Unique Footprints Birth Stories: Miriam, age 30

Callista’s Birth Story (Home Birth, vaginal delivery)

“I trusted my body so much that I remember just closing my eyes during contractions and feeling my body and baby form together. Birth is like a dance that only a mother and her baby know the steps to.” -Miriam

The last few days, leading up until now, had been very rough. We had just checked into our Airbnb in Texas since our midwife lives here in Texas and we live in Florida. One by one, we all came down with some kind of rsv/croup virus which was a little worrisome expecting a new one.

From the beginning of this pregnancy, we decided to have our third home-birth and to not find out the gender. Although I was 100% sure we were having a little boy because this pregnancy had mimicked my first pregnancy so well.

I woke up early to a seemingly normal Friday morning. As I made my way back from the bathroom, I started having uncomfortable Braxton Hicks. I quickly ignored the pains and poured myself a cup of coffee. As I went to sit down, the pains were present again. “There’s no way I’m in labor,” I thought to myself! I am only 38.2 weeks along, I have not arranged for my birthing pool delivery yet, I just placed my birth kit order online, today is our planned shopping day for our birth supply list and most importantly, tomorrow is my maternity shoot. We are nowhere near ready to have a baby. Not today.

After my cup of coffee, I took my second bathroom break and there it was, the mystical mucus plug. I took a deep breath in followed by an extremely anxious exhale.

Ready or not, here we go.

At 7:40am, I texted my midwife Michele, a graphic picture with a brief description of my very very strong Braxton Hicks. After a quick phone call, she encouraged me to make the call to get a birthing pool delivery ASAP and to draw a very warm bath and soak for 30 minutes. “This will either cause the false contractions to go away OR it will make the real contractions stronger and more consistent, “she stated. I called Melissa for my pool delivery and then slid down into the warm bath and tried to get comfortable. After 30 minutes, the contractions were noticeably stronger and closer, and my coffee was now cold. The realization began to kick in and I knew today was the day. Because my birth supply list was still incomplete (heating pad, mattress cover, labor snacks, coconut water, etc.), I asked my husband, Clifton, to make a target run and to make it fast. He was still very much in denial about the baby coming today, but he did as I requested! Lol! It’s funny how we always think that by making plans our birth day will go exactly as planned. Ha! So far from true but wishful thinking.

With Clifton gone, I got out of the bath and began to mentally prepare. At this point, I could no longer stand and hold our daughter, Meira, during the contractions. At 9:00am, the doorbell rang. It was Melissa and her sweet husband carrying the blue storage tub containing my birthing pool. Since Clifton was gone, they began setting it up for me. So kind. As I showed them where I wanted everything and began catching up with Melissa, my contractions suddenly dissipated. The thought of Clifton (my rock) being gone, Meira wanting to be held, our son Peyton wanting a bowl of yogurt, and trying to remember everything they’re telling me about setting up the pool, my contractions took a silent back seat. I texted my midwife at 9:27am to tell her that “the contractions have slowed and Clifton is out gathering supplies.”

Clifton returned shortly after and within 5-10 minutes of his return, so did the contractions. Yay (sarcasm)! And they returned fierce!

At 10:14am, I texted my midwife, “When they hit, I get on all fours and breath through them.” “Filling the pool now. 1.5 min between that one.”
She replied with, “We’re all on our way.”

Time began to stop or speed up at this point, I wasn’t quite sure. The only thing I was sure of was that these contractions really hurt, the pool needed to hurry up and fill, my midwives were still not here and that my birth photographer just texted me but I couldn’t respond.

At 10:40am, somewhere in the blur of labor, my first student-midwife, Bethany, arrived followed by my second, Leighah. And lastly, my third and amazing midwife, Michele. My brother, Judah, and his wife Emma had also arrived to help babysit. My people were all here to encourage me and now it was time for me and my baby to do our thing.

I trusted my body so much that I remember just closing my eyes during contractions and feeling my body and baby form together. Birth is like a dance that only a mother and her baby know the steps to.

At 12:00pm, my birth photographer arrived just as I was entering the birth pool. Of course, my daughter, who was also a water born baby, had to get in on the action. With the help of Clifton, Meira climbed into the pool and calmly began swimming laps around me. (I absolutely love the way siblings are able to interact at homebirths!)

Birthing Timeline:
12:45pm: I reached down to feel for my baby’s head, and there it was, about 1 – 1.5 inches in, quickly followed by strong back pressure. Michele and Meira began giving me counter pressure to ease the back pain.

12:47pm: The need to push began to arise. My husband lifted Meira out of the water so that I could solely concentrate on pushing through them.

12:48pm: My water broke.

12:49pm: The baby’s heartrate dropped to 50-60bpm. Michele began encouraging me to switch positions in the pool, hoping to ease the pressure on the baby and return its heart rate to normal. She also mentioned that the cord was more than likely around the baby’s neck and slowing his/her air supply.

12:51pm: I was given an oxygen mask in efforts to get a stronger flow of oxygen to the baby. During these moments, I was so incredibly calm and completely in peace. I have to say, there is such an incredible gift that a midwife has about her. “With-woman” is literally what midwife means, and it is so true. They are there with you and you feel as if you have become one with them. There is so much love and knowledge with them that fear has no room to enter in. In the softest voice, Michele said to me, “Deep breath in and out, you are breathing for your baby. Next contraction, I need you to give me a very strong push because baby needs to come out.” I felt the contraction building up in my core, and just as it peaked, I did as I was told and gave the strongest push my body would allow. The pain was intense, but I was accepting and all in.

1:00pm: Oh, the feeling of the enchanted ring of fire as my baby was now crowning! “We’re so close,” repeated over and over in my head. I could feel my baby moving quite strongly as I breathed deeply and waited patiently for another contraction to build up. Baby’s heartrate was perfect, and with each contraction, I pushed ever so gently into the water to allow my body to naturally stretch and to breath my baby out.

1:04pm: The head is out and visible under the clear water. The cord is also present and around the baby’s neck, as we had all suspected. My midwife student removed my oxygen mask and said, “it’s one last push to meet your baby!”

1:05pm: The relief after that final push is exuberating! Our baby is born!

The feelings of accomplishment, power and strength came over me. Literally, the best feelings in the world! We twirled our baby underwater and up into my arms. Tears of joy immediately filled my eyes as I was holding my baby for the first time. We did it, baby! And now for the surprise gender reveal.

It is a tiny healthy baby girl!

We soaked and bonded together in that pool until it was time to get out. Clifton calmly put Callista to his chest as my midwives gently escorted me out of the pool and into bed. Callista was immediately back on my chest where she was familiar, warm and comfortable.

The umbilical cord was cut and clamped 45 minutes after birth by Peyton, Callista’s 4yr old brother. He was so proud of himself! Clifton preformed the newborn physical alongside student midwife Leighah, two hours after the birth.

Physical Results:
Weight: 7lbs1oz
Length: 20.25in
Head Circumference: 13.25in
Chest Circumference: 13in
Perfectly healthy!

There are no words to express the emotion and feelings that stream through your body during those first seconds after delivery. The pictures taken during those first moments gave the closest glimpse into what I was feeling. Even now, I can’t look at them without feeling that stream of emotion all over again.

Birth is so special and sacred. It is something that is meant to be encouraged and embraced verses discouraged and feared.


Miriam’s Midwife:
Michelle Massey from Gentle Beginnings Birth Center

The Unique Footprints & Miriam’s Photographer:
Brittany Fenoglio from B Faith Photography

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