Melody Cay

I’d like to lay out a picture of my home birth. I honestly don’t know where to begin, and I don’t know if this will end up sounding tedious or inspirational or intriguing… I just want it to come across as open and honest as it can be. The big picture is this truth: I would and will do this all again with absolutely no fear: It is not what I had to do with my body; it was what I would allow to happen with my body.

The day before:

I woke up in the middle of the night, as I always did… every two hours to head to the bathroom! This time, it took me a moment to get up. This Braxton Hicks contraction had more swelling than I was used to. So, I got up around 3 am, went to the bathroom and laid back down. Ten minutes later, another one came. Then 6 minutes. Then 18. Then 12… Some were just tight, but some swelled from my hips into my groin and up my lower back. So, I tracked these “contractions” for an hour and they averaged about every 10 minutes. I went back to bed.

Throughout the night/early morning I would notice I was having menstrual-like cramps, but I was able to fall back asleep. Come 8 o’clock, I stayed up and walked around and ate… getting ready for what would be my last prenatal appointment with my midwife, Patrice Bobier.

She said this was all pre-labor, and it could last a couple days or go away… or stick around until it was time! Every body is different, but my body was doing what it needed to do to prepare.

That night I went to bed and told my little Melody that I was ready whenever she was.

The big day:

3 am hit again — 3 is the magic number, right? This contraction swelled big time. They would come as quick at 5 minutes, sometimes they would subside for 8 or 9. Love, love, love, love…I would chant this to myself with the pain. It was all necessary. I was able to fall back asleep, then right around 8 o’clock again, these stronger contractions stayed steady between 5 and 7 minutes. So I woke my mom up… got the exercise ball and continued to do whatever position felt right to ride the wave of each contraction.

I took a few showers and a few baths … the warm water helped keep the contractions at bay — this made me feel like I must still be in pre-labor.

The afternoon came around, and I found myself in the sunshine, pacing on the dock, reclining back in a chair, breathing with the wind and feeling the warmth on my skin. I will be patient. I will be kind. I am ready. I will wait. This was a natural mantra that came with the wind during the breaks between each contraction. Another one came. Love, love, love, love…

Between 3 and 5 o’clock, each contraction was about 4 or 5 minutes apart. My midwife asked if I had any bloody show or leakage at all. Nothing. Then she told me that if I was dilating, I would feel those contractions more behind my pelvic bone. So, I focused on each contraction. Most swelled in my hips, groin and back… but some did have major pressure behind my pelvic bone. I don’t know if this had been happening, or if now since I was aware of what that pain meant, I was able to track it. Suddenly, I was looking forward to these harsher pains. They were encouraging!

5 o’clock rolled around and some of these swells were making me nauseous along with every other contraction being in my pelvic bone. I got a hold of Patrice… and I guess at this point, some contractions were as little as 3 minutes apart. So, she got ready (after assisting with another birth this same morning) and headed over.

She arrived between 6 and 6:30 and as quickly as Aaron could get the birth pool ready, I hopped right in.

My mom comforted me with a washcloth on my head and told me to let my body do what it needs to do– ride the wave. So, with each pain and moan, I did my best to relax while my body and baby did the hard work.

Patrice said she would check for dilation if I wanted… So at 7:15, I had her check. And I was between 8 and 9 centimeters! Yay! I’m actually in labor!! (It may have seemed obvious from the outside, but I had never done this before. I didn’t know my pain threshold or what all this was supposed to feel like).

I remember feeling surprised that my water hadn’t broken yet. I always imagined I would get up in the middle of the night, and I would think I peed my pants and then the contractions would start. Every body truly is different.

I rolled with each contraction like thunder through my body. I made noises I did not know existed. It felt like being in the wild and facing a bear or lion with no fear- just fierceness and courage. C’mon baby… I can’t wait to meet you.

At 7:32 “It Is Well With My Soul” played from my playlist I had going, and I felt my dad with me. He passed away in the beginning of January, and this song is one that he chose to have played at his funeral. I was truly able to relax between each strong contraction. I felt peace. I felt like I wished he was here. I think he was.

*POP* At 7:37 my water broke. I think that was my favorite part. Hearing and seeing a white puff immerse into the water like a mushroom cloud, except instead of causing destruction, this was paving the way for new life.

I knew my baby would be here soon.
I felt her head at 8:12… so much hair!
So, I panted with the pressure and envisioned opening up, relaxing my legs, and gripping with everything I’ve got to my mom and Aaron’s hands. You can do it, Baby. I was rooting for her and doing my best to be her relaxed vessel. It sounds like an oxymoron saying I was relaxed. The sounds I was making was birth control enough for my little cousins who were outside the door listening! I truly did not know that relaxing was going to be the hard work. These contractions had my baby wiggling her way down further and further, my muscles tightening and guiding her out on their own. I had to stop myself from “pushing” because I could feel that I would tear if I consciously did just that. But she was coming quick. So, I held back, curled forward, took light breaths and allowed her to continue through the birth canal.

Open up, open up. She is crowned. *pant, pant, pant*. It’s 8:14.
She is born. She is perfect.
All the pain I felt was like a map. It was my guideline to follow.
The support I had surrounding me was absolutely phenomenal, and I cannot thank Full Circle Midwifery enough for providing such an encouraging and positive delivery.
Feeling her on my skin was the best gift of relief that I had ever received… and now with each day, it just gets better and better. The nights are long, but the weeks are quick. We are two and a half weeks out now, and I can’t imagine my life without her.

A side note from Kennadi’s mom:On January 5, 2020, Kennadi was with me in our home as her dad, my husband, took his last breath. On June 24, 2020, I was with Kennadi in our home as her daughter, my granddaughter, took her first breath. To be present at both of these precious moments together really was coming FULL CIRCLE. I mentioned to Kennadi early on how special I thought it was going to be. I had no idea that the midwifery practice was called FULL CIRCLE; how fitting it all is. Before my husband died, he wrote his own obituary. In there, he said this, “My life was a pretty melody, and I leave on a high note.” Thank you for helping to guide our Melody Cay Hester into this world.