The Birth of Luca David Collins
I’m so excited to share the story of my sweet Luca’s birth with y’all! Throughout my pregnancy I made a point to let go of any expectations of what my birth would be like. I’m a “planner”, so not not being too specific on how I envisioned things playing out was my way of letting go and trusting God’s plan for Luca’s entrance into the world and my birth as a mother. My doula Eb’Bonae Piggee had me create a prayer of petition in which I asked for a smooth home birth, that my baby be born peacefully into our arms, and that we were surrounded by a team who loved and cared about us. To say my birthing experience was an answered prayer is an understatement. It was such a transformative, spiritual experience.
I started having intense Braxton Hicks contractions early Wednesday, September 18th lasting every 5 minutes. I updated my midwife Teri Mitchell and I asked my husband Jonathan to stay home with me for the day. After timing, resting, walking, etc nothing happened despite 12 hours of that consistent pattern. I was so annoyed! On Thursday, Jonathan decided to go to work like normal and I tried really hard to follow my midwife’s advice to carry on with my day like normal to avoid becoming mentally exhausted waiting for a sign I was in labor. That evening I decided to get adjusted by my sweet friend Dr. Lindsay Robinson before heading out on a date night to get my favorite Thai food and reflexology massage. (I heard they can make your labor start but if nothing else I’d feel nice and relaxed after!) That night I had half a glass of wine, did my Spinning Babies exercises, and went to sleep.
Early Friday morning around 3am my contractions finally picked up, getting too intense to sleep through anymore. I immediately woke my husband up to tell him I needed him home again, this was it! We got up and I asked him to wash the dishes (I couldn’t bare the thought of my baby and birth team coming in with my house dirty! Bless his heart he actually washed them!) Although I knew things were different I wasn’t completely sure this was active labor so I put some bananas in the oven on low to brown to bake fresh banana nut muffins for my birth team. If this was another “false alarm”I wanted to stay busy and pass the time. Around 5am I got back in bed to try resting again. I slept restlessly, tossing, turning and moaning through contractions until about 7am. Finally I got up and figured a shower might soothe me and if nothing else I could get washed up while I had the chance. In the shower I tried different positions, had my husband get in to put pressure on my hips, and let the water stream down my back with absolutely no relief. Around 7:30 I decided it was time to go ahead and call my midwife Teri, it seemed things were really picking up and I needed guidance. She answered the phone and I started having another hard contraction right away. I cussed and moaned for almost 3 full minutes after which she assured me it did sound like this was the real thing and instructed me to get in the bed in what’s called “open knee chest” with my butt in the air to help baby get out of my pelvis and into a better position. (Typically contractions peak and wane like waves, but based on my contraction pattern of having multiple peaks back to back she could tell he wasn’t in a great position. Aren’t midwives so amazing!?) After talking to Teri I called my doula Eb’Bonae to join us before getting back into bed. I felt like things would just get more intense and we needed some extra support soon.
Around 9:30 Eb’Bonae made it to us and took over keeping the rest of the team updated on my progress. As soon as she entered our bedroom I felt such a sense of relief! Her presence is so peaceful and once she arrived I knew everything would be OK. After assessing the situation and getting settled in Ebon’Nae had me get up and start doing some lunges to keep working on Luca’s position. Contractions where more manageable compared to earlier, but I could feel that his head was still tilted towards the right. We set up in my bathroom where I lunged through about 10 contractions with one foot up on the toilet while my husband and Eb’Bonae alternated holding my hand and supporting me. After I finished those I felt like I had gotten my second wind! Contractions were way more tolerable and I felt a renewed sense of hope that I had the strength to keep going! [Side note: this is why staying mobile and getting adjusted are so important for labor. Imagine if I hadn’t been able/known to move through those to correct his position! Also, he tended to go crooked sometimes during my pregnancy and Webster adjustments would balance my uterine ligaments and allow him to straighten up. What if I hadn’t been adjusted and I started my whole labor with is head lodged to one side?]
Next, we went out to the patio for me to keep laboring. I love being outdoors and it was perfect patio weather, still cool and breezy. I walked a little but mostly bounced on the birth ball clinging to my husband and burying my face in his tummy every time things got intense. He stayed there by my side through every one and was thoughtful enough to keep a bowl of snacks close by and make sure I was staying hydrated through all of it. My doula suggested talking a long walk next but after about 30 minutes outside I decided I wanted to try for a nap instead so we went back inside at about 10:30am. She updated the team that things were progressing but I seemed to be in the early stages of active labor. I heard her say something about us having a baby by the evening and thought to myself “I am NOT doing this sh*t all day! This baby is coming out!”
We got inside and Eb’Bonae positioned me in bed with my top knee hiked to my belly to keep my hips open. I did NOT like it because I felt my contractions even more laying there but I thought to myself, “If this is what it takes to get him here, we’re doing it!” Despite the intensity, I was still feeling pretty relaxed as Eb’Bonae massaged my top leg through contractions. At this point she said she would leave to let me rest and come back soon to which I responded with a very firm “NO!” On that next contraction my bag of water completely burst soaking the diaper I was wearing and the sheets. This is when things got REAL. I said “Oh f**k! My water broke!” Everyone was asking if I was sure and we were even going to test the Ph per my midwife’s instructions to make sure it was my water bag and not pee to which I responded “Guys, my diaper is SOAKED!” A few moments later I had another contraction that jolted my entire body. I felt this uncontrollable pressure in my bottom and exclaimed “I need the water! He’s coming out!”
My midwife was still en route so Ebon’Nae went ahead and called to update her that within the last 30 minutes things had escalated from me resting and trying to relax in bed to me having the urge to push. She turned the shower on for me as my husband scrambled to fill the birth pool. He quickly realized the pool would take too long and joined us in the bathroom. I had gotten in and was kneeling on the shower floor holding my bottom. I was feeling so much pressure, Luca was well on his way! This phase is the only time in my labor I struggled to keep control. I had the urge to grunt and howl but my doula kept reminding me to “blow my birthday candles out” to regain control of my breath and body. Meanwhile, my midwife and the rest of the team was listening and watching everything on Facetime as they hurried to get to me. So many thoughts were racing as I realized my baby could come out at any moment! I hadn’t ever had a cervical check so I was thinking “what if I’m not dilated to 10? What if I tear my cervix? I’m not supposed to be doing this without my midwife?!” After a few contractions in the shower Teri instructed Eb’Bonae to grab the waterproof flashlight in my birth kit to see how much of Luca’s head was actually out. I could feel that he was crowning but I finally looked too (my eyes had been closed). We all saw a full head of hair coming down as the flashlight shone on me. Shortly after over FaceTime Teri said to me, “Your baby’s head has been out for a little while, I need you to give me a big push and push your baby out now!” I positioned myself into a squat In preparation for the next contraction. Jonathan was by my side reaching out and ready to catch. I motioned his hands away and said “It’s me and him now! We’re doing this” My doula asked “Who? You and Jonathan?” I said “No, me and my baby!” On the next contraction I pushed my baby’s head out with all my strength. I caught his head and Jonathan who was right next to me in the threshold of the shower caught his bottom. I rose up and lifted my sweet boy to my chest, I was in so much shock I actually did it and just started weeping at the sight of him, he was just perfect. At 12:10pm on 9/20/2019 Luca David was born at home into our arms just as we had prayed for!