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Faith and Healing: A ‘Post Dates’ Home Birth After a Cesarean

Faith and Healing: A ‘Post Dates’ Home Birth After a Cesarean

(Editor’s note: this birth experience was originally posted on August 23, 2011.)

To gain a little insight of why I had a C-section with my first born, I have it written down as a “vent” on my blog. It basically started out as one intervention cascading into a ball of interventions that led me to a transfer from a “Birth Center” birth to the hospital that ended in a non-emergency C-section for being stuck at 5cm for hours and hours. I did a lot of processing and mourned the birth and post par tum bond of my beautiful baby girl, Alana.

I did my research, got in touch with my local ICAN Chapter and soaked up as much info as I could. I also found a lovely CPM who takes VBAC’s as I knew the best chance of a successful VBAC would to be at home with the least intervention and the most support. I did all my own prenatal’s, skipped the ultrasound, listened and trusted my body to grow my baby and prepare for birth. I was on top of my nutrition and got monthly adjustments from my chiropractor and even got a wonderful massage at the end of my pregnancy.

My VBAC Baby Born at Home
Wow! Where do I begin? Ethan’s birth has so many emotions attached to it. So many hopes and dreams came true the night he was born, on Wednesday, May 19th, 2010. It’s hard for me to even write what I really want to write here. Whatever I write, it comes from a deep place in my soul.

First, I just have to give praise and honor to our Heavenly Father…for knowing the desires of my heart, for loving me through some hard challenges in my life and for allowing them to grow me. Our Creator is so good. While Ethan’s birth was hard work for me, I have no regrets. I guess I could say I “wish” things had gone differently, but really I’m grateful for how it was. This is his story.

I woke up Friday the 14th (9 days after my due date) still very pregnant and no end in sight. Then around 10am I went to the bathroom to find “bloody show”. It renewed my faith in my body that things were progressing and that I would be having this baby. I was really hoping that I would be holding my baby within 24 hours, but no. Bloody show came and went and Istill had my all day, every day braxton hicks that would always go away when I went to bed. There was no way I was willing to do anything to speed things along. I knew that in order to have the best possible chance at a VBAC, I would have to allow things to unfold completely unhindered. While it was hard and uncomfortable being so big, I was so at peace with where my body was at and what it needed to do. I continued to have bloody show all through the weekend.

Monday the 17th, I felt different. Lots more bloody show and my contractions were slightly stronger. So I did some massive “nesting” and Alana was my sidekick. It was truly a wonderful day spent with my daughter for the last time just the two of us. We made a pot roast in the crock pot, went to Trader Joe’s for some shopping, cleaned the house top to bottom and made cookies! It was such a beautiful, peaceful day. A day that I will remember forever. Matt was in and out of the house throughout the day working and it allowed Alana and I some time alone together.

Monday night, as we got ready for bed at 11:30pm, I noticed that my braxton hicks were still coming despite how late it was. Usually they had died down by now. So of course I wondered. Went to bed and as I lay there, I couldn’t sleep. Contractions were still coming. I got up to find my phone so that I could start timing them. They were coming every 3-6min. Very short though.

After an hour of this, I decided to get up to pee and I woke up Matt telling him I couldn’t sleep, that I may be in labor. I went pee and had a huge gob of bloody mucus, so I knew that this was the real deal. I told Matt I was going to shower and asked him to pump up the pool. Actually, I think I demanded him to.

I felt really calm, but part of me wanted things ready in case things went quick (wishful thinking). Took a shower and tried to check myself, but everything just felt like mush. I couldn’t tell or maybe I just couldn’t reach my cervix. Matt and I then made the bed up with a shower curtain and a sheet over it while the tub filled. I went downstairs and made some raspberry leaf and nettle tea and grabbed a water and set up my birth snacks on my dresser next to the tub. I told Matt I was happy to labor alone if he wanted to sleep downstairs on the couch. So he grabbed his pillow and a blanket and headed downstairs. To help pass time, I blow dried my hair and did my makeup in between contractions.

I did some hip swaying to give room and even did some squats during the contractions. I made sure to empty my bladder every hour. I was drinking and eating to sustain energy. At 6:30 am, I text my girlfriend, Jessica, to give her the heads up that I had been in labor since 12 am. She was my birth photographer and has an almost 2 year old and knew she was up getting ready for work, so I wanted to give her time to plan for the birth and would keep her posted.

At around 7am Matt’s alarm went off, so I went downstairs to tell him he probably shouldn’t go to work. Matt then asked if I had called the midwife to give her a heads up. That kind of annoyed me because I felt like it was too early yet. Then Alana woke up and pretty much my contractions died at that point. Matt took Alana downstairs and told me to sleep for awhile. I was really distraught because I felt like things were progressing and then the moment Matt and Alana woke, it distracted me and labor had stopped. Ugh!

So I took some Rescue Remedy to help me calm down and I layed down and slept for a couple hours. Then I woke up and took a shower to freshen up. Matt and I had an “upset” so we worked that out (I was still mad over the comment her made about calling the midwife). Nothing like getting irritated at each other when you want to be laboring. Then we ate and decided to go for a walk around 3:30 pm. While walking, I timed my contractions and there were coming every 5 min. I had to stop and lean over something for every contraction or hang on to Matt, whatever I could grab first. I’m sure I was a sight to the passing drivers.

Contractions continued to come after walking and eating dinner. I called Jessica, my mom and sisters and let them know to head on over around 8pm. Even though I had planned to labor alone for the majority of labor, I was so ready for some support. They all showed up and my sister Callie announced that she was making brownies. Grrr. I really wanted some and I never got any. I called my midwife sometime after 8 pm to give her the heads up. She listened to me while I went through a couple contractions and said they are about 3 minutes apart, but only lasting 30 sec. She was currently at another birth and I agreed to keep her posted.

I labored all through the night. Everyone found places to sleep and in the early hours, I want to say around 2am, things were  intense. I think I was pretty tired and my contractions were getting painful. I was in the birth tub for quite a while at this point, but I had been in and out and changing positions every hour. I called the midwife around 3:30 am and was ready for her to come. She and her assistant headed over. I remember about this time feeling intense energy and it was quite overwhelming. I was getting very vocal and loud.

When my midwife came in, she prayed over me and told me where to release the energy in an effective way by vocalizing in a low/deep tone. What a difference that made. I really wanted to scream the pain away, but with the direction from my midwife I was able to welcome the pain and release the intense energy in an effective way. That is what gets me through the rest of my labor.

I ended up moving to my bed to lay down and rest. Contractions spaced out to allow me to doze and get some sleep. I held on to my mom’s hand and squeezed for every contraction. After an hour or so, I was up and ready to get back to business. I labored all over my room and in the tub. Mom made me some breakfast-eggs and hash browns. I layed down again and was able to get a good sleep. I decided to not vocalize and just relax during my contractions. That was hard, but I needed the sleep.

Around 9am, I got up and decided I was ready for a check. I NEEDED to know at this point what progress had been made. My midwife said that I was about 7cm. Yay! To me, that was a good thing. I had only progressed to 6 cm with Alana, so I was happy to be past that hurdle. It was just what I needed to hear to keep me going. My midwife needed to head out for a little while and so did my mom, sisters and Jessica. It allowed me to focus on getting busy with labor.

My mom and sister Kimberly came back around 1 pm and started timing my contractions. I was in the tub, on my knees, hanging over the side and contractions started getting closer, longer and more intense. I held on to my mom for every contraction. My almost 4 year old daughter pretty much stayed in my room. She was amazing. I rubbed my knees raw from staying in this position for so long. There was lots of pressure in my bottom and at the peak of my contractions, I wanted to push. It was so intense, its all I could do. We called the midwife and she was on her way.

About this time, it started to storm outside. It was really cool. I walked the hall, did some laboring on the toilet and would hang from mom’s neck. Midwife got there and I asked her to check me and she said I still have a rim of cervix (9cm) and that I would need to relax through contractions to melt it. “Yeah right!” is what I thought. She said another option was she could hold the cervix while I push the baby past it. I told her I would try “relaxing” to melt the cervix.

Well, an hour later, I hit my wall. I started having thoughts of going to the hospital. I just couldn’t go on. I was exhausted and there needed to be progress. So I yelled down the stairs to my midwife that I would like her to hold it back. She came upstairs and got prepped. She warned me that it would hurt. I didn’t care. What could hurt worse than those contractions? I got propped up in my bed with Callie and Jessica holding each of my legs, while my midwife massaged cervix in between contractions and held it up while I pushed during contractions. It was so hard finding the right place to push. Thank goodness I even had the urge to push. I pushed 4 times per contraction and pushed hard and at one point the assistant told me to hold my breath while pushing. I tried it once and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath in time for the next push so decided that wouldn’t work and I needed to blow air out while pushing.

During this time, I was fed yogurt and drinking Recharge and Emegen-C to keep me fueled. I think I even apologized for any toots I couldn’t hold in. LOL. Finally, the cervix was gone and his head was low enough that I was able to get into a different position.

I head straight for the toilet.  It’s amazing how intense the urge to push is. Our bodies our amazing in that it just takes over and you don’t have a choice. While sitting on the toilet, I was hugging the assistant and my mom and reaching for my midwife’s hand. I think I was reaching for help, for someone to just take the intensity away. For whatever reason, it made sense at the time. I really used some muscles in my body as I was hugging on them hard. I remember saying out loud “I can’t” and the assistant saying back to me, “but you are”. That was powerful and gave me the push to keep going (not like I had a choice, but I was able to rationalize it in my head to keep going).

Some of this is really hazy and I don’t remember much detail, but at this point I was sooo hot and sweaty. I asked for cool rags so the ladies started putting cold rags on me. Then I got in the tub in a reclining position and was still cooking so they brought in a fan and aimed it right at me. I pushed and pushed, then got onto my knees to hang over the side of the tub. I had Callie put counter pressure on my lower back and that was AMAZING relief. I could feel the head come down low during pushing and then suck back up in between contractions.

Midwives suggested moving into different pushing positions since its like trying to cork screw the baby out. So I said I wanted out of the water, but when it came time to move, I didn’t want to. The ladies said “lets go” and so I finally just did it. I really didn’t want to move in fear another contraction came while moving. I squatted on the floor at the foot of my bed and wrapped my arms over my mom and sister’s necks for support. There was a mirror on the floor so that I could see the progress. That was cool and kept me going! Then I decided I wanted to push in a reclining position on my bed. I really wanted to see the progress and my legs were tired so it was time to move.

Propped in reclining position and hanging on to my mom for dear life, I pushed and pushed. There is no pain like the ring of fire. I seriously dislike those ladies who’s babies come flying out and don’t feel the ring of fire. It’s so intense. I watched in the mirror the whole time and reached down and touched his head. It was incredible! I’m so thankful it was slow so that I could process the whole experience. I didn’t want to miss a moment. I just wanted to soak the experience in…the experience that I had longed for and what I missed with my daughter’s c-section. So even though it was painful, God knew that it needed to happen slowly. It was needed for my healing. I will never forget, I was the first one to touch my baby. I was in the moment and feeling totally connected to my unborn baby.


My midwife suggested I grunt, to not push him out too fast and I did that to get his head out. Part of me just wanted to push hard and to get it done and over with. But I chose to ignore that thought since I really didn’t want to tear. Once his head was out (sweet relief!!), I reached down and started touching his face. I got a good minute of touching him and it was surreal. Then my last contraction came and out he came with some maneuvering by the midwives since there was a loose cord around his neck and wrapped around his body and then I reached down and pulled him up to my chest.


He was born on Wednesday, May 19th, at 8:01pm. My sister Callie then saw his parts and announced “its a boy!” and we all squealed in delight! His apgars were 8 and 9 and he squawked when he was born and then it took him another 45 seconds or so to get out a good cry.

The “love cocktail” is real and I got to experience it with my beautiful son. I was instantly in love with him and I smelled, touched and kissed him within minutes of him being born. My daughter got to experience and watch the whole thing. She was right at my side within a minute of baby’s birth, talking and touching him. He knew who is sister was. When she talked, he looked for her and it was soothing to him. She has been so loving with him and I know that her being there for the birth, instantly bonded them. My husband had to walk out of the room because of the intensity, but I know that his heart was full and that he was happy with the outcome. And that he was a BOY!




I had two small tears, one on each labia. I took the stitches in hopes of a quicker recovery. Baby boy weighed in at 9 lbs 10 oz (major shock), 22in long and a 14.5in head! Big, happy and healthy boy milked his time in mama. He came at exactly 42 weeks with no pressure from anyone to have him before then. He chose his birthday! And it took us a little over a week to choose his name, Ethan Matthew Wright. He is simply amazing!

I am forever grateful for my “hands off” midwife who became “hands on” when I needed a little bit of help at the end to get that pesky lip of cervix to move and for her patience and trust in my ability to birth my baby!!!

I also have a picture video here.

Birth experience and photographs submitted by Melissa. 

PROM, Castor Oil, Precipitous Labor, & Home Birth

PROM, Castor Oil, Precipitous Labor, & Home Birth

When I got pregnant with my second child, my husband and I never questioned where she would be born – we both knew we wanted another home birth with our amazing midwife that guided us through our son’s birth in 2012. Aside from a small amount of erratic bleeding and a preterm labor scare that ended up being the stomach flu, my pregnancy was uneventful and flew by and before I knew it, I was out on maternity leave from work at 36 weeks and filling my calendar with social engagements to fill the days before my due date. My son was born at 39 weeks, 6 days and I expected our daughter would follow suit, give or take a few days. I had my home visit with my midwife at 36 weeks and everything was in order for the birth, which I figured was weeks away.

On the morning of April 13, at 37 weeks, 5 days, I woke up at 5:45 am after a surprisingly restful night’s sleep (I struggled with pregnancy induced insomnia the majority of my pregnancy). I rushed to the bathroom to empty my very full bladder and I noticed that there was something wet between my legs. I figured it was urine since I had been known to pee myself a few times during this pregnancy, but after I used the restroom, the liquid kept coming and I realized it wasn’t pee. I woke up my husband and told him I thought my water had broken. The instructions from my midwife stated to wait until normal business hours to call if my water broke but labor had not started, so I put on a pad and went about my morning routine, excited but also a little nervous that I had felt zero signs of labor and this was much earlier than I expected to be going into labor. My mother, who lives in another state, wasn’t scheduled to arrive for two weeks and she was going to be my labor doula and after birth support.

A few hours later, I called my mom and told her my water had broken. No sooner had the words left my mouth then she was looking up how to change her flight and arranging a ride to the airport. Her words of advice were to take it easy to avoid going into labor before she arrived that evening. I sent my husband to work and the older kids off to school, as I still had zero signs of labor. I called my midwife who said to keep in touch and practice good hygiene, etc. I realized we didn’t have any food in the house for the midwives, so I made some muffins, and took a nap, anticipating that labor would be starting at some point in the next 24 hours, as the internet assured me 95% of labor’s do, after PROM/SROM. The day went on without so much as a little baby contraction, my mother arrived and we all went to bed, expecting to be woken up overnight to some labor action. My husband stopped by my midwife’s office and picked up their labor induction protocol pack, which included castor oil, herbal tincture and a few other supplements. She recommended I start the protocol in the morning if nothing started overnight.

Overnight, I felt a few mild contractions, but I mostly slept through the night and woke up without incident. I got up early to start the labor induction protocol, which included nipple stimulation (pumping), tinctures and a castor oil compress. I opted to not do the castor oil internally and see if the nipple stimulation helped. I watched “Look Who’s Talking” on Netflix, which did not make me laugh, the tinctures were regularly making me gag and the nipple stimulation wasn’t inducing a single contraction. My husband stayed home from work and slept in, in anticipation of another long day/night. After 4 hours of pumping every 30 minutes and not a single contraction, I talked to my midwife who wanted me to come into her office to confirm PROM and do a sterile speculum exam and talk about options. My mom and I went for a quick walk around the neighborhood and I finally started feeling some back pain and little tiny contractions, which were slightly encouraging but still not what I would call labor.

As my husband and I headed to the midwife’s office, I was getting disheartened. We were approaching the 48 hour mark and I was dreading the thought of making the decision if we needed to go to the hospital or could continue to wait for labor to start on its own. The exam by my midwife didn’t help ease my mind. She estimated that I was less than 1 cm dilated and maybe 90% effaced. Considering how long it had been since my water had broken and all the labor inducers I had choked down, this was depressing news. We talked about what would happen if I went to the hospital and how long we were both comfortable waiting, the risk of infection, etc. We came up with a plan that if my labor hadn’t started by the following morning, she would accompany me to the hospital for an induction. Meanwhile, she gave me the protocol for internal castor oil and we decided I would try a dose of it when I got home, which ended up being at approximately 4 pm.

My husband and I left our midwife’s office and headed down to the beach to talk a walk and clear our (my) heads. I was feeling really down and sad that the birth I had been picturing for the last nearly 3 years (since my first son was born) was looking like it wasn’t going to happen. But as we walked and my husband made me laugh (This is why I love this man with my whole being), I had a sudden peace that no matter where my daughter made her entrance, it was going to be spectacular and that was the way it was intended, even if that was in a hospital bed with an IV antibiotic, a Pitocin drop and an epidural. We headed home where my mom had my castor oil chocolate milkshake waiting for me.

After I took the milkshake, we did another few laps around the neighborhood. Back home, as we were fixing dinner, I started getting a few regular and ‘real’ contractions. This was very exciting! I even had to drop to my knees a few times but they were still very short and not super close together so I figured this was all still pre-labor stuff. I explained to my almost 3 year old that this was normal, that mommy’s tummy had to hurt for baby sister to come out and this was a good sign. As they were finishing up dinner and starting bedtime, I attempted to do some squats on the stairs. That kicked my contractions into a much higher intensity and I immediately had to go up into our bedroom and shut the door so I could focus on relaxing through the pain. My mom and husband came to check on me and I said that i was ok but things were starting to get organized and I needed both of them to support me. The notorious effects of castor oil started kicking in and I (out of necessity) started laboring on the toilet. Although the contractions were intense, they were still short and I was getting a decent break between, where I could talk and even laugh. I was confused at why the contractions were so intense so we called our midwife. After talking to us, she concluded I was probably in pre-labor and should get some rest and baby would most likely be joining us in the morning. We took her advice and I laid down and attempted to get some sleep. I believe I slept for about 30 minutes. By this time it was about 830 pm.

I jumped out of bed when a particularly strong contraction hit and told my mom and husband that I couldn’t sleep anymore, the pain was too intense. I tried to labor on the birth ball, but it wasn’t helping. My mind started freaking out (in hindsight, I was in transition but didn’t know it, even the second time around!) that there was no way I could do this all night, the pain was too intense and we needed to go to the hospital. But then I would get another 2 minute break and I thought I was just imaging the intensity. My mom suggested I try laboring in the shower which helped dull the pain and I believe relaxed me to the point to allow sweet baby girl to descend into prime birthing position. All at once, I couldn’t stand up in the shower anymore, I nearly fell out of the shower onto the birthing ball and screamed “I HAVE TO PUSH”. That certainly got everyone’s attention. My husband started panicking and filling the birth tub while furiously dialing the number for our midwife. My mom said, “please Lord let her keep this baby in until the midwife arrives, I have delivered a baby before but I would really rather not”. The midwife was on her way and giving instructions to my husband who was still trying to fill the pool. My mother got me to lay on my side and said she could see the baby’s head crowning. With 1 push, her head was out and then immediately another push, she was out and my mother gently laid her on my stomach where she started screaming the most beautiful ear piercing scream you ever heard. She was tiny and pink with a head of thick black hair, long beautiful fingers and absolutely perfect.

I kept asking if she was ok and of course she was. When the midwife arrived, my husband cut the cord and I immediately delivered the placenta as soon as I stood up. Sweet Ella Grace started rooting for the breast as soon as she was placed on my chest in bed and began nursing like a champion (and 2 years later, still is a total mommy’s girl and loves her milky time!). I feel so blessed that I was able to have the birth I envisioned and her arrival still gives me chills when I think about it!

Story and photo submitted by Sarah W. 

Surrender to the Ocean’s Tide: a Water Birth Story

Surrender to the Ocean’s Tide: a Water Birth Story

I had begun having Braxton Hicks contractions at regular intervals starting at 36 weeks. Every day I would contract at 5 minutes apart and end the day at 3 minutes apart. So on May 4th, 2017, which happened to be my due date, I didn’t think too much of my contractions, which now felt stronger. After picking up my daughter from school at 1:30 I came home and got in the bath tub, at which point the contractions slowed to 10 minutes apart. At 3 pm l decided to call my midwives to talk about my symptoms.

Once I got out of the tub the contractions picked back up at 5 minute intervals. This time they seemed crampier, more intense. They accelerated very quickly and within minutes I was making what my husband calls “tribal” sounds that signified it was real this time. However, I was still in denial that this was really “it”, and didn’t call my husband until 3:45pm. My 4-year-old daughter was watching a movie in the living room and periodically came to check on me back in my bedroom. Despite the noises that I was making, somehow, I was still in denial that this was really it. Thank goodness, I DID decide to inform everyone on my birth team, including my photographer. Little did I know how soon the baby would come.

The midwives arrived around 4:15pm and announced that I was fully dilated. I was so relieved! Soon after my husband walked in from work. If he would have left his office just 10 minutes later I’m quite sure he would have hit traffic and not made it to the birth.

I then texted my photographer who lives close by. She arrived at my house at 4:45, just in time to photograph me working through a few contractions. The pool was quickly set up and I stepped into the warm water. It was so comforting. In between contractions I felt fine. I carried on conversation and even told the photographer to open the blinds so we could get better lighting. We smiled for a nice family picture, and then I resumed my work.

With the next contraction, I felt what I can only describe as a “pop” of a rubber band. It took me a moment to mentally register this feeling, and a few seconds later I announced that my water had broken. With the water breaking came an undeniable urge to push. I focused inwardly, pushed gently, and out came little Levi! I did not feel a “ring of fire” this time, instead I felt what can only be described as getting kicked in the crotch with cleats.

After that moment I felt his head, then his neck, then shoulders, then body, all squirm out of me. That part was not painful at all! It was such a neat feeling that I do not recall feeling with my first birth. It was such an “out of body” experience, pun intended! I birthed him on all fours, and he slid out behind me. My daughter whispered, “Look Mama, there’s the baby!” My midwife picked him up as I rolled over into a sitting position, resting my back against the side of the tub. He immediately let out a strong, loud cry. I rested him on my chest and took in all the wonder of what had just occurred. A few minutes later, I got out of the tub and crawled into bed with my family. I laid him on my chest and he found and latched onto my breast. Soon after I pushed the placenta out. I did not bleed very much, neither in the tub nor post-partum.

I was so much more “present” for this birth than my first water birth, which was also swift and peaceful, however, I must have mentally escaped to “labor land” with my first. For this birth, I felt so clear minded in between and even during contractions. This must be why I was in such denial that I was in labor until right at the end, because I partly expected that mental fog feeling of labor land to come over me if it was real labor. My first birth was nearly 4 hours long, and I hadn’t had even a twinge or a cramp until I went into obvious labor with her. With my second birth, I had so many contractions for many weeks leading up to the birth. I had become like the boy who cried wolf, thinking every single day that the baby was coming, and eventually doubting myself, feeling more confused than ever about what real labor even felt like.

This birth confirmed what I already knew to be true from my first: birth can be so very simple, if we just allow ourselves to surrender to the ocean’s tide, instead of swimming against it.

Story submitted by Mackenzie A. 

Photographs taken by Kat Reiser

A Midwifery Student’s Birth Without Fear {With Pictures}

A Midwifery Student’s Birth Without Fear {With Pictures}

I got pregnant with my first son when I was just about 18. I really wanted to give birth at the out of hospital birth center that a lot of my friends were giving birth at, but my mom and other friends convinced me it was best to have my first at the hospital, in case anything went wrong.

I got high blood pressure during my pregnancy and was constantly being tested for PIH. My labs kept coming back normal, but my blood pressure kept getting higher and higher. At 34 weeks I woke up with extremely swollen ankles and a terrible migraine. I went to the hospital and after being monitored for a while the nurse came into my hospital room and said “well… you’re gonna have a baby tonight.”

My doctor decided I needed to be induced. My blood pressure was up to 201/99. The nurse gave me a shot in my butt, and I apologized for wearing my ugly undies and asked if she has to use bigger needles for bigger butts. She said yes! HA! I loved my nurse. Her name was Wendy. She was so sweet!

I was given an IV, and while they were trying to insert it, I asked if that’s where I got the epidural. They said “nope, you’re not even in labor yet sweetie, you can get it when you feel like you really need it.”

They put me on Labetalol and magnesium, and some other stuff to keep my blood pressure down. The magnesium made me so loopy. I was cracking jokes left and right, and I think I may have even been hallucinating a tad, because Wendy was glowing at one point.

They induced me with the little pill that gets shoved up me (can’t think of the name!), and I sort of labored for about 8 hours. They came in and said my labor pattern wasn’t what they wanted to see, so they gave me the pitocin. The second they got the pitocin going, the contractions really started getting hard. Then the on call doctor broke my water and that made it even worse.

I labored for several hours, until about 8cm, and then the nurse asked me if I wanted the epidural because I had to get it now or never. I didn’t really feel like I needed it, but I got it anyways. I was able to sleep after getting it. Then, I felt like I had to pee. My nurse checked me and sure enough it was the baby’s head.

They rushed me to the operating room because I was only 34 weeks along and baby and I were both high risk, and the operating room was right next to the NICU. There wasn’t a doctor in the building at this point, so the nurses made me lie on my side and cross my legs and not push.

I had to push so bad, my body started convulsing and my teeth were chattering. My doctor finally got there after 20 minutes and said “sorry I missed it!” And the nurses said “You didn’t miss it! She needs to push!” So he got in his sterile outfit and told me to “bear down.”

I asked “WHAT IS BEAR DOWN!?” And everyone in the room screamed “PUSH!” My boyfriend at the time was holding one leg and my mom was holding the other. I gave one push and there was his head. My boyfriend said “he has hair!” and I started balling.

I pushed 1 or 2 more times and he was out. They put him on my chest, had dad cut the cord, and then rushed him off the NICU. I didn’t see him till 6 hours later, because of my epidural. They didn’t tell me that when I got it, I was so angry.

After he was home I started researching whether or not to vaccinate him, and during my research I learned a lot about out of hospital births and using midwives. Right then it clicked in my head “I’m supposed to be a midwife!” So I started an apprenticeship through the out of hospital birth center I originally wanted to have my baby at. Working there only 2 months, I got baby fever BAD! I soon got pregnant again.

This time around I used the midwife I had been apprenticing under and she helped me keep my blood pressure under control with diet and herbs. I had a fairly easy pregnancy till about 30 weeks when I started to have preterm labor. My midwife was able to stop it, but I was put on bedrest. It wasn’t easy with an almost 2 year old running around!

After about 4 weeks of bed rest I was able to slowly add more and more activity to my day. It was great being able to cook and clean again! At 36 weeks my husband (and baby daddy of first) and I got all the stuff we’d need for our homebirth. We rented a birth tub and got everything ready.

When I was 37 weeks I thought I was in labor, so my midwife came over and checked me and I was 4cm dilated. But my contractions would stop when I stopped moving. So she had me just rest and wait until they got real. I went 2 more weeks having these what I called “fake contractions.” However, they weren’t fake at all.

At my 39 week visit, I had my midwife check me, and I was 9cm dilated and 70% effaced. I asked her to strip my membranes and she did. As I was leaving my appointment around 5pm, I said to her and the other midwives that would be at my birth “I bet we’ll have a baby by 8 tonight.”

We left and went to Trader Joe’s to get some pizza dough to make calzones that night. We got home and I was cooking up some sausage and all of a sudden I got such a bad contraction, I hunched over and said a slew of swear words. Then my husband took over cooking.

I went to the bathroom and had bloody show. I texted my midwife and she said “your birth team is on the way!” And about 10 minutes later the photographer showed up! I knew the photographer never gets there until the last few hours, so I figured my midwife must have thought I was close.

Once the birth team got there I kept telling them that it was fake labor and it would stop, and that they should go home. But I kept having this weird pain in my butt. They got the tub filled and told me I could get in, so I did. But once I got in I had to go poop SO BAD.

My midwife told me to just poop in the tub, but I know how bad that can smell, so I told her I wanted to get on the toilet. But I was stuck. I literally was in such hard labor I couldn’t get out of the tub. I was pissed. And I was in denial that I was in labor. Then I just kept having this urge to poop. Then it clicked in my midwifery-student mind “I don’t have to poop, I have to push!!!” So I said “I’M PUSHING!” I pushed for about 10 minutes and then my water broke and I screamed “ring of fire! RING OF FIRE!”

My midwife had me stop pushing because she knew how badly I didn’t want to tear. She supported my perineum and had me breath and hum through the contractions. My body literally just so slowly pushed him out. My mom, midwife and fellow midwifery student helped to catch him. I was so awesome! I asked if it was a boy or girl and they couldn’t see, so I reached my hand down and felt a handful of balls and told everyone it was another boy! It was amazing!

My little sister, and my older son were also there. There were 3 midwives, a student midwife, and the photographer! It was so amazing. I still can’t believe I did it! Next time around I don’t think I’ll use the birth tub though! I hated that thing!

He was born at 8:32, 32 minutes after I guessed he’d be out. My labor lasted 2 hours! After baby was out, I delivered my placenta, and it was literally gigantic. We weighed it, it was 1.5lbs! Baby weighed 8.5lbs and was 22 ½ inches long. Much bigger than my preemie 6 lb baby!

I’m so grateful for the birth stories that BWF posts, it helped me to be more confident in myself. I am now 2 ½ months postpartum, exclusively breastfeeding and feel so strong for birthing without fear! I went into labor excited, not scared! Thank you, Birth Without Fear, for all you do!





My Rad Birth Center Birth of a Posterior Baby {and Placenta Pics!}

My Rad Birth Center Birth of a Posterior Baby {and Placenta Pics!}

My water never broke…just my tailbone…

Okay, I’ll back up a little…

I had been having extremely mild, menstrual-like cramps for a few weeks leading up to the birth. Since they didn’t hurt, I was excited about these cramps and hoping that they were causing my body to progress. This was my first pregnancy and I was pretty excited to get the baby OUT of me, especially because I was getting pretty uncomfortable. I wasn’t THAT huge, but my hips ached like crazy at night, making it difficult to get any sleep.

My aunt, who is a birth doula, flew into town 10 days before my due date. She is also a professional massage therapist, and has worked on tons of pregnant mamas. So of course, I let her go to town on me as much as she wanted. Not only did it feel wonderful, but apparently she was doing some sort of pregnancy thing that was supposed to prepare my body for labor. She knew of some acupressure points that, supposedly, helped with bringing on labor (if your body is ready), so as soon as I turned 38 weeks she was performing those on me as well. I felt pretty pampered.

I had been extremely worried though, because at my last few appointments the baby had turned posterior. It happened slowly. First he was anterior. A few weeks later he turned to ROP and had been persistently ROP for at least a month. I took it really hard. I guess this is the point where I admit that for my entire pregnancy, I had been completely OCD about doing EVERYTHING I could to ensure that my baby’s position would be perfect for labor. I bought a birth ball and used it in place of a desk chair at work. I sat on that thing for 40 hours a week, from 4 months pregnant up until my due date. Every day, starting in the second trimester, I did my Spinning Babies exercises. I never leaned back; I never sat on the sofa. I wouldn’t even lean back in the bath tub. So, needless to say, I was very frustrated by this turn of events, and felt gypped by the baby positioning experts out there. I had been heeding their advice to a T, and yet my baby was still posterior. That was my biggest concern leading up to the birth, aside from needing an emergency c-section. I was pretty terrified a c-section. And I thought the combination of my small frame with a posterior baby could potentially mean bad news. But I tried to put all of that out of my mind.

The night before I went into labor, Jono and I had a nice relaxing evening. It was a Sunday and I was supposed to go into work the next day, but I called my boss earlier that day and told her that I wouldn’t be coming in. I felt too pregnant, my due date was the very next day, and I had decided that I wanted to start my maternity leave. So, knowing that I wasn’t going to work, we decided to have a nice dinner and then watch a movie. We lay in bed and watched the movie until midnight, and I fell asleep immediately. I had the greatest night’s sleep ever! I did not wake up once to pee and I slept like a log. I slept from midnight until 8:30am, when I was awakened by a dream. I think I dreamt that I was having contractions.

I got out of bed and felt a little wet when I stood, but it was so minimal that I thought it was just cervical fluid. I had been having more fluid during pregnancy anyway, so this wasn’t out of the ordinary. I had a nice lazy morning alone. Jono was getting his Masters degree at the time and he had to be at school that day. So I took a shower, did my hair, etc. All the while I noticed some mild menstrual-type cramps on and off, but they felt the same as the ones I had been having for weeks, so I thought nothing of it. I kept feeling the “cervical fluid” though, on and off. It wasn’t much, at all, but something in the back of my mind was telling me that it just might be amniotic fluid. I wasn’t sure if labor was imminent, but because I was so concerned about the baby’s position, I thought “well, if this IS labor, I better be doing all I can to get this baby in a good position! I have nothing else better to do anyway.” So I walked around the house, put my birth ball up on the bed and leaned over it (to try and spin baby to anterior!), listened to my Hypnobabies Birth Affirmations, etc. I don’t remember much of what I did. But eventually I noticed that the “mild menstrual-type” cramps seemed like they were coming more often. That, along with the “cervical fluid”, is what made me call my midwife.

She told me that I better get down to the birth center so that they could check to see if it really was amniotic fluid. I still didn’t think that I could possibly be in labor. I wasn’t really in any pain! She said that I could try to time the crampy feelings if I felt like it. I had nothing better to do, so I started timing. They were about 5 minutes apart, but still not painful or uncomfortable. I think because I experienced really bad menstrual cramps for my entire life, these didn’t really feel like anything.

I called my husband and told him that I had a 1:00pm appointment at the birth center. He had a class over lunch that day, starting at 12:15pm, but obviously wanted to come to the birth center with me. So, at 12:15pm he went to class and told his professor that he wouldn’t be staying because his wife might be in labor. His professor gave him an extra assignment for missing class! Do you believe that?

Jono came home and we began gathering things and packing the car, just in case. It didn’t feel necessary to pack the car, but we thought we’d better be safe than sorry. I didn’t feel like changing my clothes AT ALL, so I didn’t bother, but I was slightly embarrassed when I showed up at the birth center because I was wearing my sisters ex-boyfriends football warm-up sweatpants (they are huge!) and a hooded sweatshirt, with fake uggs (because they were easiest to slip on). I looked ridiculous and I knew it!!!

We drove to the birth center and I was still in disbelief that it could actually be labor. I guess it just felt as though I’d be pregnant forever, and I didn’t think it was very likely that I’d have my first baby on time, on my due date nonetheless! In the car, I was having regular contractions, still not very painful, but definitely uncomfortable. I was laying in the backseat for the drive and starting to actually breathe through some of the contractions. It was only a 20 minute drive. I still thought for sure that we’d arrive and I’d just be sent home.

We arrived at the birth center for our appointment, but the midwife I was scheduled to see was busy. Another midwife, Anne, saw me standing in the waiting room leaning onto Jono and said, “You look like a laboring mommy!” I just looked at her and said, “I don’t know if I am!” I told her that I was there to get checked for an amniotic fluid leak and she said she’d take me back right away. She waited to check my fluid until I was in between contractions (I LOVE midwives!). While I had one, she’d gently put her hand on my tummy until the contraction ended. That seemed to be her way of timing them, or seeing if they were, in fact, contractions, or maybe both. They still felt like fleeting menstrual cramps to me, and still not too painful. She confirmed that I was having contractions. And she apologetically told me that the baby was still posterior. I told her that I had a feeling and that I was disappointed, but I realized that there was nothing more I could really do about it.

Time to check for amniotic fluid. I lay down and she readied herself to insert the speculum. Immediately, she said, “Whoa!! I can see the head!” Jono looked and saw it too. She tried to show me with a mirror but I couldn’t see over my huge belly. She told me that by looking she would guess that I might be about 3cm dilated, but that she was totally guessing, and she wouldn’t be able to tell for sure until she got the speculum in and checked my dilation. As far as the amniotic fluid, nothing was conclusive. She told me that she thought I might have a very high, very small tear in the sac, because she could still see that the bag was intact over the baby’s head. She took out the speculum and then checked me for dilation. I wasn’t expecting much, since she had already told me that she guessed I was about 3cm. She then checked my cervix, and I was 6CM!!!! I was floored. But I was still in complete denial, because I responded with, “So does that mean I’m staying here?” She laughed and said yes, that I definitely had to stay and that she would not let me go anywhere at that point.

I wanted to get in the Jacuzzi tub as soon as possible, so she sent a nurse downstairs to my birthing suite to start filling it up. I shortly followed. Guess I was a little slower than the nurse, considering that I was in labor and all. When I arrived in the “Desert Room” (each room had a theme) I stripped down to my sports bra immediately, and got in the tub. It was about 1:30pm now. I sat cross-legged for awhile, chatting with the nurse. Pretty quickly I transitioned from “chatty” to “leave-me-alone.”

At some point the midwife arrived, her assisting nurse arrived, and Jono snuck in a quick call to my mom to tell her that I was in hard labor. The tub felt SO good, and I was just in my own little world, focusing on totally relaxing my entire body. At this point I was in transition (didn’t know it at the time). I didn’t want anyone to touch me. The nurse, trying to be nice, was pouring water over my belly during each contraction, but it did not feel good. It was all I could do to shake my head “No” each time she did it but she didn’t seem to get the point. Jono had to tell her to stop. He was great. He just stayed very close to me, almost up in my face, the entire time, which is exactly what I needed. I just wanted him to be near me. My tub time consisted of me lying on my side the entire time. I wanted the jets off. There were times that Jono thought I was trying to drown myself because I’d concentrate so hard on relaxing my body during contractions that my head would sometimes go under water a little bit. At one point I wanted peanut butter. Random. I spent about 1.5 hours in the tub, from 1:30 – 3pm.

At 3:00pm I started to feel like I needed to push, so they made me get out of the water. Apparently, by law, you cannot give birth in water in the state of Pennsylvania. They asked where I wanted to go: toilet, bed, birthing chair, etc. I tried squatting on the bed, but it hurt my lower back like a #%@#! so that position was OUT. I was only comfortable lying on my right side on the bed. So I pushed on my side for awhile, until Kathy, my midwife, asked if I would do a few contractions on my hands and knees. She told me that the baby was still posterior (with no back labor, thank God!) and she hoped that this would help him/her spin around.

I leaned over the birth ball, on the bed, and pushed through a few contractions in that position. It hurt like crazy, way more than lying on my side, but apparently she thought it was a good idea, so I went with it. Finally she thought it would be okay to resume my side-lying position. I did, but she then asked me to lay on my back to try and get the baby “under my pubic bone.” This position only lasted for one or two contractions, since we found that the baby’s heart rate drastically dropped as soon as I lay on my back.

It was at this point that Kathy busted out the dreaded episiotomy supplies, “just in case.” The drastic dropping of the baby’s heart rate made her a little nervous, she said. So she allowed me to try laying on my side again, for one more contraction, to see if the heart rate went back up. If it didn’t  she was going to do the episiotomy and get the baby out as quickly as possible. Thankfully the heart rate immediately jumped right back up to normal and stayed that way. Whew!

I finally plucked up the courage to ask how I was doing. I was so afraid that I had been pushing all this time to no avail. So I said, “Am I making any progress? Or am I going to need a c-section?” I think Kathy almost laughed at me, but she held it in. She told me that I was pushing beautifully and that the baby was very far down in the birth canal.

Next thing I knew, the baby was about to crown. I don’t remember much about that part, except that it hurt worse than pushing, but only for a split second. Jono told me that I said, “owie” when the head crowned (who says owie!?). A lot of the labor feels like a haze, so I count on Jono to remember these things. He told me that I was a very quiet laborer, and for the most part didn’t make a peep the entire time. He said that I only spoke to ask the question about my progression, and to say “owie.” Of course, I felt like I was groaning and making tons of noise the whole time, but he assured me that I hardly made a sound. Interesting how my view of the labor was different than his.

Anyway, what I do remember is that my midwife asked for my hands, and I was the first one to touch my baby! But as soon as the head was out, Kathy went into “hurry-up-and-get-the-baby-out-mode.” Turns out the cord was wrapped around baby’s neck two times, and Kathy needed me to give a BIG push to get the baby out enough so that she could unravel the cord. After the fact, she said that we were fortunate because the cord was very loose around the baby’s neck.

Once Kathy unravelled the cord, she helped me “catch” the baby as he/she came out. I had a little help from her, but essentially did it myself. “Give me your hands!,” Kathy said. I brought the baby up to my chest immediately to be cuddled and, of course, I was still in shock. In awe, I said, “It’s a BABY!!!” We cuddled for a moment and then I heard the nurse say, “What is it!?” So I held up the baby, moved over the cord and said, “It’s a boy!” We had decided not to find out the gender during my pregnancy, but from day one I had a strong feeling that it was a boy. I guess my feeling was so strong that I didn’t even feel the need to check! Jono then helped me take off my sports bra, so that baby and I could be skin-to-skin. Someone gave us a blanket and I put it over him. He had no blood on him. He was perfect! He lifted up his head to look at me, and the midwife said, “wow, look at him lifting his neck! Strong baby!” He started breastfeeding immediately.

First ever photo of the babe, taken a few minutes after birth, still waiting on placenta, he latched on immediately (me smiling)

birth center bonding breastfeeding
When he latched onto the other side…….OUCH!

They examined him while he was on my chest nursing. They waited a few minutes to clamp and cut the cord, until it stopped pulsating. I think Jono cut it. I continued to breastfeed; he ate for about 15 minutes on each side. I pushed out the placenta shortly after he was born, but I don’t really remember it. I had no tearing and obviously, as a result, no need for stitches. Apparently Kathy had been massaging me and putting hot compresses on my perineum during the pushing stage. I had no clue she was doing this, but Jono told me about it later. I also found out later that he came out anterior, so the hands and knees position spun him!

The placenta, obviously 😉

the midwife center birth center placenta

He came out anterior, but for most of the labor he was in the posterior position. When Kathy asked me to get on my hands and knees during the pushing stage, her intention was to get him to spin. She never told me this until much later. She said that the hands and knees position spun him to anterior, and after that the pushing phase was much quicker. However, since he was pretty far down in the birth canal when he spun from posterior to anterior, there was still a lot of pressure on my back and tailbone. By the grace of God, or maybe a miracle, I had zero back labor during the entire labor and delivery! His bad positioning did not cause me any pain during the labor or delivery, but it caused me a lot of pain after the delivery.

Once he was out I could not lay on my back. I have photos of me relaxing after childbirth….on my side. Not on my back. The pain was pretty intense, much worse than labor and delivery. I had lots of tailbone pain for weeks after childbirth. As I mentioned at the outset, my water never broke! But my tailbone did (or at least dislocated, still not quite sure)! It took a few months to heal but eventually it wasn’t quite so painful all the time. Thankfully I had no other post-delivery issues to deal with (stitches, etc) so all in all it really wasn’t too bad. 🙂 Back to the birth story…

Eventually, once we were all settled and everyone had been examined, my family was able to come in and see us. My parents and my aunt (the doula) were already there, upstairs, in the waiting room, so they came into our room about 45 minutes after he was born. My sisters arrived shortly after. The midwives cooked us a nice meal and we enjoyed that while they weighed, measured, and fingerprinted him. He was six pounds nine ounces and 19.5 inches long.

Liam Blaine was born on his due date of December 10, 2007. I woke up in labor that day at 8:30am, but didn’t know I was in labor until getting checked at the birth center around 1:00pm. I entered the pushing stage around 3:00pm and Liam was born by 4:13pm, a beautiful, healthy baby boy.

Very alert

newborn birth center

Post-birth nap

newborn the midwife centre birth centre

Dressed and ready to go home about 6 hours post-birth

newborn birth centre

When Liam turned 5 years old I wrote this letter to Kathy McKain, the midwife who “caught” him.

Dear Kathy,

I can’t believe that it took me this long, but I am writing to say THANK YOU for all the work you do to advocate for women’s health. You helped “catch” my firstborn son 5 years ago at TMC, in the Desert Room. We didn’t know the gender, but I had such a strong feeling that he was a boy that I didn’t even check when you told me to pull him up to my chest! You had to remind me to check, and sure enough, he was a boy. And then you commented about his strong neck muscles as he lifted his head up immediately and looked me in the eyes. I am so thankful for you and for TMC. I think that his birth may just have been a c-section if you hadn’t been attending. It was a quick labor. I woke up at 8am with some possible leaking, but it was so minor that I didn’t call TMC until about 11am. The contractions were super mild and irregular. You told me to come in for an amniotic fluid swab at 1pm, so we did. On the way there I was focusing and breathing through contractions and when I was checked upon arrival (by Ann) I was 6 centimetres!!! My firstborn son, Liam, was born at 4:13pm, just over 3 hours later. He was posterior until the very end, when you had me get on all fours to rotate him. It was so uncomfortable! I just wanted to lie on my side. And I ended up delivering on my side, but I remember trying a couple of different positions and his heart rate wasn’t as good. So on my side it was. And now that I reflect on his birth, between the positioning, the time spent pushing, and the heart rate drops in certain positions, I truly believe that he would have been a c-section if I had been in the hospital. I am so thankful that you trusted my body and allowed me to birth in the way that I desired. You helped me not to tear, which I am forever thankful for, and you were such a calming influence, even when he crowned and his cord was wrapped around his neck twice. I always felt safe and well cared for. So thank you for ALL that you do. You are appreciated more than you will ever know, and you are making a difference!

With much love and thanks,
Mom to Liam (born at The Midwife Center, Pittsburgh) and Callie (homebirth, born in the UK) and Anna (born at Hollywood Birth Center in Florida)

Painless Natural Homebirth, Post Partum Transfer

Painless Natural Homebirth, Post Partum Transfer

The reason I want to share my story is because its positive, and I had a completely natural home birth. I feel like in today’s world, especially in America, that’s not a story you hear very often. I didn’t know a home birth was a possibility at first, because I didn’t know anyone who had had one, and I assumed the AF would have some rule against it. Surprisingly they didn’t, and then I became friends with Nicole.

Once she told me her story, and I thought more about what I wanted from my birth experience the better a home birth with a midwife sounded. No IVs, no being attached to machines, no pressure to have unnecessary interventions, no one watching the clock telling me I’m not progressing fast enough, and the best part not being in a hospital. Both of my pregnancies had been completely normal and healthy. My previous birth was without complications. I was a perfect candidate for a home birth. I discussed it with my Ob who was completely behind me. So I started my research.

I found Jane my midwife from another friend who was going to use her for her home birth. Once I met with Jane I knew it was going to happen. I felt completely at ease with her, and I trusted her. She just has the air about her that is so confident and relaxed. I knew she would be perfect. Then I started reading home birth stories which I found really helpful and inspiring. I also researched potential complications, but like I said there was no cause for alarm or concern as E and I were perfectly healthy. As I progressed in my pregnancy, and my due date approached I felt increasingly confident and excited with my decision. I also felt really impatient, but that’s pretty much how everyone feels.

Thinking about my second son’s birth naturally makes me reflect on my first birth experience. While it wasn’t negative it wasn’t positive either. I didn’t get to hold S until after he had been bathed, checked, and all bundled up about 45 minutes later. I was induced, had an epidural, and the whole thing felt very anticlimactic. I know that sounds awful. I had a healthy baby, and that is truly the most important part, but is it the only thing that matters? I don’t think so. With S it took me a while maybe even a day or so to get to know this little stranger that I used to carry inside me. I wouldn’t say I had PPD, but I definitely didn’t have that birthing high I experienced this time. All in all it was what it was, and I have a lot of guilt over it because I didn’t go into labour with a clear idea of what to expect. I wasn’t well educated in my rights, and of what is actually necessary as far as interventions go. I had decided almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant I was going to wing it, because I was terrified. Labor is scary. I *knew* it was going to hurt like hell because that’s what I have heard my whole life. You just suffer through it and then you get your baby. That is basically what happened. I suffered through the Pitocin, got an epidural (which completely took away all feeling below my hips), and then pushed for about 45 minutes and had my son. I’m writing this so it’s understood what completely different experiences they were. So here we go.

I went to bed on Friday experiencing what I thought was going to be *another* sleepless night of annoying false labor contractions that would not lead to anything. I woke up about 2am that morning because I could no longer stay asleep with the contractions that were happening every 10 minutes. I decided to get up and go downstairs to watch TV. The contractions increased to every 5-7 minutes, and ever so slightly increasing in intensity. I hesitate to use the word intense, because they weren’t in the slightest at his point they were just annoying. At about 6am I emailed everyone who was planning on being at the birth. I didn’t want to call because I was expecting this is be an all day event and didn’t want to wake anyone up. At about 7am Catherine, who was totally “my person” that day, showed up. Catherine is a midwife, and while she wasn’t my midwife her presence made me feel so relaxed and comfortable. About the same time S woke up. While Catherine hung out and chatted to me I was breathing through contractions, making S breakfast, and doing all the normal stuff we do every day. I decided to call my good friend Jessica to come take S for the day because I knew I wouldn’t be able to focus on being in labor if I was worried about him. I packed his bag and at about 9am Jessica came and collected him. I admit that was the first time I cried that day. I knew the next time I saw him I wouldn’t just belong to him anymore. He would forever have to share me with his little brother. It was a little sad, but I knew he would grow to love his baby brother, and would realize that I still loved him just as much. That might have been the hardest part of the day.

Once he left and I recovered my body quickly got me refocused on the task at hand. By this point I was breathing through the contractions on all fours. It felt a lot better to be in that position because it took the pressure off my back. They were still about 5-7 minutes apart. An hour later it was finally decided we should call my midwife Jane. My contractions had quickened to every 3-4 minutes, and I could no longer talk through them, but they weren’t the terrible life shattering pain I remember from the Pitocin. Jane arrived and my labor seemed to slow down. Apparently this is normal when new people show up your body slows labor down until you are comfortable again. They seemed to lessen in intensity for the time being. This seemed like a good time to blow up the pool. That was really exciting and at that point I realised this is going to happen! I’m not going to be pregnant for much longer. Whoooo! That was a happy moment for me. I really am not a fan of being pregnant. So we got the pool blown up and filled up with hot water. We put the cover on so it would stay warm, and we went back to hanging out.

midwife labor homebirth calm


At about 12noon I called Jessica H to come over. I still didn’t think it was going to happen any time soon, but I like her company so I wanted her there. When Jess got there everything slowed down a bit again and didn’t seem to pick back up. Jane even decided at about 12:30pm that she would leave to go get lunch, because we all thought we had a long day ahead of us. Right before she left I decided to get in the pool because I was really curious how the water would help when I had contractions. Let me freakin’ tell you. It was AWESOME! It didn’t necessarily make them less intense, but it helped my body relax and accept them. I’m pretty sure this is what made the next part happen so quickly.

Jane left, and almost immediately after that, I got up to use the bathroom. When I was washing my hands my water broke. I was pretty shocked. I wasn’t expecting that to happen anytime soon. So I went out of the bathroom and informed Catherine what had happened. She quickly called Jane who said she would head back ASAP, and said as long as I wasn’t feeling any urges to push she would make it back in time. Pretty much right after she hung up the phone I felt this huge pressure in my pelvis. It kind of freaked me out because I wasn’t expecting it so I instantly tried to fight it. I yelled to Catherine “never mind, I’m pushing, I’m pushing”. She immediately called Jane back and then came to my side. I grabbed on to one of her arms and my other grabbed on to Jessica’s. I didn’t let go until after I had him. I was leaned over the tub sitting on my knees in the water with both of my hands holding my friends hands.

At first I tried to breathe through the contractions so he would come out slowly which would decrease my chances of tearing, but I’ll be blunt – that didn’t feel good. In fact, it hurt. I haven’t used that word so far because it really didn’t apply until this point. I was never “in pain”. I had been uncomfortable, but no one thought that I was that far along because I wasn’t in pain and my contractions never got more that 4-5 minutes apart. After the first contraction and trying to breath though it I decided “eff it, I’m going to push”. The next one was a whole different story. Once I felt the contraction coming on I took a deep breath and pushed with the contraction. It was the best/worst

feeling in the world. It didn’t feel good, but I felt like I was doing what my body wanted, and I knew I was working toward the best goal. Plus I could actually feel my progress. No one was telling me “I can see his head”; there was no need I could feel his head descending. From what I remember I pushed with 3 contractions total. The last one Jane told me to lift my body so he would have room. I lifted up and looked down and grabbed up my baby boy. Ezra was born at 1:22pm, just 20 minutes after my water broke.


No one birthed my baby. I did it! My body did what it was supposed to. Knowing that was so amazing. It was the best high I have ever experienced. I sat back in the pool and stared at my son. It was an instant connection. I knew him. He was so familiar to me. It was so obvious how right this was. This was how it was supposed to be. I had my baby in my house surrounded by people I cared about, and who cared about me. It was perfect. He was perfect.

After a few minutes I decided to get out. Ezra was still attached to the cord at this point, because I wanted to wait until it was done pulsing to cut it. I got out of the pool with help from Jane and Catherine and sat on the couch. They covered me with towels and blankets and I cuddled my baby. After about an hour Jane said it was time to birth the placenta. After which, I decided to have a placenta smoothie. Be grossed out, whatever. I figured it kept my baby alive for 9 months, and people rave about how energising it is so why the hell not. It tasted like a smoothie. I didn’t even know it was in there. After Ezra was weighed (7lbs, 10oz), and Jane checked him out everyone slowly left to leave me and Matt to get to know our new little family member. It was the perfect day, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.




After I had him, at about 3am that morning, I ended up needing to go to the hospital because of excessive blood loss. Small pieces of my placenta were left in my uterus which was causing me to bleed out. I want to make it clear: this would have happened in or out of the hospital, because my placenta looked completely intact. After a long discussion with my Ob it was determined even if I had had him in hospital I would have wanted to leave ASAP to get home to S anyway. I would have ended up back in the hospital the same way. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but these things just do sometimes. I am just thankful that his birth was perfect.

I hope that reading my story makes having a natural birth seem more attainable. Like “if she can do it so can I”. I spent a long time thinking about “what could someone have said to me the first time around to make labor/natural childbirth seem achievable to me”. The only person who really spoke to me about it was a chiropractor, who asked if I was planning on an epidural. When I told him I had been open to the idea he looked like I had told him I was planning on eating my baby after I gave birth. It was a look of pure disgust. It wasn’t helpful. It didn’t change my mind. It just made me feel ashamed and like I had failed before I even started. So I just want new mothers to know it doesn’t have to be scary, and when it comes down to it you just have to go into it with your eyes open. Make a birth plan and talk to your doctor about your expectations. Obviously these things don’t always go as planned, but as long as you make educated decisions as they happen you are less likely to look back with regrets. I’m not even saying your birth has to be natural to be perfect for you. Just be informed, educate yourself, and surround yourself with people you love. I think if someone would have shared these things with me I might have done things differently. Who knows? I just want people to know birth can be wonderful! I feel so blessed to have had the experience I did. It was healing and beautiful. Most of all I feel blessed to be the mother of my two perfect boys.



Photos by Angela Anderson Photography and Heidelberger Photographer



Baby Reaches Hand Out of Water While Still Being Born

Baby Reaches Hand Out of Water While Still Being Born

I posted this breathtaking photo of a baby reaching up out of the water to meet his mother. Facebook removed it many times from the mom’s profile, but it has been greatly appreciated here. After it was posted, Maranda sent me similar pictures from her birth. Her little one was still half in side of her (under water) with his hand out of the water!

Hey mom! High five!’

Baby turning pink.

Birth high and meeting for the first time.

Photography by Forever Yours.

When Annie Came Into the World: A Dad’s Perspective Birth Story

When Annie Came Into the World: A Dad’s Perspective Birth Story

I was socializing downstairs over at Rachel’s aunt’s house when Kris yelled downstairs, “Tucker… Rachel’s water broke”.  Not believing her statement because,  for one, she said it nonchalantly, and second, it was a week before the due date, I yell back “OK Kris”.  I share a chuckle with Ryan who was under the same impression as I about the legitimacy of Kris’s statement when she called again, “Well, are you coming?”.  That’s when I first realized that the situation was real and I had to act.  I take one last glance at Ryan giving him my “oh shit” face and bolt up the stairs.

I found Rachel coming out of the bathroom calm as a cucumber.  I frantically tried to grab everything we needed so I could load up the vehicle and head off to the birthing center.  Once I got everything in the car and helped Rachel get in she instructed me to head home to my amazement.  She insisted that she wanted to wait it out at home until the contractions became closer apart.  I was at ends while driving.  I wanted to drive fast because of the severity of the situation but at the same time I knew I had to take it slow and easy for the mother and babies sake.

Once we got home I tried to accommodate Rachel’s needs as best I could and also frantically pacing when I couldn’t think of what else to do.  As soon as Rachel thought it was time, we headed to the hospital.  They expedited us to the delivery room where I was thoroughly surprised with what it had to offer.  Very spacious, a big screen TV, and specifically a large bathroom with a shower that had jets everywhere.  This will come into play later.  By the time we got into the room the contractions had picked up quite a bit for Rachel.  She was showing signs of discomfort, so I tried to relieve some of it by rubbing her back.

Shortly after, our doula arrived.  She instructed me how and where to apply pressure on Rachel’s back, which helped her a great deal.  She was also coaching Rachel on her breathing.  We pulled out the exercise ball that was in the closet and Rachel sat on that in the squat position while I kept pressure on her back.  Soon the discomfort was too much for Rachel and she insisted on moving the operation to the shower.  I joined her to support and help her as best I could.  We would continue going back and forth between the exercise ball and the shower for the next hour and a half until the doctor gave the word that it was just about time, so Rachel got into the bed.  I stood next to her holding her hand and saying whatever supporting things that I could think of.  It was difficult as I, myself, had no idea what was in store.

When Rachel was pushing, I stared into her eyes, scared for her, but also anxious to see our child. It didn’t take very long from when the pushing had started before our child was born.  When that happened…it hit me.  I immediately started to cry.  Not only because of the beautiful child that emerged, but because of the sense of relief I had knowing Rachel was all right.  The surreal feeling I had before was gone and what took it’s place was a feeling of complete joy.  Her name was Annie.

Birth Announcement: Primal and Ancient

Birth Announcement: Primal and Ancient

I received this birth announcement/story via email. It is just so different than a lot of discussion and stories shared recently. It’s refreshing! Thank you Kacie for sharing and congratulations! ~Mrs. BWF

chiropractor home birth with a midwife

I have been following you on Facebook for some time, and LOVE your page, your inspirations, and stories! I am a Chiropractor and Doula and just gave birth to my first baby Luca Vaughn on June 15, 2011. He was 6 lbs 10 oz. It was a full moon, a lunar eclipse and he was born in the Caul! We feel so blessed, and he is perfect! It was an AMAZING experience!!!

We were at home, had a birth tub, an amazing birth altar with pictures, candles, and a beaded necklace made from my friends during my blessingway/shower. I had an amazing support team with my midwife and her apprentice, my chiropractor/doula and my amazing partner.

My labor was 9 hours (which actually felt like 4 or 5) and was amazingly intense, magical, mystical, empowering and exactly what I had envisioned. I would do it over and over and over again!

I feel so blessed to be part of the ‘clan’ of natural birthing women in the world, and feel the primal and ancient link to our ancestors who just birthed and just trusted the process! I know birth choices are very personal, and support all women in whatever they choose for their birth. For me, having no medication, no interventions, and just being surrounded by pure love, support, and to bring my baby into the world peacefully at home, was the MOST AMAZING experience of my life!

I want to thank you for your dedication to birthing without fear… we are WOMEN and we are INNATELY DESIGNED TO BIRTH! Yes, it is intense, but there is NOTHING that we cannot do after we have experienced the power of birth! I am completely transformed, and am SO in love with my baby!

home birth with a midwife



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