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!
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!
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.
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