The en caul homebirth of Abigail Grace

We love it when our clients share their birth stories with you! First time mom Lauren captured her amazing homebirth story of her daughter. Special thanks to our doula Tara H. for her support of this amazing family of 3! Read on for mom's first hand account of her birth. Congratulations Lauren and Ervin!

"On Friday March 5th, I was 41 weeks and 3 days pregnant. At that point, I had lost track of the number of times people that had asked if Abigail was here yet. Both my friend Hailey (due two weeks before me) and my cousin Megan (due three weeks after me) went into labor early, leaving me the only one of us without a baby. That afternoon I finished up my last day of work, tied up all of the loose ends of the Piedmont project and notified HR that I would begin maternity leave the following Monday. I finished my taxes, cleaned up the house and took an afternoon nap. That evening, my husband Ervin and I went to my parent’s house for dinner. Mom made her cheesy mushroom casserole and dad grilled steaks for Ervin. We enjoyed the beautiful weather while eating dinner out on the lanai.

Throughout the day I noticed that I had been having more frequent Braxton Hix contractions and during dinner they seemed to become more noticeable. On the way home, we stopped at Cape Creamery for ice cream – Ervin got his favorite chocolate shake and I got chocolate raspberry truffle. When we got home, we settled for the night, not knowing what it would hold for our family. I had my first real contraction at 1:52 in the morning. It was exciting to feel the difference, so I asked Ervin to begin timing them.

Initially they were coming about 5 minutes apart – by 3:30 they were closer to 4 minutes apart – at 7:00 they were coming every 3 minutes. The contraction timer app started telling us it was time to go to the hospital. Since we were planning a home birth, I decided to call my doula Tara instead to give her a heads up. She started getting ready and arrived at our house around 8:30. I also called my mom to have her come over. After she had waited so long to receive the call that I was in labor, I found it funny she didn’t hear her phone. I ended up calling my dad and asked him to let her know the news. During these early contractions, one thing that helped me cope was holding onto a hair comb. By feeling the sharp sensation on my thumb, it helped to distract my mind from the sensation of the contraction.

Once Tara arrived, she helped us to perform some different spinning babies techniques in order to help the baby engage. We started with a lift and tuck (Ervin would lift up my belly during each contraction while I tilted my pelvis forward). We also did some side-lying releases, contractions on the birth ball and later she encouraged me to walk around the dining room table in between contractions. This went on into the early afternoon, but as the day went on my contractions became less consistent. Around 2pm we made the decision for Tara to go home while I continued to labor, knowing that things would probably pick up again in the evening when oxytocin levels naturally increase. One thing I remember about that day is that it rained all day long. The sound of the raindrops on the roof was very southing as a labored through the day. The other thing that made me feel better was having Ervin there through it all. Just having him close by made me feel safe and loved. I also used heat pads and a tens unit to help me get through the contractions. Feeling any other physical sensation really helped to distract my brain.

As Saturday was turning into Sunday my contractions started becoming more consistent. We called Tara to come back and I texted my midwife Deborah to let her know as well. While they were both in route, I vomited and began to feel shaky. In my head I recognized these as signs of transition, the end was in sight! When Deborah arrived around 1:30 in the morning, she asked to check my dilation. I agreed, wanting to know how close I was to the pushing stage. When she was finished, she asked if I wanted to know the number and I said yes. Three centimeters was her response. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I was so discouraged; after almost 24 hours of labor I was at 3cm. Hailey had started labor already dilated to 3! Part of me wanted to cry but I knew that wouldn’t change anything. The only thing I could do was continue to move forward one contraction at a time. Deborah went home and said that she would check in on me in the morning. Tara stayed in our guest bedroom. I tried to get some rest in between contractions through the night, which was difficult because they seemed so much more intense when I was laying down.

Around seven o’clock on Sunday morning, I texted Tara to wake her up and ask for her support. The contractions were even more intense and consistent and my body was sore from the long effort. I never felt like any one contraction was too much for me to handle but rather the long duration of my labor made my entire body sore. Tara suggested we do another round of the side-lying releases and lunges on each side during contractions. At this point, it felt like she was asking me to decide to suffer more since these positions made the contractions more uncomfortable. At that point though, I knew that it could help expedite the process, so I chose the discomfort even though my whole body wanted to resist. After the side-lying releases I felt a small gush of water release. Finally my body was confirming to me that it was progressing. I also had bloody show at some point later that morning. Deborah was planning to come over after she got out of church. When she was on her way, Ervin started working on filling up the birth pool.