Healthy Mama, Happy Baby co-creator, Stephanie Greunke of Rock Your Hormones, welcomed her second son in October of 2016. Both mama and baby are doing great! After delivering her first son, Otto, at home with a water birth, Steph wanted to have the same exhilarating experience with Leo. In her own words, here is the second part of Steph’s birth story. Did you miss part one? Read it here.
The Night of Leo’s Birth
I was nervous that things were going to progress quickly, so I didn’t want to go upstairs to our bedroom where I envisioned myself giving birth. We had already set the bedroom up as a more ideal environment for birth. It was dark, had essential oils diffusing, and my birth tub. I knew that relaxing environment might speed things up and I wanted my midwife to be there before things got real.
Finally, when the contractions got more intense, I decided that I needed to be in the tub for pain relief and general comfort. I got into the tub and immediately took the position that I would be in for the rest of the birth. I was on my knees with my upper body resting on the ledge of the tub. It’s what my body told me to do, so I trusted it.
I was “in it.”
It was so cool having a prior similar birthing experience with Otto because I knew exactly where I was in my labor. I put my head down and focused on my breath. I didn’t use any techniques or birthing methods outside of what my body naturally wanted to do with breath and motion. Every time I would try to change positions, the contractions got more intense, so I just stayed there and focused on my breath.
I didn’t even hear my midwife arrive. She quietly set up everything she needed (and extra things in case of an emergency) in the room next to us. My husband whispered in my ear that she was here and that I was doing a great job. Knowing she was there and my birth team was complete was just what I needed to progress even further.
I looked at my doula and confidently told her I was in transition. A few minutes after I made that declaration, the animal noises came flowing out of my body.
One of the reasons I decided to have a home birth was because I feel like I’d be nervous to make these helpful sounds in a hospital. You never know what your body is going to do, but low, deep noises are so much more beneficial for the birthing process than high-pitched screams. So, that’s what I did.
3:00 – 3:20 AM
And then the pushing began. The fact that your body knows when it’s time to push is mind-blowing. My midwife was checking Leo’s heart rate with the doppler. She didn’t even need me to change positions or get out of the water, thank God! It was uncomfortable enough having her check while in that position because every time she checked, Leo shifted, which felt awful. She only needed to check his fetal tones and my blood pressure a few times because he came so quickly!
We eased him out, slow and steady. I could feel everything. I was conscious of what part of his body was coming out. It was painful, but I knew the reward was so worth it. One final push and out he came!
She made sure he came up towards my belly so I could reach him and have the first embrace. I’ll never forget that moment with both of my kids. Brian was there holding my hand during those final pushes and my midwives were there supporting my perineum and safely assisting baby out.
I felt so safe and powerful.
Welcome, Baby Leo!
There he was. A healthy 8 lb 15 oz., 22 in. long baby boy that would dramatically change our lives for the better.
My midwives and doula stayed to help clean up (it wasn’t super messy, in case you were wondering). They washed towels and threw away the carpet protectors. My husband drained and deflated the tub. Less than an hour after the birth, our house looked normal again.
They also stayed to make sure Leo and I were healthy and ensured Leo had a good latch for nursing. He had a perfect latch. This is far different than my experience with Otto where we struggled with nursing for weeks.
My doula took my placenta for encapsulation, the midwives did their final checks, and off they were. We were officially a family of four, cozy inside our house after 2.5 hours of labor. What a crazy, beautiful adventure!
Thank you for reading my story and for those of you who have supported me along this journey. A huge thank you to my midwife, Michele Kazmier, CNM, MS and doula Willow Buckley. You will forever be a huge part of my family’s life and I cannot thank you enough.
Where was Otto during birth? Stay tuned for Part 3!
Do you have a birth story to share? We would love to hear it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org