Our little girl, Finnley Raine made her arrival on Dec 2 at 3:25pm after just an hour of labour! She was born at home, on our bed, surrounded by my husband, mom and two midwives. She’s 12 days old now and such a sweet sweet baby! Here is her birth story… Oh, fair warning that it’s a bit graphic. I mean, birth IS graphic! I’m tired of it being glossed over and people having an unrealistic idea of what it looks like. I think real, honest birth stories are so important!
I had my son, Beckett, at 42 weeks so I felt like there was a good chance that I’d go that long with Finnley too but in August, after a couple ultrasounds showed her to be measuring small, my midwives pushed my due date back 2 1/2 weeks! It ended up being a good thing since I went into labour at 40 weeks (I would have been past 42 weeks otherwise and would not have had the home birth I wanted). My parents wanted to be there for the birth but live 6+ hours away (in Canada). They were able to be with me for Beckett’s birth but almost missed it! They decided they’d be here when I was 40 weeks because we felt like she’d probably make an “earlier” arrival with my later due date.
So my parents arrived Monday and on Wednesday I decided to use my breast pump to see if it would bring on contractions and ultimately labour. I’d done that when I was 41 weeks pregnant with my son and I went into labour that day. Of course, if your body isn’t ready then you’re just going to have false contractions which isn’t much fun. I actually called my midwife that evening because I was cramping and thought it might turn into active labour. My labour with Beckett was only 5 hours and so we knew this one would probably be less! My midwives were located in Portland where as I’m in Vancouver, WA so the commute can be long if there’s traffic. My midwife told me to call her back if things changed otherwise she’d call back in an hour. I did continue to have cramping all evening but it never grew stronger or more frequent and when I woke up the next morning, it was gone. I share this just because I never experienced false labour with my son so it was something new to me.
Fast forward to Saturday when my parent’s were actually supposed to be leaving to head home. I woke up with cramping and while it felt just like the cramping I had after pumping, I hadn’t pumped that day so I was hopeful that my body was getting ready on its own! My mom told me they’d stick around and could always leave on Sunday instead. I felt like I was having mild contractions all morning but by the afternoon they had mostly tapered off. I decided to pump one last time, around 1:30pm. I say “last time” because I just felt like if I wasn’t going into labour, I was torturing myself for no reason because the cramping it caused wasn’t pleasant! I was pumping for 15min on each breast but this time, I stopped early because the cramping had grown pretty strong. I figured I’d give it an hour and see if it continued or not because I definitely wasn’t convinced that I’d go into labour at this point.
Not even 5min later, I’m standing in my bathroom when I have a VERY strong contraction. I was really surprised by it and how intense it was. A few minutes later I had another and instantly knew this was it. I found my husband and told him to call the midwife because I couldn’t even talk through these contractions. I also told my mom “it’s baby time!” My husband ended up putting me on the phone and my midwife asked if I felt I needed a midwife there ASAP and I said yes. Then my water broke! With my son it broke while I was in the birth tub pushing so to have it break while I was just standing in my bathroom felt so weird! haha I told my midwife and she immediately said “ok bye” and I knew she was on her way.
My contractions were coming every few minutes and I felt my body starting to push. I’ll be honest, that frightened me a bit because it was all happening SO fast. My midwives weren’t there yet (we had actually discussed what to do in the case that they didn’t make it in time!) and my mom and husband were still trying to fill my birth tub with hot water. All I wanted to do was get in the water! The midwife told my husband to have me lay on my bed, on my left side, to try and buy me some time. My husband was timing my contractions and I remember thinking how unnecessary that was because I was obviously in active labour and going to push out a baby soon haha but I think doing that and filling the tub just helped him feel like he was doing something. At this point I realized the tub wasn’t going to be filled in time and that I’d be having this baby on our bed. I did feel disappointed for a moment because I loved having a water birth with my son but quickly accepted it and moved on. Once I did that I felt comfortable in my current position and never moved from it.
My mom sat by my head and told me how great I was doing and was so encouraging and calming. I’m so glad she was able to be there! My midwives arrived and I was amazed how quickly they’d gotten there (20min). They told my husband he could stop filling the birth pool because there wasn’t enough time so he took my mom’s place and held my arm the rest of the time. My body started pushing harder then. Not being in the water, I could really feel what was happening… like feel myself dilating as my body pushed! The sensation of that actually felt stronger than the pain of my contractions! I remember thinking that it felt a bit easier this time! In my head, I told myself over and over that I could do this and that I’d get to meet my daughter soon! I sipped on some coconut water, breathed out slowly during contractions and completely surrendered to the process; I let my body do what it knew how to do. With each contraction, my entire body would shake! Again, it felt more intense this time. Another kind of cool/crazy thing is that with both of my labour experiences, my body took a longer break between contractions just before baby started to crown! It was like this sweet moment of rest before the hardest part! How amazing is the body for doing that?!
My midwife reminded me to do short breaths as I pushed my baby out to help prevent me from pushing harder (and tearing). Then her head was out! That always feels like such a relief! Weird thing was my body completely quit pushing at that point! After 3min, my midwives told me *I* was going to have to push to get her the rest of the way out! At first I wasn’t even sure how to do that haha but basically you just groan a lot and think about pooping (hey, just being honest!). My midwife actually had to reach her hands inside of me to help the baby come out. Not a good feeling but it was quick and I was focused on pushing! Originally I had wanted to catch my baby like I did with Beckett but with the position I was in and her getting stuck, that wasn’t an option. My midwife immediately handed her to me and my mom said “she has dark hair!” which was such a surprise given that my husband, myself and my son were all balk and then blonde (mine turned brunette when I was 9 or so). Finnley cried out but then was so calm and quiet (very different from her brother!). She snuggled in beside me until the midwife cut the cord (we do delayed cord clamping) then I nursed her. The midwife helped me birth the placenta which she later cut up for me to use for smoothies.
All this time Beckett was outside our room with my dad. He had come in at one point earlier on but was upset he couldn’t really go to me so we just kept him out after that; we gave him a new toy and movie to keep him distracted! But as soon as she was born, my husband brought him in. That moment was so special to me! Beckett was very curious about his sister but said she was yucky (because she had blood on herhead and a little vernix. haha Later when she was dry, he said she was cute 😉 It took him a couple days to adjust to not being an only child (lots of crying and meltdowns) but he’s been doing great since! Perhaps I’ll do another blogpost on going from 1 to 2 children.
Finnley once again surprised me by weighing 8lbs 8oz! Beckett was 8lbs 11oz but I was a week and a half further along. She was 20.5″ long (Beckett was 21.5″). I feel like she seamlessly fit into our family and already I cannot imagine not having her here! My family feels all the more complete (although I still want more kids hehe).
From the time of my first contraction to Finnley’s birth was just over an hour. I spent about 45min pushing. It was intense but I’m so grateful it was fast! I did end up with second degree tearing (again) but have recovered from this birth much faster! A blessing when you have an active toddler around! Finnley’s birth wasn’t quite what I’d planned for but it was amazing and I’m actually glad I got to experience a non water birth. My midwives were wonderful and I 100% loved having a home birth. It was so nice knowing I didn’t have to leave! You can read my post on preparing for a homebirth here.