I met Shanae at a Speed Date A Doula even a few months back. She was unsure if her husband, currently stationed in Poland, would be home during the time baby would be born, and was seeking some extra support.
Shanae orginally had planned to deliver with a midwife only group at a local hospital. After seeing them for a bit, she started seeking an alternative, that was a better fit for her family and their beliefs.
She eventually decided on having a homebirth with Sera of Primal Roots Midwifery. I have worked with Sera before, and she is certainly a favorite of mine. (Don't tell anyone I have favorites!) I knew that she would be a perfect fit for Shanae and her family. If you're considering a homebirth, check out Sera at www.primalrootsmidwifery.com
Through out the day, Shanae had kept me in the loop, that she was feeling a bit off. At 4:16pm she texted me that her water had broken. I was so excited for her. Her husband was on leave and was going to be home for the birth of their third child! I packed up my things and arrived to her home at 4:45pm.
When I arrived, Shanae appeared to be comfortable and her contractions weren't quite in a pattern yet. As labor often does, things changed quickly. At 5:36pm, her contractions were coming 4 minutes apart and Shanae was making lots of audible noises. I suggested that Shanae reach out to Sera and let her know it was time to come. Shanae said she wasn't sure and didn't want to bother anyone if it wasn't time.
I decided to reach out to Sera at 5:45pm and let her know that she should start heading this way. She was about a hour drive or so from Shanae. This was definitely a fast moving, active labor, based on my experience.
Shanae was doing well handling things mostly on her own. She had gained this strength and confidence and had turned inward. I was in awe watching her navigate each surge. Her other children were now upstairs with their grandmother and I began to prep for the birth. (This included filling up a birthing pool, that then began to leak air, and had to immediatley be drained. It was not ideal, but Shanae stayed focused.)
Shanae looked at me and said, "Why did I decide to do this? I had epidurals the other times, because I'm a baby." At that point, I knew we were in transition. I reassured her that she was doing amazingly well, that this was the most intense part and she was anything but weak.
I realized things were racing along, and Sera hadn't arrived yet. I laid Shanae down on her side and began to talk her slowly through breathing and contractions. She would rest in between and then get up on all fours, to help manage the pain. I asked Shanae if she had pressure in her bottom, to which she replied, "Yes. Tons."
Just as I started to feel a bit anxious, Sera arrived. It was 6:38pm and I looked at her in only a way that another birth worker would understand. We were close to the end, and she needed to get things situated fast.
About 15 minutes later, Shanae stood up and began to involuntarily push. Sera positioned herself on the floor and checked for baby, by sight only. Shanae's husband supported her in the squatting position. After the first few pushes, Shanae climbed into her bed on all fours. Within minutes, we would see the head emerge of her beautiful little one.
Shanae took a nice big sigh of relief and Sera and I looked at eachother wide eyed. This was not a small baby and we both knew it by the size of the head alone. The baby slowly emerged, passing one shoulder first, taking a little break and then coming fully earthside at 7:12pm.
Shanae seemed a bit stunned, and so was her little boy. Things had certainly moved quite quickly, but within about 30 seconds or so, he took a nice big gasp and began to cry. Sera placed him onto her chest.
Shanae's husband Adam climbed into bed with them and placed his head upon hers, and said "Wow". These moments always make me well up a little bit. The strength of a woman giving life to another, is palpable in these situations, even for a military man.
I went to get Shanae's other children. At one point they were banging on the door and I knew they were concerned about their Mommy and excited to meet their new sibling.
More than a hour would pass before Sera would do her newborn exam. It was at that point that we found out Sebastian weighed in at a whopping 10lbs 3oz. He would weigh nearly 2 pounds more thank his siblings, and came into this world med free, all by the determination and strength of his amazingly tough mama.
Shanae, thank you so much for letting me be a part of this wonderful and empowering experience.