All of my boys were born at home. My first, as mentioned, was an uneventful, painless, and ideal water birth... completely wonderful!
With my second, I had another wonderful water birth. However, there was a vast difference as my younger was also a posterior (sunny-side up) baby, so I experienced a lot of painful back labor. The labor was still widely uneventful until the end when my son was born with his hand beside his face and still within his amniotic sac (en caul)!
A Wildcard Birth Story
My third, another amazing little boy, threw us all for a loop! At 32 weeks, I learned my little munchkin was a complete breech baby. I began to make preparations for this unusual birth, but with help of friends, family, and advocates, I knew I was able to birth my baby, whether he was head, butt, or feet first! I experienced two months of prodromal labor.
One fine Friday, all of my contractions stopped. To my surprise, I found that I was 3-4 cm dilated! I impatiently awaited for labor to begin. Come Saturday evening, I'd not had even a twinge. Upon checking, I found I was 4-5 cm. So I supposed perhaps labor would begin Sunday. I attended a friend's baby shower the next day, intermittently spotting... my bloody show! I ran some errands, but returned home to find I was an even 6 cm, but still no contractions or hints of a traditional labor.
I alerted my birth team and putzed around. Impatient and curious, I had to know how far I had dilated... 8 cm! Part of my birth team arrived, despite my protests that nothing was happening. As we sat around joking and talking, I finally began to feel a need for rest. Everyone returned home... only to return two hours later when intense contractions finally began!
I began laboring on land, but soon felt the need for the relief of my birth pool. My children soon woke up, joining me. My oldest (then 7) acted as my doula, while my toddler watched labor unfold. My mother sat outside the pool, offering additional support.
As my urge to push became more intense, trepidation trickled into my awareness... all of the horror stories of breech babies started to become more vivid. Another wave of bearing down brought the familiar feeling of a stretching perineum. I jumped onto my knees in the pool and squeaked "I can't!" For the first time, I felt real fear in birth. Fear of the unknowns. Fear of weakness. Fear of injury. It all culminated here, with my yet unborn son knocking on the door, wishing to come out in his own, unique way.
But there was no way back, only forward, and I knew that only I could take that step through the fear to welcome my baby into the world. In an unintentionally symbolic gesture, I reached down to support my perineum. I knew breech babies needed to birth themselves and not be touched, but my fear was too strong, so I prayed that everything would be okay. I felt my perineum bulge and finally touched my baby for the first time. I stroked him, searching for the ridges of his little toes or bottom, but all was smooth.
As I awaited the next contraction, I realized how firm he felt and the feeling of what seemed like hair! As he continued to emerge, my photographer exclaimed "he's head first!" Yep! My little wildcard had flipped sometime after I had begun pushing and quickly slipped into my hands. I brought my vernix-covered newborn to my chest and awaited the glorious sounds of his lusty cry. It didn't come. As I looked at him, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and simply waited with him curled up in my arms. Luckily, so did everyone else. I commented how much vernix was still present and how tiny he was, while all else disagreed (8lbs 12oz!). In an instinctive gesture, I stroked his cheek with the back of my finger... and he let out a roaring wail! He wouldn't cry again until a week later, being the peaceful little man that he is!