Kora Leigh's Birth Story | New Braunfels Natural Home Birth

Empowering home birth of second child | Texas Lifestyle Photographer

I was blessed with two very healthy pregnancies and non-invasive, unmedicated births. I had my first born, Laiken, at Austin area birthing center. I went with them half way through my second pregnancy as well, but because we moved to New Braunfels, I thought it would be best to birth at home. Only with the best in the area, Nikki Brown with San Antonio Nurse Midwife. Here’s the full birth story of my second baby, Kora Leigh Scott, born on May 1st, 2018.

All was well at my 41 week appointment on April 30th. We did a standard non stress test to make sure Kora was active and healthy. James didn’t have much on his schedule that week due to rain and I was more than ready to have the baby so I insisted on a strip to get it going. I went 9 days past due date with Laiken, and had a membrane strip at 41 also. He was born 2 days later. So, I had the intuition that things would be similar at this point. 

I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced as she examined me for the membrane strip. (Manual separation of the membranes between the cervix and the bag. Typically gets contractions going within 48 hrs under the right conditions) My membranes had already separated, so my midwife did cervical pressure and massage, which was incredibly painful. Kora was low and I was thinned out for weeks so it was like kneading and bruising an already sensitive area. I left her office feeling vulnerable and barely walking but knowing I would meet my babygirl within the next day or so gave me relief. I got my car washed, prepped some healthy snacks, and reminisced on my entire pregnancy that evening. How beautiful it was. As I layed down to go to sleep, Kora was moving like crazy. I put james’ hand on her to feel what I was feeling. She scratched my cervix as she moved her head around rapidly, as if she was trying to escape. I was in tears because of how painful it was and I yelped for her to just stop moving. When she settled, I could finally shut eye. 

I awoke to contractions at 5 am the next morning. I started timing them after an hour of consistency. They were steady every 7-10 minutes and easy to manage, so I stayed in bed and rested until Laiken woke up around 8:30. Had bloody show when I got up to empty bowels. I texted my midwife and doula letting them know I was in early labor and would keep them posted on progression. We did our normal morning routine of snuggles, protein pudding and smoothies, diffuse oils, etc. I skipped my coffee because I didn’t want it to effect my natural rhythm. I made sure to hydrate well with my alkaline and coconut water. I lathered in peace and calming, lavender, valor, frankincense, and clary sage essential oils. I called my mom to come pickup Laiken for a few hours, Meanwhile I got his backpack ready to go. After taking my last self portrait in the studio/nursery, I sat on the porch with my sweet boy and we took our last picture together of just us. I said goodbye to my first baby at 11 am. 

James and I prepped our bed and got homebirth supplies ready. Contractions had only got slightly more intense and still steadily 7-10 minutes apart so he drove me to my acupuncture appointment down the road at 11:30. When we got there contractions had progressed to every 5 minutes, but when I sat down for the treatment they slowed down. This was my 5th treatment, so Celeste, the acupuncturist and fellow homebirther, poked me in all the right places to help contractions to be effective, efficient and my body relaxed/free of anxiety. We left around 1:30 and I immediately felt contractions getting stronger and every 3 minutes. So, I called my friend and doula Stephanie to head over. I took a hott shower, rehydrated and ate, as I waited for Nikki, the midwife to come. James had to run to Home Depot to get the correct hose adaptor. She arrived and checked me about 3 pm. James began to setup the birth pool. When she checked, I was a discouraged 5 cm and 95% effaced. Just as I had told them I was down about that, I went to the bathroom and had a more intense contraction that I had to drop squat out. I layed down with James for about 20 minutes and had to get on all fours and move my hips around during every 1-3 minutes contractions. I was ready to get in the tub so they began filling and I hopped in. They were now on top of each other and It felt incredibly intense. I was moaning and groaning on all fours as james squeezed my hips as hard as he possibly could. Then I’d rest my head on the side of the pool in between. At 4:58 I had to get out as it was too hott and I couldn’t hold myself up anymore. So, I got out and flipped on my back ready to push her out. I was exhausted and had lost all that was in me to get her out and the pain was excruciating. My mind wanted to let up but my body wouldn’t. I had to squeeze and dig my nails into james and Stephanie as the birth team gave me the encouraging words I needed to get her earth side. My bag broke spontaneously at 5:05 and I felt the slightest relief. My moans and breathe became rapid as she crowned and Nikki looked me in the eyes and told me to slow my breathe and keep my tone low. I pushed long and hard about 1-2 times and pulled Kora to my chest as she kicked her way out at 5:15 pm.. She cried on my chest, I sighed of relief. James assisted us in breastfeeding for 20 minutes or so. Then delivered the placenta, I took photos of her and the placenta still intact, then cut and enjoyed snuggles with my sweet babygirl. 

Celebratory Thai food was a must. We called my mom to bring Laiken over shortly after cleanup to meet her baby sister. He is THE sweetest thing. We are SO blessed for a healthy and healthy experience.

***My camera was not setup before my birth team took photos on it, so these were completely blacked out when I uploaded them to my computer. I am lucky to be able to even see some of what was going on! I sent these to an artist who is drawing them to come back to life. Regardless of the quality, I cherish what I do have. But every part of me regrets not having invested in a birth photographer.***

Shannon Smith