Alyssa’s HBAC of Brooklyn Hope

It all began the night of Saturday, May 25th. I had supper at my grandmother’s house with my family and then headed home. Once home, I felt really good with energy to spare which was definitely unusual because the past few weeks were full of body aches and fatigue. I was in a great mood, put the music on and cleaned up the house! Looking back I realize that I was hit with “nesting.”

Around 3am, I woke up and wasn’t able to fall back asleep. I kept having this feeling that the baby hadn’t arrived yet because she wasn’t in the best position for birth. I decided to go back on the Spinning Babies website and research some more techniques for getting baby in the best position for birthing. I then got out of bed and tried the Inversion position (kneeling on couch with arms/head on floor). Within a few minutes I began having contractions that were starting in my back and wrapping around to my front. Much different than the Braxton Hicks I had been having. As Paul and I were chatting, the contractions continued and were five minutes apart about 45 seconds long. I was hoping that labor would finally be starting!

As the night (well technically morning) dragged on, I was unable to sleep. The contractions would wake me up from my sleep. Morning came and I sent my girls to the beach with their grandparents so I could continue to labor. Paul and I walked up and down our street trying to keep things progressing. I also messaged my midwife Kristin to give her a heads up. Then as afternoon arrived, the contractions distanced themselves out. After being every 5 minutes for many hours, they started being erratic, going from every 10-30 minutes apart and weaker. This frustrated me and I was afraid it had all been false labor and that I’d be pregnant for another 9 months. (haha)

Then around 4pm on Sunday evening I decided to do the Inversion position yet again along with a few other little things recommended by my good friend Breanna. (we texted back n forth throughout the day, she has had 2 home births) I still had a nagging feeling that labor was stalling due to position. Within minutes of doing the Inversion, my contractions started back up consistently 5 minutes apart again. I drove over to my grandmothers to enjoy another supper with my family. On the drive over, the contractions were definitely getting strong again. After supper, my family suggested we go for a walk to keep labor going. I decided it was time to head home with the kids and my grandmother had a fit about me driving while in labor, it was quite amusing. I told her I’d try not to hit too many mailboxes. I kept teasing her that I also wasn’t going to tell the midwife or Paul when it was time and just have the baby by myself, this made my grandmother frantic.

Once home with my girls, I read them some books and put them to bed. As I was lying in bed around 8:30pm, I had one doozy of a contraction. It hit me with intensity and my body began shaking/trembling. Breanna mentioned it might be transition and I freaked thinking I *might* be further ahead than I thought and home alone. (payback for teasing my grandmother? haha) I felt flushed, nauseated and felt like baby dropped lower. I messaged the midwife “I think I may need you now” with shaking hands. She called me back and said she was on her way and would send her birth assistants right over as well. I then called Paul and he came home as well.

Within minutes, Paul was home and one of the birth assistants arrived. Paul called my mother to come get Jordyn for the night. Madison however was asleep in bed and really wanted to be a part of the birth so we let her continue sleeping. I had the desire to be left alone therefore I went back into my bedroom to labor. Once my midwife and other assistant arrived at 9:30pm I felt much calmer. Kristin asked if she could pray for me, checked my vitals, checked baby’s heart rate then left the room. My bedroom is where I stayed most of the entire night. As the night went on, I walked in my room, swayed my hips, listened to worship music, rocked, used birth ball, prayed, tried to sleep and showered a couple of times. I told Paul to go to sleep because he would need his energy later to help me through the delivery. I like my space and being alone. Kristin periodically checked on me and at one point encouraged me to try the birth pool but I wasn’t comfortable in it or in the living room with an audience so after a few minutes I went back to my room. At 2am, they brought me pretzels/apples but I was very nauseous and didn’t eat much. As morning arrived I was losing my energy and very tired.

Around 5:30am, Madison woke up and I told her the baby would soon be here. She gave me a hug and headed to the couch to watch her kid shows. At 7:30am, I lost my mucous plug. Labor began picking up but still manageable.

At 7:53 my water finally broke. Contractions were every 2-3 minutes lasting 90 seconds. Labor wasn’t so fun anymore because I knew what was ahead! There are not many words to describe transition, it was incredibly intense. Kristin applied pressure to my hips/back to help me through them. She told me if I felt the urge to push to go ahead and push but I didn’t want to push unless I was absolutely ready so at 10am I asked her to check me (first and only check of pregnancy) and she said I was 10cm.

After that I tried out a few different positions for pushing and none seemed to work well. My hips were throbbing and my lower body felt like it was going to break in half. I began dreading each contraction, knowing how painful they would be. Each time I would think to myself “oh crap, here it comes again!” The contractions made me feel like I couldn’t breathe and like I was going to vomit. I called for Paul during each contraction. I wanted him and an assistant to squeeze my hands so it would distract my mind from the labor pain. The assistants kept bringing cold wash cloths for my head too. At this point, I wanted to escape the pain and run away from my body. I also hit a mental block with pushing. I just did not want to push her out. I wanted it all to stop. I kept fighting the urge to push and kept repeating “I can’t do it” and everyone would say “you ARE doing it!” During all this, Madison sat on the end of my bed helping Kristin with the doppler. Such a wonderful little assistant! She even brought me a spoonful of honey when I was feeling weak.

After a long time of pushing, I finally got my head in gear and realized that I needed to work with my body and push her out or this pain would drag on and on. I finally started putting in real effort and worked with my body. The power and intensity of pushing was terrifying to me. When I pushed with Madison’s birth, the pushing brought relief. This time around, the pushing did not bring relief. I pushed regardless and honestly didn’t care if I tore, I just wanted her out and to be DONE. And out she came at 11:15am.

She was immediately placed on me. I had never held a baby fresh from the womb before. She was so warm, alert and looked right up at us. I was so thankful it was all over! Madison texted my family that Brooklyn was born and to come meet her. My family showed up but was unable to hold her because she was still attached and my placenta had not been delivered. After a while, we sent them away to focus on getting the placenta out. I was very hot and had an irritated feeling so I asked for the cord to be cut at 11:35. The painful contractions came back and I finally delivered the placenta out at 12:12pm. Then once they got me up to pee, they noted that I was losing a decent amount of blood and Kristin gave me some medication and they took turns massaging my uterus. I also had a shot of Pitocin just to be safe. Unfortunately I did end up tearing and needing a few stitches.

Around 3pm, Kristin weighed and measured Brooklyn and we decided her middle name would be Hope. Seemed fitting after the year we had. She was 7lbs 12oz! My biggest baby! I showered and nursed Brooklyn in my bed. Paul brought me a meal and Kristin gave me some Motrin. The midwife and her assistants all headed home around 4:15pm and left our little family to rest. My family came back over after dinner and was finally able to hold Brooklyn. It was wonderful being able to sleep in my own bed that night with my sweet little nursling!

A’s 1st Birth Story

I had been considering an unassisted childbirth as an option from the moment I knew I was pregnant. I had known that they were much more peaceful and relaxed due to the privacy and freedom for the mother. I knew this because my mother, (her and my dad have 8 children), had done unassisted with 4 labors herself. The first of hers happened by “accident” (well, she was not intending it, but the Lord was gracious in giving her that experience) and 3 on purpose. I actually did not personally know what those experiences were like though as it was just her and my dad in a room when she labored.

I had contemplated the option of having a midwife since it would be my first birth, but there were none in the area close to me at that time. The closest ones were four hours away and none were willing to travel further than an hour and a half. I had also looked into 2 doctors in the area, one had been willing to be the emergency doctor for another woman who had tried a home-birth (though she did have a midwife), and the other I had heard was accepting of doing things naturally. Though, in the end neither worked, the first was no longer practicing and out of the area for a year, and the other was not willing to be a backup for me if I gave birth at home. So, I decided that regardless I would do an unassisted, since I knew it could be done and was still safe.

My edd (according to the typical 28 day cycle, which I didn’t know at the time shouldn’t have been used for me as I don’t have a “standard” cycle) was January 10th. My husband and I would be welcoming our first baby, a boy, into the outside world around that time! =D Of course we were really excited and naturally nervous. I had done quite a bit of research regarding the birthing process and “thought” I was decently prepared for it.
Unfortunately, though, there was a lot of stress during my pregnancy as my husband and I were just moving into a new place and there had been a lot of family issues on both sides. Needless to say, stress is not a good combination with pregnancy or labor. Still, I believed it to be safer to go alone then have interventional measures taken which I did NOT want.

I had been having Braxton Hicks a frequent amount starting after about 6 months of pregnancy. However, about a week before my son was actually born I thought I was starting the real deal. It was during the night and I began having contractions that were consistent and dealing me a decent amount of pain in my lower abdomen and lower back. (Those contractions were actually more painful than the beginning contractions I had when I went into full labor later). I had them for close to 2 hours and then they subsided until they completely stopped. A few days after I checked my cervix and discovered I had dilated a centimeter, so I guessed that was what had happened when I thought I was going into labor just days prior.

I began growing impatient the week following feeling as though it was taking forever before he was coming! :p (So I marginally understand the frustration of women who go a week or more past their edd). The morning of the 16th I had to get up and get ready to leave. It was Monday and my husband and I had a chiropractor appointment, in a city an hour from where we lived, that day at 11. After the adjustment around noon we went shopping and then headed home. That’s when the beginning contractions started. I hadn’t realized that I was in true labor since they weren’t as strong as the ones I had had a week before. After a few hours and them still continuing I started to believe that it was really happening. So I had my husband call his mother and mine to let them know.

This part of my story is one that I have learned from due to that experience. I had planned on having my mother and mother-in-law there in the house during my labor. For one, because my husband was especially nervous about it just being us two alone with it being our first. Secondly, I felt bad since both mothers had expressed desire in helping me during that time and I did not want to make them feel left out or offend them. Thirdly, even though I had written out my birth plan for them that specified that I wanted to labor most, if not all, on my own, I figured it couldn’t hurt to have some women there who already knew what the experience was like in case I needed help. So, I ignored my gut feeling, because inside I knew that it would stress me out some and I would prefer things more private. The silly thing though is, that during the entire pregnancy I had been searching things up left and right as best as I knew how, yet I had not asked details from either mother about their birth experiences, what it felt like, what they wish they knew, etc. Of course those whole 9 months were quite trying, (I had super bad morning sickness for 5 months) so I guess it just slipped my mind.

When both mothers arrived it was evening, and they encouraged me to sleep. Good advice, but being as excited and nervous as I was I didn’t feel that I could. Only hours later in the night the contractions began hurting quite a lot. I started to feel as though I might cry and moaned quite a bit and rather loudly. My mother hearing me make a lot of noise came in and mentioned that if I was feeling the urge to bear down that I could push and it would maybe help relieve the pain. Unfortunately, I was too ignorant and naive to ask what the urge to bear down should feel like and how to know whether I was experiencing it (my body did sort of feel like it, but it was no where near the same feeling as the fetal ejection reflex) and I began pushing way too early. (My mom had generally had labors less than 12 hours and later realized she had given bad advice). The pain from pushing too early escalated fast and I started to feel as though it was unbearable. Unfortunately, I quickly became scared, which only further complicated the situation and caused the process to slow down.

After half a day, a whole night, and most of the next day of being in labor I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept any and had spent a few hours during the night dancing, walking, and swaying trying to speed up labor. The contractions had been about 4 minutes apart, sometimes less, throughout the night. Through the next day we did not time them much as I was discouraged and we seemed to have lost track of time. (I don’t remember much during that time as I was pretty out of it). I had not eaten anything throughout that time, though it was because I was not hungry and didn’t want to eat anything. So I felt weak and was out of energy. I felt like sobbing, but didn’t have the tears too, I just loudly moaned or cried for help through the contractions as they grew worse. They got bad enough at one point that a couple of times I looked at my husband and through the pain said, “I don’t want to die!” (Bad thing to say to a husband in such a situation, lol). Looking back I realize that I had entered transition by then.

Of course my husband was not prepared to see me in such pain and was quite distressed. He really began to worry and so did my mother-in-law. I remembered at that point that I had read that water might help ease labor pains and so I asked for the bathtub to be filled. (At this point everyone was in the bathroom where I was, and I was in too much pain to care). I got into the bathtub and immediately felt relief. I wanted to stay in there but my husband and mother-in-law had been discussing taking me to a hospital just to make sure that all was alright. (If I had thought about it beforehand I would have had a little birth process & stages manual made up beforehand to give to my mother-in-law since she had only had hospital births, though she wasn’t against my choice, so she would more or less know what to expect and wouldn’t have been so frightened). My mother wasn’t quite sure whether my condition warranted a hospital trip and she thought I might be nearing transition and saw that I was feeling better in the tub. Still, my husband and mother-in-law spoke to me and asked me what I wanted. All I wanted was for my baby to be out! :p I mentioned that I thought maybe we could give it more time just to see, but my mil began bringing up questions about safety for the baby and I, etc. (Not a good thing to bring up to a woman in that stage of labor, haha). So I finally agreed to go and they got me out of the tub, got me a nightgown to put on, a heavy blanket to wrap around me and walked me to the car. I don’t really know how I was able to move that far in the condition I was in. :p My mom remembered to grab my bag containing my birth kit as we headed out the door.

We had 2 options of hospitals to go to, one 20 minutes away and the other 45 minutes away. I chose the latter and we were on our way. My mother-in-law and mother were sitting in the front seat and my husband and I in the back. On the road about 20 minutes out of town I could feel my body pushing my son out slowly on its own. I didn’t have the strength to do anything anymore and just sat in the seat breathing deeply and silently. I felt my son’s head in the birth canal. I looked at my husband and whispered just in time that I needed him to help me into a squat. Right after I got into position my baby boy came out. My husband caught him and my little one gave his first soft cry. =D

My mother-in-law stopped the car, and my mother turned on the light and turned around. We saw that my boy had a nuchal cord so we unwrapped it and he was just fine. He was born at 7:50 p.m. on the 17th of January. When we had unwrapped the cord it had tugged a bit on my placenta, so it quickly came out, but 2 pieces were left inside (they did come out that night & the day after and I was fine). We cut the cord and tied it with a thick piece of string. I covered my sweet baby with the blanket I had around me and began nursing him right away. I mentioned that we could turn around and go back home but my mother-in-law said we were only 5 minutes away and that the doctor and nurses would be waiting for us as she had called them when we left. I had felt a burning and stinging sensation while delivering my son and knew that I had torn, but didn’t know how bad. My mother-in-law and my husband felt it best to go in so that they could check on me and the baby, and get my tear looked at. I didn’t really care to, but didn’t want them to be concerned and also didn’t know how bad I tore.

When we got there I told my husband that I didn’t want our son to be without either him or me. The nurses immediately came out and acted as though it was a huge emergency. They opened my car door and the head nurse grabbed my son from me, I told her I didn’t want her to but she walked off ignoring me leaving the other nurses to get me on a stretcher and wheel me in. My husband seeing the nurse grab the baby went out to tell her not to take him, she said that it was standard procedure, but he told her that she was not to go anywhere with our baby without him. So he went in with her and stayed by our son the whole time. Right after, they took me into the emergency room and cleaned me up. The doctor was on another floor but was on her way. Our mothers were told they would have to stay out in the waiting room.

The nurses began examining my son and started asking me questions. They were surprised that his cord had such a clean cut and was tied well. They asked what we used and I told them a pair of new sharp scissors which I had sterilized as well as the string, they gave me dumbfounded looks and said they were really impressed. They were amazed that he was so warm and rosy already, they asked if I had already breastfed him and I said yes, which also surprised them. They inquired whether I had planned for those things and I told them that I had. I mentioned my birth kit and they all (except the head nurse, who seemed to think I was foolish for trying such a thing) said that I had been much more prepared than they would have expected. One of the nurses mentioned that they were wondering why it was taking longer than expected for us to get there (because we stopped the car after he was born for several minutes) and told us they had the epidural prepared and ready to administer to me for when I arrived. Phew! I was so thankful he was born on the road!

The doctor came in and asked me similar questions, she was not rude about anything and took everything nonchalantly. She then said that I had a tear that would take just a few stitches. (I wish I would have read up more on tears before then and not have gotten them). She gave me a shot to numb and then began to sew, but it was still a bit painful. My son was finished being weighed, measured and dressed and was brought to me. =) He measured 19 inches long and 6 lbs 11 oz. (They didn’t ask about dressing him, but they did ask about giving him a vitamin k shot and the eye goop. We declined both). I asked to see the placenta before they threw it away and the head nurse brought it to me to inspect, she said it looked fine and everything was there. (Shows how much they knew as it wasn’t actually all there).

We were finally ready to leave and the head nurse had to tell me her emergency story of her first birth, where her baby girl had the cord wrapped around her neck in a mess and would have died if she had tried to give birth at home. I just said, “Oh wow, hmm, yeah,” mostly to get her off my back. I wondered what she would have thought if I had mentioned my son’s nuchal cord. :p We finally left the hospital and went home, for some much needed rest and recuperation! After close to 31 hours of labor I was just grateful and happy to look at my perfectly beautiful baby boy in the safety of our own home.

I learned a lot from my son’s birth. One was that I didn’t want to EVER have a hospital birth if I could help it after the hour I spent at one, in this experience. Second was that stress, fear, anxiety, or lack of sleep, food, or energy can greatly impair the birth process. Another was that my body knew and did what it had to to birth my baby regardless of my knowledge or effort, woohoo! Last but definitely not least, that trusting God in any and every situation is a must! (I remembered this one better the 2nd time around). He created our bodies, intricately designed them, to be able to give birth!

I struggled with a lot of guilt after my son’s birth because things didn’t go as planned. I had wanted better for us and thought I had failed him by not standing up for the optimal choices. I had to go through a healing process and I cried a lot, but looking back I’m so thankful that things weren’t any worse than they were and that I had that experience. There may be situations here and there that unfortunately don’t always go as planned, but our Father in heaven gives us the strength for everything we encounter. =D

<<Click here to read A’s 2nd Birth Story>>

A’s 2nd birth story.

When I found out we were expecting our second, I knew that I wanted this labor and birth to be a better experience than the first one had been, even if it was as long or painful. I found out when I was 2 months along. The edd (according to my calculation based on my cycle) was January 4th. I set out to research more than I had during my first pregnancy and this time I knew what to look for. I spent hours upon hours every week looking up new information and drilling things into memory. I decided I wanted a water birth this time and since we had a little money saved up I decided to get a few extra things for my birth kit that I thought would be helpful.

Coming into this labor I felt confident in the God-given ability my body had to birth a second child. Something that my first labor with my son taught me was that even if I didn’t think I could, my body knew it could. I was much more relaxed and at peace this time, and having already experienced it I had time to prep my mind just in case it was just as hard as it was the first time. I trusted that the Lord would give me the strength and give me direction if anything wasn’t as it should be.

I woke up at 4:00 a.m. on a Friday with what I thought were just bad Braxton Hicks. After a minute or so I realized that I had not been able to sleep well that night because of them. I got up and went to the bathroom. When I wiped I noticed that I was loosing my mucus plug and that it was tinged with blood. I figured I should go lay down and see if I could go back to sleep, but wasn’t able to. When my husband got up to get ready for work about an hour and a half later I was still awake. So I explained the situation to him and to be on the safe side we decided he should stay home from work.

I went out into the living room and lay down on the sofa, trying to get more rest. I finally fell asleep and slept from 7-8. For some reason when I had first woken up I had a terrible earache in one of my ears and it made me want to cry. After my nap it was still hurting bad. We tried putting hydrogen peroxide in it with me laying on my side and letting it sit for half a minute, but that didn’t seem to help. So then we put some horehound tea in it, using an old remedy that my husband’s grandmother used to use. Still I found no relief. We tried the method our chiropractor uses to adjust/pop the ears, but nothing was helping much. So I asked my husband and he kindly massaged and did some reflexology on my feet. Finally, something worked!

I called my mom to let her know I was having “Braxton Hicks” and they were like 12 minutes apart. I also told her that I had an earache and had bloody tinged mucus plug when I wiped… I didn’t act like it was a big deal, and didn’t want to say that I had started labor as I didn’t want to get my hopes up or rush anything. However, I figured I’d mention it so that she would be ready in case I went into active labor in the afternoon or evening. When my husband and I timed my contractions, right after talking with her, we realized that they were actually 7-10 minutes apart, but I was still in denial and thought it was probably prodromal labor.

I had shared with my mother and mother-in-law that this time around I was planning on laboring without anyone else in the home but my husband and son. However, I told them that though I might choose to go it alone that I would give them a heads up if I felt like it so that they could be prepared if I decided to call them while in active labor or transition. Since my mom lived further from us than my mother-in-law I decided to give her a call earlier on. (Also, I did not want to give too much of a heads up as people had been texting my mil while I was in labor my first time and had kept asking her how things were going. I didn’t want that pressure or everyone calling to see how I was while I was in labor this time).

I went about my day as normally as possible, cleaning, doing things as usual… every time I had a contraction I would tell my husband so we could keep track. When they were about 4-7 minutes apart they were difficult enough that I had to focus on breathing well through them. I discovered that humming (a tune such as Amazing Grace) really helped me in managing the pain. I snacked on cottage cheese and crackers, as well as other foods throughout the day. I also made sure that I was drinking water or juice. It really helped to keep my energy up.

We cleaned out the room where I wanted the birth to take place, laid down the plastic, set up the birth pool, laid out towels, etc. However, I planned that I wouldn’t fill it and get in until the contractions were consistently 2-3 minutes apart for a good while. (Expecting that I would have a long labor like my first).

At about 5 minutes apart I started to allow myself to believe that I was truly in labor and might be getting close to active labor in around an hour. :p (Going of course off of my past experience). I think because the contractions weren’t near as painful as I remembered in my labor with my son being that I kept thinking they were going to get twice as bad and I had a ways left to go yet. So, to speed things along I put in a workout DVD and did a simple one mile walk. (I had been exercising during my pregnancy and it was not too strenuous or difficult, just simple walking moves). During the workout the contractions shortened to 2-3 minutes apart. I would take the time out during each contraction to breath and move my body into comfortable positions. I figured that when I was through they would slow down again to 5 minutes.

Once finished exercising I told my husband that I was going to take a shower. While I was in there after 10 minutes I felt a pop from the birth canal and a gush of fluid came out. I called my husband and told him to start filling the pool because I was positive my water broke. He began to fill it and I stepped out of the shower, dried off and went to lie down on my side on our bed. But the moment I laid down a very painful contraction came and I felt as though I needed to poop badly. I yelled for my husband to help me up because it hurt too much laying down. He helped me up and I went to sit on the toilet.

I kept thinking that I needed to use the bathroom and the pressure/feeling continued to grow stronger. (I still didn’t realize I was in transition, still in denial). My husband asked if I wanted him to call our mothers yet and have them come. I quickly replied, “Yes!” I told him that they were really hurting now. And at one point I asked him to make it stop. :p So he stood by my side and held my hand. I asked him to call his dad to come pick up our son, as I wasn’t sure if him seeing me in pain would worry him.

I finally moved from the toilet to the birth pool during a break between contractions. I also realized finally that I was in transition, though it was crazy to believe, and I felt the urge to push. So, I did. At this point my husband went to the door as my father-in-law was there to pick up our son. Then my husband went to get some hot water from the stove to put in the pool as the water wasn’t quite warm. He came back just in time. After a few more urges with pushes our baby girl was born!

From the time I woke up to the time I had her was only a bit over 12 hours. And from the time my water broke to when she was born was 30 minutes. Yay!! It had been so much easier and a lot shorter than my first labor had been. Which I hadn’t expected but was a pleasant surprise. My beautiful baby girl was born at 4:25 p.m., weighing 5 lbs 12 oz, and measuring at 18 inches. She was so small, but she was perfect! She ate within 30 minutes of being born and pooped like 5 times in her first day, haha! :p (Probably because I had been snacking so much). My placenta had come out around 20 minutes after she was born and we cut the cord and tied it after.

One thing that was helpful after both labor/births was that beforehand my mother & mother-in-law had helped me prepare several meals to freeze for the postpartum period. After both births I felt lightheaded, a bit dizzy, and nauseous. After my 2nd labor my Mom warmed up some homemade lentil soup and some homemade chicken noodle soup for me to eat after she arrived. This was extremely helpful in helping me feel better and return to normal after having my baby girl. (I didn’t feel like eating after having my son, I just felt weak, but I’m sure taking something would have helped).

Both mothers didn’t make it until after she was born, and when they arrived they were introduced to the sweetheart. My father-in-law was called and brought back our little boy, when the precious guy saw his tiny sister the hugest smile came across his face and he immediately reached out to hold her! It was adorable. I was very thankful for this experience, it was a healing one. It also taught me a valuable lesson that every labor can be vastly different. We just need to put more trust in our Creator than we do in any man, woman, or even ourselves in these experiences. =D

<<Click here to read A’s 1st Birth Story>>

Jamie’s Birth Story of Elsa

So the story of my second baby’s birth starts the evening of June 18th, which was a Monday. I felt slightly crampy but not actually having cramps so I thought I might wake in the middle of the night to contractions like I had with my son. Tuesday morning I woke up like normal and my first thought was, dang, I slept all night, I was 39w4d . I got up and went about my morning as usual, getting breakfast for Solomon, my 17 mo, and I. My mom was bring over for lunch that day to give me a little break and play with Solomon, and my midwives were coming over too to introduce me to a different 2nd MW because my MW had to be in Austin that weekend for a midwifery board meeting and she wanted to make sure I knew the back up in case I went into labor then.

I had been pretty anxious the last couple of weeks because I had Solomon at 39w5d and I just had this feeling I would have this one in my 39th week as well and we still hadn’t moved Solomon into his toddler room. Up until then he had been in our room and I wanted him to have his own room because I wasn’t sure how sleep would go with the new baby. True to my husband and I’s nature, we waited till the very last minute. John had been working on fixing the room up for the last 2 weeks (re-framing windows, repairing the walls, painting, etc.) and I couldn’t get our room rearranged until Solomon was in his room and his crib was moved out of our room. Long story short Monday night we had stayed up late finishing everything and now Tuesday I could move his crib mattress in there on the floor.

Solomon’s first nap rolls around and I tried him out in his new room where he could get on and off his bed and move around freely. He did awesome, though! He feel asleep as easily as before in his crib and I was so happy about that. I spent that time washing dishes, picking up toys, and rearranging some extra furniture that was supposed to be sold but hadn’t yet. Just in case I went into labor I didn’t want people having to awkwardly work around large pieces of furniture in the front room (our house is super small so any amount of clutter makes it look out of control). I noticed I was actually having some cramps and about the time my mom got there for lunch I could tell they were coming in a fairly regular pattern, but I refused to give them too much thought.

My mom, along with lunch, brought the cradle that me, my siblings, and Solomon all slept in as infants. Like I said, everything was super last minute with this baby. My MWs showed up about 2ish for my home visit and I mentioned to them that I was having what I thought was contractions but they might not be anything to get excited about yet. I joked about them having to drive back that night since they all live an hour or more away, and I felt a little bad about it. Of course, they said not to worry about it and call them early in case they get stuck in traffic in the city.

After they left, so did my mom and Solomon went down for his second nap. I realized I was really tired so tried to rest on the couch. Solomon didn’t’ sleep long so we hung out on the couch in the living room watching TV and trying to nap. I felt like it was getting late and looked at my phone to see it was 6p and John still wasn’t home. My contractions were still consistent and get a little annoyed which was making me annoyed too. John wouldn’t answer his phone and I was really starting to get annoyed because we still needed to have dinner, take the crib down and move it to the shed, and rearrange our room to help accommodate me in labor better. He got home closer to 7p and could tell I was a little on edge. In that hour, the contractions had picked up yet again and had a sharp edge to them. I was still in denial that this was the real thing, though, and John was in even bigger denial.

I had to really push him to get the stuff we needed done because he was understandably tired after a long day of work. However, we got Solomon to bed in his new big boy room for the first time and got to work. He took the crib apart, moved it to the shed out back, and started to move our bed, which is a big deal because it’s super heavy and I couldn’t help him much. All the while my contractions were picking up pretty fast but I kept pushing them to the back of my mind. I was picking up odds and ends in our room, trying to help John as much as I could, and vacuuming the floor as he moved things around. I was having to stop to breath through contractions and then would continue to vacuum. It cracks me up now because I am not really a cleaner. I am so thankful to my mom and sister for coming over the week before and cleaning my house top to bottom. I also didn’t nest at all with Solomon, I literally laid on the couch the last month of my pregnancy, even while I was in early labor, so I really thought it was me just trying to get things ready, but now I realize how I was nesting like crazy.

Anyway, it was about 9p when John got our room moved around, the crib in there, and decided he was going to go sit in the living room to rest. I continued to “decorate” (totally cracks me up) the baby’s corner in our room. I had this vision of how I wanted things and I wanted them to be ready. At one point, John came in the room and found me standing on a stool draping some cute yarn over the cradle and then leaning up against the wall to breath though contractions. He said, “What do you think Janet (my MW) would think if she saw you up there?” I snapped back, “I DON’T CARE what Janet thinks!” (LOL)

Around 10p I went out to the living room and told John I thought I should start timing contractions. I timed for about 20 mins and knew it was time to call Janet. John tried to stop me because I had been in early labor with Solomon for a full day before I called Janet and then they were there for another full day before the went home. Neither of us wanted them to be there that long again but I knew this was it. Janet said she would get her stuff together and head that way with Jean (her ass.). I then called my sister, Alysia, who live in Austin, over an hour away, and told her to head this way because it was time. Then I told John I was going to jump in the shower.

I headed back to get changed and it hit me…my baby boy was going to be a big brother in a matter of a few hours. I stopped and waddled back to check on Solomon. He was sleeping peacefully in his new room and I broke down. I went in and sat next to his bed and just soaked him in for a few minutes. I cried and prayed over him, I wanted to have one last moment with him before our lives were changed in such a big way.

The contractions were not allowing me to sit there much longer so I got up and headed back to the bathroom. I got in the shower and just soaked up the quiet for as long as I could. When I got out it was a little about 11:30p. I went in the living room and sat down on the couch across from John and worked through a couple of contractions that had all of a sudden gotten really strong. I looked over at him and said, “I can’t do this much longer. Will you pray?” After he finished praying for a smooth and speedy labor and birth, I suggested we get the birth pool set up.

At that time Cathy, the back up MW I had met earlier that day, and my sister showed up at the same time. With every contraction I kept thinking, I can’t believe I am doing this again. I was not scared at all, I just couldn’t believing I was going through this really hard process again. They watched me work through about 3 contractions that got significantly stronger each time. The baby was moving around like crazy the whole time too and my sister sat there watching and touching my belly in amazement. Twisting, kicking, and pushing deep down into my cervix, in between contractions were just as uncomfortable as contractions because of it. Cathy checked my vitals and asked if I wanted to her to check me while we waited for Janet and Jean to get there. I said yes and we headed to the bedroom while Alysia and John worked on getting the pool set up. While Cathy was getting ready to check me Janet and Jean came in the bedroom and asked how I was. Cathy was having a hard time determining my dilation and told Janet she couldn’t tell where my cervix was. At that moment I freaked out a little in my head. I thought, CRAP! I’m not even dilated and I’m going to have to endure these contractions for so long. I. CAN’T. DO. THIS. AGAIN. Janet came over and asked if I wanted her to check me and I said “Yes!” They can’t leave me hanging like that, come on. So she checked while I was trying to lay there calmly and said, “I think you’re at a 9.” I said, “REALLY?” and then I did a legitimate fist pump. That’s right I fist pumped the air! Now I CAN do this!!!

That was probably about 12:30a on Wednesday morning and I thought I would be done really soon. Turns out I could hear that they seemed to be having a little trouble with the birth pool in the other room. I sat up on the bed and with the help of Janet and then Jean, I worked through contraction after contraction. My first labor with my son, I spoke in tongues a lot when I hit transition, which took us all by surprise, so I figured I would do the same this time. Instead, I instinctively did the whole loose horsey lips thing while blowing out and it actually helped me to relax my whole body immensely. However, I think I was holding back mentally because I really wanted to get in that pool but I wasn’t going to say so.

John and Alysia were working really hard to get the pool filled by boiling water and waiting for the water the heat from our gas heater. I know they felt bad it was taking so long and at one point it seemed like everyone was just waiting around for it. I sat on the bed for a while and then transitioned to standing. Jean would ask me every now and then if I needed to move, go to the bathroom, or drink some water, but I didn’t want to do anything. I would just shake my head no because it felt like any tiny move, word, and even thought would bring on another contraction. I finally worked my way back in the living room where John was filling the birth pool and say on the couch close to him.

I could tell he felt bad that the pool wasn’t ready and might not be ready at all. I was really disappointed because I wanted a water birth this time but I didn’t want to make anyone feel bad about it because they were working so hard, so I just quietly worked through contractions with my horsey lips waiting for something to happen; my water to break, a pushing feeling, or the water to be ready.

I started feeling nauseous so they brought me a bowl to throw up in but I never throw up on my own without making myself. Jean convinced me to try and go to the bathroom so I did and then I tried throwing up. I called John in there and I just knew my water would break be I was heaving so hard but it stayed put. John prayed for me again because I told him I was done. I got up to head back to the living room and Jean said I could get in the tub now if I wanted. I swear I heard angels singing at that moment. Seriously. Oh sweet heaven, that’s what I had been waiting for and I know God knew it!

I ripped my clothes off and got in there so fast and suddenly felt like a new person. I was wide awake and ready to do this! The contractions were just as hard as before but the water was the greatest blessing I could have ever asked for. I started talking, joking, and laughing in between contractions. Janet asked me if I wanted to be checked again and when I hesitated she said I could just check myself and see if I could feel the baby’s head. I pushed a little and could feel the bulging bag of waters which I thought was so cool! She said I could try to break it if I wanted, so I did. I poked, pinched, and pulled at that thing and it would not budge. I even pulled a layer off of it and nothing. I joked about how having a baby in the caul would be cool but at that point I didn’t really care because I just wanted to be done. I gave up trying to break it and decided to let it do it’s own thing.

After that I tried giving a push during a contraction. I hadn’t gotten the urge to push but I felt like I had been waiting for so long I wanted to try. It actually felt really good to push so I felt like I might be ready. Janet confirmed it was fine for me to push if I wanted and asked John if he wanted to catch the baby. I interjected and said, “No, I want to!” I knew John would have done it, but also knew he was relieved because he really didn’t want to.

After pushing about 2-3 times my water finally broke with a big POP! They broke mine at 7cm with Solomon so I hadn’t felt that before and it was really exciting! Even though, I knew it was real, it really felt real then. We were about to meet our baby! I don’t know the time frames but I didn’t push very long, maybe 3-5 contractions, with Jean guiding my pushing with her finger, before I felt the ring of fire, and the my contraction STOPPED! I couldn’t believe it! Janet told me to breath through it and wait for the next contraction. That was the only time in the pool I had a hard time waiting for the next contraction. As soon as I felt another coming I started to push and the head came out. I can’t remember if I waited for another contraction or it was the same one but I pushed the body out and at 3:14a on 6/19/13, Janet told me to pick up my baby!

I had already lifted the head out but couldn’t any further and I realized Jean was trying to unwrap the cord from around the neck. She was having a hard time though because it was also wrapped around the chest under one arm. Janet and Jean finally ended up rolling the baby to untwist the cord and helped me pull the baby up and that’s when I saw…

“IT’S A GIRL!!!!!!”

I couldn’t believe it! It’s a girl!

I held her to my chest while rubbing her and kept saying, “You’re a girl! Hi baby girl!”

I then announced that her name was Elsa. What and incredible joy she is, too!

We spent a few minutes like that looking at her until her cord stopped pulsing and John cut it. Then I got out to deliver the placenta and get checked for any tears, which there were none!

We all got to bed and got checked out. She was 7.8 lbs (half a pound bigger than her brother) and her head was perfectly round, not one over lap in her skull. We were given the run down of what to watch for and what to do before we saw them again the next day and then the MWs packed up and headed home. John and I headed to bed with our new perfect baby girl and my sister headed to Solomon’s new room to sleep in there.

Solomon never woke up!

<<Read “Jamie’s Birth Story of Solomon” here>>

Jamie’s Birth Story of Solomon

My labor story starts around 3am on Jan 27th. I woke up to a contraction which wasn’t uncommon for the last few weeks. What was uncommon was that another one followed within a few minutes and I couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up, went to the bathroom, and went out to the living room to watch some TV and bounce on my ball since I couldn’t sleep. I decided to time a few cx just to see what they looked like. They were coming every 5-8 minutes apart and last about 45 sec-1 min long. No big deal but I was wide awake now. I got back in bed around 6 or 7am because I was getting tired again and my husband was getting up to head to work. I told him I couldn’t sleep and was having some cx but they weren’t anything to get excited about.

When I woke up a few hours later I was still have the same kind of cx so I just laid around for most of the day timing them and watching movies and TV. If this was going to turn into the real thing I wanted to get rest while I could. Jan 27th was my SIL birthday so after DH got off work we headed over to my IL’s house to have pizza and cheesecake. On the ride over there I noticed my cx started feeling a little bit sharper. They were still the same amount of time apart just grabbing my attention more. We were at the IL’s for a few hours and I actually had to zone out a focus a couple of times through some cx but was trying not to let it show because I didn’t want anyone to get excited if it wasn’t the real thing. I asked DH if we could leave around 9pm because I was tired and in the car I told him that my cx were much stronger than they had been all day. When we got home he made me start timing them again and they were very consistently 4.5 minutes apart and lasting a min or more. We called the MW around 10:30 pm and she decided to head up to our house and check me out since she lives an hour away.

Our doula got to the house first and then a couple of mins later our 2 MWs showed up around 12:30am on Jan 28th. My MW checked me and I was just at a 3 so they decided to stay the night and check my progress in the morning. I labored through the night with the help of my doula. The cx weren’t terrible but I did have to breath through them. We only got about 2 hours of sleep that night and at around 7am my MW checked me again. I was still at a 3! I couldn’t believe it! I was feeling very tired and a little deflated since I had labored for several hours during the night. She said I was very stretchy though and wanted to massage my cervix some and do some pressure points to see if she could progress me. A few mins of that and she had stretched me to a 5! She also put some EPO up my who-ha to try and get things going a little more. They decided to stay and we were officially in active labor.

None of it felt real still. DH had his parents and mine praying while we labored through the day. It was very cold outside so we didn’t do any walking just stayed inside. My photographer showed up around 11am because she didn’t want to miss anything. The whole day was pretty uneventful with me just laboring on the ball, walking around, instructing DH on how to make lasagna in the crock pot, and praying that something was going on down there. At some point my MW brought the birth stool in and I sat on that for a little while. Around 2pm I started dozing off in between cx and decided to lay down in bed because I was so exhausted. DH and I layed down and I think I dozed off in between cx for about 2 hours. I don’t know how but it was just what I needed and was glad for the little break. Around 4pm I couldn’t lay down during cx anymore and had to get up.

At this point my MW decided to check me again. I was still at a 5! Seriously? I couldn’t believe this. It was not what I had in mind at all. I thought you were supposed to progress during labor and instead my cervix seemed to being just hanging out while I worked for nothing. She said I was still very stretchy so she decided to try and stretch me again. It sounds really painful but it really wasn’t. I didn’t care what she had to do I just wanted to get the show on the road. She easily stretched me to a 7 and said the baby’s head was in a perfect position and my bag of waters was bulging so she wanted to break my water to get things moving. I agreed whole heartedly! She broke my water and it was nice a clear. Time to get this rollin!

It all became very real to me at this point. This was the real deal and we were going to have a baby today. After my water was broken things started to get a little more intense. I labored on the birth stool for the most part and started to moan and vocalize a little during these cx. I got in the shower at some point to try and relax a little. I was really focused on relaxing and working with the cx and not against them. My doula was really good at helping me to breath correctly and relax my face so that I wouldn’t tense up. While I was in the shower I told DH that it was about time I had this baby. Things were really getting intense and I was ready to be done. I got out of the shower and back on the birth stool. I lost track of time at this point. It felt like forever but I know it wasn’t that long.

The MWs started getting things ready in the living room where I was. I was really vocalizing through cx now speaking in tongues very loudly. I thought that was strange because I don’t normally do that but it was all that would come out at the time. People always said I would be screaming and yelling at my husband about how he did this to me and things like that. I really didn’t want to be one of those women that blames my husband just because I am in labor. I didn’t once think to yell at him or blame him for anything. Anyway, so yeah, I was speaking loudly in tongues and praying in the spirit. A few times I would say, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Come on baby!” Of couse I was speaking to Jesus and then to the baby but DH thought this was really funny because it sounded like I was calling Jesus “baby.”

I never felt that overwhelming need to push but I do remember at some point I just wanted to push, I felt like I should. I said something so my MW decided to check me again and told me to stop because I still had a small lip and she did want it to swell. She tried pushing it out of the way but ultimately had me breath through a few more cx first. Those were some of the hardest cx. I was whimpering/crying and just wanted to be done already. My DH and doula were right there the whole time encouraging me and helping me through. My MW started to pray over me and it was such an awesome moment! The prayer was so powerful and really made me feel like I was in the best hands. My team trusted God and invited Him to be in the midst of everything and I felt such an amazing amount of peace in the room. Things started to move fast. DH prayed over me and the baby and then my MW checked me again and said I could start pushing with the next cx. I tried on the birth stool and on my hands and knees and neither were really working. My MW wanted me to lay on my back and we tried a could of pushes there. Then she wanted me to squat in front of her. Everyone helped me up but I only made it one push before I gave up because my knees hurt so bad.

I was back on my back and that is where I stayed. I held my legs up to my chest in what I can only assume was a death grip because my arms were killing me the next day. I gave a few pushes and my doula helped hold my head so I would keep my chin to my chest. I guess I started pushing pretty good because everyone started getting really excited and encouraging me. My MW kept saying that I just had to get his head through my pelvic bone so that his head wouldn’t go back in. I thought that was much easier said than done but I finally got his head through. I remember I would push and then let out a loud cry and then whimper. They kept wanting me to push and push and push and I thought they were crazy because I was out of breath and felt like I had no energy. I had already decided that I didn’t want to be pushing for hours and hours though so I gave it all I had. Once his head because to appear she had me reach down and touch his head. I was so overwhelmed my the whole experience I just kept crying, I couldn’t believe this was happening. Everyone was encouraging me saying he was right there, but all I know is I didn’t even know what pain was until the “ring of fire” appeared. Oh. My. God! That was the craziest thing I have ever felt in my life. His head seemed to be “right there” forever, but all of a sudden it was out. Everyone started saying, “His eyes are open, he is looking around.” They were all laughing and so excited. I heard them say that the shoulders were next but I didn’t even feel that part. I felt him kicking me like he was trying to climb out or something.

All of a sudden he was on my stomach! I was crying hysterically. I just couldn’t believe it! I kept saying to DH, “Our baby! Our baby!” DH swore he wouldn’t cut the cord because the whole thing just grossed him out, but in the moment he was such a trooper. He watched him come out and cut the cord once it stopped pulsing. I was so proud of him and knew he would be amazing even though he didn’t. I only pushed for 30 mins and delivered the placenta within 10 mins or so. I stayed on my back because I needed to be stitched up and my baby stayed with me the whole time. They checked him while he was on my chest. I couldn’t see him very well because he kept scooting my chest and was at the neck in no time. He didn’t even make a peep; never cried and just kept looking around. His hand was up grabbing at my neck. It was the most overwhelming moment of my life. I have never felt so much love instantly. He was so real, so alive, so perfect!

As far as my tear, I don’t know what degree it was but I do know my MW had never seen anything like it in her 35 years of delivering babies. DH said it looked like the inside tore away from the outside. It took a little while for them to stitch me but I didn’t feel anything. Something I have never heard anyone mention is how weird it is getting up for the first time. I felt like I couldn’t breath! My stomach was all of a sudden empty and there was nothing there to hold my organs. It felt like all my insides were barely hanging on. I wasn’t light headed or anything but it was hard to walk even with two people holding me up. They got me to the bathroom, put a diaper and pad in the most ugly but comfortable mesh panties, and then put me in my bed. The MW checked my baby out right there in my room on my bed. My doula got me some food and everything was done and taken care of within 3 hours.

Let me just say, if I was in a hospital I would have gotten an epidural for the simple fact that I was exhausted. The pain was bearable but I was so tired and just wanted a break. I wouldn’t change it for the world though. I was so grateful to be at home and not have to go anywhere. It was easy and I was comfortable being in my own home. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Solomon, born at home on Jan 28, 2012 at 7:50pm 7 lbs even, 20 1/2″ long

<<Read “Jamie’s Birth Story of Elsa” here>>