Haddon’s Birth Story

This is the birth story of our fifth baby, third son and third home birth. 

Haddon is now 9 months old and I’ve had a hard time wanting to share his birth story. I did write it out in my journal a few days after he was born but for some reason,  I’ve wanted to wait to share the story. I feel like I’ve now fully processed his birth and am ready to share.

I have always known  that due dates were guess dates but my first four babies arrived before their due dates. My first was induced and the other 3 came on their own well before the 40 week mark. While I knew it was within the realm of possibility to reach and even pass my due date of October 11th, I never thought it would be reality. My guess was that baby would arrive about a week early this time on October 4th.

When contractions started up on the afternoon of October 3rd, I just knew labor would pick up as the evening progressed. But, I awoke the next morning pregnant. This went on every evening until baby was born. Around dinner time, contractions started, they’d pick up around bedtime, we’d go to bed and nothing would happen.

I had my 39 week check up on the 6th and my midwife checked baby’s position and baby was head down in the pelvis – at the previous 2 check ups baby had been sitting on the pelvis but not engaged. At that point, I had a mental shift and decided since I was already this far along, it would be great to make it to October 10th which was John David’s Papaw’s birthday – that would be so special and the birth date 10-10-2020 would be fun!

                                                 40 weeks pregnant

I was surprised to wake up on Sunday, October 11th, my due date, still pregnant. This was my very first time to make it to 40 weeks – and this was my 5th baby!

I wasn’t physically tired of being pregnant but I was incredibly emotional and confused because my body felt like it was starting labor every night since the evening of the 3rd.

On the evening of my due date, I started having contractions and they were regular enough that we started timing them! When we started timing, they were about 5 minutes apart and I texted my midwife at that point to let her know what was going on. She asked if she should come and I said I was going to lay down and continue timing. We climbed in bed, turned off the lights and fell asleep. I woke at 4:30 and realized absolutely nothing was happening. I started crying. I was so confused and drained – I had regular contractions, 5 minutes apart and had even texted my midwife and now nothing!

On Tuesday morning, October 13th, I woke up about 7:30 am to a strange wet sensation. I thought my water had broken at that moment. There was no big gush but there was some blood tinged mucus – so I knew I was getting closer! I had my 40 week check up at 9 am that morning and it went well. John David and I ran some errands after the check up, grabbed lunch and when we got back home, Laura and I laid down for a nap. I was tired and stayed in bed all afternoon resting. Right at 4:45, I felt a gush so I ran to the bathroom and there was a puddle of clear fluid.

I texted my midwife at that point, got out the amnicator test and it came back positive! I was so excited because this meant things were about to finally start happening and I could be holding a baby in just a few hours. I was also a bit nervous because I have never had my water break before I was pushing and had never labored during my unmedicated births without an intact water bag. I also knew that with broken water I was on somewhat of a time line.

My midwife and her assistant headed our way since she didn’t make it to my last birth! They arrived around 6:30, brought all of their equipment into the bedroom and got everything set up.

I ate dinner, took a walk and helped the kids get packed up to spend the night with grandparents. I told the kids as they left that if baby came before it was too late evening, Daddy will come get you and if not, you should wake up to news of our new baby!

I was hoping that once the kids were gone, things would pick up since the house was quiet and peaceful and night had fallen.

Nothing was happening.

I’d have the occasional contraction but nothing consistent or serious feeling. They checked baby’s heart rate and decided to do a cervical check – I hadn’t had a cervical check since the hospital birth of my first baby. The cervical check was incredibly disappointing – I was 1 cm. I was sad that after weeks of contractions and cervical pressure, I was only 1 cm. She did a membrane sweep and said after that I was a tight 3 cm.

Since contractions weren’t picking up, my midwife suggested a breast pump to hopefully start contractions. I started pumping around 10 pm but it didn’t help. At one point, they decided a warm shower was good to try to help me relax so I did that, walked around the room and bounced on the ball. They suggested sleep. I tried but I was so uncomfortable, discouraged that my body wasn’t cooperating and I knew I was on a deadline since my water was broken. I decided to try the breast pump again.

I had a few decent contractions and my midwife checked me again. I was a whole 5 cm. Things are really fuzzy from here for me, I don’t have any idea of what happened other than it was a long, restless night and I was incredibly emotional, frustrated and discouraged. At some point, I felt nauseous and threw up and I was so hopeful that would jump start my contractions but it did nothing.

Since nothing was happening, they mentioned trying castor oil in the morning as a last resort before heading to the hospital for pitocin. As discouraged as I was and as much as I didn’t want to have to go to the hospital, I felt peace about going if it was what was best to safely deliver this baby.

They said the best thing was sleep. I was still emotional and cried for a bit but finally fell asleep. I don’t know how long I slept but I woke up feeling better and hopeful. John David fixed me breakfast which I nibbled because I didn’t have an appetite and was also afraid of throwing up again.

Around 8:30, John David fixed me a castor oil smoothie made with mango juice. It wasn’t as horrible as I thought it would be. I drank it all and hoped and prayed I wouldn’t throw it up. While waiting for the castor oil to kick in, John David milked while I sat in the living room and talked to my midwife. John David and I sent messages to friends and family asking for specific prayers that the castor oil would work.

About an hour after the smoothie, I had to go to the bathroom. This may be oversharing, but it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated and once my bowels were emptied, contractions started!

I walked around the living room talking and was in a much better place emotionally and mentally than I had been during the night and I was hopeful that things would progress quickly and I’d have a baby soon!

At some point, the contractions started getting uncomfortable and they needed to check baby so they put me on the bed with the birth ball to lean on. After baby was checked, I couldn’t get comfortable and the contractions started to get more intense.

They suggested a warm shower, I made it to the bathroom and sat on the toilet hoping that would help me dilate quickly. No luck so I got in the shower which was nice but the contractions were super intense and felt unbearable – my back was hurting so bad and it felt like my hips were being pried apart.

I started feeling completely out of control at this point saying “I can’t do this” out loud while trying to remind myself “you’re doing it” “you have to do it” and “you’re getting so close”.  I couldn’t calm myself and felt out of control.

At one point in the shower I made a noise that told them I was getting close so they pulled me out, wrapped me in a towel and brought me into the bedroom. I was still feeling out of control and saying (maybe yelling) “I can’t do this”.

They tried to get me up on the bed and I just couldn’t move anymore. I was waiting for the urge to push but I wasn’t feeling it. I tried some gentle pushes to see if anything felt like it was happening but there was no urge.

Finally, I had an urge to push and started pushing and it was intense. I didn’t think the baby would ever come but I pushed hard and felt him low and my hips spreading and intense pressure as I pushed him out at 11:18 am while standing on the side of our bed.

Oh, the sweet relief knowing baby is out! I immediately look down where they had him between my legs and saw baby was a BOY! Such joy  in that moment of being done with delivery and that we had another son. I scooped him up and my midwife helped me climb up into the bed. I was so happy, so relieved and so exhausted. HE was here – finally!

I laid down with him on my chest and just looked at John David – thinking whew, it’s over!

There’s nothing like the feeling of a brand new, warm, sticky baby and I tried to soak in the sweet moment.

Very soon after baby was born, the kids came back home! Paxton was the first one in. He woke up worried that morning since there was no news of baby and knew things weren’t going as quickly as we had hoped. He was so excited knowing that he had a baby brother and immediately fell in love!

Cecilia was in next and was so excited to see the baby! She had been watching lots of birth videos with me and was very interested in what was happening.

Weston has not been excited about the past two babies while I’ve been pregnant but once again after one look at his newest sibling, he fell in love too! And, it was so neat to have Annette there so soon as well – this was the first of our babies she has seen when they were only minutes old.

Laura was the last one to come in to meet the baby and she was a little shy but very quickly warmed up to him and was very interested. My heart was so full watching each of my children meet their newest sibling.

After the children met the baby and I delivered the placenta, I had my herb bath – I had been telling myself during labor that I had the herb bath with baby to look forward to – and it was wonderful! Warm water and a new baby to admire, one of the sweetest parts of home birth.

After the bath, I was dressed and settled into bed while baby was weighed and measured and had his newborn exam. He was 19 inches long and weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces – the exact weight of both Weston and Laura!

Haddon’s nuchal hand.

He was born with a nuchal hand which means one of his hands was up by his face during birth and came out along with the head. This contributed to the diameter of baby as he was passing through the birth canal – he may have been a little baby but I gave birth to his head plus an arm which increased the diameter.

This was his preferred position right after birth which makes me wonder if this was not how he was positioned in the womb.

I don’t know if the lack of fluid made the contractions more intense or if it was the castor oil or the nuchal hand or the combination of all three but it was by far the hardest labor and delivery I have had. I remember thinking during transition“I am never, ever doing this again – our family is complete!”  

It was hard but he was worth every bit of intense discomfort during transition and delivery, worth all the sickness of the first trimester, the emotional uncertainty of a pregnancy in 2020 and a long, stalled labor. He is such a sweet gift and I’m so thankful for this baby and for the excellent, personal and encouraging care of midwives.

And, I’m so thankful for this proud papa. He was so supportive during the entire pregnancy, my prodromal labor and during this long, discouraging labor. He also took almost all of these photographs of Haddon’s birth.

I know home birth isn’t for everyone but I am so thankful for home birth and being able to deliver our baby in the comfort of our home surrounded by kind, loving, knowledgeable and professional midwives. There are no words to express what the two midwives present at this birth meant to me. Their presence was such an encouragement and I felt completely safe and cared for even in the moments that I felt like I wasn’t in control.

My other birth stories:

First Baby: Paxton’s Birth Story

Second Baby: Weston’s Birth Story

Third Baby : Cecilia’s Birth Story

Fourth Baby : Laura’s Birth Story

July 2021

It’s tomato time! Now that it’s July the tomatoes are really taking off. This year I am growing these adorable Spoon Tomatoes – they’re cute and tiny – pictured here with regular Cherry Tomatoes for a size comparison.

Happy 4th of July!!

Weston grew beets in his garden bed this year and he had a decent little harvest – enough for pickled beets!

He ended up with 4 quarts and 1 pint of pickled beets and they are delicious – we opened the pint jar after a few days.

Green bean harvest. My plan was to only plant in my new garden this summer but the lower garden tempted me a bit and I ended up planting corn and green beans down there. The cows got into the corn and enjoyed it and the weeds went crazy but I managed to get a decent little green bean harvest – enough to can 7 quarts and still have some for fresh eating!

In late June my grandmother passed away and we traveled to Virginia in July for her funeral and to spend time with family. Our family is standing on the front porch of my grandparents home. So many wonderful memories were made in this beautiful house. It’s still surreal to think that both my grandpa and grandmother have passed away and that their home will soon be sold.

While we were in Virginia, Haddon turned 9 months old.

Weston has been finding all kinds of bugs on the homestead all summer. It’s always fun to see what he finds! This one is a katydid.

I went out at sundown one evening to harvest tomatoes and Laura came out dressed in her jammies and boots to help me. She picked tomatoes and carried in a heavy bucket. She’s such a sweet little helper and a hard worker.

Matching with my girlies!!

Cecilia picked this lovely flower and wanted to take my picture. I spend quite a bit of time snuggling this sweet little love and I’m thankful she chose to capture this moment.

On the 23rd, Lady, our goat had 2 kids!! So exciting!! She had a boy and a girl and they’re beyond adorable.

Here’s Laura with the little girl!

The next day, July 24th, Buttercup had her calf. She had a heifer and we are all so excited to have a girl!!! Laura wanted to name her Lollipop and we’re going to call her Lolly.

The back of the homestead. So thankful for this little piece of property.

Goodbye July!

 

June 2021

June is one of my favorite months of the year. Our days are carefree with no school, lots of free time, swimming, spending time with friends, Bible school and beginning to get goodies from the garden.

The garden on June 11. Things are growing and everything is green and beautiful.

Haddon was 8 months on the 14th. These months are flying by and he’s growing so quickly but what a joy this baby boy is to our family.

We went blueberry picking! All together we picked 4 gallons – we ate a bunch, froze several bags and dehydrated a quart jar worth of berries.

We have turkeys here on Arrow Hill Homestead. We put them out on pasture on June 19th.

This picture is my favorite to acknowledge Father’s Day. My children have a wonderful father who loves them and teaches them. Here he is teaching the boys how to change oil. Laura is right there with them learning too!

This is how I’m getting things done inside and outside these day. Thankful for this baby carrier – I’ve been using this one for  9 years and 4 babies now.

We’re experimenting with water glassing eggs this year. I filled up 2 gallon jars with our abundant June eggs. Hoping these will help us through the lean months in late fall/early winter when the chickens nearly stop laying.

Our first big garden harvest of the year was on June 25th. It’s still fun to go “grocery shopping” in our yard!

The big kids have been foraging blackberries here and on their grandparents property. They gathered enough to make a couple blackberry cobblers this summer.

We’re looking forward to what July brings – hopefully lots more garden harvests and canning!!

May 2021

Here are some of the highlights of May 2021 here on Arrow Hill Homestead.

We have been working on creating a “play island” on the circle area in our driveway. We already had the fire pit and large swing in the tree but this month we got a new (to us) swing set up for the kids. So far, everyone is loving having the swing set!

Sweet little diaper laundry helper.

Laura turned 4 on May 12th! Here she is enjoying some of her birthday gifts – a new ‘look and found’ book (she adores these books currently), play dough and new shoes made her one happy birthday girl!

Weston helped out in the hay field by driving the tractor.

Laura even helped – she may be little but she’s strong enough to flip bales to move them!

 

We have a variety of soaps for sale:

lye, lye + oats

activated charcoal

coffee bean

pumpkin spice

pumpkin

cinnamon

 Soaps are $3/bar or 4 bars for $10

We also have 2 sizes of lavender salve

$5 for 1 oz or $7 for 1.5 oz

*All of these soaps are made from lard rendered from pastured pork.

*Salves contain lavender infused coconut oil and beeswax.

*LOCALS message us to place an order/arrange a time to shop here at the homestead!

 

Haddon was 7 months old on the 14th. He’s pulling up and starting to get curious. I did the final wood stove ash clean out  and he quickly found the ash bucket and had a little bit of fun. I’m amazed that he’s *only* 7 months old and already acting more like a toddler than an infant!

First lettuce harvest on May 19th.

My new fenced in garden. We’ve worked on this new garden spot in our free moments for about 2 months now. We put down cardboard, soil in the beds, wood chips in the rows and John David has fenced it in and built a new little garden shed out of salvaged materials. I’m loving how close it is to the house and foresee lots of time spent in this space.

Ready for a day full of farming.

Our Kune Kune sow had a small litter of piglets on the 22nd. They’re adorable.

We celebrated 15 years on the 27th. Thankful for these years we’ve spent together, this family and lifestyle we’ve created together. And, John David also celebrated a birthday on May 31st! May is a fun month for our family.

This picture of Laura sleeping seems like an appropriate ending to a blog post. May was full and fun and we’re looking forward to summertime!

April 2021

April was an exciting month for us all here on the homestead. Birthdays, births, new cows, garden prep and Easter!

Easter Sunday 2021

Getting ready to hunt eggs at Mimi’s. I cherished this moment knowing that this may very well be the last year Paxton is excited about easter egg hunts. 

Sitting up unassisted for the first time on April 10th…4 days before 6 months old. Growing so fast. 

Milking time. Haddon was my little assistant. Weston was too he just didn’t want his picture taken!

Paxton turned 11 on April 16th. We celebrated with family on his birthday and then on the 17th we had friends over for a little party.

April 16th was a very exciting day on the homestead. We had 2 new ewe lambs born and also bought a new milk cow and calf!

One of Weston’s lambs. She’s beautiful. 

The other sweet little lamb.

Our new Jersey milk cow. Her previous owner called her Stumpy because she had a docked tail. Stumpy is not pretty at all so we have renamed her Brevi which means short, brief. 

Brevi’s calf. We have yet to name him but have been calling him Little Guy. 

Baby snuggles are the best. Some nights Haddon’s just not quite ready to lay down when he’s finished nursing and needs some more snuggle time.

6 Months. Amazed that we’ve already reached this boys half birthday. What an absolute joy he is!

Cecilia and her new to her doll Kit. Cecilia has been saving her money for a few months now – we made a savings chart for the fridge for her to color in as she saved. She finally saved up enough and was able to buy a Kit Kittredge doll. We read Kit’s stories earlier this year as part of our homeschool and we all adored Kit’s stories and Cecilia wanted a Kit doll. I’m so proud she saved so diligently and know she’ll always remember saving up her money to buy Kit. 

Weston’s Kune Kune sow, Red, gave birth to her first litter of piglets on April 24th. She was very distressed during the birth and tried to attack her piglets so Weston stepped in and acted as midwife. As she delivered a piglet, he grabbed it, dried it off with hay and put it into a box with a heating pad. Once all the babies were born, John David and Weston managed to get the sow calmed and get the piglets nursing. Once they started nursing and crawling all over her, she’s been a good mama! We’re so thankful she accepted them!

The labor, delivery and getting the piglets to nurse was a several hours long process. Weston was absolutely wiped out by the end of it all. He showered, ate a bite of dinner and went up to bed without even telling anyone goodnight. Poor little guy was physically and emotionally exhausted.

Sweet baby pigs.

This was a litter of 7 piglets. All female. They were all born alive and well but one was laid on the next day and sadly passed away. Everyone else is alive and healthy still!

Happy Haddon loves the grass!

Our new garden is coming along! It’s looking so good and I’m so excited to get this space finished up, fenced in and planted!!

March 2021

March – my favorite month of the year! March 4th is my birthday, Cecilia’s birthday, daffodil season and the first day of spring! We begin doing a lot more work outside to start prepping for the gardening season and we just spend a lot of time outside since March days are typically lovely. 

How does one fall asleep like this? I don’t know but it sure is funny!

New garden shed in progress! John David salvaged wood from our play set and a little bit of other wood we had around, salvaged metal from a friend and purchased salvage rafter for the roof. Total cost was about $80 for this shed. 

Five months. 

Evening chores with mama. 

Daffodils. My favorite flower. Weston knows I adore them and he enjoys picking me bouquets as long as they’re in bloom!

Cecilia turned 7 on March 20th! Oh, how we love this girl of ours.

She wanted a lemon cake so I made a lemon pound cake with a lemon glaze and topped it with dum dums! Such a fun looking cake!

John David went out of town one weekend. So, when the cats away the mice will play or in this case when the farmer is away all the animals decide it’s the perfect time to get out of their fences. Buttercup enjoyed selective grazing. 

And the little piggies did too!

 

February 2021

We started February with a light, light, light dusting of snow but it was just enough for us southerners to ooh and ahh over (and hope for more!)

Sweet kiddos eating breakfast at the play table. The girls were feeding their babies. 

Howe we’re currently getting our lessons done. Haddon is content if held!This is what our table looks like by noon every day. A happy mess!

Pioneer girl Cecilia with her rag doll made by her great grandma. 

Sweeties. 

4 months old.

My new shelving in our little pantry! John David salvaged this wood and made a few shelves in the back of the pantry to maximize the use of the space. 

Sourdough sandwich bread rising. 

And baked. So good!

Paxton’s romper says “Rise and Shine It’s Farmin’ Time”. We were gifted this romper and it’s one of my very favorites!

Nothing spectacular but the fog on the mountain was lovely this morning. So thankful for our little mountain view here!

January 2021

We’ll start the recap of January with a picture of our pantry since we did a pantry challenge the entire month of January.

We didn’t got shopping at a grocery store a single time in the month of January – we shopped our pantry and freezers. We ended up spending $100 out of our grocery budget. $88 of that was a small Azure order (stocking up on dish soap, corn meal, a few pantry staples and some seeds) however we didn’t use any of those items in January! The other $12 was spent buying eggs from Paxton.

Most of the money we saved went into our grocery envelope for bulk food purchases in the future and some of it went towards a mortgage principal payment!


We butchered pigs in January so I rendered fat on butcher days and made several batches of soap to stock up.

Sweet little ones enjoying early morning snuggles. 

Making sauerkraut. Such an easy and inexpensive way to get probiotics.

Sausage and potato soup made entirely from foods from the homestead. Sausage, potatoes, cream, chicken stock, cheese – it’s still fun when we make a meal comprised only of things we’ve grown!

Laura wanted to match Haddon with her star shirt. Love these littles. 

One of the things I typically do during the winter months is bake. It’s cold out and we want hearty, comforting foods. I did some experimenting with sourdough this month with success!

Snuggle, snuggle, snuggle.

My sweet little kitchen helpers. 

Haddon wearing his homestead pajamas! I adore these pjs with fruits and veggies all over. 

He’s the sweetest.

Living his best life. Paxton loves reading. This is my idea of a relaxing evening.

This is what our bed looks like most mornings. Laura typically finds her way in between us in the very early morning hours and Haddon wakes between 6-7 to nurse and then he goes back to sleep for a couple more hours.

Sweet, sweet 3 month old baby.

December 2020

Oh, how we love December!! The girls were so excited about their new holiday dresses for their dolls that my grandma sewed for them. 

The best gift of 2020. So thankful for this sweet baby boy!

Merry Christmas from our crew.

Weston turned 9 years old on December 22! It’s hard to believe this boy is half grown. We celebrated with family. 

Haddon’s first time milking with mama.  Loving these sweet baby snuggles.

Winter evenings are perfect for playing cards. 

These two. 

I spent some time inventorying and organizing our freezers. They had gotten a little bit sloppy from the past year of me dealing with morning sickness, not caring about details like organized freezers due to pregnancy and tiredness and then having a newborn. It as time to get them back in order – plus we’re planning to do a pantry challenge for the month of January so I needed to know exactly what we have on hand.

Anytime I’m outside doing work (or a lot of times when I’m in the kitchen), this is what I look like with Haddon snuggled up. 

I spent the last week of December planning for our spring semester. I always enjoy sitting down and planning the things we’re going to study in the upcoming semester. Looking forward to learning alongside my children.

We’re looking forward to 2021 and all the things we’ll grow here on the homestead.

November 2020

November was full of lots and lots of baby snuggles. 

Our sweet little farm girl. She loves helping her daddy milk.

Laura loves “squeezing the teats”. 

Sweet baby Haddon and his first cow.

This sweet baby who doesn’t even really look like a baby – he looks like such a big boy!

Haddon was 1 month old on November 14. 

I picked up this precious little gown for Cecilia at a local consignment sale. It’s such a classic, old fashioned gown. 

Love these five children.

We still had zinnias blooming on November 24th! These were sheltered by our mailbox and never had frost damage them. I was just amazed!