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

Laura’s Birth Story

This is the birth story of our fourth baby, second daughter, second home birth and first (accidental) unassisted birth, written in 2017.

Our fourth baby’s birth and the days leading up to it will always be remembered. After years of looking for a few acres of land, we finally found a property and made an offer with less than 2 months until my May 21st due date. We put our home on the market, had an offer within a week and started to prepare for closing on both properties.

On May 2 (only 19 days away from my due date), we closed on both houses and moved into our new home. The days leading up to the closing date were full of hope that I just wouldn’t go into labor early (my previous 2 babies had arrived 9 and 11 days early!) May 2 came and went thankfully with no baby.

In the next few days, I was able to get our bedroom, kitchen, the living room and the kids rooms organized and felt somewhat settled.

On May 7, I was 38 weeks pregnant and anticipating that baby could come at any time! Cecilia was born at 38 weeks, 3 days and Weston was born at 38 weeks, 5 days so I figured I was probably getting close.

We didn’t find out the gender this time (we did with both boys but not Cecilia). We were all kind of hoping for a baby girl so Cecilia would have a sister but would have been thrilled with a baby boy too! I really had no feelings regarding gender since this pregnancy was so similar to all of the others (minus the horrible hip and pubic pain I had with Cecilia’s pregnancy).

A week after moving, on May 9, my midwife, Michelle, had my home visit scheduled (it was scheduled so late since we were in a new house). She had to cancel due to another birth. I had been waiting for the home visit to feel fully ready to go into labor.

On Wednesday, May 10, I had a check up with Michelle. I was 38 weeks and 3 days pregnant (Cecilia was born at 38w3d). At the checkup, Michelle told me that she had driven by my house and knew exactly where it was so a home visit wasn’t necessary. That made me feel better, knowing that she knew where to go when the time came.

I started having contractions on the way to my check up Wednesday morning and had them off and on throughout the day but they were not regular or unmanageable.

I had contractions about every hour that night and thought things were going to start picking up and that we’d have a baby but I woke up on Thursday, May 11 still pregnant! When John David woke up, I told him I was up about every hour during the night with contractions so he went into work late that morning and I was able to sleep until 10:30. When I finally got out of bed, there was some blood tinged mucus which was somewhat encouraging knowing that those contractions were probably doing something.

I was very tired all day and still having contractions about every hour or so. These contractions were different than any of my previous labor contractions. They would start out low in the abdomen and work their way up instead of starting high and working down. I took a long nap and rested in bed that afternoon and let John David know that I wasn’t feeling well. We got the kids in bed around 9:30 and I sat on the couch and rested for a bit. Nights had been hard (trouble getting comfortable and sleeping) and I wasn’t quite ready to get in bed and try to sleep while having contractions.

Around 10:30, we went to bed and the contractions started up as soon and I laid down. I got up, went to the bathroom and came back to lie down but never was able to sleep. I did this every 10-15 minutes for about 2 hours before I was completely uncomfortable lying down and needed to start trying other positions. At 1:00, I downloaded a contraction timer app and started timing contractions, hoping to start to see a pattern. There was a pattern – they were about 10 minutes apart at this point.

I sat on my birth ball and worked my hips for awhile since I labored the entire time with Cecilia on the ball (and it was wonderful). The ball was not providing any relief so I stood up for awhile and went back to the ball. I probably labored about 2 hours while John David continued to sleep. I pulled out the large flannel back tablecloth (which my midwife recommends for keeping floors clean) and put it on the floor because I kept hoping contractions were going to get closer together and things would start happening.

I started dealing with back labor around 3 and woke John David up at this point because I was feeling very discouraged since my contractions were still 10 minutes apart and painful. (Contractions with both Weston and Cecilia were not painful at all to me, so this was new.) I labored on my hands and knees, on the ball, leaning against the ball, standing and swaying my hips and nothing was providing back labor relief. At this point, I was pretty sure that the baby was in a bad position because of the back labor and the fact that I wasn’t making any progress with contraction spacing after 2 hours of timing.

I was so confused as to whether I was even in labor. With my previous births, contractions have fairly quickly gone from 10 minutes to 8, to 6 and so on. We went to the hospital with Weston and called Michelle with Cecilia when they were about 5 minutes apart.  John David and I talked about calling Michelle but I didn’t want to wake her up for nothing.

After laboring through intense back contractions, I was very discouraged (I even told John David that I just wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural!) I asked him to run some warm bath water in hopes that the tub would provide some relief.

By the time I got into the tub, the contractions were averaging 7 minutes apart so John David texted Michelle at 4:42 to let her know we thought something might be happening and that contractions were averaging 7 minutes apart and that I was getting into the tub. She texted back that the tub should help to speed things up (and I was hoping that would happen!) The warm water felt so good and the first few contractions in the tub were more comfortable but then the back labor started up again and the contractions were averaging 8-10 minutes apart which means they actually had slowed since getting into the tub.  At this point, I thought I might be dealing with prodromal labor because I had been laboring over 6 hours with very little progress – I thought I should have had a baby in my arms by this point if I was really in labor! (All 3 of my previous labors had been fairly fast, Paxton was born 5 hours from the time my water was broken, Weston’s was born less than 3 hours from waking up with contractions about 8 minutes apart and Cecilia’s was about 5 hours from the time my contractions started coming less than 8 minutes apart.)

John David sat with me through several contractions and since nothing was changing, he went back to bed and I stayed in the tub. (And, no, this didn’t bother me, I don’t like to be touched at all during labor so him going back to bed was no big deal, especially since we thought it was prodromal labor or just the very early stages.)

I got out of the tub around 6:00, the sun had risen and I was very discouraged. The water was cold and my back labor was not letting up so I knew I needed to try some other positions to try to get baby in an optimal position. I had the big flannel back tablecloth in the bedroom floor so I got down on hands and knees and rocked back and forth for a few contractions, then I leaned up against the ball for a few minutes and tried sitting on it. I was still timing contractions and they were ranging from 7-9 minutes apart. I started to feel like I needed to poo (which in hind sight should have been a sign but I had been a little gassy in the tub and with contractions ranging from 7-9 minutes apart, I was pretty sure it wasn’t pressure from the baby.)

Around 6:45, I sat on the toilet and I was still timing contractions which were about 7 minutes apart. John David was still sleeping at this point. I tried to go and felt myself really opening up and started to think that I might be getting close to delivery (which didn’t make sense because of the contraction pattern).

I started to notice a lot of mucus (or bloody show) which made me realize that the baby was probably getting close. I started to feel pressure and started vocalizing through contractions which woke John David up. He told me I needed to get off the toilet because it’s not good to sit there too long. Then I had another contraction and I think he realized what was happening. I think at this point, he texted Michelle (my phone says it was 6:56).

He ran and moved the tablecloth and under pads into the bathroom and I asked him if he saw anything and he said he didn’t. I couldn’t feel the baby’s head with my hands, nor did I feel like the baby had descended so I didn’t think I was about to have a baby.

He told me I had to get off of the toilet but I couldn’t move. He helped me get off and my water breaks as I’m getting up (into the toilet!) I drop down on all fours and start pushing (and yelling!) With the next contraction, I pushed baby’s head out. John David starts yelling “push, push, push” so I gently pushed but realized that I need to wait for another contraction before pushing to decrease my chances of tearing. With the next contraction, I pushed again and out she came, into her daddy’s arms and he tells me, “we have a baby girl” before I even get her in my arms. She was born at 6:59 am on Friday, May 12.

John David helps me sit down, puts our daughter on my chest and starts drying her off. I am completely in shock and crying (well, really bawling) at this point. Tears of joy for a daughter, that everything went well and that it was over which was such a relief after dealing with horrible back labor.

John David changed out the towels, covered us both up, put a hat on the baby’s head to keep her warm and propped a few pillows behind me (Michelle had given him instructions for what to do at our last appointment since I have a history of quick deliveries). I just laid in the floor with baby, waiting for Michelle to arrive and started nursing.

Michelle arrived around 25 minutes after the birth, delivered the placenta and had John David cut the cord. The baby had pooped into my hand while we were lying on the floor so John David took her and cleaned her off and wiped my hand off!

Michelle helped me into the herb bath and then put the baby in the bath to get her good and clean too.

By this time, Mary (Michelle’s assistant) had arrived and they helped me get dressed and into the bed while John David held the baby. All 3 kiddos were awake at this point (they had slept through everything) and anxiously awaiting to come into our room and meet the baby.

At some point while waiting, Paxton slipped a note under the door that said ‘let us n’!

Once I was settled in bed, they handed me our baby girl and let the kids come in and meet their new sister, Laura Kathryn. It was such a sweet moment, watching their excitement. All three were completely mesmerized by our tiny baby girl.

Once all of the kids held her, Michelle started the newborn exam. Laura weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces (just like Weston who was also born at 38 weeks, 5 days).

Michelle asked some questions about the delivery for her records and John David told her that the baby came out with her hands crossed and tucked up on her chest. Michelle said that is why my contractions stayed spaced so far the entire time and why I had back labor. So, it was somewhat encouraging to know that there was a reason the labor was so slow (as far as labors go for me.) It was 8 hours and 29 minutes from the time I tried to go to bed and started having contractions 10 minutes apart until the time she was born. And, up until probably 8 minutes before she was born, my contractions were still about 7 minutes apart. I went from 7 minutes apart (early labor) to delivery so this birth was technically considered a precipitous birth which I consider funny because it really was my longest and definitely my most discouraging labor.

And, thanks to pushing with the contractions and not being panicked, I had no tears and didn’t even feel like I had a baby which was amazing! My recovery was so, so easy.

Even though Michelle missed the delivery, this birth was so much like Cecilia’s – everything post delivery was exactly the same and I definitely appreciated the care that Michelle and Mary provided.

John David played a huge role in Laura’s birth! I probably would have delivered our baby in the toilet if it wasn’t for him. He knew exactly what to do and followed the instructions Michelle had given him. He kept such a clear head during the delivery, except for that 30 seconds when he was yelling ‘push, push, push’ because all he saw was a baby’s head and he had never delivered a baby before. Our kids said we should call him a ‘mid-husband’!

 

Once Michelle and Mary left around 9:30, we just took it easy all day. I stayed in bed with baby and John David took care of the kids and fed me. And, of course, I had little visitors in my room all day, wanting to look at their baby sister.

We’re so thankful for another complication free birth and a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

My other birth stories:

First Baby: Paxton’s Birth Story

Second Baby: Weston’s Birth Story

Third Baby : Cecilia’s Birth Story

Cecilia’s Birth Story

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

Weston’s Birth Story

This is the birth story of our second son, first unmedicated and second hospital birth, written in 2011.

Weston is definitely our surprise baby. With Paxton, everything was planned, we were trying when we got pregnant with him and he was induced according to our plan. With Weston, we weren’t  “trying” to get pregnant (although we were thrilled when we found out) and his entrance into the world was quite a surprise too.

I was due December 31st but hoping I’d be a day or two overdue so he’d be born in 2012 (Paxton was born in 2010 and I liked the thought of even birth years, plus December is associated with Christmas.) I just knew since he was my second baby that I’d be miserable around 32 weeks to the end of the pregnancy but I was wrong! I felt fabulous throughout the entire pregnancy, I had quite a bit of energy and I was still able to do everything as normal with Paxton (including putting a sleeping 20-month-old into his crib at 38 weeks pregnant!)

Since Paxton’s birth was so fast for a first time birth – 5 hours from the time they broke my water and started pitocin until the time he was born – I was convinced that my second baby would come quickly and one of my fears throughout this pregnancy was not making it to the hospital on time.

On Tuesday, December 20, I was 38 weeks 3 days pregnant and I had quite the day. I cleaned our home thoroughly, did some pre-Christmas de-cluttering and a lot of laundry. By the end of the day I was tired from all of the ‘nesting’. That night when I laid down to go to sleep, I felt what could best be described as a burrowing sensation. I could feel his little head moving further down. I had never felt anything like that with Paxton. I didn’t sleep very well that night and then Paxton woke up around 2 am and he slept the rest of the night with us. I had trouble sleeping, I kept tossing and turning and just couldn’t get comfortable.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling really good especially considering the rough night I’d had. I did decide to take the day easy though since I didn’t want to do anything that could put me into labor, especially since John David was working late that night. Paxton and I stayed in our jammies well into the morning. I updated our finances, scheduling our mortgage payment so we wouldn’t have to worry about that on January 1. The day was pretty typical except for John David being gone all evening. I put Paxton down around 8:00 and I was feeling tired too so I decided to go ahead and get in bed after starting a load of diaper laundry.

I stayed up waiting for John David to get home and he finally arrived around 10. We stayed up talking and playing Words with Friends until 11:30. Once again I felt the burrowing sensation when I laid down. I was having an occasional contraction but they were typical Braxton-Hicks. I went to sleep fairly easily.

Between going to bed at 11:30 and 1:30, I woke up 2 or 3 times having a mild contraction. While I was having the contraction, I’d walk to the bathroom, pee and then walk back to bed and go back to sleep. They were slightly uncomfortable but nothing painful. After the contraction I had around 1:30 I was unable to get comfortable so I got out of bed, went to the bathroom again and then turned on my lamp.

I had another contraction at 1:40 and decided to start timing them since it was appearing that they were getting closer together. I had contractions at 1:40, 1:48, 1:54, 1:58 so they were very quickly getting closer together. I wasn’t incredibly uncomfortable as long as I was standing so I could sway my hips and move around with the contractions. I had a little bit of back labor with Paxton and these contractions were very similar, the contraction would start in my back and move around to my belly and my back hurt more than anything! I decided to run out to the laundry around 2 to run the final rinse on diapers and I came back in and my contractions were still 4 minutes apart.

I still wasn’t sure if I was really in labor or if it was false labor. I knew you were supposed to go to the hospital when contractions were 5 minutes apart but I really wasn’t in horrible, unbearable pain. Around 2:30, I woke up John David and started packing the hospital bags. I still wasn’t convinced I was in real labor even though the labor book we were referring to at this point indicated that I was in active labor. Finally, we decided it was labor and we needed to start really preparing to go to the hospital.

John David called my friend Ashley around 3:20 to see if she would come stay with Paxton. While we were waiting on Ashley, I was packing a bag for Paxton and gathering stuff for our bags while John David was loading the car. (I should add here that John David got the clean diapers out of the wash and hung them on the drying rack. I had been very concerned about leaving dirty diapers at home when I went into labor so this was a relief.)

Ashley arrived around 3:35 and we gave her a few instructions for Paxton and we left after I had a contraction while attempting to get into the car. At this point, contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and I had about 3 contractions which were so uncomfortable since I couldn’t move much. Riding in the car made contractions even worse.

We arrived at the hospital around 3:30 and got a front row spot so I was able to walk in. We went into the registration room where I had 2 more contractions. After I was checked in, they sent us to a waiting area and I had 3 contractions which were very intense and I had the urge to push.

A nurse came out and we went to an admitting room where I changed into a gown through another contraction. I was checked and was dilated to 10 centimeters. I was wheeled into a delivery room while having contractions lying flat on my back which was so uncomfortable. At this point, I also was fighting the urge to push.

We got into the delivery room and I was moved onto the bed. I was hooked up to a monitor at 3:58, had my blood drawn and an IV put in. At this point, I had an overwhelming urge to push and was begging to be allowed to push. The nurses kept telling me to just breathe through the contractions and not push because the midwife was not there yet. (I should add that this period of not being able to push was the worst part of the whole labor and delivery. My body was ready to do what it was supposed to do and trying not to was so hard.)

While waiting for the midwife to arrive, John David ran out to the car to grab our camera and while he was gone and as our midwife was arriving, I couldn’t fight the urge to push anymore. I pushed and my water broke. Then John David got back and the midwife was there and I was finally able to start pushing. It was such a relief to be able to push. It didn’t feel good nor was it easy but it was so wonderful to be able to do what my body needed to do.

I pushed about 4 or 5 times in a period of 5 minutes or less and Weston was born at 4:16 am on December 22. It was such a relief to feel him come out. I was so excited that I had delivered without any medication but a bit embarrassed at how loud I was while delivering him.

Weston weighed 6 pounds 14 ounces and was 20 inches long. (Paxton was 8 pounds 8 ounces, so he was considerably smaller.)

Unfortunately I did rip at the site of my old tear but thankfully it was only a second degree tear instead of a third degree which I had with Paxton. Finally, after stitches (which to me was almost worse than the delivery even though I had local anesthesia) I was able to hold him again and count his fingers and toes.


I unwrapped him for skin to skin and nursing, he latched on perfectly and started nursing right away, it was completely natural for both of us. It was amazing how much more confident I felt nursing him, I suppose 15 months of breastfeeding experience gives a mama confidence.  After Weston finished nursing, we moved to our postpartum room around 6:30 am.

We were in disbelief that labor started at 1:30 and Weston was born at 4:16. That’s only 2 hours and 45 minutes of labor.

Around 2:30 that afternoon, John David got Paxton and brought him back to the hospital to meet his new brother and spend some time with us. He noticed Weston right when he walked in the room and was thrilled to see ‘baby’.

 

We’re adjusting well as a family of four. Paxton has not acted jealous of Weston and is taking his role as big brother quite seriously.

We feel so blessed that I had a quick and easy labor and delivery and we have another healthy and beautiful son.

 

My Other Birth Stories:

First Baby: Paxton’s Birth Story

Third Baby : Cecilia’s Birth Story

Fourth Baby: Laura’s Birth Story

Paxton’s Birth Story

This is the birth story of our first son, written in 2010. Looking back at his birth experience, there are things I wish I would have done differently.  Even though I don’t agree now with the choices I made then, we’re so thankful the induction resulted in an easy labor, delivery and healthy baby boy! 

On Monday, April 12th, we decided, under the guidance of our OB, that we were going to induce on Friday, April 16. I was 1 centimeter dilated and 70% effaced which my OB said was better than dilation. There wasn’t any medical reason to induce but according to my calculations I would be 40 weeks on the 16th.

I had some friends inquire about our decision to induce and honestly I wondered if we had made the right decision. I prayed about it and asked God to reveal to me through John David or my parents or someone very close to me if we weren’t supposed to induce. Over the next few days no one mentioned it and I had a peace about our decision.

On the 16th, we woke up at 5:00 and got ready to head to the hospital. We arrived around 6:00 and were lead to our room, room 405.

Around 7:10, a nurse came in and hooked me up to the monitors. We were able to hear our sweet boy’s heartbeat.

At 7:30 another L&D nurse came in with our OB and he checked me, at this point I was 70% effaced and a tight 2 centimeters dilated.  Then they broke my water. I was unsure about how this would go, I expected it to be very uncomfortable but it wasn’t that bad at all.

I was able to journal throughout the process and I am so glad I did because my memory of all of the events of the morning are somewhat fuzzy now.

Around 9:00 my contractions started picking up and becoming more and more intense. John David and I worked through them. I breathed and he had me count 1, 2, 3…..we got up to 45 a few times. Contractions were so strange, on one hand they were not painful but then they were absolutely horrible! Around 9:30 they were about 2 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds.

Working through one of the contractions. (When this one was over I looked at John David and said “I know you didn’t take a picture of me!” I am glad he did now…this picture truly conveys the way I felt.

At 9:45 my nurse came in to check me and she said, “Oh my goodness, you are 7 centimeters.” We were shocked but it explained the intensity of my contractions. She told me if I was going to have an epidural that I needed to have it done then. She told me she thought I could go natural but I decided that I was going to brave my fear of the needle for some pain relief. She also saw a little meconium in the amniotic fluid and notified the nursery, it actually was very light colored so she thought it happened recently.

Around 10:00 I received my epidural. My anesthesiologist did a wonderful job and my husband did an even better job helping me through contractions while I was getting the epidural. In fact, the anesthesiologist told us John David was the best dad he’s seen.

Losing feeling in my legs was really strange but not feeling my contractions was awesome. I felt completely relaxed and wonderful and was able to enjoy the next 2 hours and continue my journaling (I never would have been able to journal otherwise.) Since things were progressing so quickly we started joking that we’d have a baby by lunchtime. Our doctor had been telling us hopefully you’ll come in and progress quickly and have a baby by lunch. (We thought that sounded wonderful!)

Around 11:50 I was completely dilated and our nurse said we were ready for pushing. We did 3 practice pushes with a contraction and she called my OB.  While we were waiting to start really pushing I asked our nurse what she guessed the baby would weigh, she said I think he is going to be a small baby, about 7 pounds. I told her I was guessing no more than 7.5 pounds.

At 12:05 we started pushing and even stopped for about 5 minutes as the baby was crowning to wait for my OB to arrive. My OB arrived, the nursery nurse came to the room and we started pushing. After 29 minutes of pushing, at 12:34 Paxton Graham arrived crying loudly. Both our OB and L&D nurse said that is a big baby. My OB asked where was I hiding him. After he was delivered I inquired if I had an episiotomy (which I was really hoping to avoid). He told me yes, I had an episiotomy and then ripped because baby was so big he had to tug pretty hard on his shoulders.


Seeing my baby boy for the first time. He was the most beautiful baby I’ve ever seen and I was overwhelmed with emotion and crying.


Our beautiful baby. His daddy cut the cord and watched him get cleaned off.

Our OB had another patient almost ready to deliver but he waited for Paxton to be weighed before he left because he wanted to see how much he weighed.

Paxton weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces. I think everybody in the delivery room was shocked. I really was expecting a small baby but we got a healthy 8.5 pound baby boy.

After seeing meconium in the amniotic fluid and delivering an 8.5 pound baby we were confident that inducing was the best thing for us to do. Our OB said if we had waited until our due date he probably would have weighed around 9 pounds and since it was difficult to get him out at 8.5 there was a possibility that I would have had a c-section.

We are so thankful that I had an easy labor and delivery and a completely healthy, perfectly formed baby boy. Now the adventure truly begins, parenting our little miracle.

Second Baby: Weston’s Birth Story

Third Baby: Cecilia’s Birth Story

Fourth Baby: Laura’s Birth Story