The Birth of Charlotte.
As told by her badass mama.
December 6, 2022: 12:45am the contractions in my lower back woke me from my sleep. I knew what they were since this was my second time in labor. I called my mom and asked her to come over. I then texted my midwife Morgan to let her know things had started and called my birth photographer Alannah so she knew to be on standby. Lastly, I called my Dad to give him the heads up. I waited to give my husband the news until he got home from work around 1:15am. My mom arrived shortly after and I moved to the couch with her to let my husband get to bed. I labored on the couch with my mom by my side until it was time for my older daughter to wake, around 7:30am. My husband woke with her and they started their morning. I gave my hugs and kisses and moved to the downstairs area where I planned to give birth. I needed space to focus. The contractions were distracting and my older daughter didn't quite understand why I was a bit distant and in pain. My husband went back and forth between me and her while my mother stayed with her, trying to give my husband the ability to tend to me. My midwife Morgan arrived around 1pm to check on me. I opted for an internal exam and we discovered I was 6cm dilated. She remarked that she could feel the baby's head bulging against the bag of waters and that once my water broke, she believed things would move very quickly. We called my doula Alicia and my birth photographer Alannah. By 3pm, everyone was there, waiting. My contractions were strong at this point but kept stalling everytime I laid down. I was getting tired and realized I needed to find a way to keep the contractions going. I tried to refrain from laying down and asked my husband to massage my back through each contraction as I stood, hoping this would help them to get stronger and closer together.
Things were still progressing slow. So I decided to give the birthing stool a try. On the birthing stool, I felt very uncomfortable. I would get really hot. And dizzy. And weak. And I would end up back on the bed or kneeling on the floor. My midwife tried to explain that I was feeling uncomfortable because it was my body's way of telling me it was preparing and moving towards the next stage of labor. Finally, she said, "Angelika, stop pulling away from it. Push into it." And my answer was, "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!!" She was right. I had to go through all of this discomfort to get my body where it needed to be to birth my baby. I couldn't stay in this limbo of labor any longer. It was already past 5:30pm. So I stayed on that birthing stool. And I rode the contractions as they came. Man they were strong! And tough! But I was stronger.
Then, once again, we knew I needed to get myself to the next level. Morgan said, "push on the next contraction to get your water to break so your baby comes down." Well, I pushed. And boy did that water break with a splash. But then... everything we wanted not to happen, happened. The baby came down fiercely and she "crushed" my sciatica. This happened with my first so we knew it was a possibility with this one. I yelped and screamed out to get me off the birthing stool. That I couldn't push in that position. My birthing team scrambled to get me on the bed. Laying on my back, my husband was behind me while Alicia grabbed one of my legs. Morgan was supporting my other leg and giving me some pressure to push against since I was so distracted by the sciatica pain. At that moment, I relived my worst fear. I was in so much pain and lost all belief in myself. I wasn't going to be able to push through this pain. I barely did last time. And even then my baby had to be transferred to the hospital. I was going to go through it all again. But Morgan quickly saw the dark hole I was falling into and somehow ripped me out. We exchanged some words and before I knew it, I was pushing my baby out. I searched deep and found the strength I knew I had but struggled to conjure. I pushed. And I cried. And I begged for help. And then at 6:09pm.... I heard it. I heard my baby screaming at the top of her lungs. The sound was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard in my life. Morgan placed her right on my chest and I just wrapped my arms around her and cried as I listened to her yelling at the world. I could tell my husband was relieved to hear her screaming too. Charlotte labored well and came out letting everyone know she felt just as accomplished as her momma. Alicia covered her up with a towel, making sure she was nice and warm.
Shortly after, my husband went upstairs to watch my daughter so that my mom could come downstairs to meet her newest grandbaby. We looked at each other and exchanged moments of pride between our hearts. I said, "I did it." And she said, "I know baby." Then, came the moment for my older daughter to meet her new sister. As my husband walked in with her in his arms, she seemed a bit perplexed by a baby in my arms. But I told her that this was her baby sister, the one who's been in mommy's belly, and her confused face turned to pure joy in an instant. She was immediately smitten by this new addition to our family and I will never forget those moments. Us three, on the bed where baby Charlotte was born. Just spending time with each other and taking it all in. Our family had changed. It was in the air all around us, filled with happiness. Charlotte's homebirth was nothing short of spectacular. She was born into so much love, not only from her family but from her birthing team, photographer included. ❤