The Freebirth of Aria Joann

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I’ve been trying to figure out how to write my birth story, I wasn’t sure exactly where to start. My pregnancy and birth were different with both of my kids. During my pregnancy with my son he was an extremely lazy baby while Aria was very active. My labor with little Michael lasted 38 hours and he was born at a birth center with an amazing midwife whereas with Aria my labor lasted only 9 hours and she was born at home unassisted.

My labor started very early the morning on June 9th 2014 around 2 am. I woke up having pretty mild contractions and kept having to use the bathroom, at this point I was convinced that they were just Braxton hicks again. They were pretty irregular and nothing strong enough to keep me awake so I went back to bed and slept through most of them. I remember waking up with a few contractions and a sudden wave of panic would hit me and the only thing that made it ease up was me repeating “Perfect healthy birth, Perfect healthy baby, Perfect healthy mama” over and over until I fell back asleep. This was my mantra throughout my entire labor and it helped every time. A few hours after the contractions began, around 5 am, when I got up to go pee for what seemed like the millionth time, I experienced my first bloody show (it never happened with my son) I was so giddy with joy it was kind of comical. Now the contractions were too strong for me to be able to sleep through them so I took a warm bath hoping it would help, it did a little but, for me, sitting in a hard tub during a contraction kinda sucks so the bath didn’t last very long. When I got out I tried laying on the couch to try to catch a little more sleep but since I had back labor laying down made things more painful, so i got up and paced around the apartment quietly moaning through contractions usually while leaning against the wall or over the arm of the couch. Around 7 little Michael woke up so I went and woke my husband up and ask him to get up with him and told him that I thought I was in labor but not to wake Jessica up yet because I didn’t think Aria would be coming anytime soon. I shut myself in the bedroom for a little while after that so I could concentrate on the contractions and try to find a comfortable position, I was sitting on the bed rocking and moaning through a contraction when Jessica woke up and checked on me around 8:30 am. After she woke up things really picked up and started getting more intense. While her and Michael set up the pool and the birth kit in the bedroom I was in the living room sitting on the birth ball, the contractions were about 5 minutes apart now. While Jessica was filling the pool up I was sitting on the couch crying because I “didn’t want to be pregnant anymore” Michael sat there with me and kept telling me it would be alright, she would be here soon. Looking back now it seems kinda funny, I was in active labor and knew Aria would be here soon. Once the pool was ready I got in, and let me tell you, it was like my own little piece of heaven. The warm water made the contractions much more bearable, I took that time to talk with Michael and Jessica and love on little Michael and assure him that mommy was ok, although he seemed to be handling it better than I thought he would. The water eased the pain but it also slowed things way down so after Jessica and I talked about it we decided that it would be a good idea for me to get out and walk around some more. All of the kids were up by now but they behaved exceptionally well, I think my nephews mostly stayed in our spare bedroom or played in little Michael’s bedroom with him because I don’t remember seeing them much but Abby, our 4-year-old niece watched the whole thing (I didn’t even know she was there until after Aria was born because she was so quiet). Once I got out of the pool I walked around the apartment, again leaning against walls swaying and moaning through them. After being out for about 15 minutes or so I went and checked myself to see if I could feel the bag (I could!) and then sat on the toilet to try to pee before I got back in the pool. Sitting on the toilet is a good place to be while contracting because it helps baby move down but it also really sucks. Finally me, Michael, Jessica and Abby went back to the bedroom and I got back in the pool and while it helped ease up the intensity of the contractions it didn’t slow things down this time! I tried a few positions in the pool and the two that were most comfortable for me were sitting with my legs tucked under me and being on my knees leaning over the side of the pool. In between contractions I ate some of the frozen fruit Michael had brought me (the watermelon was amazing!) and drank lots of water to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated like I did when I was in labor with our son (I puked A LOT with him). Michael kept a bowl of cold water by the pool to dip the washrags in so I had a cool rag on my neck or face at all times, he was amazing and super supportive throughout the whole thing. By this time my contractions were much stronger and there was barely a break in between them, I flipped over to where I was sitting on my bottom leaning against the side of the pool holding onto the handles when I got this overwhelming urge to push, my body started doing its own thing and pushing by itself. I told Michael and Jessica what was happening and they encouraged me to push and told me how well I was doing. Now I don’t mean to sound mean but while I’m having contractions I don’t like to be touched or talked to, its nothing personal to anyone it just makes them more painful for me because I can’t concentrate on them as well. I ended up in the crab walk position while I was pushing, I remember telling Jess and Michael that I just wanted a break but Aria and my body had different ideas and the contractions by then were pretty much constant. I reached down and felt the bag and told Jessica that I wanted it popped, I didn’t care who did it or how it happened I just wanted the pressure to ease up because I felt like she was about to come out of my butt! After I felt the bag the contractions were so strong that I couldn’t let go of the handles on the side of the pool so I asked Jess to see if she could feel Aria’s head and before she got the chance my water broke. As soon as my water broke Aria started crowning, once everybody realized how quick things were happening Michael got his GoPro and started recording it. I was not as quiet with Aria as I was when I was pushing with Little Michael, this time I was literally growling/roaring through the pushes. It only took about 2 pushes to get her head completely out but with the way I was sitting and the position she was in (completely sideways facing my thigh) I couldn’t push her the rest of the way out so Jessica and Michael helped me stand so I could lean over the side of the pool and let gravity do the work and it did the trick. Jessica had her hands waiting and ready, which is a good thing because Aria shot out! It took less than two minutes from the time she started crowning until she was completely out. After Jessica passed her to me through my legs they helped me out of the pool and onto the bed, Aria wasn’t crying yet and was still purple (as most water babies are) but she was responsive. She had a good bit of vernix to be 10 days past due too. I laid down with her on my chest and Jessica grabbed the warmed blankets to lay on her while I rubbed some of her vernix in and she let out her first cry! She was (and still is) a chunky baby, her face was a little bruised from coming out so fast but other than that she was perfect! After he finished recording Michael went and got little Michael and we introduced him to his baby sister, he was not the least bit amused and didn’t want anything to do with her so he left the room to go play shortly after Michael brought him in. We waited until the cord wasn’t pulsing anymore and was white then Jessica tied it off and Michael cut it. We decided to cut it before the placenta was delivered because for some reason both of my kids have had very short cords, little Michael’s was less than a foot long (from placenta to bellybutton) and snapped as his body was delivered and Arias was about 1 and 1/2 feet long and she couldn’t reach my breast to nurse. The placenta was delivered shortly after and Jessica caught it in the bowl we had set aside for it.
Aria Joann Millwood was born 9 June 2014 at 11:16am
She weighed 9lbs 3ozs and was 21 inches long!
Aria is almost 4 weeks old now and we are doing great, my recovery has been easy and fast (with the exception of mastitis) and she nurses like a pro. At her 2 week checkup she was 9lbs 14ozs and now she is well past 10 lbs. Her birth has changed me and Michael a lot. It has given me more confidence in myself and my body and it has shown Michael that this is what a woman’s body was made for, that birth is not an emergency and I believe it has made him trust me a little more. My support team was amazing, our family was right behind us from the beginning and didn’t bat an eye when we told them that Aria would be born at home unassisted. Jessica was absolutely amazing before, during and after Aria’s birth, she helped us more than I could even begin to tell you and we will forever be grateful for that. Last but not least Michael was fantastic, he joked around with me while I was pregnant and would tell me that I would be doing it on my own while he played Xbox (which he ended up doing for a little while anyways) and to come get him after she was born but when it came down to it he was right by my side doing everything he could to make things easier, no wonder I fall in love with him more and more every day! Aria’s birth was everything and nothing we expected it to be at the same time but it was more perfect than I imagined it would be and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!

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