Callie Mae Lung was born May 8th at 2:28AM. Before I even got pregnant we had hoped to do a home birth. I got a recommendation for a midwife from my friend who had two home births. She had an incredible resume and my friend spoke very highly of her.
I was very fortunate to be able to continue teaching my fitness classes up until the very end of my pregnancy. For at least 2 months before, I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions, which progressively got worse. On Saturday night, May 6th, we were at Johnny and Phoebe’s house. I was sitting at the table and had a Braxton Hicks contraction and pressed down on the top of my stomach because that usually helped relieve some of the pressure. As I leaned back and pressed down on my stomach I felt a slight pop and like I had peed my pants a little. I went to the bathroom and changed my panty liner. I wasn’t sure if this was my water breaking because there was no gush, and with my other two children, my water broke right before they were born. We got the kids packed up and headed home.
After getting the kids to bed, I went to sleep. From around 10pm until 4am I had hard, very real contractions that were about 4-5 minutes apart, so I didn’t sleep much. I thought about calling my midwife, but decided not to, and at 4am they basically stopped. For the next three hours I had maybe a total of 3 contractions.
Matt and I decided to skip church that morning, and had my parents take the kids with them. We went on a long walk, got breakfast at Starbucks, and walked around the park. I had a few more contractions during our walk, but they weren’t horrible. I called my midwife during our walk and talked to her about the night before and she said that I might be having back labor. For at least 3 weeks Callie had been posterior, and they want the baby to be anterior for the “easiest” birth. She said that with back labor, it can start and stop for a week or so. I still wasn't sure if my water had broken since there was never a gush when I walked or moved.
I worked on laundry in the afternoon and Matt took the kids to the park. Phoebe came over around 4 with a frappuccino for me, and then I laid down and napped for a bit. I walked over to the park after my nap, and met Matt, the kids and the Gillespies there. We all walked together over to Skipolini’s and got pizza for dinner, I of course, got the Prego Pizza. During dinner I had about six contractions, and they were hard enough that I needed to stop talking and just breathe through them.
Our last pictures as a family of four
Skipolini's prego pizza
We walked back home (I think I walked around 4 miles that day), got the kids in bed around 8:30, and we finally went to bed around 10pm. I had another contraction 10 minutes later, so I got up and worked through it, then got back in bed. For the next hour that is what I did, work through contractions every ten minutes, then I’d go back to sleep. At 11pm, they got closer, between 5 and 7 minutes apart, so I got up and swept the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It took a while because the contractions were very painful. I tried to clean up as much as I could during that time. I had a group of women that I was hoping to have at the birth, but with how the labor had been so far, I thought it was still going to be a while, so I didn’t call anyone.
I worked through contractions by myself until 1am, and then woke Matt up (contractions were 2-3 minutes apart). He got up quickly and started doing the things I needed him to do. He called Claudette, our midwife, and told her what was happening. She lives in Vacaville, which is 45 minutes away, so she left soon after Matt called. He worked on getting the birthing tub blown up, and I kept working through contractions, which were one on top of the other with no real break in between, and they were awful. Matt called Phoebe at 1:30, and she got there at 1:45 and helped Matt make the bed and then they worked on filling the birthing tub. I had purchased an attachment to connect the hose to the kitchen sink, but Matt didn’t know I had that. So they were trying to figure out how to fill up the tub with the hose, but it wasn’t connecting. I saw them struggling with something and asked what they needed and they told me they couldn't connect those hose, so I told them where the connector was and they started filling up the tub. A few minutes later I looked in it and it was an inch or two full, so I yelled at him to fill up the bathtub. My goal during labor was to get to the tub. I had been told that sitting in the birthing tub, or any water, would be very relieving during labor, so I was just working towards getting to that. I got in the bathtub (around 2:20am), which just came up halfway on my huge belly, so it didn’t provide as much relief as I was hoping for, but it gave me some relief. While in the tub I would push a little bit during contractions, because it felt good and gave me a bit of relief. While pushing, I pooped a little bit, so I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet and pooped a little more. I then started pushing her out. Since the contractions were back to back with no break, I just pushed. I told Matt that she was coming, and he said “do you want to move?” and I said “she’s coming,” and Matt again said “do you want to move?” He was concerned that I was on the toilet, but it ended up being the perfect location to give birth. He quickly took off his FitBit (priorities). I was able to lean against the back of the toilet, and use the side as leverage, and since I was sitting up, I had gravity to my advantage. I was able to hold the top of her head while pushing, and Matt caught her body. I pushed for less than one minute and she was born. She instantly started crying, and Phoebe cleaned out her nose and her mouth then got her camera and took some pictures.
Matt went and woke up the kids by saying “mommy pooped out a baby on the toilet,” so they came to the bathroom and saw her, then Matt had them go back to their room and read. Matt and Phoebe helped me move to the bed, which they had set up with pads and a waterproof liner. Matt went and woke up my mom, who had no idea I was even in labor, and she came and met Callie. I started nursing right away. By then my midwife had gotten there. There was no spot to park in front of our house, and she was upset about that, but then Matt told her the baby was already born, and she relaxed a lot. She came into the room, and checked me and Callie and asked what time she was born. We all looked at each other because we had no idea. Phoebe checked the time stamp on the first picture she took, so we had her birth time. The placenta was born soon after that, and then Matt had the kids come back out of their room to see their baby sister some more.
My mom went to go back to bed, and my dad had gotten up, so he came and met Callie as well. My friend, Giana got there at 3:15 to take pictures, which was such a blessing. Claudette did all of her measurements, Callie was 7 lbs 5.5oz, and 20.25 inches long. It was so nice to be in my bed and not a hospital bed, I was so much more relaxed, I also was able to take a shower soon after. Claudette stayed with us until around 5am, to make sure we were okay, and healthy.
Up until the moment Brooklynne held her she did not want a sister. She said as soon as she held her she loved her.
My wonderful mid-wife, Claudette.
Matt had to work for 2 hours, so he left at 4:30 and came back at 6:30. Phoebe stayed with me all morning, we sat in my bed with my precious brand new baby, and watched Parks and Rec., it was almost surreal. When Matt came home he made coffee and breakfast for us. We sat in bed eating eggs and sausage and toast and drinking coffee and snuggling my baby girl, just staring at this life Matt and I had just brought into the world together. Matt woke Brooklynne up and got her ready for school; it was so nice to have him home with us all day. Since I hadn’t slept much in two days, my body was exhausted, but I wasn’t tired because of all the adrenaline, joy, and love.
I find this incredible. Life giving.
My home birth did not go as we had planned or anticipated, but it was the most incredible experience that I have ever had. I’m so thankful there were no complications, and her cord wasn’t wrapped around her neck. I’m so glad she cried as soon as she was born. Praise God nothing went wrong since our midwife wasn’t able to make it for the birth. Being in that moment with my husband, and it being just the two of us bringing our new daughter into the world was really amazing.
Photo Cred for most of the photos: Giana Silva Photography
I am so blessed to have some incredible friends that came to be here in the middle of the night and help us bring our baby girl into the world. Thank you Phoebe and Giana for being here with us.