Category Archives: Unassisted Home Birth

Pregnancy Journal of Sixth Unasisted Homebirth

Started August 31, 1999 If you are interested in following a do-it-yourself pregnancy and birth through from start to finish, bookmark this page and come back to check the updates. My husband and I are expecting our 8th baby. We have 5 boys and 2 girls so far, so I would really love to have a few more girls to try to even the numbers a little. We had our last 5 babies at home as unassisted births, meaning there was no doctor or midwife present. We did our own pregnancy care and birthed at home. At the bottom of this page, you can find a "netmind" link, where you can give your email address and you will be notified by email every time this page changes.
My Pregnancy Journal - Due mid-to-end of May, 2000

July 4, 1999 - first day of a normal cycle, lasting 31 days.

August 5, 1999 - LMP - It was a normal period, lasting approximately 6 days.  Nothing out of the ordinary that I can remember. Had a negative PG test on August 4.

August 23, 1999 - I noticed that I had had to get up out of bed to go pee three nights in a row. Curious, as that is my first pregnancy symptom, but it is only 18 days into my cycle. Hmmm. Pregnancy is possible, but I won't have a + test for at least 2 weeks, since I have had negative tests until 5 days late for a period most of my pregnancies.

August 24 - Again, I had to get up to go pee during the night. Also, I noticed I needed to pee frequently during the day. (This is my only EARLY pregnancy symptom!!) Really wondering now, and even mentioned the situation to dh earlier in the day. Later on in the day, as I realized that I needed to pee yet again (!) and I had not been drinking anything more than usual, I decided to use one of the pregnancy test strips that I sell on my web site. I certainly did not expect to have a positive result, as I was only 19 days into my cycle, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to see what would happen. IT WAS POSITIVE!!!! I could not believe my eyes!! I was not really expecting it to turn positive. I was only 19 days into my cycle!!  

This is too weird, I thought. Maybe the test is wrong! So I did another test with a new sample. STILL POSITIVE!!! Hmmm... these test strips are really super-sensitive to detect hCG at only 19 days since LMP!! But then, as I thought more about this, I began to wonder if perhaps I was pregnant during my last period on August 5th. I have heard that some women do continue to have periods for 3 or 4 months into a pregnancy and wondered if perhaps I had (that has never happened to me before, but anything is possible). But from what I have been able to find, these "periods" are not the usual "period," but more like heavy spotting. (If someone reading this has more info about this phenomenon, please email me.) Later on, as I continued to think about what could be going on, I remembered reading somewhere that one reason pregnancy tests might have a positive result early is because the hCG level could be elevated. One reason that hCG levels could be elevated is that there are 2 or more babies!! (There are other reasons that hCG could be elevated, but I like the twin aspect the best!!) Several times over the last few months, I had prayed that God would bless us with twin girls since I had been anticipating a pregnancy for sometime.

When dh got home that evening, I handed him a note which read: "Congratulations on your Promotion!!! It has been recently decided that you will be receiving a promotion. You'll still be working in the same area, but with increased supervisory and quality-control duties. You are to be congratulated for being considered faithful and being singled out for this great honor. Your responsibilities will increase and so will your benefits. You can begin training for this new position immediately, but the job change will be considered official around the middle to end of May 2000. Your new job title will be...Father of Eight!!" He read it, then asked me if his promotion also included a raise! I laughed and said, "Yeah! A raise in the number of gray hairs on your head!"  Then we hugged and he said "Congratulations." Later on, he told me that he should start calling me "Ovary."  "Why", I asked?  "Because you get pregnant so easy, you might as well be a walking ovary!" he said.

August 25 -   After some thought, I wanted to get a blood test done to get a better idea of how far along I may be.  I called a local lab about having one done, but, just as I expected, they said I needed to have a doctor or midwife order the test. I called a couple of midwives in my area and they both told me that the blood test wouldn't be very good in this case, because the result is usually so wide-ranging that it is hard to pin-point a date anyway. They both recommended an ultrasound as the best method of figuring a more accurate due date. I told them I would not be having an u/s done (not for fear of exposure, but for cost, as we do not have insurance and will not be applying for any medical aid). So their next best advice was a bi-manual exam, which is a vaginal exam where the midwife puts one hand in as far as she can reach and lifts the uterus up, then feels from the outside with her other hand how big the uterus is. You can usually estimate, within a couple weeks, how far along a woman is by doing this kind of exam. Well, this is not for me, either. I have had 7 babies now and have acquired quite a considerable paunch in my lower abdominal area, so I know they would have a very hard time feeling my uterus through it anyway. So I have decided to just wait and see what happens. We have done our own prenatal care for the last 5 pregnancies, why should we do anything different now?? I am prepared to just go with the flow. If things look like I am further along, or if it appears to be multiple babies, we will decide what to do then (our plan is still UC). Otherwise, I will just go about like this a normal pregnancy and try to keep this journal updated at least once a month or so, until toward the end when I will write more often.  Okay?? God bless! 

September 2 -  As I approach the day I would have expected my period, I worry that it will come anyway. I have never had a miscarriage before. Don't want one now. This is one reason I hear people give for not announcing their pregnancy early. If you lose the baby, you don't have the added grief of being reminded with cards and emails if nobody even knew! I am not having any problems to make me feel this way, just general dread.

Anyway, the only thing close to morning sickness that I get is loss of appetite. I could be really looking forward to a particular thing for dinner, then after a few bites... blah. I don't want anymore. This is good, in that it helps me to lose all the extra pounds that I added between pregnancies! I also lose my taste for coffee. I know caffeine is not the best thing in the world for the baby, but I have enjoyed coffee through most of my pregnancies and have had no problems. I just don't drink as much (instead of 2 cups a day, I only drink 1 a day!). I am not addicted to coffee, that's for sure!

The kids have wasted no time in telling the whole neighborhood that we are having another baby. The lady across the street is nice to me, but I have heard, through her grand daughter, that she thinks we have way too many kids already. I wonder what she said when she heard the most recent news? Another neighbor said she wishes us luck for another girl. Yeah!  I agree!  Make it two girls, please! LOL!

So, one sister not happy about my pregnancy, but you know what? I DON'T CARE!!! God sees us as fit enough to bless our home with another of His precious babies. Who am I to refuse it. I will love and cherish him/her all the days of their life. And lots more, too, if God blesses. Even if it means I never get to spend another day with my sister. With that kind of attitude, why would I want to spend any time with her, anyway? Enough rambling for today. I've got things to do. Bye.

September 7 - 33 days since LMP. No signs of my period, so I guess I can stop dreading. The other day, while cooking breakfast (fried potatoes and fried eggs), I had the biggest episode of loss of appetite I have ever had. I still didn't feel any nausea to speak of, but did not really want to finish cooking the food. After I served everybody, I left the room. It took several hours before I felt hungry, then I was ravenous!

At first I couldn't find anything that I wanted to eat. Then I spotted the "Lucky Charms" (well, actually, it was the store brand of that cereal), and I knew that was it! It definitely hit the spot. Not even an hour later, it was lunch-time, so I ate a tuna-fish sandwich, too. YUM! Lots of protein, something I should eat more of.

That night (or early the next morning- 3:30 am), I woke up feeling like I was starving to death! I never eat in the middle of the night, but I needed to do something to stop the pangs. I got up and put Kenny in the crib (we have been "helping" him learn to sleep in his crib over the last week or so), then went to the kitchen to see what I could have. Nothing looked appealing, so I just went back to bed. My stomach felt like it was eating itself!!

Then I remembered there was more cereal and I knew that was what I wanted, but now I did not want to get up again! So I laid there trying to sleep, but could not sleep because of the hunger. Finally, about 4:15, I heard Kenny beginning to stir in the kid's bedroom and I knew he would start crying any minute. I got him and proceeded to the kitchen where we both enjoyed a big bowl of cereal. I slept great after that. And when I prepared breakfast (fried potatoes and eggs again) in the morning, I did not lose my appetite. 

September 21 -  2 more days until I am 7 weeks. I feel great. No complaints, except for the constant need to pee and the fatigue that hits in late afternoon. I try to take a nap when I can, but that doesn't happen very often. I have been trying to be more faithful with my vitamin and herbal supplements. I need to get drinking the pregnancy tea, but have decided to buy the herbs in bulk and mix them myself. It is so much cheaper to do it this way, but there will be the initial expense to buy the herbs. I'm hoping that dh will hurry up and bill a company he has done a lot of web work for. They owe him a lot of money. And I hope that they pay right away. Then I will be able to place my order.

The kids and I spent a few hours at my sister R.'s house today. They purchased their own place several months ago and I had yet to go over and see it. She was very tolerant of having the kids around, but I could tell she had reached her limit by the time we left. We watched a really funny Tim Allen movie called "Jungle 2 Jungle."  We had never seen it before. The funniest thing about the movie was watching my kids laugh so hard at the various parts. They were practically rolling on the floor. We have chosen to not have a tv in our home, as we have proven to ourselves that we are couch potatoes when one is available. The only time we see a movie is if we go to someone elses house.

Kenny is back to our bed full-time. He just did not take to the crib like I had hoped. I'm not worried about it. I have plenty of time before the new baby comes to get him to sleep with one of his siblings. Maybe after he is weaned, he will no longer feel the need to sleep with momma. I have never tandem nursed (nursing a newborn and a toddler at the same time) and don't intend to this time either. We are in a queen-size bed and dh only just tolerates Kenny's presence, as long as he does not wake up with an arm in his face or an elbow in his back.

October 21 -   Today I am 11 weeks since LMP. I received an email last week from someone wondering if I was doing okay, because it had been some time since I last wrote. I am doing great!  The reason I have not written earlier is because we have had some computer problems, which are still not fully resolved, but at least I have access to the internet again.

Our computer is nearly 3 years old and has been giving dh fits for some time. It really needs to be replaced and we are praying God will meet this need soon. Last week, the day after I was 10 weeks, I found that my uterus had risen up out of my pelvis. I was very excited because, normally this is not supposed to happen until around 12 weeks.  

After mentioning this to the ladies on the UC Forum, I got an email from someone who is due around the same time as me, and who has also had several babies.  She said that the same thing has happened to her and that she doesn't think it is twins as much as she thinks it is just that the uterus has stretched out so many times already, it just naturally gets bigger faster. Hmmmm. Could be, but still, this is my 8th pregnancy.  It seems like this should have happened in at least my last pregnancy. If I am remembering right, I was not able to feel my uterus until around 13 weeks or so.  

Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting some tell-tale kicks. Well, during the past few weeks that I was not able to write, I had many things come to my mind that I wanted to tell you, but now that I am actually here writing, I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT THEY WERE! Bummer! Must not have been very important, right?

Oh, yeah! I was finally able to order the herbs that I wanted to make the pregnancy tea.  This tea is loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals that nourish both me and the baby. It also has lots of Red Raspberry Leaves, which is an herb that has been proven to strengthen the uterine and pelvic muscles and make for an easier and quicker labor and birth.  I drank these same herbs as a tea during my last pregnancy and it was my fastest, easiest birth.  I bought a large batch and am selling some, if you or anyone you know may be interested. Blessed Beginnings Herbal Tea for Pregnancy  You can buy a very similar tea called Traditional Medicinal's Pregnancy Tea at most health food stores, but it is so expensive! It costs over $4 an ounce! I am selling this tea for $8.50 a pound. Big difference in price, here! Well, this is all the time I have for now.  It is getting late and I need to get the kids to bed.  Until next time, then! -Oct 21

November 12 -  Well, I have received a few emails saying I need to update this, so here goes: I am now 15 weeks as of yesterday. I think that if I were having twins, I would have felt some movement by now. The earliest I have felt any of my babies move was 17 weeks. That was a date that I happened to write down, though (I may have felt movement earlier, but I can't recall off the top of my head.). And that baby was born at only 41½ weeks gestation! I have felt nothing yet, except for some bowel movement.

At first I would get my hopes up of it being a kick, but it soon became evident that it was not. A few weeks ago, I did "The Famous Bob & Tom Draino Test" and it said that I am having a girl. I will not get my hopes up TOO high, but it is nice to think about. I know that it can't be very accurate, but several ladies said that it was right for them! We shall see! I can now feel my uterus at my belly button. This is not supposed to happen until much later (usually around 20 weeks), so I still have the hope that I will have the baby closer to 40 weeks instead of my usual 42-43.

Kenny (my 16 month old) is now nearly completely weaned. He nurses only once or twice during the day (but even that will be cut out here within the next week or so). He was to the point of wanting to nurse the entire night through and my nipples were so sore! I finally have him starting the night out in his sister Sally's bed. Then he wakes up sometime around midnight-1 am and I bring him to bed with me. I give him a bottle so he will not be rooting on me. I will gradually work him into remaining in Sally's bed the entire night, but I have several months to work on that.

This is all I have time for right now. I will update when I feel definite movement. I guess there a lot of you reading this journal now. I get several emails a week from different ones. That's neat!! Just realize, though, that I am having limited computer time, so if I don't respond right away, I'm not just ignoring you! Thanks for your encouraging notes. I like to hear how my pregnancy is similar to yours. Love to all, ~ Charity

November 22 -  Okay! I only have a couple of minutes, so I'll write fast. I felt the baby move last Wednesday night! I'm so happy, because I usually get real worried as the weeks go by and I don't feel anything. This is earlier than I normally feel movement, but not much. It was the night before I was 16 weeks. I was lying in bed while dh was reading one of his computer magazines. While I was lying there, I was poking and prodding my belly, just to see if I could feel anything going on in there. Suddenly I felt 3 sharp pokes (kicks, really). I exclaimed to dh "I just felt it!" He said, "What?" He didn't even know what I was doing (he must have figured I was trying to go to sleep). "The baby! It kicked me!!" "Good!" then he went back to reading! I am really having my doubts as to any possibility of twins now. Even though this was a little early, I think I would be feeling lots more movement.  

This morning the baby was very active. Must have been doing somersaults in there, because I could feel it real good without even poking. We ordered a fetoscope to listen to the baby's heartbeat and are awaiting delivery. I can hardly wait to get it, because we have always used a stethoscope in the past and it is hard to find the heartbeat until late in the pregnancy. Well, I need to go get the kids some dinner.

Oh, yeah. There are a lot of you reading now, and someone asked if we home school. Yes, we are a homeschooling family. Until next time! ~ Charity

December 9 - Okay, I have a few minutes to update (there's not a whole lot happening, but I got several emails telling me I need to update more often!), so here goes: We got our fetoscope last week and have listened to the baby's heart several times. We didn't count or anything, just listened for for the fun of it. Dh got it out one evening and let the kids listen. They thought it was really neat!

The pregnancy is becoming more real to them all the time. I am showing more now and some of the kids have felt the baby kick. They liked that. My son, Nathan (4 years old), says I'm fat.  He's so funny. Abby (3) is not really interested in what's going on.  Kenny (17 mos) hasn't a clue (poor guy!). But Roy (11 on 30th of Dec.), Sally (9½), Jason (8), and Jonny (6½) talk about the coming baby all the time, especially now that it is more obvious that I am pregnant.

I have wanted my own doppler for several years, but could never afford to get one (they cost upwards of $500 brand new!). So I have been watching eBay and finally won a bid for one! YEAH! I don't have all the money right now, but the seller is allowing me to make several payments until it is paid for, then he will send it to me. I don't expect to use it often, but it will be nice to be able to find the heart tones quick if there is ever a need to.

There are over 66 people reading this journal. Most of you are interested in birth in general, while some of you know me personally and just want to keep tabs on my progress. I was told that I need to update more often, but I don't know what I would talk about if I did. I could just ramble about my thoughts and feeling, I guess, but I feel like that would be a waste of all of our time. "Just the facts, Ma'am!"  Plus, I don't always have much time to sit here and write. I have several book ideas I would someday like to start, but just the thought of the hours that would take really puts a damper on those ideas real quick.

Well, I should get to bed. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention how Kenny is doing sleeping with his siblings! I have him totally out of my bed now. He has been starting the night with either Sally or Jason, then coming in to my bed later on in the night. But the last couple of nights, I just put him back in their bed and he would sleep for a little while longer before trying to come to me again. The first time it was 5 times I took him back, and last night only 3. So we'll see how tonight goes. As long as I never give in and let him stay, he'll eventually catch on that he is supposed to stay in the bed the whole night! Okay, now I think I am finished. Until next time, then! ~Charity

January 8 -   Tomorrow it will be a whole month since I last posted! Guess I better get busy! I am past the 22 week point. Baby moves quite a bit and the kids love to feel him kick. I have a hunch it's another boy, but hope I'm wrong! Sometimes he rolls over with his knee or elbow sticking out and I can feel the whole pointy lump move across my belly. It's usually pretty neat (when it doesn't hurt!).

He's had hiccups several times already, and I have begun to feel Braxton Hicks contractions more frequently. I am still waiting for my doppler and hope to have it by the end of next week. It will be fun to hear the heartbeat over a speaker rather than through ear pieces. Its so hard to locate sometimes, then when we do locate it, its so faint you have to really strain to hear it. Also, with a doppler we will be able to know whether there are two separate heartbeats in there. I am not expecting there to be two, but I will definitely check very carefully. I have heard of doctors and midwives missing twins even though checking with a doppler, so I will probably have to check several times before I am *really* sure. I'm pretty big, but haven't measured my fundal height for a couple months. My fundus is a good 4-5 inches above my umbilicus, though.

Dh likes to mention how there is someone between us again. And when he hugs me, he mentions something about the "bump". We will be taking my blood pressure reading within the next couple of weeks, so we can have a base-line reading to go by as we approach the end of this pregnancy. Then if I have any swelling, we can check to see how my BP is doing. I have never had a problem with high blood pressure, but realize there is a first time for everything!

We will record my fundal height, too, while we're at it. I need to be more faithful with my vitamin and herbal supplements. I always have this problem. Even though all the bottles are sitting in a neat little row on the counter top ("so I will see them and remember to take them every day"), I still manage to forget most of the time. I usually get better at remembering as I get closer to the end, when I suddenly realize that they can't give any benefit if they are not being used.

That's about all I have time for today. I will try to update a little more often as we approach the end. I'm over the halfway point!! Yeah! It's all downhill from here! I hope the time goes quickly, but then slows WWAAAYYY down when the baby arrives.

February 4 - TRYING NOT TO GET MY HOPES UP, BUT... we found a heartbeat in 2 different places. (I finally got my doppler earlier this week - what a long wait!) At first, when I pointed out to dh that I was picking up 2 heartbeats, he said I must be aiming it at the same spot, so it would be the same baby. Then he tried it and we found that it was NOT aiming at the same spot. He is trying to be VERY optimistic, saying that it was probably only the cord that was being picked up, as the second spot was not as crisp sounding as the one side (lower right) where we are sure the (one) baby is. I am just huge.

The other day when dh mentioned something about my belly being in the way, I told him to take a good look at my belly, then realize that I supposedly have over 3 months left to go. His eyes got big (he never pays much attention to my pregnancies until I announce "The baby is due in about 2 weeks" -then he starts to get real nervous and act real paternally) and he said, "Wow! You'll end up being out to here!" (hands about 2 feet in front of me). LOL!

I am 26 weeks yesterday and 32 cm. I have been consistently large for dates, showed early, felt movement early, tested positive early. I would really love to have twins, but it all seems so weird that it *might* be a possibility. A few months before I conceived, I prayed one of those selfish-type prayers that you really don't think God will answer, that He would bless me with twins. Hmmm... AND... I do have a way to find out for sure!! An acquaintance of ours used to work for a place not too far away (well, an hour and a half drive) where they manufacture ultrasound equipment. They offer *FREE* ultrasounds to pregnant women, so they can test the equipment to make sure it passes quality checks. I am hoping to do this. I called the place today to try to get an appointment, but they didn't return my call yet. My mom is so anxious to know, too, that she even said she will take me there and we can make a day of it.  We might as well check out the sex of the baby while we're looking, too. But I might have to keep that a secret so you'll all have something to look forward to.

The only MD I found that would do an ultrasound for me (with no obligation to continue care) wanted $300. AACKK!! Not!  I'd rather wait and be surprised! I figure getting the US will also let me know where the placenta is, since I could hear it low down near the cervix on my left side. It takes about a month to get an appointment with this place, so by then the placenta will have moved more toward where it will end up being at labor time.

I stopped at the local pharmacy's blood pressure machine the other day and it registered my normal, healthy 106/70 reading. So far, everything is normal (well, except for being so BIG) and I am feeling great.  I'll write more when I know what's going to happen! 

February 18 - I am now 28 weeks as of yesterday. In my last update, I said I had found possibly 2 heartbeats with my doppler and that I was going to try to get an ultrasound so we could know what we are dealing with.

Well, I finally talked to the lady in charge of scheduling appointments for that ultrasound manufacturing company and found that they will not do one for me without what basically works out to be a "permission slip" from my doctor. Something to do with not wanting liability if they found anything wrong. They would want to be able to call my doctor to let him know there was a problem. So I called another place I learned about that does $75 ultrasounds, just so the mother can have pictures/video and find out the sex of the baby. But this place would not do one without a "permission slip", either. This really bothered me at first, but I have come to the point of accepting this as God shutting the door. If He wanted me to have an ultrasound, it wouldn't be so hard to get one. Maybe someone will rear-end me in the car and then I can go to the ER and have their insurance co. pay for me to see my baby? I'm not worried about it either way.

Dh was feeling my belly last week and there is a lot of space around the baby. I think if there were 2 babies, there wouldn't be a whole lot of room like that. Also, I am not really growing anymore, centimeter-wise. I am still 32 cm. at 28 weeks. I really think I just have a lot of water. Dh thinks I am a month further ahead than my dates indicate, as he says the baby is a pretty good size already, but I will not count on this too heavily. If I am, then I will get to hold my baby sooner than I originally thought. If I'm not, then dh will have a very long month waiting for me to pop.

March 14 -  In two days, I will be 32 weeks. YEAH!! Time is going fast now! There's not much happening. I'm still big, and feeling bulkier all the time. When the baby stretches, I get a foot all the way up on the outside of my rib cage. I feel lots of pressure against my cervix sometimes, too; almost like the feeling just before the membranes break. I just noticed this evening that my ankles are starting to swell a little. Its the end of the day, so that's not surprising. This always happens near the end of my pregnancies.

We'll be sure to keep tabs on my BP and if it is high, we will get some dip-sticks to watch for protein in the urine. I haven't measured my fundal height yet this week, but at 30 weeks it was 36 cm.  We are pretty sure I am going to have this baby "early."  It wouldn't really be early as far as the baby is concerned, but it would seem early to me. Particularly after always going late! If my guess is right, I should really be almost 36 weeks right now. So taking into account my tendency to go 43 weeks, I might be having this baby within the next month and a half! That would be wonderful!

I'm really trying not to get too hopeful about this, but I can't imagine going another 2½ months when I am as big as I am already! In a way, its kind of neat to not be real sure when this baby will decide to show up. It is a fantasy of mine to have this baby when I am alone. Not that I don't want to share this joyous moment with my hubby, but there's just something about being alone and nobody there to "take turns" holding the baby. Nobody to say, "Don't push yet! You don't want to tear!" That's always very annoying!

Dh is real paranoid about me hemorrhaging after the birth (this is my eigth baby, after all). He wants to be there, if only for the help he would be should I bleed too much. I can understand this. But still, with me not knowing for sure when to expect this baby, and seeing as my last labor went so fast that my mother and sisters did not get there in time to see the birth, dh might not be home when I go into labor! I could very well have that solo birth! I don't think I would intentionally not call him if he were away (he has a cell-phone), but he could be so far away that he wouldn't make it back in time! Could happen!

Anyway, I haven't given another thought to seeking an US. I am almost positive that there is only one baby. I will be just as surprised as everybody else if there turns out to be two babies. I'll go for now.

April 13 - Well, I have received several emails saying I need to update. I know, but it is so hard to find the time. It is 11:15 pm right now. I should be in bed, but I need to get this updated. I am 36 weeks today. I have not measured my fundal height this week, but last week it was 39 cm. I have been consistently measuring ahead and dh is convinced that I am off on my menstrual dates. I know I am not but do agree with him that I will probably have the baby by the end of this month.

I was so uncomfortable about a week and half ago that I was almost in tears at one point wishing this was over already. I always get a really bad pain in my left lower rib every pregnancy (I think I might have injured/fractured the rib in a bicycle accident I had when I was about 11 years old. If so, it was never discovered). I couldn't get comfortable in bed for several nights and almost went to sleep on the couch so I wouldn't disturb dh"s sleep.

Anyway, this pregnancy has been the worst yet. I cannot bend over very far without wincing in pain. I have given up even trying to tie the kids shoes (have that task to my older 3 kids). I have to get right down on the floor with Kenny to change his diaper so I won't have so far to bend over. But I am not as uncomfortable anymore, and I believe that to be because the baby has dropped down further. I still get a lot of pushing up against the ribs, but it is not constant like it was a couple weeks ago.

Several ladies at church have mentioned that it looks like the baby has dropped. I certainly feel like it has! I got the baby clothes out of the shed today and washed and organized them. It was so fun pulling each item out of the laundry basket and the kids exclaiming, "Ohhh! Look how tiny!" and "Did I wear that?" They are really getting excited now. Even Abby (3½) has been talking about it - "when the new baby comes, it will be this tiny!" (hands about 5 inches apart, LOL!).

I got my birth supplies ordered and delivered a couple weeks ago, so now we are ready! I have been taking my herbal supplements to prepare my body and build my blood supply. Dh is always worried about a post-partum hemhorrage, so I like to do everything I can to build my iron stores. I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil orally for a couple of weeks. I will begin inserting them vaginally starting tonight when I go to bed. It is supposed to soften the cervix in preparation for labor.

Who knows! Maybe my next update will be an announcement! I'm trying not to get my hopes too high, but I know with all the differences this pregnancy has had compared to my previous ones, I really think I am due soon.

April 27 -  Had the baby yesterday!

May 13 -   I haven't gotten the birth story done yet. I hope to get it finished by the end of next week. Keep checking back. I *will* get to it.

Aug 30 - Due to some major computer and various other un-related problems, I am unable to add the birth story at this time. I am fine, baby is GREAT and growing- 19 lbs. at 4 months now.  Sorry. I did want to get the story up in a timely manner, but circumstances have prevented this.

Feb 9th - Charles is now over 9 mos old. He weighs about 24 lbs and is still mostly breastfed. He is gradually getting more and more table foods and is crawling around, getting into anything and everything.

Fifth Unassisted Home Birth – Fast Labor

Castor Oil

I very reluctantly decided to take another dose of castor oil on Saturday afternoon. Both times I had a good contraction pattern going the previous week, it was the morning after taking a dose of castor oil. Only then it didn't do any dilation. I had, since then, been having lots of mucus discharge, was dilated to 3 cm., 60% effaced, and just sitting there, doing NOTHING!

I was 20 days late, which is the latest I've been and twice. I figured the castor oil wouldn't hurt, other than the getting it down part (disgusting), but if it did work, I would be holding my little one soon.

So, 2 p.m. I chug-a-lugged it down mixed with a home-made Orange Julius. I had not been having any contractions except for an occasional Braxton-Hicks (BH), maybe 1 every other hour. It had been like that for days. I was a little discouraged, because from what I had heard from others, drinking raspberry leaf tea was supposed to make you have more BH contractions. I had had more during other pregnancies. This was the first pregnancy that I drank the raspberry leaf tea.

We left for my mom and dad's house for a family get-together/bbq. about 3:30 p.m. I noticed a couple of contractions on the way, but they were nothing to write home about, so I attributed them to BH. I had several more over the next few hours. They felt like nothing more than BH, too, so I didn't get excited about them. I told my mom and sisters that I had taken castor oil again, and they were a little excited about maybe being the real thing this time. I was reluctant to get my hopes up.

It was only a week since the last castor oil attempt that had caused lots of contractions that eventually petered out. It had gotten me all excited for nothing. Around 6:30 p.m., I mentioned to my mom that the contractions were getting closer together now, but were still nothing as far as being strong or anything. I didn't even want to start timing them, for fear that I would just get excited for nothing again.

We left for home, which is only a 15 minute drive, about 7:30. I had several more contractions on the way home, but still nothing to get excited about, strength-wise. When we got home, I asked d to check me to see if the contractions were doing anything, or if I should just forget about having a baby that night.

Labor? Could It Really Be?

When he checked, he said that there might be a slight change in the effacement, but not much else. There was more watery mucus than there had been before, though. He decided to wait to check during a contraction, and when I had one just a couple minutes later, he said he could feel the difference in the cervix during a contraction. He said he believed I was for sure going this time.

Based on my previous labors, starting out from where I was right then, I figured I had at least a good 10 hours or more of labor ahead of me. I called my mom and two sisters who would be coming to the birth and told them not to get too excited yet. I said I was having regular contractions but it would probably take all night. I would have dh check me again in a few hours, then I would call them the let them know if there was any change. That was about 8 p.m.

Dh asked why I called them and I told him I wanted them to be prepared in case it was tonight. Then he told me that he wasn't really sure that it would be tonight, since there was so little change, and now my mom and sisters wouldn't be able to sleep very well because they would be waiting for me to call them.

Well, that put a damper on my mood real fast. First, he told me he was sure it would be this time, then he said he wasn't so sure. (It just goes to show how predictable labor really is, right?)

The contractions were continuing to come, but now I noticed a low ache in my back each time. I still was not timing them, but I could tell they were getting closer together. I had what felt like a little water dripping out, and when I checked my underwear, there was a wet spot. I had just gone potty not five minutes before, so I knew it wasn't pee. I figured if it was my water, it would gush pretty soon, since that is what happened in my 5th labor, my water broke early on. I had a leaking feeling, then a few minutes later, the water poured out . I walked around in the house, just puttering, actually, and they were still coming pretty constant. A little stronger each time.

I could feel them in my back, real low, but still not too bad. I had a few more feelings of dripping, with the wet spot getting bigger each time. I was waiting for a gush, but it never came. I knew this was real labor now, but thought I had a long time to go.

A Waiting Game

About 9 p.m. I went downstairs to where dh was using the computer in his office and told him that my water might be leaking and I wanted him to check me at about 9:30. But I had forgotten about the hour-long radio program we always listen to at 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Since I didn't want to miss any of the program, I put off the check until 10. I continued to have low back-ache type contractions throughout the hour, but still not too bad, with more leaking.

When we sent the kids to bed, I told them that if the baby came tonight, we would wake them up so they could watch the birth. Dh checked me shortly after 10 p.m. He said I had not dilated much, but I was definitely effacing more, and when he pulled out there was a lot of watery mucus. I was excited to be in real labor, finally, but dreaded the hours to come.

Dh started setting up the birth tub, but he said I shouldn't call anyone yet, because I still had a long time to go. I said I wanted to at least call my mom, because I had told her I would let her know if there had been any change before she went to bed. I called her house, but the phone was busy. "Wouldn't you know it, she's on the internet," I thought.

I waited a while and tried again. Still busy. "Come on, Mom. You're expecting a call from me. Get off the internet." I waited a little while more, the contractions were getting stronger each time. I tried to call again about 10:30. Still busy. "MOM!" I called my sister, A., who would be riding over with mom when the time came, and I told her that I was definitely in labor, but I couldn't get hold of mom to tell her. I told her I thought I still had several hours to go, if not all night. She said that she would keep trying to call mom and have her call me when she gets hold of her.

I turned my attention to getting the video camera set up. I noticed that the time was wrong and started messing with the buttons, trying to reset it. I had a pretty strong contraction, way low in the back that I almost had to moan with to keep on top of it. “Wow,” I thought, “I don't have to moan with contractions until late in labor.”

I continued fussing with the camera. The next contraction took my breath away. [I forgot to mention, since about 6 p.m., the castor oil was having its effects on my system, and I had to visit the toilet about every ½ hr.] I found the camera's instruction booklet and grabbed it on the run to the toilet. As I was sitting there, reading the instructions for setting the time, I have another very strong contraction that I really have to moan through.

Dh, who had been in the kitchen setting up the tub, came in to take a look-see. When he saw me on the toilet, he said, “You better not have my kid in the toilet.” When I was done, I fixed the time on the video camera, 11 p.m., but not before having several more very strong contractions that required some breathing through.

Notifying Birth Attendees

I had tried to call my mom a few more times, but the phone was still busy. I told dh, frustratedly, "I can't get hold of mom. She's on the internet. She knows I was going to call."

Dh asked why I didn't email her since she gets her email almost instantly. It was about 11:10 p.m. when I went downstairs to dh's office (and our only computer at the time) to email mom. I had several more good contractions that I had to breathe hard and moan through. They were real intense in my back area, but dh was not with me to put counter-pressure on my back. I got the email program running, but didn't have to type anything because (thank goodness we have 2 lines) our phone rang. It was mom, "What's up? A. said you want me to call." (It turned out it was my dad on the internet, and mom had gone to bed. Since A. didn't have internet, she called my other sister, R., who was planning to come to the birth, too, and asked her to email mom to tell her to call me. WHEW!! What a hassle!)

Oh, I was so glad to hear her voice. I said, "I'm in labor!" She asked how far along, and I started to tell her that at 10 p.m. I wasn't very far, but now I'm not too sure, but I had another very strong contraction and had to put the phone down so I could grip the arms on the chair that I was sitting in. My mom could hear me moaning pretty loud. When it was over, I picked up the phone and she said she would be over by midnight. I asked her if she would pick up S., a teenage girl I had invited to see the birth. She said she would, but I needed to call S. to let her know that they were coming and when. Before we got off the phone, I had another very strong contraction.

I called S. and talked to her mom. Another contraction. They were very close now, but I still wasn't timing them. Probably about 3 minutes apart and lasting a minute or more. I called R., to let her know everyone was on their way, but I could not talk long because a contraction was coming. She called my mom, "What's going on? Charity's not telling me much." Mom told her I was in labor and couldn't carry on a conversation right then. They decided that R. would pick up S., so she wouldn't have to drive alone.

After I was done calling everybody, I decided to make a quick post to my Unassisted Childbirth Forum to let anyone know who might check, that I was definitely in labor. If you go read the post, it is at  11:19 p.m. and it is titled "It worked!" In it, I said that I was in labor and hoped to be holding my baby by morning. Little did I know how soon it really would be. When I finished the post, I got up to go back up stairs, where dh had remained the whole time.

I didn't get far before another strong contraction gripped me. I had to stop and moan. I thought dh would hear me and come help me, but he didn't. When it was over, I started up the stairs, but ½ way up, another one. I had to kneel on the stairs and moan through it. When it was over, I finished climbing the stairs, but as I got to the kitchen, another one. “Oh, man,” I thought, “these are pretty strong.” I didn't dare hope that I was very far along. I was wondering how I was going to make it several more hours if it was this bad already. I got to dh, who was lying down on the sofa, looking at a book, and told him he needed to check me again, because it seemed like it was going pretty fast.

Major Progress

It was about 11:25. I told him everyone was on their way and they should be here around midnight. As we went in to the bedroom, another good contraction hits. I lunged for the edge of the bed to kneel next to it and insisted that dh give me some good back counter pressure. Oh, it felt so much better when he did that. When it was over, I took my underwear off and started to climb on the bed when another contraction hits "I hate this," I said to dh, "YOU did this to me!" He laughed and said, "Yeah, that's what you say every time."

When he checked me, he was in there only a few seconds when he said, "Oh yeah. You're at least 5 cm, maybe more, but at least 5." I felt some relief at that point, because with my last baby, I went from 5 cm. to baby in an hour. That was in the birth tub. The tub was only half filled right then, so dh scrambled up to put more water in it. I said to him as he was leaving the room, "Well, we’ve got about an hour." He said, "You got maybe 15-20 minutes max." “Yeah, right,” I thought, “I’ve never gone that fast.” I suddenly felt effects of the castor oil doing its work again, and told dh, "I need to poop." "Don't have my baby in the toilet," he reminded me.

As I was sitting there, I got another real strong contraction that I felt a slight pushing urge with it. "No," I thought, "It can't be time yet." As I finished wiping, another one, with a stronger urge, this time. I grunt with it, "UUHHGGG!!!." Dh came in to check on me, and I groaned "Bear down!!" "No!” Dh exclaimed, “Don't bear down yet, its too soon!" I finished in the bathroom, and called out to him, "Don't forget to wake the kids, at least the older 3, when the time is near. I told them they could watch." Dh came out of the bedroom with the video camera, trying to get it set up. "Okay," he said.

It's Time!

I walked out into the living room as dh went back into the bedroom to get a few more video items. Suddenly, I was gripped by the strongest contraction yet, and went down on one knee, near the sofa. As I was going down, I felt and saw at the same time the water pouring out all over the living room/hallway carpet. At the same time, I had an irresistible urge to push. I called out to dh, as I was groaning with the push, "Uughh, the water broke!" I felt an extreme amount of pressure. Dh was coming out of the bedroom just as it was happening.

He looked down and saw a head. I didn't realize that the head was even out yet. I heard him say, "Oh, Charity! Down on all fours!" I complied. He got behind me to hold the head so the baby wouldn't just plop out on the floor. I felt another contraction and pushed and that was when I realized the head was already out. I reached through my legs and felt this wonderful, warm, wet, fuzzy ball. “My baby is almost here,” I thought.

Dh suddenly remembered the kids. "Sally! Sally, if you're awake, come here!" They had only been in bed a little over an hour and a half, so I was hoping they were awake. "Roy! Hey, Roy, come see the baby be born!" I heard a noise from Sally's room and thought she was coming, but instead it was Abby, our 20 month old. We were in the hallway, not 4 feet from her bedroom door. She just stood there and watched the rest of the birth transpire.

I wanted the baby out, so I began to push, but dh said, " No, don't push." (He is always concerned that the birth happen slowly so I won’t tear. This is not a concern of mine, since I birthed a 10½ lb. boy with no tears.) I said, "I asked you not to say that this time." So he gave in and as the next contraction came, I pushed with all my strength. Out slid my wonderful little baby. The blood and fluids spilled out all over the carpet. Dh had to rush to get a towel for me to sit on, so I wouldn't make the floor any worse than I already had.

Abby was staring wide-eyed. I didn’t know what she was thinking, so I pointed to the baby and said, "Look! Mommy's baby came out." We had been talking about mommy's baby coming out for weeks, so she understood that much. She would put her mouth on my belly and say, "Come out, Baby!" I pointed to it and said, "Mommy's baby came out!" I asked dh what it was, as he had flipped the baby over onto its belly to help the fluids drain. "Its a boy!" He said it, like, "Of course, what did you expect?!" I was slightly disappointed, but that didn't last long.

I scooped him up and held him for the first time. "Oh, baby, I've been waiting so long to hold you!" Abby came over close to take a look-see. The baby started crying as soon as it was born, even before I could flip over. He had a good strong cry and pinked up immediately. I asked dh for the time, but since we didn't look immediately at the time of birth, he guessed that 2 minutes had gone by and that the time of birth would have been 11:42 p.m. July 11, 1998.

Dh got an absorbent pad from our birth kit and laid it out on the floor in the living room for me to sit on, as the towel and floor where we were was totally drenched with fluids. As I was sitting there, I nursed the baby. We were waiting for my mom, sisters and friend to arrive, as well as the placenta. It was almost like a race to see which got here first.

It wasn't even 10 minutes after the birth when the placenta slid out. It came with no problems, but the membranes were still adhering somewhere. We left it alone for a few minutes and then did some uterine massage until it, too, let go and came out.

You Missed It!

At 11:55, we heard the first car pull up. I was sitting in straight view of the front door, holding the baby. I couldn't wait to see the expressions on their faces when they realized they missed the whole thing. It was my mom and A., A.had been to 3 of my home births already, so knows how long I usually take to labor.

Mom walked in first, and we said, "Hi. Sorry, but you missed the whole thing." (They told us afterward that they thought we were kidding.) It took a minute before they realized I was holding the baby. "WOW! I can't believe you had it already! That was so fast!" A. said to mom, "You shouldn't have stopped for gas!" At 12:10, R. and S. showed up. I felt bad about S. missing it, because she had been looking forward to watching the birth since I first invited her, back in April. They, too, were surprised it was already over.

Everyone had brought their breakfasts, figuring they would still be there in the morning. We weighed him. He weighed 8 lb. 12 oz. just one oz. less than Abby. It was 12:40am when everyone went back home. He was an hour old already. Since I didn't want to waste the water that was in the birth tub, I climbed in with the baby and cleaned up a little.

I would estimate his gestation (using the clinical gestation guide) to be about 41 weeks. He had vernix in his creases, but most of the rest was washed off. He had a little dry skin, too. But otherwise looked to be right on time. So I am going to plan that my next baby won't show up until 43 weeks, and I won't get my hopes up about having an earlier birth.

Third Baby Is First Unassisted Home Birth

At the time of our third pregnancy, we had not heard of anyone birthing their baby without a doctor or midwife's assistance. (Of course, almost everybody has heard of native women who would go off into the bushes and come back a short time later with their newborn baby. But, in America, it's just not done that way anymore, or so the medical community would have you think.) We had had two rather easy and uneventful, natural hospital births, except for a mild case of shoulder dystocia, which the doctor had little trouble releasing. The first, a boy, weighed 9 lb. 12 oz., in Dec. 1988, and the 2nd, a girl, weighed 8 lb. 8 oz., in June 1990. With my second baby, the doctor arrived just in time to put his gloves on, sit down, and catch her. But after a move across the country and a new job, in early 1991 we found ourselves expecting our third, but now we had no medical insurance. We are Christians and God plays a very important roll in all of our decisions.  After consulting with some local midwives and finding out the amount of money they wanted up front, we began to pray about what we were to do about the upcoming birth.  We did not have the means to pay such a large sum of money, but God could provide if it was His will for us to go this route. We did not want to go on any assistance program, mainly because we didn't want the government feeling like they have any say over our family decisions. We were constantly in prayer about what we should do, but we never felt led to pursue any care from the midwives.  I began checking out books from the local library, and as I read, I was enthralled by the normalness and naturalness of birth.  I began to wonder why women don't just stay home and birth privately, as it is such an easy process, with complications being very rare.  Most of the complications that might arise have enough warning that help could be sought pretty quickly. One particular book was what got me thinking that maybe we should do just that.  It is by David Stewart, entitled "Five Standards For Safe Childbearing."  It is filled with statistical information about the safety of home birth versus the dangers of hospital birth.  I read portions of this book to my husband, but never mentioned my desire to have this baby unattended.  First of all, I didn't think he would ever go for it, and, secondly, I didn't want to influence him one way or the other.  If God wanted us to birth unassisted, He would have to show my husband himself. One day, about 3 months into the pregnancy, my husband asked me why we couldn't just have the baby at home by ourselves. WHOA! After getting over my initial shock that he actually suggested it, we began discussing the possibilities. We considered that my labors and births were very easy, and after praying again, we felt that God was definitely leading us that direction. While normal labor and birth needs no intervention, we wanted to be prepared for any complications that might arise, so we purchased a few items. We purchased a blood pressure cuff and a stethoscope, so we could monitor the baby and I.  We weren't sure how the medical community would take it if there was a bad outcome to the birth, and so wanted to have a record of the care we did. Through a local midwife, I found out about a birthing supply company in Oregon, and sent away for their catalog. We also purchased an older edition of 'William's Obstetrics', a textbook used in medical schools, so we could read up on all the different complications and how to handle them, while realizing that the chances of any of these complications happening was very low. At about the same time all this was happening, I came to the realization that I wanted to become a midwife someday. I read every book I could get my hands on that had to do with pregnancy and childbirth. I saw what a natural process birth is, and never felt any anxiety at all about our future unassisted birth. I told anyone who asked that we were planning a "do-it-yourself" birth, but after some bad reactions from a few people, I was more cautious of who I told. (I even found out, after the birth, that one person had planned to call 911 and have an ambulance sent to our house when he heard I was in labor. Needless to say, I was glad that he did not hear anything until after the baby was born.) We continued to pray throughout the pregnancy for a healthy baby and an easy labor and birth. My husband studied the library books also, to prepare himself for the role he was undertaking. This was not something he took lightly, and he felt that the life of his wife and child rested solely in his hands. It was a very sobering thought, but as it should always be. He was especially fascinated by the process of labor, and how the baby emerged. He studied about the cervix and learned how to feel if it was dilating. (Of course, this was very uncomfortable for me.) I highlighted, in my personal books, the areas that might be needed in a hurry during labor, as we wanted to be prepared for anything. In September, we ordered the supplies that we thought we should have on hand for the birth. We ordered a dozen sterile surgical gloves, which my husband used because we wanted to reduce the possibility of the baby or me getting an infection. We also ordered a bulb suction syringe, for clearing the baby's air passages; plastic cord clamps; absorbent under pads; a large plastic bag for covering our mattress; an anti-bacterial hand wash; sanitary pads and briefs; and a few other things. My 'due date' came and went with no sign of a baby, but soon my 'Braxton Hicks' contractions became more frequent. The evening of Nov. 8, I noticed some pink 'show'. My husband checked, but there was no real change from the time before. I called my mother, who would be taking my children to her house during the birth, to let her know of the new development. I told her it may still be days away, but I just wanted her to be prepared for whenever. I also called my sister, and friend, who would be coming to take photos of the birth and to help out. They would be waiting for my call. After praying for a quick and easy birth, we went to bed. About 2:30 a.m., something caused me to awaken from my sleep. I couldn't figure it out why I was so wide awake, until I felt a contraction. I wondered if that had been what woke me up. About 10 minutes later, there was another one. Not real strong, just enough to keep me awake. I thought that before I woke dh, I should get up and walk around awhile to see if they would continue. Over the next 45 minutes or so, they did get stronger and closer together. I woke dh up and he checked my cervix again. He found that some definite changes had taken place during the night, so we began to prepare the bedroom for the birth. We put the plastic mattress cover over our mattress, then made up the bed with a sheet that we didn't care if it got messy. It was just after 3:30 a.m. We didn't want to call my mother yet, because we knew it would still be awhile. I had a few loads of laundry from the night before that I wanted to finish, so I proceeded to pass the time washing and folding laundry. My husband thought I was crazy, but I figured, "Why not? I can't sleep anyway." By 5 a.m. I knew it was time to call everyone. The contractions were averaging 4-5 min. apart, but were really getting uncomfortable. I was so glad I would be staying in my own house rather than have to travel to a hospital again. I regretted having to wake everyone up, but I knew this was happening fast. My friend, M., was already up, waiting for my call. She said she knew I would be calling anytime. (I still wonder how she knew that.) We got the kids dressed and fed. My mom was marveling that I was so intent on getting the laundry done. I only had a few minutes time when one contraction ended until the next began. Each one required my full attention. Finally, my husband told me to forget the laundry. He would finish it later. When my mom and kids left, about 6:30 a.m., dh checked my cervix again and found it to be around 5 cm. My contractions were about 3-4 min. apart now, and I had a few fleeting thoughts of, 'Will I really be able to do this at home?' The next couple of hours were a blur of contraction after contraction, and I knew that it would soon be time to push this baby out. During this time, dh set out our birthing supplies on the dresser top, where they would be easily accessible when the time came. Finally, around 8:45 a.m., he said that if he was measuring right, I was all the way open, but there was a large bubble of the bag of water bulging in front of the head. I said we should try to break it so it would be easier to push the baby out. (We knew by feeling from the outside that this was another large baby.) He broke the sac, and it popped with a gush. I felt so much relief. [NOTE: We now know it was not a good idea to artificially rupture the membranes, and have since not done it again!] I got up on our bed, and within minutes the urge to push took over. My sister A. started snapping pictures. After just 3 pushes, daddy caught our second son, at 9:28 a.m. on Nov. 9, 1991. He weighed 9 lb. 2 oz., and we named him Jason. We got a couple of good pictures of daddy catching him. I had no vaginal tears at all, and, after dh clamped the cord, Aunt A. got to cut it. The placenta came soon with no problems. I was up to take a shower within 45 minutes, and it felt wonderful. We thanked God for allowing us this special blessing, and for His guidance in the birth. WOW! What an experience! That was one of the major highs of my life. I felt like I was 'floating' for weeks afterward. We felt thankful to have been blessed with such an easy birth in our own home, and I knew that I didn't ever want to birth in a hospital again. I scheduled an appointment with the county health department's 'Well Baby Clinic,' to have him examined that first week, and he was pronounced 'a very healthy baby.' I had been a little nervous about how the nurse would react to the circumstances of his birth, but she turned out to have no negative remarks at all. We filed for a birth certificate with the county registrar within a month, which was a very easy process to fulfill.      

Sixth Baby – Unassisted Birth

Birth is not just a physical event and definitely not a medical event. For humans, it was designed by the Creator as the way to bring forth those created in His image. Because He has created us eternal, spiritual beings, it is first of all a spiritual event. A true miracle is taking place in the birth of an eternal person and there are no words adequate to describe the impact of being present when that person is birthed from the secret place into the world. Birth is also the completion of a cycle of life and the beginning of another. The Creator commanded us to be fruitful and multiply and made a man and a woman to complement each other in that process. He designed them to be united as two into one and in the peace and intimacy of their union to bring forth children to be brought up to know Him. The child is conceived in intimacy and the completion of the cycle of bringing forth that fruit of love is also an intimate act. It requires peace and a trust in the One who designed it all to safeguard the whole process. There is a special work done in the parents as far as their relationship to one another and to the One who made them and brought them together, as well as in the relationship to their children when birth is seen from this viewpoint. I have been privileged to give birth to six children and to be present at many more births and to have my Father transform my thinking gradually about the whole process. This sixth birth has been the most wonderful event in my life in enjoying birth the way it was designed to be. I had two babies in hospitals, two at home with the medical system present, one unassisted at home with still too big of an audience, and this one that was just my husband and myself. The whole pregnancy was another step of the journey in trusting my Father, as I conceived a child at 43 and about 70 lbs. overweight with borderline high blood pressure. I asked my Father that I wouldn't gain any weight with this pregnancy and I did not diet to keep from doing so. He led me to make some very simple changes in the way I eat by increasing the amount of raw food I eat and decreasing cooked foods, meat and dairy. I felt the best this pregnancy of all of them as long as I was eating this way. My blood pressure came down to normal, also. As the pregnancy progressed, I wondered if I was having twins because of how quickly my uterus was growing. I did not really desire to have twins even though every one else in the family did. One reason was knowing the complications that can arise with a twin birth and the other being I felt too old to cope with two little babies (and eventually toddlers) at once. I came to the point of really believing that I had two babies in my womb and had to come to a place of surrender and trust in my Father about it. I even got excited about the thought. My Father used this in my life in a tremendous way, even to be willing to share what I thought and be willing to be wrong and appear foolish. I asked Him for the baby's head to engage in the pelvis when I was about 36 weeks and shortly after that it happened. My first baby is the only one who dropped before labor and that was over 23 years ago so my memories of labor had a lot to do with all the pressure in the pelvis. I spent two weeks feeling like I was in labor and had to go through the process of learning to trust Father for His time for the birth. I did try nipple stimulation to try and get labor going on about three occasions and it did not keep labor going. I was tempted to try herbs, also, but decided He wanted me to trust Him about it. I got bigger than I have ever been and there was so much baby movement and I just wanted it to be over with. The waiting was getting extremely wearisome to both my husband and me and also to the rest of the family. I did begin to lose the mucous plug about two weeks before the birth and then on Friday night, September 24th, I lost a little blood tinged mucous, but nothing else was going on and we had a pretty decent night's sleep. When I got up in the morning, there was a little more blood tinged mucous and the pressure was greater than it had been. I had contractions throughout the day, but they were usually 10 - 20 minutes apart and irregular, as the rest of my contractions had been for the last two weeks. They were stronger feeling, though, and felt more like labor contractions to me. I was really hoping it would be the day. I had prayed for a quiet and peaceful house. We had all our children here and a very good friend and her daughter the first time we thought we were starting labor, and even though they were just to be present in the house and not in with us for the birth, it was too much commotion and confusion. We wanted this to be a husband and wife event and after that experience, decided we would let everybody know right after the baby was born. We were hoping for a middle of the night birth while everyone was sleeping. My son, J., was spending the day with a friend until about 4pm. About 3:00, I had a couple of contractions that seemed to be getting closer together and longer. Right after that, my daughters J., A., and R. took off for the library and the grocery store. As soon as the girls left, the contractions started coming sooner and harder. Dh R. was playing Free Cell on the computer and I told him I thought we were going to have the baby today and played a little more with him (teamwork wins more games). I was really getting uncomfortable, so convinced him to stop and went into the bathroom. I had a lot of blood tinged, slimy mucous and knew that it wasn't too long until we would be having a baby. We started setting up, but R. still was not thinking I was really doing it yet. Then I had another contraction and felt like I needed to get into the bathroom. Even though it was difficult to walk in there during the contraction, I did so and as soon as I got there my water broke all over the floor. There was meconium in the water but I didn't feel it was cause for alarm so just committed it to the Lord. The waters breaking is what convinced my husband we were going to have a baby and he started getting that adrenalin rush and was somewhat jittery while he cleaned up the mess and we finished setting up. Son J. came home just before this, but had forgotten to bring home some of his stuff so we had to send him back over to get it, so he was not here when the waters broke. He came back home and R. set him up watching the Prince of Egypt and asked him to not disturb us, and amazingly he didn't (a feat for my 6 year-old talkative boy!) After the waters broke, we had a little break with no contractions. When they started up they felt like pushing contractions. I found that the most comfortable position during them was on my knees with my legs spread apart and sometimes dropping to hands and knee. Sometimes I would stand but usually would end up down on my knees again. R. was so sweet and supportive. When he saw that I was sweating, he went and got a rag wet and started wiping my face and neck in between contractions. It felt so good. He started laughing during it all and would get me laughing and that would bring on another contraction. It was a really precious time for us. After pushing that way for quite a few contractions, I felt like I needed to change positions, and changed to a squatting position using the bed behind me for support for my elbows. The head started really moving down then and was soon crowning. The next contraction the head came out and R. told me the head was facing towards my tailbone and asked if that was okay. I told him that was the best way for it to be. Then he said "There's a hand - a little hand on the cheek!" I knew then that the baby was coming out with a nuchal hand. The next contraction I was not budging the baby, so felt like I should switch to a hand's and knees position. I know it confused R. a little as I did that with the head hanging out but he just went with the flow and handled it very well. With the next contraction there still was a little resistance and then suddenly the baby was out and R. was exclaiming, "It's a girl!" He told me afterwards that all of a sudden she stuck out her arm and her body came out right behind and he had fun catching her because she was so slippery. He remembered reading something that one of the ladies on a birth forum had written about what to do when the baby is born and put her face down to drain any fluids from her mouth and nose. He said she was moving her mouth before she was even out like she wanted to breathe and as soon as she was out she started hollering and did not quit for about 10 - 15 minutes. R. wrapped her in a towel and handed her to me during this time and started crying. He was so overwhelmed by it all. I was trying to figure out if there was still another baby and what I should do next plus trying to put the baby to the breast. She did not want it right then as she still wanted to holler. Then I felt another contraction and something moving down the birth canal and coming out. I said something to R. and he looked and figured out it was the placenta as it dropped into his hands. It was the one thing he had felt squeemish about and Father put it right in his hands, but it was all enclosed in the membranes and a very tidy little package. It did not take me long then to figure out that there was not another baby coming. At first I was keenly disappointed, and then I was relieved for I didn't really look forward to another head coming out after the one that just did. R. then handed me the things to tie the cord. I offered for him to do it but he told me I knew what I was doing and let me do it. After we all settled down a bit, R. stuck his head out the door and told the kids that they had a little sister. The girls had come home a few minutes before she was born and he had only told them that I was in labor. When he put his head out the door, everyone was waiting right out in the hall. Then they all came in to meet their sister. I thought that J. would have problems with her being a girl because he wanted a brother so much. He was just excited. After a little while, he asked when the other baby was going to be born and was briefly disappointed when we told him there was only one. J. is so excited about his new sister. He wanted to know all about the placenta, so I showed it to him and how the bag would be around the baby as I checked it over. Everyone else got all grossed out by it, including R. Not J., though. He is our scientist. Then R. had the kids go out and got a pad on the swivel rocker for me to sit and nurse our daughter. When I got up I had soaked the pad I was sitting on with blood. I nursed Gaelyn and after a while, they noticed the pad I was sitting on was all bloody and some of it was going down my leg. I figured I might be losing a little too much and had one of the girls get me some cayenne pepper in some juice and also some of the strong red raspberry tea I had prepared the day before. As she continued to nurse, I massaged the uterus. After that, the flow went to normal and I have had no more problems with it. Gaelyn E. was born at about 5:45 pm on September 25, 1999. When we measured her, her head was 14½ inches and her length was 22½ inches. A friend brought up a good bathroom scale the next day and she weighs a little over ten pounds but we don't know the ounces. I think it would be less than half a pound. We say she is our ten-pound bag of sugar. Gaelyn is a derivative of Abigail and means "Father's joy" and Elisabethe means "God's oath" which to me means "The Lord is Faithful". We both were crying out to Him before she was born and choosing to trust Him. During the labor, we were both calling out to Him as she was being born and we testify that He is Faithful and that He has given us His joy in giving us such a sweet and precious little daughter. -Serena

Surprise! Baby Arrived Before The Midwife

1st birth was in 1977 in Tx. It was a hospital birth with a total four hour labor. Even at that speed, the OB broke my membranes at the very end to speed things along. I was never asked, nor told what was happening to me. Dh signed all paperwork and was not allowed to accompany me to delivery where I was given a spinal and then general anesthesia that put me completely out. They used forceps to pull the babe from my body, since I was not awake to push. I have no memory of the delivery and only spots of the labor ie. the enema, shave and uncaring, humiliating feelings that I had. I was made to stay in hosp for 5 days as was standard in that hosp at that time. Baby in nursery and I in a ward with four other women. 2nd birth: 1980 Tacoma General Birthing Room. Baby was born with NO intervention whatsoever 45 min after arrival to the hospital. It was a very good birth experience, wonderful nurse but OB was in a hurry to get done and pulled the placenta out rather quickly. After OB left, I kept bleeding heavier and heavier until pitocin was given for this. I was home in 12 hours with oral meds for bleeding uterus. 3rd birth: 1997, it was to be my first home birth with a wonderful midwife. All went well until the week before due date when membranes ruptured with no contractions in sight. In our state, midwives are licensed and must follow OB orders when things don't go by the book in labor. This particular OB has since retired but his rule was no contractions after 12 hours after water breaking meant transfer to hospital, so off we went. The local hospital here is not midwife friendly. My midwife accompanied me but was not allowed to DO anything but act as my doula. Hospital staff made me stay in bed attached to internal and external monitors with IV's, oxygen etc. I was not allowed to even get up to go to the bathroom. Not allowed to change position in any way so I would not "hurt" this baby. Pitocin was started and this went on for 24 hours before I finally gave birth to a limp, non-breathing, blue, distressed baby. It took a bit of work on the part of the staff there to get him going on his own. He had been through a lot at the hands of intervention as far as I'm concerned. I felt failure and grief over this attempted home birth, but the midwife assured me I could try again and succeed. This leads me to my first UC: Baby number 4 I had a miscarriage at 5-6 weeks gestation on March 13, 1998. My first and only so far. It was very hard, of course. I could only think, "What did I do wrong with this pregnancy? Could I have eaten something or used a strong cleaning product or done too much physical activity with my job at the time?" I conceived again just about late April '98 after only one regular period. I was so happy but scared to death that I would lose this baby, too. I ran to an OB/GYN thinking he could help me keep this pregnancy over a midwife... At the interview, this OB was wonderful, telling me yes, anything you want. His office staff was great but with each appointment, I felt more and more trapped and pressured to conform to the mainstream of being a good patient and doing what you are told. Questions and concerns were brushed off as if I were too concerned about my own health. I was badgered by the staff over my decision not to prenatal test for Down's Syndrome. They called me at home over and over and even after I told them to make a note in my chart, I was still asked. I knew it was going to only get worse so I told them goodbye, and headed off for a midwife again. Dh wanted me to use a CNM this time in case we needed to transport and he wanted me to do the birth at birth center. I though this was a great compromise and agreed. CNM put my due date at 1-15-99 and with her help and guidance we decided I could do a home birth just as easily as birth center. The pregnancy went well, weight gain and b/p were fine. My only gripe was the frequent urination and heartburn. CNM gave me Charity's card when I asked about water birth. I think I rented that tub about two weeks before my due date and had it up but not filled for the big day. Braxton-Hicks were a daily thing but never regular enough to get any real work done on my cervix. I would start contracting and then clean my house, make food for midwife and assistant and then my labor would stall. Dh ate a lot of cake those last two weeks. I baked 4, I think. I don't know why, it just seemed like the thing to do, labor? Bake a cake, we'll need one. 🙂 Friday Jan 15th. Due date! NOTHING. Went to the grocery store and was stopped by a woman who wanted to know if I was carrying twins. I was getting tired of my belly fast. Saturday Jan. 16th 1999 day after my EDD. Dh decided we should go to the mall to get our minds off no baby so we packed up our toddler and headed off for the after Christmas sales. It was a very good idea, I walked and walked and only prob was having to stop for potty breaks. We shopped from 2pm to 5pm and at that point, I just started feeling tired so we sat for a bit and then headed for home. On the way home, I had no contractions but I felt "odd" like I wanted to get away by myself and have some quiet time. Our toddler was in the car seat in the back and I knew I would not rest at home, I would make him dinner etc so I asked Dh to drop me off at my mom's for a visit and pick me up later. She lives pretty close so this was not a problem at all. Arrived at moms at around 5:45pm and I ate and I ate and I ate. I had a soft pretzel at the mall but I felt like I hadn't had food in days. I had two bowls of pinto beans and corn bread, six peanut butter cookies and several glasses of ice tea. I look back now and wonder if my body wasn't carb loading for the work ahead. They sure wouldn't allow you to eat like that before or during labor in hospital! After dinner, I sat in her biggest comfy chair and just watched tv and chatted away feeling a peaceful glow. I had my first contraction at maybe 6:50pm, my first thought was "big deal" this is nothing but then they came faster and harder until it was getting hard to concentrate on chatter going on around me. I asked her to take me home without telling her that I thought I was in labor but on the way home it became obvious when I couldn't even talk. Contractions were every 2-3 min on the 15 min drive. It's foggier in my memory from here. I told her I needed a BEER. I think that was my feeble attempt at anesthesia. I didn't get one. 🙂 Mom took our toddler home with her, I called midwife and Dh started filling the birth tub. Midwife was at dinner but called back to say she would wrap things up there and be on her way. I tried to help Dh get things ready but my labor was so intense that I could do very little more than concentrate on breathing and relaxing best I could. It was painful but I kept thinking this is good, this is better than the hospital with the very same pain but no control. A birthing tub, in case you don't know, holds a LOT of water. I felt the need for some comfort fast so decided to try the regular bathtub for a bit. The pains were so intense that I would get in and get out, sit on the toilet, try anything I could to get comfy. At this point, I started to have some "bloody show." I had seen this with other pregnancies in early labor so I knew that it was normal but mentioned it to Dh who called back the midwife and told her. She asked him to find out "how much". This is the only time that I felt aggressive in my labor. When he just sort of peeked his head down to see, I growled it was normal and get away. I was still thinking this was early labor and someone shoot me! I felt by the time I get to late labor when the pain really hits, I would not be able to handle it. Our midwife called back maybe 10 mins later to say that she was now home gathering her supplies and would be along as fast as possible. She knew how close contractions were and that I was no longer able to talk on the phone through them. I was still in the other room but feeling guilty for growling at Dh over the bloody show, so I came out to apologize and walk some but as soon as I reached the kitchen, I was gripped with the contraction of the century with an urge to push. My water splashed all over the place and as soon as that one was over, I was hit with another with urge to push. I put my hand down and felt the baby's head crowning so Dh ran for the birth supplies kit and pads since it was obvious I would be giving birth where I stood. We had a paper that had a list of emergency instructions on what to do/not do if you are alone when giving birth and we just went with what it said. I had maybe two more contractions, hard to remember but Daniel was born into his daddy's hands at around 8:50. We used a nasal aspirator to suction his mouth and nose and he pinked up and cried like a healthy baby. His cord was too short for me to get too comfy while nursing so I just sat there on the pad hunched over waiting for the midwife. CNM arrived maybe 10 min after Dan's birth and she cut the cord, delivered the placenta and repaired the big tear I gave myself from pushing to quickly. Baby wasn't too big or too small but I popped him out like a cork and my perineum had no time to stretch properly. What I would do differently now, is use a brand new tarp rather than one of those little blue chux to give birth on. ( BTW, hydrogen peroxide will get blood out of beige carpet. 🙂   After the birth, I felt in awe of Dh for his control and for being my rock. I felt a little bit of disappointment for not having enough time to have a proper nesting type labor but glad that the pain was really very short lived. The birth tub was only half full, my birthing ball was untouched. None of the snacks I had prepared were touched.. nothing. I was disappointed that it took my CNM as long as it did for her to get to me. We are pregnant again and have chosen a close midwife who assures me she has missed only one birth in ten years of practice. We are making preparations for a UC again JUST IN CASE. I've since taken Doula courses and Childbirth educator classes so I feel I'm more knowledgeable in the whole birth process and I will of course trust GOD that no matter what happens, he is our ultimate birth assistant. -Kendra

Tubal Reversal Baby Unassisted Home Birth

On January 18, 1999 I had a tubal reversal, by Dr. Levin of Louisville, KY. What a combination - the best doctor in the world and the Great Physician, enabling a total healing in my body. Six days later, Susanna was conceived. The pregnancy did not start out very well. There was the healing from the surgery and I was exposed to a horrible case of the flu. Once I was over that, morning sickness started - something I never experienced to such extent in my past pregnancies (back in the old days!). Maybe old age has something to do with it! Or more likely, a lesson in humility. Before the morning sickness ended, came another bout with some virus.  The second trimester was wonderful. No sickness, no swelling or water retention. Plenty of energy - well, as much as could be expected for someone who hadn't been pregnant in 13 years! The third trimester brought exhaustion and the threat of preterm labor. A couple weeks were spent in bed, until we knew it would be safe for the baby to be born. We expected it to happen early, but God's timing is always perfect. Labor started at midnight on a Monday morning. Contractions were every 3 to 5 minutes for 12 hours. From that point on, it slowed down. Tuesday evening it picked back up. By about 8:30 pm we were pretty sure that was going to be the night. At 9, contractions became regular. I took warm baths to get more comfortable but didn't want to have the baby in the water. I got out of the tub while dh G. set things up in the living room. At this point, the contractions were coming one right on top of the other and I had a hard time making it to the living room. I stopped twice and G. coaxed me to continue on. I finally made it and dropped down by the couch. On my knees, I faced the couch and rested into the cushions (if you can call it rest). We aren't exactly sure of the time, but hard labor didn't last all that long.  G. coached me on amidst prayers being lifted up by us both. Praise music was playing in the background. At one point, I asked G. what he said and he replied, rather huffily!, that he was praying. Shortly after that, G. said the baby had crowned. He went to my side to offer me encouragement. I told him he better get back because the baby was coming. G. moved to his place. Out came the baby's head, and the rest of her along with it, in one push. It was an awesome moment. The baby screamed as soon as she hit her Daddy's hands, at which point Daddy named her - and the world must have heard the praising that was going on. Daddy handed Susanna to mommy and whooped and hollered some more, while S., J. and R. came to meet their new little sister. While waiting for the cord to quit pulsating, G. went outside to enjoy a well deserved cigarette (well, a bubblegum cigar would have been better, but...) that was moistened with tears of joy. After the cord was cut, we waited for the rest of the placenta to be delivered. We later realized that all of the placenta was out; it was just the membrane that was left. But not knowing for sure, G. decided to have a midwife come check things out. So, by Tuesday around 3:00 pm, that was finally dealt with. The midwife was wonderful. We were truly blessed to have her, as our state is not midwife friendly, and she was really going out on a limb coming here without even knowing us. She is truly a credit to her profession. As someone who does not generally go to doctors, I felt so tremendously blessed by the health care professionals the LORD led me to. God was fully in control of this pregnancy and at our house through it all. Yet, there are no words to describe how strongly we felt His presence while He was bringing Susanna into the world. To Him belongs all the glory. -Wendy

Unassisted Home Birth – VBAC

My  labor began with my water breaking at 5 AM. I don't know how people mistake it for peeing. Even though it was only a small amount, the sensation was unmistakable. I got up to assess the amount and color (it was just a enough to wet my underwear, but not dripping and it was clear, but I was getting a pink tinge when I wiped). My cervix was still too far back to reach, but I was able to feel the head at, I'm guessing, zero station (two knuckles deep). I laid back down and listened for heart tones (120-130 right next to my left hip bone). The medium menstrual type cramps had already started, so I timed them (3 min. apart and 45 seconds long). Even though they didn't hurt, they were more uncomfortable lying down and not conducive for sleep. J. and E. were still sleeping, so I decided to come tell all my internet friends and some IRL via e-mail that my labor had started. The contractions slowed to about 5 min. and were completely painless (I had to put my hand on my belly to even feel them). It was about 6AM when I was done, so I called my mom first, who lives five hours away and needed to get off work. Then I called R., my doula, just to give her a heads up. I spent the next couple of hours draining the birth tub (I had been using it to soak in for the last two weeks), taking a shower, and just getting stuff together. I got J. up at 8AM and started putting him to work and made myself a mushroom/cheese omelet. During this time, the contractions went from two minutes then back to five, then three, etc. (not consistent at all). I called my two friends who were to be here for the birth (S., the photographer, and J., who was out of town, both fellow c/s survivors). I also called a local midwife who sells birth kits (we only used the hat and a couple of chux pads, sigh), something else we didn't order in time. The contractions would slow down when I was doing something that required concentration (ie. thinking) then speed back up when I was doing a mindless task. They were starting to get more intense around 10:30, where I would lean over a counter, rock my hips, and moan (for the endorphins). I got back in the shower (J. was still working on the birth tub), sat on the birth ball and sang. My cervical opening was still too far to reach, but I felt like I had thinned considerably. J.called R., at my request, as I was feeling the need of a good back rub (my lower back was starting to ache). E. had woken up somewhere during all of this and was taking up J.'s attention (not that J. wanted to do ANY labor support). Don't get me wrong, he was very caring and asked me if I wanted anything, etc, but we had decided early on in pregnancy that birth was just not his thing and we would have others fulfill that role, so we could both relax. I did get into the birth tub to smooth out the wrinkles as it filled and E. joined me, but we got out when he wanted to wrestle and dunk me (nothing like a 40lb two year old hopping on your contracting belly). By the time R. arrived with her daughter E. (didn't look at a clock, maybe 11:30-12:00), I was able to walk through the contractions, but not really talk (they were still doing a 2-5 min. inconsistent pattern and very bearable). We talked and did a mini blessing way. S. arrived around this time with the birth kit. We continued to visit while I rocked on the birth ball and moaned trough contractions. S. thought they were only thirty seconds long, but I explained to her that they started out at the peak and then tapered off, but were still going after I stopped moaning. I was using the wonderful flax wrap that C. sells at this point also. Baby was kicking up high in between contractions and I was tickling his foot. I thought it would be nice to do heart tones again, so I went and laid down on the couch. Found the heart beat by my left hip (a little lower) with my prenatal listening device and then we waited for a contraction and R. listened (of course, they spaced out again). The next contraction was very uncomfortable (how do women spend their entire labor in bed?). R. heard some early decels, but it picked back up again quickly, which is consistent with the way I was feeling the contractions. I hopped off the couch before the next contraction could come and decided to make a bathroom trip (my bowels had been emptying consistently with the 3-4 previous trips). The toilet was another uncomfortable place to spend a contraction. All the ladies were standing in the hall as I spent the next two contractions voiding (lovely, isn't it?) with the door closed, thank you very much. By the way, I was getting red streaked mucus at this point, but didn't check my cervix. My vocalization at this time was quite a bit louder. R. thinks that if I had stayed on the toilet I would have been giving birth much sooner than I did, which was soon enough for me. I was more than ready for the birth tub by now and headed straight there. J. got out his harp and R., S. and E. went to the kitchen to get me some baby carrots and some lunch for themselves. I had checked my cervix shortly after entering the tub and could finally feel the cervical opening. I felt about 5-6 cms and 100 percent (about the thickness of a t-shirt cuff) and it was 1:30 PM. On the first bite of my second carrot, transition hi.  I spit the bite out and started moaning and rocking my way through the contraction. I tried to sing the duet between Eponine and Marius from Les Mis where the first line is, "Don't you fret M'sieur Marius I don't feel any pain," and J. and I both started laughing, since it was obviously untrue. The next contraction, I tried sitting down in the tub (the others I was leaning over the edge on my knees). HELLO thigh pain! I couldn't get up, so just rode it out. The next one I was back on my knees and the thigh pain was still there (it was straight down the front of my legs, hip to knees and just as intense as the pain in my lower belly). This was also the contraction where his head came right on down and I even had a few seconds of pushing urge in the middle. I checked my cervix and the head was already starting to spread my labia (so this would be plus four!!!). This is also where reality left and I was quickly losing it. I couldn't feel the edge of the cervix and thought the head had come down without me dilating fully (remember I was only a 5-6 twenty or so minutes before hand). The next two contractions were full pushing contractions, but I was fighting them thinking my cervix would tear. God was very kind to me at this point and gave me a couple minutes break. I flipped over and supported myself with my hands and feet (imagine a crab) and used one of my hands to protect my perineum. R. (having her first good view and it was very visible) told me that it was the head (which I knew, but thought it pushing through my cervix) and I pulled myself together and realized it was OK to push. The next several contractions were of me going from pushing to panting in an effort to stretch my perineum. When I would squat, I couldn't stop pushing and needed to slow it down again. After about half an hour, I couldn't stretch any more. I was VERY vocal through all of this with deep instinctual grunting and saying, "OUCH." R. got in the tub with me and supported the bottom while I supported the top (S. was holding my head out of the water and J. was filming). She was trying to encourage me to push him out, not realizing how tight I was and that I was giving it everything I had. R. also noticed his scalp turn color and was getting concerned. It still took a few more contractions and I decided that I was going to tear and I would have to squat. I got the head out in the next contraction and we waited for a minute so I could push the shoulders out. They were also pretty snug and I was holding the cord, so it would slip past his shoulder. This took one and a half contractions. Then he was born and I quickly lifted him to the surface, but the cord was short and wrapped around his arm and neck and we had to untangle him first. Roy was purple and a little floppy, but he had made a little noise when I first lifted him and I knew he was going to be fine (no one else was panicking, but J. wanted someone to re-assure him). I sucked the dime size amount of mucus out of his mouth and he started grunting. We continued to gently massage him and R. put the hat on. He was still a little blue after the first minute, so I gave him a little puff in his nose, which he didn't like, and that got him to cry just a little, then he was pink and lively, but serene. S. thought to ask what time it was, and it took E. a few seconds to find a watch (everyone took theirs off) and announced it was 2:40PM. Roy and I cuddled in the tub for about fifteen minutes (I was expecting that wide eyed stare, but he was resting). I stood up to deliver the placenta, which we knew had separated due to the pink water, but wasn't getting the urge to push. I had J. get my Placenta Out tincture and within seconds I was pushing. I didn't have good leverage, so I squatted back down and pushed it out in a couple of minutes. There was a bit of retained membrane, so R. twisted it till it let go. I knew I had a tear on my labia at this point, because she would brush it every once in a while and that was uncomfortable. I gushed a little when I stood up again and I realized I hadn't breastfed yet. Out came the boob and He latched on just fine (Roy was lying peacefully in my arms this whole time). They helped me out of the tub and over to the couch, where I breastfed some more and we had a photo-op (Roy was wearing his new Pooh outfit by now). My mom made it about an hour after the birth, just in time to help clean up. I stood up to go rinse off and assess the damage (J. got Roy at this point), but had to sit right back down thanks to a head rush. We waited a few minutes and tried again. I made it to the next room and had to lean over the couch until the dizziness went away. I had to stop once more before we got to the shower in our bedroom (all the way at the opposite end of our LONG house). S. had Roy now, since J. was hovering in case I fainted. Once on the toilet, I passed some nice sized clots and started to pee, but stopped immediately, since the burning was intense. I sat on the birth ball in the shower and aimed the shower head to rinse myself off. Roy was acting like he wanted to eat some more and I was still feeling a little faint, so we moved to the hall bathroom with a tub and I got in with Roy, who promptly went back to sleep. I examined the placenta and found it healthy and intact (more pictures were taken). J. finished the Birthday cake and I had a bite. After our nice bath, I climbed in bed. R. got a flashlight and my hand mirror and we started counting tears. The two on the inner labia were pretty obvious. The one on the left is pretty deep, but short and it is healing fine without any stitching. The one on the right is probably considered a first degree, and also not worth stitching. The three on the bottom are between skid marks and first degree and very minor in my opinion. I didn't check for any tears inside, since there was no additional bleeding and if there are any they are healing also. I have been using an herbal salve every time I pee and I did use my fingers as a barrier the first couple of days to lessen the stinging. I'm not complaining at all, I would rather have five small tears than one huge episiotomy plus a tear any day (and we all know that's what would have happened in the hospital). The bleeding was also very manageable and fine once I passed those clots, but they wouldn't have let me out of bed in the hosp. and would have tried to pump me full of pitocin and methergine. I was brought the left over steak from our anniversary dinner the night before. Then I was ordered to drinks lots of water and juice and rest. Everyone left around 8PM, except my mom, who stayed till Tuesday morning. My friend J. came the next day and brought a scale. Roy weighed 8lbs 7oz, but I'm guessing he was around 9lbs when he was born. He's 21 inches long and has dark hair like his Daddy. Now here's another observation that not everyone will agree with. I took forty minutes to get his head past my perineum which is why he had a slow start (and I'm glad I didn't know what his heart tones were). Now if you think I'm choosing my peri over my baby, you're wrong. I would have torn badly if I hadn't controlled the delivery of his head, thus requiring a trip to get many stitches and would have had to take my newborn out into the germy world and fight whatever procedures they wanted to do to him and possibly a report to CPS from some "concerned" staff who can't fathom the idea of UC. I also have faith that God and my instincts would let me know if his health was in danger to the point that intervention was needed. A few other reasons I'm very glad this was a home birth: my contractions were not consistent until the end and I would have had to fight off pressure to augment, they would have cut the cord on the perineum (if they hadn't talked me into another c/s for fetal distress) and taken him away to "revive" him and maybe even insisted on "observation," I don't even want to think what my blood pressure would have been (extreme white coat syndrome), and don't forget the need to be quiet so as not to scare the other women. I also can't imagine doing what I did on land. The water not only helped with pain relief and stretching, but I wouldn't have been able to get from one position to the next in the short time I had between pushing contractions. The only time pain medication entered my mind was at the very end and I thought it might be easier to get his head out if I couldn't feel the ring of fire. BUT, then we're back to the massive episitiomy or tear (or both) and maybe FTP (failure to progress), etc. I am grateful for the pain, because it helped me to ease his head out and not do horrible damage. I also probably would be labeled as precipitous delivery, since I dilated so quickly at the end and his head came down in one contraction. Most of us would think of this as a blessing, but OB's think of this as a complication and reason to induce early for the next one. I probably could think of many more things they wouldn't have liked about my birth in a hospital, but I'll stop here. It was the perfect birth for my family and I. Praise God for blessing us with a wonderful pregnancy, birth and baby. -Joy