I’m in awe over how the home birth of our seventh baby has gone, and wanted to share my birth story with you in hopes of encouraging those mamas who are hoping to have a good birth after a traumatic birth experience.
I wouldn’t say this was the easiest pregnancy ever, but it was definitely a lot better than our previous pregnancy. I managed to avoid progesterone injections this time around and just stay on progesterone pills until around 34 weeks. I felt huge, but I only gained about 16 pounds the whole pregnancy. Don’t ask me how because I’m not exactly sure! It wasn’t because I was amazing at eating no sugar or carbs. I do know I didn’t eat as much food overall. My meal portions were smaller just because I didn’t feel like eating huge meals. Who knows exactly why, but it was SO much better than the 50 pounds I gained last time when I was in bed a lot.
I’ve had a history of having every other baby on my due date, and really kind of expected this baby to follow that pattern. God decided to teach me a different lesson this time around though. The morning of my due date I woke up and was feeling all achy and thought I might be going into labor.
I totally panicked.
It surprised me how fearful I was to go into labor, as I thought I had been dealing with putting that fear behind me the whole pregnancy. I desperately wanted a better labor and delivery than my last one, and the thought that the whole labor process was starting apparently stressed me out.
I woke Sean up and asked him to pray for me, and I just laid in bed with him for awhile.
Wouldn’t you know it, the contractions stopped and my day went on as normal. It shook me up though, and made me realize I needed to be praying, singing hymns, and trying to think positive thoughts more than I had been.
Almost a full week passed….and I had to keep fighting the fear that this baby was growing and that I was overdue. I don’t feel like my body is really meant to have a 10 pound baby, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done when I pushed out our 10 pound girl.
Monday, August 13th I went to see my midwife that afternoon and told her I was having contractions about 30 minutes apart. Nothing regular, but they didn’t feel like braxton hicks when they came. My midwife sent me home and said she would probably see me that night or the next day.
Now is probably a good time to mention that we decided to use a new midwife this time around, and after having used the same midwife for five of our babies that was a big change. We didn’t have a problem with how our last midwife had handled any of our births, it was just a strong feeling that Sean and I both had that we should use someone different this time around. My new midwife had only heard about my patterns, or what I could be like in labor, and there was some natural apprehension on my part about having someone new come, even though I really liked my midwife!
We went home and decided not to tell the children that I could be in early labor as we didn’t want them to stay up and not be able to sleep from being excited or nervous. I made everyone do another cleaning of the house (“just in case I wake up in labor children”), and I made energy balls to eat.
I was exhausted by bedtime and was really looking forward to sleeping, but that was not to be. The contractions were coming every 15-20 minutes by that point, and just when I was about to fall asleep another contraction would come. They were painful enough to keep me awake and breathing through them.
This happened All.Night.Long.
I couldn’t believe it. I have never labored all night long before. Nothing seemed to get closer together. By morning they were still coming about every 15 minutes apart. I wondered if I had another full day of this, and how could I keep going without sleep.
I texted my midwife around 7 AM and told her I was so exhausted. I either needed to sleep or I needed to have this baby. She encouraged me to take a bath and see if it would either pick things up, or help me get some sleep. I wasn’t very relaxed in the bath (which surprised me as I LOVE baths!) and only stayed in there about 10 minutes, but it was enough. I laid down in bed and slept for 45 minutes, when a very painful contraction woke me up at 9:30.
I got up and went out to the living room and remember being impressed with how clean the house was. My older children were doing their school, and Sean already had the birth pool set up in the living room for me! I’ve thanked him for doing that several times now, as I wouldn’t have had my water birth if he had not been prepared ahead of time!
Our children were going to a good friend’s house right up the street when I was in active labor, and at this point Sean said we would probably send them there after lunch. Our oldest had a cello lesson at 10:15 that is also down the street, but by 10:00 I said the children needed to leave the house and I texted our cello teacher and said we had to cancel. The contractions were coming closer together and getting super intense.
Sean ran the children up to our friend’s house, and when he got home I needed him to get through every contraction. My midwife said she would come to check on me, but I don’t think she thought I was close to the end. The next hour was intense, I started having back labor and needed Sean to push really hard on my low back whenever a contraction came. He told me later he could feel a bulge push out against my back during every contraction, like she was trying to work her way down.
About 15 minutes before my midwife got here I started shaking like I was cold. Sean asked if I wanted a blanket and I said no. I told him I thought I was in transition, and kept asking when Amber (our midwife) would be getting here.
She finally walked in the house and listened to the baby during a few contractions. I was not making much noise during the contractions, but I was having trouble breathing and kept struggling with feeling slightly light headed because I needed to breath better through the contractions. After a few contractions that come super close together, I told her my guess was that I would have the baby within the hour. I secretly was guessing it would be closer, but I was scared to say that. She told me I was “too cute” to be having a baby right away, but wouldn’t you know it, the next contraction I started pushing and my water broke!
At this point I was sitting on our couch (sort of half on the couch, half off), and the birth pool was just 2 steps away from me. Everything was so intense I wasn’t sure if I could get in, but Sean and Amber both encouraged me to make the effort and helped me in. I got in the pool, let out a deep sigh of relief because it felt so good and then started pushing out our baby! Amber told me it took 2 minutes to push her out!
It was an amazing experience, I pushed her head out in one contraction and reached down and felt her head. I instantly knew I was not having a 10 pound baby, and all I could say was the word “mercy” several times over, and then I pushed out her little body. My midwife pushed her up to me in the birth pool and I pulled her out of the water.
I was so shocked that this all happened so quickly that I really didn’t even look at her! I quickly checked to make sure it was a girl, and then I just sat there stunned for a minute, trying to process that it was all over!
She was born at 11:22 AM, so I had a little under an hour and a half of hard, intense labor. She weighed 7 pounds, 14 ounces and was 20 and ¾ inches long.
She was so alert! I sat in the birth pool and just held her for about 45 minutes, waiting to deliver the placenta. About 20 minutes after she was born my sister got there. She was supposed to be there for the birth but didn’t make it in time. We both cried together when she walked in and saw that I was holding a baby. She was so relieved that it went better for me this time!
We experienced something brand new this time around – delayed cord clamping. It was such an awesome experience! My midwife was so relaxed about letting the placenta come and wasn’t stressed at all, and we kept the cord attached until the placenta came, which took 45 minutes. At one point Emily’s hands and feet were white and the rest of her was all nice and pink. Our midwife said it was the blood all going to her brain and organs, but that her hands and feet didn’t need it as much at this time. So amazing!
I think it’s interesting that we haven’t had any issues at all with jaundice this time, and normally my babies get a little jaundiced those first few days. No clue if it’s somehow related, but it’s nice to not stress about the jaundice this time!
After I delivered the placenta I got out of the birth pool and laid down on the couch for a few hours. I had been in my bed enough the past few days that I wasn’t ready to head back there again! I was exhausted and thought I would go right to sleep for awhile, but I wasn’t able to. Emily wanted to nurse a lot, and I couldn’t unwind to try and sleep.
That afternoon my friend brought all our children home to meet the baby – what a sweet time that was! She then took them all back to her house to spend the night, which was so nice of her! I finally was able to sleep that night, and I’m not sure when sleep has ever felt better.
The children getting to meet Emily for the first time! Sean is wearing a shirt that says “Dad of Girls #outnumbered”. You can find it on Amazon here. I love it, our boys don’t. Ha! I’m wearing nursing pajamas I ordered to use this time around, they are so soft and comfortable!
The next few days I couldn’t sleep very well during the day, Emily was gagging and choking a lot and I was always watching her. Thankfully she has stopped doing that, and after about 3 days I finally could relax enough to nap with her.
As of today she is a week old and we can’t imagine our family without her. I still feel like God showered me with mercy and grace by the birth I experienced, and the long 9 months of pregnancy is slowly fading away in my memory.
Welcome to our family Emily Mercy! You can read the special testimony behind her name here.
And in case anyone is wondering, we were totally, 100% ok with having another girl! Of course our boys were hoping for another brother, but they were guessing it could be another girl. 🙂 Sean is a fantastic girl dad, and I’m glad our boys have each other close in age. God knows best! We now have 2 boys and 5 girls in a row!