What we learned in class was more helpful than I could have imagined. I would not change a single thing about our birth, and am so glad that we went naturally… If I can do it.. you can too!
Short Version: Adalynn Marie was born December 4, 2011 at 10:44 pm. 7lbs 13.5 oz and 21 inches
Long Version: My home birth journey started in Summer 2010 while enjoying a meal at a new friend’s house. I had known others that had home births, or even just natural births, and thoroughly believed they were crazy, and perhaps in need of help. Why would any thinking person fore-go an epidural? But while visiting with these new found friends, they began to talk about the home birth of their youngest child, and for the first time, I actually listened. Next thing you know, my husband high-fives the other husband across the table and informs all that he is sold on natural birth and even home birth. I smiled and nodded at the time, not sure how to handle my husband signing away my epidural for any future babies we may be blessed with.
After that night, I really was curious though. I researched everything I possibly could, and was shocked to learn the truth about the typical American birthing experience, and the statistics that accompany that. Pretty soon, I knew that should we have children, my preference would be to welcome them to the world in the comfort of my own home. I knew now that all those “modern conveniences”, really didn’t make birth safer or more comfortable.
Fast forward to Spring 2011… We’re pregnant! We were so thrilled, and I was so glad to finally have cause to see Toni. I had been reading these birth stories for almost a year, and truly hoped to contribute one someday. Throughout the entire pregnancy, I never took for granted the amazing experience of having Toni as a midwife. I never sat in a waiting room, or was rushed through an appointment, For her sake, I hope most of her clients do not take as long as I did, for I came with a battery of questions every time, and she proved an invaluable resource. Now to the actual birth…
Saturday the 3rd, I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions, or so I thought. I thought I was 37.5 weeks and certainly didn’t expect to see my daughter for another several weeks. I thought it was kinda cool, but didn’t really pay them any attention. Robert (my husband) asked me that night if we should call Toni, and I said “no”, we weren’t having a baby anytime soon… these things can go on for weeks. The next morning I woke up at 6am with what felt like a bad intestinal cramp, and on the way to the restroom, I realized my water was breaking. I was nearly in shock. I was finally getting used to being pregnant! Knowing that I would be having a baby in the very near future was a thought and feeling I couldn’t really process. We called Toni, and since I wasn’t having any contractions to write home about, she sent us to the store for some things to get labor going. Andrea came over soon after to check Adalynn’s heart tones. All was well, so we took a quick nap then headed to Wal Mart.
I was having some contractions there while walking, but it was a breeze to walk and talk through them. I couldn’t really tell when they started and stopped. the most frustrated that I was all day were those early hours, trying to figure out when exactly I was having a contraction, so that I could time and log them. That feeling of “not really knowing” didn’t last much longer, lol. I did eventually stop logging the contractions cause it was distracting and stress inducing. I relaxed a whole lot more when neither Robert or I were distracted trying to keep track of them. I called a friend over when we got home to go walking with me so Robert could sleep, I knew I would be needing him later, but was fine at the time.
We walked for an hour, then I went and took an hour nap. Contractions were every 4-5 minutes at this point, but not very strong at all. After waking up, we called Toni to tell her what was going on, still nothing really strong, but pretty regular, every 3-4 minutes. 15 minutes after that phone call, I told Robert to call her back, it was time to come over. Things got pretty serious very quickly. No more guessing whether or not I was having a contraction! We went for a walk and just labored around the house waiting for Toni and Elizabeth (friend and the assistant for this birth). They arrived around 4, and I was 4 cm. We went for another walk, and regardless of the amount of dilation, I was certainly in active labor. Somewhere over the next couple hours, I stopped being able to walk and talk through the waves, but had to just be still and breathe. I think Robert worked harder than I did, supporting me as I leaned on his shoulders through each one, coaching me to relax and breathe with my belly. He kept telling me that each contraction was one closer to meeting out daughter… and one less I had to go.
For the next several hours, I cycled between walking around the block, leaning over the couch on my knees, and laboring on the toilet. I loved that Robert and I were free to labor with as much privacy as I wanted, and they just let me know when they needed to check heart tones and blood pressure again. We did sit in the living room and worship for a while and then as things progressed, I got in the tub for a bit. The second time I got in the tub, it felt like contractions were non-stop, and I really had to focus on breathing through them. It was about 9pm when I got out, and we discovered I was at a 6. I knew my body was working hard, but still had to try hard not to be disappointed that I hadn’t dilated more, since it had been 5 hours of hard labor, I think Toni and Liz recognized this and suggested I lay down in bed for bit.
We laid down for about an hour, and frankly I do not know how far apart the contractions were, because I fell asleep between them! When I woke up I felt like laboring on my hands and knees over the couch again, so we made our way to the living room to do that. Toni asked to get heart tones and blood pressure first, so I sat on the couch, and as they were checking on those things, my body started pushing, There was no “Is this the urge to push?” question, my body just did it, and didn’t seem to care if I was going to push or not. After that first pushing contraction, we discovered I was fully dilated and had gone from 6 to 10 in about an hour. The pool was a little too cold, and without time to warm it up, I sat on the birth stool. This turned out to be so nice, because Robert sat on a bench behind me, praying over us and supporting me.
Those second stage contractions seemed to be much more spaced out, and I recall praying and thanking God for those long periods of rest. I remember learning that pushing can last 2-3 hours, and it scared me a little, since what I was feeling was so very intense. When Toni said after the 4th contraction that I could feel her head, and it would come with the next push, I was just floored. I think I was so energized by learning how close to the end we were, I gave it my all on the next push, and then got to meet my daughter. At 10:44pm, Adalynn Marie took her first breath (in between some impressive cries).
She was instantly put in my arms, and that feeling of holding my baby girl, her daddy reaching around me to hold her tiny hand, is really indescribable. On the audio my sister recorded, the first words I said after having her were “I just had a home birth!” It was something I had dreamed about and almost seemed to be too good to be true. Now on the other side of it, it was even better than I could ever have hoped for. I love that after she was born, I was able to get up and climb in my own bed with her. We sat there just enjoying being a family for a while and only when I was ready did they ask to weigh and check out my little girl. She was wonderful and maturity-wise seemed to be between 40 and 41 weeks gestation, so my due date might have been off. Regardless, the Lord knew when she was ready, and my body did what it was designed to do. I feel so privileged to have witness first-hand the incredible design of women’s bodies for the purpose of bringing babies into the world.
Overall, I had such an amazing birth experience. I was able to relax and give birth to my daughter relatively easily due to the never-tiring support and encouragement of my husband. That, and having so much confidence in my birth team, allowed me to concentrate fully on what I needed to do with total peaceof mind. Should I ever have a complication in pregnancy, or need medical help for a child or myself, I am so grateful to live in a country that affords wonderful medical care to the ill. But I am equally grateful that I had the freedom to give birth at home supported by very competent attendants who are extremely gifted in meeting the needs of laboring women. I hope that all mamas can look back at their baby’s births with as much fondness as I do.