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The Birth of Lexi - An Unplanned, Unattended Homebirth


“Just breathe, don’t push” I kept telling myself, thinking I still had hours to go. But minutes later I heard myself yelling “I’m going to poop .. shit there’s a head .. GO GET KYLE!!”


 

August 3rd, 2023 - The day we found out we were pregnant with our second child. However, this is not where our story begins. 


Long before we decided to have another baby, I had been physically, emotionally, and mentally manifesting the birth of our next child. Through my personal experience, work as a doula and extended education, I knew I wanted to do things differently the second time around. It was going to be a fully intuitive experience. 


I had been consistently tracking my cycle for over a year using the fertility awareness method. It started off as a birth control method, but turned into pregnancy achievement. I knew that my body would not ovulate on day 14. In fact, I ovulated on day 17 and this is an important piece to know when trying to conceive. It certainly helped us achieve pregnancy with Lexi! 


At the end of my last cycle, I tested on the day I was supposed to get my period. The test came back with two pink lines and I couldn’t wait for Kyle to wake up so I could tell him. We were so excited!! 



The very first person I told was my friend Sabina, minutes after I told Kyle. I literally sent her a picture of my pee, and the test too. Sabina and I connected about 2 years ago over doula work. She was thinking about becoming a doula, which I highly encouraged because I knew she would be amazing. A few weeks later we told our family and close friends and shortly after that, around 10 weeks gestation, we shared with the world! 


I knew what kind of support I wanted and needed for my birth, especially as we were planning another home birth and had no intention of going to the hospital this time around. I quickly hired one of the best birth workers I know, Humairah from Barakah Births. We’ve grown a strong personal and professional relationship over the last few years, and I fully trusted her knowledge, intuition and guidance to support me on this journey far beyond just the birth. 


We then hired midwives, knowing we were planning for a home birth again, however, care would look slightly different this time. I felt extremely confident in my knowledge for all things pregnancy and birth that I felt frequent appointments weren’t necessary. Instead of the suggested appointments every 4 weeks in the beginning, we choose to schedule them every 6-8 weeks. 


This pregnancy was much different than my first, in a good way. Lexi had me enjoying this experience a little more than Max did. Although being pregnant is not my favourite, I’d much rather just do the birthing part! 


What was also different about this pregnancy was now that I was much more educated on my options along with the risks and benefits of each option, I was going to opt out of or choose alternatives for many of the “required” testing. My motto was “If the result of the test or screening was not going to change the outcome or management, then I’m not going to do it.” 


I decided I only wanted to have 1 ultrasound. I choose to decline a dating and 12 week ultrasound. I was very confident in my conception date with my cycle tracking and we were not concerned about any health conditions of the baby at the 12 week mark. We did however decide to have a 20 week anatomy scan. This scan was important to us to make sure that the baby's organs and systems were healthy and looking good. 


During this scan, I made it very clear that this was the only one we were going to complete and we did not want to know the sex of the baby. Baby was moving so much during the appointment. Everything was looking good, but they suggested that we come back again for another ultrasound. Because baby was moving so much, they couldn’t get the profile of their face and had a hard time evaluating the flow of blood going through the heart chambers. 


After a conversation with the midwife and trusting my intuition, we declined returning for another ultrasound. Baby was moving lots, growing well, if there was a major concern, we would know. I was positive she had the cutest face, she was just hiding it from us that day. I also intuitively knew she was a girl the whole time! 


Next screening test was for gestational diabetes. I declined the standard glucose drink and blood work and chose an alternative method. I got myself a glucose monitor and supplies at the pharmacy and tested my own blood sugar over 10 days. Everything was looking great, we had no concerns. 


We also declined some specific blood work, TDAP vaccine, and GBS screening. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was okay with checking my iron levels, they were slightly lower than we would have liked so I supplemented with Iron pills and Iron Tonic (made by Barakah Births). 


Words cannot express how much love and appreciation I have for the incredible support that was provided by my doulas. That’s right, I had more than one! Since the beginning of my pregnancy I knew I wanted Sabina at my birth too, but needed some time to think about what the roles would look like for each individual person. Around 20 weeks gestation, I knew I definitely needed her there. I was so hesitant to ask because she was also expecting a baby soon after my birth, but she said yes!! So I hired a second birthworker/friend to support me.


Check out this super cute picture of our belly bumps!



 

Humairah and Sabina were the people I went to the most if I had questions, concerns and when I really needed someone to snap me out of overthinking and give me some gentle tough love. I told them I needed them to keep me focused and give it to me straight. They each had their roles to play. Humairah was my primary hands-on support and Sabina was going to videotape and take pictures while also offering support where needed. 


Support from both of them was and continues to be invaluable. They were on a facetime call within minutes of me requesting it and held space for me, particularly after a hard midwife appointment, while I cried and shared my fears. Most importantly, they knew and trusted my intuition and reminded me that day that I needed to do the same. 


Just a few short weeks later comes the big day!! 




Tuesday night I was cramping a lot but there was no tightening happening with the cramps. I took a bath and rested as much as I could in case labour was to follow soon after. When I woke up Wednesday morning I felt fine, I believe that was my body’s way of preparing my cervix. I went for a massage later that day hoping that tonight was going to be the night. Nothing happened! 


Thursday, I woke up full of energy. I suggested to Kyle that we should make use of some natural prostaglandins to see if it’ll help the cervix, so we did (IYKYK). My grandma came over and we did a deep clean of the house. I was having some random what I thought were braxton hicks throughout the day. I didn’t think much of it because they were so mild and so far and few in between, that I just kept doing my thing throughout them. Some mucous plug was coming out in small pieces, but again, that doesn’t predict anything. 


Later that night I was playing downstairs with Max. While he was playing, I decided to do some hip rotations and pelvic tilts on my ball. That surely brought on a few contractions but not strong enough for me to believe labour was near. If I learned anything from my first labour: distraction, fuel, rest, repeat. 


Once I got Max down for the night, around 8 pm, I decided to do the miles circuit before bed. I thought maybe this will help align the pelvis and get the baby even lower. Although she was low for weeks hence the pelvic pain and lightning crotch!! I continued to have a few contractions in the beginning. I even sent my doulas a picture of round 2 of the miles circuit. Towards the end of the circuit, around 9:30 pm, things started to feel like they did during early labour for Max. I walked it off and got into bed to rest. Around 10 pm, my intuition was telling me to call my mom. I asked her to join us for the birth and her primary role was to care for Max. 


I suggested that Mom come up now and spend the night in case things progressed even more. Although contractions were short and sporadic, she agreed. Which made me feel better, I didn’t want her driving 40 mins in the dark at 3 am. So Mom was on her way, she would arrive by 11 pm. 


I got out of bed after I called her to take a hot bath to see if that would slow down the contractions. Kyle would be home from work soon and we could go to bed together. When Kyle got home at 10:30 pm. I was just getting out of the tub and getting ready for bed. I told him I wanted to wait for mom before we fell asleep, but I needed to lay down for a bit, I needed rest. 


The next couple of contractions came quick and started to get intense. Laying down was uncomfortable for me. I needed to stand and now focus and breathe through them.  I was starting to think this was the real thing and we would be meeting our baby around breakfast time. 


I asked Kyle to start filling the birth pool. It would need two loads of water so start with the first one and when I am actually ready for the pool the second load would fill it up and be nice and warm. That didn’t last long either. 


During this time I kept Humairah and Sabina in the loop, especially since Sabina has a 1.5 hour drive to get to me. I told them I was going to rest, but I never actually did. Things were picking up really quick. I think my amniotic fluid was leaking, it may have broke slightly, but I wasn’t sure. However, I definitely threw up the water I was drinking. It’s now 11 pm. Mom just arrived. There’s 1-2 inches of water in the birth pool and I tell Kyle he needs to stop. I need to be in the bath now! 


Kyle calls in the doulas. Sabina is on her way now (she has a bit of a drive), and Humairah will be at the house by midnight. During this time, I’m in the tub, truly focusing on breathing. During each contraction I get to my knees and lean my head on Kyle for support. Kyle was timing my contractions. They were 2-3-5 minutes apart but only 35-40 seconds long. We’ll call the midwives once they start being 60 seconds long consistently. I truly wanted to just focus and be left undisturbed. I rested as much as I could between contractions, because we still have hours to go. Hopefully not 30 hours like Max, but I thought at this rate, Baby will be here by breakfast for sure.  


Humairah arrived at the house first around 12 am. Kyle gave her a debrief and she immediately came by my side. I suggested that Kyle go lay down for a bit, get a little sleep so he can be well rested for the pushing stage. I felt safe and comfortable with Humairah beside me. She was amazing. I told her I wasn’t ready to call the midwives yet. Contractions are still so inconsistent and short. She said very little but sat beside me, in my very small bathroom I might add, held my hand during each contraction and reminded me to just breathe through each one. 


Intensity was definitely there. I remember saying “don’t push, just breathe”. For Max, I started pushing too early and my cervix started swelling. I did not want that this time, I did not want any reason to have to transfer to the hospital. I got this, I’m a badass mother birther! 


Not long after Humairah got there I decided to try and check my own cervix. I have no idea what I’m feeling in terms of dilation, but I wanted to see if I could feel the baby’s head. Nothing but soft tissue. I looked at Humairah after a contraction and said “How am I supposed to do this for the next few hours??”. She softly said, “Keep breathing, you got this!”. Meanwhile, she knew this wasn’t going to take hours. 


After a particularly powerful contraction, I turned to her and said, “I think we should call the midwives.” But the next contraction came quickly. Man, the back-to-back ones are so powerful! During that contraction with Humairah holding my hand (I’m probably breaking hers at this point), telling me to keep breathing, I feel an intense pressure in my rectum. “Ugh, fuuuuck, I’m going to poop, just breathe Jess, you can’t push yet”, I tell myself. But the baby had other plans. I feel things like I’ve never felt before and I look down to see my baby’s head. 


“Shit! There’s a head, go get Kyle!!!” Mom grabs Kyle, they both come running to the bathroom. I’m now kneeling in my bathtub, my baby is coming out .. like now! Holy crap, I see lots of black hair, I reach down to touch my baby and let them know we got this, we’re almost there. Next contraction I give a big push, I grab my baby, pull them out of the water, take a quick peek to confirm my intuition was right, and bring my baby girl to my chest. 


I am in complete shock. Did I just birth my baby, by myself, in my bathtub?? HECK YEAH I DID!! 


Kyle quickly calls the midwives to come and we all just sit there in shock and awe of what just happened. New life is here and healthy. 


Baby was born at 12:21 am. (Well somewhere between 12:19-12:21). But does that really matter? I’m just hanging out with my baby girl. 


About 10-15 minutes after birth, I give the cord a little tug, and the placenta seems loose. Next contraction I give a little push and out it comes! That was also quick! 


Midwives arrive by 12:40 am. And so did Sabina! She missed it by 20 minutes. I was sad we didn’t get the birth on camera but she got the best postpartum pictures. We got out of the tub and settled in bed. Baby and I were checked out and everyone is looking good. 


Postpartum care I choose to decline: pitocin injection, fundal massage, hat on the baby, erythromycin, vitamin K. It was over an hour before we cut the cord, actually we did a cord burning ceremony first with candles, when the cord was white and limp. Once that was done, we tied the cord with a cute cord tie Sabina made and Kyle made the official cut. We did a placenta tour, that’s one juicy and healthy looking placenta! 


It’s now roughly 3 am, and the midwives leave. Kyle goes to sleep in the spare room while Mom crashes on the couch. I’m full of adrenaline. How do I sleep after an exhilarating experience like that? I don’t. Humairah and Sabina stuck around for a few more hours. As I layed resting in bed, they got me some food and drinks and joined me. They both sat with me and snuggled my baby. It was literally like having a girls night, hanging out, chatting about life and random thoughts until the early hours of the morning. What a perfect way to start my postpartum journey. 


Where was Max, you might ask? Oh, he was across the hall and slept through the entire thing. He woke up to a strange baby in Maman’s bed, but quickly fell in love with his baby sister, just like we did. 


This birth did not go as planned, but it usually never does. I didn’t get pictures or videos of the birth. I didn’t use the birth pool, I didn’t have my music or twinkle lights, I didn’t have my affirmations or meditations. I really didn’t have time for any of that. 


What I did have was love and support around me. I felt safe and undisturbed. I had my baby at home. I freaking birthed my own baby in the comfort of my own home. I’m a freaking rockstar! That was the most empowering moment of my life and exactly what the universe knew I needed.




 


Looking for support through your journey? Follow us on Instagram.


You can find us here:


Jess - @nurtured.holistics

Humairah - @barakahbirths

Sabina - @letsdoulathisvbac




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