Morning sun danced on my bedroom wall, peeking through curtains swaying gently with the fall breeze from the open window. My eyes slowly opened as my hands, out of habit, moved toward my belly to greet my baby. As if in response, I felt my first, ever so gentle, contraction. A smile took over my face. It was happening.
I was 41 weeks and six days pregnant with my second child, who would be born at home just as my first was. Despite being “overdue,” I had handled the concerned inquiries from family and friends, and quelled quite well their anxieties over when my baby would be born. I couldn’t let that frantic energy become my own when I had such a big task before me. Besides, I knew my baby was safe and healthy and I didn’t have to deal with the pressure of a provider not “letting” me go past a certain date.
Having done my research about natural induction methods, I made the informed decision to have my membranes swept on what would be the night before my baby was born. I felt confident in this choice and was reassured as Hayley, one of my midwives, gently performed the procedure. She talked me through it while I laid comfortably on one of the beds in their office, which felt more like a second home than anything else at that point. I followed it up with some acupuncture, which had been a routine practice in my third trimester, and then got home to settle into bed for an early night.
That first, early morning contraction was followed by others that became more frequent as the day went on. I floated around the house with my two-year-old, not concerned with doing much of anything but soaking up the day with her. Around four in the afternoon my contractions were becoming strong enough to demand my attention. I decided then that this birth would require me to turn inward more than I had anticipated, so my mother- and father-in-law arrived to take my daughter back to their house for the night. I watched her walk away, an only child for the last time.
My husband, Jordan, got me a fully-loaded double cheeseburger for dinner, satisfying my body’s craving for fuel. After that, I laid in bed to attempt a nap. The sun was nearly down when my sister Kelsey arrived. She wasted no time in taking out the essential oils and giving me a massage. She paused for contractions, and eventually they became strong enough that I needed to get up and walk around. I moved around the house as she and Jordan filled the birth tub in our living room. The tub was too hot, so around nine o’clock I opted to throw on my jean jacket and walk outside, with Kelsey and Jordan on either side of me.
The sky was clear and as I walked down the street, pausing every few minutes for a contraction, I looked up at the stars and took deep breaths. My heart was full of gratitude and my body felt strong as I thought of all the other women working to bring babies earthside at this very same moment, looking up at the same moon and stars. A contraction willed my baby down and with my next deep breath, I took in all the collective energy of mothers everywhere. I was ready for the next phase of the journey.