birth :: brecken thomas

Today is Brecken’s first birthday, and to celebarate, his mama Leigh-Ann is sharing his family-filled birth story here for us. What follows are her words, and then a large selection of images I made as this story was unfolding. Settle in and soak in its goodness.

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The stormy night of August 26th, 2018, I jokingly texted my coworker, “storms always bring babies.” It was a Sunday night and so that meant we had to be prepared to possibly reschedule the Monday appointments. As we prepped ourselves for what our Monday morning looked like, we settled in for the night.

Monday morning, August 27th: I proceeded for the usual bathroom stop before getting ready for the day. As I finished up, there was a fluid that continued to flow. “Seriously?!” I thought, for I wasn’t new to this. This is exactly how my older daughters birth story started. I called Jim, and gave him the update. My usual indirect conversation of “uhhhh….sooo…something is happening, I think.” As I described what happened, he asked if he should come home. As with our first, the contractions didn’t start until at least a day later. There was no reason for him to come home at this point, so I told him to continue to work and I would update him.

Next, I called our midwife, Sara to give her a heads up. I grabbed the amnicator I had from my birth kit and swabbed the fluid. Sure enough-amniotic fluid. I told my co-worker, Rhiannon and we laughed. It was going to bring a baby after all; it just wasn’t supposed to be mine! I didn’t have any contractions, so I decided to still go into work. I had things to do! I told both Sara and Rhiannon that we were NOT going to reschedule the day’s appointments.

When I got to work, we laughed as I told them I wouldn’t be having my baby today or tomorrow because I didn’t want to reschedule anyone’s appointments. We had also scheduled a little get together/baby shower on Tuesday evening with my co-workers and I didn’t want to miss my own party! I told them that baby was allowed to come Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 28th: Came and mostly went. No consistent contractions. (yes, I still went into work.) We enjoyed time together celebrating the babe that was soon to come that evening with food and laughter, but the weather started to get pretty fierce. There was a break in the rain and we decided that if we were going to get to our cars without being stuck in a downpour, it was probably time to go. On the way home in the storm, I remember having at least two contractions. I got home and snuggled into bed, as I knew my body would need as much sleep as I could get before going into labor.

Wednesday, August 29th: I wonder if my sweet girl knew change was in the air. At some point in the night, she ever so gingerly snuck into bed with us. I woke with contractions and knew this pattern well. I crawled out of bed and started in on my comfort techniques and to let Jim sleep as long as possible. Shower. Pacing. Resting. Repeat. Jim heard the shower at a strange hour, 4:30am, possibly, and woke up. Together, we worked through the irregular but consistent and strong contractions. At around 6am, Jim made me call Sara. I knew it wasn’t time, but being our first home birth, I think it made him nervous. Sara and Charis arrived and I was getting impatient. Contractions weren’t where they needed to be and I wanted to amp them up. I felt like I was wasting their time. I anxiously opened the slider door as I desperately wanted to go for a walk outside, but it was still raining. More laps around the kitchen, it was! Finally, it stopped raining and I quickly slipped on my shoes. The smell of fresh rain was welcomed as we started our walk. The pace was slow and the mood was light as Jim walked along side me. Sara’s only advice before we left; “try to walk through the contractions.” Productive? Absolutely. Confortable? Absolutely not. It was somewhere around 7am as children were walking to their bus stops. I wonder what they thought! Ha!

The walk definitely increased the intensity of the contractions, but still wasn’t quite there. Sara recommended doing the Myle’s circuit. Now, if you don’t know what this is, maybe that’s a good thing, but if you know, YOU KNOW! And this is where things really picked up. It was now around 8am. I remember getting into the shower and working through some contractions in there. As I got out, I noticed Brooke had arrived! I was really excited because I knew that meant we would soon be meeting our baby! I believe this is where our daughter woke up. My sweet girl was such an amazing presence during the labor and birth. She was mostly a silent observer, but every once in awhile would ask Sara a question about the process. I will never forget while I was laboring and in the pushy stage in our tub, when my sweet girl’s soft voice asked, “momma, is the baby coming soon?” “Soon, baby, very soon.” I replied.

I decided to get out of the bath and move to our bedroom. I stood over our bed with my amazing team close by. My husband providing support, my friends and student midwives providing comforting hands and the ever-calming voice of my midwife. I remember saying at one point that I didn’t feel like my contractions were strong enough. I also remember Sara saying “press past that owie stage.” So I must have been holding back just a bit. I also remember Jim saying, “you’re so close!” or “almost there!” Maybe both. And finally, a head emerged. Another moment I’ll never forget and I hope that our daughter will always cherish, is that she was the first to touch her baby sibling. How special and amazing is that?! She watched intently as with the next few surges, I gave birth to our second child. If you haven’t guessed by now, we were team green! Sara passed the baby up to me and while she was doing that (and it seemed like MINUTES went by) I exclaimed, “What is it?!” I heard my husband announce, “It’s a boy!” My son. I had a little boy! After my brother’s three girls and my own girl, there was finally a little boy to add to the family. We couldn’t have been more excited!

The immediate post-partum period was much different this time around. I DO NOT recall any afterbirth cramping with my daughter, and this time around it was a monster. It was hard for me to focus on my sweet little newborn, as the contractions were so intense! It took a bit, but I got used to the cramping and was able to take some pain medication, which seemed to take a slight edge off. Finally, I could appreciate the beauty of what had just happened. A thoughtful gift from Rhiannon was a cake for the celebration! We decided to sing “Happy Birthday” to our new baby complete with a “0” candle. Such a fun idea! I LOVED it! Of course, big sister got to blow out the candle. The most beautiful sight; A brand new sweet baby, his loving big sister, his adoring daddy and I all cuddled up in our bed. Another beautiful birth surrounded by love, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Midwifery : Simply Born