“It’s a boy,” I whispered to my husband and the midwives as they tended to Rio. I was worried my friends and family in the waiting room would hear me and ruin the surprise.

Just 6 hours earlier, I was riding the golf cart around the lake with my littlest brother, Frankie, on his birthday. He was turning 10 years old! I’m still not sure how it had already been 10 years since I first held him in the hospital. I remember looking over at him between contractions and saying “I don’t think this is going to be just your birthday anymore.” He looked at me and followed with “really?”

I hadn’t really filled anyone in yet. I had been experiencing prodromal labor for close to two weeks at this point and didn’t want to get everyone excited just for my contractions to stop.

Courtland, my husband, got back from golfing at about 12:30pm, so Frankie and I headed back to my parent’s house where I quickly found my way to my grandpa’s hottub (the heat was turned down) so that I could help labor progress. When I stepped out of the tub around 1:15pm, I lost my plug and the contractions became stronger. They were coming every 2-3 minutes, so I headed to my house to shower, change and get ready for my child’s birthday… finally! You see, it was May 1st and my due date was April 25. To say I was ready is an understatement.

When I made it to the birthing center at 3:00pm, my midwife checked me to see how far I had progressed. I was 4cm and 60-70% effaced! I remember her saying… “you have definitely done some work! You will probably deliver late tonight or tomorrow.”

I delivered our first son just 5 short hours after arriving to the hospital… and I was barely dilated to 2cm. I kind of smiled and reminded my midwives of how quickly I progressed.

Sarah, the student midwife and also friend of mine, smiled back and encouraged me to stay at the center if it made me comfortable. She then gave me some exercises to help move baby further into the birthing canal. My contractions continued to come every 2-3 minutes with increased intensity. Courtland helped me through each contraction and supported me as we spent the first couple of hours working together to bring our child earthside.

Around 5:30pm, I had Carmen, my midwife, check me again. My family was trying to celebrate Frankie’s birthday with a dinner and needed an update on when to head up. I was at 7cm. When I was 7cm with Sawyer… it was only 30 minutes later that I was fully dilated, so I knew I was getting close to meeting our second baby. My family did as well. They headed up to the birthing center to wait it out, and I found my way to the birthing tub.

I am not going to pretend like any of this was easy. I was tired. I was anxious. I depended on Courtland, Lauren (my friend and photographer) and my midwives, Sarah and Carmen for strength. I become emotional looking back on the images (thankful for Lauren’s incredible talent).

Birth is hard. It is intimidating, yet empowering. Painful, yet intentional. A miracle in itself. Whether you give birth in a birthing center, your home or a hospital. It is beautiful and incredible.

At 6:48pm, I made my final push and delivered our sweet Rio! It wasn’t done peacefully or gracefully. I was screaming. I was crying. I knew I couldn’t push anymore. But, Carmen continued to remind me I could and I did.

Once given the okay, my family and friends flooded the room with gifts, smiles and love. They surrounded me and our newest baby boy. A moment I wasn’t sure I would experience given the current pandemic affecting all parts of the world.

Once everyone headed home and Rio and I were finished being tended to by my two amazing midwives and birth assistant, we were drawn a relaxing herbal bath where we were able to share a few quiet, intoxicating moments together as I truly began to grasp just what had taken place.

I gave birth to a 9lb 2oz boy with a face just like his brother’s. I pushed my second earthly child into this world without an epidural or pain drugs. I watched my husband support and encourage me in ways I didn’t even know he could. I leaned into him fully, and I truly believe our relationship has grown because of this. I fell in love with him all over again in those moments as we fell in love with our newest family member together.

At 11:30pm, he packed up our belongings, buckled Rio into his car seat and loaded up the car. We arrived home with our newest baby and depended on each other those first few hours of caring for a new baby while caring for myself.

We didn’t have nurses coming in every few hours to poke or prod. We were in our own bed with our favorite snacks and Netflix. We awoke to breakfast from my mom. We loved on our boy and cherished the first 24 hours together.

If you, like me, are delivering a baby in the middle of a pandemic and are considering a homebirth or birthing center, don’t fear the decision. If you are low-risk, you will not regret it.

Do you research. Read all the books. Listen to other’s experiences.

Heartbeat Midwifery delivered on all of their promises. They made me feel comfortable. They made me feel empowered. They provided information and allowed me to make my own decisions about my care and my child’s care.

Birth is not meant to be an operation (unless for medical reasons it has to be). Birth is natural. Our bodies were literally designed to give birth.

I promise, if I can do it, you can to.

Please reach out to me if you are interested in hearing more! I would love to provide you with any information I have or guide you to someone that can provide answers to your questions.

I’m not a “crunchy” mom. I love McDonald’s and so does my 2 year old. I use essential oils, but I also use antibiotics for infections. I don’t buy everything organic or grow my own vegetables.

I truly believed people were CRAZY for birthing outside of a hospital. I never understood the reason behind it. I always believed I wasn’t “crunchy” enough to take the dive.

Start doing your research. Become enlightened by the choices you have during birth. Do yourself a favor and go into birth well educated. I wish I had. Don’t wait until you are in the middle of a pandemic and 35 weeks pregnant to start looking at different options.

Photographer: Lo Photo

Midwife: Heartbeat Midwifery