Category Archives: Unassisted Home Birth

Planned Unassisted Home Birth of Fourth Baby

I woke up Wednesday morning, puffy, swollen, and feeling very calm. I laid there in bed, just feeling my body and seeing what was up. Baby was kicking a lot, but I still felt kind of funny. When I stood up, I got so dizzy I almost passed out. I sat down and had this feeling that although everything was fine right now, I knew my body was starting to break down. I hadn’t gained any weight in a week, and a sip of water made me want to throw up. I just “knew” I needed to have the baby before things got bad. I didn’t feel any of the frustration or upset that I had been having for the last two weeks, I was just very calm.

I sent my dh out to the store that afternoon to pick up castor oil and OJ. He came back with a movie, flowers, OJ, and Cod Liver oil! *sigh* I am allergic to all things having to do with fish, so this was not good! I had to go with him back to the store and get castor oil. I ended up only being able to take one dose of the stuff. I almost threw up in the sink taking just that, and was nauseous the rest of the evening from it.

I just kind of puttered around the house all evening, straightening up. I had the occasional contraction, very mild, and no other reactions from the oil. I was sitting down reading before bed, thinking that the oil didn’t work, (this was around 11:30) when I felt a really hard contraction. I perked up and thought, “OK, be calm, lets see if these turn into anything.” Three minutes later, another one. “Hmmm, don’t get your hopes up yet girl!” Three minutes later another, and so on, and so on. About 11:45 I told my dh we had to start getting things ready. He kept going away to watch a movie! I was at the kitchen sink, bent over with a contraction, trying to get things in for sterilization, and he was watching a MOVIE! Argh! I screamed for him, he came running, I screamed at him to make me Cal Mag and tea, and draw a bath, and if he DARED go back to that movie, I’d smash the TV! I could not believe how hard the contractions were and they were getting closer!

He got me into the bath, and sat with me. He asked me if it was time to call my mom. I said no not yet. The next contraction ended, and I just looked at him and said, call her. She was there about 15 minutes later. My mom is cool. I really love her. She has those wonderfully strong, soft hands, the healing kind of hands. I had already had a huge glass of Cal Mag with tea, and the warm water was doing wonders, but, all of a sudden I was DONE with water. I wanted out.

My dh and mom helped me out of the bath and I made it to the hall outside the bathroom. I was on my hands and knees, with my head in my hubby’s lap. My mom was rubbing my lower back, and I was screaming to high heaven. Contractions were one on top of the other, and yelling felt sooo good. I never felt like I could yell in the hospital. My youngest, B., who is 4, woke up from the noise and came downstairs. He was a little upset that I was hurting, but as soon as he found out his sister was coming, he gave me a hug and a kiss, and told me he loved me. My dh sent him back up to bed, but I think he stayed on the stairs the whole time. He was just too excited!

Suddenly I practically jumped up and hobbled into the bathroom to get on the toilet. The next thing I know a big “thing” is coming out, and at first I thought it was the baby’s head. It was the sac though, and it looked really funny. This huge bubble of snot looking stuff as big as a baby’s head! I started laughing, and dh asked if I wanted a picture. I said no thanks, I’ll remember this well enough!

My mom this whole time is just there, you know? Holding my hand, getting my hair out of my face, rubbing my back. It was wonderful. She totally supported me, without intruding, you know? Man, I love that lady. She amazes me. She just loved me, and held me, and helped me. I guess this is when I hit transition, because there were these long periods of total lucidity. None of us were really talking, I had told them I wanted as much quiet as possible. Towels and pillows got spread out on the floor.

After about five minutes, I said I needed to get off the toilet, the baby was coming. My dh sat on the edge of the tub, and I leaned back into him. He held under my arms, and I reclined on his legs. My mom got into position to play catch. As I would push, I lifted my bum and back too. And I yelled! Gads, yelling felt damn good! At one point I was worried that a neighbour would hear me and call the police, but we are lucky. We live in a very old house built with horsehair plaster. Wonderful sound insulation!

I felt the baby’s head start to come out after the first push. I really just trusted my instincts to tell me when to push this time, so there was a bit of a lag in between the pushes. The second one, I thought “Well there’s enough baby out now for my mom to take it the rest of the way.” Nope, my mom just looked at me and it was one of the “Uh huh, keep going honey” looks. Darn! So I pushed again, and screamed. My dh said that got the head all the way out. Not enough yet? My mom shakes her head no. Scream, PUSH, “pop!” baby! There was an audible popping sound when she came the rest of the way out. My poor mom almost dropped her it was so fast!

I leaned back into my hubby and looked up at him as my mom put her on my tummy. He was laughing. My mom was grinning ear to ear, and I started chuckling too. I suddenly hear this voice “Is that my baby sister?” B. was standing right outside the bathroom door watching the whole thing! He was so happy, he was just beaming! Oh yeah, right as the baby came out, a HUGE gush of water followed. All the water was on top of her, so I never really had my water “break” like I had before. Strange sensation. I am told it makes for more intense contractions when you have to push both baby and water out. I’d have to agree.

We sat there for a few minutes before my mom looked at her watch, so the time is a guesstimate. We are calling it 1:50am on April 22nd. After about 20 minutes, my dh clamped and cut the cord. Dh took baby wrapped up in a towel into the other room, and my mom helped me get over a bowl to push out the afterbirth. It all came out wrapped in the caul. A nice neat package. Made me happy! I climbed into the shower to rinse off, and got wrapped up in a huge shirt, and waddled back into the bedroom. Dh had woken up the other two kids and introduced them to their new sister, and my mom was making up my bed for me. I climbed onto the scale and had lost 15 lbs.! Wow! What a crash diet! Baby Skye made it go up about 8-8.5 lbs., so we’re calling it 8. This makes her my biggest baby by almost 2 lbs. I had not a single tear, and couldn’t really detect any skid marks either.

Dh made us coffee and breakfast, and I chowed down. I was starving! Skye was nursing by this time. Around 4am my mom went home. The kids were all conked out too. My hubby curled up into bed with me and the baby, and we just enjoyed each other for awhile. All night Skye wouldn’t sleep longer than a ½ hr at a time. In the morning, my dh took the kids to school and saw our chiropractor there. He told her Skye had arrived, and she came over about 9am. She gave Skye her first adjustment, and since then Skye sleeps a good 3-4 hrs at a time.

So that was it. My 2½ hour labor and birth experience. There just wasn’t enough time for much to happen! I still grin at how easy it all was. The people who have seen her picture on the web page can’t believe how calm she looks at 2 hours old. She is calm, and beautiful, and so wonderful to have as part of our family. Whenever someone comments on her appearance, I just smile, and tell them, that’s what happens when you have an unassisted home birth!

-Courtenay

 

Third Baby Unassisted – Transfer After Birth For Placenta Assistance

Hello.This is about our son, and the preparation we went to so that he would be born where I felt most comfortable- our house. In 1988, I was 33 and finally pregnant again. It had been an exhausting 2 years, what with a separation from my husband and eventual reconciliation. Things were still not up to par, but I was doubting they ever would be, so I just made the best of it, for the sake of our two girls, then 10 and 7.

I had had a home birth with our second, and all went well. But I was now living in a different part of the state that was at least 3 years behind where I had come from, and 10 years behind the rest of the country. I was having difficulty finding a midwife. The part of VA I had moved to was still knocking women out during the actual birth. I was determined not to go to the hospital unless there was an absolute medical emergency. The people at church thought I was nuts because they still believed the fallacy that women were safe in the hospital. I chalked it up to ignorance, and tried to get ones who wanted to read more, some good books on the subject.

Anyway, when I finally went into labor, it was the night we were working on our Easter production at church, and contractions started about 9pm. I was so glad the lights were out, and no one could see me quietly breathing thru the contractions, while running the soundboard. At 10 pm they were done and I sent my oldest daughter to get the two people who would be assisting me, R. and M. M. was single, and I wanted her there to see what a normal birth was like. R. had helped me at a couple of previous births. My husband was (reluctantly) going to catch the baby, but I had searched out every lead for a midwife during my pregnancy, and there weren’t any around where I lived.

The midwives that I spoke to in Richmond didn’t think they could get here in time, since my other births had been 4 hrs and 3 hrs, respectively. So labor came and went along quite smoothly, and when it was time to push, my husband told me to pick up my butt. Our bed was really soft, and the baby’s head couldn’t get out. I lifted up, and his head came out. He turned nicely, and first the top shoulder, then the bottom was born into his daddy’s hands. It felt like giving birth to a Mack Truck because he was so long. He weighed 8lbs 13oz and was 24 in.long.

My labor was longer this time (11 hrs) because of the extra dilation, and I’m so glad I didn’t have him at the local hospitals. They never would have waited that long without interfering. I nursed him right away, and had no problem with postpartum bleeding. I did have a little problem getting the placenta out, because when I nursed the baby, I could feel my cervix close up. But it worked out fine. We went over to South Boston Hospital and in 10 minutes they helped me get out the biggest placenta I had ever seen! It was easily 10 inches across! They were amazed that I had him at home and tried to get me to stay there overnight, but I said no- I knew what to look for in a newborn and said if I needed their help, I would come and get it then. Then we left and went to see our friends Laurie and Dan.

The county nurse came out the third day and did his PKU and pediatric check right in the living room. It was cool. So now I’m in school becoming a midwife so I can offer the same thing to others in this area who want it.

Cathi

Third Baby, First Unassisted.

Almost a year and a half ago I was trying to make sense of things that had happened during my second birth. My son was almost a year old and I still had a deep sense of frustration at the lack of control I had during his birth. We had experienced one hospital birth that felt very dangerous to me. It ended up with forceps delivery and a posterior presentation that was diagnosed at birth. We learned many lessons from this.

The second birth was a planned home birth with non-professional midwives. We transported at their insistence. The only problem was a heavy bloody show. I knew there was no real problem. They knew I was resistant to transport so they went “around me.” They took my husband in the other room and worked him over about the “life-threatening” situation I was in. I know they meant well and I have forgiven them for this.  I have found that most people who attend births are willing to tolerate more risk in their own births than they would advise others to take. The attendant still feels responsible though the birthing couple actually bears the responsibility regardless of what kind of birth it is. The birthing couple lives with the consequences of what happens whether it be rough treatment or unnecessary intervention or having their choices taken away by some well intentioned person.

I found some internet sites with information about unassisted birth. I was drawn in immediately! I lurked on one site in particular for a while, wondering what this could mean for my next birth. I first thought that I was being carnal in feeling tempted to birth this way. But after getting to know some of the people who related their experiences I felt differently. Many of the people had integrity. They took the responsibility that was needed for a safe birth. They also had good reasons for the choices they made.

I was told at both of my prior births that I should be thankful to have avoided c-sections. That is more true than I ever cared to admit. It has always been my desire to bear children. I always believed that the Lord provided me with a vessel that is suitable. I read about how the overly cautious OBs and nurses can actually impede and complicate a potentially safe birth with their interventions. These facts made it impossible for me to consider a hospital birth for my next child, unless some emergency came up. I wanted foremost to do what was safest . I do believe there is a place for medical intervention but I desired a natural birth. I did not want to be burdened with others inflicting fear on me. This should be the safest way to birth for most people.

I had already done a lot of reading and preparation for childbirth. I read mostly midwifery books but I also had my nursing books on hand for reference. I had talked with my husband about all these things. He had insights as well from being at our other two births. We found out we were expecting again! Now there was a big question mark about what to do. My husband felt unprepared for us to birth unassisted and wished to find someone who could attend our birth as a resource person.

We interviewed some potential midwives. They were very nice and well organized. I felt uneasy about having them attend my birth though. It seemed wrong to give authority to people that did not know me well. My husband knows instinctively what is encouraging to me while in labor. He would be the only vital person to be present. And I did not want to be bothered with people hovering over me while I labored with their dopplers and invasive checks and telling me to push so they could get home! I communicated this to him. He was a bit perplexed about it at first.

I was not tempted to force this decision on my husband. If he had said no, I would have lived with it. My husband is a wonderful man and I treasure our marriage. He has always demonstrated a deep sense of caring and respect for me. He cherishes me enough that if he did not want to go unassisted there would have been good reason for it. Even if we did not agree, I would not sacrifice the harmony of our home for something that concerned him that much. He took the manual called “Emergency Childbirth” and read it cover to cover one night. The next day he told me we could go ahead and birth unassisted. I was overjoyed!

We are Christians and we believe that God has afforded us certain protections. We had prayed all through the pregnancy for His intervention. We knew that things could have been much worse for us in the past but for His hand in our lives. We believe that he created us with the ability to birth. We feel that the tendency of Christian people to focus on their doctors as savior is grave error. We were approaching this birth as two people who had become one flesh. We were harmonious in our reasons for what we planned to do and would approach this situation as a team. We each had our burden to bear.

On a Sunday night as a beautiful snow blanketed the yard, my contractions started up. I was so excited! I contracted throughout the night and as morning approached I would glance up to the clock radio to see how far apart they were. It looked roughly between 3 and 4 minutes. My dh, B. decided to stay home from work as I had some strong contractions while we were talking around 7:30 am.

My contractions stopped shortly after that! I thought they could start up again at any time. The day and night wore on and nothing happened. I was not hung up on due dates (this was the day before my actual due date), but after the contractions began I felt desperate to have the baby all of a sudden! I wanted to have the baby before my husband’s five vacation days were used up! The pressure mounted when B. decided to stay home again on Tuesday. I knew I needed to do what I could to encourage labor. B. took our older son to gymnastics in the morning. While he was gone I blew the dust off one of my weight training videos and did the whole thing with light weights (save for the abdominal routine!). I felt great afterwards. Then in the afternoon I took my boys to Walmart and we briskly walked around the store until I got tired out. After being there over an hour I bought some diaper pins and left.

After we went to bed, I did nipple stimulation on myself for about an hour and a half. I felt contractions but decided to get some rest. At 12:30 am, my two year old son got up and was crying. He was feeling under the weather. I got up and put him back to bed. My husband was asleep and he is a heavy sleeper. I was getting excited, so I decided to get up and flip through the book “Special Delivery”. I read the labor section over and over. I found a wrist watch, and over the next hour and a half I watched my contactions go from four minutes apart to three minutes apart. My cervix had been dilated for weeks at around two and a half to three centimeters. I felt up there and the cervix was far out of reach.

At two a.m. I woke up my husband. He got up and built a fire in the fireplace. That was a nice touch! At the time I was walking through the contractions. It felt good to march around with my knees up high for some reason. I felt rested and had a lot of energy reserves. I checked myself again after a while and some blood spurted down from the cervix. It was a small amount, but I decided not to check again for a while.

I felt free to move around as I pleased and go from room to room. The contractions were pretty strong and now I was feeling back labor. It was different from my first birth, in that it stopped between contractions. It did, however, make things a little more difficult to cope with. I got down on all fours and did pelvic rocks for quite a while. Between contractions we would talk and look up things about labor and enjoyed each others company. I announced that I needed to get into the tub, as the contractions were getting tougher to handle.

I ran the the water and got in the tub. The pressure moved from my back to my belly now. I splashed the warm water on my belly and that helped me cope better. B. came in and said that he had just prayed for the back labor to leave. And it did! I stayed in the tub for a while and started feeling drowsy. I decided to get out of the tub.

It was nearing six a.m. B. was talking about shipping our two boys out until after the baby was born. That appeared to be necessary, since I didn’t know how long it would take for the baby to come. My husband, was dead-set against having to divide his attention between me and two potentially needy little boys. He bundled them off to the house of a neighbor who was awaiting our call.

I went to the bathroom and checked my cervix again. My fingers were in a v shape so I figured that was around four centimeters. That seemed discouraging, but B. reminded me that that was very good, as the next stage of labor would go the fastest. I sat back on the couch for a while on pillows while he got the boys ready to go next door. I put my arms back behind me so my hands were relaxed and not touching anything. The pain seemed to float away from my hands as I relaxed them. I sat there for a while feeling rather drowsy and decided to get up again. I was thinking it might take until noon for us to have this baby.

I decided to get back in the tub again. The contractions were getting more difficult to breathe through. The water was still warm. The contractions slowed down to around 4-5 minutes apart. My husband returned from the neighbor’s house. I got out of the tub again and went into the family room and did some more pelvic rocks. Nothing was helping the back labor much now. B. rubbed my back for a long time. I would sometimes get on all fours or lean against a chair during contractions. Once in a while I thought I might be shaking just a bit but wasn’t sure. I always had shaken with my other labors. I had taken a huge dose of calcium with magnesium early in this labor. That may have been why I didn’t shake more. I went to the bathroom again and felt up to check my cervix. I felt no cervix at all, but did feel the amniotic sac bulging! Oh how I longed to feel the baby!

I went out and told B. I thought we would be having a baby very soon. No pressure! Baby could come in his/her own time. I breathed through some more contractions. They seemed unbearable. I was feeling a lot of pressure on my back and lower abdomen. My bones felt like they were spreading and the pressure exerted downward as the baby descended. I relaxed and resisted the pushing urge. My body was going to do this without any interference from me!

Now I started getting demanding. I told my husband to get the washcloths from the crock pot and put them on my back and belly. Ah… counter pressure! That helped a lot. I forgot that those washcloths were for perineal care. We both forgot.

After a little bit, I started to spread my legs apart a bit more to make room for baby. This was not a conscious action. I thought about changing positions–maybe squatting. I tried a modified squat with one foot on the floor and the other knee down. During the next contraction the water broke. It was clear and yellow. I put my fingers up there to feel baby’s head. I couldn’t resist ! I felt the little head covered with fine downy hair. I was getting excited! I didn’t feel confident squatting, so I got back on all fours. With the next contraction, my body started to push the baby out. One… two… three contractions and the head was out! There was no cord around the neck. B. got a bit worried seeing the breathless baby’s head sticking out . He worried about the baby getting choked! He decided not to mention it to me since I was still pretty busy at the moment. One more contraction and the shoulder came. Rotation happened and another shoulder was out. Then baby slid out into his daddy’s hands.

B. said, “It‘s Benjamin!” The baby cried a beautiful cry! B. handed him off to me and we took a towel and dried him off a bit. No need for suctioning. B. said that all the junky secretions came out of baby’s mouth as he slid out of me. He sounded and felt clear to me! I kept looking at him in disbelief. What a perfect creation! He was a tiny ruddy little blonde haired boy with dark eyes! He cried and cried until I got him latched on the breast. What a vigorous little boy! He nursed well right away, just like a pro!

We sat nursing on the living room floor. To show God’s grace, the little towel clad baby quickly gave his mommy a gift of meconium on her leg! A few moments earlier could have changed our outlook on things quite a bit! It was right around 9am and B. said he had only looked at the clock when my waters broke at 8:40 am.

I felt a little gush between my legs. I wasn’t as aware of any contractions I was having due to the baby excitement. The next hurdle was the delivery of the placenta. We sat for a while and waited–not quite sure what to do. I got up to sit on the couch. As soon as I rose, the placenta just popped out! It was smaller than I thought it would be and had already ceased pulsing. What a relief! We sat and nursed for a bit. After a while B. clamped and cut the cord.

After a bit we weighed and measured little Benjamin. He was seven pounds and eight ounces. His length was 19¾ inches. He was the exact weight and height of our first son! He had a tiny little head that was twelve inches around.

We discovered later that I had torn. On the outside it was a perfectly straight tear along the old episiotomy scar (I have had two episiotomies). On the inside it was hard to tell what all the involvement was, but it looked pretty raw inside. It happened because the back labor had distracted us from doing the proper perineal care we had planned. We decided to get the tear sutured. I knew I didn’t want a permanent episiotomy. My husband preferred to do it this way plus I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in bed for very long to heal the natural way. The OB that had delivered our second son agreed to see us in his office and do the job. He was very kind to us. Our total medical cash expense for this birth came to $60!

We have no regrets about our UC. The baby and I are healthy. We have peace in our home. My husband and I functioned as one organism during the birth. I drew from my husband’s strength and encouragement. My thoughts were always clear during the birth. I love my husband now more than I ever have. This has been a high point in our married life. I give all the glory to the Lord for this. He has been our protector all along.

Birthing in a natural and unconstrained way was such a blessing! I honestly think that if more people birthed in this way there would be more large families! I look forward to birthing unassisted again, if the Lord wills.

Marie

Sixth Baby, Second UC – 11 lb Girl!

Saturday Jan. 30th I wake up in a really bad mood because I didn’t go into labor. Finally I buck up and dh T., the kids and I decide to go get groceries. I figure it can’t hurt and maybe this outing will be enough to start contractions. We get home and I keep pushing myself to get things done, like laundry and dishes. I kinda felt this might be it but didn’t want to be disappointed. Finally about 9:30, I finish the dishes and decide to iron some of T.’s clothes. At 10:30 I’m tired and no contractions so I go to bed. T. is on the computer. At about 11:30 I have a contraction that I have to get up for. ( I never could lay down and have a contraction, I don’t know how they do it in the hospital.)  Anyway, T. comes to bed and I tell him not to get comfortable because I think this is it. He falls asleep anyway!

I walk around the house and try to figure out how far along I might be. The contractions weren’t strong and they weren’t consistent, about 5 to 8 min. apart. I hadn’t lost my mucous plug yet so I figured it’d be a long while yet. ( About 12:50 a.m. is when I put up the post) I wake T. up and tell I need his encouragement. He gets up and rubs my back and helps get supplies ready. Still no mucous and we figure that my cervix is not opening much, so T. suggests I take a bath. I climb in not sure what position I want to be in. I’m on all fours and a major contraction hits, breaking my water. This gets me really excited because I know it won’t be much longer for me. After another big contraction I get out of the bath and T. helps me to the bed. We have a shower curtain on the bed and some covering on the floor. I kneel down beside the bed and just rest there. I pray for a break and the Lord gives it to me. It seems my contractions have slowed down, but still very strong. I practically sleep between them.
We have lost track of time at this point. I feel I could push if I wanted but tell T. I’m going to breath through them for a while. I can feel the head move down and know I need to push. T. has been putting oil and hot compresses on me between contractions (they feel really nice). I bear down and hold as long as I can. Lots of burning!!! So, I decide to wait a little longer before pushing. I feel the head go back up a little.

Wanting to get this over with, I ask the Lord for His strength because I knew I couldn’t do it. After this I push and I feel the head. I’m supporting the front and T. is supporting the back. I just bear down and it finally comes out. Breath, breath, breath and a big push and she slides out!!! T. and baby are behind me so I can’t see as I am resting my head on the bed. The cord is wrapped around her head twice and T. gently slips it off. Then he tells me it’s a girl and passes the baby between my legs and I turn around and sit on the bed, holding my precious daughter. I can’t believe how big she is. I tell T. she must be 11 pounds. He says no way. I start to nurse her and here comes the placenta.

With that done I sit back and start to nurse as T. starts to clean up. We wait a while to cut the cord. For a 42 week baby, she is quite covered in vernix and there was plenty of fluid! T. cuts the cord and I decide to rinse off, but I will not do this alone again, I will wait until T. can help me. We have a hand held shower so I stand in the tub and rinse down my legs and all. As soon as I turn off the water I get bad shakes, I hurry to the room and climb in bed and cover up. T. lays beside me and holds me. They subside and I am ok. It was kind of scary and I got the shakes with my last birth but I was in bed and it wasn’t so strong. Anyway, I try nursing again and she does a little. After some clean up, we lay down for a quick nap knowing the other kids will be up soon. I forgot to mention that she was born at 3:45 a.m.  It was very nice to climb in bed with our newborn and rest and be together as it should be.

The kids get up about 7:30 and are surprised to see the new baby!!! After they all make it in the room we weigh her and she weighs 11 lbs. and 4 oz. What a miracle. I believe I didn’t tear because I just did what my body wanted, not pushing much and just breathing through the contractions. Her head was 14½ inches.

Well, we are all having a great time adjusting this week and are in awe at the miracle of birth and the bond that we have. I have some swelling but I am recovering nicely! Praise the Lord for another UC!!!

Fourth Baby A Planned Unassisted Home Birth

I have had 5 births. The first two were unmedicated hospital births, the third a birth attended by a lay midwife, the fourth a planned unassisted home birth and the fifth another home birth with a midwife.

I am not much into medical things when they are not necessary so I have always had a hard time dealing with drs. and hospitals when it comes to childbirth. I was very reluctant to go the medial route with my first two births, but didn’t know there was a choice. Part way through my 3rd pregnancy a childbirth instructor told me of an “underground” midwife who did home births–we have very backwards laws about birth in my home state! I quit my OB and immediately started planning our first home birth.

L. was born on a Sunday morning exactly on her due date! It was a wonderful birth and the midwife was great because she let me do things my way–a big change from the hospital! When dh and I found out we were pregnant with our fourth, I had this strong feeling that I wanted this birth to just be with dh and my children. I was seeing my midwife M. for prenatal care, but I just knew that I wanted a different kind of birth–I needed a different kind of birth this time. Finally we talked to M. and she wasn’t surprised at all. She said she had the feeling that we were headed that way and we had her full support. She even offered to be available by phone if we needed her.

It was a Thursday 4 days after my due date and my usual errand day. I took the kids with me and did all our grocery shopping, hair cuts, etc. When I got home it was late afternoon and I felt just uncomfortable. No contractions or anything that I was aware of, but just this major discomfort. My husband is a night worker so he was still in bed asleep. I woke him up just to let him know I was miserable! After a few moments of listening to me he said, “You’re in labor.” I didn’t believe a word he said, but let him go about getting our supplies and camera set up. I paced around, complained a bit and then it finally dawned on me that he might he right. He had spread a blanket with plastic on the floor because I wanted to birth standing up and didn’t like the idea of ruining the carpet. I was standing there when suddenly I felt the baby’s head. I yelled for my husband to catch our baby. I yelled for all the kids to come in too. She just fell into his hands–all 8 lbs 13 ozs. of her!

We waited for the cord to turn white as M. had told us at our other home birth and then my husband cut it and tied it with a clean white shoe lace. Now it was time for the placenta. This part always scares us because we both realize how important it is to get the placenta all out so the uterus can do its job and clamp down. We had learned from M. to put a trash bag under the toilet seat and for me to sit there and nurse. A few moments later with my husband on the phone with M. telling her the good news, the placenta fell out. We named our new baby girl Keshet–Hebrew for rainbow.

It was a perfect birth, but my husband said he was so scared that he insisted on having M. for the next birth. I didn’t really argue since she always let me have things the way I wanted them anyway. I really think I would like to have another unassisted birth next time though.

Third Unassisted Home Birth – Tenth Baby

James’ Arrival

I was very impatient to have this baby. I was absolutely HUGE, and had trouble sleeping, walking, and all. Every night I went to bed wondering if this would be the last night I would go to bed pregnant. So, April 14th (Tuesday night) was no different.

Dh R. was staying up to watch a movie (he recently bought a new stereo with surround sound and has been watching a movie almost every night). I often stayed up with him for company, but this night I felt more tired, and knew that I needed to keep my strength up. I had had braxton hicks contractions…..fairly strong ones…..for weeks, but the last couple days had been “quiet.”

I woke up around 3 am, April 15, to go potty, and felt sort of crampy….not really contractions, just “different”. I went back to bed hoping that baby would come soon, said a prayer for strength and patience, and was going to go back to sleep. I had a few more irregular cramps in the next 5 minutes, and got up again to go to the bathroom. I had a BM, and figured that it was gas after all, and I went back to bed. Upon lying down, I had 3 or 4 very strong and definite CONTRACTIONS within 5 minutes time. I began to come out of the denial stage…..and told R. (who had come to bed hours ago, but had awoken with all my wandering around) that “maybe” we would have a baby tonight!! I prayed for wisdom to tune into my instincts, and for strength to birth. I prayed for His holy angels to surround us, the house, all our children. I started pacing through the living room to the toilet, back to the bed, but not lying down, just sitting on the edge of the bed.

I was having contractions about every 3 minutes for 30 sec. It was now around 3:30, and R. asked if he should call our friend, A., who was going to be there to assist him, if needed. (she lives about a half hour drive away). I said okay, as I knew I had probably less than 2 hours to delivery. I really like to be without anyone there to make me feel inhibited, but figured by the
strength of the contractions, and also knowing A. would blend into the woodwork, by the time she got there, I could adjust or ignore her. Our 3 ½ year old son, C. was asleep on the couch, right by our bedroom door, and R. asked  if he should move him up to his bedroom. I said no, because I thought that C. might wake up when he was moved, and then want Daddy (he is Daddy’s boy). I’d rather have him sleeping, and have R. available for me!

The contractions were very strong, I had to concentrate on slow breathing and riding the waves 100% during each. I developed a rhythm of walking to the bathroom (on the other side of the living room), sitting on the toilet during a contraction or two, letting myself feel open and relaxed all through my bottom, and mentally going over my body and relaxing other parts as well. I found that my shoulders and legs were often tense. Then, I would walk back the 15 feet or so to the bedroom, just in time for another contraction. There, I would alternate between sitting and rocking on the edge of the bed, or on my hands and knees rocking on the bed for a contraction or two. They were very close and strong. Rocking felt good, and helped me to ride the top of the contraction, and let it go through my uterus, while relaxing the rest of my body.

After maybe a quarter hour, I saw blood when I wiped on the toilet, and had a feeling of elation. It really IS labor! LOL, and baby is coming soon. GOOD! I talked to the baby, reassuring it that I would take care of it, and we would soon get to see one another. I also prayed. I had been  having back labor, which is why I think I felt the need to do the rocking during contractions. I prayed that God would help me know how to birth, as I was certain the baby was breech. I felt at peace about this, which was a new feeling just in the last few days. I was glad to not have fear about this aspect anymore. I felt that I could trust my God, and my body.

R., during this time, had been just wandering around in the dark. The only lights were the bathroom and a small lamp in the bedroom. He would come to my side if he heard my breath catch or if I moaned. He knows that this means that I am having trouble keeping on top of the wave. He would talk reassuredly. He knows better than to touch me, but instead would be there if I reached out to him. (We have done this before, and he is SO good at reading my cues. We don’t really have to talk much. This was our third unassissted birth.) R. also had called my mother, who was to come and watch the children. I got a bit mad at him when he told me he called her. All the kids were asleep, and I hadn’t seen any need to have her there. I also felt that I had to act different or something in front of her……she got there pretty quickly, as she only lives 2 miles down the road. I was still berating poor R. for calling her without asking me first when she came in.

The first thing she asked about was “Where are the scissors?” then, “Should we boil water now?” (She was trying to be helpful, I know, but since we wait to cut the cord, and I knew I had very little time left now, I saw scissors as the LAST thing to worry about right now, LOL!) He told her to sit in the living room in case C. woke up (that is why he called her, he was afraid C. would wake, and he could tell I was getting close to delivery).

I had to walk past Mom from the bedroom to the bathroom in my little circuit, and it made me uncomfortable for a bit. I detoured off to pace the kitchen a few times, instead, but I was having the chills sometimes, and really needed to sit with the bed comforter over me every once in awhile. So I reverted back to my circuit, (bedroom to bathroom, through the living room) and tried to ignore my Mom. It worked until A. got there, and mom started talking to her. A. was very quiet, and she really did blend into the woodwork. My mom kept coughing. That bothered me. I told R. that she had to be quiet, and he went out and spoke to her. I got over being mad at my dear husband about calling mom, and just kept up with the pacing and rocking.

About 4:10…..I glanced at the clock….I announced as I went back to the bedroom from the bathroom that it would be less than an hour now. In the bathroom, I had just felt the baby move around in a very big way. I suspect this is when he moved from breech position, as from now on there was NO back labor anymore. I talked to him, and prayed for strength, as I was now feeling tired. I told R. I was feeling tired, and tried to lay down on my side of the bed, but it was just too hard to ride the contractions without losing focus that way. I had gotten so I needed to lean on R., whether I was on the toilet, or sitting on the edge of the bed, or on my hands and knees on the bed, or just standing and hugging him. I was upright, and beginning to feel a small urge to push. I felt all the way open.

Now contractions were so very close, and practically one on top of another. I prayed for a break for a breath, and God graciously gave me about 2 minutes without contractions. It was enough. I was praying for a quick delivery, too, and you just can’t have it both ways! (breaks and progress). Now it was taking all my energy to hold back from pushing. I did not know if the baby had turned, and I wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no lip, no bit of cervix in the way. I wanted R. to reach up and feel which part was presenting, but with the contractions so close, I knew that if he did, it would trigger a contraction, and would be too hard to deal with. So I did not ask. I remembered about putting hot oil on my bottom to help it stretch, and asked R. to get a sqeeze bottle microwaved…..he did, but I immediately called him so I could lean on him. I told him to have mom or A. do it as “that is what they are here for.” We never had time to put one drop of oil on me at all.

I could feel the baby moving down the birth canal now…..through the cervix…… contraction over, and rest…. asked R. for a spoonful of honey……contraction: baby moving about halfway down…..I tell R. that the baby is coming now. I am on my knees on the bed. I want to stand, but we have a king-size bed crammed in a little room, and there is about 10 inches of space to one side and the end. R. suggests that I sit on the edge of the bed as I had been earlier during labor, (I think he was thinking of how he could catch the baby, also), but as soon as I sat down, it hurt. I complained and growled through that contraction, and immediatly got back onto my knees with R. kneeling in front of me. If my mom weren’t in the living room (she is still mumbling about scissors now and again), I would have just gone in there to birth. I tell R. to send mom to her house to get some scissors, since she is so intent on having some (her husband is a barber and has some really nice stainless steel ones). He doesn’t tell her.  C. is still sleeping….. During a contraction, I lean over R. and hug him tight. Between contractions, I stand up and stretch my legs by getting off my knees. All this is taking place within minutes, as the contractions are about 1 minute apart and lasting 45 seconds (so I have like 15 seconds to regroup my focus and take a breath between!). I love the sensations I am having. They mean baby is coming! I am worried about the baby falling on the floor, and am concentrating so much on keeping my bottom relaxed to stretch. The contractions are so overpowering now, I am making some pretty big blowing, moaning noises, I guess. (mom said later I was loud near the end.) I forgot about C. sleeping on the couch. I could feel the baby at the perenium now, and called out for A. to catch him! R. was hollering how to  support, I was blowing and moaning, and could feel one big body part (is that the head or butt, I wondered?), the water broke with a huge splash!

A funny thing happened at this point. Because R. was in front of me, on his hands and knees, so I could lean over his back…..he reached under my belly and tried to lift my shirt to see by peeking under me what part of the baby was out so far. As he did so, he touched my stomach (he was trying hard not to disturb me!). I immediatly lost my concentration, and yelled at him “Hey! Get your hand out of there! You are worse than an OB!” and I spanked him pretty
hard on his butt. (A. said later it was funny that the worse insult I could come up with was a comparison to an OB!!!) Then the contraction did a double peak with my body just taking over and I could feel another body part coming…….how long is this baby? I wondered. It felt as if A. were pulling the baby out, as the contraction was ending, and I could still feel body coming out! I cried out, “Don’t pull! Don’t pull!” At the same time, I had what I thought was a hugh BM! R. and I heard the baby gurgle,and both cried out, “turn him over, turn him over” (meaning facedown so the baby’s mouth could drain), as we struggled to get off our hands and knees and see the baby. This was especially tricky for me, of course, with the cord between my legs!! My mom came in the room (or perhaps she had been standing in the doorway), and said “Boy that was FAST!” and we grabbed a receiving blanket and tried to wipe up poor James, who was not only wet, had some vernix on his back (A. commented on how she thought he wouldn’t have much as he was a couple days past his due date), but he was covered with my BM!

I hugged and kissed him anyway, and told him sorry for pooping all over him! We asked A. which end came out first, and she said “his head.” He came so fast, I really still had no clue which part came when. She also said the cord was around his neck once. But it never got tight. All I could do was say “Praise the LORD” over and over. We wiped up his head, R. offered me the bulb syringe we had, but I shook my head…..I saw no need for it. He was pink to his toes, breathing just fine, and wrapped up and cuddled on my chest.

In 5 minutes, I felt a surge of warm blood from my vagina and knew the placenta had seperated. It was a tight space, there in the bedroom, and the cord was really getting in the way, so R. tied it off with a new white shoelace, and I cut the cord, with some sewing scissors which we just wiped with alcohol. We couldn’t boil them, as the plastic handles would melt. (I had never had the priviledge of cutting the cord before, and I insisted that it was my turn!) We maneuvered me over a basin, and I squatted and gave a little push. The placenta came with a splash. Only then did I think to ask if anyone had seen the time of birth. Mom said it was about 5 minutes before 5 am (it was 5:05 now).

So, from start to finish, labor was under 2 hours. Since there was so much mess, with the waters breaking, blood and feces, we decided to clean up real quick before waking the other children. I went and jumped in the shower (I think my mom was shocked that I was up so soon), while the others changed the sheets and cleaned up the floor next to the bed. We wiped up James and just wrapped him in a blanket….no clothes or diaper yet. R. went and woke up
the other kids…..all came down except 7 year-old G., who was sound asleep apparently. C. stayed alseep on the couch, even after everyone was down, and a couple children tried to shake him awake!! I was feeling great…..no tears, no breech problems, and a beautiful boy.

We were all curious about his weight. C. had weighed 11 pounds, and we all thought James was smaller than that. I did say that he was pretty long, and may be hiding some weight. R. used his Eagle Scout expertise by using marbles in the corners of a receiving blanket to secure some extra shoelace so we could suspend it from a fish scale to weigh James. We all about fell over when the weight was 11½ pounds!! That was with a diaper and two receiving blankets, so we took off a few ounces for his birth weight. I did not measure him until the next day, when everyone was out. He was a good full 24″ long! I also re-tied the cord, as Rusty had left about 3 inches on, because he didn’t have room to get any closer. (When he cut it, I was squatting  between the bed and dresser, in that 8 inch space.) The cord dried up very quickly, by the way, with the application of Goldenseal Powder. It came off in 6 days. My milk came in in 48 hours (that is quickest yet), and he weighs 11 pounds, 8 oz., completely nude at 7 days.

Now, as I write this, he is 10 days old, nursing well, sleeping through the night. He is a very contented baby, and everyone is in love with him. I have lost 55 pounds, which puts me ahead of when I got pregnant (I only gained 25 pounds in the pregnancy!)

I am so thankful to my LORD for being with us, and allowing us to have this gift of another son. Praise God! I know this is really long, but I hope you get caught up in the moment and see how naturally and wonderfully birth takes place, without internal exams, blood pressure, fetal heart tones, laying on your back, episiotomy, eye drops, vitamin shots, and all that jazz. If I could do anything different, I would have just R. and me there. We would have found another position where one or both of us could have caught the baby. I am disappointed that our hands were not the first ones to touch our baby. Maybe next time!!

By the way, this was my 10th baby. We had two early miscarriages (unassisted at home), one C-section, 2 with midwives at home, two planned hospital births, one planned homebirth that was transported to the hospital, and three unassisted births. Thanks for reading our story. God Bless, Karen

 

Quick labor – older child caught the baby.

Third unassisted home birth, after one hospital birth of twins.

This being my third home birth, I wasn’t worried about where the baby would be born, and if the other children would be present. My twin daughters are thirteen, they were allowed to watch, but my two sons went to their aunt’s house. The contractions started about midnight Monday night. They weren’t very strong so I just went back to bed. Then I woke up the next morning about seven. And they really were about the same, so I got up on my usual routine; I made the kid’s breakfast, and put on a pot of coffee for dh M., and made a cup of Earl Grey Tea for myself. M. wanted to stay home from work that day, but I decided that since the contractions were mild that he should go to work, but before he left he check to see how dilated I was. It turned out that I was hardly 2 cm. but M. decided that he should stay home anyway, just in case.

It was good that he did!! As soon as the contractions started to get closer and closer, and the contractions longer and longer (about 11:00am), we decided that we better have J. come and pick up D. and S. (J. is the aunt).  M. went and got the supplies for the birth ready, and he started to fill up the jacuzzi with warm water, so that it would be ready.

I decided to go to the third floor and watch some t.v. (I took the elevator), when the twins came wandering in asking when was the baby going to be born. That’s when the contractions started to get really hard. The twins were scared out of their minds when I told them that I was going to have to push. The pressure was almost unbearable on my pelvic bone. It felt like it was breaking in half!!

I started to scream for M., but it was too late, I was squatted holding on to the couch, when the head started to crown. E. caught the head, it was hard to imagine that all I had to do was one more push, and my baby would be born, so I pushed with all my might, and out slid baby M. It was the most incredible thing to look into my baby’s eyes and realize that I just brought him into the world, it’s an incredible bond that nobody should ever take for granted!!

A few seconds later, dh M. arrived to tell me that the jacuzzi was ready when he realized that his 13 year old daughters delivered the baby. He rushed me to the elevator so that I could deliver the placenta, but he didn’t make it in time. When I stepped into the elevator, out came the placenta all over the floor. We still can’t live that one down!

 

Surprise! “The Midwife didn’t make it.”

A surprise, unassisted home birth, 13 years after 4th hospital birth. The midwife didn’t make it.

My husband M. and I have 5 children. The first 4 were born in a hospital with very nice, uncomplicated births. At that time (1977, ’79, ’81, ’84), I didn’t realize that home birthing was an option. I did happen to know of someone who had home birthed 5 of their 6 children, but they were acquaintances who lived in California, so they did not really influence me. I thought the “scientific, modern” way was the way to have your baby. Anyway, only the first one, our son B., was birthed with an epidural, and that was because, at 17 years old, I didn’t know any better. By the time K. was born 2 years later, I had done some reading and knew that pain medication really was not in the best interests for me or my child. (A side note – B. was a very sleepy baby for months, but all the others were alert and active. Could the labor meds have had anything to do with this?) I also learned some about nutrition and was beginning to work on being healthy through nutrition (something I continue to work on to this day!). H., born in 1981, was declared by the labor nurse to be in trouble because her heart rate dropped, according to the external fetal monitor, so they wheeled me to the delivery room, where she was born, healthy and not in trouble of any kind, just a few short minutes later. The pregnancy with A. was difficult, with preterm labor at 7 months and bed rest, etc. She was born healthy one day after her due date. She was the only baby that the Rh factor came into play with.

Because I was only 24, with 4 children, possibly 20 more years of child-bearing, had experienced a frightening pregnancy with the 4th one, and everyone we knew was having sterilization surgery done, we decided to take our “birth control” matters into our own hands. M. got a vasectomy when A. was only 2 months old. I remember being in the doctor’s office and thinking we should not do this, that I should go stop it right now! But, regretfully, I didn’t do that. Our desire for more children was still there; had never even left. But we allowed ourselves to be deceived by the deceiver, not even really praying about it, thinking we knew what was best for us. HA! For the next few years, I yearned for another child, but didn’t think it was even a remote possibility. Then we went to a Bill Gothard seminar in 1988 and heard about reversal surgery. I spoke with M. about a reversal and he thought that if God wanted us to have more children, He could move sovereignly and give us babies without more surgery. We had already repented and asked God to forgive us some time before. So I just began praying that God would perform a miracle, either by blessing us with more children supernaturally without more surgery, or by changing M’s heart to be open for surgery to reverse what we had done in disobedience and willfulness, and to provide the money for a reversal. Well, God changed M’s heart! In June, 1992, we traveled to Dr. Bledsoe in Arkansas, who performed the reversal for $1,000.

We were so happy just to have taken steps to restore what we had damaged that we didn’t really dwell on the fact that now maybe we could have more babies. If that’s what God wanted, then so be it. If not, well, ok. But as time went on, I began to greatly desire more babies. M. did, too, but I think it was much more discouraging to me as each disappointing month passed. God was moving and doing great things in our life in other areas, but no baby. Sometime in early 1994, I was desperately praying to conceive, when God spoke to my heart and said I would have a baby at Christmas and I heard the name “Joel” in my spirit. I was so excited! But the time came and went for us to be expecting a child in December. I cried to the Lord. Had I just heard what I wanted to hear?? I was so disappointed. Then, God told me to look up the meaning of the name Joel. I did – it means “God is willing”! God was telling me to trust in Him and His timing.

1997 began as usual. M. and I decided in March to lose the extra weight we had been carrying around by using the Prism diet, which is based on healthy, nutritious foods and Biblical principles. In May, I realized my cycle was off, about a month late. I confided to someone that usually this diet gives me more energy and my cycles are regular. She said maybe I was pregnant. I dismissed that idea; after all, hadn’t I been diligently praying, every month, for a baby? I hadn’t even thought about a baby since the beginning of the year! Then, we went to see my mom for Mother’s Day. Instead of telling how good I looked to have dropped 35 pounds, her very first words to me were, “Cindy, are you pregnant? You look pregnant.” I just about dropped through the floor! My children just stared at me! I denied being pregnant and focused our attention on my great weight loss. Well, we decided that if my mom thought I “looked” pregnant, then maybe I had better get a test to tell if I was or not. My mom had known before I told her that we were expecting at least twice before, so I thought it would be wise to follow her intuition, although she apologized for blurting out such a thing and couldn’t understand what made her say it.

The test was POSITIVE! We were expecting a baby, finally, after all these years! And, the due date? CHRISTMAS EVE!!! When I realized the timing, I knew I served a great God, a good God, who gives us the desires of our hearts, even when we stop asking for them. It had been 3 years since He’d told me that I’d have a baby at Christmas, and now here it was coming to pass. Our whole family was excited.

I had studied and read everything I could get about home births. I shared this with my husband M. He was quite the skeptic. I asked him if I could find a midwife and if he’d meet with her before deciding not to go that avenue. He agreed. Because of several factors (my age, hypothyroidism, past problem pregnancy, Rh factor) the first two midwives I contacted refused me. I was getting disappointed. So, I stopped to pray that God would direct me to the midwife of His choice. M. had given me a few specifics that the midwife must meet. The very next midwife I called met every criteria Mark had given me! And, she agreed to take me on, saying that those reasons were not valid for not birthing at home. One time, I saw a doctor whom she wanted us to use as a backup, otherwise I saw her for all prenatal visits. Everything was going very well. My blood pressure was up a little bit, but there were no other adverse symptoms of any kind.

On Dec. 8, I had several hours of intense contractions, about 2 minutes apart. Midwife came and spent the night on our sofa, but the contractions quieted down and went away. She thought it was way too early for delivery anyway. M’s dad’s 60th birthday is Dec. 18th, so we were hoping that if the baby came early, s/he would be born on the 18th. The day came and was almost gone before I felt a soft contraction at 10:15 pm. I prayed, “Lord, can we do this in less than 2 hours??” Well, the contractions came regularly, but not close or hard. We had prayed for a pain-free labor, but I was not so sure it would happen! Around midnight I decided to call the midwife and let her know we might be needing her. She told me to lay down and take it easy and keep her informed. The contractions continued to be regular but not close, sometimes not even regular, but 2-7 minutes apart. They still were not painful either. Around 1:30 am, I decided to take a shower. Then I laid down on the bed and remembered that the books said that you would not be able to sleep through real labor. So I dozed on and off, waking for each contraction, still about 5 minutes apart. The doctor I had seen told me not to expect the short (3 hour) labors I’d had with my girls; since it had been 13 years since the last one was born, my uterus would act like it was my first. I decided not to believe that report, but to trust the Lord to keep it short! I figured it had been about 3 ½ hours of labor now. Around 2:30 am I awoke with harder contractions. I woke up M. and told him I thought this might be it. I still was not sure. We woke up the girls (ages 13 & 16) because they had wanted to be around when the baby came. We left our sons (ages 18 & 20) asleep, as they had told us they would be leaving as soon as I went into labor and then return when it was all over. About 2:45 am I called the midwife and told her what was going on but that I didn’t think that it would really be any time soon. She said she’d come. I asked her if I could take a bath, and since my water had not broken, she agreed. I continued to make sure everything was in order. Then while M. readied our bedroom, I got into the bathtub. The contractions still were not terribly strong (remember, I had prayed for a pain-free labor!) and not close together in minutes, but coming regularly.

Just after 3 am, I called M. to help me out of the tub, as the contractions were now very strong and beginning to be painful. As I leaned on him, I asked him why we ever decided to do this, and also told him if we ever do it again, to take me to the hospital and let them put me completely out! My darling wise husband, knowing if I was becoming intolerant that delivery must be near, told me ok. We went into the bedroom, where I knelt next to the
bed, but not on plastic. He told me to move over to where the plastic was, saying I’d not be happy if I got the carpet messy. In between contractions, I told him to leave me alone! But I obediently moved over the the plastic. With the next contraction came the urge to push. M. told me it was not time yet. I said it doesn’t matter, the baby is coming, and with a push, Brennan Joel whooshed right out of me! He startled us all!!! Daddy was there to catch him and the girls were there to “help” and watch. After I pushed Brennan out, I felt such relief. Then I realized there was a baby behind me!!!! I got up, stood there and reached for my tiny baby. I told Mark to look in the book for what to do in emergency childbirth. He told me that this was not an emergency! Thank God for a level-headed husband! Finally, I decided to get into bed instead of standing there. It was about 3:20 am (everyone forgot to get a close look at the clock!). After we admired the baby, rubbed the vernix into his skin and covered him and me with the bed-covers, the midwife arrived about 15 minutes later. When A. announced to her that the baby was here, she didn’t believe her, as people tell her that all the time and it’s never true! She was amazed, telling me that I fooled her. She can usually tell over the phone how far into labor her moms are by the tone of their voice. She thought this was really another “false alarm.”

Oh, when A. told B. and K. that the baby is a boy, K. asked her how she knew! Then they were unhappy that we let them sleep through the excitement!

Brennan was little – he weighed only 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and was 17 ½ inches long (the others ranged 7 pounds to 7 pounds, 14 ounces). But he was healthy. He nursed for about 7 minutes on each side. Although it took Brennan a few days to get the hang of nursing, we enjoy a satisfying, healthy nursing relationship now. He has grown to about 16 pounds now at the age of 5½ months.

With the next baby, when God blesses us with more, we would like to home birth again. I have heard of a young lady who is studying to be a midwife but at this time is not licensed, so she attends births as more of a doula. I would like some one on hand to help us out and make sure everything is attended to. But, actually, M. and the girls did a great, great job. So maybe we’ll just do it with ourselves and God………… Cindy S., June 9, 1998

 

Two Unassisted After Three Hospital births

This time would not be an induction, I knew! It was more than just digging in my heels against the system; I felt deep inside the wrongness of losing patience with God’s timetable, of arbitrarily deciding “I want to have my baby now” and forcing the baby to come whether he is ready or not.

I realize that the reasons for induction within the system are complex and do not always happen for convenience alone–the doctor really does believe that he or she is acting in the baby’s best interest. It just seems to me now that the whole system operates on a principle of fear–“what if??” How much better to trust in the Lord, in the fact that He made both me and the baby within me, and that the process which He designed to bring that baby out really does work!

So I was settled in to wait, as long as it took. My due date was December 1, give or take a day;
and I cannot say that the wait was easy! More than once I was on my knees before God begging
for His mercy. I’d had crampy Braxton-Hicks contractions since the first week of November, and I kept wondering “how long, O Lord?” During the morning of December 14, however, I could sense a change in that pesky not-quite-false labor. There was a pressure in my pubic bone I had not felt before, and I wondered….

That evening we were supposed to go to my husband’s (dh) squadron Christmas party [Air Force]. I had borrowed my mom’s olive green dress, and my close friend M. took the children (if I remember correctly). Just before we were to leave, the contractions started getting more serious, especially when I was up walking around. I remember having several very strong ones when we went to Wal-Mart before the party. I commented to dh as we arrived at the hotel how funny it would be if I really were in labor! During the dinner and after, I kept checking dh’s watch (I tried to be inconspicuous about it but several others at the table suspected!) and was amazed to find that even sitting down, the contractions stayed about four minutes apart. They were, however, very mild, so I felt no need to leave. (I must confess a perverse enjoyment over one acquaintance’s exclamations when she discovered that I was two weeks overdue and having early labor!)

Much to my disappointment, everything slowed and stopped at bedtime. I had a few during the night, then awoke and found that once I was up and active, they were three minutes apart and strong! I was elated. I woke dh up about nine or so with the news that we were “probably having the baby today!” We went to the chiropractor, and they slowed again–still strong, but about ten minutes apart. They stayed that way most of the afternoon, stopping altogether between about two and four, about fifteen minutes apart later on. Disgusted with my lack of progress, I left the children with dh and went to the commissary about five. While shopping I kept thinking how horrified everyone would be if they knew… the cashier was a sweet older lady who asked when I was due (I told her) and said something about a Christmas baby (as most people did). I didn’t bother to inform her I was already in labor. She probably would have had a fit.

Of course by bedtime the contractions had stopped again. My brother S. called between ten-thirty and eleven. They wanted to go play pool, but I told him dh better stick close. He was as disgusted as I was earlier; I apologized but told him it was impossible to tell at this point: it could be twelve hours, or two! He hung up, and dh and I talked for a little bit. I asked him to pray with me, aloud; we did that and went to sleep.

One or one thirty. I woke up suddenly and got up to use the bathroom. Strong contraction as I’m getting out of bed; I try to ignore it since the same thing has happened already, several nights in a row. Then I went the kitchen and folded some clothes. More strong contractions; they’re three minutes apart. I make some tea, fold clothes until I’m too distracted to do any more, go back to the bathroom and pour a bath. It’s getting harder to be quiet through them. I bring in my tea and a small clock, sit down in the water. I’m wondering how long to wait, trying to let dh sleep as much as possible. I’m glad this isn’t either Thursday or Saturday night, as he’d be gone helping S. with the paper route!

Between two and two thirty I start calling for dh. He doesn’t hear me, so I yell louder. Finally he hears me and rolls over to call M. (As per our relay arranged before, she’ll call S, and he and his fiancee V. will come to her house first.) Then I’m going to kitchen to fix him some coffee–isn’t there something wrong with this picture??? (I think I also made myself some more tea. I know I had two cups during this stage but I can’t remember when the second one came–like it matters, I know!) Then I’m back in the tub, moaning through contractions now. I’m relieved that dh is up.

S. brings M. and takes the kids back to her house. Dh tells me to be quiet (if I could) through the contractions while he was there so as not to scare him. Poor S.–so afraid for me, that something would go wrong, that I was out of my mind to begin with for planning a home birth. I pray for him and V.

M. peeks past the bathroom door just as a contraction hits. Her face is flushed and smiling; I don’t respond but close my eyes and concentrate on relaxing. She kneels next to the tub and rubs my back. That’s wonderful…so is the wandering between kitchen and bathroom, putting my arms around dh during the contractions. The bath doesn’t help as much as I hoped it would, but dh’s and M.’s presence is my lifeline. We talk in between and crack jokes. They’re both excited; dh unpacks the birth kit and waves a receiving blanket as he exclaims, “Baby!”

The contractions get harder. The pressure inside my pelvis is incredible; my pubic bone feels like it’s splitting. I’m crying out, “I can’t, I can’t, it hurts!” At one point, as I’m trying to settle into the bathtub, an especially strong contraction hits and I come up out of the water, throw my arms around dh’s neck, and commence screaming. I’m abashed later because I’ve deafened both him and M. from the echoes in that tiny bathroom!

We move back to the bed and I lie down on my side. Dh and M. take turns rubbing my back and legs; they talk about how well I’m progressing. A small voice within tells me to stop saying “I can’t” during the contractions; instead call on the Lord’s name–not just as “the Lord” but the very name of Jesus. So I try it…oh, Jesus…oh, Jesus…I gain strength from the simple litany. Only You are worthy… You are wonderful…thank You for this baby! Incredible, the power of praise. That carried me through when nothing else could.

I check dilation; my eyes widen as I can only feel the slightest lip of cervix. Still I’m hesitant to push. I get up again; the splitting sensation returns. Dh is encouraging me to squat but I resist: standing feels better. I try half squats, hanging onto their hands, up and down. I feel vaguely foolish but I’m swept away by the sensation within….

Dh steps away and I choose that moment to finally squat by the bed. I’m there only for one contraction or so before shifting to my knees, facing the bed. Suddenly the pressure is different. I’m focusing on pushing now, quietly to boot. I hear M. and dh comment on the change and am overwhelmed by the realization that we’re really doing it! God is awesome!! I keep pushing, hands clasped in front of me, face pressed to the quilt. I check a couple of times for progress and rest between contractions. The pressure within is lower–“rim of fire” kicks in as the baby’s head comes down on my perineum. Another contraction; I throw all my effort into it and the baby’s head is born in one push. Dh and M. are exclaiming as I rest again. I hear dh telling M. that the shoulder has come forward with the head, and I take strength from that–I pause, push hard again, and feel the baby’s body slide from me. Dh and M. are trying to decide who is going to suction the baby’s nose and mouth, and in their excitement forget that the baby and I are still attached. I protest, and M. helps me turn around and sit as we all laugh.

Time seems suspended as I stare at my baby in awe. Then, recovering, I look for the sex–“A boy!” I cry. “We have a boy–Ross!” I take him in my arms, half distracted by the sheer newness and half preoccupied with the task of suctioning (dh was all thumbs). He is warm and slippery, crying a little. My first thought is one of distress after seeing the tiny cleft in his earlobe. I work on getting the mucus out of his mouth and nose, since he seems a little congested, perhaps due to my position during the birth. Then I lay aside the bulb syringe and speak to him; immediately he quiets and opens his eyes to look for me. What a magic moment! I’m instantly in love! Dh runs for the phone and has three or four calls made before I can say anything. He breaks the news to his mother about the place of birth, rather “finesses” his way through it with some comment about the midwife “not making it.” Our joy is too boundless to be dampened by her alarm, however. I am filled with sheer amazement at God’s grace and mercy.

Afterwards M. helps me to the bathroom (still holding Ross) and I pass the placenta while on the toilet. Troy clamps and cuts the cord, and I return to bed. How wonderful to already be home….

All was normal, to the best of our ability to judge it. The only anomaly seemed to be a loose knot in the umbilical cord–somehow, at some point, Ross swam through a loop in the cord and tied it up! I am stunned anew, upon later reflection, convinced that God allowed that knot simply to further demonstrate His mercy. So many things seemed to firmly silence the “what if’s”!

************ [Adapted from a separate account]**********************

… we’re thrilled to have another blessing announcement to share! Ross A. made his
appearance December 16, 1995, just in time to be the star of our homemade Christmas cards.
He was born into daddy’s waiting hands, while I knelt next to our bed, with a close friend assisting.  The very fact of his being my largest baby yet–10 lbs. 3 oz.–was to me a witness that it was God’s  power at work. (My aunt, who is a nurse and had not been informed of our plans for staying home, freaked out a little: “What did the doctor say?? Did she have a cesarean???” I had to laugh!) I had one tiny tear, because the delivery was so quick, and Ross is (of course) wonderfully healthy. Some things were really unexpected; for one, all the things I was looking forward to–things I thought would really help in labor, like sitting in the tub to ease contractions–none of them really helped. I was fighting a battle during labor with the fear, more of the pain itself than of anything going wrong, and when I got to that point when I started saying “I can’t,” then I felt the Lord gently urging me to call on His name during the contractions…so began this litany of praise (there’s no other way to describe it)  which incredibly carried me through the contractions when nothing else was quite cutting it. That, for
sure, I would not have felt comfortable doing in a hospital, with strange nurses and a doctor present!!  There was something unique about praising God in spite of the pain. (I feel compelled to note at this point that I have never considered myself a”charismatic”!)

Also, it was beautiful to see my husband accepting and shouldering the spiritual responsibility, both of us as one trusting God to give me a safe delivery. There has been a new tenderness between us since Ross’ birth, and I feel God has worked a healing of sorts in our relationship. I realized during my pregnancy that I had never really trusted dh, as the head of our household, that even when I thought I was being submissive I’d still resented him for past hurts and failures. For me the birth was trusting that God could and would work through him as my (most immediate?) authority and guide the birth by his hands. (As one woman so aptly wrote, the joy and gratitude most women exude after birth belongs to their husbands–and to God–not to some doctor.) I learned that even though I may not see dh growing as quickly as I would like, I still have a lot of learning to do, as well.

In all, I was just awestruck over the whole thing, as I know most homebirthing parents must be. And the awe lingers, not just over the birth itself but how we came to our present, somewhat extreme position, from three hospital births, two of which were inductions, to a “medically unattended” home birth. Since reading The Way Home after my first baby, I’ve longed for a home birth, but I finally learned that it probably wasn’t going to happen for us unless we just committed to it and exercised some real faith. We’d tried for one with our second baby but wound up going with the doctor in my last month. With our third child dh said no way were we going to pay for a midwife then wind up in a hospital anyway, like before, so it was out of the question. I think that home birth must be one of those things (like breastfeeding) that you pretty much can’t “try” to do–you have to just do it! Between seeing the way a couple of my friends were treated when they had their babies–things which we felt in our hearts were wrong but could not “prove”–and a book or two which the Lord sent our way, by the time we conceived this baby the Lord had prepared us for a home birth, on our own if necessary.
They call it “do-it-yourself” home birth, right? Who’s really “doing it,” anyway? Does a doctor bring that baby out, or the Lord? But you know that already! It just seems such a revelation when you finally discover it for yourself.

Family response has been interesting, of course. I have to keep in mind that those opposing us–
mostly dh’s family–are not the enemy. It helps to know where the real source of the attack comes from. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…” We’re also blessed to have my mother and stepfather supporting us. I know it shouldn’t matter so much what people think, but when those people are the ones you love–ones you grew up with and/or were taught to honor and obey–it’s tough to take a stand.
****************************************************************************

Next baby, Breanna – October 14, 1997….

I had “prelabor” for a good 5 weeks this time (strong Braxton-Hicks) and early labor for maybe 24 hours (stronger Braxton-Hicks!)…the last 12 hours of that I could see definite signs of progression, i.e. shedding my mucous plug, some effacement/dilation (I checked myself….). This brought me to late afternoon on Tuesday, sleepy and irritated because I was impatient for it to really take off. (I was 8 days overdue.) I slept briefly, about 20 minutes or so; the contractions stopped but REALLY took off once I got up–guess even such a short rest helped!! They were strong enough for me to have to concentrate through so about 6:30 I called dh to make sure he was on his way home (my
mother was with me, so at least I didn’t have to deal w/ my 4 older children completely on my own!) and by the time he was there, I could tell I was definitely “in labor.” The kids watched a movie while I took a bath. During that time I could hardly feel the contractions, whether just because the water
eased the discomfort so much, or because sitting made them slack off, I couldn’t tell, so I decided to get out and walk around again. Sure enough, they picked up to the “leaning on the wall moaning” stage. The kids said later they didn’t even notice me wandering around laboring, which was great since my mom was really worried about them being distressed…it was the first time they were home while I labored. About 8:30-9:00 the kids were put to bed and I turned the stereo on w/ a few of my favorite CD’s. I think at this point I really let myself go, with the kids in bed and all, because the contractions definitely got harder and stronger. Dh showered w/ me, then we filled the tub for me to relax in again (and this time the contractions didn’t stop). Signs of transition came (I burp a lot!) and I moved into the bedroom…decided to lie down…at about 11:00 or so my mom decided she couldn’t stand listening to me moan from the other room and came in. I kept checking dilation and knew I was close…one strong contraction with an absolutely irresistible pushing urge came and when I bore down my water broke. I decided to get up on my feet (knowing I have “big” babies, I prefer being upright to help open everything up), checked again and found my cervix had gone back to 8 cm or so after the pressure of the water bag was gone!! I was so discouraged–until the next one hit and I had another STRONG pushing urge–that finished dilation and brought the baby down into the birth canal. Dh tells me that this stage was short, but it was INTENSE! This was one of those births where you literally can’t stop pushing, though I was trying to blow through them and wait long enough for some of the burning to subside.

Dh used lots of hot compresses and did oil massage, which helped…it seemed I pushed and pushed and couldn’t make very much progress. Then she came and he laid her on the floor between my feet (I was half-standing, half kneeling during the birth, kind of up and down depending on the moment). I looked down and saw that she was a girl, and I cried out, “Oh, Breanna!” and started sobbing. She was a little shorter than the other babies, and the heaviest–her head measurement was 14 ¼”, chest 15 ½”!!!! (This compared to my previous avg. of 14 ½!!) Troy tells me that in addition to these dimensions, she was born w/ her arm up across her chest, the hand tucked under her chin–explains a LOT!!! I can honestly say that everything went well–very straightforward–but not easy!! The massage and compresses were great–I had a couple of surface abrasions but no deep tearing; my only soreness per se the next day was in my tailbone from being so rudely shoved out of the way. Also the placenta delivered in 10-15 minutes, and my bleeding was no more than the previous births.

So here we are, 3 ½ days later…she’s so beautiful, so perfect…nursing great and I feel so incredibly blessed! Dh was wonderful through the whole thing, calm and comforting when I was about to “lose it”. My mother did well, too–she hadn’t originally planned to be right there, not knowing if she could handle watching me “suffer,” as she put it. (I would like to have had her
seen a slightly calmer birth, but she insists it was wonderful.) Just as a note of interest…my other children were 9.6, 9.0, 9.11, 10.3 (1st homebirth)–so Breanna holds the record. My last baby was longer, though, at 22″ (or more), so that does make for slightly less bulk….also she was my
earliest “natural” labor…my 1st went 12 days over, then I was induced at 3 days before…next was induced at 15 days over…4th was 14 days exactly. I’m only 5’6″ so it isn’t like I’m built very large or anything, either!

On the spiritual side, this birth seemed to be more “for” my mother. I did some heavy-duty praise and prayer during labor … this time the fear was “of something going wrong.” I guess we never know, until we reach eternity, precisely what effect our prayers had … I do know that this birth was more of a struggle. During the last push I was screaming into a towel, “NO-O-O!!” … why “no”??? I haven’t the foggiest idea!! Maybe it was the fact that it HURT so much more than the other births (even to my vague postpartum memory–LOL!!!) but I knew she had to come out! How many times in the spiritual, when God is trying to bring something forth from us, do we cry out in protest, “NOoooo….” I think about that often.

Unassisted home birth, after 3 hospital births

Hi, I’m MaryJo. On April 10th, 1998, Abigail Grace entered this world QUICKLY! We got the ‘Heart and Hands‘ book and found it to be very complete! We had also asked my friend, Tracie, to assist, since I helped her, and since she has home birthed her last two! Well, on April 3rd, I lost my plug and my Braxton-Hicks were increasing in pain. I thought surely this was it. My due date was the 13th, but with my last two I was two weeks early. I had also taken PN-6 this time so I was anxious to see what affect it had on the labor. My prenatal care was very simple. I drank raspberry leaf tea, took vitamins, and got plenty of rest. We never heard the heart beat or took my blood pressure. Having this in mind, we were excited about the simplicity of childbirth. Sad to say, my contractions on April 3rd petered out and I was left with no plug and 3 cm. dilated.

The next Thursday (April 9th), I was doing the dishes and at about 8:15 p.m. the baby gave this incredibly strong kick and I felt a gush of warm something run down my leg. At first I thought I had wet my pants. So I went to the bathroom, sat down on the toilet and went potty (or so I thought). As I was walking back down the hall, there was another big gush down my leg. At this point, I became suspicious about my water being broken. So I walked back into the kitchen where my husband was talking to his parents on the phone. I pointed to the puddle and then to my belly and he just waved me away. I pointed to the puddle again, and this time he says “Hold on, Mom and Dad. Mary Jo is trying to tell me something.” He looks at me and says, “What!” I say, “My water just broke!” Oh, if I could have taken a picture at that moment! He gets back on the phone and says, “Mom, Dad, I -uh, got to go, so, talk to you later. Bye!”

At this point, I had had no contractions, just water pouring down my leg. This is exciting to me, because all of my previous children were hospital births, and my water was broken to speed the process. Of course, laying on your back reduces the chances of your water ever breaking! So what do I do? I finish the dishes!!

Then, at about 8:45 p.m., I have my first contraction! It was about 30 sec. long, and hardly even noticeable. So about 9:15, we decide to get some rest. My contractions were 15 min. apart and 30 sec. long. Oh, I just knew this was going to be a long night!

So, I dozed in and out until 11 p.m., when I got up, seeing if gravity might speed things along. At this point, my contractions were 6 min. apart and 40 sec. long. At 11:50 p.m., my contractions went to 4 min. apart, but still just 40 sec. long. At this point, Eric decides to call Tracie to come assist. At about 12:10 a.m., I have this really hard contraction that lasted like 1 min. 30 sec. I could feel an extreme amount of cervical pressure. Then the contractions went back to 4 min. apart 40 sec. long.

I had about 3 more small contractions, then another very hard long one. I felt a lot more cervical pressure and told Eric to check me. I laid down on the bed and he said, “The baby’s head is through the cervix!” “What,” I said, then I had another long hard contraction.

At this point, Eric goes to get tongs to get the hot compresses out of the crock-pot. While he is gone, I feel the urge to push with the next contraction. He comes back, hears me moaning “that moan” and says, “Get to the bed.” We had planned ahead of time that I would birth on my side to try to slow the explosion rate of the head, thus controlling whether I would tear or not! So, after the contraction is over, I start to walk to the bed (which I was only 7 feet from). I got about 2 feet from the bed and another contraction hits. During this contraction, I feel the head starting to crown. Eric is wildly throwing the blue pads on the bed, and Tracie had NOT arrived yet! Fortunately, I had laid out the birthing kit on the dresser, so Eric didn’t have to sweat too much!

So I lie down on the bed and Eric applies the first hot compress. Still no Tracie! I have another contraction and the head crowns more. Eric is applying the hot compress this whole time. One more contraction and the head is out, then I give a little push and out comes the baby. Wow, we are so stunned at how fast it happened that I have to remind Eric to clamp the cord. That was at 12:35 a.m. Tracie didn’t show up until 12:50!!! She figured she had plenty of time! She walked in to see me holding a baby and delivering the placenta. The placenta was birthed and everything was fine.

There were some very interesting things about our first home birth. First, how fast she came out, which I could notice the difference with the PN-6. My contractions were much more productive! My water also broke on its own. I delivered my first placenta, every other one was jerked out of me by a doctor in a hurry. She presented herself face-up! and I didn’t tear! (Praise the Lord!!) Oh, man, after she was born I felt so good! We didn’t take our other kids anywhere, we just shut their door and they didn’t even know she was born until they got up in the morning! Abigail is a very good nurser.