My birth story.
The story of a birth that was not what I imagined but what we needed.
The story of a team that believed in me, came prepared to assist me competently, lovingly and with confidence.
Throughout my pregnancy people asked me what would happen if there was an emergency at home.
And I always replied with saying that I had full trust and confidence in my team. That they could handle an emergency with diligence and I was not afraid to birth this baby at home.
I had intuition that my waters would release first and I told my husband that I just knew that this is how our story would begin.
At 37 weeks and 5 days I woke up at 4am to my water releasing. I got up, hobbled to the bathroom and was sure that this was it. I texted my midwife Lindsey Meehleis and let her know what was happening. She was out of town and I could tell that she was heartbroken that she would not make it to me. She has discussed her travel with me prior to this and it was agreed upon that if she was out of town, that the other midwife, Ashlee Sourapas would come to me in the event that Pablito decided to make his way earthside sooner than expected. I knew these 2 midwives were complete badasses and I was in good hands either way. And I respected that fact that my midwife was taking time for herself and her family. Birth workers give and sacrifice endlessly and I was happy to know that she was right where she needed to be. With her family. Even though I know her heart broke.
I texted Ashlee and let her know that my contractions were not strong and 10 minutes apart and we would keep in touch throughout the day with updates on how my labor was progressing.
All day my contractions stayed 10 minutes apart and started to become a little more intense at night. Ashlee and the assistants made their way to my home to come check on me.
When they arrived we spoke about just waiting and letting the birth unfold without pressure. We decided on no cervical exams at all to avoid introducing bacteria and plus, no matter where my cervix was at, it doesn’t tell us when the baby would come. So everyone set their tools up and we wrapped up the night by having a heartfelt conversation about how much I trusted this team. The plan was for everyone to go home and if anything shifted in the night, they would come back and we would have a baby. If not, we would come up with a plan in the morning to start moving labor along.
I went to bed and labored through the night. Sleeping in between contractions. At around 2am my contractions picked up in intensity and became closer together, about 5 minutes apart. I was sure I was in active labor now. I was having to vocalize and move through my contractions. I notified my team and everyone started heading to my home.
My photographer stayed the night on my couch so she was ready to capture all of it. My doula got there and I was so relieved to see her. She began rubbing my back, adding heat and giving me counter pressure which was amazing.
My midwife and assistants showed up not long after. And again I felt even more relief to see everyone’s face.
Everyone hung out while I labored. No cervical exams. I didn’t care where my body was at. I just trusted that it was happening and I would surrender to the birth and not worry about “progress” or “numbers”.
I leaned on my ball, I sat on my toilet, I laid in bed, I got on all fours, I got in the shower, I relied on my team and husband to help me through each wave. My doula and husband were my rocks! They kept telling me I was doing great and my confidence would return back to me.
I finally got in the warm birth tub and it was so amazing. Amazing enough that I fell asleep and was snoring in the tub. Although I got some sleep, that also meant that my contractions spaced out. My team let me rest for a bit and then asked me to get out and get moving so we can get labor up and running again.
I was sad to get out because I was exhausted but I got out and sat on the toilet. I immediately felt a big shift in my contraction and my bottom started to feel full. I could feel my contractions bringing my son down. I panicked from the intensity and reached out to my doula. She grabbed me and helped me get up and into the shower.
Th warm water felt amazing and yet my contractions picked up even more. Stronger than ever before and I was feeling like I was breaking. I was at my max. I got out of the shower and just needed my doula to hold me. She held me. My god I needed that. While she was holding me my body started to bare down on its own. My doula turned to my midwife and told her she could feel me pushing.
Again, no cervical checks. Everyone just trusted that it was time to push. I was standing and couldn’t move. They asked me to pick a place to birth but I felt like I just could not move my legs to go anywhere. I wanted to go back into the tub so everyone grabbed me and quickly moved me to the tub.
I was on my hands and knees in the water and started pushing through each wave. Just listening to my body. I reached inside my vagina but I couldn’t feel his head just yet. Another push and I reached down to feel the top of his head starting to crown.
I rolled over onto my butt and tried to relax as much as I could. Another contraction and I pushed, feeling the burn becoming more and more intense and his head was emerging. His head came out up until his eyes and then he didn’t budge.
My midwife assessed and asked me to get out of the water. I knew exactly what was happening. A shoulder dystocia. It took all my might to stand up. I stood up, she assessed again and asked me to get all the way out of the tub. Again, I mustered up any energy I could to just move my body out of the water so my midwife could help us.
I got onto the floor and on my back where his head was finally born but his posterior shoulder was stuck and my midwife instructed everyone to stimulate my nipples to get another contraction. This whole time my other midwife, Lindsey was on FaceTime watching the whole thing and being a support system for Ashlee. She asked me to push and I pushed with all my might while she freed his shoulder from me.
Once he was out she placed him on my chest and I was prepared to see my son need some help. Which he did. Ashlee immediately began resuscitation while I talked to him and Lindsey was on FaceTime holding space and giving suggestions.
His cord was still pulsating strong and supplying him with the oxygen he needed to come around. He started to pink up and his pulse was good. After what seemed like an eternity, he cried. I cried.
He came to his body and let out beautiful cries.
My midwife noticed that I had started to hemorrhage and my placenta needed to come out. She waited a bit longer to see if it would come on its own but it simply wasn’t and it needed to come out so the bleeding could stop.
She manually removed my placenta and gave me a shot of pitocin in my leg. The bleeding subsided and the room started to calm. The air in the room was so thick, the intensity was high and we were all now riding the wave back down.
I was assisted up off the ground and taken to my bed to recover with my son and his placenta.
I had no perineal tears, but did have a small tear on my outer labia which was easily repaired.
I’m so grateful to my wonderful team for their knowledge, love and excellent care.
This video is hard for some to see but I want you to see and hear my story of my homebirth, my 2nd VBAC, and how competent midwifery care can be. That emergencies can be handled at home. That my team would have indeed called an ambulance and transferred me to a hospital if I or my son needed it. But we didn’t and I’m beyond amazed by the expertise of my team.
Pablo Luchador De Libertad Cruz
Born on 1/10/2020 at 8:26am weighing 8lbs 10oz and 22 inches long.
Midwives: Ashlee Sourapas and Lindsey Meehleis from Orange County Midwifery https://www.orangcountymidwives.com
Doula: Urban Village Birth Services
Photographer: Lightwork Portraits
Placenta Specialist: The Joyful Tree Placenta Encapsulation & More
Assistants: @bithingearthlings & @katrina.n.the.waves on IG
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