head just inches from crowning.
Her head was birthed! It hurt so bad! But, I knew I was created for this! There was a good long minute where my body got a rest. The head was out, and I heard Michael say, “Uhhhhhh, is that okay for her to be under the water like that?” Haha!
At the start of the next contraction I prayed out in the Holy Spirit and then birthed her shoulders. Her body followed and I caught her, pulling her up to my chest! And wow! What an insane moment! I birthed my baby all by myself!
My Midwife was pulling out of her driveway when Raya was born! There was a total of 4 minutes pushing.
Raya Kathryn was born at 5:54 am!
My mom helped me rub her bum and back and suction cup her mouth. We got a little cry, and made sure she was breathing. Home birth babies generally don’t SCREAM like in the hospital setting. Raya definitely didn’t and there was such peace abounding! Such a sweet atmosphere!
I was moved to the couch, but as I was getting there I passed a blood clot as big as Michael’s fist. My poor husband does not do well with things like that, and I remember him saying, “Uhhh, okay.” Hahahaha! I remember his face was just kinda shocked the whole time. He was such a champ though, calm and strong, and continually telling me I was doing great through those short minutes of birth.
I birthed the placenta with my mom’s help and she was able to rub my belly as my uterus cramped.
The placenta was in a bowl, still attached to the baby for all those amazing benefits, and everything was great. Now we were to sit tight and wait for my Midwife to arrive. I began nursing Raya at 6:16 am and she took to it wondefully! My cramping increased drastically while she nursed and while it was painful, I marvel at God’s perfect design of pregnancy, labor, birth, and after-birth.
When my Midwife arrived was when I started to get dizzy, the cramping was bad too. She checked me out and there was no ripping or tearing! Something I specifically prayed for! The dizziness was getting worse and both my mom and Midwife said my color faded. I was SO out of it.
In fact, when Baby Raya had her newborn check and she was in the little hammock to be weighed I could hardly keep my eyes opened! I imagined getting all these awesome pictures of Michael holding the scale up and my Midwife in action, but I was hardly even aware of it. I remember laying on the couch with my head in my moms lap and her rubbing my arms and back. My mom was a rock through everything and so comforting to me.
I had to use the bathroom, but two attempts and I had to sit back down because the dizziness was too bad. I crawled to the bathroom on my hands and knees instead! Haha! My Midwife said this was due to the intensity and speed of labor and all that adraneline to have the baby had worn off. I drank lots of Gatorade and water.
When my Midwife left my dad made a big breakfast of cheesy eggs, hash browns, bacon, and toast. My mom, dad, sister, Michael, and all the kids were around the couch eating together and marveling at our new baby. That was another wow-moment for me, because I had just had a baby and was able to eat good food, in my own environment, with the best family around.
Looking back on it now, I’m so thankful for that false/early labor because had Michael not filled up the birth pool then, there was no way it would have been ready in time when the real contractions hit. I felt such disappointment when the midwives left and I went to bed, but all along God was giving me exactly what I had prayed for since I knew I was pregnant!
I prayed for a fast birth, specifically under 2 hours. We are estimating that from the time I woke up to the time Raya was born was under 1 hour. I also prayed for a water birth, for no rips or tears, and for a really good breast feeder! God answers prayers!
I am feeling SO good just 24 hours after this baby was born. Raya has been filling up diapers and continues breast feeding well. I had the best home birth experience and most likely won’t ever have a hospital birth again.
Born June 3rd, 2017 at 5:54 am
Weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches long