Caleb came into the world on January 28, 2004. My labor began around 3:00 pm on the 27th after going for a walk with my mom. I started having mild contractions about 10 minutes apart. By 6:00 pm we knew I was in labor. We called our midwife, Toni, to let her know. Her apprentice happened to be in town already so she decided to come over with a friend of hers, also a midwifery apprentice. They arrived around 7:30 pm. Toni got here around 9:00 pm.
My mom was my labor coach so between her and my husband someone was by my side massaging my back and/or counting my breathing for me with every contraction. I was having stronger and stronger contractions but they were still in a very irregular pattern. If I moved around they came closer together but if I lay down, they spaced out. By 2:00 am I was dilated to 7 cm but the baby had not dropped into the birth canal yet. I wanted to labor in the birthing tub (inflatable pool) but I was getting tired and did not want labor to stall out at that point. We needed something to change. We had a couple friends who had agreed to pray for us during the labor so my husband called them to ask them to pray specifically that the contractions would intensify and the baby would drop. We all prayed together as well, asking God to lead us in what to do next.
We decided to labor standing in the shower for a while. I leaned on my mom’s shoulders through every contraction. This proved to be effective but at 2:45 am I was only at 8 cm and the baby was still not in the birth canal. I got in the tub at that point but the contractions were really far apart, up to 11 minutes. We prayed again and called our friends with a prayer update. We prayed again and decided to try some labor tincture. I took it sublingually 3 times over the next 15 minutes and by 3:00 am I was in a strong labor pattern with contractions coming close together. The next hour was very intense.
Eventually I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. As I walked to the toilet the bag of waters slipped out like a water balloon suspended between my legs! I supported it with my hand and made my way back to the bed. Soon I felt the urge to push. Toni said I still had a lip on one side of the cervix but she thought she could hold it back for the next contraction and make it stay. It worked and she gave me the ok to push. I must say that I did not have to concentrate at pushing as my body just took over. I was very aware of everything that was happening in my body, but just felt like I had no control over the pushes. It went very quickly and in just a few pushes, and 4 minutes, Caleb was born at 4:20 am! I am not sure when he actually descended into the birth canal but once he decided to come, he came very quickly!!! My husband was able to deliver the baby and cut the cord. It was a beautiful moment. My mom was right beside me on the bed when he came. As soon as he was born I called for my dad to come in the room. He had been waiting in the living room. We were all there to witness his first moments.
Caleb didn’t breathe right away so Toni had to use the resuscitation bag to get him started but once he was breathing he did fine. I had a lot of bleeding after the birth so I was given Pitocin and then Methergin and we got the baby nursing right away. The combination of these things stopped the bleeding. Once that was resolved we were able to focus on the new baby again. He had a great latch right from the start and was happily nursing away. We all sat around and admired him for a while. Then I took a shower while Toni checked Caleb out and took all his measurements. He was 9lb, 3oz and 21” long! She stayed until after 6am to be sure I was settled back in bed and had eaten something.
Our homebirth was a beautiful experience, despite the way it dragged initially. Caleb was our third home birth and each one has been very different and unique. Toni handled every hurdle with wisdom and diligence while being gentle and caring at the same time. She was very thorough and professional and gave us the experience we hoped for. We appreciated her confidence and expertise, which allowed us to relax and enjoy the moment. We truly believe God led us to Toni and we are so thankful to Him for the beautiful baby He has added to our family.