LOCHLAN’S HOME BIRTH STORY
So, we had another baby. And I can’t wait to tell you all about his pregnancy- how we found out about him, how we named him, how this was my best, healthiest, happiest pregnancy yet, and more. But before I do, I want to share how we welcomed him into the world. Safely, peacefully, beautifully, in the water, in our bedroom upstairs (but yeah, in our log cabin!)
Lochlan Rush Spena was born June 21st, at 1:53 PM at 38 weeks, 1 day gestation. (His due date was July 4th!)
After I had Finn, I told Jim that if we ever had a 4th baby- I would be having them at home. To which he said, “okay” and was 0% surprised by.
I’ve always wanted to write a post about giving birth without an epidural vs giving birth with one, and never got around to it. (You can find all three of my kids birth stories right here on the blog, but as a refresher, Abigail & Mabel were hospital + no epi, Finn was hospital + epi) But now I could also write a post about giving birth in a hospital vs giving birth at home- and honestly, just, nothing compares.
We’re not exactly planning on a 5th kid- but if it ever happens, we will be choosing home birth again and again and again. It was so wonderful, so amazing. Such a beautiful experience. I would choose it over anything else, forever and always.
But, I digress- here is Lochlan’s birth story!
For those of you who prefer a video to reading all of the details, here are pictures and some video from his birthday if you’d like to watch! (Don’t worry- there isn’t anything graphic!)
At 35 weeks, after walking around Worlds Of Fun for an entire day (like an idiot) I had an entire night of contractions that really freaked me out. I’ve always had Braxton Hicks, but I’m usually able to ignore them. These kept happening and wouldn’t stop and I was so, so worried- because I needed to make it to 37 weeks to definitely be cleared to have our home birth. Thankfully, they eventually stopped!
Then, at 36 & 37 weeks, I had two more false alarms- (not really false, definitely prepping for the real deal….but still, they started and then they stopped) Two days of my body prepping, clearing out, contracting, baby dropping…and then nothing.
Baby was soooo low, my back was showing signs of an engaged and ready baby, all signs pointed to him coming very soon- but also, isn’t that how every end of pregnancy is? You never know when things will actually happen.
AND THEN- Monday, June 21st at 38 weeks + 1 day I was woken up to my water breaking at 5:45 AM.
At first I thought- “did I just pee myself?” but I had seriously just been up using the bathroom about an hour earlier, so I figured that probably wasn’t the case. I even thought to myself, “do I feel like I need to pee?” and the answer was, nope. So I waited a few more minutes. Gush!
Another huge gush happened I said, “Jim Spena, my water just broke”
I have never seen that man jump out of bed so quickly. (mostly because we never expected for my water to break at the start of things and let’s just say, our mattress was not prepared LOL)
And. I. Was. Shocked. Shocked shocked shocked.
In my 3 previous births my water never broke until the very, very end and I push out a baby. (my previous births have been- from first contraction- 6 hours, 3 hours, 7 hours (with an epidural, it would have been shorter without))
Soooo I kind of (totally) freaked out
I promptly called my doula and asked her to come over for moral support and then my midwife- who told me to rest, eat breakfast and wait for contractions to start. (I was like, that’s cute but also like HE’S RIGHT THERE and I’m kind of afraid he’s going to just fall out)
I also called my Mom (2 hours away) and told them they’d need to come get the kids (who were all still asleep at this point)
I did all of this while still lying in bed, without moving, because I was literally terrified that if I got up and started moving around that he would start coming and no one would be at our house.
Mariam, my doula, arrived at 6:15 and helped me use the bathroom and helped me get cleaned up. I was sooooo concerned about the possibility of things going too quickly but thankfully! my contractions don’t start right away. I walk around the room, use a tonnnn of oils to help calm myself down, put on my makeup and get ready for the day. (seriously, I was so thankful for this)
At 6:53 am—the long awaited first contraction appears!
My parents finally arrive around 8:30 and take the kids. Before they left we got to pray, hug, and say goodbye.
Now things are getting exciting!
9:00 am—the contractions are getting a little more intense but really not much closer than 10 minutes apart or so. I keep using my oils-
My routine was this:
CBD Calm on my wrists
Release on the back of my neck
Valor on my jawline
Surrender over my heart
Then I would breathe in Gratitude from the bottle and say a prayer- centering myself and thanking God for this day, this baby, this pregnancy, this experience, for anything I could think of.
Gratitude is a magnet for miracles and you really can’t feel afraid when you are feeling thankful instead. So that’s what I did- over and over.
I also used the bathroom, ate multiple pink lady apples (they tasted so good!), drank Ningxia (I think I had 3 mason jars full?), and listened to my baby playlist (that I had just made the night before! ha!)
9:20 am—The first midwife, Rebekah arrives. Yay!
9:30 am—I alternate between sitting (bed, chair and ball) to standing and swaying.
This labor was SO different from my previous three. Possibly because my water broke first? Contractions felt completely different. Typically, I sit on the exercise ball the entire time and ask for counter pressure on my low back. This time I didn’t need or want that at all.
Standing was best, or sitting on my bed. Contractions weren’t in my low back at all- they were totally in my butt (yes) or would radiate to my lower stomach. Mostly I didn’t want to be touched- I just needed to go completely within, remind myself to breathe and go totally loose. Relaxing every muscle, from my eyebrows down to my toes.
10:30 am—contractions are more like 6/7 min apart now
10:50 am—I begin vocalizing through contractions. Definitely intensifying. And we decide to start filling up the tub.
Loud, low moans always help me most- again, just trying to stay really, really loose. Every muscle, including my voice- open, low, and loose.
Jim and Rebekah fill the tub and get it prepped for whenever I’m ready to get in.
I decide to wait for a few reasons: 1) things weren’t unmanageable and I didn’t want to get in “too early” 2) getting in the tub meant I would likely be pushing soon and I wasn’t mentally ready for the acceptance of that reality yet (but, really)
11:30 am— my second midwife, Amber arrives. Contractions stay around 7 min apart but are much stronger. My entire strategy for this labor & delivery was to be as loose as humanly possible and I worked hard to keep my mindset set on peacefulness and joy.
And really, it worked. It was the most calm, peaceful, happy, and gentle day. I was never afraid. I was never unsure. I just let my body and baby work together, and they did. I trusted my providers and they trusted me. They never touched me at all except to occasionally check my blood pressure and listen to his heart beat (both of which were always great).
They would occasionally ask a question or make a suggestion, but mostly they just stayed quiet and let me do whatever I wanted.
12:30 pm—Contractions shifted to more like 3-5 min apart and got really intense. Amber asked me if I would like to get in the tub. And at first I still said no, but then I had one huge contraction and changed my mind.
I finally get in the water. I ask Jim to hold the bottle of Surrender under my nose- I know that I’m going to need it to let myself push this baby out- sometime I’m definitely dreading having to do. I want to meet my baby and I’m thankful for how I’m doing it, but also- it’s just really intense and does not feel awesome for me.
The water is warm and feels really nice. It’s lovely to have a break from gravity and having some new positions to try and the ability to move around differently.
It doesn’t stay that way for very long though!
By 1:00 PM I start to feel a lot of pressure and know what is coming. Baby is moving downnn. At first I try leaning forward but don’t feel like I have enough grip/control, so I lean back instead. I try sooo hard to breathe peacefully through the contractions but don’t always succeed (understatement of the year) Basically I alternate between praying for help and trust and then roaring profanities and begging for it to just be done already.
I continue pushing while leaning back- it feels comfortable and safe and what I know from my previous births. My doula is blowing a fan on my face and my midwife Rebekah is giving me counter pressure by pushing on my knees.
My previous pushing experiences have gone FAST- a few quick pushes and baby is born.
But that wasn’t happening this time. a little bit forward, and then back. A little bit forward, and then back.
My midwife kept saying “he is almost here, Courtney” and I would shout back “I really don’t believe you!”
She suggested that maybe I should reach down and touch to feel how close he was- so I did and I said “all I can feel is my own vagina!”
She goes, “ah yeah- that’s always a gamble” (even then I could recognize that as a funny moment)
Then she suggested that I consider changing positions…which I really didn’t want to do. But (again) I had one more super, super intense contraction that didn’t get him out- so I finally conceded and moved up to my knees.
1:53 pm—Almost immediately after getting up on my knees, Lochlan’s head is born.
I beg my midwife Rebekah to just pull him out and make it end and she says, “Courtney, I’m not going to do that. Your body will do it, just wait a second. Reach down and touch him”
So I did and had to ask, “what am I feeling??” Turns out it was the back of his head (finally felt it this time! Lol!)
The next contraction actually does come quickly and the rest of his body is delivered. Rebekah unwraps the cord from around him and passes him through to me. I reach down and pull him from the water and to my chest.
And, it just. It is such a beautiful and totally surreal moment.
Our rainbow baby is finally here.
8 lbs, 21 inches of Lochlan Rush arrived in my arms at 1:53 PM on Monday, June 21st. I’m convinced he didn’t even realize that he had been born because he simply laid peacefully in my arms and kept sleeping as if nothing had changed.
We sat in the tub for a long time together, nursed for the first time, and when I was ready- we got out of the tub and crawled into my bed together.
I held him while I delivered my placenta peacefully in my bed and received a leg & foot massage from my midwife. I watched him get weighed lovingly by Jim and checked out calmly, gently, and peacefully by my midwives.
We spent his first week completely nested and secluded up in my bedroom. Our only job snuggling, skin to skin, nursing, and simply falling in love with each other.
Our home birth was the most amazing, beautiful, peaceful, safe, loving, and absolutely wonderful experience.
Wow. I just could not love it more. I am so grateful.
I have gotten a lot of questions and had a lot of conversations surrounding our choice to home birth and what our experience was like- so I will be putting together a Home Birth Resources post very soon! With links, stats, products we used, and information you can access to prepare for your upcoming home birth (or help in making a decision about it!)