Erika's Birth of Griffinn
Baby Griffinn, your mama is a complete rockstar! I'm always so impressed by all my birth clients. It really doesn't matter how someone's baby is born, but I just light up seeing a mother following her heart and being listened to in birth.
Erika was just brilliant at having her voice heard and truly following her heart.
So I kind of have a sixth sense with "feeling" when my mamas are going to have their babies. It's not always spot on, but I can get a general feeling about them when the time is close. With Erika, however, it was uncanny how I could sense baby Griffinn's arrival.
The day Griffinn came, I woke up at 5AM for no reason at all. Around 6AM, Erika had texted me that contractions were pretty consistent but spread out. Holli, who shoots births for me, was coming along to this birth because she wanted to study how I manage home births. Since Erika had given her permission early in the pregnancy, I went ahead and forwarded Erika's texts to Holli. I also told her something like, "Would you think I'm crazy if we try and head over and be there for 11?" At the time, the plan was for the midwife to come at 11 and try and get labor going since Erika was almost 42 weeks. My fear was that during a membrane sweep, Erika's water would rupture and I'd miss it. Erika had been walking around at about 5 centimeters for the better half of a week, and I knew that it wouldn't take much until a baby was here.
Holli agreed to drive over early (they live in Chalmette... an hour away from us), and we headed that way. Now, I've been to dozens of births at this point. I know enough about mamas to know that if they feel stressed, labor can stop. I did not want to make Erika feel like she was pressured or watched, so we quietly wasted time around Chalmette. I had gotten an update around 9AM, I think, but by the time 12:30 came around, I decided to check on her. Erika told me not much had changed, but I told her I'd like to come over soon, if she didn't mind. I have NEVER done that before, and I doubt I'll do it again, but I just felt it was a wise decision.
We arrived at her house shortly after 1PM. Erika and her husband Wade met Holli, and I did my usual thing of taking photos and videos of their home and and early labor. The contractions were now like 7 min apart. Erika got in the tub, and then I gave her space. I left her alone for about 30 min, but decided maybe I'll tell her we will leave for a bit to give her space. When I got back to her bathroom, that when things got exciting.
Erika was on the toilet at that point. I could tell things were much, much different than just a short while before. She doesn't make much sound when she labors, but her sounds were deeper and more "primal", if that makes sense. I left to grab my camera, and took some photos. While this happened, she asked her husband to cut her underwear off and then Holli walked in. Holli has doula training so she was able to talk to Erika for a minute. Things were happening fast, so I told Wade if the midwife had not been called, she really should be now. She needs to come quickly.
The midwife was on her way. The doula was on her way. It was just Erika, Wade, Holli and myself. Things got intense quickly. Erika's water broke. We asked if she could get on the floor. We we were hoping that her going against gravity would give a few extra minutes before the baby would come. It seemed to work, because though Erika's midwife Ashley was still on her way, Effie (another midwife) made it.
Effie was able to get a quick heart tone check, and told Erika to push. Griffinn was here in about 3 minutes. Ashley listened over the phone, and the doula walked in a few minutes after the birth.
I'm sure Ashley was so sad to miss it, but she was so great talking Erika through everything over the phone. Ashley had not come for the 11 AM appointment because Erika had started labor, and was waiting for the call. I don't think she was expecting a call like this one, though! She did such an amazing job with Erika's postpartum care. She was truly amazing and supportive.
Midwives are a huge reason I love home births so much. The atmosphere of a home birth is truly magical.
Once everything settled, Erika and Wade called to get their other two sons to meet their new brother. The boys were so excited. One even cut the baby's cord! It was a special, sweet postpartum time. One of the best for sure.
All this to say, I have never been so grateful to see a midwife walk through the door. In the thick of it, I'm also relieved that Holli was there too. It allowed me to unlock the door for the midwife and I could have been ready to call 911 if necessary.
Congratulations, Erika and Wade. Griffinn is GORGEOUS!