Quick and Intense Freebirth in Water (with a Cervical Lip!)

My first birth was very traumatic

As a result of a car accident, my first baby was born extremely prematurely and I wasn’t sure I was in labor. I’d

Nursing, breastfeeding, newborn, homebirth, waterbirth, freebirth
First nursing session

been having painful contractions for a few days and a bloody show the day before. Now it was just a waiting game for my redeeming freebirth. And the prodromal labor for the better part of my third trimester left me a little suspicious of getting my hopes up. I had done rebozo belly sifting, the miles circuit, and spent the better part of the day bouncing and stretching on the birth ball. I was four days shy of 40 weeks.

I had been eating like a pig

For the last few days and I decided to have my 5th or 6th meal that day. Shortly after 7 pm, as soon as I was done eating, painful contractions started every 6 minutes or so. I felt something different about them, they were stronger and more intense, but I remained suspicious. I drew a warm bath and they began to pick up intensity. At 8 pm I told my partner to fill the pool and I called my doula and my photographer.

I switched from tub to pool and it was heaven.

Freebirth, waterbirth

It was warm and I was able to stretch out; my tension vanished. My birth space proved a very soothing environment. I was glad I had spent so much time and effort into putting it together. I got out a couple of times to try bouncing on the birth ball but the water was most soothing so I returned quickly. Then I decided to call my mom.

My photographer arrived first, around 9 pm.

Doula, homebirth, waterbirth, freebirth
With my doula

My photographer and I worked out a deal; she would bring her very mature 12 yo daughter and photograph for free. I would only pay for prints. Her daughter was quiet and helpful. It worked out well for us. Surges picked up with just enough rest in between. I knew it wouldn’t be long. My mom arrived next. She looked after my toddler and she was so proud. And she brought dinner!

I was definitely in transition within about two hours.

Yoga sling, homebirth, waterbirth, freebirth
Pulling up on the yoga sling

Surges were relentless and I did not feel rested in between them like I had before. The most comfortable position for me during transition was pulling up on something. I was glad I had hung my yoga sling above the pool. My doula arrived around 10 pm. She had a two hour drive. I could barely speak at this point and my body began to push involuntarily. I was most comfortable on my hands and knees or leaning to one side. A few surges into pushing and I began feeling the “ring of fire”.

Pushing eventually began to feel less productive.

Cervical lip, homebirth, waterbirth, freebirth
Pushing my cervical lip out of the way!

It felt like something was stopping her head from coming out. Something needed to be pushed out of the way. I reached down and felt my cervix, and a big, squishy lip at the top. I had read about cervical lips, but I hadn’t realized how common they were. I felt unprepared for this so I allowed intuition to take over, and with each surge I used my fingers to push the lip out of the way. This took much longer than I expected, at least 20 minutes, but eventually I felt the cervical lip move. It almost seemed to relax out of the way and my baby began crowning. My waters broke and they were clear. I reached down and felt my baby’s hair. It began a rush of excitement and I knew I would soon be holding my baby.

Baby’s head was crowning

Freebirth, waterbirth, homebirth
Placenta, short cord, homebirth, waterbirth, freebirth

I felt most comfortable semi squatting. It was such a relief when I felt her head fully emerge. One more big push and I felt a small pop as her shoulders came out. At 10:41, she slid right out under the water and into daddy’s arms. He placed her on my chest, covered in vernix. She was screaming and pink instantly. I am still in awe. It was magical. A few minutes later I felt one more small contraction and pushed out the placenta. It dangled by some membranes for a few minutes but as soon as I stood up out of the water, gravity let it out completely. My cord was really short – just long enough for me to hold baby with placenta still in – so I kept it in the bowl close by while nursing.

Baby’s cord had an umbilical cord pseudocyst

Wharton’s jelly cyst
Wharton’s jelly cyst

An aggregation of wharton’s jelly that is sometimes seen alongside other conditions, but is considered benign on its own. The cyst was right about where one would normally tie or clamp off the umbilical cord, so we left her cord a little longer rather than shorter.

My 2.5 yo was present

Siblings, homebirth, waterbirth, freebirth
Big sister playing

And did exceptionally well until I started pushing – I began belting out these really low and loud guttural screams and she lost it for a minute and started crying. My mom was there to take her into the other room and after we took care of our immediate needs, dad put her to bed and everyone staggered out to give us our space. I couldn’t sleep a wink. I stayed up all night just admiring my new baby. (My dog did really well, too. He cried a lot and was definitely worried, but he stayed behind his gate until we were finished and he got his turn to meet the baby.)

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