Fastest Birth in the Books: 34 Minute Labor & Unassisted Home Birth - Spokane, Washington Birth Photographer and Doula
You know it was an amazing birth when you not only miss it (even though you live 10 minutes away, and left the house immediately), and walk in to see this huge smile on mama's face. She was surrounded by her husband, and 5 beautiful children when I stepped into their birth space...all looking totally and madly in love with this new babe. It was the sweetest moment...
Although a birth worker never likes missing a delivery, it is part of this family's story. I literally was walking up to their front door, debating on if I knock or just walk in, when I received the text: "Julie just had the baby". GAH!!!! Thankfully, her amazing husband not only quickly setup the birth pool and filled it up, but somehow supported her through contractions, as well as setup his iPhone on the bookshelf next to them in order to video record, moments before delivery. Talk about amazing...! I am beyond grateful for this family for allowing me to help share their incredible home birth story, as well as the video dad recorded on his phone (end of page). Sit back, and enjoy the birth story written by mom herself:
"This little person here in my arms is 6 weeks old and as I try to put words to the journey to bring our little soul into the world, its overwhelming. How do you really describe the journey of a last baby, a rainbow baby after a miscarriage, a hope for healing and filling of the empty spot waiting for them? I don't know if you can... it was beautiful, challenging, scary, and full of so many moments I'll never forget.
Evan kept anxiously joking about giving him enough notice if I went into labor at night since he had so many music gigs at night. We were all ready for her to get here so that we didn't have to worry - but with the little one in a posterior position I figured it would be a while. I was laying in bed texting a friend of mine around 10:50pm on Nov. 15. Evan interrupted that conversation with a text reminding me to give him lots of notice whenever I would go into labor. Yessss dear, of course! As my friend and I ended the conversation, I joked that I had told the baby she could come that day but nope... my friend laughed and said the day wasn't done yet, there was still time. Well... unlikely.
I got up to use the bathroom one last time before sleeping and sat there for a while... I thought, "Wouldn't it be so cool if my water would break?" and I sort of laughed at myself a little, because seriously... don't we wish. I was going to check myself to see if I had dilated more in the day, and as I got ready... but before I could, something poured out?? Wait... was it urine? I had already gone to the bathroom so that wasn't right... I sat there totally confused. I looked at my hands... were those tiny specks of vernix?? I think maybe?? But that's crazy. There was no scent, no continued stream to indicate it was my water... I didn't know what to do but nothing kept going so I decided I was just making it up, and went back to bed. I laid in bed a while listening to my body, still a bit confused what happened and wondering if I was making stuff up. I had a Braxton hicks contraction but it was regular, as were the few others that eventually followed about 8-10 minutes apart. I was now hungry again so I decided to get up to see if the Braxton hicks would stop if I changed positions, and to get a snack. Evan came home about that time and cut me some cheese and was giving me the side eye as I knelt over the couch and ate my cheese, trying to determine if I was having contractions. He started a TV show and to have something to eat, while I had to breathe through my first real, light contraction.
I text my doula after the second contraction I had to breathe through, and my water broke while I waited for her reply (what?? This is contraction 2??). Evan grabbed me a towel and I quickly text my birth photographer, called my midwife, text my sister in law and sister and after the next strong contraction I quickly went to the bathroom to change shirts for laboring. I barely got my shirt changed when I had to kneel and breath through a hell of a contraction barely hanging onto my composure. Woahhhhhh, this just got really serious really fast!! Evan was rubbing my back and talking to me. The tub was ready if I wanted. There wasn't much water but I could get in. I moaned I didn't want things this fast... he knowingly said "I'm sorry Babe".
I knew I had to move now or this baby was going to be born on my bathroom floor so I got up as the contraction end hung on and walked as fast as I could to the baby's room, getting into our birth tub. There was 3" of water but the sound of the water pouring in was so great. I felt for the baby and could feel she was right there... she was coming so soon. I told Evan I could feel her head. The next contraction I could feel my body taking over and it just pushed without me. I could feel her moving down, I wasn't doing the work... my body pushing. As her head moved out I leaned up to hold onto the tub edge. (Oh my gosh... none of the kids are awake, they will be so disappointed! And no one is here... again... haha! Man, I didn't even prepare for an unassisted birth this time. My herbs and stuff isn't even all in here...). I needed Evan to help me catch her, the water too shallow, I told him to put his hands right here by my leg so I could feel them, and know he was with me. And we waited. We are ok, she is ok, I said, I could feel it. Minutes passed... soon... I could feel the contraction building... "soon" I said... oh this... this pressure and power... one last time... "You are amazing! Amazing!" Evan said. All of me, all of her... this incredible life pushed her way into this world and into her Daddy's hands.
After 11 contractions and a half hour of labor, on Nov. 16, at 12:02am, Salem Phoenix was born, bringing with her incredible completion, joy, and love. "
Natalie Bee is a Birth Photographer and Doula, a mother of four wildlings, and coffee junkie. She captures the beauty of motherhood and birth through a passionate photojournalist approach.