Part two of this incredible birth story, if you haven’t read part 1 yet, click here.

Part two:

Another baby check. Heart rate strong and steady. Shared smile. Contraction.

The midwives were ancient, ageless and wise, allowing space for the Journey of the Woman; entering in bursts of brief solidarity when needed. “Yes, Fanni. That’s good. Things are changing.”

“Breathe through the contraction, now, Fanni. Don’t push; not yet. Just breathe… that’s good.”

Back in the tub, Fanni leveraged all her power against the urge to push through the contractions. Finally, a cervical exam revealed that the time for focused expulsion was upon us. We moved to the bed, where Fanni lied on her back, pushing mightily against every contraction rocking her skinny frame to its bones.

The midwives were power and direction. “Yes, Fanni; that’s it! Push right to here. Long pushes, long pushes.”

“Yes, that’s it Fanni; keep going! Use the power of your breath on this next one. Yes… you moved your baby!”

Baffled, overwhelmed and undercut by the gravity of the situation before me, I wept silently and uncontrollably. Fanni met my eye from her agony on the bed. “Are you okay?”

Humbled and overtaken, I could only chuckle and wipe my eyes.

Another baby check. Heart rate steady and strong. Shared smile. Expanding breath of relief. Contraction.

Fanni pushed and pushed. My optimism wavered, and I watched the body language of the midwives with hawk-like focus. Christie checked Fanni’s blood pressure, lingering on the revelation for just a moment too long. “We will check it again in a little while. Deep breaths now, Fanni…”

I started getting nervous as progress slowed to a seeming halt. Finally, the smallest crown of head manifested at the peaks of Fanni’s pushes. This remained unchanging through hours of world-rattling, vocal and volcanic contractions. We tried the shower. We returned to the bed. I observed subtle glances between Christie and Korina – the midwife who had taken Ariel’s place earlier in the afternoon. We decided to refill the pool for another round in there.

Another baby check. Heart rate healthy and strong. Sigh of relief. Shared smile. Contraction. Push.

Christie broke the news as we filled the pool.

“Korina and I are mindful about putting a call in to the hospital. Everything is fine, and the baby is doing just great, but we feel it is the right step, just in case we decide that that is a direction we would like to take.”

This talk continued as we helped Fanni back toward the pool on increasingly shaky legs. “At the hospital, they have access to some methods that we do not have access to. They can intensify feelings, or minimize feelings if need be, or help you to relax. We’re trying to be aware of the fact that you have been pushing intensely now for quite a long time. We can keep on like this for now, though, if that is what you want.”

At this point, my wife underwent the last, and most profound of her transformations. Fully determined for a natural, positive home-birth since day-one of her pregnancy – in spite of her condition of systemic lupus –she had remained mindfully determined:  reading testimonies and watching videos of female super-humans giving birth in all manner of settings; through all manner of conditions, complications, and impossibilities – positively visualizing and manifesting the day when she would be called upon to join their ranks.

Now was the time. Alone in the pool, she reached the precipice of her destiny.

Facing her deepest fears, against the backdrop of her deepest sense of actualisation and becoming, she bore down within herself and brought forth a new hope.

The midwives and I gathered again as she screamed violently, fingering herself at the inside, and drawing forth the tip of a head, visually for the first time. She pushed, moaned, screamed, shook, and pushed again, giving her absolute all to every contraction; falling breathless and weak from the effort, only to rise again moments later for the next.

Another baby check. Heart rate strong and steady. Sigh of relief. Shared smile. Earth-bending contraction.

Progress ceased again, though she gave all her strength to every passing moment. Korina gave us another reality check. “It may be time to be mindful of what we do not know, both inside and out. I will call Dr. Hanneman again.”  I resigned myself to the necessity of a hospital trip. Somewhat helpless, we decided to try the bed once more, and helped Fanni step shaky-legged from the pool.

She stepped onto the hardwood floor of the living room, paused, grabbed our hands violently and bore down once again. This time, she did not stop. “That’s it! Keep going, Fanni; keep going!”

A head protruded – a full head. Still, she did not stop. “Yes, there is your baby, Fanni; keep pushing!”

The head was followed by a shiny, wet, body, and our baby entered this world at the end of a cord tying its life to the woman in whom she’d been created. My wife had entered the pool a woman, facing the very depths of her own being, fear and doubt, and emerged a mother. My daughter, unwaveringly steady since the beginning, faced the world for the first time: eyes open, calm and steady in the arms of her mother.

Ella Bartnik was born on April 24th at 7:29 pm, in our living room, after 31 hours and 44 minutes of active labor.

She was 20.5”; and weighed 8 lb, 11 oz. We are immensely grateful to the midwives of “In the Beginning” for empowering us to have this experience in our home, and to our daughter for allowing it to progress as it needed to."

Beautiful homebirth story from Fanni.