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Emily’s Birth Story

Emily’s Birth Story

Monday, the 15th of December, 2014 – my husband and I anxiously waited in the waiting room of the hospital for our midwife appointment. At this point, I was eight days late and we were a little anxious to meet our baby we’d waited nine long months for, anxious about the impending labor and delivery that we both had no idea about what to expect, and the idea of the afterwards, we’d have a baby to take home. What did that mean for us? How will we know what to do with her if she cries or needs something? How will we know?

The midwife called us in and asked me to make myself comfortable on the bed and my husband sat on the chair next to me. The midwife discussed what they were going to do. A stretch and sweep, and check how much I was dilated. They did this and said that I was 1cm dilated. At eight days late, with no sign of labor coming any time soon, the midwives decided with a conversation with the delivery doctor that if it didn’t happen in two days, by Wednesday the 17th of December 2014, I was to be induced and then that was it. We could go home and wait until our baby came naturally or wait until Wednesday to arrive. We were excited. We had a clear date of when we would meet her. The whole pregnancy was a question of when the baby will come, what day to expect her, guessing, researching old wives tales on the date she’ll arrive, never really knowing, but now we did. We knew then that we would meet her in just a few short days and we were excited and terrified! We immediately called my husband’s parents and told them the news. The induction was a scary thing for me, because I’d been explained that an induction can increase the risk of needing to have a cesarean and being major abdominal surgery, needing a spinal block, and the recovery afterwards with a new baby. I was scared. We didn’t tell anyone else of when she was to arrive. We wanted to keep that all to our self and have the next few days together.

Tuesday the 15th of December, we went out for lunch. We ate at a café down the road from our house and we laughed. We talked about our baby and who she might look like. We discussed her hair colour and whose eyes she’d have. We talked about names we liked and laughed about what would happen if she were a boy, having spent the last five months being told it was a girl! We watched a movie at home and just spent time together. This was, for a while, to be the last moments it was just us two. Tuesday night came and she still hadn’t arrived. The midwives explained to us on Monday that if I hadn’t gone into labour by 6am on Wednesday morning to call them and let them know we were coming to the hospital and the process of induction would begin.

So we went to bed. I don’t think either of us got a lot of sleep that night, but before we knew it the alarm had sounded. It was 5.15am and we had to get up and get ready to go to the hospital. We lay in bed awhile and said good morning to each other. We checked our phones for any calls and cuddled awhile. My husband said, “C’mon it’s time to get up, have a shower, and we’ll call the hospital.” I sat up in bed and as I did I heard and felt a “pop” sound come from inside me. I felt a slight trickle of water and said to Shaun what had happened. I stood up out of bed and felt some more water come from me. My waters had broken. Shaun said, because it was only a small amount to call the hospital and check what we should do. I called the midwives on the labour ward and explained what had happened.

I remember so clearly the midwife on the other end of the phone excitedly tell me, “Yes honey, your waters have broken, you’re gonna have a baby today.” I cried! She told me to still come in as I was now ten days overdue and I’d need to be monitored anyway. I couldn’t believe it. We had booked an induction and we were mentally ready for that to happen and then my labour had started naturally! We showered and changed and we were on our way. We dropped the dog off to our parent’s house along the way. They hugged and kissed us and wished us luck and we were on our way to the hospital to meet our baby girl. We got to the hospital carpark at about 7am. Shaun sent a text to only his close friends telling them, “It’s go time.” They all knew exactly what that meant and they sent texts back wishing us luck and love; we walked inside.

The midwives were beautiful. They greeted us warmly and showed us to our room and we sat on the bed waiting for someone to come back in and see us. The midwives came in explained they would break my waters. They knew I had lost a little water earlier, but needed to be sure, and explained and carried out the process of the induction. They explained and carried out the beginning of the induction. They inserted an IV into my right arm. The internal examination during the braking the waters process showed I was still 1cm dilated. This was a concern, but we were optimistic that the dilation would increase with the help of the induction. They placed heart monitors on my tummy to be able to watch our baby’s heart rate as the induction process was going on. They sent the oxytocin into my blood stream and the labour was officially started. Around 9.30am I really started to feel the pain. Induction is rightly known as “0-60,” as the labour pains started immediately with barely any lead up! After a few hours of searing pain, then turning it down, semi awful pain, then turning it up it was 6pm. I sucked on the gas, I sat on a gym ball, I laid over the back of the bed, I probably stood on my head, but I just couldn’t find a position comfortable enough that I could get through the pain easily and quickly.

Shaun was amazing. He held my hand through every contraction, some minutes apart. He rubbed my back and whispered he loved me in my ear. He reminded me through every moment that he was the most amazing man I’d ever met and I was so glad we were doing this together. 6pm. The midwives did another internal examination to check how dilated I was. I was 2cm. This was obviously taking a long time. An epidural was offered to me. This was the one thing I didn’t want. The midwives explained to me that as this was taking too long. If our labour happened to speed up, by the time we got to it I would be too tired to push her out vaginally, possibly sending me into an emergency caesarean and they recommended I have the epidural so we could get some rest, hopefully relaxing my cervix and bringing on labour faster. 11.45pm and we had both fallen asleep waking to the midwives introducing us to the delivery doctor, Dr. Lee. They asked me if they could do an internal examination again to see how well the epidural had worked and to give us an idea of when she might arrive.

I was 3cm dilated. The doctor and midwives quickly decided that this wasn’t happening naturally. The baby had showed increased signs of distress, her heartrate wasn’t consistent and what they could feel from that last internal was her head wasn’t close enough to my cervix and too big for my pelvic opening and I needed to have a caesarean, immediately. By 12AM we were on our way to surgery. Shaun was given a blue gown and pants and asked to quickly change. I was scared. After the epidural I could still slightly feel the contractions in my left side and knowing that I was having this surgery with just a little “top up” I was scared that I was going to feel the pain or have to be put to sleep. We waited in the surgery waiting room, and I cried. I cried at Shaun saying how scared I was and he was so brave. He kept telling me it would be okay. I was scared because I knew if the spinal block didn’t fully take I would have to be put under local anesthetic and put to sleep were I wouldn’t be there to see your little girl come into the world. I was scared because I didn’t think I’d wake up.

After about 15 minutes I was brought into the delivery room. I went in alone so they could get me ready while Shaun waited outside. I was crying. They moved me to the surgical bed and the doctors and nurses were all busy around me getting everything ready. Shaun was let into the room and he was seated to my right, next to my head. A blue sheet was put in front of us so we didn’t see the surgery. The anesthetist topped up my spinal block and the doctor rubbed ice cubes on my legs asking me to tell him if I could feel it. I could. They waited a few more minutes and it had fully worked and they could begin the surgery. Dr. Lee talked us through the whole procedure. I was panicked and asking them to stop and they kept talking me through. “Your baby will scream and cry out for you any minute.” Shaun was doing his best to keep me calm, as was the anesthetist sitting to my left. They told me where they had cut and what they were dong next and told me she’d be here any second, and then just like that, she came earth side.emily3

Dr. Lee called out, “Baby girl born at 1.06am” The midwives called to Shaun and asked him to come over and see her and all I heard was: “She’s not breathing on her own, but that’s normal” I panicked. I was calling out to my baby and asking Shaun what was happening. The anesthetist explained that some babies born by caesarean need help to start breathing on their own and she was one of them. I didn’t hear at the time, but she started to cry a few minutes later in the surgery room. Shaun came over to me quickly and said, “She’s here; she’s okay, but we’re taking her to the neonatal ward to be sure.” I told him, “Don’t leave her side.” He assured me he wouldn’t and they both were gone.emily2

Shaun and the nurses rushed our daughter up to the neonatal ward, but on the way decided that she was okay and all came back down to the recovery to wait for me. They asked Shaun to have a seat and relax; they wrapped her up and gave her to him. He held her for the very first time. He fell in love! I was alone in the surgery room. It took approximately an hour to be stitched up and to come out of surgery. Up until this point I had not seen my daughter or her dad. I didn’t know if they were okay and I was scared. They wheeled me out of the surgery into recovery and I saw my husband sitting there. He was holding a white bundle of blankets and I asked him where our baby was and what he was holding. He said, “She’s here, come and meet our daughter.” Shaun asked me if I liked the name Emily and I said of course. Up until that point we had no idea what her name would be. We had mentioned the name Emily a few times, along with others, but never really stuck to any one name. We met her and we knew that she was an Emily.emily5

She was a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Emily. He handed her to me and she laid on my chest. She cuddled into me, our skin touching. She cooed at me and cried a little and I fell in love with her. She was a part of us. She was a piece of our heart outside of our body and she was ours. 42 weeks and 20 hours later I got to hold her in my arms. She was our beautiful daughter. The longest hour of my life not knowing if she was okay, 19 hours of a really painful and scary labour, nine long months of waiting and we finally got to meet her. I knew I loved her when I found out we were pregnant, but I could never have fathomed this feeling. I was devoted to her, proud of her, and I was completely and utterly in love with her, and I had only just met her. She was here, she was finally with us and we would never be happier than we were in that moment.emily4

Together we became parents in what I can only describe as the very best moment of my life. It was a magical and intimate moment we shared together. She chose us to be her mum and dad and for that we are forever grateful.emily1

HBA3C with Inverted ‘T’ Scar

HBA3C with Inverted ‘T’ Scar

{Each woman, baby, and birth are different. Educate yourself, hire the right support, and do what is best for you and your baby. We share experiences and wisdom that is passed on from mother to mother. Please contact your care provider for questions or concerns regarding your pregnancy and birth.}

“The knowledge of how to give birth without outside interventions lies deep within each woman. Successful childbirth depends on the acceptance of the process.” ~Suzanne Arms

Quick history on my other kiddos births:

*McKenna born via cesarean section in 2008 due to “failure to progress”, and decelerations in fetal heart tones which we were told were completely normal after the delivery.

*Liam born via repeat cesarean section in 2011 after 67 hours of labor due to “failure to progress” and mentioned I was probably not able to have a vaginal birth.

*Wesley via drug free vba2c in 2013, 10lbs 2oz!

*Gracelyn via repeat cesarean section in 2014. At 33 weeks my water ruptured, and it was discovered that I had placental abruption. I was still determined to deliver vaginally, but she was breech. When I went back into labor, there was meconium, her heart rate was all over the place, and I decided the cesarean was the best choice. They had to do a t-incision to help deliver her head.

After we had Gracelyn my desire for more children was hugely lessened. I was afraid of having another cesarean and was pretty traumatized from her birth in general. For the first time in our seven years I was trying NOT to get pregnant. My husband, Tony, brought up how much he didn’t like seeing me this way. He didn’t want me to stress about having another baby and encouraged me that if we did get pregnant again, we didn’t HAVE to schedule a cesarean. It made me feel more confident and I put my trust back to God with our future children…if there were any more to come. Around this same time, Tony said he was praying for each of our children by name and felt like God said, “What about your unborn son, Jackson?” About a week later to our surprise, we were pregnant! I spent a few weeks reading everything I could find about VBA3C, specifically with a special scar. Unfortunately there is not much, but I felt confident trying with what I did find. Fast forward through a normal pregnancy…

I wanted an autumn baby so badly and didn’t think it would be an issue whatsoever, since typically my babies come late. I didn’t think I would literally have a baby born on the first day of fall. On September 23rd, at 1:20am, a contraction woke me up. I went to the bathroom experiencing fun early labor stuff and lost my plug with some show…I was excited, but assumed I had at least a day or two until baby. I continued contracting inconsistently until around 8am when things almost completely stopped. I had prayed for this moment, because I was exhausted and really wanted to nap. I stayed in bed the majority of the day and had a contraction every once in a while and assumed baby would be coming for sure within the next few days.

Around 5:30/6pm the kids got insane and Tony was pretty exhausted, because he was still recovering from eye surgery. I made dinner, and did dishes and started having contractions again, but they were different. I had so many things left I wanted to do and kept trying, but it was getting pretty difficult. I finally took a bath, thinking it could help with back labor, and it was AWFUL! I lasted about two contractions and had to get out. I resorted to our room around 7pm and tried to sit on the ball and I extra hated that and had to stand up during the contractions.

I took a shower to use the heat on my back, spent way too long looking for something to wear, and then I tried to lean against the wall in bed with a tower of pillows and that wasn’t cutting it either. My midwife friend texted me at 7:50pm and asked if she could stop by, my response: “Please.” A doula friend said she would head over also. At 8pm I sat on the toilet and around 8:15 my birthy friends arrived and my mother-in-law came a few minutes later to help with the kiddos. I started to feel pushy at this time, but did not think it was time and was getting really mad that my body was pushing already. I was recognizing the sounds and my thoughts as transition, but could not convince myself that it was near time. I thought I had hours to go and kept saying, “I just need a nap,” or “I just want a break.” I decided to check my cervix, because I still believed it couldn’t possibly be time and felt something really strange!

At first I was completely panicked thinking it was the baby’s cord or something terribly wrong, and then I realized it was the baby’s head beginning to crown already! I said something out loud about the baby’s head being right there, I think mainly to reassure myself. I had a few more intense contractions, trying to breathe baby down, but found myself needing to push. Suddenly Tony and my friends were helping me off the toilet, because baby’s head was halfway out and they tried to help me deliver standing.hba3c3

I was not comfortable at all, because I couldn’t relax my weight on them and ended up inches from my toilet squatting. With the next contraction I announced that my water had broken and baby’s head was out, which I only knew, because I reached down and could feel eyes and a nose. I really liked vocalizing everything for some reason! I waited for what felt like forever for baby’s body to be delivered. I didn’t want to rush anything, but the “ring of fire” was intense and I really couldn’t wait till it was over! I finally had that last contraction and the baby was here.hba3c2

It took a minute for me to hold him, because his cord was around his neck three times…he had a crazy long cord! Tony said, “It’s a boy,” and I couldn’t believe I was a mama to three boys! I repositioned and was able to hold him and hear that first amazing cry. Only a few minutes later my placenta delivered, which was extremely surprising…I hadn’t even fully grasped the fact that my baby was in my arms and without trouble at all. My body did exactly what it needed to finish the birthing process. Kenna was the only child awake, so her and my mother-in-law came into see him. Kenna cut his cord and was so excited to have another brother, even though she had hoped for a sister. I love how loving she is, with no disappointment at all, just blessed to have another sibling, and I was so blessed to have her have a part in his delivery.hba3c1

After all that, I got into a nice herbal bath and nursed him for the first time. Kenna helped get me some food and delivered it to me in the bath…I felt like a queen! I got dressed, and comfy in my bed where I ate fresh berries, peanut butter toast (at my request), and dark chocolate. We all guessed how much we thought he would weigh as we relaxed in my room: 8 pounds and 21 inches of perfection.

“Remember this, for it is as true as true gets: Your body is not a lemon. You are not a machine. The Creator is not a careless mechanic. Human female bodies have the same potential to give birth well as aardvarks, lions, rhinoceri, elephants, moose, and water buffalo. Even if it has not been your habit throughout your life so far, I recommend that you learn to think positively about your body.” -Ina May Gaskin

Arlo’s Birth Story

Arlo’s Birth Story

I was 38 weeks and 1 day, and it was it was 2:30am on the morning of my husband Jeremy’s birthday. I was trying to sleep when my cat, Sparky, crept up to me and purred as I patted her and she snuggled into my tummy. I adjusted my hips slightly and suddenly felt a ‘pop’ inside me. I jumped out of bed and, sure enough, felt the liquid that meant my waters had broken.

I stood at the end of the bed, and roused Jeremy. “Sorry, but I think we’ll be having this baby on your birthday,” I said. We had both agreed that this was the only day we didn’t want the baby to come, so Jeremy could still have one day that was just about him! I guess that was the first lesson – babies come when they are ready and he must have been ready!

Jeremy jumped up and found a pad for me. It was only a small amount of fluid, but it was enough for us to think that it might be a bit green. It was very pale and we weren’t really sure. We started getting a few things together and rang my mum at 3am to tell her to start heading down. She lives nearly two hours away and was our ‘plan A’ to care for our two year old, Jasper, in a very complicated list of alternative plans which depended on when and how I went into labour.

Things were very calm for us at home. I hadn’t had any contractions, just the occasional crampy feeling, much like a Braxton Hicks, but nothing I had to concentrate on at all. We left it a little while and rang our midwife, Jo, at about 3:45am. We let her know what had happened and that we thought the fluid may have been green, but we really weren’t sure. She asked us to come in to the hospital and meet her at 5am so she could check the fluid, just in case. We rang our neighbour, Mel, who was also part of ‘plan A’, so she could come and be in the house for Jasper, just until my mum arrived.

Before I left, I had some very, very mild tightening that I wouldn’t even classify as contractions – just a crampy feeling again, without much need to focus on them. I got a little teary with some mixed emotions when we left Jasper at home – his life was about to change in ways he couldn’t imagine and I felt sad for him knowing he would have to adjust to not being the baby of the family any longer, but also excited that he would have a little brother to share his adventures with.

We arrived at the hospital at 5am and walked into the examination room. Jo met us and asked me to lie down on the bed for 20 minutes so she could check if the fluid really was green. As soon as I lay down, the contractions began. They were immediately intense and extremely uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to move around and I really struggled to deal with the intensity of them just lying still.

After 20 minutes Jo checked and confirmed that the waters were green, which indicated they contained meconium, which can mean that the baby may be distressed. She also confirmed that I was 5cm dilated and would be having this baby soon.

I remember finally being able to roll onto my hands and knees and crying into the bed that I wasn’t ready. He was two weeks early and I just didn’t feel ready to deal with what lay ahead in the next hours, and the next months. Jeremy and Jo reassured me that I was ready and the next contraction came, which took all of my focus to deal with.

We agreed to head to a birth suite, but sadly, not the one with the new birth tub. I was meant to be one of the very first women to have a water birth in that hospital’s new purpose made baths, but because of the meconium, I wouldn’t be allowed to get into the water.

I was now having very strong and painful contractions which felt like they were very close together. No-one was timing them, but I could only take a few steps before another one would stop me in my tracks. I required extra monitoring, again because of the meconium, so on arrival at the birth suite I was fitted with a mobile monitor, so thankfully I could still move around. It was a little annoying though, because it wouldn’t stay in the right place, so Jo would have to readjust to make sure it was just the monitor and not a problem with the baby’s heart rate.

I was kneeling over the bed and really struggling with the pain. Jeremy was pressing a heat pack into my lower back, which helped a little, but any breathing I was doing wasn’t helping me at all. I felt like I was trying to escape from the pain in my body rather than breathing through the waves like I did in my first labour.

As per our ‘birth preferences,’ the midwives suggested sterile water injections. This worked almost instantly with my first labour and was well worth the intense stinging as the water was injected. Unfortunately, this time it didn’t work at all. On reflection, the pain was very intense and all-encompassing, whereas in my first labour it was very specifically in my back.

We moved into the shower so I could have the hot water run on my back. This offered some relief, but I really wasn’t dealing well with the pain. I think maybe we had been in the hospital just over an hour. I spent some time trying to find a position that I could manage the pain in, but still felt like I was trying to get out of my body and away from the pain.

It was some time when I was in the shower that the baby’s heart rate dropped into the 90’s and stayed low for a while. There was some concern from Jo, but there were no suggestions to make any urgent changes. My waters seemed to break a second time around now – and not just a trickle like I had at home, either!

My body started feeling like I needed to push. Jo checked me and I was at about 8cm with a small lip of cervix. I tried as hard as I could not to push – such a challenge! My body was doing what it wanted to and I had to try with every ounce of my being to go against it. Jo managed to push back my cervix and I was able to work with my body and begin to push my baby out on the birth stool. His head very slowly emerged after only a few pushes. When the next contraction came, I pushed again, with all I had. But, my baby didn’t move. His shoulders were stuck.

The emergency buzzer was pressed and, within seconds, the room was full of people – more midwives, a paediatrician or two, and an obstetrician. It was quite amazing the speed at which they were able to get to me. All this time, I understood that he was stuck and I was watching Jo – her face was one of serious concentration, but certainly not panic, which I am grateful for.

Two midwives moved my legs up and back, into what’s called ‘The McRoberts manoeuvre’, while Jo manipulated the baby slightly, and I pushed with everything I had. Thankfully, this was enough, and out he came, with the cord around his neck. He was placed onto my chest, but I was told not to stroke or rub him (in case he startled and breathed in the meconium which may have been in his mouth). He was very floppy and not breathing or moving. Jo quickly cut the cord, and my baby was taken over to the table. The paediatrician intubated to remove any meconium from his throat, and placed the oxygen mask over his face. Jeremy and I were watching this happen and it felt like hours, but in reality was probably less than a minute. Suddenly Jeremy yelled out “He’s opened his eyes!” and we were both filled with relief as he started to cry. It was just before 7am.

Meanwhile, I had a minor haemorrhage and was given sintocinon to speed up the delivery of the placenta, which was slightly ragged. The bleeding abated and I was able to lie on the bed and my baby was given back to me for a skin to skin time. He was 9lb, 12oz!

I was shaking and felt quite shocked at how fast everything occurred and it probably took a good hour or two before those feelings began to subside and I was able to focus properly on our new son. He had been delivered less than two hours after arriving at hospital and having my first real contraction. What a birthday present for Jeremy! (And quite a surprise for his parents who rang a little later to wish him a happy birthday!)

arlo1

We stayed in hospital to be monitored, but all was well, so we were able to go home the next day to begin life as a family of four. Three days later, our two year old son Jasper made the decision for us to name him Arlo Thomas.

arlo2

Although pretty much nothing went according to my birth preferences, I always felt informed, supported and cared for by Jo and the rest of the team who helped to ensure he arrived healthy. I feel so lucky to have had such amazing care, especially in the public hospital system in Australia.

shannonFinal Photo by Shannon Langbecker

“I Pooped My Baby Out on My Hands and Knees!” – My Birth Story Without Husband or Midwife

“I Pooped My Baby Out on My Hands and Knees!” – My Birth Story Without Husband or Midwife

I wanted to share with you the birth story of my second child, my daughter, Elizabeth Rose. The support and strength that I’ve gained from following you through social media these last two years, as well as attending two BWF conferences, helped get me through this sweet baby’s birth without my husband or my midwife. I never in a million years would have thought it was possible to do something so challenging without them both, but I did thanks to you. My mom had given me a Birth Without Fear Moon Over Maizes necklace when my son was one year old for Mother’s Day. Throughout the pregnancy of my second child I wore it often and towards the end of my pregnancy I wore it every day. It was a reminder to me that women all over the world give birth every day with strength and courage and that I could do that too. Little did I know how much I would need this extra boost of encouragement during the labor of my second child.birthalone1

My due date was June 17th. My husband’s nephew was getting married May 30th and my husband was a groomsman in the wedding. We decided that since it was still three weeks until baby’s due date (and since I went right on my due date with my first child), it was unlikely I would go into labor that early and we felt comfortable with my husband traveling six hours to attend the wedding. The weekend was approaching and I sent my friend this text on Thursday May 28th:

“Did I tell you Carl is going out of town Friday for his nephew’s wedding (he’s a groomsman)? I have this ridiculous overwhelming feeling that I’m going to have this baby while he is gone. It’s a six hour drive so he likely wouldn’t make it. I realize I’ll only be 37w3d this weekend…and the chances are SO slim…but I can’t help but worry!!! Please stay in baby!!!”

I had convinced myself that this fear was simply there, because it was a possibility, not because it was any type of “gut feeling” that something would happen. That Thursday evening, I went on a walk with my two year old son, my husband, and my mom. At one point during the walk I had a Braxton Hicks contraction that made me stop walking and I had to breathe through it. I had a lot of Braxton Hicks throughout pregnancy and this one felt different, but I didn’t put much stock into it. I just figured we were getting closer to 40 weeks and my body was just getting ready for labor in a few weeks. Good job body! Later that evening, while getting ready for bed, I had another Braxton Hicks that I felt in my lower back. I told my husband and we both thought it was weird, but we didn’t really consider it the start of labor or anything that we needed to cancel his trip over. Throughout the night I had a few more and noticed that the contractions were pushing on my bladder much more. They weren’t painful, but enough that I felt them when I was sleeping and I had to get up and pee a lot.

Friday morning I was feeling good and hadn’t noticed any contractions, so I went to work as normal and my husband left for his six hour drive north. I had a very busy morning of meetings and presentations, and didn’t notice too many contractions, but knew I had had some. Around 11:15, I was back at my desk and had one that I actually said, “OUCH,” out loud to. After this, I decided I probably should pay attention to my body (what a novel idea!) and see if I was having more contractions. I started tracking them while half attempting to work and they were coming about every 18 to 25 minutes. I set up some meetings with colleagues for the following week and sent a few emails. I called my husband just so he knew what was going on and even said, “I have no reason to believe this is actual labor. I very well could have these for a week before baby comes.” We agreed there still was no reason to have him come home (by this point he hadn’t yet made it to his destination but he was almost there). I told my husband I would keep track of them and call my midwives if I thought things were progressing.

I had lunch plans with two friends from work, both mothers themselves. At lunch, I told them I had been having what felt like contractions and had been keeping track of them. They were shocked I was still at work and as well at lunch with them, and provided the sound advice that I probably should call my midwives, because they were kind of consistent. We had a 1:30 meeting after lunch, so I said I would just call them after the meeting. They again gave me the sound advice that I needed to call before that. We returned to the office around 1:15 and I left a message to have a midwife call me. I went to our meeting at 1:30 and told my boss somewhat non-nonchalantly that I might have to step out and take a call as I might be in labor. After a look of somewhat surprise/somewhat confusion, he said, “Ok no problem,” and the meeting started. I continued to have contractions throughout the meeting, still about every 15 to 20 minutes. I could relax and breathe through them, and still managed to contribute some thoughts to the meeting. The whole time thinking, This isn’t real labor…my husband is out of town and I’m 3 weeks to my due date. I received a call back while I was still in the meeting and stepped out to speak to a nurse from my midwives’ office. The nurse had suggested that I go home, take a bath, and see if the contractions change. She said if they change/slow down/etc., then it’s probably not “true labor.” If the bath does nothing to my contractions, then it’s probably the real deal.

I headed home (which thankfully was my parents’ house at the time, whom we were living with while we were waiting to move into our new house) and took a bath in their large tub. I put on some relaxing classical music and got comfortable. I used my son’s Babyganics bubble bath, because I owned no adult bubble bath – I couldn’t even remember the last time I had taken a bath. During the 45 minute bath, I had two contractions that were getting a tad more intense than they had been, but the bath really helped to relax me. Upon standing up to get out of the bath, I had one more and this time I peed during it (only had a momentary concern it was my waters, but a quick color check in the water directed me to the proper conclusion that I did, indeed, pee myself). I remember with my son during contractions I had to pee during contractions in the early stages of labor. This is when I thought, Hmmm maybe this is real?

After the bath, I laid down before I had to go pick up my son from daycare. My contractions had slowed to about every 45 to 50 minutes. I excitedly thought this was a sign that it wasn’t real labor. I went to pick my son up from daycare around 5pm, continued to have contractions throughout picking him up, bringing him home, playing with him and feeding him dinner. My parents had dinner plans and had already left the house, so it was just me and my usually rambunctious two year old. He was as sweet and calm as could be that night, playing well by himself, and going to bed very easy. I was grateful for him to go to bed at 7:30 and immediately laid down myself in bed. I texted my husband and told him I was going to sleep and would wake up in the morning contraction free. Ha. In a way, I did. I fell asleep around 8pm and continued to have contractions while sleeping.

At 10pm I had a contraction strong enough and real enough that it got me out of bed. After contemplating ignoring it, I realized I needed to accept the fact that I was actually IN LABOR, as much as I still sort of thought it wasn’t real! I immediately called my midwife on-call service to leave a message and wait for their call back. In the meantime, I called my husband to tell him I needed him to come home. I felt awful and was crying that I was causing him to miss his nephew’s wedding and maybe it wasn’t real labor and we might not even have a baby that weekend. I spoke to his nephew on the phone, who of course understood and tried to calm me down. Of course my husband and his family were not concerned about him missing the wedding, after all this was A BABY!

Around 11pm, my husband began the six hour drive back home. I think at this point I was still sort of in denial, but knew I had to be serious about it all. I called my parents and told them to come home, I was in labor. I spoke to my midwife and told her what had gone on that day, and what was going on right now. She said to call her when I’m going to the hospital. I asked her when that should be (with my first they said contractions every five minutes lasting one minute, but with my 2nd baby one of my midwives told me to go when intensity changes)? The midwife on call (whom was newer to my practice and I had only ever met once) told me to go at five minutes apart. I thought that seemed odd and I should have reinforced with her that I had a eight hour labor with my first child, so this was likely to be just as short if not shorter…but again, I was a bit frazzled, being all alone in labor, without my husband, my teammate and my favorite ‘doula’ of sorts. The contractions at this point were still around eight to nine minutes apart, but the intensity was gaining.

For a while, I labored all alone in bed, on my hands and knees, which was the only position that felt good for my back labor and doubly helpful, because I could rest in between. During this time, I had a fleeting moment where I wanted to cry, not because of pain, but because I was all alone. I wanted my husband with me. I wanted to go hold my son for the last time before he was no longer an only child. I wanted to not be alone. I felt sorry for myself. Everything felt unfair. But during a particularly intense contraction, I looked down at the birth without fear necklace dangling and remembered that I could do this alone, and I would do it alone. I was strong and I could do anything for a minute at time. There was no time for crying or breaking down, my baby and body didn’t need that extra stress.

I gathered my composure and started adding things to my hospital bag that I had only started packing the night before. I went to my parents’ basement and carried up the infant car seat and base (poor decision now that I think about it, as I was still alone in the house). I checked in on my son and held back the tears as I watched his sleepy breaths and soft blond hair in the dark. He was going to be a big brother the next time I saw him and it was emotional. I put dry shampoo in my hair and deodorant on (because labor brain thought this was important?). I continued to labor alone until my parents arrived home and then my amazing mom (seriously, moms are amazing) laid in bed with me as I worked through each contraction and rested in between.

My husband had started out on the road and I was nervous that he would have to drive through the night. I made him promise to be safe and stop and rest. Around 2am the contractions started getting more intense and closer together – four to seven minutes apart. My mom said, “Maybe we should go,” and I said, “I really don’t want to get there, find out I’m only 3cm and have to walk around triage for an hour,” (which is what I had to do with my son). So we labored more at home in bed on my hands and knees.

After about ten more minutes and three more contractions, the last one that had me making all sorts of odd noises, I agreed with my mom that we should get going. I asked her to make sure to get the cooler for my placenta and we gathered up the rest of our stuff. I called my husband and he talked me through a few contractions I had on the phone with him. I stopped in the downstairs bathroom to take a selfie before heading out (why? labor brain thought it was an important moment to document and I’m so glad I did). I asked my mom to get a bucket for the car, because I was sure I was going to throw up. Before pulling out of the driveway at 2:15am, we took a picture together to remember this moment always. It’s the worst picture of our entire lives, but we are somehow smiling in it.birthalone2

Before we got out of the neighborhood, I had hit transition and began throwing up and then dry heaving. I was expecting this, as I also threw up during the birth of my first child during transition. It was around this time I was also telling myself, “It’s ok if you get an epidural, you’re husband is not here to help you through a natural birth and you can get one if you want.” I had a natural birth with my son and wanted one with this birth as well, but as transition goes, the doubt started setting in.

The drive to the hospital was about 25 minutes and I continued to work through contractions in the car. At one point I realized that I hadn’t heard back from my midwife, whom I called around 2am to let her know we were leaving for the hospital, so I called the on-call service again and they said they would page her again. She called me back immediately and I told her I was on my way, things were progressing quickly. She said after I get checked in triage they would let her know where I’m at then then she would come in. At this point, I should have thought to tell her that I was going to have this baby very, very soon, as I was already in transition, but again, labor brain. My husband would have been doing all the talking and probably would have told her that, but when you’re in hard labor and trying to have conversations that make sense, it’s not the easiest thing in the world.

I managed to give my mom directions to the medical campus, which we navigated to find the right parking garage, my mom dumped my bucket of puke out over the side (got yelled at by someone below who happened to see) and we made our way in. As we were pulling into the parking garage, I saw another pregnant woman and her husband getting out of their car and my first thought was, We have to beat her in. I can’t wait behind her at check in. She looked like she was feeling absolutely fine, while I was leaning on anything and everything (think disgusting parking garage trash cans, hand rails, etc) to work through contractions on my walk in.

Thankfully they stopped in the lobby to try to make a call and we caught an elevator before them. My ridiculous labor brain thought, Haha – we beat you! Arriving at check-in, I was grateful we had pre-registered and I only had two or three contractions while the nice old lady got me checked in, while hiding her concern that I was going to have the baby on her desk. They whisked me back to triage where I changed into my green pretty pushers gown I had won at my first BWF Columbus meet-up. The nurse said, “Are you ok getting that dirty?” I wanted to say “This isn’t my first time giving birth, lady.”

My mom helped me change into the gown and I went to the bathroom. Throughout laboring at home I had to pee and poop after almost every contraction for a good hour and I think this was my last “get it all out” bathroom trip. I had a contraction while on the toilet which was amazing, the amount of pressure that was taken off while sitting there, and then came out to get checked. The nice resident on call who was checking me gave me a towel to “cover myself up with,” because apparently I just got up on the bed and hiked up my gown. All I could do was laugh…I’m about to push a child out of my vagina in front of ten people and you want me to ‘cover up’ while you check me, sir? I was six cm dilated. To which I said, “Holy shit!” I then got on the bed on all fours while they monitored baby and continued to labor that way for a few minutes. They then told me it was real labor and I was ready to go to labor and delivery (well no shit!) and I asked where my midwife was. They said they called her and she was on her way.

They brought me a wheel chair and asked if I wanted to walk to the room or ride in the chair. The thought of sitting down was excruciating and I was pretty sure I couldn’t walk at this point without the baby falling out. I stood up out of bed to try to lean against the wheel chair and had a huge contraction where I opened my legs and the nurse grabbed me and said, “Get on the bed and lay down!” I said, “NO! I’m not lying down; please let me get through it this way!” She said, “I don’t want a baby falling out on the floor,” to which I said, “No baby is going to fall out on the floor!!!” Then she left me alone and let me labor leaning my elbows against the bed.

After that contraction, I got back on the bed on hands and knees and told them I needed to start pushing. I remember this exact feeling with my son, but at the time I wasn’t as confident. This time, I knew it was time to push and this baby was coming. They flipped the side rails up on the triage bed, and about six of them surrounded the bed and ran me down the hall with my ass up in the air while I was on all fours. I remember feeling a strong wind on my face as they were running and it felt really good.

The second we got in the room, I looked at the bed they wanted to transfer me to and I said, “NOPE I’M PUSHINNNNGGGG!!!!” I grabbed on to the front rails the bed and pushed my baby out in one very hard push, accompanied by a bellowing scream from me and a gush of fluids. I completely couldn’t believe it. I kneeled there, stunned, not having seen my baby yet, but knowing I pushed something out. I kept saying, “Did that just happen? Did I just push my baby out? Is that my baby crying?” They told me, “It’s a girl,” born at 3:24 (only 40 minutes after arriving at the hospital) and I was completely shocked and overwhelmed.

I always envisioned myself as a mom of all boys and I couldn’t believe (in the best way possible) I had a little daughter. Our birth plan included delayed cord clamping, but at this point I think the only person who had a chance to look at our birth plan was the triage nurse, so the resident began to cut the cord immediately. I remember my mom trying desperately to yell out different wishes to the doctors and nurses. “Delayed cord cutting!” “Immediate skin to skin!” “No eye stuff!” “Save the placenta!”

It was part terrifying, part heartwarming. Baby girl had a true knot in her cord, and the resident explained that when this happens they like to cut the cord right away. If my husband was there he would have advocated for more information from my midwife, but since both were missing, I agreed to have the cord cut and my mom was able to do that. I was still on my hands and knees at this point, desperate to get a look at my baby girl. While they cleaned us both up a bit, my mom was yelling, “No! Put the baby on her chest, don’t take her away!” We both didn’t realize how tiny she was. They told us with babies that small they need to check them right away. They checked her and she was 4 lbs 4 oz of perfection, so they brought her back to me immediately and we did skin to skin. I remember her hair was covered in vernix and it appeared dark and curly, just like my husbands was when I met him in college. At this point, they were working hard to help me deliver my placenta, because I was bleeding a lot. I told them I wanted a natural placenta delivery and they said with all the bleeding they were trying to help it along gently – I remember them pushing on my abdomen and wondering if the midwife was there if anything would be different.

I wasn’t upset or angry, just disappointed that I didn’t have the advocacy I so desperately wanted and trusted. Baby girl latched a few times while on my chest and the placenta eventually came out naturally. “Save the placenta! She’s going to encapsulate it!” my mom yelled again. Bless her heart. I think I asked the resident five times if I tore, and he said every time, “Nope, you look great,” and I was so appreciative of his overly nice description of the completely wrecked and bloody mess between my legs.

The residents attempted to clean me up the best they could, as I continued to bleed a lot. They ended up giving me a shot of Pitocin in my leg. During all of this, I hadn’t had an IV line yet, because everything happened so fast – so while holding my fresh babe on my chest, I remember the nurses working for 15 minutes to find a good vein in my hands for the line. The pricking and failing was almost more painful than childbirth – I was extra sensitive due to my state of exhaustion and losing blood. They finally gave up for a bit and another nurse came in and was able to get the line in – I was given Pitocin through the line for the bleeding as well.

At some point during all of this I called my husband and said, “It’s a girl!!” He couldn’t believe it either. I also told him, “I just pooped her out on my hands and knees in one push!” which he loves to tell people to this day that I “pooped out” my daughter. I must have called him before knowing her birth weight, because when I texted him her stats later he was very worried due to her size. Thankfully, the only thing she needed was a little warmth from the nursery, because skin to skin with me wasn’t getting her temp up enough. Later that night I found out if we need her temp up, just to do skin to skin with dad, because he practically cooked her. Another reason I hated him not being there at birth was to do skin to skin when I couldn’t.birthalone3

Thankfully my husband was able to stop and rest after I gave birth so that he could continue his drive home. He finally made it to the hospital at 11:30am to meet his baby girl and I’ll never forget for the entire first few minutes of his meeting her, the staff came in to take my lunch order and was asking me all sorts of questions: “Do you want fruit or yogurt with that,” “Do you want juice or water to drink?”….I could hardly answer their questions, because I was trying to soak in the memory of my husband and his little girl’s first encounter.

At this point I realized nothing is perfect and the entire experience was nothing like I imagined it would be, so all I could do was laugh. My husband missed it, my midwife missed it; I didn’t get to use the labor water tub I so badly wanted, and so on.birthalone4

Ultimately, I was so incredibly proud of baby and myself – we worked together as a team and I truly was able to birth without fear. I am forever grateful that she knew it was time to come meet me and get the nourishment she needed from my milk that she was no longer getting through her knotted cord. We were discharged two days later and baby had only lost 2oz. She continued to amaze me with her strength and determination in the weeks following, nursing like a champ and gaining 1 to 2 lbs. per week. Now, at a whopping 9lbs at two months old, she is the song our hearts never knew it needed.

Without the BWF movement, I’m fairly certain that I would have been a disaster during the birth of my baby girl, but from reading these amazing birth stories from other moms on your blog and following your support and inspiration through FB and IG and attending BWF meet ups, I had the strength I needed to birth my baby regardless of the circumstances. I am forever grateful for what you do for women and families everywhere, January. I can’t wait for my next birth experience, whatever hurdles that may throw at me. Next time, my husband is on house arrest until baby arrives, and I’ll inform all six of my midwives how quickly my babies arrive. First I just have to convince my husband we need a third.

I Am Strong – MoMo Twins

I Am Strong – MoMo Twins

I am strong, because the day the test finally said, “Schwanger” (pregnant) was the best day of my life.

I am strong, because I had a solid plan for a natural pregnancy and birth.

I am strong, because my seven week ultrasound showed two heart beats, but only one amniotic sac.

I am strong, because for two horrible weeks they were thought to be conjoined.

I am strong, because my pregnancy vocabulary expanded to include monoamniotic monochorionic, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and cord entanglement.

I am strong, because I spent six weeks inpatient under intense monitoring.

I am strong, because I mourned my natural birth, but embraced my C-section.

I am strong, because I gave birth at 31 weeks and five days to beautiful, healthy boys.

I am strong, because I stayed another five and a half weeks in the hospital so I could room-in and bond with the boys.

I am strong because, although everyone said it wouldn’t be possible, we left the NICU exclusively breastfed.

I am strong, because in the hardest phase of my life, I chose love over fear, joy over sorrow, and was blessed with gifts greater than I could have ever imagined.

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I Am Strong – A Premature Birth Story

I Am Strong – A Premature Birth Story

I had my birth completely planned out to the smallest detail: I had a midwife, a birth center, a natural birth plan. Everything was perfect.

At six weeks until my due date I woke up to my water being broken, I had to rush to the nearest hospital without my midwife and with all plans going out the window.  My water was broken, but my body wasn’t going into labor, so I had to be induced. After 14 hours of hard labor I developed an infection and had to be rushed off for an emergency C-section.

My son Benaiah was born at 4:30AM, June 30th. Since he was six weeks early, he was rushed off to the NICU. He was hooked up to a CPAP breathing machine for his underdeveloped lungs, he was living in an incubator, and we didn’t get to be close to each other for the first 24 hours of his life.

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My son spent two weeks in the NICU – growing, getting healthier, with both of us learning how to breastfeed and live life together. Through this whole process I learned how strong I was; for my son I am strong. I am strong enough to watch him struggle and be by his side through it all. I am strong to work with my premature baby on breastfeeding and be patient with him while we both learn. I am strong to smile and laugh with him when all I want to do is cry. My son made me strong and our birth experience bonded us in a way I can’t even explain. He was worth it all.

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Now he is home with my husband and I, he is gaining weight, breastfeeding, healthy, and happy. We are in love with him.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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