My Sweet Tillie Rose turned one year old this week and I know what you think I’m going to say… “and where did the time go?!”
But I’m not going to say that because I know where it went. It went to endless hours of tummy time, breastfeeding, rocking, clapping, talking in a high pitched voice, and singing Itsy Bitsy Spider on repeat. All (ok most) of which I cherished.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you may have heard me talk about my midwife, GB Khalsa, because I am completely in love with her and so grateful for the home birth experience I had.
I’ve hesitated to share my birth story because there are so many ways to give birth and I didn’t want anyone to think that one way is better than another.
I decided to give birth at home for a few reasons:
I wanted to have the most natural birth possible, and I loved the idea of being in the comfort of my own home.
I learned about many of the conventional methods hospitals still use during the birthing process and my ideal birth aligned much more with home birthing.
Hospitals are probably my least favorite place other than water parks (gross).
I didn’t want to have the option of drugs because I’m a wuss and would have begged for them if there were available.
I have friends and family who have birthed every different type of way and am thankful to say all have healthy babies, so it is truly up to you and what makes you feel most safe and supported!
Tillie turning one has made me nostalgic, and I’m sharing my birth story in case you are wondering about home birth, or simply want to know what it’s like to push a watermelon out of a kiwi.
Grab some popcorn (maybe food doesn’t go so well with this story)…
The Birth Story of Tillie Rose
It was 10:30 pm on the dot Friday night, May 11th. I know the exact time because I had just gone to the bathroom, got in bed, and glanced at the clock. As I sat in bed and looked over at the clock, I noticed that some water had leaked out of me. “Did I seriously just pee the bed directly after emptying my bladder?!” I was getting used to peeing with a cough or sneeze, but if this was pee, then I was reaching a whole new level of incontinence. “Could this possibly be my water leaking?” I was 38 weeks pregnant that very next day so technically, anything was possible.
After I showed Jordan the stain, we decided to err on the side of over-reaction and not call GB, our midwife. We went to bed acting as if it didn’t happen, although it definitely piqued my curiosity.
At midnight I woke up for my usual 1 out of 10,000 pee breaks for the night, and when I stood up to go to the bathroom, a little bit of water trickled down my leg. I immediately googled, “how to tell if your water broke/is leaking” and started to have a stronger conviction that this was the real thing and not some preview of me at 90 years old in an adult Depends. Still, I went back to sleep. Upon waking around 3 am for another pee session, I sat up and more water came out of me. I shoved Jordan awake… I mean, I lightly stroked his hair and gently shook the shit out of him. This is when we decided to call GB. She told me to get some rest, go eat a snack, drink a glass of wine and call her in the morning.
Jordan and I went into the kitchen. I was too pumped up to have a snack, but unsurprisingly Jordan took it upon himself to eat something. As I was standing naked in the kitchen, another little gush of water came out of me and made a splatter sounds onto the hard wooden floor. “Holy shit, babe! This is seriously happening!! We are going to have a baby!!” The excitement was overwhelming, especially because contractions were nowhere close. We got to relish in the knowledge that we were going to meet our baby girl soon. I “tried” to go back to bed but pretty much laid there wide-eyed, thinking about the next 24 hours and what was to come.
That next morning Jordan had to do some work, as he was covering one of the biggest bike races of the year, the Giro D'italia. I went to Whole Foods to grab some labor snacks and last minute items. I remember walking around in the produce section feeling like I had this amazing secret. I told the checkout lady, “guess what? I’m actually starting labor right now! In the next 12 hours, this is about to get real!”
I got home, cleaned up the house as much as I could to get ready for the birth, and so began the waiting game. Hours passed. No contractions.
GB suggested that I get acupuncture, so I had my acupuncturist come to the house and do two hours of acupuncture on me! After that, I went for a 45-minute brisk walk as GB mentioned using the Chi that the acupuncture created to get some movement in. It was super hot outside, and I walked more than I had in the last two weeks because my feet had become so swollen.
I came home, showered, and experienced very small period-like cramps but nothing major. Around 8 pm, GB came over to check the baby’s heart rate and talk about next steps. She wanted us to be patient and get rest (not my strong suits) and then if nothing happened by around 2 am, to drink her famous castor oil concoction, wait two hours for things to get moving and call her with progress.
Jordan and I put on a cheesy rom-com to pass the time, and finally fell asleep around 10:30 pm, exactly 24 hours after my water had broken. My sister brought her things over and fell asleep in the guest room, and my mother was around the corner at her house trying to get some rest before I called her over. I woke up right at 2 am and had Jordan mix up this concoction of castor oil, almond butter, apricot juice and lemongrass essential oil. It was warm, thick, and disgusting. It tasted like I was drinking a Thai peanut sauce, one that, little did I know at the time, I would burp up throughout the remainder of the labor. Two hours later, I had some mild contractions but then everything seemed to stall. GB had left another herb tincture with us called Cottonwood. She instructed me to take the cottonwood and see what happened. Right after I took the cottonwood things started to really get moving. At around 5:15 am on Saturday morning, I had contractions strong enough to start tracking through our app, to measure time and intensity.
I remember feeling both super excited and nervous. I was relieved to finally begin the actual labor process but I knew the real work was ahead of me. Jordan set up the birthing pool and when the contractions grew in intensity, I hopped in.
The next few hours are a blur to me already, only 5 days later. I remember my contractions getting very strong very quickly after I went into active labor. You can read a million books, watch a ton of videos, but you can never understand fully what it feels like until you experience it. They would come on like a wave, hit a peak, and then subside. I would have two contractions very close together with longer rest periods in between. Mandy and Jordan never left my side, holding my hand, stroking my hair, giving me constant words of encouragement.
I went into the birth somewhat exhausted from the anticipation building for so long before the real work started. I broke down crying a few times throughout the birthing process, as the contractions were completely overwhelming and I was feeling scared for what was to come.
The beauty of having a homebirth was the ability to labor in so many different places. I went from the pool to the bed, to the porch, walking around the kitchen, and so on. I laid in bed for a while with Mandy at my back and GB sitting at my bedside, she quietly timed my contractions and knit through all of my moaning. My contractions were incredibly painful lying in bed (the painful ones are the useful ones according to GB). I was writhing in pain, I couldn’t help but to moan, and move my body in any way I could to disperse the pain. GB had music playing and in her calm, quiet voice told me “to lay like a noodle. Let the pain pass through your body and try to not move a muscle other than to breathe.” I was able to follow her advice for a few contractions but after a while, I couldn’t stand one more moment in that bed. I was starting to break down mentally, and that’s when GB told me to go stand outside and look around.
Going outside on the porch helped me see that there was a day happening around me. Yes, I was going through this intense process, but the birds were still chirping, the grass was still growing and life was still happening around me. This got me back in the headspace to do the work I needed to do.
Over the next few hours the contractions become so strong they were overtaking my entire body. Jote, GB’s daughter, and our birth photographer was also a silent support, sending me love and understanding looks as I went through this process.
At the pinnacle of my contractions and what I imagined as the baby working her way down into my pelvis, the only thing that made me feel like I could go on was to walk around the living room and kitchen with Mandy by my side, and as each contraction came on, I draped myself and all my weight on her body and hugged her as tightly as I could while we both squatted and I swayed my hips. I was moaning so loudly and trying anything I could to get through the pain. At this point, I was falling into the trap of my mind, which was telling me to demand they drive me to the hospital and get me some drugs! I never mentioned it though, because I knew it was too late, and that I wouldn’t actually go through with it. Plus, I was naked and no one was going to get dressed and in the car with the contractions coming the way they were!
At this point, I asked GB, “how will I know when to push?” She smiled and said, “you will come to a point where your body will not be able to hold back. You will just know.” After a few more contractions, she was correct.
All of a sudden my moaning turned into bearing down and I started pushing with each contraction. Everyone in the room started cheering for me, knowing the end was near. GB told me to check to see if I could feel my baby. Her head was so close to being out of me!!
We moved from the pool to our bedroom, where GB had set up the birthing bench. It had handles on the side where I could use my strength to push with each contraction. I only pushed for about 30 minutes, before it was time to deliver this baby girl! On my last push, GB told me, “push again, push now, push again” and with one extremely loud and primal scream (ring of fire!) her head was out, I screamed again and her shoulders came out, followed by the rest of her slippery little body.
Jordan caught the baby and with GB’s guiding hands, placed her in my arms. I was in complete shock and awe. Tillie started crying loudly right away, a strong, healthy baby! I remember saying “it’s a real baby!” I was just so shocked that this moment was here.
GB helped me off of the bench and I laid in bed with this sweet little peanut (5 pounds and 12 ounces, 18 inches long). Everyone was around me cooing over the baby and giving me words of love and encouragement. After 30 or so minutes, Jordan cut the cord and held Tillie so I could take a shower.
We were just in awe of our little miracle. It was a beautiful day and the greatest Mother’s Day gift I could ask for, the welcoming of our sweet Tillie Rose Everly Parker. <3
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