i am so excited to begin sharing the stories of my clients with you! and i am so thankful for Kaylen and Khalil’s story to be the first of many! I had the pleasure of working with K&K idoing private sessions in their home. it was a beautiful, intimate space with sweeping views of the ocean. Both are surfers and love everything about the ocean and water, and Kaylen had her heart set on birthing in their jacuzzi-like tub at home. it was a really special set of classes with them, and a very great bond we formed over our time together. and thanks for all the desserts, Kay!
We just wanted to peel ourselves away from staring into the beautiful face of our handsome little BOY (I was right!) and give thanks for your willingness to come into our home and help us achieve what we were told was out of our grasp, a beautiful, comfortable, peaceful homebirth. Our little Emile was born on January 30th at 6:54pm, 5 days before his guess date, and he came quickly.
On the morning of the 30th we talked about how we really thought we would have a 2012 baby, nothing was happening with my body and I did not feel any different than every other day. Emile had different plans. The day played out just like any other, but as we enjoyed lunch with both of our families I began to feel a few surges. Nothing major, and nothing that was forming a pattern that I could notice. This went on for a couple hours, and I didn’t tell anyone about it- I felt like this could just be warm-ups since they were not intense and were quite easy to handle. Around 3:30 we got home and my surges were now, as I began secretly timing in the car on my phone, about 7 minutes apart. I told Khalil. He got so excited he forgot to turn off the car as we were getting out. Within the next half hour, as Khalil was timing my surges, they jumped to about 5 minutes apart. They were getting more intense, but again, nothing that I couldn’t handle. The tightness in my belly was a very new sensation, unlike anything I had felt before. We realized we hadn’t called my midwife yet, so Khalil jumped on the phone with her. I called my sister, who was acting as my doula. Our midwife would be over soon- she and her assistant were at a birth, and knowing that made me a little more empowered- I was sharing this experience with another woman I didn’t know at the same time. But I did mention that that woman “better get that baby out quick” and they should come over as soon as they could. My sister came over right away (she lives next door) and laid with me on the couch, stroking my arms while we had Marie Mongan’s voice on repeat over our sound system. She whispered, “We get to meet your baby tonight” and I got chills. Emile was coming that day and I allowed myself, physically emotionally and spiritually, to accept that. Khalil prayed with me, constantly brought me coconut water (and subsequently to the toilet), and carried around his birth companion “cheat sheet” everywhere he went- there was a moment in between my surges when I looked at him and thought “Isn’t he the sweetest husband ever?” He really took his role as my companion seriously and wanted to play it well! Besides Marie’s voice or Khalil’s intermittent prayers, it was silent. I didn’t want to talk, I just wanted to focus. So peaceful. Each time a surge came I just pictured my entire body going limp, like I heard a woman in one of the videos we watch say, even if I was in a strange position (of which there were many!). It was a mental challenge to keep myself in those moments, to focus on staying relaxed and trust that what was happening was indeed normal. In so many ways it just made sense and my body just did it. I remember dropping the pen in the first class and my response was “I decided to let go.” I kept that on my mind throughout my labor. I just decided to let go.
I had no concept of time, or that we had been listening to Marie’s voice for over 2 hours at this point, but my surges were getting more intense and much more close, and soon after my water released. It felt like a release of pressure when the water gushed out, it actually felt really good. I didn’t realize it would make a popping noise, and that definitely gave me a good laugh. The rest I was getting in between my surges was short and it was requiring more work to stay in my zone. I wished for just 5 minutes- a 5 minute break to feel nothing, to not have to think, to not have to feel the intensity swelling in my belly. But surprise surprise, I didn’t get 5 minutes off. My midwife and her assistant came to my home around 5:25pm after Khalil called her again letting her know that I was having my surges every 1-3 minutes at this point and I seemed to be shaking on and off. Khalil told me then that everything was great and I was doing so well, later he told the midwives that he was freaking out when he saw me shaking.
My midwife came in, set her tools down, and took a look at me. She told me later she knew that she would not have to wait long to meet our baby, as apparently she looked at me and despite my relatively relaxed state, she said I just looked ready- not haggard or anything, just ready. At this point it felt like my surges were coming on top of each other, and I had to take full advantage of the breath I could take before the next one began. Literally one good breath then the next surge was on me. I won’t deny the little rest in between was tough to bear. I told her it was okay to give me a vaginal check and boy was she right, I was 9.5cm. This is the only time during my labor that I had a momentary freak-out. This baby was really coming. Quickly. It wasn’t that it was particularly painful (it certainly wasn’t pain-free, but it also wasn’t necessarily painFUL either), but the intensity of the surges, the fact that I couldn’t just take a step away and breathe in the moment for just one second, I just wanted a break. I told Khalil I wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural. He smiled. My midwife smiled and said a few reassuring words. My sister stroked my arms. I was pissed that they weren’t listening to me. Genuinely pissed. I cursed at my husband. For the first time in my life, I cursed at him. I didn’t think anyone knew that I literally couldn’t go any further. I felt emotionally done. And yes, I was still pissed. For a moment. My body started moving my breathe downward for me- baby was one his way and I guess I had to have him here at home since no one was taking my pleas seriously (in retrospect- thank goodness they believed in me when i struggled to believe in myself).
We moved to our bathroom to get in the tub, the water had been so comforting earlier in my labor when I got in the shower that I was looking forward to getting in the tub and resting. When I got into the tub I felt like I wanted to crawl out of my skin. It didn’t feel right. It wasn’t providing relief no matter what position I got into. I told my midwife that there was no way I was birthing in that tub. Strange how much I love water and loved it earlier in my labor, but this was just not happening. I needed fresh air so we went on the balcony outside of our bathroom- it is private, pretty big, and we had comfortable recliners out there. Khalil guided me to a chair and I sunk into it. There was something about being outside that felt right. I knew this baby was coming. Quickly. I was sitting on this recliner outside, about to birth my baby. For a second I felt like an amazon woman or something birthing outside, but I can’t explain it, it just felt right. This was not what I expected or planned, but in that moment there was nothing that felt better.
My midwife and her assistant spoke in HypnoBirthing terms to me, telling me to continue to breathe down with my surges. I could feel my baby moving lower. I felt so incredibly full at that point that I wasn’t sure the baby was even going to fit through me, or I even questioned if the baby would come out the wrong hole- not joking! I tell you, it was just a strange feeeling. My body was telling me that the baby was moving down, and I kind of just felt like I was along for the ride. I breathed with my surges but I couldn’t understand how some of the women we watched in the videos made no noises. I was a noise maker, low primal noises that felt so good. Such a release of energy at this point. Khalil assured me I was fine and gave me a scalp massage (my favorite). My sister took photos but I would rather not share these with the world, as they just seem too sacred. With each surge at this point I felt like I was accomplishing something, and the fourth or fifth surge to happen I put my hand down in between my legs and felt our baby’s head. I got my second wind and I bore down. Probably harder than what the textbook said to do, but I wanted to it this way. I felt my baby’s head and now I wanted to meet my baby. There was definitely a burning sensation, it was definitely not my favorite part of labor, but it also wasn’t as crazy as I thought it might be. My midwife supported my perineal area as I was birthing, as tearing was my biggest fear of birthing despite the weeks of perineal massage. 7 surges later (according to my sister who was counting) and out he came into the hands of my midwife. We didn’t know the sex of our baby yet and she kept the baby snuggled up within itself and put him on my chest. I cried. Khalil cried. My sister cried. Khalil kept saying “No Way!” and I asked my midwife “Is this a joke?” I think I meant to ask if I was dreaming, but for whatever reason those are the only words I could find to say. (Khalil still looks at our baby from time to time as he sleeps and asks me if this is a joke!) We didn’t even think to look right away if we had a little boy or girl, we were so wrapped up in the emotion and the awe of the experience we just had.
I unwrapped the baby’s legs. Boy. Emile.
Our 7lb9oz baby boy Emile, born on January 30 at 6:54pm on the side balcony.
The topping on the cake: celebratory fireworks one night later that seemingly were just for Emile: Welcome to the world, baby boy, it’s a fun bright place to explore. Thank you so much for everything you have done for us, Kelly. We loved getting to know you and always looked forward to having you over. I learned I am stronger and more beautifully created than I ever knew through your teaching, and I felt it throughout my labor.
Thank you SO much Kaylen and Khalil for sharing the strikingly beautiful birth story of little Emile. Your account of his entrance into the world was an absolute joy to read. I am thankful the things we chatted about in class came in handy during your labor, and am thankful for a wonderful supportive team you had! Enjoy this special time with Emile!
If you or anyone you know are interested in learning more about having the most awesome birth possible, please check out my childbirth education page to find local classes, or jump into the online series that is always available from anywhere!