Hi all! Our little guy’s due date was January 20th, 2016. Being first-time parents, my husband and I were SO anxious to meet our son. I had a great pregnancy throughout, and continued to do CrossFit up until I was about 9 months along. I knew that I wanted a natural birth, and was determined to make it happen. We hired a doula and met with her a few times before the birth. It was so worth it and I would recommend a doula to any pregnant woman. We discussed everything from nutrition, providers and pain relief options to circumcision, vaccines and hospital procedures. I’m so glad we took the time to research and decide what kind of birth we wanted. There are so many things that the hospital makes you think you need to do that you really don’t have to do.
Toward the end of my pregnancy, right around Christmas, I had a little blood pressure scare (nothing serious, just scary for a first-time mama-to-be) and my feet and face were swelling up just enough to concern our midwife. After an ultrasound and listening to our babe for an extended amount of time, they determined he was as healthy as they come. On Monday, January 11th, I woke up at around 4 a.m. with what I know now, looking back, were very short contractions. They weren’t painful at all and I honestly didn’t think anything of them. Throughout the day I had a couple more times where I remember having to stop what I was doing and just breathe. How was I supposed to know what a contraction felt like?! At around 6 p.m. that evening, I was bouncing on my exercise ball in front of the TV to take my mind off of what I thought to be gas pains. When the pain started to get a little more intense, I started thinking that this was probably the start of my labor. I texted our doula, Megan, at around 10 p.m. and let her know what was going on. She wanted me to try lying down to get some rest or try taking a bath to relax. I tried taking the bath first; but it was too painful to sit in the tub. Then I tried lying in bed – too painful. After a lot of intense contractions, around midnight I told my husband we needed to call Megan and get her out to our house.
We had planned on laboring quite a bit at home then going to the hospital for delivery. While on the phone with Megan, she listened to me have a couple contractions and made an educated guess that our baby’s head was tilted a little bit, causing me to have back-to-back contractions with no break and then a small break. (I’m talking a break of MAYBE 30 seconds; so contraction, contraction, small break.) She mentioned that I should try to do some stairs to get his head straightened out and in the best possible position for delivery. She also told us to call her when we couldn’t handle it ourselves and wanted her out to our house.
It took me over an hour to get down and back up our stairs two times with my husband’s help. Finally, just a little before 3 a.m. we called her back and told her we needed her for support and reassurance. She was to our house by 3:15, and listened and helped me through some more contractions. My exercise ball was the absolute best thing during my labor. I was having a contraction on the toilet at 3:45 a.m. when my water broke. As soon as it broke, my husband put our hospital bag into the car and turned it on to warm it up. (It was about 10 degrees that night, roads were icy, and it was snowing).
I got up off the toilet and tried to make it to the car, but got no further than my living room chair when a contraction had me almost on my knees. I remember asking Megan how in the world I was going to make it to the hospital—a 40-minute drive on a good day—with contractions this strong. She told me I would take them as they came, one at a time. The only problem was that my contractions were so strong and close together that I didn’t get any breaks.
I remember learning that first-time mamas will usually push for at least an hour or two before getting to meet their sweet baby. My exact words to Megan after my water broke were, “I’ve never had a baby before, but I don’t think it’s going to take an hour or two.” I just told her that my body was telling me to push and I couldn’t help it.
I sat back down on the toilet and she had me feel up inside myself and describe to her what I felt. What I described to her must have sounded like a baby’s head. She had me get on my bed to check and see if I was right. I was! Our baby wasn’t going to wait to make his appearance! Megan was on the phone the entire time with our midwife, who was originally supposed to deliver our baby at the hospital. I remember Megan telling my husband that he could turn the car off because we weren’t going to make it to the hospital.
Once I knew we were really doing it – that we were really going to have our baby at home, I got on my hands and knees in my bed and pushed three times in a 30-minute span, and at 4:32 a.m. my husband caught Dirk Steven Synhorst as he joined our family!
Megan and my husband (and our midwife on the phone) had successfully talked me through the birth of my son, at home, unplanned, in my own bed. It was the most beautiful thing in my entire life. Right when Dirk came out, he immediately started crying and I knew he was just fine.
The most common question we get is, “Weren’t you so scared something would go wrong?” But truthfully, we didn’t have time to be scared. It all happened so quickly that we just did what we had to do. My husband was incredible the entire time and stayed so calm; he’s the best! Megan was a Godsend and I’m so thankful she was there with us. Dirk latched on to my breast almost immediately after placing him on my chest.
I delivered my placenta about 25 minutes later and we put it in a kitchen bowl beside me in bed because Dirk’s cord was still attached. I did have a very minor tear and I wanted to get Dirk checked over by our midwife in person, so we headed off for the hospital at around 6 a.m. with my baby snuggled right up on my chest, blankets covering us both, and my placenta in a big Ziplock bag.
I remember calling our parents and telling them we were heading to the hospital, but we already had their grandson with us. Dirk checked out just fine, weighing in at 8 Ibs 8.7 oz and 22” long; healthy as could be! We had to stay at the hospital for most of the day, mainly just waiting on paperwork. We had to get a special birth certificate for Dirk since he was born at home. We got back home around 5 p.m. and it’s been pure bliss being a family of three.
The most important thing I want expecting mamas to know is that YOU HAVE OPTIONS. You don’t have to have the kind of birth where you lie on your back with Pitocin and an epidural, suffering through so much pain. Of course I was in pain when I was in labor, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t stand and I knew my pain had a purpose! My body knew exactly what it had to do and it did it. What a miracle childbirth is, and I’m so excited and hopeful that God blesses me with more children!