Maryland Area Homebirth Options

Information, Resources, Midwives for Maryland and surrounding states.

Birth Stories

Read the joyous homebirth stories of women in Maryland and surrounding states!

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The Homebirth of Leon

Posted on September 22, 2011 at 5:40 PM

At 8:30 p.m. we were watching a Bored to Death DVD, the episode called The Case of the Stolen Sperm - so funny this show. Contractions had been a little stronger than usual that night. We were timing them to see if they were regular and they were 10 minutes apart.

~*~

Suddenly, I heard a pop and my water was gushing down my legs. I said to my husband, "something just happened." We knew what this meant. So, he called our CPM midwife and she said to call her back when the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart lasting about 45 seconds. From then on, the waves were getting stronger and more like 6-7 minutes apart. Maybe two hours later we were recording 4-5 minutes, lasting sometimes a minute long. He called the midwife again and she came over shortly thereafter. We stopped counting the minutes at this point.

~*~

Our midwife, usually has an assistant with her but tonight the assistant had been called to another birth, so it would be just the three of us. I spent a lot of time in the shower at this time. The warm shower water helped a lot to relieve the discomfort I was feeling, and I kept it together by swaying my hips and focusing on what was going on inside my body, just like I had learned on my natural childbirthing classes (Bradley Method).

~*~

Meanwhile, my husband was getting the birthing tub ready and came to check on me all the time. He kept me well hydrated the whole time, giving me coconut water and water to drink - calm and collected, ready to help...

~*~

I was actually pretty calm and collected too, still able to say please and thank you (between contractions, that is). While contractions were happening I stayed quiet or let out deep "oooooo" sounds as I learned at our classes as well. My husband helped me remember to keep focused and to maintain a fluid rhythm while I visualized my cervix opening. Sometimes in my head it was a different story, but I didn't want to pay any mind to any of those insanities.

~*~

My midwife arrived and helped get the birthing tub ready by getting more hot water. She then checked me and I was 5 cm dilated and the cervix very thin, she said. I felt discouraged because I was feeling so uncomfortable already and was hoping it was much much more advanced than that. Little did I know I was progressing very nicely, but only found this out after the baby arrived.

~*~

My midwife went to sleep in the guest room for a while to gather energy - she had just arrived from another birth. I tried to get in the pool, but sitting down didn't feel good at all; it only pronounced the pain even more, so back to the shower I went. At some point I threw up a lot and the contractions changed intensity. They got stronger, and in a way I knew that the original sensations weren't coming back, that something had definitely changed and that I was closer to birthing.

~*~

My midwife stayed close to us from this moment on. We were in the bedroom now and she would massage my back. She had such an amazing touch, she knew exactly how to comfort me. My husband had already prepared the whole room, by putting plastic sheets on the floor and bed. Then it came time to push. I tried the birthing chair and tried squatting and it was not happening yet, until I moved to our bed. I leaned my back against my husband's chest and would hang from his neck at the same time that I grunted - for an extra help to push this baby out.

~*~

While trying to push efficaciously, I also tried to keep away any negative, fearful emotion that came to my head that could hinder my progress. During the approximately hour and half of pushing, I thought a lot about my grandmothers, who are now at peace, and asked them to guide me since they each birthed at home all of their children (eleven and four, respectively).

~*~

At 5:30 in the morning, our baby arrived in this world, in all his beauty and glory, on my due date. My midwife placed him immediately on my chest and we all were marveling at the miracle that brings us all together. The baby didn't cry right away but later he did and it sounded a little like a baby goat.

A few minutes went by and we realized we didn't yet know the baby's gender, so my husband announced he was a boy. Leon. Then I delivered the afterbirth and it was a very smooth process. My husband cut the very thick umbilical cord once it stopped pulsating, and the midwife presented us with the placenta - what a beautiful organ, so healthy looking.

~ *~

After a while I went to the shower while the midwife checked Leon's apgar score, which was 9, and she dressed and weighed him (8 pounds of pure babyness). After eight and a half hours of labor, the love of our lives was finally here, and the sun was rising and all was well in our world.

The Homebirth of Massimo

Posted on August 3, 2011 at 9:21 AM

I have been working on this birth story for some time. For whatever reason, I can't ever be happy with it. Nothing I put in these paragraphs can do this experience any justice. I am now an even bigger advocate for women being able to choose the way in which they give birth. When done the way YOU intend, the journey is the most remarkable and rewarding of your life. Here is the story of how Massimo came to us on a beautiful Sunday morning- on Father's Day.

~ * ~

I was four days overdue and after two false alarms, I would've done anything to have this baby. I woke up early that Saturday and headed to the farmer's market with my son, my mom and my sister. I needed the fresh air and thought the walking might aid in getting things moving along. Plus, a farmer's market on a beautiful summer morning always makes me feel happy.

~ * ~

We came home, made fresh basil pesto and snacked on cheeses, crackers, and hummus. Shortly after our snack, I headed to the bathroom and noticed I had lost my mucus plug. Finally! Progress! This was a good sign. It made me feel a great sense of relief. No more wondering when our baby would make his entrance. The suspense and anticipation had been killing me. I was certain I would be meeting my boy before the weekend was up.

~ * ~

That evening we prepared our fresh pesto for dinner by tossing it over whole wheat pasta, chicken and tomatoes. It was so good and I was starved. At 6pm, just as I cleared my plate I felt a contraction. It was bearable but I took notice nonetheless. A little over two minutes later I got another. I was hopeful this was the real thing but only time would tell. After all, I had thought I was in labor twice before this. I wasn't going to call my midwife again unless I was certain.

~ * ~

By 8pm I was still having contractions about two-and-a-half minutes apart. They weren't too strong but they were regular which led me to believe this might be it. I called my midwife to give her a heads up so she could get some rest. There was really nothing for me to do but wait. All the birthing supplies were in order, the bed was made up with a fitted sheet, then a plastic sheet, then another clean sheet on top(once you have given birth you can just strip the bed and there is a clean sheet underneath all ready for you to rest on). My Mom and I just sat in the living room talking and anticipating the what next. I had started to get worried around 10pm or so that it was yet another false alarm. I was still having contractions but the intensity had decreased and they were further apart and less regular.

~ * ~

"I will just die if this was another false alarm. What woman doesn't know when she's in labor?!" The idea of a woman not knowing for sure if she's in labor is still baffling to me. Yet, practice labor is pretty tricky.

~ * ~

I decided to walk. So, here I am walking up and down my street by myself at 10:30 at night. My mom sat on my front stoop just watching me. I was so antsy. Is this it? Is it not? I walked and walked hoping it would get things going again. At 11 o'clock I decided to go to bed. If I was about to have a baby, I would need the energy. Prior to lying down, I did my bathroom routine and noticed a little bit of spotting. Yup, we're definitely close to having a baby.

~ * ~

Surprisingly, I got some decent sleep that night. I woke around 3:30am to stronger contractions and what I thought was leaking water (I found out later, my sac was still intact). I paced my room and tried to mentally prepare myself for what was in store. This is it. The moment I have been waiting for. I knew it was time and that I was going to need strength. I was about to start a journey. A journey that will be one of the most difficult of my life. Yet, I also knew that it would soon be over and with it would come my sweet baby. I was ready. I was confident.

~ * ~

It's funny how in the weeks leading up to birth you can get so nervous. You think of the pain and the exhaustion. You think of all the things that could go wrong and a million reasons why you should be scared. However, when the times comes you are at peace. You are ready to take that leap. When I finally did go into labor, it all seemed so natural. Everything was just as it should be and I trusted my body would do everything it needed to safely deliver our son. I had faith.

~ * ~

We called my midwife at 4 o'clock on Sunday morning and told her I had had some bloody show. My contractions were still 2 minutes apart but they were certainly more intense. It felt good to sway my hips and walk around. I bent over during every contraction and whoever was closest would apply pressure to the small of my back. That last thing I felt like doing was sitting and it actually made the surges more painful. Moving around was something I hadn't been able to do in my first birth since I was confined to a hospital bed. The contrast in the two births was remarkable.

~ * ~

By 5am I was in quite a bit of pain. Everyone has their coping mechanisms. Mine is moaning. LOUDLY. A deep, whale-like moan is the only thing that got me through the contractions. I had to expel that energy and moaning was the most natural, innate way to get through those surges. My sweet son woke to my noise. My mom carried my groggy little boy into my bedroom, rubbing his eyes but smiling widely. You're brother is on his way dude.

~ * ~

My midwife, and birth assistant arrived at 5:30am and by then I was in intense labor. She checked me shortly after her arrival and I was thrilled to hear that I was 7cms. It wouldn't be long. My son was starting to get freaked out by my behavior and the various sounds I was making. We thought it would be best if my dad could come and get him for the day. He is just a baby and it was all a little too intense for him. It wasn't something I could explain to him and I was relieved when he was gone because I didn't have to hide my pain.

~ * ~

My midwife checked the baby's heart rate and my blood pressure. My blood pressure was a little elevated so they decided to give me the epsom salt concoction. I hadn't eaten and despite everyone's encouragement to do so, I just couldn't do it. The epsom salt egg mixture hit my stomach and immediately I knew it wasn't looking good.

~ * ~

"Grab a trash can!" I said as I fought back vomit. I threw up for a little bit, mostly from what I had just ingested, but partially because I was entering into intense labor and was a little sick to my stomach to begin with. My midwife whipped out her bag FULL of homeopathic remedies and gave me a few pellets to lower my pressure. Thankfully, it worked and we were able to stay home for the remainder of the birth.

~ * ~

I continued to walk around the house and labor as comfortably as possible. At one point my mom and my birth team left the room so my husband and I could be alone. I was laying on the bed with him holding me from behind. With every moan, he would join in, like a birth serenade to our baby about to make his entrance. That moment was my favorite part of the home birth experience. At that moment I felt so close to him. We were a team and together, we were about to welcome our second child. While we were moaning in unison, my mom made midwife and birth assistant scrambled eggs. They sat together at the breakfast table and got to know one another.

~ * ~

It was at that moment I felt a force, an urge to bear down that was nearly impossible to ignore. Mid-moan I let out this fierce grunt, my body ready to push. It's simple and utterly fascinating how your body really does know exactly what to do. It sounds simple and I guess it is really, but when you leave the process alone nature does exactly what it is supposed to. My midwife heard the sound of that uncontrollable grunt and knew it was time to push because she came to me immediately.

~ * ~

She and my birth assistant began to prepare the birth supplies around me. They took off my pull up and placed chux underneath my bottom to protect the bed as much as possible. With each contraction I began to give into the pressure to bear down and push with everything I had. It must have been a few seconds into pushing that I asked if they could see the head. It had felt like an hour.

~ * ~

"Not yet, it's a process." my midwife said "You're doing great."

~ * ~

A few more pushes and Massimo began to crown. My sac was still intact and you could see his hair floating in the water like seaweed on the ocean floor. My mom held a mirror so I could see but honestly, I was having a hard time focusing enough to actually pay attention. In hindsight I wish I would have video recorded the experience. I do, however, remember that I reached down and felt the sac bulging. My midwife took a pair a scissors and punctured the bag releasing the warm water my son had been living in all these months.

~ * ~

I continued to push to the encouragement of all the wonderful people surrounding me. My midwife kept telling me how nicely I was stretching. It made me feel more secure to keep pushing with all my might. I was worried about a significant tear. My mom would pour vitamin E oil on my miwife's hands and she continued to massage and aid the stretching of my perineum so that Massimo's entrance would cause as little tearing as possible.

~ * ~

All of a sudden I heard, "Grab your baby. Grab your baby."  I reached down and pulled this slippery little boy onto my chest yelling, "MY BABY! MY BABY!"

It was the most intense and rewarding moment of my life. I had worked so hard, endured so much. I was so proud. " I did it. I can't believe I did it!" And to top it off, I did it at home surrounded by people I love.

~ * ~

After Massimo was here I felt one last contraction. I delivered the placenta with it still connected to my baby. Once the cord had stopped pulsing and Massimo was able to receive all that blood, my husband was able to cut it.

Massimo weighed 10 lbs and was 22.25" long. He is healthy and strong-just like his Mama.

The Homebirth of Kai

Posted on July 15, 2011 at 9:28 PM

From the moment I felt the first contraction, I knew Kai's birth would be different.

~ * ~

Thirteen months before, his brother was born in a 27 hour labor that nearly defeated us both. But this felt different. Smoother. Less torturous.

~ * ~  

"I think I'll come over now. Just in case," one of my midwives, said to me when I called to tell her my contractions were three and a half minutes apart. She sounded nervous: She lived 40 minutes away and it was a rainy Thursday evening rush hour. I didn't blame her.

~ * ~

Most women just hire one midwife, but we were planning a homebirth with one of the busiest solo midwives in central Maryland. Because I'm a worrier--and because I believe three minds are better than one when the unexpected happens--I hired a second nurse midwife to be her back-up and assistant. It was a bit excessive but I needed it. Emotionally, I mean.

~ * ~

It was 6 pm and my husband was still battling traffic on his way home. My contractions had gained momentum but something made me hold my assistant midwife off. Even though she insisted second labors are much quicker, I still didn't feel like it was time. "You could be like this right now and a few hours from now you could be holding your baby," she warned before I hung up the phone.

~ * ~

Unconcerned, I sat down at my laptop with Facebook and a toasted bagel, reveling in the fact that it was finally time for our baby boy to arrive. Like many overdue women, I was convinced I would never go into labor: I would continue to toddle around as an off-balance, unwieldy pregnant lady forever, the baby continuing to gain an ounce every day until we both exploded. But that morning, eight days past my due date, I'd woken up and spent half the morning vomiting in the bathroom. The other half I'd spent rearranging the kitchen cabinets, which my husband had explicitly warned me not to do. He had claimed the kitchen in our new house as HIS domain. (Nonetheless, the thought of organized cabinets pleased me so much that I devoted at least two hours to relocating breakfast bowls and stacking dinnerware.) After setting the last teacup in place, I called my craniosacral therapist who is also an acupuncturist, a midwife and an all-around birth guru, and scheduled an appointment for the following Monday so that if I were still pregnant, she could work her magic and possibly send me down the path toward labor. She assured me that the morning-in-the-bathroom bit was a good sign and I seemed to be headed in the right direction. We'll see, I thought.

~ * ~

It was a gray drizzly day, the kind that always threatens to drive me insane. My son was "on vacation" at my husband's aunt's house and I missed his company but was grateful for the break. Around noon I decided the best way to battle the dreariness was to go take part in it. I grabbed my umbrella, shopping bag and jacket, and headed out on a long walk through our hilly neighborhood. Destination: the seedy Giant. After nodding politely to at least 10 well wishers and one elderly man who suggested I was having twins, I carted myself and the groceries home, unpacked the animal crackers and 64 ounce orange Gatorade and got ready to leave for yet another non-stress test to see how the baby was coping with his extended stay in my uterus.

~ * ~

That's really when it all started. My midwife and I decided to do an internal exam – the first one I'd had all pregnancy – to see if my cervix was softening and amenable to something like castor oil or cohosh to get my laber started. Just before the exam, she said that if I was dilated at all she could try to strip my membranes, or sweep her gloved finger along the tissues that attach the bag of amniotic fluid to the inside of the uterus. The process sometimes releases hormones called prostaglandins that bring on contractions. I said sure, hoping for at least 1 cm so we could finally get things moving. Turns out I was 4 cm. "No, wait," she said, feeling around. "Four to five." Five! Laa!

~ * ~

Now, several hours later, I finished the last of my bagel and typed my excitement on Facebook. Soon afterward, my husband came through the door with raindrops beading on his hair and jacket. "I'm in labor!" I announced. "Oh no," he groaned, then smiled. Our life was about to change forever. Again.

~ * ~

But not as soon as we thought. By 9 pm, my contractions had slowed to every 20 minutes. Over the phone, my doula encouraged me to get moving – try going up and down the stairs, try sitting on the exercise ball, try walking around, she said. "You've come so far! You don't want to lose this momentum, right?" But less than 10 minutes later, my midwife assistant called to say I should throw in the towel and go to bed. "Just let it go," she urged. "Otherwise it will be like trying to roll a boulder uphill. If it's not the right time, don't force it. Get some rest."

~ * ~

In the end, I did both. I went downstairs to get a snack, stopping for a few lunges and hulas on the ball, then came back upstairs and got ready for bed. I laid on my side while my husband placed gentle pressure on my hip and inner thigh, performing the muscle and ligament releases my acupuncturist had recommended to help Kai descend in the best possible position. Afterward, we started to watch an episode of The Office but I drifted off halfway through. Briefly, I wondered if it would be possible to oversleep and wake up so far into labor that it would be too late for the birth team to arrive. Nah, I decided. If it were that easy, all women would take a nap and wake up holding their babies. So much for sweeping my membranes, I thought, melting into sleep.

~ * ~

I dreamed about dark dungeon corridors and hot iron swords being thrust into my back. When I finally woke and felt through the darkness for my cell phone, it was 2:32 am. I realized the swords were contractions, and they were coming hard. I crept downstairs to start making calls, then went back up to let my husband know he didn't have to wake up right away but people were going to start arriving soon. Of course he leapt out of bed. Coffee was brewing in no time.

~ * ~

My doula arrived first. After a quick hug, she went to work setting up the birth pool in our living room, in front of the bookshelf where my husband's butterfly collection was displayed. I stayed on the glass porch, rocking back and forth on the exercise ball and staring through the misty windows at the yellow auras of the streetlamps.

We had moved into the house three weeks earlier and, just as my husband had claimed the kitchen for himself, I had designated the glass porch my happy room. Icicle lights were strung in the windows and Ben Harper was singing with the Blind Boys of Alabama. Rain beat against the windows, surrounding me on three sides. My contractions were frequent and intense, but between them I laughed with my husband and enjoyed the warm, bright haven we had created. I felt relaxed. Confident. In charge.

~ * ~

Less than five minutes after my doula arrived, I saw more headlights in front of our house and my assistant midwife came to the door. I escorted her to the porch and we sat on the chaise while she took my blood pressure and temperature, and listened to the baby's heartbeat through a few contractions. My midwife arrived about an hour later, fresh from another birth. I watched as she rolled her supplies up the sidewalk and onto the porch. Homebirth midwives carry nearly everything necessary to cope with an emergency situation long enough to make it to the hospital, including neonatal resuscitation equipment and medications like pitocin to control hemorrhaging. It took a few trips to get it all in the house. The home-to-hospital transfer rate for second-time moms is low, hovering somewhere less than 2 percent, but just in case the need arose, we had a bag packed and three sets of directions to our local hospital, five minutes away.

~ * ~

The next hour or so kept my husband busy, fetching various supplies for my midwife and helping everyone set up for the birth.

~ * ~

To my husband, my midwife said, "I'm going to need a wire coat hanger," I heard her say while I was in the bathroom. A wire coat hanger? Hello?! What was this?! "Dude, what the...?" I called to my doula, who was standing just outside the open door. We laughed. Turns out, she needed the hanger to suspend the bag of IV antibiotics. I had tested positive for group B streptococcus, a bacteria that resides without incident in the vaginal flora of up to 40 percent of women. But there's a 0.5 percent chance that the bacteria could infect the baby during delivery and cause meningitis or pneumonia, so most providers like to administer a single dose of ampicillin a few hours before the birth. The jury is still out on how effective or necessary the treatment really is, but I opted for it anyway. We had enough complications after my first son's birth to last a lifetime.

~ * ~

After the last drops of the IV vanished into my forearm, I stripped down and slid into the birth pool. The water was a therapeutic 99 degrees. My husband went to find his swim trunks, then sat in the pool behind me. There's a reason birth pools are called "nature's epidural": The contractions that had grown considerably more intense over the past two hours were suddenly bearable again. For a few precious minutes, I regained the ability to converse and asked my assistant midwife to replace my Ben Harper cd with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. But soon the waves started coming so close together that I only had a few seconds of relief before the next one hit. I felt as if my life depended on my husband placing counterpressure on my sacrum – in just the right place – during each contraction. Eventually not even his help was enough to escape the pain. I felt nauseous. My doula found some dried rosemary in the kitchen and rubbed it beneath my nose. But the effects were short-lived and she soon had to drop the rosemary for an empty pitcher.

~ * ~

"Maybe it's time to try something new?" my doula asked. I nodded and my husband went upstairs to grab my robe so I could get out of the pool.

~ * ~

On my way to the bathroom, I was hit with another intense contraction and I grabbed onto the nearest tall object, which turned out to be both my assistant midwife and doula. The pain was so intense, I wanted to wrap my arms around the whole world and squeeze the globe until it popped. "Just get out of its way," my doula cooed and I tried to dissociate my body, or at least my mind, from the pain.

~ * ~

Transition hit as I was sitting on the toilet. Suddenly I felt out of control. Nothing felt good. Every movement triggered a worse contraction. I was losing it.  I whimpered out the door to my doula, willing her to come make everything go away. "I just don't know. Just can't. Anymore. Please!"

~ * ~

"Do you want your midwife to break your water?" she offered, helping me to my feet.

~ * ~

"Do you think it will make things go?" I felt drunk. My tongue was thick. My mouth was dry. The pain was blinding. I leaned into the sink and clutched her hand.

~ * ~

"I do, I really do," she said.

~ * ~

"Okay."

~ * ~

I heard her sing out to my midwife as she left me there, gripping the doorframe. "I think she wants to ask you about breaking her water."

~ * ~

"You know I don't like to do that," I heard my midwife say. Shit, I thought. How much longer is this going to go on? My doula came back and steered me to the living room.

~ * ~

"Your midwife wants to see how far along you are," she said.

~ * ~

I laid on my side on our cheap brown couch, over a shower curtain and several layers of Chux pads. I remember feeling incredibly relieved that the exam didn't hurt. My midwife was good at what she did and I was so grateful.

~ * ~

"Almost there," she said, feeling my cervix. "Nine... and... here we go, here we go. She's complete."

~ * ~

As she was talking, I felt the gush of warm amniotic fluid as it pooled under my body. Thank God for the shower curtain.

~ * ~

Then, silence. I knew there was a problem.

~ * ~

"Can I get back in the tub now? To push?" I asked.

~ * ~

"There's meconium in the fluid, sweetie," my doula said, so matter-of-factly that I wondered if it was a problem at all. This had been my one fear. Meconium is the baby's first stool; it accumulates in the intestines during the last weeks of pregnancy and normally isn't released until after birth. But stress can cause the baby to defecate in utero, contaminating the otherwise sterile amniotic fluid. In the rare event that the meconium-stained fluid was thick like split-pea soup, we'd have to go to the hospital immediately. There's a very real risk that the baby can inhale the sludge during labor and develop pneumonia or enter respiratory distress. If we transferred, my labor would likely end in cesarean section. Definite NICU stay. Not at all what we had envisioned.

~ * ~

"Do we need to go?" I asked, opening my eyes to look at my midwife. She shook her head. "It's not very thick. I just need to be able to suction Kai's mouth as soon as his head emerges."

~ * ~

I felt the contraction build in my pelvis and said, "It's coming! It's coming! Help me push!" I moaned a deep moan that rose into a near-screech as I stumbled over the pressure. This is where I screwed up last time and ended up pushing for nearly 5 hours with little progress.

~ * ~

"Honey, you can vocalize if you need to, but it's best to keep all that power inside and direct it down, down. Use that power to push your baby out," my doula said, grasping my hand in hers and looping her other arm under my knee so she could hold my leg back during the next contraction.

~ * ~

While I pushed, my assistant midwife used the Doppler to listen to the heart tones. I could tell they were on the slow side. "Nineties," I heard her call out, loudly.

~ * ~

"Ok", my midwife responded. "During this next contraction I'm going to need you to take a rest. Don't push."

~ * ~

I opened my eyes. "He ok?"

~ * ~

"The baby is ok," she said. "He just didn't like his head getting squeezed. Let's turn over on your other side."

~ * ~

Ugh, I thought, lifting my back so I could turn. We can't wait five hours this time. Out loud I said, "It's coming! Help!" I grasped around for my doula's hand.

~ * ~

Not pushing is like not throwing up when you have a stomach virus. Once the impulse hits, it's nearly impossible to ignore. My husband sat behind my head and coached me to breathe lightly through the pressure. I tried to match him as closely as possible, giving in once or twice to a pushy groan.

~ * ~

"Sounds good," my assistant midwife said, lifting the Doppler off my abdomen. Heart tones were normal. Thank God. "He was probably going under the pubic bone."

~ * ~

"Can I push this time?" I asked my midwife, whose response I couldn't hear. "What did she say? What did she say? It's coming!"

~ * ~

"You're good to go," my doula answered, squeezing my hand. "Wait for it... let it build... now nail it! Here we go!"

~ * ~

As Kai's head bulged against my perineum, I felt my midwife place a warm compress against my skin. "Nice stretching, good, good, keep going," I heard her say. "Come on, push!"

~ * ~

"Does that mean he's crowning?" I asked, knowing full well he wasn't, but willing us to be farther along than I'd thought.

~ * ~

"Uh, no. Not yet, hon. But you're doing really great. Really great," my husband said. "You're doing this!"

~ * ~

Just a few pushes later, he was crowning. And there was the ring of fire, which stung terribly but meant we were almost done. My midwife told me when to push and when to rest so that I could avoid tearing. She massaged the area with Vitamin E oil. When it was time, I pushed through a contraction and then between one because I wanted it to be over and suddenly it was. Kai was born.

It was 8:35 on a Friday and the sunlight was streaming through our windows. Despite the rainstorm the night before, the sky was clear and blue. It was a perfect autumn morning.

~ * ~

Kai was pink and plump but didn't cry at first. My midwife suctioned his mouth quickly, then placed him on my chest and covered us with a warm blanket. "Talk to your baby," she said, giving him a brisk backrub as someone's hand--my assistant midwife's, probably--came in and released a few drops of herbal Rescue Remedy into Kai's mouth. My midwife didn't need to tell us to talk to Kai; my husband and I were more than happy to exclaim over his little face and rub his tiny hands. So here's who had been kicking around my belly for so long; who had shocked us with his presence one stressful Monday afternoon a few weeks after Valentine's day. We're so glad now; so glad.

~ * ~

"Heart tones sound great," my assistant midwife said, just as Kai gave a sputtering cry that turned into the high-pitched screech that we've since come to love and fear.

~ * ~

The rest of the morning is a blur. My husband cooked blueberry pancakes, eggs, veggie sausages, fakon, and oatmeal. Kai learned to nurse, the midwives weighed him on our old antique baby scale...

 ...and then on my midwife's hanging scale that looked like it should be used for weighing fish. After breakfast, my assistant midwife helped me upstairs and into the shower, while my midwife and husband performed the newborn exam on our bed.

My doula cleaned up so well it was impossible to tell I had just delivered a near-10 pound baby on our living room couch. We took lots of photos. Not like we could ever forget. It was perfect.

~ * ~

My doula was the last to leave, just as we were snuggling into bed together, exhausted and estatic. As she slipped out of our bedroom and closed the door, Kai smiled in his sleep – a huge, contented grin.

~ * ~

Life on Earth was good.

Kamlyn's Homebirth Story

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Let me start by saying I am not a first time mom. Kamlyn was my second birth, but I never expected things to be so unpredictable. With my first daughter, I never once made a trip to the hospital thinking I was in labor. The day we drove to the hospital, I knew it was the day. About 18 hours after, we had ourselves a baby girl. Pretty cut and dry.

~ * ~

Kamlyn was different in so many ways.  At 36 weeks, 6 days, I swore I was in labor. I even texted my midwife to tell her, "Soon." 6 hours later, nothing. I texted her the next morning disappointed. 38 weeks and 39 weeks again, the same thing. Then everything was quiet. Not even a braxton hicks contraction. 40 weeks came and went. Nothing.

~ * ~

At 40 weeks and 4 days I had an appointment with my midwife. I told her I was done. More done than I thought possible. My first daughter was early, why did this baby have to take so long? I asked for any "natural" induction thoughts she had. Some were ridiculous, like standing in a freezing cold shower for 15 minutes without making any noise. I'd rather be pregnant a year than do that! We talked about herbs and thought that might be a good choice. Then she checked my cervix (at my request) and said a stretchy 4 cm. I thought great, maybe I won't need any help after all. I went out and bought the herbs anyway. My midwife was optimistic. She said in the next day or 2. I really didn't want her to be born Thanksgiving day, so I felt good about that.

~ * ~

Since labor hadn't started, I started the herbs bright and early Tuesday. A few mild contractions, but nothing serious. I stopped at 4pm, since they didn't seem to be working, and I didn't want to labor all night.

~ * ~

Wednesday morning at 4AM, I had the "its time" contractions. I stayed in bed about 15 minutes, but with each contraction I was sure I was going to groan or make some loud noise and wake up my husband, my daughter or both! I finally nudged my husband and said, "its today". He mumbled something incoherent, and I said, "Don't worry. Go back to sleep. I'll wake you when I need you." I stumbled out of our bedroom in the dark and paced the hall for a few minutes. Contractions kept coming. And I was thinking, "These really hurt, this MUST be real."

~ * ~

I woke up my mom and asked her to fill the birth tub. First she had to blow it up and the pump was insanely loud. We should have planned better, but it was too late. My daugher and husband slept through the noise anyway. Finally it was full of air and we started filling it with water. Contractions were still coming. I was sure it was a good sign. I brushed my teeth and contemplated a light breakfast. I settled on a bowl of cereal. By 7:30, sunlight was shining through the window and the pool was mostly filled with water.

~ * ~

Shortly after, my  daugher woke up. She saw the pool with water and asked if the baby was coming today. I told her probably as the contractions were still coming. She asked if she could go swimming and I said after breakfast.

~ * ~

Slowly, the contractions trailed off. By 10:30 I was on the phone with my midwife practically crying. This was torture. Either get labor going, or leave me alone I wanted to scream. She encouraged me to try the herbs again. I used them for over 2 hours every 15 minutes. Nothing. Not a single thing. I was disappointed, discouraged, and just tired. I took a shower and took a much needed nap.

~ * ~

When I woke up, mom had dinner ready. I ate, but didn't really feel hungry. I forced it down, knowing that not eating wasn't going to get the baby out any faster. After dinner, the water in the birth pool was freezing and it only made sense to drain it. Mom said she'd take care of it, but wanted to take a shower first.

~ * ~

I joined my husband in the basement to watch a movie. It was an okay movie, but I simply felt distracted. Mom must have taken the longest shower on the planet, as by the time she got out, there was no hot water. I helped mom rig up the hose to drain the pool thinking it was such a waste to have spent all that time filling it up. She started draining the pool and I went back downstairs to watch the movie. My daughter asked me for an ice cream cone, and I thought, "What the heck." And got up to get it. I brought one for my husband too, but didn't want one for myself. That should have told me something, but instead, I just figured I was disappointed.

~ * ~

Suddenly I felt a twinge, nothing more. I helped my daughter with her ice cream and felt another, only more intense. I went upstairs to see how the pool draining was going and had a contraction strong enough to make me moan. Mom asked, "Should I stop draining the pool." I said, "No, I'm sure it’s just another false alarm." We joked about how it would just figure that this baby would wait until the water was empty. Mom said she'd stop, just in case. There was maybe 4 inches of ice cold water in the pool.

~ * ~

I went back downstairs again and another contraction. This one, I couldn't ignore. I got out my birth ball and tried rocking. That felt wrong. I leaned over it, and felt my baby turn so her face was to my back. The relief on my back was almost enough to make me forget the next few contractions. But, I was still watching the movie, so it wasn't bad yet. I realized I had to pee, and waddled my way to the bathroom. As I tried to get back up from the toilet, another contraction hit me, and I cried out for my husband. I didn't know what else to do, I was suddenly scared and sure this was it.

~ * ~

It hurt. Hurt so much I wanted my midwife, now! My husband, I am sure, thought I was either over reacting or faking or something. This all happened in less than an hour.  I told Kevin I needed to go upstairs and that he needed to call the midwife. He looked at me like I was crazy and told me, "We have time." The next contraction I was hanging from his neck moaning, tears streaming from my eyes. Transition hit me like a freight train, and it was time.

~ * ~

I am pretty sure my husband panicked. I told him to grab my cell phone, but he said Mom could call the midwife. She however, was still upstairs and probably didn't know what all was going on. I could hear her cleaning the kitchen as she has been known to do when nervous. Somehow, we managed to get my daughter upstairs, bring my birth ball and grab both Mom's and my cell phone (they look the same) between contractions. I had just enough time to get upstairs and throw my phone at my mom. I said, "call my midwife." and then cried through another contraction. My husband still seemed a bit shocked.

~ * ~

Another trip to the bathroom and again I found myself dangling from my husband, thinking, "Why was I in such a rush to get here?!"  It seemed like days before my midwife arrived. But since she lives 15 minutes away and I only remember 2 contractions, it was probably more like 20 minutes. She brought her stuff in and checked Kamlyn's heart rate. I remember her just standing there, watching me. Not in an annoying, staring way, but in an, "you can do this. I believe in you" sort of way. It was that presence that reminded me that I could do this, as up until then I was trying to hide from myself, if that was even possible. I had let myself begin to get out of control, but she brought me back by just looking at me.

~ * ~

I kept staring at the birth pool, praying there was enough water. I looked at my midwife and said, "Is there enough water?" She laughed and I stripped off my clothes and got in. What really is "enough water?" anyway.  That pool was my safe haven. I was still crying, moaning and groaning and crying. At some point, the other midwives arrived. I heard them whispering and someone finally said, "Low sounds. They will help the baby come." Something finally clicked in my head. I stopped saying, "I can't do this." I stopped screaming in my head, "I want a hospital." Someone else said, "You are already doing this."

~ * ~

I was in transition and couldn't even bring myself to admit it. I was so sure that I had hours left of this torture and I forgot to see the experience for what it was. I rationalized in my head that the 30 minute drive to the hospital in the car would be far worse than enduring this for a bit longer. I finally quieted myself. The house actually became silent. I focused like I didn't realize possible. Occasionally I would moan, but there was no other way to know when a contraction was coming.

~ * ~

I asked for someone to rub my back and like magic I had my focal point. I passed the contractions counting how many times that hand on my back made a circle. Ridiculous maybe, but I relaxed. I focused. I was "in the zone."  Aside from the immense strength it took to maintain my focus, I only remember a few things during that time. 1, I remember screaming at my husband for talking to me during a contraction. Every interruption forced me to refocus and find my happy place. I would moan through a few contractions trying to find it again. 2, I remember crying when someone told me I should go to the bathroom. I didn't want to get out of the water, but I was too chicken to pee in the pool. The contraction I had in the bathroom was horrible! But then I was back in my nice warm pool, ah, bliss. I also remember someone bringing me cool towels and water. What a relief they were. Finally, I remember saying, bring a bucket, I think I might puke. I never did vomit, but that let me know, I was there. I had reached the worst part (as vomiting was my worst fear). As long as I didn't vomit, I knew I could do this.

~ * ~

For some reason, I suddenly left labor land. I said, "Something is wrong. This is taking too long and this baby isn't lined up right." They checked Kamlyn's heartrate again, and said she is fine, and asked if I wanted to have my cervix checked. I am pretty sure they already knew I was 10 cm, as they had been encouraging me to push if it felt right. It had only been 3 hours.

~ * ~

When they told me I was 10 cm, I was shocked, elated and thought I was ready to get this baby out. I wanted out of the tub for a bit, and they brought in their birthing stool. But, the pain was too great. Not the contractions, but the pain of something sharp trying to rip out of my belly. It was clearly Kamlyn's elbow, but every time the midwife tried to move it, I screamed, "Stop touching me." Or "That hurts too much!" The pain was so great, I wasn't pushing, no matter how I wanted to convince myself I was. I felt defeated.

~ * ~

My midwife finally had my husband get into his swim trunks and get in the pool with me. He fell asleep, something my midwife claims she has never had happen, not in 30 years of midwifery. I sort of slept too, leaning against his body. We stayed there for about 5 hours or so, with Kevin occasionally snoring in my ear. The 2 other midwives left to attend another birth. It was again silent for a while.

~ * ~

After several contractions where my body tried to force me to push, no matter what I wanted, I found myself again alert and ready to be done. I got up and said, "I'm ready, but first I have to pee." Just that. My midwife had been sleeping in one of our chairs and said okay and grabbed a bag of things she would need. As they tried to even get me out of the water, we all realized, there was no way I was going to get to the bathroom. Even getting to standing up had the contractions one on top of the other. I found myself squatting during each one, pushing my baby out, for real this time. Plus, the reality was, I couldn't pee, even if I wanted to.

~ * ~

Back into the water I went. Oh the relief. I was pushing semi reclined, in a funky bridge type yoga pose. Very unorthodox, but it felt good and was working. It felt so good to be pushing. I couldn't feel the contractions anymore. It was just me working to get my baby out. Somewhere near the end, my daughter had started to cry. She was sleeping in Mom's room and woke to find herself alone. My husband left for a moment to comfort her.

~ * ~

While he was gone, I managed to make good progress. When he returned, I remember the midwife opening up some things from her bag, checking my box of birth supplies and putting on gloves. I knew this was it. I would be seeing my baby soon. She asked him if he would like to catch his daughter. I couldn't think of anything more beautiful and was thrilled that he said yes. I didn't have the energy to show emotion about it, but my heart was feeling it anyway.

~ * ~

Kamlyn was still in the sack when she crowned. Suddenly my water broke and it floated away from her face. Her hair was floating there in the water, waiting for those last few contractions to push her out. When I finally got her head out, I wanted to just keep going and get her out. My midwife instructed me to wait, as she was trying to move her hand out of the way. She had it tucked up tight by her chin, and we never did manage to move it. She did however finally turn and I was again pushing her out. Her shoulders were out in no time, but she was still wedged in there. I remember saying just pull her out, which of course my midwife refused. One final push and my baby's hips were free. Kevin guided her into the water and then my midwife brought her up to my chest.

As soon as she cried, I heard my daughter jump off the bed and yell, "My sister is here." She was so excited to have her baby sister. It makes me cry just thinking about it. It was an especially beautiful moment for me.

~ * ~

I remember as soon as she was born feeling a bit uncomfortable with her cord. There it was, just swaying back and forth in the water. My midwife later mentioned that it was about twice as long as the cords she normally sees. That explains why there was so much touching me. After it was done pulsing we cut her cord and passed her off to my husband. Up until then she had been screaming. She settled down quickly and just took things in.

~ * ~

I delivered my placenta in the water, which made a horrible mess, but kept the rest of the floor clean. I finally got out of the water and ever so carefully made my way to the blow up mattress on the floor. After I was settled, they weighed and measured Kamlyn. 9 lbs 3 oz and 22 inches long. I am still in shock that I birthed this baby, at home, without a tear.

~ * ~

This was an experience I will never forget. For 4 weeks I said I wouldn't do it again. I wouldn't have another baby, and wouldn't do a homebirth. I guess the pain was too fresh. I have since changed my mind. I wouldn't do it any other way if I can help it.

The Homebirth of Mary Katherine

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 9:36 AM

With our first two babies, we took Bradley Method childbirth classes and birthed in a freestanding birth center. This time, we planned a quiet birth at home for our third baby with a midwife and as hands off as possible. We wanted our baby to be welcomed by friends and family including Baby's two older brothers, ages 3 and 2. Just over a week before Christmas, my husband and I left to go to his company Christmas party just hours before labor began. At the party everyone asked when we were due and we said "tomorrow" and everyone joked I'd go tonight and the host even said we could give birth in her jacuzzi tub. It was all fun and cute but I really thought I'd go tonight. I kept feeling Braxton-Hicks contractions that were strong and long and just felt like labor was coming. I told my husband my "feeling". He and I hung out for a few hours watching the Ravens game and he drank a few holiday spirits with his friends while I sat in a chair feeling like I couldn't move except to get up and go to the bathroom and had him bring me lots of food and refills of orange & cranberry juice. I drove and we got home at 10:30PM and I went straight to bed as I was exhausted.

~ * ~

At 2:45AM, I awoke with very painful contractions. I tried to rest through them at first but after 15 minutes or so, I realized these were pretty powerful and frequent so I decided to time them. At first I just timed by lifting my head up to see the clock on the cable box after the contraction was over with and I used my husband’s Blackberry to record the time and then would fall to sleep between them. I was laying on my right side. Contractions were 3 to 5 minutes apart.

~ * ~

At 3:30AM, I switched to my left side for awhile to see if this changed anything but it didn't. The contractions were still strong and consistent. So, I decided to time the length of a few of them to see how long they were. They were 40, 50 and 77 seconds long by my count. I decided this might be it, so I got up to go to the bathroom to see what would happen. I stopped on the floor and did some pelvic rocks to help with my back/hip discomfort I have every night but to also get baby in a good position if this is really it. I got back into the bed on my left side.

~ * ~

By 4AM, contractions went from around 6 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart all around 30 to 40 seconds long and they increased in intensity. The pain was felt all low and in the front. I knew that today was the day!! :) I started to feel the need for heat to deal with the pain and felt hungry and woke my husband up. I timed contractions using my laptop on my night table and the www.ContractionMaster.com software at this point.

~ * ~

At 4:14AM, I sent a text message to my doula about contractions and emailed her the notes of the contractions I had logged so far for her to look at. By 4:25AM, contractions were 3 to 6 minutes apart, 30 to 60 seconds long and getting so intense I wanted heat to soothe the pain. I was starting to vocalize during contractions. I remember feeling my baby move and knew then Baby was OK.

~ * ~

By 4:45AM, I began having longer contractions that reached one minute in duration. They were 3 to 5 minutes apart. I called my doula and asked her to come over. It would take her over an hour to get to my house so I wanted her to come now in case things progressed quickly. I decided to get out of bed and go use the bathroom again.

~ * ~

During that time up to 4:53AM, I was having contractions on the toilet that were 1 1/2 to 3 minutes apart and 30 to 50 seconds long. I started to get nervous this was going too fast. My husband phoned my midwife (a CPM) to give her the heads up, at least, that's what I intended but she asked him if I was ready for her and he said yes so before I knew it she was already on her way to our house.

~ * ~

At 5AM, I was back in the bed and my husband was downstairs. I didn't know at the time what he was doing but he later told me he woke up with a hangover from the party the night before and the room was spinning so he went downstairs and drank a ton of water. :) I kept timing and contractions were 3 1/2 to over 5 minutes apart and 30 to 55 seconds long. The two boys were still co-sleeping with us during part of the night and were right beside me in bed sleeping soundly as I labored.

~ * ~

I had my first 1 1/2 minute long contraction at 5:45AM. I thought this wouldn’t last much longer at this rate. Fifteen minutes later, my doula arrived and my midwife arrived at 6:30AM. Over the next hour, however, contractions were really starting to space out to 4 to 6 minutes apart and then to 8 minutes apart but staying over a minute long consistently. I realized quickly my anxiety that labor had begun was relieved when my birth team arrived and my uterus relaxed and my pattern of contractions slowed.

~ * ~

My midwife came in my room to talk to me and used the fetoscope to listen to the baby's heart rate – it was perfect! At this point, contractions were really spaced out and I felt like this may just fizzle out. I told my midwife and doula I wanted to just get some rest and that they could lay down too in our guest bedroom or downstairs until things picked up again. My midwife had no problem complying with my request and went to lay down in the guest room. I continued to rest and time contractions with the spacebar without even opening my eyes really for the next hour and my contractions spaced out to 6 minutes and to as much as 10 to 12 minutes apart. They were still well over a minute long and quite painful. At some point, my doula also left us to rest. At 8:25AM, I stopped timing and just fell asleep. I slept deeply in the bed while my husband also fell asleep in the oversized chair in our bedroom.

~ * ~

I woke up sometime after 9AM and eventually made my way downstairs for a change of scenery and to see my boys and eat breakfast. I labored downstairs watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse between contractions with my sons snuggled up with me on the sofa. My midwife watched me labor while my husband made us all breakfast. The sofa no longer was comfortable so I switched to hands and knees on the floor over the sofa.

~ * ~

We sat down to eat breakfast - eggs, bacon, toast. I sat on the birth ball but had to lift up during contractions and they were very intense! I was ready to go back upstairs after eating and had several contractions on the way. I couldn't make it up the stairs without pausing and contracting every few steps.  At 10:52AM, I decided to take a shower and use the heat from the water to help deal with the pain of the contractions while my sons played with their train bath tub toys beneath me. During contractions, I had to lean on the wall and focus to get through them as they were quite intense. My birth assistant arrived and she and my midwife sat in our bedroom hanging out at a distance while I labored. I wanted my space unless I needed them and they were very respectful of that request.

~ * ~

When I got out around 11:25AM, my doula picked out my hair while I contracted in hands and knees on my bed. I then went into the bathroom to dry my hair and when I came out, I labored in hands and knees on the floor. At one point, my youngest son came out of the shower and brought me his trains and told me they were "wet". He was so cute and I was amazed how I was able to talk to him between contractions so well. (11:41AM)  A few nights before the birth, I made a wrap to go around my breasts for labor with a piece of material and my sewing machine. I tied it in the back and used it for the rest of my labor to cover up with. It was perfect!  

After drying my hair, I really wanted to put on some make-up so I didn't look so ghostly but I never had the energy to do so. I was getting overwhelmed by the intensity of the labor and decided after the shower and drying my hair to lay down for awhile.

~ * ~

At 12:09PM and over the next hour, my husband started calling my friends who were sent invitations to my homebirth that now was the time and we wanted them to come to our labor and birth. We needed help with the kids at this point because I needed more of my husband's sole attention. I later decided I wanted to get into the tub to labor. I asked for the water to be at 98+ degrees so it would be effective in helping with my pain but I remember getting in and it was lukewarm and not comforting at all. :( I kept telling my doula and birth assistant I had a thermometer somewhere and we turned the hot water on but it was just not what I needed and I got frustrated. This was one of the things I imagined would be the most relaxing for me but it was quite the opposite. It would have been a great time for my relaxing music on the bathroom counter to be played but that was never done either. In my birth plan, I had made a list of all of the things that relaxed me the most on it and what I wanted done. I'll just have to make sure that is followed through better next time around as the little things can be so very important. Especially quiet. I really just wanted quiet and to be left to deal with my labor alone and with my husband and if I needed anyone else's assistance, I'd ask for it. My "unassisted as possible" birth wasn't exactly as I wanted it in part because I got everyone to my labor too soon. Finally, though, I was left alone with my husband and we were able to labor together just the two of us. :) (12:57PM)

~ * ~

In the tub, I knew things were changing and not going as they should. My labor was starting to move into my back. I could also tell by the contraction pattern that something was off with Baby's position because the labor shouldn't be dragging on this long and the contraction pattern shouldn't be so inconsistent. I asked my midwife to come in who by the way was great at respecting my wish for an unassisted as possible labor. She came in and we talked and I asked her to see where I was. It was sometime after 1PM. It was the first cervical exam I had all pregnancy and labor. Surprisingly, I was 8 cms dilated. I was so relieved and so was my husband! I remember telling my birth assistant that I thought this was another compound presentation baby (head and hand coming out together) just like my first baby was. The birth was just too similar in the way I was contracting, the back labor and my gut feeling was so strong.

~ * ~

As the back labor got more serious, my husband began applying pressure to my hips to help me cope with the pain. As he worked hard, my midwife helped him by putting cool compresses on his head and neck. She was great! (1:52PM)

We moved from the bathroom to the bedroom. I wanted to stand and did that for awhile with my midwife behind me. As contractions got really intense in my back, my husband began applying hip squeezes to help me cope through the unexpected back pain. At one point, my doula and birth assistant tried to take over doing the pressure squeezes during contractions but they were not as effective as he was. I wanted to feel his touch. Just like with my first son's labor, my husband got quite a work out as my pain was severe and my contractions were long. He was a great labor coach to me always listening and never giving up on me even when I yelled at him if he was too high or too low or not pressing hard enough. :) (2:05PM)

~ * ~

I eventually got into the bed and labored on hands and knees. I was in intense and severe pain in my back with each contraction. It was so overwhelming internally I was thinking how can I keep going but my mind kept reminding me there's no way to stop the pain, there's no way to go backwards, that now, I can only go forward and the only thing that will end this back labor is to push my baby out. So I asked for my midwife again and asked her what we could do that I was ready to push. At around 2:25pm she checked me and I was 9cms. She said she could break my bag of waters which had not broken yet, not even a little trickle of water yet, so I said OK, "let's do it". At this point I was on my back which I hate more than anything during labor especially during back labor as it makes the pain much more intense and she went in to break my bag with the amnihook and stayed in there for awhile getting out as much of the forewaters as she could to get baby's head down on my cervix and get this back labor closer to ending! I was relieved because the back pain was so severe and all I wanted to do was push.

~ * ~

When she finished, I got back up to hands and knees and she encouraged me to bear down with my contractions to try to push baby down more with each contraction even though pushing contractions were not there yet at all. I could finally feel my baby's head moving down the birth canal. I was so relieved because I knew that meant this back pain would end very soon!! My midwife got in position behind me and my husband was near the bed but after the kids were brought in to witness the birth by my request, they wanted their daddy so he couldn't be right beside me in the bed or catch the baby like I wanted. A couple of my friends were in the room but not all of them as some were still downstairs and didn't know I wanted them all in the room to view the birth but they weren't invited to come up. :( I prepared a list of those invited to view the birth but no one asked me for it and I was mostly out of it and unable to remind anyone of what I wanted and had my eyes closed most of the time. I was glad at least a couple of my friends were able to view the birth. I started to push in hands and knees for the next 40 minutes even though there weren't any pushing contractions yet just to do all I could to help baby move down faster and end this severe pain. Finally at about 3PM or so, I started feeling pushing contractions and I could feel Baby's head moving down my birth canal. I just screamed begging for Baby to "get out of me". :) I was so ready for this back labor to be over with!! (3:03PM)

~ * ~

Soon Baby's head came out and I felt some relief but then wondered why so much time was passing and the body wasn't coming out even when I pushed again. I asked if the head was out and they said yes and I wanted to know why the body wasn't coming out yet. (3:10PM)  Because the body wasn't coming out yet, my birth assistant asked me to put my leg up.  My midwife had to go up inside to see why her body wasn't coming out yet and found a bit of a "sticky" shoulder. The shoulder was dislodged and Baby's body started coming out.  As Baby's body is mostly out and we see the hands are both down (not by the head), so no compound presentation. Baby was born at 3:12PM!  My midwife passed Baby underneath me to my hands.  I picked up my baby!!! I stared at Baby’s face and my husband brought the boys over to see Baby up-close.  And 3 minutes after the birth, we finally thought to check to see the sex. It's a...

*

GIRL!!!!!!

*

We were both so excited!!! I was in disbelief so I looked again - yup, a girl!   We enjoyed the first few minutes together with her and I needed to just rest and catch my breath as my bottom was still very sore from the painful back labor and pushing adventure.

Just minutes old, my baby girl was a vigorous nurser! (3:31PM) It was time for the birth of the placenta. My husband cut the cord that was no longer pulsating and very white a few minutes later. After the cord was cut, I was free to get up and my midwife suggested I soak in an herbal bath to help soothe the pain in my bottom which was quite sore. I took Mary Katherine with me and together we got into the warm water (it was the right temperature!) and enjoyed a bath together. I decided to wash her hair with some baby soap to get the gooey out of it. :) It was a nice time of bonding followed by more nursing! (4:02PM)

~ * ~

My oldest son came in to see the baby and talk to her. It was a priceless moment. Soon after, my husband’s parents arrived and came in to meet their granddaughter. They were elated that we had a girl! At 4:44PM, my husband held our daughter for the first time wrapping her in a pink satin blanket that would later become the “blank-blank” she carried everywhere and slept with every night while sucking her thumb.

Meanwhile, I got out of the tub and took a quick shower to feel fresh and clean. After my herb bath and shower, I got dressed in my comfy PJs and held my baby girl again. 

~ * ~

My midwife then took her so they could do the newborn exam.(4:54PM) She bundled her up in a blanket and put her on the cloth scale to weigh her. She weighed 7lbs, 14oz (and that's after a major meconium poopy on her parents bed when she was born!) Our birth assistant performed the rest of the newborn exam. Mary Katherine didn't like the cold air and missed her Mommy. She checked out her body, listened to her heart, lungs and bowel sounds, reflexes, measured her, etc..., and she was perfect!

~ * ~

I got her back a few minutes later and I put on her first diaper. (5:02PM) Then, I gave her to my husband so he could let his mother hold her granddaughter for the first time. My husband popped a bottle of bubbly and we all toasted our baby girl. We then went downstairs to eat a large spread of food everyone brought with them. I started out trying to sit at the table on a cushion but my bottom was so sore, I had to move to the sofa instead to eat. (5:20PM) For the last hour or two, the boys were napping. My oldest woke up and came down to see us and my husband reminded him about his baby sister being born. (5:30PM) I finally had a break to call my family to tell them the news...parents, siblings and grandparents over the next 45 minutes! At about 7:30PM, everyone started to leave and I was getting tired and ready for a nap. I snapped a picture of her first to text message to my family and friends.

~ * ~

I loved giving birth at home and I loved my midwife and her gentle ways. She was very hands off which is exactly how I like things. I loved not having to drive anywhere and to do whatever I wanted at any moment during my labor and birth without being told what to do or where to do it. I wasn’t planning to have any cervical exams or my water broken but I enjoyed being able to be the one to decide that I did want those done and I requested it only after labor was in an unusual pattern and quite intense. I didn’t expect to have another back labor. I’ve learned I mentally lose it when labor pain goes into my back. I’m not the same logical thinking person any longer and emotionally I got frightened and it led to me feeling very moody. I started to anticipate the pain of each contraction before it began. Severe back labor certainly is not a pleasant and romantic labor but it still was done on my terms and in my home. I enjoyed the presence and labor assistance of my husband and I hope to work it out so he can be more involved in the birth aspect and closer to me physically at the time of the birth next time around. I loved that my children could witness the birth of their baby sister. I’m so thankful for all of those present who worked so hard to help me have my homebirth and were there to welcome our little girl into the world.

~ * ~

Mary Katherine grew quickly on mommy’s milk. At my second postpartum visit done by midwife in my home on her first week’s birthday, she had gained from 7lbs, 14oz to 8lbs, 9oz - an 11 oz gain! She’s continued to grow and at 3 weeks she is over 9 ½ lbs gaining 1lb, 11oz since her birth. Thank you for reading our story! I hope it inspires you and any woman to have the birth you want!

The Beautiful Homebirth of Sarah

Posted on July 13, 2011 at 7:36 AM

Much the same as my second child, I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions thru most of this pregnancy. Towards the end, some of them were painful, and their intensity and frequency continued to increase. On a Tuesday in the late spring, in the afternoon, I started with bloody show and contractions were more painful and a few times an hour. I tried to nap, as was normal for me the last couple of weeks, but wasn’t really able to so I just got up and rested on the couch with my kids instead.

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My husband came home about 7pm and I left him with the kids to go to David’s and Target. I wanted to get out of the house and walk around as well as pick up the last few items I needed. Even though I wasn’t positive, I felt like this was “it” and that I needed to be ready. The bloody show increased every time I went to the bathroom into the late evening/night and contractions were still painful, just not “regular”. I would have them every 6-8mins or so, then not again for 20-30mins. I was having some significant pain around my pubic bone, so around 1130pm I called my midwife to check with her about it. She said it was totally normal and to try and get some rest. I laid down on and off for 3hrs and finally fell into a restless sleep after 2am. I had contractions while I slept and at about 330am decided I’d had enough and got up. I went into our bedroom (I’d been sleeping on the couch in my office for months b/c it was much more comfortable than our bed) and woke up my husband and told him I thought it was time for baby and wanted him to start filling the tub. We both headed downstairs and he got started right away with two hoses- one coming from the bathroom down the hall and the other coming in the window from our bathtub upstairs(directly above the room where the tub was). At 4am I called my doula, my midwife (a CPM) and my birth photographer, in that order. I told them all I thought it was time. My doula and birth photographer came right away. I knew I needed help getting thru contractions(which at that point I had guessed were about 6mins apart) so I asked my doula to come right then, and photographer lives over an hour away so I wanted to give her plenty of time. My midwife told me to time them for another hour and give her a call.

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My doula arrived at about 430am and by that time contractions were 3mins apart. My husband blew up the exercise ball and my doula and I used that for a little while. She was such a blessing! My lower back was killing me, so she pushed on it pretty much my whole labor.

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A little after 5am I really wanted to get into the tub. All the hot water in our water heater had been used, so my husband had been letting it reheat. When I started getting anxious he went ahead and turned the hoses on for a few more minutes to use what was in there but it wasn’t nearly enough. I told him to get water heating on the stove and with that he filled it high enough for the heater in the tub to be turned on. A few minutes later I got into the tub and he poured more water in there while I was laboring. My doula stayed by my side telling me to breathe and pushing on my back to help with the pain. It wasn’t long before I started feeling the urge to push but my midwife wasn’t there so my doula helped me breathe through the contractions. The pain was quite intense and I don’t know how many times I said “I can’t do this”, but my husband and my doula were wonderful! They kept me focused on each contraction individually and helped me through them.

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My midwife and her birth assistant arrived right before 6am, just after my photographer arrived. My midwife told me to go ahead and push if that’s what I needed to do and she got everything set up. My oldest son got up about 615 and came around to where I was in the tub. He was excited that the baby was being born and wanted to stay with me the whole time. He sat on a couch in front of me and we reassured him that I was ok despite how I was acting.

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My midwife and her birth assistant checked the baby’s heart rate about every other contraction and she was doing great. I pushed for a bit in the tub but things weren’t progressing as quickly as I’d hoped. I kept asking my midwife if she could feel baby’s head, if she’d moved farther down, etc. At this point, my midwife suggested that I get out of the tub and try the birthing stool. I stood up and did a couple pushes standing in the water with my knees bent. Gravity really helped and I could feel the baby more. My husband and doula helped me out of the tub and onto the birthing stool where I did the rest of my pushing. He sat behind me supporting me the rest of the time. During these pushes I screamed….alot. My midwife helped me focus my screaming down into my pushes to send that energy where it would have more effect. It worked for some of the rest of my pushing, which was only about 20mins or so. It was incredibly painful and I made sure everyone knew by screaming it. But feeling my baby come out was an experience I will never forget. And it was totally worth every single pain I went through. Before I knew it her head was coming out and I looked down and saw her. I couldn’t believe that there she was! My midwife checked for the cord, which was around her neck, so she gently loosened it. I waited for another contraction to push the rest of her out but it didn’t happen quickly enough so I just went ahead and pushed anyways. She came sliding out and my midwife caught her. She was absolutely perfect and beautiful. My midwife immediately handed her to me and a blanket was put around her. My husband helped me off of the stool and I was led to our couch where I laid down with my gorgeous baby. I was in awe. I had actually done it! There was nothing brave or pretty about it, but it was the most incredible and beautiful experience of my life.

As soon as I was settled on the couch my midwife asked what I wanted to eat. I said a donut, haha! So orders were taken and my doula went out to pick the food up. After a little while we moved upstairs. My husband and midwife had made the bed with clean sheets and pads while her birth assistant helped me up the stairs. I got in the shower to clean up real quick and boy was that nice! The birth assistant helped me get dressed after I was out and then I got into bed. The food came so I picked out my donut(my favorite one from a local bakery!!) and my husband got a drink and plate for me. I ate my food and then my midwife checked me and the baby. I had a small tear but really didn’t want it sutured. I was so sore! Since it was small and not deep, my midwife told me I would just need to keep my legs together for a week so it could heal well. Then she got all the measurements on our baby girl, Sarah. 6lbs 4oz and 19.5in long. Perfect size. After that the birth assistant and my midwife brewed up my sitz bath tea and went over the postpartum instructions for myself and Sarah.

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I absolutely loved having a homebirth. I never had to go anywhere, everyone was extremely supportive and helpful, no one took my baby away to do anything to her, I was in my own bed within an hour of giving birth, and my kids were there to watch their baby sister being born. If I am blessed with any more children they will definitely be born at home!


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