Browsed by
Category: Inspiration

Birthing Hope

Birthing Hope

This is the story of the second time I gave birth; the first time I gave birth naturally.

Looking back, I don’t know whether to describe my labor as long or short.

Hope Noel was born early on Sunday morning, December 16, 2012. I started having contractions the Wednesday evening before. They were fairly regular for several hours, but fizzled out when I went to bed. I had contractions off and on all day Thursday, but, again, they fizzled out when I went to bed. Friday morning I went to my chiropractor for an adjustment to try to help things along. I spent a lot of time doing salsa circles on the exercise ball that afternoon to help Hope get into a good position. I had a lot of contractions Friday evening. So much so, that we sent our 20 month old son, William, to spend the night with Michael’s parents, because I really thought we would be headed to the hospital at some point. My contractions slowed down when we went to bed, picked back up again around 4am, and then stopped around 10am.

I took advantage of William being with his grandparents, though. I rested, watched TV, tried to relax, and spent more time on the exercise ball. William came home later in the afternoon and we spent a fun evening together as a family with lots of rolling around on the floor, laughing, tickling, reading books, and building block towers for William to gleefully knock down. While we were playing, I started noticing contractions picking back up and growing a little more painful. Michael went to pick up dinner while I bathed William and put him to bed. Contractions became increasingly regular, five to seven minutes apart, by eight o’clock Saturday evening. Michael and I ate dinner, watched some TV, and I took a shower and finished packing my hospital bag. Then, we set up camp in our bedroom. I made myself comfortable on the exercise ball, leaning over the foot of the bed onto some pillows to rest. We turned off the lights, watched some more TV, and waited to see what would happen. Michael’s parents came over around ten to stay the night at the house in case we needed to head to the hospital.

I called my doula around midnight. I wasn’t having trouble managing the contractions on my own yet, but they were getting more intense and I wanted to make sure she was there when I needed her. I also didn’t think the contractions were as strong as they should be and wanted to see if she could try some things (robozo, different positions, etc.) that might help move things along. She brought such a calm presence with her when she came into the house. Knowing that she and Michael were close by, even if they weren’t saying anything, made me feel so comfortable and taken care of. Jenni applied heat to my low back, massaged my shoulders, and affirmed what I was already doing: trying to relax and not resist what my body was doing. My contractions were four minutes apart at that point.

At 1:30 I was starting to feel tired. Mostly my legs were tired, since I had been standing and kneeling for several hours. I decided to lie down for a few contractions and rest. The first contraction I had while lying down was the turning point in my labor. Through all the previous contractions I had felt completely in control. I had no trouble staying on top of them, breathing through them, and relaxing, but this one was different. It hit me hard. It took my breath away. I also felt a slight “pop” during the contraction that, in hindsight, was my water breaking. I didn’t feel any fluid at the time (I had on a pad and thick yoga pants) so, even though I wondered if my water had broken, I didn’t say anything. As if I could have said anything. I couldn’t breathe!

Jenni encouraged me to get up, that lying down was generally the worst position for managing contractions. They started to come much closer together at that point. I felt completely overwhelmed by them. I knew I wanted to head to the hospital, but I kept that to myself for a while. I had intended to labor at home as long as possible and I was sure it was too soon. After a while, though, I didn’t care. The thought of enduring the drive to the hospital was becoming increasingly horrifying. I wanted to go. Jenni and Michael both tried to stall a bit and encouraged me to stay at home a bit longer. Based on the my contractions up until that point, Jenni thought I was probably five to six centimeters dilated and was worried that if we got to the hospital too soon I would be tempted to get an epidural. I agreed with her. I was sure it was too soon, but I wouldn’t change my mind. I wanted to go.

It probably took 30 minutes to put our things in the car and get me loaded up. I was only able to take a few steps between each contraction before I had to stop and breathe through the next one. Jenni heated me two rice socks, one for my stomach and one for my back, to help with some pain relief during the car ride. It was about 2:30 when we left the house.

The ride to the hospital was probably the longest (and, most definitely, the worst) 15 minutes of my life. It felt like Michael was driving ten miles per hour and it felt like I was being split open from the inside. I remember being so annoyed with Michael’s driving, thinking, You speed all the time, but you can’t bring himself to pick up the pace when your wife is in labor?!?! I started to feel an increasing amount of pressure, which I attributed to sitting down in the car. Michael tells me that I handled the car ride really well, but I felt totally out of control and completely at the mercy of what my body was doing. I really began to doubt that I would be able to have an un-medicated birth. I just knew we were going to get to the hospital, they were going to tell me I was only dilated to five centimeters, and I would have nothing left to draw from to get through the remainder of labor. I could not imagine the pain getting any worse.

We arrived at the hospital about 2:50. Jenni noted that it was 2:52 when she was running through the parking lot to meet us at the ER entrance. It took a few minutes before I managed to get out of the car and into the wheelchair. It felt like I was having one, long contraction. Jenni took me inside while Michael went to park the car. They immediately admitted me in the ER and took me upstairs to Labor and Delivery. Jenni was so wonderful during that wheelchair ride. She was holding my hand, comforting me, and assuring me that I was about to meet my baby. The nurses at Admissions in L&D somehow coaxed my name, birthdate, and Social Security Number out of me and got me to initial and sign a few forms while I was standing at the desk (I couldn’t sit anymore!) working through contractions. I have NO IDEA what those forms said. I could have been signing away the rights to my child for all I knew. I just figured if I did what they told me, they would leave me alone!

When Michael and I toured the hospital a month before Hope’s birth, we got to see the amazing birth tub and water birth suite they had. I hadn’t been sold on the idea of a water birth before then, but, after seeing the tub, I knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted dim lights, soft music, and wonderful warm water when we welcomed Hope into the world. However, since there was only one tub available for the whole hospital, I had been concerned that it wouldn’t be available when I needed it. We asked at admissions and I was relieved to hear that that room was free!

They wheeled me down the hall to the room. I stood up out of the wheel chair and immediately had to lean over onto the bed to get through a contraction. I remember one nurse telling me to go into the bathroom and change into a gown. I told her I couldn’t move. Another nurse told me to get onto the bed so they could check my progress. I told her I couldn’t move. My doula went to fill up the tub. Michael was still parking the car. I had my eyes closed and my back turned to most of the activity in the room, still standing beside the bed, but I could tell that there was a lot going on behind me. Nurses were calling out instructions to each other, one of the midwives from the UNT Midwife group arrived (though I had no idea which one until after Hope was born), the midwife’s phone was ringing as they were trying to call her to my room (not realizing she was already there), someone was helping me take my pants off, nurses laid towels down on the floor where I was standing, my doula came back, and, finally, Michael arrived. He and Jenni sat on the other side of the bed, facing me, so they could support me. It still hadn’t dawned on me that it was time to have this baby! The midwife checked my progress and I heard her say, “Alright. You’re ready.”


I don’t remember making the conscious decision to push. My body just sort of took over and did it. What a relief pushing was! In our Birth Bootcamp classes, I had heard that some women hated pushing and other women loved it. I’m thankful I was in the latter category! For William’s birth I had an epidural. That, coupled with the fact that he was OP (sunny side up), meant that I pushed for two hours before he was born. Until the very end, when the epidural was wearing off, I couldn’t really feel anything. It was such an amazing experience to be able to feel Hope being born! I don’t recall exactly how long I pushed, but it couldn’t have been more than a couple minutes. Before I knew it, I heard Michael and the midwife both telling me to reach down and pick up the baby. Michael says the image that is burned into his memory from that morning is me, standing by the hospital bed, naked from the waist down, still in the shirt I wore while in labor, holding just-born Hope on my chest with her umbilical cord still attached. I absolutely couldn’t believe what had just happened. My mind was reeling. I was crying and laughing and in a little bit of shock, I think. Hope was born at 3:04 a.m. We couldn’t have been in the hospital room for more than five minutes at that point.


They got me and Hope onto the bed and checked us both out. Once I was in bed, I saw that it was Tania that had delivered Hope. She was the perfect midwife to have attended her birth. She was so relaxed and calm through the whole hectic ordeal. Thankfully, we didn’t even have to ask for her to wait to clamp the cord until it pulsed out. I don’t think either Michael or I would have remembered that detail at the time. She just did it. Immediately after delivery, the nurses were a little concerned that Hope wasn’t crying more or pinking up as quickly as they would have liked, but Tania encouraged them to give us some space while the cord pulsed out. Within minutes she was doing just fine. Once they had taken Hope’s initial Apgars, Michael had cut the cord, and I delivered the placenta, they left us alone for at least an hour. Hope laid on my chest, tried to nurse, Michael and I called our families, and my nurse took my “pre-delivery” blood work and asked me all of the questions that are usually asked upon admission to the hospital. They then took Hope to weigh her (6 lbs, 14 oz) and measure her (19 3/4″). They let Michael apply her prophylactic eye ointment. He put it in her eyebrows, just like we had talked about, and the nurses were totally fine with it.


I got myself up out of bed, changed clothes, freshened up a bit and then we were off to our postpartum room. I felt amazing, slightly sore and a little tired, but otherwise like my old self. One of the first questions I asked after the birth was, “Did I tear?” Not a bit! My recovery from William’s delivery was long and painful (thanks for nothing, episiotomy!). It was such a nice surprise to feel like I could have resumed all my normal activities almost immediately after delivering Hope.


This definitely was not the birth I imagined, but it was everything I wanted: an un-medicated birth with personal, warm care in an environment that supported the choices Michael and I made for Hope’s birth and her care. I’m afraid that this experience has turned me into a birth junkie. As difficult as life is right now, caring for a 24 month old and a four month old, I really can’t wait to do this all over again!


Photos by Jenni King of Joyful Birth Doula Care

I’m Not Sorry

I’m Not Sorry

This week, the twins turn three months old. It’s crazy…time has truly flown by! We are amazed every day at their progress, thankful for their sleeping habit improvements, and amazed that these little miracles are ours.

But, during these three months, there’s been something I’ve been debating sharing, unsure of how to put it out there without sounding offensive. But, I think it’s time…so…here goes.

To get there, I have to start with how the twins arrived. It’s something I’ve had to figure out how to come to terms with on my own, something I treasure, and something I’m asked about on a fairly regular basis.

See, when you have twins, it seems like no questions are off limits. That’s okay; I don’t mind sharing, and I used to be the one with all of these questions! One of the questions is about how they were delivered, and that’s okay!

At 37 weeks and three days, I was scheduled for an induction due to Intrauterine Growth Restriction. Basically, the babies ran out of room. I was proud as John and I marched (okay…waddled and limped) down the halls of the hospital, excited to have made it to term, and ready to meet the babies!


We had absolutely fantastic nurses and a doctor that was completely supportive of our desire for the most natural birth possible considering twins were in the picture. One of her requests was that we have an epidural, because things can turn really rapidly with twins. We agreed to have it placed as soon as we arrived, because of platelet issues, we could have lost this opportunity if we had waited. (Note: I use “we” a lot, because John was just as much a part of this process and support as I was; this was a team effort in every sense of the word!). But, we wanted to wait to have the meds put through it. Our doctors were completely on board.

The labor was smooth and I was able to stay relaxed through it. Contractions were manageable and I was on cloud nine. When I progressed to eight centimeters, the doctor asked if we could start putting the drugs in, again, just in case. I agreed. However, we quickly found out they couldn’t push the medicine through the epidural…it was defective. So, it was removed and they placed another one, which didn’t work. At this point, it was time to move to the OR (standard for twin delivery) to push, so a natural birth it would be!

Our baby A, which we quickly found out was a boy, was delivered quickly! It was smooth and amazing; we were in love instantly! Other good news included the fact that our Baby B, which would be a girl, had flipped from breech, where she’d been the whole pregnancy, to head down. Great, we thought. She’d be here in no time!


This is where everything took a turn. Our doctor’s face became concerned and she put an internal monitor in. See, our Ginny wasn’t moving down and we’d lost her heart beat. Things changed quickly. Our doctor remained calm and explained that there was no time to wait, we would lose the baby if she didn’t get in there and remove her fast.

Within one minute, everything was ready and the anesthesiologist was apologizing, saying she was trying to push enough drugs to make up for the fact that the epidural wasn’t functioning. Soon, from what I understand, the baby was out and I was hemorrhaging. Our natural delivery turned into a medical emergency where both of our lives were at risk. I was put under and John and the babies were sent to recovery.

It would be a few hours before I was sent down to join them and before I would be able to see the babies. Obviously this time flew by for me, but John took care of skin to skin and made sure all was well, taking all of the first pictures and spending time with our new family members!


I don’t remember my first few hours with the babies, I don’t remember our first picture or the first time I held them, but we have precious pictures to document the experiences. They were here, they were healthy, and modern medicine and quick thinking and acting doctors saved us all, especially Ginny and I!

This is where the comments generally start and where I need to share my thoughts. Generally, when I’m asked how I delivered, I say, “One natural, one c-section” No details needed, right? The next thing I hear is almost always, “I’m sorry.”

Here’s the thing: I’m not. Was my delivery ideal? Nope. Was it what I envisioned? Nope. Was it ideal to have a regular delivery and a C-section without pain relief at the same time? No. Do I still have nightmares and need time to process it? You bet.

But. I’m. Not. Sorry.

I’m not sorry for the way I delivered my babies or the way my daughter entered this world. I don’t feel bad about it or feel regret. I don’t resent the doctors who made the best choices they could to ensure the health of my family.

I don’t understand those that compare their experiences to something horrible. I don’t understand how a wish for a natural birth could trump the desire for a safe one.

This story is something I will share with Ginny when she asks someday, with pride, because you know what? It’s her story! It’s how she chose to get here. It’s unique and it’s hers and she’ll be able to understand it, because all potential consequences of waiting were avoided. She could have suffered and she did not. She’s healthy and my hope is that she’ll be happy. So far, we are doing pretty well in that department.

I understand that doctors make decisions we don’t always agree with and that sometimes there may be other motives at play, but, in our case, there were not. The best decisions were made from the start of the day until the babies arrived.


So, no, let me reiterate…I am not sorry. I am grateful. I’m grateful for modern medicine. I’m grateful for a doctor that let my husband stay in the room to witness our daughter’s birth and to pray over everything that was happening, even in the midst of chaos. I’m grateful that I get to hold my healthy babies each day.

This story brought them to us, it’s a part of our family now, and I choose to see it as a happy one.

How can I be sorry for that?

Originally published on Take Two Blog.

A Natural Hospital Birth, A Peaceful Miscarriage at Home, and A Future Homebirth Coming Soon

A Natural Hospital Birth, A Peaceful Miscarriage at Home, and A Future Homebirth Coming Soon

It has been three years since I had my son in a natural, med-free hospital birth. It was 27 hours of total labor. Contractions were every three minutes (lasting a minute long) from the get go, so I got no rest once they started at two o’clock in the morning! I went to the hospital after about 18 hours thinking surely I’d made some progress, but they said I was only at 1cm. They told me to go walk around for an hour and come back and they’d check me again. I was a little discouraged, but when I came back an hour later I was at 4cm and was then admitted to Labor and Delivery.

We settled in the room and my husband put a movie on. All the staff that came in the room had read my one page birth plan and was very respectful of my wishes. My nurse was awesome and very supportive of natural birth. She made sure I got the room with a portable monitor so I could walk around and wouldn’t be stuck in bed. I walked, bounced on a birth ball, changed positions, and did whatever I could to move things along. My husband had made me a playlist of serene, relaxing music, so we listened to that for a while. I was exhausted, because I had not slept for two nights now, so I decided to lie down and rest for a bit. My husband got settled in his cot and started to fall asleep, until the nurse came in and told me if I wanted to get this baby out I needed to do some more work. My husband got up and put his shoes back on (he said it made him feel more awake, haha) and I did some more bouncing on the ball and walking and moving around.

After 24 hours, they broke my water and my nurse told me things were about to get more intense. I didn’t believe her, but Yowza! The next couple hours were tough! That was really the hardest part of the whole labor. I would do okay for a few contractions, leaning, and swaying on my husband while focusing on deep breathing. Then I’d get freaked out and lose focus and get scared that I couldn’t do it and cry out to God to help me. Then I’d remember to breathe and focus and gather myself. I almost asked for an epidural at this point, but I knew that I was almost done, so I just kept going. Once it gets to that point, you are so close to the finish.


Then I felt like pushing, and with pushing the pain went away and I had a new focus. I pushed for about an hour and a half and then the baby came out. I didn’t really feel it – it was so surreal. The doctor gave me an episiotomy while the baby was crowning, which made me tear a little more. I will not be getting an episiotomy for future babies – research shows no benefits; but in the moment I was like ‘whatever just get this baby out of me’. I didn’t feel the episiotomy or the sewing up – though he did inject some lidocaine before stitching me up. I don’t remember the placenta coming out either, because I was in awe of meeting my little guy. I held my baby skin-to-skin for a long time and he nursed wonderfully. I was up walking around and doing everything right away and never had any pain with ‘recovery’, even where I had my episiotomy/tear. I’m so thankful for no pain or complications! My husband was so wonderful through everything and I’m thankful he’s been such a good husband and father.


Two years after the birth of my son, I had a late miscarriage and went through full blown labor contractions and dilation at home. It was about two hours long, with the last hour being the really tough part of transition. I did a lot better at focusing and breathing this time around and never lost focus. I breathed through the contractions and really relaxed as deeply as I could between them, soaking in the minute of rest. I took them one at a time, instead of getting overwhelmed and thinking they would last forever. The last ten minutes of that tough hour was the hardest, with no break or rest between contractions. I basically chanted/hummed in a deep voice to get through it, and that really helped a lot. I didn’t care what I sounded like – it was what I needed to do to get through it. And then it was done. It was very hard emotionally – I prayed a lot and listened to some relaxing spiritual music to get through. I was trying to not get upset or let negative thoughts in that this was ‘all for naught.’ I wasn’t expecting it to be as intense as birth with a full term baby was, but it gave me strength and courage that I could do it again when the time comes.


I’m now 8 months pregnant and have planned a natural homebirth this time around, with the help of my husband, midwife, and doula. I’m very hopeful that this will be another good, natural birth experience. I think this will be our last baby, so I want to enjoy and soak it all in.

The Story of Baby J

The Story of Baby J

When I had my daughter in June of 2014, I thought it was silly to make a plan for birth. I knew it wouldn’t go my way, anyway! So I went into labor with only one request: an epidural. When I went from four to ten centimeters in 25 minutes they told me that my only request couldn’t be honored. This time, with my son, I decided I would plan everything I wanted, as long as I was ok with it being thrown out the window. I had been taught that little planning or lots of planning, I still stood a chance of everything changing, along with the chance of it going my way. So I may as well plan, right?


I had spent days hoping he’d come early like his sister, who was five days early, but as his due date approached I was becoming nervous I’d be late. Eight days before our due date I had a checkup with my amazing doctor at 9:45am. My doctor checked my cervix and said I was 3.5 centimeters with a bulging bag of waters. I was terrified. When I was this dilated with my daughter, she was born less than two hours later. I drove to my sister’s house immediately after my appointment, with contractions about three minutes apart. From there, my mom left to get our hospital bag from my house, and my husband left work and picked me up.


When we arrived at the hospital, my contractions were two and a half minutes apart and I was six centimeters dilated. I had progressed in less than 45 minutes. My photographer showed up just minutes after me.


My nurse had a hard time getting my IV line in or drawing blood, but eventually I was all checked in. It was about 11:30am by the time they had me ready to go. I labored quietly, breathing with my husband through each contraction, with my mom rubbing my back. I started on the birth ball, moved to standing with my husband, sitting on the rocking chair, and then decided it was time to go back to the bed. I knew I was close. I was checked again and was eight centimeters. Only about 30 minutes later I knew the familiar feeling: I was ready to push. I looked at my mom as I breathed through a contraction and nodded my head. She knew what I needed and went to get my doctor. My doctor came in and told me to push whenever I wanted and the nurse brought me a push bar.


On the first push, my water broke. Two more pushes and Baby J’s head was out. They immediately told me to lie back on the bed, and I felt his shoulder come out as I lay back. Later I learned they needed me to lie back so they could untangle him: his cord was wrapped twice around his neck, once around his abdomen, and once from his shoulder down between his legs!


He was placed directly on my chest at 2:55pm, and we delayed cord clamping. We immediately breastfed and he was a professional latch-er!

About an hour later, after having my fourth degree muscular tear repaired, they weighed him in at 9lbs 3oz and 21 1/4″ long! I was immediately so proud of myself for delivering my big boy all natural, as planned. Our family came in from the hallway after he was weighed, and we bonded in my hospital room. My mom left to pick up my daughter to come meet her new baby brother, and the nurses brought her a sandwich for dinner. We were discharged the next day.


As a modest soul, I had contemplated having a photographer present at our delivery. I am forever glad that I decided to have her present. She was a wonderful fly on the wall and I never paid any attention to where she was in the room.

Photography by Alora Photography

All On My Own: An Accidental, Unassisted Home Birth

All On My Own: An Accidental, Unassisted Home Birth

A little background about my previous births:

In January of 2011, we welcomed our first born son Earth-side in the water at Family Beginnings Birthing Center (Miami Valley Hospital). I labored overnight at home and arrived at the hospital not long before he was born. Trying to recall from almost five years ago, we got to the room, got in the tub, and a few short contractions later he was born. In December of 2012, our daughter was born on land, though we wanted another water birth. We did not give the hospital enough notice before our arrival to get the birthing center room switched over or even a portable tub set up on the labor and delivery side. I was practically ready to give birth in triage. In September of 2015 I welcomed our youngest son at home, alone in our empty bathtub.

It was the day after my due date. I woke up and got myself and my children ready to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I was having some “pains,” but I couldn’t decide if they were labor or Braxton Hicks. I call them Braxton Millers; GO BUCKS!

I took the kids to Nana’s house after MOPS for lunch. I often make or pick up lunch for my partner. He is a letter carrier and comes home with the proximity of his route, so I asked to leave the kids with her.

I made lunch for my partner and we talked about the “pains” I was having. They weren’t very regular, and only some of them made me stop and take notice. He advised me to start timing these feelings, go pick up the kids, and walk around a local park. I did start writing my pains down, but I decided to stay home by myself and try to rest, in case it really was labor.

I went upstairs and ironed my Girasol Ring Sling for the hospital bag and scrolled Facebook on my Kindle. My “pains” were about ten minutes apart for an hour, and maybe every other one was actually anything to notice where I had to stop whatever I was doing and breathe through it.

I called my partner and told him I was actually in labor. He was about two hours from finishing his route, so I told him he could finish working.

Then I called my care provider and we spoke about my contractions being ten minutes apart. They wanted them to be five minutes apart before I came in. I reminded the nurse my labors were fast and I had already spoken to the midwives about wanting to come in earlier this time and actually get to labor in the hospital, use the birthing ball, and Jacuzzi tub. She said if I wanted to come in, just call back and let them know.

Ten minutes later, I was having another bigger contraction. I changed positions from side lying to hands and knees and felt very uncomfortable. I remembered from the birthing classes to give a new position a chance, because it likely wouldn’t feel great at first, but I felt like I had to use the bathroom bad!

I made it the short walk down the hall and onto the toilet. I remember wanting my contraction to end so I could relieve myself, but then I realized I was trying to go during my contraction.

I’ve never had my water break prior to birth, so I thought that might be the pressure I was feeling. I reached down and felt a bulging bag of waters…and the head. Two more steps into my bathtub and then what felt like immediately after, my son was born.

I tried to sweep my son’s mouth and realized the sac was covering his face like some alien membrane. I peeled it off and he started to breathe. I had brought my phone in the bathroom with me, thank goodness, so I was able to call my partner. All I said was, “You have to come home right now.” I hung up.

I called my care provider back and said, “Remember how my contractions were ten minutes apart and I shouldn’t come in? Well, I accidently had my baby.”

They were like, “What?” Once they realized what I was saying, the nurse said I had to call the ambulance.

“You mean I can’t just get in the car and…”

“No! You have to call the squad.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll hang up and call.”


I called 911 and had an ambulance on the way. The dispatcher, bless his heart, was reading off of some prompter, I’m sure. He told me to find something like a shoestring to tie the cord.

“Um, No.”

“But you need to find…”

“No I don’t.”

“But it says…”

“We’re good. I haven’t delivered the placenta yet. He’s breathing; we’re good.”

I even went as far to say, “It’s called delayed cord clamping.”


Shortly thereafter, my partner got home and I told the dispatcher I was going to have to let him go. He started to say something else and I just said, “I’m going to have to let you go, thanks.”

My partner heard I was on the phone upstairs. He looked in our room, our children’s’ rooms, and then the bathroom. The shower curtain was partially obscuring me, so he didn’t know why I was in the tub until he came all the way into the bathroom.


I said, “Sorry.” He saw I was holding our child. I told my partner to go get my big Pyrex bowl. I primarily used it for popcorn. I’ll never look at it the same again.

As my partner was coming back upstairs, the paramedics arrived and he escorted them inside.

I delivered the placenta into the bowl and my partner cut the cord. I splashed some water on my legs, wrapped a towel around me to make it to the gurney, and nursed my newborn in the ambulance ride to the hospital.


I’ll say this much, your body knows what to do. Everybody’s labor and delivery is unique and special to them and their baby. This is definitely not what I had planned, but it is my story and I own it. Our bodies are made for this!


Henry’s Incredible Birth: Written by Dad

Henry’s Incredible Birth: Written by Dad

It was Sunday the 1st of February, 2015, and the weathermen were predicting a snow storm that would hit our area. The forecast was that we would not get that much snow, maybe six to eight inches. The snow was already falling when we packed up the family and went to church like normal. After church we came home, rested, and then headed to Grandma and Papa V’s house for dinner. By the time we left for dinner, the roads were getting pretty bad and we probably shouldn’t have left the house.

While at dinner, Vicki had one pretty good contraction, but this was nothing new. She had been contracting on and off for the last couple of weeks. Just like usual, the contraction came by itself and it was back to waiting. At our last appointment with our OB, she measured Vicki and she was a “stretchy 5”. She didn’t know what to say, because Vicki should have been in active labor, but was feeling no pain.


While at Grandma and Papa’s house, the snow storm was still going and the roads had gotten pretty bad. While on the way home we were laughing at all of the poor pizza delivery guys on the road trying to deliver in the snow. It was the night of the Super Bowl and no one wanted to go out into the storm.

When we got home, I knew I did not want to go into work the next day and be so far away from home in a snow storm. I called work and took Monday off. I ran back outside and cleared the driveway again so it would be easy to leave in case Vicki went into labor. We got our four children into bed and asleep. Vicki and I then settled in to watch some T.V. before bed. We went to bed a little later than normal and settled in to get some rest. This is when the fun began.

We were just about asleep and I heard Vicki make a low groan, the kind of sound she makes when she is having a contraction. We have learned not to get excited over one contraction, because she had had so many contractions before that lead to nothing. A couple of minutes later she made the low groan again. After this one I thought that maybe I should start to time them to see how far apart they were, just in case this was the real thing. It was 11:34pm. A few minutes later, she had another contraction that made her shaky, so I looked at the clock: 11:37pm. Holy smokes! Only three minutes apart. Maybe I need to pay attention to her. Vicki then said that she needed to go to the bathroom. As she got up, Vicki looked out the window and sees the mounds of snow. She giggled that there was no way God would have her go into labor in the middle of this epic snow storm.

A few minutes later, I hear that low groan again and go into the bathroom to check on her. She is still having contractions close together and is pretty uncomfortable. Vicki then asked me to draw a bath and put some lavender oil in it to calm her down. She was hoping the lavender would help her relax and hopefully get the contractions to stop. So I put together the bath for her and she got in. This did the job to help her relax. The contractions kept coming, but Vicki said that they weren’t painful.

While this was happening I contacted Devan, our babysitter, to come to the house to watch the other kids while I took Vicki to the hospital. She stated that she was on the way and I began getting the last items into the suitcase to take to the hospital. I also sent our OB a text message to let her know what was going on. The OB stated that she would let the on call doctor know. The contractions continued, but Vicki insisted that they were not painful and she did not think this was actually labor. While this is happening I got the feeling that the baby was probably coming quicker than we thought and I wanted to be prepared if it did. I ran downstairs and unlocked the door for Devan. I also grabbed the bulb syringe that we had previously sterilized for the new baby.

Devan made it to the house and her dad said that the roads were very bad and I would need four-wheel drive if I was going to get anywhere. I thanked him for bringing Devan over and ran back upstairs to Vicki. Vicki was still in the tub and had another contraction as I walked in and she looked at me and said that she thought her body was trying to push on its own. She said that she thought we still had time, because she did not feel any pain or feel the baby’s head coming down. At that point I called 911 and said that my wife was in labor and I needed an ambulance to get her to the hospital. I knew I would not be able to get her there before the baby came. The dispatcher asked if Vicki was ok and I responded that she was as ok as she could be, she was in labor. I then hung up with them and went back to Vicki.

I then told Vicki that the ambulance was on the way and that I needed to get her out of the tub and dressed so we could go to the hospital. I ran around franticly looking for clothes for Vicki to wear. She said that she needed to go sit on the toilet, because it felt like she had to poop. As she got on the toilet I heard a big splash and turned to her to say, “Well, I’m guessing that was your water breaking.” I then watched Vicki arch her back up on the toilet, straightening out her body, at which point I could see the baby’s head crowning. I yelled at Vicki that she needed to get off of the toilet and she stated that she couldn’t. I told her that she had to so I grabbed her by a leg and around the neck and lifted her off the toilet and onto a towel on the ground. Vicki then screamed as another contraction was pushing the baby’s head out. At that point I started to quietly yell for Devan. Devan didn’t hear my quiet calls for help and I realized I would have to do this all by myself.

With that one contraction Vicki was able to push out the head. As I looked at the baby, I noticed that it was very purple. That is when the Holy Spirit told me, “Umbilical cord.” I immediately looked down. I could see the cord over the baby’s shoulder and around the neck. Without thinking, I grabbed the umbilical cord with my finger and pulled it over the baby’s head. Vicki then asked me to give her the baby because she thought that it was already born. I told her that she needed to push to get the shoulders out and that she was not done yet. She then pushed one more time and one by one the shoulders rotated and slid out. I grabbed the baby and lifted him right onto Vicki’s chest. He was still purple and not crying yet so I used the bulb syringe to clear out his nose and mouth until he let out a weak little cry.

I then kept fussing with him, because I knew his cry wasn’t strong enough to fill his lungs with oxygen. I wanted to make him mad and keep him crying. At this point I looked up and saw Devan standing in the doorway holding the phone. She then reached out and handed it to me. I took the phone and found 911 had called back and I informed them that Vicki had delivered the baby at approximately 12:35am.

The dispatchers attempted to give me directions over the phone about clamping and cutting the umbilical cord. I was busy making sure Henry was breathing and knew that leaving the umbilical cord intact while it was still pulsing was the safest option for him. A couple of minutes later I looked up and found a sheriff’s deputy standing in the bathroom doorway. I told 911 that he was there and I was going to let them go. He asked if all was well and I said it was so he went back down to let in the EMS crew.

At this point Vicki asked me to take a picture, so I took a photo of her on the floor of the bathroom holding our baby boy.


EMS then came in and was making a lot of noise so Vicki asked me to tell them that we had four other kids that were still sleeping and if they could keep it down. They then clamped the cord, cut it and then prepped Vicki to leave for the hospital. While all this is going on Henry pooped on Vicki. After they got her cleaned up, she was loaded into the ambulance and I gathered our things and met her out there. Once in the ambulance I gave our baby boy, Henry, back to her so she could have skin to skin contact with him for the trip to the hospital. Henry promptly pooped all over Vicki again. The ambulance drove us to McLaren hospital, because St John Main was too far in the storm. While in the ambulance I let Dr. Gilbert know that I delivered the baby at home and she responded that she thought that might happen and congratulations.


At the hospital there was a mass of people waiting for us to arrive. They immediately looked after Vicki and Henry. Once they found they were both fine, they were sent to the labor and delivery floor for post-partum care. Up there they had Vicki deliver the placenta and weighed Henry. We were informed that he was 9 lbs 6 ounces 21 inches long. They brought him back to Vicki to feed and he immediately latched right on and began eating.


We were visited by a lot of the hospital staff wanting to know the story of Henry’s birth. It took a little while for the shock of having an unintentional, unassisted home birth to wear off. We couldn’t believe that Henry was born in less than an hour of labor and delivered on our bathroom floor! As we look back on Henry’s birth, we can’t believe how it all happened and it seems surreal. We are so thankful that God was there to guide me as I delivered our precious boy on the bathroom floor of our home.

The Birth Story of Pippa Saoirse

The Birth Story of Pippa Saoirse

It was a Friday and I was 41 weeks pregnant with my second child. I had an appointment with the PPC (Prolonged Pregnancy Clinic) to monitor the baby and myself and discuss options. I had been feeling pains on and off at this point for nearly two weeks and was very much ready for my baby to arrive.

When we arrived and after I had eaten, I was hooked up for 20 minutes to see how bub was doing. She was moving fine and everything was going well. I was asked how I was feeling, had I lost my mucus plug, had my waters broken, was I feeling baby move, and did I have any concerns, but to me everything felt fine. After I was taken off the monitor I was then taken in to see the doctor and have an ultrasound.

As they were setting everything up, I was asked the same questions as when I first arrived. Then the doctor started looking at the baby and the room was quiet, too quiet. She eventually asked when my last ultrasound was and I told her it was when I was 19 or 20 weeks and I was told everything was fine, so I did not need another ultrasound. I was then told that my baby had little to no fluid left and that my placenta looked like it was deteriorating.

I knew before the doctor spoke that I would end up being induced. I felt sick, like I had failed my baby and myself. I was induced with my son because of high blood pressure and I had really hoped that the second time I would get to experience labour naturally. After the doctor spoke to me and we decided to induce as soon as possible, instead of waiting the following week, I had an internal examine to see if I was dilated; I wasn’t. The doctor explained to me that since I wasn’t dilated that I wasn’t going to be induced until the following day, but I was going to get a balloon catheter to help bring on labour. I was offered to stay the night, but after everything they said I just wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed and be with my husband and son.

That night I could barely sleep, every pain I got I was hoping it was the start of labour. I had my heart set on a natural labour, but as each hour passed, I knew it was not going to happen. I barely slept, worrying about different things that could happen, but also excited because I knew the next day I would finally get to meet my baby. I arrived at the hospital around 7am to book in; I was led to my room, got changed and waited for the midwives. Just before 8am they tried to break my waters, but were having trouble since there was barely any fluid. At 8:15am I had the drip put in and by 8:30am, I was having my first contractions.

Since I was being induced I wasn’t allowed to have the water birth I had hoped for, but unlike my first induction, I was allowed to get up off the bed and move around more freely.

By 10:30 or 11am, I was too tired to stand anymore and just wanted to lie down and rest. I tried to sleep in between contractions, but that’s didn’t work. I really wanted to avoid any type of pain relief, but I was getting tired and was worried that when it came time to push I wouldn’t have the energy. I decided to wait and try a heat pack instead, but that didn’t help. I kept trying to focus on getting through each contraction, but my blood pressure was rising and each time I had a contraction my babies heart rate would go from 150bpm down to 25-30bpm. I could tell the midwives were getting concerned, but when I asked they were great and reassured me that everything was fine and if I or baby need any help that we would discuss it when the time came.


Around 12pm, after the midwife had checked to see how far I was dilated and she said I was only 3-4cms. I was too tired and decided that I was going to get an epidural. They told me everything was arranged and I would be able to get one in about 40 minutes, so to try to relax and breathe and it would be there soon. About 35minutes later, I was having a contraction when I felt like I needed to push. After pushing with two contractions, I asked the midwife to check and see if I was dilated and she said I was only about 5cm and try not to push too early. I tried not pushing with the next contraction, but it didn’t work and I was pushing involuntary. It helped ease the pain. Fifteen minutes later the midwife came in to tell me that I was about to get the epidural. I told her I needed to push and I could feel the baby coming. She looked a bit surprised, but came over to check and sure enough my babies head had started to crown. She rushed to get gloves and everything ready. At 1:18pm Saturday, 24th October, 2015 I welcomed my daughter Pippa Saoirse into the world. I had a second-degree tear and the midwife told me I had ragged membranes and my placenta was grainy. I struggled afterwards with accepting her birth and how my body had failed to have her naturally, but after some time I know it was the best decision.pippa2

A Fast, Natural Birth Hospital Story

A Fast, Natural Birth Hospital Story

I was blessed to have a very easy and healthy pregnancy. Praise the LORD for that! It was truly one of my favorite seasons of life. I felt great for the majority of the time, was able to remain very active, and even got relief from my horrible allergies for many months.

I had taken two pregnancy tests that confirmed my suspicions in January, while my younger sister was living with us. I remember the initial shock and disbelief, and even weeks later looking at the first ultrasound, fully expected them to say, “There’s no baby in here; you must have imagined it.” Instead, I saw a tiny pea-sized miracle with a flickering little heartbeat. I was in awe.

I proceeded to do an incredible amount of reading in my pregnancy. I wanted to know it all: the good, the bad, and the terrifying. I read helpful books like “Your Best Birth” and I bought “The Pregnancy Journal” to read about Baby’s daily development. I also watched The Business of Being Born (which my husband was NOT quite ready for). All of that, coupled with talking to one of my best friends about her experience, helped me decide I wanted to give birth without pain medication. There was a birth center located about 45 minutes from us that I thought sounded ideal, but my husband requested a hospital birth for our first experience. Our perfect compromise was to choose a hospital with a great reputation for natural births and deliver with a midwife instead of a doctor. We took prenatal classes there as well, which were excellent in getting us both on the same page and prepping us for what was to come. They educated us on many natural ways of handling pain. I enjoyed meeting to go over our birth plan and the details I wanted to include: a birthing ball, a birthing stool, and my husband revealing the gender of our baby to me.

At that first ultrasound, the local OB/GYN originally predicted Baby would arrive in early August. Since in the months leading up to this pregnancy I had been reading up on Natural Family Planning and keeping meticulous records of my cycle, I knew that I was not that far along. According to my calculations, I thought September 19th would be about 40 weeks. We discussed, disagreed, and finally after the measurements on the ultrasound, the OB/GYN thought September 23 was most accurate. I was only 8 weeks along. I decided to try to keep teaching part-time and coaching cross country up until the baby came, because I knew that would be best for my overactive mind and I had read staying as active as possible helps labor and delivery as well.

I taught on Friday, September 19th and then packed up my things in my classroom. I planned to spend the following week at home and let my maternity substitute take over the teaching. I hadn’t felt any contractions, just very mild Braxton Hicks, so I was assuming I still had many days before Baby would come. I had my 40 week appointment with my midwife that afternoon and found out I was two centimeters dilated and close to 80% effaced. I was thrilled! Two weeks earlier I had been one centimeter and 70%, so at least I was finally making some more “progress”. My favorite moment leading up to birth was at the 39 week appointment when they did a “bone check.” The midwife who performed that complimented my birthing bones. She told me I was fortunate that my small body was lined up well and doing exactly what it needed to do to prepare for birth. I smiled as she told me I would be an excellent candidate to deliver at the birthing center. Maybe next time, I thought to myself. The midwife that saw us at 40 weeks, Betsy, made the comment that dilation and effacing doesn’t necessarily give us an accurate picture of how soon this baby might come, however. So we headed back to Warsaw in that surreal state of knowing that it could be any moment then, or we might have had to wait two more weeks.


Saturday, September 20th, I woke up early and decided to head to the farmer’s market. Maybe this week would be my big opportunity to get some meals in the freezer! Many vendors commented on how I looked like I would “pop any day now,” but I just smiled politely as I thought to myself how off they were. I didn’t feel any different. When I got home, my husband, J., and I planned to go on a nice long walk to enjoy the sunshine and mild temperature. We mapped out a four mile route and began with a nice big bottle of water.

Within the first mile, we had stopped three or four different times, because I was so out of breath and crampy. Each time J. would ask me, “Are you having contractions?” “Are you SURE these aren’t contractions?” “Are you OK, babe?” and I would assure him, “I’m just so tight! I’m fine. It’s nothing.” And then we would continue. As we neared the mile mark, however, it was clear we needed to turn around. I was short of breath and all my muscles felt tight no matter how many times I tried to stretch them out. As we walked in the door, about 4:00pm, we received a text from our friends who had just had their baby boy! We were so happy for them and talked about how jealous we were that they were already holding their precious child.

I soon went to the bathroom for the fiftieth time that day and I noticed that my underwear were pretty wet. “I think my water might have broken,” I said to J, without much confidence. No contractions. No pain. Huh! Maybe I was wrong. It wasn’t the dramatic moment I imagined it being.

After getting changed, I decided I wanted to dust the furniture in the living room. Even I should have known this was the nesting instinct! I was moving the couches, vacuuming the baseboards, and periodically stopping to lay on the couch for a few minutes to rest. I still didn’t notice any contractions, but I did start feeling menstrual type cramping in my stomach. I was tired and out of breath. I decided the midwife on call might want to know if in fact my water had broken earlier. I called her, still feeling like I was over-reacting. “Eat some protein, drink lots of water and lie down or take a shower. See if you are able to time any contractions,” she suggested. “Call me back in one hour to let me know how you are progressing.” So, after a long shower and some peanut butter toast I tried to nap for a while. J read quietly on the couch, waiting for me to let him know if and when I needed help.

Pretty quickly I noticed that the “cramps” I had been feeling earlier were getting pretty uncomfortable and making me feel like I had the wind knocked out of me. I started trying to time them (which was way more complicated than I imagined it being!) and realized they were about 30 seconds long and coming about every seven to eight minutes. I would nap in between them, and then the next one would wake me up. I began having to close my eyes, change positions in bed, and consciously breathe through them. I began to get a little nervous that this was the start of labor, and it was already more challenging than I thought to remain calm and in control. I asked J to get the car ready, so he left quickly for gas. When it was time to call Beverly back, they were closer to 45 seconds long and coming about every 4 minutes. She told us to head to the hospital. “But you’re not in a big rush,” she added. She said she would meet us there.

I texted our mothers, J grabbed our bags, and we sped to the hospital at around 6:20pm. The weather outside was brewing something special. The trees swayed violently in the wind and the clouds looked dark and ominous. By the time we were on the road, I was extremely uncomfortable and having to stay in one position was really frustrating. I propped myself up on pillows, closed my eyes, tossed and turned, but nothing seemed to help. “Where are we?” I would ask periodically, hoping to hear we were nearing the hospital. What a patient, kind husband I have! J later noted that he would try to time my contractions based on how labored my breathing got; he quickly realized we might not have much time! I don’t remember feeling any “breaks” between the heavy cramping at this point; the entire 45 minute car ride felt extremely uncomfortable. Neither can I remember any normal conversations at that point; I think I was starting to drift into “the zone” of just listening to my body, periodically freaking out about how tight my stomach was, and then trying to remember to breathe and relax.

As I got out of the car and waddled to the doors, I could tell my contractions were very close together. I distinctly remember being self-conscious, because I was wearing a shorter sundress, but with my pregnant body it all the sudden felt very revealing as we rushed through a crowd of Amish men outside the hospital entrance. Oops! I was so paranoid this whole time that what I considered “strong contractions” were going to be written off as false labor and we would be sent home. My family consistently talked about my low pain tolerance growing up, and my tendency to be overly dramatic, so I think part of me assumed I was not going to do well with birth. I squeezed J’s arm the whole elevator ride, wondering how in the world I would survive many more hours of labor if I think THIS is bad already. We made it to the third floor, and the second that I approached the desk a nurse said, “You must be Alison. Let’s get you weighed and checked in.” She wrote down that we checked in at 7:19pm.

In our room the nurse put monitors on my stomach to check on Baby. I wanted to remain standing because any pressure on my back or sides made me uncomfortable. I knelt on the bed, facing the wall. I stood next to the computer, swaying and bending. I was extremely annoyed by how one nurse seemed to be taking her time, asking me questions, writing things down, and I felt like HOW CAN ANYONE BE CALM RIGHT NOW?! I remember after one particularly strong contraction I asked in frustration, “So am I even having contractions, or am I making this worse than what it really is?!” My soon-to-be favorite nurse, Amy, replied, “Oh, honey, you are definitely having contractions. I don’t need to look at the monitor to tell that!” I also remember saying, in desperation, “I really don’t think I can do this without medication. I think I need something to help.” I looked at my husband, not sure of what I wanted him to say. I truly thank God that Amy jumped right in replied for him. “Well, we talked about this in detail, Alison, and you want to do this naturally. You CAN do it.” And that was exactly what I needed to refocus! One of my most vivid memories of labor is one particular contraction where I was on my hands and knees in the bed and I focused on relaxing my face and my shoulders. I just tried to imagine my body opening, and then I distinctly felt my pelvis open ever so slightly. It was so amazing to feel like my body knew how to do this process even though it was unknown to me.

I remembered hearing that getting in the shower relaxed muscles during contractions, so I told Amy I would like to try that to help with the pain. She asked to check me before I got in, but I was hesitant because I didn’t want to hear that I was less than five. She smiled and half-laughed, “Honey, you’re already an eight at least!” YES. I was shocked! This was when the realization truly hit me: this baby is actually coming. Like, SOON.


I sat on the toilet through one contraction as they got the water ready, and then got in the shower for a few more. I was so annoyed that the water felt like ice and I didn’t want to sit on the chair. In frustration, I looked down at my stomach and realized all my ab muscles were contracting and pushing, but I wasn’t doing anything consciously. I instantly felt like I was going to be sick. As soon as she heard me say that, I heard Amy yell to another nurse, “Um…we’re going to need the midwife NOW!” She asked me to start getting out of the shower. Everything was happening so fast! With the help of J on one side and Amy on the other, I made my way across the hospital room and to the birthing stool. This is the first time I remember seeing Beverly, our midwife. I felt my body pushing without me doing anything for the next two or three contractions. I loved the reminders from Amy to breathe and moan in a lower register to make each sound and push productive. Just when I felt like I might be tearing or might not be able to do anymore, Beverly told me I could touch my baby’s head! J whispered in my ear as he supported my arms behind me, “You are so close. I can see Baby. You are almost done.” I reached down and felt the soft tiny hairs on top of Baby’s head and it gave me the energy to try one more push. I felt instant relief as Baby’s head was delivered. With two more pushes, Baby entered the world! As I grabbed Baby and towels were brought to keep us warm, all of the sudden the detail I thought would be so important (son? daughter?) was the last thing on my mind. The emotions I felt at that moment were absolutely overwhelming as I felt a slippery little person wiggling in my arms. I remember the midwife asking, “So, is it a girl or boy?” and I laughed as I realized I didn’t even let my husband check. He told me we had a daughter! All I could say was, “Thank you, God, thank you! Mommy and Daddy love you so much, Naya (n-EYE-uh) Renee. God loves you so much. You are such a miracle.” She was quiet and wide awake just staring up at me.


They asked me to push again for the placenta, and I literally could not have cared less to listen to them anymore. I just held my baby and closed my eyes and loved my life. Favorite-nurse-ever Amy even grabbed my cell phone and took the only pictures we have of that moment: me on the birth stool, J behind me, Naya in my arms with exhausted, naked, and relieved smiles.

Only after I made it back to the bed and got cleaned up did we look at the clock. It was exactly 8:00pm, 41 minutes after our arrival. I needed just two stitches, which Beverly later told me surprised her for it being my first delivery, using the stool, and it going so quickly. J texted our parents, grandparents, and siblings, but didn’t reveal the gender of our daughter to my parents, since they really wanted to visit us in the hospital. They drove nearly two hours and arrived just after I nursed her for the first time. Her grandparents walked in the room and J handed a tiny bundle to them as he said, “She’s just falling asleep.” Their eyes lit up as they exclaimed, “A girl?!” Later, the nurses weighed and measured her next to my bedside. She was 6 pounds 14 ounces and 19 inches long. We praised God, snuggled our daughter, and soaked in the best night of our lives.


The rest of the time in the hospital is truly a blur. I healed quickly and was able to be up on my feet later that evening. Naya nursed well, but it was very painful for me, so the lactation consultant visited with us and helped me learn a few pointers. We had visitors the next day, and we left the hospital Monday morning to head back home. When Betsy came in to say “Hi,” she could not believe that I had given birth so quickly after seeing her two days before. She complimented me, encouraged me, and fawned over Naya. Self-conscious as always, I commented, “Well, I guess God knew I was a wimp, so he gave me a quick labor that I could handle.” Beverly kindly interjected and said, “Each birth has a certain amount of intensity. If you were here for hours that intensity would have been stretched over that time. Instead, you went from nothing to everything in under four hours. Be proud of yourself!” I still replay those words from her when I feel “less than” others.


I know now that I was likely having contractions all afternoon and just didn’t realize it at the time. I also realize that God was incredibly gracious to me throughout the entire process in allowing it to go quickly and almost exactly as I had asked of Him. I praise Him daily for that. I genuinely loved my experience at the hospital with the midwives. I know many people who want to birth without pain medication fear that hospitals will push you into something you don’t want, but I just encourage everyone to find a hospital with a good record of supporting natural childbirth. Naya’s natural hospital birth was everything I wanted it to be and we were so comfortable with every decision, suggestion, and response during her delivery and our recovery stay. She continues to amaze us each day and we are so thankful for our pregnancy, delivery, and life with her.fastnatural6Read more on Alison’s blog, here.

Olive’s Home Birth

Olive’s Home Birth

Our daughter, Olive Magnolia, was born New Year’s Day at 11:13pm. She was 7lbs 14oz and 21 inches in length. Her birth was a gift and it will forever be one of my most cherished moments.

On New Year’s Eve, I met with my midwife and she performed a sweep, at my request. I was 5cm dilated, but still quite thick and my baby was still high in my pelvis. This was my third baby, but nothing seemed to happen that day, expect some mild cramping and a dull back ache. We went to bed feeling anxious and excited, like waiting for the first snow. When we woke up on New Year’s Day, we decided to see if we could get things moving. We took our son’s tobogganing (my husband did) while I walked up and down the side crest of the snowy hill. I had a lot of pressure (and funny looks!) while I was walking, but it felt good to be moving. I spent the time out walking visualizing and talking with my baby, connecting with her and telling her I was ready for her to come.

At about 5pm, I began to have some very mild and very sporadic contractions. They had zero pattern, ranging from 5 to 30 minutes apart and lasting from 5 to 20 seconds. They were so strange. I’ve had two children before Olive and I had never experienced anything like this. However, with this being my third and my history of fast labours, I decided to call my midwife about 6pm to give her a heads up, since she was about an hour from our home. I was so sad and surprised to learn that she was driving to another birth! In all of her years delivering babies, our birth was the second she has ever missed. She dispatched another midwife to our house. In the hour it took for the new midwife to arrive, my labour completely stopped. I cried to my husband, telling him the news with tears spilling out of my eyes and my bottom lip quivering. When I realized my labour had stopped, my heart cycled through several emotions, but eventually landed on peace. I had read that a massive change of plans could stall or completely stop a woman’s labour. So although I was anxious to meet my beloved, I understood what had happened.

When the midwife arrived, I opened the door and instantly loved her. Her presence was calming and I felt at ease with her at once. I was so relieved, since I had no idea what I was opening the door to. I explained to her that my labour had stopped and that I hadn’t had a contraction in over an hour. She asked if she could check me, since I was 5cm dilated at the sweep the day before. While she set up, I ate takeout with my family and got our sons ready for bed. Soon our boys were tucked away in their beds and I had a vaginal exam. I had not felt a contraction in almost 2 hours at this point and was certain that I wasn’t having a baby that night. Upon examination, I was quite surprised to find I was 7cm dilated. We also found out during the exam that I was contracting, I just wasn’t feeling them. I was having strong contractions that were lasting over 60 seconds long, but I was only feeling slight back pressure for about ten seconds as the contraction peaked. My midwife said she had seen this a couple times before, but it was rare, and that I was very lucky. After two very intense, fast and painful home births, this was a welcome change of pace. She urged my husband to start filling the birthing pool and by 8pm it was full and ready for me, although, I wasn’t ready for it, at all. I still wasn’t feeling much of anything and it felt strange to get in the pool in front of everyone. Instead, we lit a fire and sat around the living room drinking tea and talking. My Mom had just arrived that afternoon from out of town, so we were able to spend the next two hours catching up. We laughed, a lot. My cheeks were sore from all the laughing. It was such a joyous and peaceful atmosphere.

At about 10:30pm, I was getting tired from our long day and began to long for the comfort of my bed. I asked to be checked and we were all amazed to find that I was 8cm, fully effaced and baby was station +2. Although I was in very active labour, in transition actually, I felt nothing beyond some minor pressure and a growing sense that I was wasting everyone’s time. She broke my waters at my request, and I immediately went from not feeling anything to feeling the full extent of transition. I felt a lot of pressure in my bum so decided to get out of the pool and go to the washroom with my husband. I had multiple huge contractions while in there, so we moved back out to the pool. At 11:09 I felt her head begin to crown, and at 11:11 her head was born. We discovered her cord was around her neck, so the midwife walked me through the plan of what would happen once I delivered her body. She would turn the baby under the water, instead of pulling the cord up and over her head. After that, I was free to reach down and grab her. In the moments while she was between worlds, I remember stroking her thick, long hair and feeling completely overwhelmed with love. She was mine, and she was almost here. Things were about to change forever, but in the very best way possible. Olive was born at 11:13 after just 4 minutes of pushing and only about 45 minutes of active labour. She was born by the light of our fire, and was welcomed into the world absolutely enveloped in love. We marveled at how much she resembles her brothers, and how bright eyed and alert she was. She is the most peaceful and beautiful baby. I am so grateful to have been so fortunate to experience such an incredible birth. With Olive being our last baby, it brought a great sense of peace to the closing of that chapter of our lives.oliveshomebirth

Can't Get Enough Birth Without Fear? Sign Up For More Inspiration!
We respect your email privacy.