I did it! I gave birth to my son Miles Christopher Shelley at my midwife’s home, no drugs, all natural, on Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018, at 1:37 p.m.—one day before my birthday! He weighed 7 lb., 7 oz.
My birth experience was not anything like I was expecting. I had contractions on and off for two days prior, and the morning of the birth, I woke up at 6 a.m. and timed each one. They were lasting a full minute and were 3-4 minutes apart. We got on the road as we had a half-hour drive to the midwife’s home. By the time we got there, around 8 a.m., I was dilated to 4 cm.
I had planned to move around while I was laboring, practice my breathing and birth affirmations, but everything hurt and I couldn’t focus on all of the things I thought I had prepared myself for. Time escaped me. I have no idea when I got into the birth tub to push but the warm water felt so good. I started pushing and felt like I was making no progress. I eventually became too warm and worn out in the tub, and I had to get out.
After pushing in the water for almost two hours, I was near exhaustion. The baby was stuck in the birth canal and I just couldn’t push him out. I was trying with all of my might. Everyone started getting very serious, saying I had to get this baby out. They were checking his heart rate between every contraction.
I was so tired and so scared, and felt I couldn’t push anymore. My midwife was about to do an episiotomy and told me to try to push one final time. I had one leg on a chair, one on the floor and my arms around my partner’s neck.
Finally, by the grace of God, that last push brought my baby into the world. It was such an amazing and indescribable experience. I felt so relieved that it was over and that my son came out healthy and beautiful. I was overjoyed to hold him in my arms at last.
I had torn and needed stitches. The few days following were hard—learning to breastfeed, how to be a mom, and having a tiny life depend on you 24/7, all while trying to recover from such an experience. It is all so worth it, though.
I’m so glad I didn’t labor in a hospital setting, and was able to have the experience the way I did. My precious boy is worth every ounce of pain I felt, every sleepless night I’ve had, and every frustration I’ve encountered since. I’m thankful for all the things I’ve read and learned, the inspiration I’ve found, and the support from other moms in the world. You are amazing. And you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to. Believe in yourself, your body and your baby.
Written by Lea Aldridge