The Homebirth of Lucia Mae

The Homebirth of Lucia Mae from Sara Janssen on Vimeo.

Nothing could have fully prepared me for the emotions that washed me as we welcomed a new little person into our family just four months ago. Before she was born, I tried to imagine what it would be like…but that amazing moment when she took her first breath and was finally HERE..that's when I truly grasped how my life has been forever changed.

On the morning of May 29, I woke up at 5am with a few contractions. I laid there for about 2 hours, timing them and wondering. Around 7, I decided that this was it and we started to make the preparations for birth. Matt filled the tub, I got my “birthing clothes” on and we called Rebecca, our midwife. She said to call her back when the contractions were coming closer together. Bella hopped into the tub with me for a little scuba diving practice and we had some really special “last moments” together as just us.

Around 10:30 a.m., we called Rebecca back and things were starting to progress. I had been walking around the house, chatting with my mom and dad (who arrived from Iowa 2 nights before), walking out to the ally and back again. I would stop to have a contraction, and then keep going on with what I was doing. But by 11am, I felt like I needed to be more focused on each contraction, so I went in the bedroom and sat on the birthing ball.

The ball was my best friend. My contractions were low and in my hips/back. It felt great for me to bounce and put my hands on my hips during each one and press down hard while I vocalized. However, when anyone else tried to take over the task of pressing on my hips, it HURT SO BAD. So, after swatting both Matt and Rebecca away from me, I went at it in solitude.

I could feel myself slowly slipping into a laborland…a blissful state where the only thing that mattered was seeing my baby. The contractions continued to intensify. Rebecca and her assistant, Katie would come in to check the heart tones, but they never checked dialation per my request and all I can remember Rebecca saying was “you’re doing great…keep doing it”. They would occasionally offer me some Recharge to sip on (oh my word…I love the grape flavor!) and a cool wash cloth for my forehead. Most of the time, I was completely unaware of who was in the room and even fell asleep between contractions toward the end. I would wake myself up when I heard snoring…and then I would laugh. ☺

I had spent the last couple of days prior creating my perfect birth musical playlist. At some point in labor, I demanded that it be turned OFF because it was annoying me. So much for my baby entering into the world with the voice of Jason Mraz crooning in the background.

One thing I remember from all of my prenatal appointments with Rebecca was that we should have have "no expectations" of the birth experience. She reminded me to just go with the flow and listen to my body...and this is one of the many reasons why I love her so much.

From the moment we met Rebecca, we knew that she would be a perfect fit for our family. She is kind, compassionate, intuitive, and she truly respects the birth process. She is incredibly knowledgeable in so many areas...we felt confident that we could bring any question to her and she would have the answer. She empowered ME to trust my body and let birth unfold in the way it's supposed to. The best part...we didn't just gain a midwife in this process, we gained a friend for life.

I chose to focus on the word “open” during my labor…I never said the entire word out loud, but I would say “oooooooohhhhhhhhhh” in a low and loud voice whenever a contraction would come on. It was the best pain medication EVER. As soon as I stopped vocalizing, the pressure would get stronger.

Feeling Lucy move down through the birth canal was the craziest feeling…with every contraction, I could feel her get a little closer to emerging. I never “decided” to push…my body just did it on it’s own and when I felt myself wanting to bear down, I just went with it. There came a time when I knew I must be in transition because my internal voice was saying “Wow…when is this going to be over? It hurts.” And as soon as I thought that to myself, I was glad because I knew it was close!

At this point, I sensed a shift in Rebecca…and she asked Matt if he wanted to catch his baby. That question quickly snapped me out of la-la land and I was ON IT. Let’s DO THIS! I reached down and felt Lucy’s head emerging. My waters still had not broken.

On the next contraction, I felt her crowning and remember my voice getting higher…I looked at Rebecca and she reminded me to stop pushing and make the “puh puh puh” sound with my mouth to slow down the crowning and avoid tearing. And then…she was born. Her head “popped” out along with the water sac, and I felt and immediate sense of relief. I reached down and felt her head and on the next contraction the rest of her body slipped out, into her Daddy’s hands and she was placed on my chest. 2:59 p.m…a miracle is born.

There are no words to describe that moment. She was here. She was perfect. I counted her fingers and toes and grinned from ear to ear. Bella was in charge of announcing if it was a boy or a girl…but the cord was blocking the view and made it look like her was a boy. When we finally realized it was a girl, I was in SHOCK! I was sure it was a boy the entire pregnancy. I had random old women in Costco coming up to me to tell me I was having a boy. Along with every other person in my life. We had an entire dresser full of little boy clothes with not one pink onesie in sight. And yet, her SHE was. A sweet little girl. A sister for my Bella. Oh what joy filled my heart.

We announced that her name would be Lucia Mae…Lucy for short. The rest of the afternoon was a blur of snuggling, calling, smiling, crying, loving…I nearly drove my mom crazy because I wanted to be the one to tell my four siblings the news. I was waiting until things calmed down a bit before I called...but she could hardly contain her excitement. ☺

The night before I went into labor, I had a dream. In the dream, I walked through an open door and my Grandma was standing in front of me with her arms outstretched. She was vibrant, healthy and smiling. She embraced me. As we held each other, she whispered, “It’s ok…it’s time”. I stepped back from her and then she was gone.

This dream came just one day after her funeral back in Iowa. A funeral that I could not attend…being that I was about to give birth. It was devastating for me to miss saying goodbye to her…and yet I felt her presence with me so strongly those last couple of days before Lucy was born. She was still there with me. And even as we said goodbye to Baba…we welcomed a NEW life into the world. The incredible circle of life and death.

It was such a blessing to have my mom and dad at her birth…they were able to be at Bella’s birth as well. They drove straight to Bozeman from Iowa after the funeral and I can only imagine the emotions and stress that they were going through….and yet they drove 16 hours to be with us. I will always treasure the memories I have of my mom and Bella as they watched Lucy join this world…and of my dad as he patiently waited in the living room as his first born child became a mother once again.

It has been quite a transition to add a second child into our family after 5 years of just one…and yet it’s the most wonderful thing that we’ve done thus far. The depth of our relationships with each other have changed and grown, and watching Bella with Lucy brings me to tears.

Lucy is now 4 ½ months old and is changing every day. She laughs out loud and her sister’s funny faces. She chews on everything she can get her hands on. It seems her legs have a new roll on them every time I change her diaper. She loves being in the Moby and the excitement that overtakes her every time she realizes she is about to nurse is just too wonderful.

We can’t imagine life without her…and can’t wait to see her little personality emerge. God is good.

Photography by myself and Alicia Caine Midwifery Care by Rebecca at Green Midwife

Songs: The Story by Brandi Carlile Lullaby by the Dixie Chicks

If you are having trouble viewing the Vimeo video, it's on YouTube here as well.