This is the birth story of our sixth baby, third daughter and fourth home birth.
I was fully prepared to go past my due date this time. Everything was going well physically, mentally and emotionally until the early morning hours of October 16th when I had a false labor alarm – complete with calling my midwife and having her and her assistant come to my house and set up for birth. They were incredibly kind but I was mortified – one of my fears with all four planned homebirths has been waking my midwife when it wasn’t time. Well, that fear was realized and I felt horrible.
October 16th was hard. I was embarrassed that I was about to give birth for the sixth time and had a false labor alarm. I was having contractions fairly regularly and was just so confused. I was tired from the events of the early morning hours and emotional that I did indeed wake my midwife for no reason. I felt almost hopeless about the coming week – knowing I was still 5 days from my due date and likely to go over again.
I sent some messages to friends asking for them to just pray for peace. I started rereading Redeeming Childbirth and cross stitching which was calming and restful.
I had prodromal labor all week – regular contractions throughout my days and nights but the Lord met me and provided a peace and I actually had an enjoyable week. I celebrated my due date – October 21 – completely at peace that it just wasn’t time.
On Sunday, October 23, I woke around 3 am with a contraction and was up about every 20-30 minutes having contractions. I was convinced this was the beginning of labor because they were slowly getting more frequent but by 10:30 they had completely fizzled out.
That afternoon, the contractions started up and they felt “real” but there was no real pattern. I spent most of my afternoon cross stitching and felt peaceful. At bedtime, I felt a wave of anxiety and ended up calling my midwife who reassured me that all of my emotions were normal and that she’d see me in the morning at my checkup.
Just before climbing into bed for the night, I had a contraction that was accompanied by a lot of bloody mucus. I miraculously slept well that night and woke up at 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant which was the most pregnant I’d ever been – with my 6th baby – and I was over it.
I had a checkup that morning and was checked for dilation – my very first prenatal dilation check with all my homebirths – I did request the check. I was at a 3. I was so discouraged. I went home and climbed into bed and slept most of the day.
I had contractions here and there all afternoon which were causing low pressure and back discomfort and left me doubting my abilties to give birth. Which is silly – I have had 4 other unmedicated births – 3 at home and 1 of those was even unassisted with no issues! I CAN GIVE BIRTH!!
I was just *feeling* if these pre-labor, early labor contractions were this uncomfortable that there was no way I was going to make it through “real” contractions. By 4:00 pm, I just felt like I had hit an emotional wall.
Michelle arrived at my house around 4:30 to do another cervical check and see if I wanted to do a membrane sweep at that point. She knew I was at the end of myself emotionally. She arrived to me sitting in my rocking chair sharing my doubts about giving birth and my desire to just go to the hospital for pitocin and an epidural to get the birth over! I was so ready to be on the other side!!
She checked baby’s heart rate, had me eat and then checked for dilation again. I WAS 7 CM!!
Hearing that number was such an encouragement! I had an immediate mental shift. I *knew* I was so emotional because I was on the verge of transition. I WAS IN ACTIVE LABOR!!
She did strip my membranes and then we pulled out my breast pump to try to get contractions more regular. My contractions weren’t very close together but they were long and felt very effective.
I sat in my rocking chair and just rocked through contractions. I felt like the reclined chair position kept the back labor comfortable. Michelle and I were both amazed that I was so comfortable laboring in the rocking chair.
I sat and rocked awhile and then got up, went to the bathroom and strolled around the living room for a bit.
She checked for dilation again and said I had a slight cervical lip but was around 8.5! I was so encouraged to be at 8.5 especially since I was not in pain nor was I feeling out of control – everything was calm and peaceful. One of my prayers over this birth was to not feel so out of control and out of my body like I did during my previous birth – God was answering that prayer!
I walked around for maybe 10 minutes and then started to feel pushy. I walked into the bedroom and walked around looking for a place to get comfortable for pushing. I had a moment of panic (captured above) because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to be and how I wanted to push.
We (me, my midwife and her assistant, Jenny) finally decided for me to try sitting on a footstool. It felt comfortable to me and Jenny braced it so it wouldn’t slide.
I was feeling pushy but I had no urge to push so I sat and waited. During this whole time, I was completely in control of my emotions, talking with Michelle, Jenny and John David. I was amazed!
We started talking about breaking my water to help speed things up since I was feeling like I needed to push but didn’t have the urge. While we were discussing that, I felt a slight urge and pushed. With that gentle push, my water broke!
I was started to feel excited! I knew we were getting so close to meeting baby! Of course, I knew the most intense work was still ahead.
Even though my water was broken, I still was not feeling very pushy and I knew from last births that it is best to wait and push with the contractions so I decided to just listen to my body and patiently wait. I’m not sure how long I waited but at some point – probably just a couple minutes – I felt the urge to push and started pushing!
I’m not sure how many pushes or how long it took but I do know that pushing felt harder than with my previous unmedicated babies. I finally pushed her head out, felt her head and the relief that I was so close to meeting my baby. then pushed again and she was born! Baby was here. She was on my chest. Labor an
I sat and looked at baby’s face for a second and thought baby looked like a boy. Then I took a peek to confirm gender and saw we had a girl!!!
Michelle and Jenny very quickly moved us to my bed so I could deliver the placenta and to monitor my bleeding and baby’s breathing.
I bled more after this birth than I ever have but Michelle was on top of the situation and monitored me very closely. I felt completely safe with her professional care.
Even though I did bleed more, my body was not depleted at all. I was given juice and strong raspberry tea and bread with honey to help my body. I was able to walk to my herbal bath and didn’t feel any different than I did post birth with my other babies.
We had our herbal bath – one of my very favorite parts of homebirth – and then I was examined – no tearing!
Words can’t even begin to express what my midwife means to me. She has cared for me so well during our past 4 pregnancies and the care she provides is exceptional. I can’t imagine having a baby without her care.
John David weighed baby! We all guessed her weight and Michelle was the closest – her guess was only off by 1 ounce.
I was shocked to hear she was 7 pounds 8 ounces! That’s my second biggest baby!! It made sense why pushing felt so much harder this time – that’s quite a bit bigger than the 6 pounds 14 ounces that my last 2 babies weighed.
They did her newborn exam and she was 21 inches long and perfect in every way.
Baby was dressed and handed to me while Michelle and Jenny packed up. They left just a bit before midnight.
I laid down in complete disbelief that baby had been born. I didn’t have another night to face of the uncertainty wondering if labor would begin during the night.
Baby was here. She was on my chest. Labor and delivery were over and I had the sweetest gift. Such joy and relief.
Birth is beautiful – no matter where or how you deliver – because you are bringing new life into the world. However, homebirth is such a beautiful way to give birth – the calm, peace and comfort of giving birth at home surrounded by midwives who really know you and are completely attentive to your needs cannot be compared to a hospital experience. I am so thankful for another beautiful homebirth experience with amazing midwives.
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
Fifth baby: Haddon’s Birth Story