Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Phoenix Hudson: A Birth Story

As Phoenix's first birthday approaches I am feeling so grateful every day that I get to record the highs and lows of our first year together. It's been quite a journey so far. In honor of that, I finally decided I am ready to share Phoenix's birth story. It is such a private and incredible moment that I wasn't sure I wanted to share it. But I decided to write it down. It is his and mine to share forever. 

I've been writing this story for nearly a year. But as I look down at my little guy today, it feels like I've been writing it my whole life. A journey I could not imagine as beautiful as it is, now.

Phoenix was born at 10:15 on a Saturday night. He really got the party started for us. But the party actually began three days prior. My water broke, rather dramatically, at 5 am as I got up for my morning bathroom waddle. After I realized I didn't just pee myself, which is what I thought was happening, I jumped on the bed and started shaking Scott. "We are having the baby today, RIGHT NOW!!!" After leaping up and realizing what had happened he asked me how I was feeling and beaming back I said, "Amazing!" And then, "Still the same..." So we waited. Nothing. No contractions. Humph. So I waited until I decided it was a decent time (7:30 am) and called my midwife. I practically shouted at her that I was in labor and to come over RIGHT NOW. She asked me how far apart my contractions were and when I told her zip, she chuckled and sweetly told me to try and get some rest. She said I may go into labor that day, I may not. "Either way," she said, "It's coming." SO back to sleep we went. The next 72 hours were spent talking to baby. Pleading with him to make his way out. It was 10 days early but he had let us know that he was ready. Finally, on Saturday morning, I woke up with a sharp pain in my abdomen and a rush of excitement in my heart. I woke up Scott again, this time less scary, and told him it was happening. We really were having a baby that day. His whole face filled with such a smile and in that moment we hugged and I cried. I told him how scared I was and that I didn't think I could do it. I was scared of the pain and didn't think I could handle it. He held me tightly and told me how strong I was and how much I wanted to birth our son naturally. He told me to focus on my strength. It was 8 am.

So we called my midwife again and this time told her my contractions were about 10 minutes apart. She was relieved that I finally went into labor and said she'd be over in a little bit to check on me. She said to have a good breakfast and try to rest as much as possible. I would need to save my energy for later. Little did I know how much energy I would need. I also called my amazing doula who was about to head in to teach a yoga class. I told her to go ahead, that I was fine, and (knowing better) she decided to come over right away. By the time she came over (around noon) my contractions were already progressing. They were about five minutes apart. I was so happy to see her and she got to work right away. Massaging my lower back and breathing with me. Over the next two hours we were still able to chat a little bit and I remember being able to sip on some coconut water and voice my needs. I was still able to verbalize where I was at pain-wise. Somewhere around 2 pm active labor began. This is where things get fuzzy. 

Before I went into labor, I imagined I would want to move around my apartment. I studied all the recommended birthing positions and movements. From the time active labor started up until I got into the birthing tub, I stayed in one position: in a ball, curled up, in the corner of my bed. I wanted no lights, no candles, no birthing playlist that I worked so hard to perfect. Silence. Darkness. My thoughts. My heart. My private experience with my baby. I focused on him with every breath, every contraction bringing me closer to seeing his face. I spoke to him deep within myself, telling him not to be scared and that there was so much love waiting for him.

I'm not sure, but I think it was around 8 pm that I got the okay to go into the birthing tub. At this point, my midwife had shown up. This was welcome sight as it meant that it was almost time to push. My contractions were so close together at this point that I had no energy to continue. As soon as I got into the water, I wanted to melt into the soft pillow of the inflatable pool. My contractions slowed down and I was able to "rest." In between contractions I would just pass out for a quick one minute nap. After my contractions picked back up again, I got the go ahead to push. I remember thinking, this is it. I'm going to meet my baby any minute. Any minute turned into 45 minutes. The first half hour was so challenging. After laboring all day and pushing with everything I had, I didn't think I could push any more. I was losing hope, patience, and what felt like my mind. My amazing doula, Lisa, kept massaging my lower back and putting cold washcloths on me. I was crying. "I can't do anymore," I said. The pain was so intense. At this point, my midwife, Cara, examined me and said I was so close. She said I could be done in just five pushes. Now I had a goal! I can do five pushes! With a high second wind I braced myself for my next push. After it was over, Cara came over, grabbed my shoulders gently, looked me in the eyes and said, "You have to push harder." "What?!! How?!" I asked. She told me if I didn't push with every bit of strength I was going to be in labor forever. I din't think I had any more left in me. But as the next contraction started rolling in I braced myself and screamed, pushed, and cried with all my heart. I felt him. He was so close. It was so painfully incredible. One more push...the head has out. I could feel him. It felt deafly silent all around me. Somewhere through the muffles I heard Cara say, "Just one more push and he's out." Here we go, I thought. And then there he was. A perfect tiny creature floated into the water underneath me. "What do I do?!" I screamed. Pick him up...

And so I did. At 10:15 on Saturday night. October 15th, 2011 little Phoenix Hudson made a very peaceful entrance into our world. I picked up his tiny, slippery body and held him so close. "You're here baby boy," I told him. "You found us."

And so began our journey as parents and he as our babe. One year ago. 


  1. Beautiful.

    I just gave birth to my first a few weeks ago, also at home and in a birth tub. That tub was heavenly lol

  2. "Silence. Darkness. My thoughts. My heart. My private experience with my baby." I love every bit of that description.
    Beautiful story! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Simply beautiful! This is such a wonderful birth story!

  4. thank you for sharing this. it's a wonderful story and phoenix is a lucky lad to have you as a mama.

    except that he's not: bc you two were born for each other.

  5. What a moving and beautiful story. I too gave birth in the water at home and reading this brings back some incredible memories. Xx

  6. I couldn't help but cry when reading this. We just had a home birth of our own little love just near two weeks ago and your writing brought up so many of my own memories and experiences. You are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

  7. I am crying my eyes out. I feel terrified and brave in the same breath. Thank you for sharing, Karolina.