Family, Motherhood

A Homebirth Story from 2015

Another old post I wanted to share in honor of TJ’s birthday (which was earlier this month). Sorry for the length! I wrote this 3 years ago and don’t want to re-edit or re-write it just yet. 😛 

It’s hard to believe that our third child is finally here!

Titus Jerome was born on July 1st at 4:28am weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces and was 20 inches long.

I was pretty certain that this baby would be born in the month of June. I felt confident that my due date was pretty accurate and had no expectation of going much past my due date. But it turns out my gut feeling about that was a little off since our little boy decided to come just about 4 hours after June ended. Theo was born on the 28th and Rosie on the 31st of their birthday months. Now this one is jipped out of having a memorable golden birthday just like mommy and daddy are (having been born on the 1st and the 2nd). So our little Titus will have a smashing golden ‘first’ birthday.

In the midst of heartache and tragedy among our family and our church community I began to grow fearful for the birth of this baby. It had been quite the rollercoaster of emotions that I don’t remember experiencing nearly as much with my other pregnancies. Isaiah 40:28-31 and 41:10 became my hope. I wrote them down on the wall where my birthing tub would be positioned so that I could read them and meditate on them throughout my labor. Little did I know that I actually wouldn’t give birth in that spot, but it was a good thing I wrote them down early and looked at them often because they definitely were in my head!

The Sunday before I gave birth I had a few hours of regular contractions but then they went away. Monday I felt almost nothing. I was now 4 days past my “due date” and growing more impatient. Then, very early in the morning on Tuesday I was having some more contractions between 12 and 4am, but I was still getting some sleep. I got up to use the bathroom and felt the baby do a little jump or something that startled me a little, and then I felt my membranes rupture and fluid leak out. Immediately I got really excited and really nervous at the same time! I woke up Nick and then called the midwife. She reassured me to keep everything clean, get as much rest as possible, drink a glass of water every hour and just wait for the contractions! She said that typically labor is only a day or two away.

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Now I feel the need to go over some interesting details that I learned throughout this whole home birth/natural birth planning experience. When the water breaks, most practices will tell you to go into the hospital right away and that the baby needs to be born within 24 hours. I am not sure exactly where this “rule” came from, but it is rather a myth! I am sure there are good reasons to make sure babies are born soon after the water breaking, but sometimes there is no need to rush the process. I am fairly confident that if I had gone into the hospital at this point, without having any regular contractions, I probably would have been put on the induction route. I cannot tell you enough how thankful I am that I did not have to go through that experience. I know inductions can sometimes be necessary and most often times work just fine but sometimes they don’t and there are risks involved with inductions.

At one of my appointments I asked the midwives to tell me out of all their clients what was the longest someone had gone between her water breaking and actually giving birth and one of them had someone go 10 days! Can you believe that? Now, she said that was very unusual to go that long but it did happen, it is possible, and this woman had a natural birth and a healthy baby. So, I figured nature would take it’s course and things would progress for me at some point! Again, I thought about the verses in Isaiah and just prayed that it would happen soon, quickly, and without complications, that I could trust God that His plan for this birth and this baby would be accomplished.

So, Tuesday came and it went. My sister-in-law came over and helped with some chores, cooking, and playing with the kids and Nick was home most of the day as well just helping with some last minute cleaning and organizing. I had contractions maybe 1 or 2 every hour…all…day…long. Nothing changed. It drove me crazy. I rested and didn’t move around too much because I just knew that sooner or later I would need all the strength I had and didn’t want to be worn out. I was SO thirsty all day long too. When the membranes rupture it’s not like the amniotic fluid just empties, your body keeps maintaining the fluid levels. So, during pregnancy you already need to be drinking almost twice as much water as the average non-pregnant person but when you’re leaking amniotic fluid, that water intake needs to increase even more. So, per the midwives advice, I drank a glass of water about every hour! It was a lot of water to drink and a lot of bathroom breaks. As long as there are no signs of infection, baby is still moving normally, and the fluid is clear all is well. Thankfully for me, that stayed true the entire time.

We went to bed around 10:30 or 11pm that night and though I didn’t expect a labor to begin I was thinking that it would happen during the night because that’s when all my other labors occurred and that was when my water had broken. At this point it had been about 18 hours after my water had broken! I slept for about an hour, maybe slightly more, and then started feeling contractions. I was timing them on my cool little contraction timer app found on my homepage (I have since removed the app) and within just 1 hour they went from 12 minutes apart to 10, to 9, to 8. A little after 1am I called the midwife. I was unsure of what direction things would go, after all it was just an hour of contractions! But I told her, “If I needed to go to a hospital I would want to go now.” And she said, “Okay! We’re coming.”

The next hour felt like the longest hour of my life. My midwives had to travel from Northfield so I knew they wouldn’t be here for another hour. In that hour contractions quickly became 2 minutes apart and I had to stop timing them because it was just too difficult to concentrate on pushing the buttons on my phone. Nick was rushing around getting the pool ready to set-up. This is a tricky part about having a water-birth at home because you have to set everything up and if you do it too soon then the water gets cold and if you wait too long you don’t have enough time to do it all. It takes a lot of time to fill it up with air, and then fill it up with water. As Nick set everything out that we needed he soon discovered that his bike pump would not fit into the air hole in the tub. Oh…no… He made a couple of phone calls to people around town asking for an air pump but who is going to have that ready at 2 in the morning when a woman’s labor seems to be progressing faster than you can even say ‘air pump’.

I was down in the living room and when I realized that there was no way we would have enough time to get the pool ready I made my trek up the stairs to the bedroom. Good thing we had our bed prepped with a protective covering over our mattress. I crawled up the stairs on all fours needing to stop frequently to breathe through the pain of the contractions. When I finally got up I basically fell onto the bed and continued laboring on my side. That’s when the midwives arrived.

I calmed down a little bit once I knew they were here and tried to rest in between contractions. They had me try going to the bathroom to make sure there was enough room for baby to move down. Unfortunately, any water that I did drink I think got all thrown up. I threw up twice during each of my other labors so I figured it would happen again but not nearly this much. I don’t know how many times I threw up but it had to have been close to 10 (or at least it felt that way to me). That part was pretty awful. Throwing up and having contractions at the same time is super unpleasant!  However, the benefit of that is the body movements it takes to throw up help bring baby down and ready to be pushed out so maybe that is a reason why my labor ended up being pretty speedy.

The moments between the midwives arriving and when it came time to push are pretty blurry to me. I had no concept of time, just a feeling of dread for what I was about to go through and at the same time wanting it to intensify so I could meet this precious little baby.

When the pushing part came it was very natural and relaxed. I was never told I had to push or when to push but to just listen to my body and to try it when I felt ready to try it. That was very different to experience than the more directed/guided pushing I had before in a hospital. I remember small little pushes at first as I started to remember the sensation from my other births. With each contraction the pushing got stronger and more productive and I remember someone announcing the head was crowning and I thought to myself “Really? Already!?” I don’t know how many contractions it took to get this baby out but it was not very many!

That moment the baby came out was full of instant joy and relief. It took a few moments to actually look down there to determine the sex of the baby because I just held onto him right away. Then we realized we were blessed with another little boy and started trying to make our final decision on a name. Those few hours after the birth were almost blissful (if it weren’t for the cramping and soreness). I just felt like it was a big celebration and I was in such a peaceful state have been able to stay in my home. Our kids stayed asleep the entire time too!

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So, depending on how you count the start of my labor he was born pretty much exactly 24 hours after my water broke. A total of 19.5 hours of pre/early labor and only 4.5 hours of active labor and just 21 minutes of pushing. A very different story than my other 2 births being about 12 hours total from start to finish.

We landed with Titus Jerome for a name. Titus was Nick’s favorite name option on our list, and Jerome won out for a middle name because of the family connection (it’s my father’s name) and because T.J. made the perfect nickname.

It’s now been a little over a week and I have to say I am so thankful that I was able to have a home birth. It was truly a great experience! The midwives helped us get breakfast, poured mimosas, got everything cleaned up, came back the next day to check on us, and again after the weekend and they come again tomorrow! Nick was fantastic that first week taking care of our other 2 kids so I could just rest and nurse and he would bring me meals in bed using a folding bed tray. My bed sits right under a window so we got to enjoy a fresh breeze and natural light, and I got to hear my kids wake up and come up the stairs as daddy told them they had a new brother to meet! That was exactly how I was hoping it would be! The Lord was very good to us, indeed.

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