the home birth of hudson bryce

February 25, 2020

Long before I got pregnant, I knew I wanted to do things "differently" when it came to bringing a baby into the world. You see, I am a very petite person. I'm barely 4'10 and my husband does not lack the tall genes standing at almost 6'3. Of course it crossed my mind that carrying a baby could be too much for my small frame, but then I met my midwife and she assured me that she was not concerned at all because my body "wouldn't make a baby it could not handle". Right then, I knew I was in the right place. My entire pregnancy my midwives encouraged me, prayed over me, believed in my ability to bring life into the world, never once pressuring me into interventions or tests that weren't necessary for me. Never once doubting what God created my body to do.

Originally, I was scheduled to give birth at the Birth Center. It was quaint and comfortable. It was also 45 minutes away (not in traffic). As my pregnancy progressed I thought about what it would look like to give birth in our home. Our humble 1200 sqft third floor apartment. I asked my midwife and she responded, "the only difference is my roof or yours". She came for a home tour and agreed that our home, covered in house plants, and essential oils, and the warmth and coziness that I was familiar with would be the perfect place to welcome our baby. A home birth it would be. I was so excited!

On April 30th, I had lost my mucus plug and was in prodromal labor (on & off) for about two days. It was not fun. I had contractions, but they weren't productive. They would come and go just as fast as my excitement that we were going to meet our baby that day would. I went to the beach and walked along the path covered by mangroves and palm trees. I worshiped and prayed. I stuck my feet in the water, held my pregnant belly, breathed in the salty air, and sang "If the oceans roar your greatness, so will I". I very much enjoyed these quiet moments of worship right before my life would radically change.

The anticipation of meeting my son grew with each day that passed. I was ready. You know how they say your body consciously waits to to go into labor until you're mentally ready. YUP. That was so true for our situation. Josh had just submitted his final paper for his masters degree and (you guessed it) that is the very moment I went into real labor.

I had never been the type in college to pull an all nighter. I cherish my sleep. But on the night of May 2nd, this mama to be pulled her first all nighter (why do people do this 😜). Early labor had started that afternoon and as the night progressed, so did my contractions coming longer, stronger, and closer together. As each one would come, Josh was right there by my side applying counter pressure and swaying with me as I "rode the wave" of each one. I was in this stage for what seemed like forever. All night actually. We tried to rest in between contractions, we walked around our neighborhood lake a couple times in the middle of the night, and I returned to stand in the shower and let the hot water ease the intensity for a very very long time. Early that morning around 5am, my water broke. It wasn't a gush like I heard it might be, just a trickle of water that was pretty steady.

At this point, things were getting more intense. I was under the impression that it had progressed so much that I was in the transition phase. Not quite yet. My midwife arrived to check me and I was 5cm dilated. This was around 10am on May 3rd. I went back in the bathtub and stayed there most of the day. The hot water was very soothing (highly recommend!). Occasionally I would get out and rest on our bed or use the birth ball in between contractions. My midwives would check on me every so often to check baby's heart rate and they informed me that "he was so close". There was so much joy in these moments in between. Laughter, worship music, powerful prayers, heavenly peace. I was safe. I was comfortable. I was not afraid. We were having a baby today!

The afternoon came and I was exhausted. I was very ready to meet our son. My body knew this. I got out of the bathtub and labored the rest of the time on our bed. I entered the transition phase and if you know me as "quiet Emma" well let's just say I was not so quiet in this moment. I roared with my body to kick it into high gear and get this little fella out. This was indeed the most intense part of the day. Before I knew it I was following my body's instinct to push. This part was so cool! With each contraction I felt my body push for me. One of the most amazing parts of the day was the natural progression of labor and how my body knew exactly what it needed to do with no interventions needed, exactly what I wanted and prayed for. It was a beautiful process to witness.

I was in the pushing stage for about 40 minutes. Josh sat behind me and I sunk into his arms. I felt euphoric. Like I was out of my body. I can't remember the exact number of times I pushed (this part is a blur haha) maybe three or four really good pushes. His head was just about out and on the next push my sweet baby boy was born.  During the entire pushing phase a thunderstorm roared outside our bedroom window. As he was placed on my chest for the first time, a beautiful sunset lit up the sky with a colorful rainbow to follow it. Hudson Bryce was born at 6:07pm to the song "Even When It Hurts" by Hillsong United (totally random but oh so fitting haha)

Josh & I were sobbing with relief, joy, euphoria, and wholeness. He was here. He was perfect. He was ours. He laid on my chest and latched to nurse almost immediately. My dream come true.  If you know our story with Hudson's breastfeeding journey (he was diagnosed with galactosemia 15 days later), you know how much I cherish this very moment. Josh cut the cord 22 minutes later (look up delayed cord clamping for all the benefits of this!) and I delivered the placenta. The contraction to deliver the placenta was not pleasant, but it was quick. I feel like most people don't talk about this stage of labor, but with my new baby to distract me it wasn't that bad!

Y'all...the placenta is SO cool. I had mine encapsulated for the many benefits that brings to your body/hormones post birth. It actually helped to balance out my hormones so much in the following weeks! My midwives were impressed with how healthy my placenta was (thanks Ningxia red 😏) Soon Josh held up the hand weight weighing our baby for the first time at 5lb 15oz. Sweet little guy. I ate a slice of pizza and Josh chowed down on a burger haha. Two hours later everyone left and it was just the three of us. We were finally able to rest. Hudson stayed huddled on my chest and we went to sleep that evening in our bed as a family of three. I loved being home with my sweet family in this moment. We all slept great that night after a long, intense, but beautiful day.

Hudson's home birth was perfect. Yes it was long (about 26 hours), but the joy that came made it all seem not so bad at all. I look back and don't even remember the intensity of giving birth. I just remember how empowered I felt. I can't wait to do it again someday! To this day it is the most accomplished thing I have ever done. Birth is beautiful.

If you ever want to chat birth, I love to share about our experience & hear about other birth stories too!

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