For some time now I have believed in the power of the moon energy for birth and conception. This birth’s timing reaffirms this for me.
I went into this pregnancy aiming to stay calm and at peace. I did pretty well. I focused on prepping my mindset and noticed the mind/body connection.
I had barely any Braxton hicks when with my last 3 pregnancies, I would feel a lot from 20 weeks on. I also didn’t allow myself to stress over every little thing. It was a great pregnancy and I really took the time to enjoy it fully as it was my last. Her movements were amazing. She was so active. What a blessing and gift to have my last little baby give me so many nudges.
Baby girl had been OP for the most part the last few weeks and had not yet turned. I knew the likelihood of her shifting with good contractions was high but I mentally prepared myself for a long and possibly hard back labor. I was not afraid.
I hit 40 weeks but knew fully too well that she wasn’t coming as we were entering a heat wave. Thankfully, my mom and godmother (who had come to visit from Paris) were there with an air conditioned hotel so we were able to escape on the hottest days. We made it through the weekend (my due date was on a Wednesday) with no baby signs but I was doing fine. She was happy and moving a lot.
Monday I woke up feeling very emotional. I realized that my godmother would likely not be there for the birth as she was leaving Friday. I listened to my labor play list and had a good cry. Things were shifting slowly. Every day we got through that week felt like a victory due to the heat. Being forever pregnant in a heat wave is hard, but we took it one day at a time and made it. The rest of the week was spent experiencing some infrequent contractions as the moon grew in size and surviving the heat wave.
I opted for a sweep on Thursday as I was 41 weeks and ready to meet baby. That night I got some contractions and lost the mucus plug. Things were gearing up right on cue for the full moon which was my intuition the whole time.
Friday morning I woke up and put on my playlist. I cried as my godmother was leaving. I so wanted her to be at the birth. I did a short workout just to move a little but felt like I needed to rest and take it easy. I showered and listened to my playlist. At 12:30pm, I started getting contractions. My mom was trying to time them. They were intense and I had to focus and breathe through them. I also did the tummy tuck to try to get babe into good position as she was still OP. I got some contractions that radiated in my back but I kept telling myself I was strong. Around 2 I decided to lay down to see if they would continue or stop. They stopped and I napped. I didn’t feel like I was in active labor though because I wasn’t moaning which I’d done with both girls. As soon as I got up from the nap another contraction came. Things slowed a bit. My mom picked up the boys from school. It was warm and we wanted to go in the pool. I waited for my husband to get home from work. I got a few contractions but they were not consistent yet. As soon as he got home, we decided to go in the pool while
my mom took my boys to dinner. They left at 5 and right before getting in the pool as they said goodbye I got a good long intense contraction. I think my mom realized active labor had begun because she went straight to dinner instead of the reservation at 7. I went into the pool and bounced on pool noodles walking the length of the pool. It was cooling and helped with the strong contractions that kept coming- they were likely 5-6 min apart. We got out of the pool and they kept coming as I showered, made mac n cheese for my girls and I was getting snippy. I just wanted the girls fed and ready for bed and accused my husband of cutting an avocado too slowly.
Finally at 6:30 I decided it was time for my birth team to come. I was starting to vocalize but just didn’t believe I was in labor as the start of labor just seemed to be so inconsistent! My doula and midwife arrived at 7pm shortly followed by my mom and the boys and assistant midwife. I had been laying down to rest and as soon as I got up I got a contraction which my doula helped me through with counter pressure. My midwife checked on babe and asked if I’d like a VE. I said yes because I was confused as to what was going on.
We checked and I was 7cm! Hubby called the birth photographer to have her come for photos. It was 7:30pm and midwife said babe was coming in sideways so suggested side laying or lunges. Side laying sounded way nicer than lunges so I labored on the bed for 20 min or so on both sides holding the comb through contractions.
My youngest would come check on me and give me cuddles and my doula helped soothe me too. The surges were intense but I looked up at my affirmations hanging above my bed and reminded myself that we were safe and strong. Around 8pm I felt like I needed to pee and poop, so I went to the toilet. I started feeling pushy after a couple contractions.
It was hot and I was sweaty. The birth tub was being filled during this time (the boys helped). The contractions were super intense. I decided to try to go to the tub. The midwives put chuck pads on the ground in case babe came out right there.
I saw the tub barely filled and my intuition said no, I need to be on hands and knees so I went to the bed. I had taken off my nightgown expecting to be in the tub but I’m glad I did because it was hot and I was working hard!
I still had the comb in hand and put myself in KICO (knees in calves out). My body was pushing and I could feel her coming. I did my best to keep my jaw relaxed using the naked doula’s floppy face floppy fanny during the surges and keep my sounds low and to let her head stretch the tissues so as not to tear. This part was hard but my doula and midwives were coaching me and used oils and warm compress to help with counter pressure as she crowned. The kiddos were all there to watch.
I pushed maybe 4-5 times and her head was out- it wasn’t quite the relief I expected because she had a compound hand and nuchal cord. But I could feel that the hardest part was over! I pushed the rest of her body out on the next contraction as my husband caught her at 8:32pm!
She cried right away! What a sweet sound! And was passed through my legs and I was so happy. My baby was finally here.
I kissed her and told her I loved her. What an intense, sweaty, and satisfying moment. And bonus, I didn’t tear! I was given an episiotomy with the boys and tore on that same scar line with my previous two girls. My midwife helped me sit on my bed. My Maisy Moon was here and my heart grew tenfold once again.
It is funny how I envisioned a sensual calm water birth but ended up with a quite independent and loud/primal/sweaty land birth. But as I know since training as a birth worker, birth rarely unfolds the way we imagine. It was not what I imagined but it was everything.
I needed to bring my baby earthside at home and I am grateful to my husband, my family, and of course my birth team whom I love dearly. As my mom and godmother said- “I carefully surrounded myself with the people I knew I needed.”
I essentially had the home birth of my dreams because last fall, I dreamed of giving birth to a baby girl on my bed.
This little babe’s french middle name is Mélisse- after my midwife- who has walked beside me and guided me through my last 3 pregnancies and my last 3 births and has changed my life for the better.
I adore her and am grateful that I will get to see her through birth work because I cherish these years with her.
What a special human to have the honor to have as part of my life. And my doula as well. My oxytocin guardians (among many others).
After everyone left, I nursed all night under the full moon and rain which had finally come to cool things down. What an exhausting and exhilarating week.
Photo credit: @venturabirthphotography