Born at home on a warm, sunny, spring-like February morning, we welcomed our second daughter into the world. Our early bird, Harriet Finch, came quickly and unexpectedly on February 18th, three weeks ahead of schedule. I guess she couldn’t wait to meet her family!
Three days prior, I had my 36-week prenatal appointment with my midwife. She told me during that appointment that the baby’s head was down in my pelvic bone, but said the baby could still move or change position. I left her office feeling confident and eager to see her the following week at our home.
The next day I began having very dull aches here and there as I went about the day. I called my midwife just to inquire about it and she told me that it was normal – that because my due date was close things were shifting and getting ready and that it was to be expected at this stage.
Friday came and the achiness became a little more painful and more frequently, with each Braxton Hicks I had. It was a bit more difficult to do tasks that day, but I just assumed that my body was still working things out and I just hoped the pain would subside at some point. I went to the grocery store that night where I walked slowly up and down the aisles anytime a contraction came. Overall, I was feeling well and was still able to do things. Later that evening, I was noticing the pain much more. I was able to sleep some, but I noticed the contractions were more consistent and anytime one came I just held my belly. I prayed that when I woke in the morning the pain would be gone.
Well, it didn’t go away. I woke up at 7am on Saturday after a long night of painful sleep, still in pain, and went to the bathroom where I discovered that I lost my mucus plug. I consulted with a groggy Asa afterwards. He had been up most of the night not feeling well, and Vienna was awake in her room chatting away at 7am, so neither of us were too excited about the day at that point.
I called my midwife after we talked and updated her about what I had just seen in the bathroom. Again, she reassured me that all of this was completely normal. She offered to drop by for a home visit, but I told her that if she was confident that things were just progressing as they should, then I was confident too, and I would just plan to go about my day.
Asa called her two hours later and asked if she could stop by because my pain was getting worse and more consistent. She asked if she could come at noon and Asa said, “If you could come sooner that would be great.” With each contraction, I knelt down next to the bed, put my head on my arms, and breathed. Asa and Vienna rubbed my back and stayed by my side (Vienna was really so sweet during all of this).
After that phone call, Asa began packing a bag for Vienna who would be hanging out with her grandparents for the day. I wanted her to be present for as long as possible (and as long as she was comfortable), but we also knew we wanted to have some time alone after the baby came.
While he packed the bag, I laid on the bed, and when a contraction came I would call out for him. He’s always so helpful and reassuring during those times — I couldn’t labor without him!
At 9:45 I called my midwife briefly to let her know how I was doing. She told me she was on her way and would be there soon. She finally arrived at 10:10, entered our room, and began her preparations. She is so calm and collected that as soon as she entered the room I breathed a sign of relief.
After a few more contractions and some pushing, my water broke. I pushed a couple more times, and then Harriet let out her first cries at 10:26am!
[Asa’s mom had just literally walked into our apartment the moment Harriet was born. A frightened Vienna ran to her for comfort. From the bedroom doorway Vienna had witnessed Harriet being born – or as she says, “the baby climbed out of mom’s body.” I love it 🙂 ]
I placed that purple-ish, slimy, crying baby on my chest and smiled. We were so elated that our baby was with us that we didn’t check to see if we had a boy or a girl until after a few minutes of bonding. We were just too focused on this new baby who made it here safely, praise the Lord!
After a bit of time, Vienna came in to meet her new baby sibling. She didn’t really know what to think at first. But when she came home that evening after spending the day with her grandparents, she was eager to see the baby and give her kisses and hugs. Not much has changed since then — Harriet is always being smothered with hugs and kisses from her big sister who just loves her so much 🙂
[Side note: at the beginning of the story I said that Harriet came three weeks early, but in reality I was 36 weeks + 2 days pregnant. Well, after our midwife took her measurements and looked her over, she stated that she felt her age was 37 weeks rather than 36.]
My labor was roughly 2.5 hours and I pushed for 10 minutes. Throughout the pregnancy I had been saying that I wanted a short labor — well, I guess I got it! While it was painful, I’m so glad it was condensed!
Birthing at home was amazing. Although that day was somewhat of a whirlwind because everything happened so fast and unexpectedly, it could not have been more perfect.
We are so happy to be a family of four. Harriet’s early arrival was truly a blessing and we are grateful to have had this extra time with her.