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  • Writer's pictureCourtney Leigh

The homebirth of Tommy Layne

It feels silly to start this story off without mentioning the utter bliss of this parental period for me. Contrary to my first pregnancy, I didn’t suffer through self serving providers or navigating the medical system. I researched, a lot, to find someone to accompany me on this journey who aligned with me completely and was prepared to do it alone if I couldn’t.

I also took off work around 37 weeks to lean into a slowness I was desperately craving. I wanted to savor the last weeks as a family of 3 and only pour into our home. Creating that bubble around myself was truly amazing and something I will do, God willing with all of my future pregnancies.

40+1, the longest I had ever been pregnant. 10/6 I woke up to waves yet again and assumed they’d fizzle out. To my surprise I lost some blood-tinged mucus plug after a quick trip to the restroom that morning. Things had felt imminent for weeks, between how low Tommy was and my prodromal labour- but this day just felt different!

I told Jordan that I knew in my heart today was the day and that he should stay home from work. After weeks of my body softening + opening and doing so much prep work, I knew my labor would turn a corner fast. I had waves on and off all day, nothing rhythmic until around 5:30pm, they started to create a pattern and build in intensity.

He really was such an amazing support, he has set up my pool and had it in a safe place weeks before, he knew exactly when to support me and how, he filled up my pool right on time and was everything I could have asked for. I didn’t want anyone there for my birth, not a doula, not a photographer, I wanted it to be dark and quite, a moment just for us.

We laid Stevie to bed around 8:00pm, I was emotional because I knew our time as a family of three was coming to an end. While Jordan snuggled Stevie I made way to my birth space, plugged in my warm twinkle lights and listened to worship. I was finding comfort in leaning over the bosu ball covered in a warm blanket and holding a wooden comb tightly in one hand. Jordan came in shortly after and massaged my sacrum, which felt amazing.

9:30pm rolled around and Jordan suggested maybe we should give my midwife a heads up. Immediately following the call- the intensity built and I suggested the midwives be on there way.

Jordan began to fill my birth pool up and I continued to labor on the bosu ball. My midwives arrived around 10pm, my birth tub was full and I was interested in being checked. I had attempted to check my own cervix- but my arms weren’t quite long enough! I was 7 cm dilated, I knew baby was near. Bearing in mind that cervical dilation isn’t a magic 8 ball.

This labor was different and as I struggle to find any fancy words I think that’s exactly why- it was so simple and strait forward. There was no providers to escape, policies to advocate against, no one messing with my hormonal cocktail, no car to get in.. just allowing my body to do what it was designed to, completely undisturbed and in its full power.

My midwife team literally sat on their hands the entire time, there was no continuous interruptions, checks or prods. When I asked once to be checked, she obliged. She would simply congratulate me as I roared with each one of the passing waves and quietly sink back into her space.

I’m unaware of the time, but remember wanting to get out of the pool and use

restroom. I did so and labored on the toilet for several waves, clinging to Jordan for his strength and comfort. It was like the second I looked at the toilet an intense wave would arise. Jordan suggested I lay down on the bed, it was the most uncomfortable thing ever, I wanted to be upright. Which now looking back, I was totally in transition and this is why nothing seemed to be giving me the comfort I needed but why the toilet was working so well.

Jordan jokes that he didn’t think I would have Tommy until morning, because I was still talking and cracking jokes during transition. I fought the urge to go back to the comfort of the pool and allowed gravity to continue to work. The toilet isn’t called dilation station for no reason!

Something I prayed for throughout my pregnancy was to fully surrender to this labor and birth, I was open to feeling everything. I wanted to be present and in control. My first birth was a complete out of body experience, completely unmedicated, which was amazing, but I was constantly disturbed and touched which I think led me to floating off to labor land in such an extreme sense.

Several waves had passed that ended with a grunty feeling- it was time to get back in the pool. I knew FER was coming, the Fetal Ejection Reflex is your bodies way of involuntarily roaring out your baby. I kept thanking God, my body and my baby as I felt her getting lower and lower, this was such an intense but amazing feeling.

As I got in the pool, I checked myself to feel for my baby, I could feel her head! Jordan was pouring water on my back, making jokes and has his handy fishnet in hand, birth isn’t designed to be glamorous- but that doesn’t make it any less beautiful.

My body completely took over with each coming wave. I was so grateful to have the breaks I had in between and to have enough peace, serenity and control to enjoy them. Each wave was accompanied by a loud, deep guttural response and my body bearing down involuntarily.

I rode out a few waves with my back to the pool and decided to move to my hands and knees. My midwife told jordan to feel his baby, I yelled at him not to touch me, I wanted to be the first one to touch my baby this time, because that was robber from me with Stevie. We totally laughed about this later.

I felt Tommy descending, I placed my hand down to feel my baby crowning, I felt my waters burst! The feeling of her crowning was wildly intense, but easily the pinnacle of the entire birth. I was being mindful to gently guide her head out with each wave. A couple more waves and her head was out then followed her body. There was no ring of fire, no gloved hands tugging or pulling- simply my body’s brute strength and Tommy’s divine intelligence to help along the way.

I will never forget watching and feeling her emerge, over the softness of the twinkle lights, her eyes open under water, completely untouched, peaceful and alert. I felt Gods presence, washed all over me, it was like God opened up the gates of heaven and handed her to me in that moment. Time truly held still as I watched her briefly under water.

I gently unwrapped her cord from around her neck and brought her up to my chest. I instinctively sucked some left over fluid from her mouth and snuggled her in tightly. I looked over to Jordan and told him, this is exactly how it was meant to be. I’ll never forget the look on his face. I was in complete awe, I looked over at my midwife team, who were both sitting criss cross across from the pool, with smiles on their faces and I thanked them for holding space for me to birth on my own terms.

After months of holding space for me to verbally heal from aspects of Stevie’s birth, they were so attune to the support I needed in this very moment.

My midwife listened to Tommy’s heart and we allowed her to continue to clear some fluid on her own. Tommy was still attached to her placenta, pulsating strongly, providing her every last bit of oxygen rich blood her body deserved. I birthed my placenta shortly after, still attached her to beautiful bare body covered in vernix. I thanked God for helping my body create such a strong organ to help sustain my babies life inside my womb. My placenta was huge, It was a whopping 1.3 lbs!

I was ready to move from the birth pool to the bed and soak in all the fresh skin to skin I could get. My midwives handed Tommy to Jordan and carried her placenta alongside her while I followed behind. We nestled into bed as a family and Tommy latched eagerly.

After an hour or so my midwife and her assistant asked if they could asses her, take her weight and length, etc. I was eager to empty my bladder and handed her over just across the bed. Jordan had the honor of cutting her cord. To my surprise she was .2 oz smaller than her sister and 1.5 inches longer! I loved watching my baby be handled with such tender care and love.

Shortly after I put on some comfy pajamas, my midwives cleaned up our home and we settled in for the night. Jordan and I both fell asleep in awe, reliving the experience we had both just witnessed. The sheer beauty of watching a baby emerge exactly where it was created. We were officially a family of four and it unfolded as gently as we could have ever dreamed.

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