The Day We Were Born: Janel's Birth Story

Written by: Janel Duffy
Posted: April 04, 2021
I was woken up on the morning of July 13th, 2019 by a contraction that made me almost pee my pants. I got out of bed, went to the bathroom, looked at my very full and ready baby bump, made myself a piece of toast that I ate half of, made a giant mason jar of watermelon juice, and put myself back in bed. I knew that was the day I was going to have my baby. My plan all along was to give birth at home, in my bedroom, in a blow up pool that was rented from my midwives. I probably had a list of things that needed to get done that day, last minute baby things, but all I could do was lay in bed in my underwear and listen to Jack Johnson.

I wanted to try and keep myself as comfortable as I could, and as calm as I could, so that I wasn’t in a constant state of worry about the next contraction. My water broke at 1pm, and I called my doula and asked her to come be with me at my house. I don’t remember her arriving, but I just remember mid-contraction her putting her hands on some spot on my hips and rocking me just a little and it felt so comforting. My partner at the time arrived home in time to blow up the tub and get the water situated. I continued having contractions, moving from my bed to the toilet and back again. I watched my body move in ways I’d never seen it move before; hip circles, and lifting up one heel at a time as I leaned to either side of the toilet. It was a complete surrender to what was happening within my body, the baby and the instincts were making me move, I don’t remember being in control of much of it.

At some point (which I learned was about three hours later) I was having a contraction on the toilet and I told my doula that I had to go to the bathroom. She sort of semi-smiled at me and said “I think maybe you’re ready to start pushing, the tub is ready why don’t you get in?” I got into the warm tub and there was an instant relief. The pressure in my back was relaxed and I found some comfort being in the water. I instinctively got myself into a low kneeling position where I could lean forward and hold onto the handles of the tub for the contractions.

The contractions were hard and I remember shaking during some of them, groaning through some of them, and yelling through others. In between I wanted complete silence and I laid my head on a towel. I didn’t want anyone touching me or talking to me. My midwife suggested that I reach down to see if I could feel my baby’s head. I reached down and I felt something, but I wasn’t sure if it was my baby’s head, my body being stretched apart or something else. I just said “I don’t know” and then put my head back down on the towel. My midwife checked, and confirmed that what I felt was in fact my daughter’s head. It gave me reassurance that things were moving along and that I was one step closer to meeting my baby. 

After pushing for what could have been hours (but in reality was only about 20 minutes) I cried a little bit and in a defeated and exhausted voice, I looked at my doula and said “Am I almost done yet? This is so hard.” She validated my feelings and said something encouraging and I went back to my towel. One more big push and my midwife let me know that my baby’s head was out! At that point I could basically feel nothing so I had no idea that I had already pushed a head out of my body. She told me to wait for one more contraction and I’d be able to push the rest of my baby out.

The contraction came and I only know that my midwife said this because of the video of the birth, she announced “Here’s your baby, go ahead and grab her,” and I reached into the water and picked up the most perfect little creature and held her to my body. When she let out her first cry, I let out a cry of relief and one of awe-- for the birth that just happened and for the tiny baby that was in my arms. She was here, she was real, and she was mine. We were both born in that moment; she through my body onto this earth as my child, and me through the experience of labor into motherhood. 


Category: Birth Day
Tags: birth prep , water birth , ready for birth , birth plan , home birth , birth support , birth