This is the birth story of our third baby, first home birth and first daughter, written in 2014.
For the birth of our third baby, we decided a home birth was the best option for the birthing environment we desired. After a very fast labor and chaotic hospital delivery with our second baby, we didn’t want the stress of worrying about whether or not we’d make it to the hospital. That coupled with the fact that my labors and deliveries have been uncomplicated, we felt that home birth was completely safe.
Our baby was due March 31. I really had no feelings whatsoever regarding whether baby would arrive early, on time or late. My second son arrived 9 days early so based on that, I thought there was a strong possibility this baby may arrive early also. Of course, babies are unpredictable so I prepared myself for 40 plus weeks of pregnancy.
This pregnancy went well. I dealt with morning sickness and food aversions from weeks 6 to 14. The second trimester was wonderful and the third trimester started well. Around 32 weeks, I started to have severe hip and pubic pain. Thankfully, frequent chiropractic visits with hip and pubic bone adjustments with an activator helped tremendously, keeping the last weeks of pregnancy from being miserable.
On Wednesday, March 19, I woke up and decided that my first priority of the day was a visit to the chiropractor. The day before I had bad pelvic/pubic pain and knew I needed an adjustment as soon as I could get one. And, I definitely wanted to be freshly adjusted for labor. I think I subconsciously knew that baby would be arriving soon. A friend offered to watch the boys on Wednesday but I told John David, “I told her no because I think she’ll have them tomorrow.” I don’t remember saying this but he told me that I did.
After arriving home from my adjustment, the day proceeded mostly as normal. During rest time, I did crawl in bed to rest and started reading birth stories from Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I read several birth stories which were encouraging, inspiring and just what a woman who subconsciously feels labor coming on needs to read!
A little after 5, my husband called to tell me he had a meeting at 6:30 and would be home late. Around 5:30, my sister called and we chatted a few minutes and I told her, “I’m pretty sure baby is a boy!”
The boys and I ate supper around 6 and by 6:30, I started cleaning the kitchen. As I began cleaning, I started noticing light contractions, nothing painful, just low pressure. I was able to keep cleaning through them and wasn’t timing them at all at this point because they were painless. After I finished cleaning in the kitchen, I decided on a whim to clean both bathrooms. I encouraged the boys to start picking up the playroom and when I finished my cleaning, I joined them in there. We were finishing up tidying the playroom when John David arrived home around 8:30. I told him that I was having some occasional contractions and he downloaded a contraction app to start timing them.
Then, John David’s parents Facetimed with the boys while I sat in the living room and timed contractions. They were light, not very painful at all since I was able to just sit through them. We finally started the boys bedtime routine around 9:15 and I texted my midwife, Michelle, to let her know that there was a 10 minute pattern in my contractions. (She had told me to look for a pattern).
Once we read stories and prayed with the boys, I ran a warm, lavender bath. I got in the tub around 10:15, hoping that the water would speed things up. It didn’t work – they stayed around 10 minutes apart the entire time. But, baby was super active the entire time I was in the tub. The feet were pushing against my left side and the bottom was against my right and my belly looked like a football – it was wild looking! I really tried to enjoy those movements and feeling baby move around inside since I was really beginning to think things were real and baby would be arriving soon. John David was in the bathroom with me and I told him, “my final gender guess is boy!”
I stayed in the tub through 4 contractions (about 40 minutes) and decided it was probably best to try and get some rest since they were still 10 minutes apart. I got ready for bed, read more birth stories from my Ina May book and then laid down around 12. I had contractions at 12:10, 12:21, 12:33 and 12:44. With each, I’d wake up, hit the start button on the timer app, hit the stop button and fall back asleep.
After the 12:44 contraction, I decided to try my birth ball. The next few contractions started averaging 5-6 minutes apart once I was on the ball.
Since contractions were now 5-6 minutes apart, we decided to call my midwife around 1:15 and she arrived around 2:00. I continued timing contractions, which were still averaging 5-6 minutes apart, until 2:30. At that point, Michelle was at our home and didn’t need to know the frequency, I was feeling the baby descend with each contraction and I felt that keeping track and seeing that they were still 5-6 minutes apart was discouraging to me.
Once I stopped focusing on timing contractions and the time, I was just taking contractions one at a time. I am pretty positive they stayed 5-6 minutes apart. They never were painful, intense or close. With every contraction, I felt baby burrowing further and further down. The sensation of the contraction was just from the pressure of baby lowering. I had absolutely no back labor this time which made the contractions seem easy.
Finally, I started feeling a little pushy and sat on the edge of the bed. I was feeling like I wanted to push but when I tried I just couldn’t. Michelle told me maybe it wasn’t time to push so I just embraced the contractions and tried not to think about pushing. I did change positions and started to squat in front of the bed. After a few contractions, I kneeled on my knees and was given a pillow to kneel on.
Finally, I was comfortable and started to really feel pushy. I started pushing and felt a little helpless for the first time during this labor but knew that this was transition and the end was near. I was trying to think about meeting our baby but couldn’t focus on that thought due to all of the pressure. Transition happened quickly and before I knew it I was pushing.
Pushing seemed intense and was definitely the hardest part of this birth. I pushed twice and felt baby’s head come out and felt some relief but knew I had at least one more push to go. I pushed hard and felt the rest of baby come out. Michelle put baby between my legs, right in front of me. I glanced down and thought baby was a boy, which was what I was thinking. I then put my head on the bed to rest and Michelle told me, “look at your baby, pick up your baby.”
I looked back down and saw the cord draped between baby’s legs and again thought it was a boy. I moved the cord and saw that we had a girl! I was surprised at that moment – a daughter, our Cecilia Rae! I scooped her up and started crying.
John David, my midwife and her assistant helped me onto the bed where I started nursing my baby girl and easily delivered the placenta. My midwife mashed on my belly and had me drink juice while I was nursing. Then I was given toast and honey to eat and it was so, so good after labor!
I asked about the time of her birth and they told me that she was born at 5:21 am. I was amazed that she was born so late. I was in active labor for 4.5 hours and nearly 11 hours total labor from the start of contractions. Of course, the 4.5 hours were slow, steady labor but I was amazed it took that long.
About an hour after the birth, the midwives helped me get out of my clothes and walk to the bathroom for a warm herb bath with baby. How wonderful that felt and it was nice to get cleaned off in such a soothing way. After the bath, I was partially dressed and climbed into bed to be examined- no tears with this baby that needed stitches!
Then, we started focusing on Cecilia. She weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 20.25 inches long and everything looked wonderful during her newborn exam.
After Cecilia’s exam, my midwife dressed and swaddled her and gave her back to me to nurse. She gave us some instructions about the baby and me and then left around 7:30.
John David and I put Cecilia between us and were able to sleep, in our bed, until 8:15 when Weston woke up.
Weston walked into our room, saw Cecilia lying in the bed and asked, “whose baby is that?” We told him that she is our baby. Weston climbed int the bed and started looking at her. We let him hold her and oh, how precious that moment was!
A few minutes later Paxton staggered into the room. He was still half asleep and climbed into the bed with us without noticing the baby. After a few minutes he noticed and we told him that he had a baby sister! We let Paxton hold her and then spent some time in bed talking with the boys and admiring our new baby – a memory I’ll cherish forever.
We’re so thankful for our calm, relaxing home birth. Everything was so peaceful and our boys slept through everything which is exactly what we were hoping for.
The births of all of our children have been wonderful moments in my life but this birth evokes nothing but positive thoughts and memories. The calm atmosphere, the comfort of home, the care of nurturing midwives, not being separated from my baby and being able to sleep in my own bed after the birth are the wonderful benefits of having a home birth.
And, we’re still in awe of our sweet baby girl.
My other birth stories:
First Baby: Paxton’s Birth Story
Second Baby: Weston’s Birth Story
Fourth Baby: Laura’s Birth Story