As she says,
"Sadly (in some ways), everyone -- including our midwife -- missed the birth. We ended up in the bathtub. My husband caught the baby. It was beautiful!"
And here is their beautiful story in video!
documentary birth film | OTPC from One Tree Photography on Vimeo.
When I asked her to share her story, she replied
My collegiate self would've never allowed this film to be seen. By anyone.
In it, I have three chins. I have rolls of belly fat exposed for all the world to see. And, in several shots, you can see my massive nipples.
But it was the 20-something me that would've focused on these bodily imperfections.
Today, when I watch this film, I see me...the strongest and bravest that I have ever been.
I went through one of my greatest challenges. I was calm. I shed no tears. And I brought my daughter into this world with peace and surrounded by love.
I don't believe that homebirth is for everyone. But I do believe that women need to see that birth is a beautiful thing. That we shouldn't be so afraid of it.
I went into labor Thursday, June 9 in the late afternoon. I started to have contractions that grew closer and more intense. My husband and I called our midwife and support team. Within two hours, my birth tub was up and everything was ready for my birth.
But...my body had other plans.
My rushes slowed down and the intensity waned. I felt discouraged as our midwife went home and told me kindly, not to be discouraged but that my body had a lot of work to do before active labor would begin.
Thankfully, my husband was able to stay home from work on Friday. I had rushes throughout the entire day, ranging from 20 minutes apart to just 8 minutes apart. I joked that I shouldn't have skipped the chapters in my birthing books about labor dragging on. Because my previous delivery was so fast, I didn't think it would happen to me.
Active labor started at around 2 a.m. Saturday morning. I woke up to intense rushes every 10 minutes. We'd just gotten two hours of sleep, so I let my husband sleep another hour before I woke him up to help me.
I labored in my bedroom -- on the bed, on my hands and knees and while rocking on a birth ball.
As the rushes became closer together and more intense, my husband called our midwife. But because things were still a bit irregular, she just wasn't convinced it was true active labor. She suggested I get in the bathtub to try and relax.
At 6 a.m., we called again. At time point, rushes were every two minutes and were lasting up to a minute and 50 seconds. I was moaning through every rush, but I felt calm and relaxed in my bathtub.
Our midwife still believe that the rushes were not quite intense enough to be transition. However, she got in her car -- thinking that she was coming to diagnose a bladder infection.
Just minutes after my husband hung up the phone, my water broke. Involuntary pushing began just moments later.
We had two friends staying with us who came up to assist and witness our birth. My husband got into the bathtub with me and helped me relax. A few pushes and my daughters head emerged. He cradled her head in his hands. And two pushes after that, her body slide from mine.
He placed her on my chest.
It was the most incredible moment of my life. In just seconds, all of my pain and discomfort was gone! My whole world centered around this little person laying on my chest. She was born at around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 11.
We didn't know her gender at the time, but without even looking I asked my husband if "she" was okay.
My friend, who is studying medicine, said she thought that my baby was doing just fine. Because those words came from a trusted friend, I felt completely at peace and able to focus on my baby.
In the end, I was completely okay with our midwife missing our birth. I never felt worried or afraid. Instead, I felt empowered and thrilled.
My husband remained completely calm -- at least outwardly -- throughout the entire process. By doing so, he gave me the peace of mind I needed to focus on my labor and my baby.
In the end, I wouldn't change a thing.
I hope that my little story can help women further understand that birth doesn't need to be frightening -- regardless of the circumstances. I've had three babies...and it took me three pregnancies to really learn that my body can birth. It doesn't need any "help" beyond the emotional support of a partner and family.
I'm so, so thrilled to have documentation of this incredible moment in my life. I would strongly encourage women to consider it. Looking back at our birth video has solidified my sense of empowerment!
Thank you so much, Betsy, for sharing your story with us!