Deidre's story is such an inspiring reminder of the strength and power of birthing women. Deidre experienced a long pushing phase, but she and her birth team trusted her body, and after six hours of work, her little boy was born safely into the water. Enjoy her incredible stories, mamas.
A long lead-up
The day I turned 39 weeks, I started noticing more and more tightening in my stomach. It wasn’t painful but I did notice that it was more consistent and regularly timed, so I began timing the contractions even though they weren’t painful. They had been waking me up through the night for a couple of weeks at that point in time, but these felt different.
The entire next day was filled with contractions, and after talking to my midwife and doula, we decided to do some positions to see if we could speed things up or determine that this was in fact labor. After hours of timing and focusing on the contractions, my midwife and I finally decided that this wasn’t truly labor and it was time to stop focusing on the contractions. It was prodromal labor - as frustrating and disappointing as it was, I had to focus on other things. A week later I was still feeling disappointed and wondering when labor would truly begin.
The following weekend, I went about my Sunday like a normal day but my intuition told me that something was different. We were standing in line at the grocery store when my water broke. I was talking to my husband, felt a shift, and suddenly my sweatpants were soaked. I looked at him and said nervously “My water just broke. Can I have the keys to the car?” Without skipping a beat, we walked away from the cart and immediately got in the car.
After hurrying home, we ordered takeout for our “last meal” and relaxed on the couch with the dogs while waiting to see if labor would pick up or if it would be a quiet evening. We had been encouraged to rest as much as possible and wait for contractions to begin. Within a few hours, we knew we’d be up through the night. My water broke at around 4:30 pm and by midnight I was in active labor and we called the doula to come over as the waves intensified.
Focusing on breathing, movement, and keeping my body and mind relaxed, we filled the birth pool and turned the lights down low. The relief being in water was exactly what I needed, and while contractions were only a few minutes apart, I was still able to breathe through them and crack jokes with my husband.
Around 3 am, my doula called in the midwife to join us as we believed I was starting to transition. The intensity was ramping up, so we decided to do a cervical check. I had been staying hydrated, but hadn’t been able to pee, so we placed a catheter to give me some relief prior to doing the cervical exam. It was the only cervical exam I had done throughout my entire pregnancy and labor, and we found out that I was between 8-9 cm at that point.
I got back into the pool and before long my body took over. The team encouraged me to lean into the intensity, rather than pull away. Surrendering to each wave was both challenging and relieving. I was nervous to push, but I felt like he would be born at any moment. Soon I couldn’t resist it and began getting comfortable with pushing.
We switched positions several times and I actively pushed for somewhere around six hours. My pelvic floor was strong and tight, making it difficult for crowning to take place. At one point my midwife had even suggested that if we were in an intervention setting, that an episiotomy would be recommended at that point. We obviously weren’t going to take that route being at home, and that we continued to be patient and resilient, changing positions and giving things more time to progress.
I had wanted to catch our baby myself, but as things progressed I decided I needed to focus on pushing and holding myself up as I was getting tired. We decided together that the privilege would belong to my husband instead who had always been open to catching. Once we changed the plan, our midwife instructed my husband on how to support the perineum and prepare to catch the baby each time a contraction happened.
I was in a complete trance. Fully present, but felt like an out-of-body experience. My body took over, doing exactly what it’s designed to do. After each contraction I felt as though I was hyperventilating and had to work to slow my breath. Eyes closed, I would rest deeply between contractions and wait until the waves approached to let everyone know we were moving again. I was mentally clear throughout the entire process, thinking and speaking to myself internally, even though I wasn’t communicating with everybody else other than to signal that a contraction was approaching.
Eighteen hours after my water broke, he moved quickly and emerged with two pushes as time stood still. My husband brought him out of the water and handed him to me before coming to hug and kiss me. The rush of pure relief, joy, and pride was something I’ll never forget.
Holding him on my chest, I suddenly had the strength to stand up, get out of the birth pool on my own, and the team walked me to our bed where we were set up to lay down and relax for our golden hour.
There I was able to relax, finally talk with my husband and be fed my favorite snacks, and stare at our new baby.
Jasper Marek Bloomquist was born February 8, 2021 at home into water at 7 pounds 14 ounces and 21 inches long.
Photographer and doula: Ariel Haynes @bloomingfootprintsbirth