In honor of my third baby boy turning 5 months old today, I figured it was high time I blogged his birth story. I spoke a bit about it on Instagram back in December, but I figured I would share more pictures from my experience. I am a photographer after all!
What you should know about my history is that I was induced at 39 weeks pregnant with my first son due to pre-eclampsia. His hospital pitocin-based induction with epidural ended in a fairly quick, healthy delivery. It wasn’t exactly what I had imagined but I had no personal point of reference! My mother was an L+D nurse when I was little and she then transitioned to Childbirth Educator for the last 30+ years. I grew up hearing about birth my whole life.
When I was pregnant with my second son, I did a lot of soul-searching and decided I wanted a home birth. The care model for home birth clients is incredible. My amazing midwife came to my home for check-ups. Our visits were so much more than checking my vitals. My birth story with him was magical. I woke up on my due date with contractions and had a quick active labor that ended in a beautiful water birth beside our Christmas tree. I had zero blood pressure issues my entire pregnancy.
Adding a third child to our family meant some extra expenses…like a mini-van. Because of that, a home birth was not in the financial cards. Did you know that insurance refuses to cover home birth? Our whole system is incredibly frustrating to me. After researching my options, I decided upon the Cambridge Birth Center. Water birth was allowed, the rooms were homey, and it was covered by our insurance company. While the model of care was a fraction of the experience I had with my second son, it fit me much better than a hospital-based birth.
Fast forward to my 37 week midwife check-up. My blood pressure suddenly had a reading on the high end of normal. I was surprised, given my lack of issues with my previous birth, but didn’t give it much of a second thought that week. I assumed it must have been a fluke. The day of my 38 week appointment dawned and I headed into Cambridge with both older boys in tow. By the time I got into the waiting room, I was flustered. Traffic had been bad. The parking garage was so full that my nine month pregnant self had to crawl out of my car trunk to get out of my car in the skinny parking spaces. When I got another high blood pressure reading I thought it must have been my stressful trip in!
I sat in the waiting room and relaxed and breathed while the boys had a snack. We tried again. High. With that reading, I had risked myself out of the birth center and I began to cry. After a frantic text to my doula (my home birth midwife from my second) and a tearful call to my husband, I headed over to the hospital for monitoring.
It was afternoon by now. My husband took the boys home and I sat with my doula while they ran tests. When the hospital midwife came back in to chat, it was clear. I had pre-eclampsia a second time and needed to be induced that evening.
A few hours later, I was in a large birthing room. The sun was setting over the Boston skyline and I had just been given an oral dose of cytotec. With two vaginal births under my belt, the hope was that this alone would kick my body into labor. I couldn’t help but feel sad and defeated. My birth story was nothing like I thought it would be. I had found myself back in a cold, beeping hospital environment. It was a tough pill to swallow (pun intended) after a water birth in my living room.
Around 11pm, we shut off the lights and tried to get some sleep.
2:36am: I woke up feeling contractions. Called my doula and said “I think I might be in labor?”. Called my birth photographer to tell her the same.
My labor was painful. I was sick and my body was exhausted. I was chained to the bed attached to a blood pressure cuff and continuous monitoring. They discouraged me from moving or sitting up and wouldn’t let me use most of the coping measures I had planned.
4:26am: Liam Harry was born fast and furiously with less than two hours of active labor. At 7lbs 14oz, he was my smallest baby by a couple ounces, but also my earliest. He latched immediately and was strong and healthy.
I feel so thankful that I am a photographer and was able to capture his newborn details in the first 24 hours of life. I adore and treasure these images- this is why you should hire a fresh 48 photographer!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story. Was your birth story what you expected?