Sunday, November 19, 2017

Baby C's Homebirth Story

Our third baby was born on Wednesday, November 8th — his due date — and, yes, we had our third BOY! We named him Curtis, or "C" as I will call him on the blog.

The week started off like this. Very much still pregnant, and besides a week+ of on and off pre-labor contractions, there really wasn't much action. With our older children being born early (E at 35w, W at 38w), it was a huge blessing to make it to the full 40 with our third.


The bouts of pre-labor contractions had been happening daily since 38 weeks, so I'm really not sure where to start this birth story! Strong Braxton Hicks contractions (but not painful) would pick up in the afternoon/evening, only to fizzle out overnight.

The on and off contractions were a bit discouraging but in hindsight I'm convinced they were making progress of some sort. In the couple days prior to baby's birth, the pre-labor contractions  stopped and it seemed like any signs of baby's arrival had stalled out (hence my concern that I would be eternally pregnant).

Turns out my body may have been giving me a slight break before the real show began.

Wednesday, November 8 - DUE DATE

We made it! Baby's official due date had come, which was exciting, yet it was also officially just another day with zero signs of labor, besides a sore pelvis.

Pretty normal pregnant stuff going on.

Last picture as just the three of us!

The day started at 5:30 am with W coming upstairs with his pillows. Daylight savings time means very little to him at 2 years old. I wasn't ready to be up yet so I escorted him back down to bed and we cuddled until 7:00.

PB oatmeal was on the breakfast menu and soon after the boys were off to play Legos. I took advantage of the "quiet" time to write down a few key Bible verses for the upcoming birth (Psalm 28:7, 27:14, 29:11) and read my Bible. Then it was laundry putting away time and more indoor play with the kids. It's been chilly lately and I wasn't quite ready to head outside yet!

Around 9:00 am, I prepped a slow cooker supper while E painted with watercolors and W played in the sink (his all-time favorite indoor activity). I was feeling nauseous, slightly light-headed and ended up with a nosebleed but didn't think much of it as they are all possible normal symptoms of late pregnancy (...and an early onset winter like ours for the nosebleed).

By 11:00 am, pizzas went in the oven for lunch and outside we went. E started shoveling and had a great time. W had a major meltdown, I had to carry him outside where he then laid on the front steps for the rest of our outdoor time.

Being two isn't easy...


Contractions started around 11:30 am but I was skeptical that this was a return of pre-labor. They were more uncomfortable than the earlier pre-labor and started to form a consistent pattern of 20-30 seconds long every 6-8 minutes. That was my hint that this may be more than another practice drill!

The noon alarm went off and we headed inside (in W's case, he was carried inside :s). Pizzas were ready, my husband and my bro-in-law came home for lunch and by that time I just sat in the chair timing contractions while everyone ate. I had some pizza later but my appetite just wasn't great.

The contraction pattern continued and I warned Leo that he may be needing to get off work early today if these keep up!

The kids headed downstairs for a nap at 1:30 pm. We read books, they cuddled up and W needed to be returned to his bed once. I told the boys mom really needs to rest right now. Baby might be coming! E seemed concerned and W had no idea what was going on.

I texted our midwife with an update and asked her to be here around 5 pm, as she was out of town that day. These contractions could last all day, for all I knew! (or a baby could be born before supper)

After heading upstairs, I touched base with a friend who had her third homebirth (same midwife) in August and she explained a method to see how far dilation has progressed — laying back on the bed and measuring from sternum to the top of the uterus mid-contraction. I tried but the contractions were so strong by that point, there was no way I was going to lay down on my back!

Labor was progressing very quickly and of course the snow was flying by now in our winter wonderland winter weather advisory. I asked Leo to come home by 4... which soon changed to 3... and then PLEASE COME HOME NOW!

Our midwife was on her way but had a snowy, long drive ahead of her.

Leo got home, rather quickly, and he rubbed my back during contractions. The kids' nap was brief and they both came upstairs. Leo turned on a movie for them and gave them snacks until they could go to the neighbors' house.

I asked him to set up the pool and he tried to do that while still rubbing my back through contractions (what a champ!). Thankfully, we had another neighbor stop over and she was able to take over the back rubbing job. I was so thankful for the impromptu doula - we certainly hadn't planned that!

As the pool was being filled, we ran out of hot water because someone (... me) had just taken a long, hot shower. I wasn't thinking on that one and certainly didn't expect things to progress so quickly. The key to a water birth is that the water needs to be in a very exact temperature range to make sure baby doesn't take his/her first breath until they are out of the water. It had to be 98-101°F on the dot.

And so he boiled water. And boiled water. And boiled more water to raise the temp as our hot water-heater recovered. And I asked him to even try microwaving water repeatedly, which in hindsight was ridiculous, but I could tell that pushing time was near. I was a little desperate, you could say.

So by this point, I officially nominated Leo for the "Husband of the Year" award.

The battle to hit the correct water temperature continued and I did my best to breathe through contractions to keep this baby in a little while longer. Birthing out of the water would have been fine but apparently I was very set on waiting to have a water birth. I didn't even consider setting things up for birthing elsewhere! Call that #laborbrain.

Throughout that waiting time in active labor or transition or whatever you call it, Psalm 29:11 came to mind: The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. Even in those trying moments, I could lean on the Lord for strength and peace.

He wouldn't take away the pain necessarily, as that's just part of labor, but He would give me the strength to get through it. Knowing that helped me to remain calm throughout the labor process (therefore helping labor to progress faster!).

Our midwife was still on the icy roads and was counseling Leo over the phone on the next steps. When she was 20 minutes away, the birthing pool was ready to go.

At this point, I knew it wouldn't be much longer! She gave us the green light to move into the birthing pool and, immediately after getting into the water, everything slooooowed down.

Praise. the. Lord.

Just like with W's water birth, everything slowed down the second I got in the water. I was able to get extra rest between contractions and the pressure was much more bearable.  I actually felt like I wasn't in labor anymore! Leo and I were able to laugh and talk a little before we were officially to meet our third child.

It was time to push and I knew I needed to do this patiently to prevent tearing. Natural childbirth is absolutely amazing to me because a woman's body knows when to push and what intervals to push in. It is something that doesn't need to be taught and that is an absolute miracle.

Time to get this baby out!

After three pushes, resting for maybe 1 or 2 minutes between, baby's head was out. The amniotic sac was still on baby's head and our midwife advised Leo on how to handle that over the phone. No need to worry, we were about to meet our baby! Two more and there came the shoulders.

At 4:47 pm, Leo caught our baby, removed the remaining amniotic sac from baby's head and laid him/her on my chest. Our little one started crying right away and we were so filled with joy and relief! Leo grabbed a towel and covered baby as I held him/her.

We allowed time for the cord to pulse and took a peek to see what we had... it's a BOY! Both of us laughed and I was blown away. Once again I was so sure we were having a girl (I've been wrong every time!).

Three boys. Life is about to get crazier.


Five minutes after baby came out, our midwife burst through the door and, boy, were we glad to see her! As well as C's birth went, an unassisted homebirth was not our goal but we couldn't have asked for things to go any better than they did.

Thankfully, God answered our prayers for a safe birth and healthy baby, my husband is a rock star and our midwife had coached us well at prior appointments and over the phone.


While I went to shower, Leo cut baby's cord and had some father/son time with little Curtis. We had some quiet bonding time, just the three of us, and then our neighbors came over with the two big brothers. They were both excited to learn they had a brand new baby brother. That was a relief because E was set on having a girl this time!

Our midwife did her usual newborn check and the big brothers watched intently. They have really enjoyed being a part of baby's prenatal appointments throughout the pregnancy. I love that she involves the entire family in the prenatal and postnatal process!


Baby C weighed in at 7 lbs 7 oz and measured 21 inches. He was also our midwife's 700th baby!

Three Days Old

C is now 11 days old and we love him so much! He is an absolutely cuddly, sweet bundle of joy. C has been our easiest nurser so far and his laid back personality has made the transition from 2 to 3 kiddos go smoother than the transition from 1 to 2. In my opinion at least.

As we learned with our first home birth, the concept of birthing at home is not very common and therefore seems scary to many... and draws many negative opinions. After doing our research and working with our midwife through the past two pregnancies, I wouldn't want to give birth in a hospital again with a low-risk, uncomplicated pregnancy. It's a personal preference and, thankfully, being adults we can have differing ones and still get along.

Through all this, it's been a joy to welcome our little one into the family and I am totally blown away by my husband's ability to work through pressure like that. I knew he was awesome before, but after going through this experience together, he's hit a new level of awesome in my eyes ;)

We are also so thankful that my parents were able to help take the older boys for the first few days after C's birth. Leo was able to get very little time off work and I was thankful to have my parents' help to get through that first week of healing.

God is good, life is a gift and this is a story that C will likely hear over and over again throughout his lifetime! Yes, little man, Daddy caught you :)



4 comments:

  1. Congrats on another beautiful boy! What a beautiful birth story. I hope you are all adjusting well and getting some sleep!

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    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! Aside from a bout of mastitis this week, we are all adjusting really well :) Getting sleep, maybe not, but I'm sure loving these new baby cuddles! Hope you are doing well.

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  2. What an absolutely beautiful story. It brought back so many memories of my 2nd son's birthday (non-medicated VBAC) and I love all the elements and unplanning/planning that came along with your delivery. So many congratulations to you!

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    1. Thank you, Meredith! It was an experience we won't ever forget, that's for sure :) In the end, it's turned out to be great memories to share with little Curtis someday!

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