It’s officially been three days since sweet Vivi joined us Earthside. We are all so in love with her and I am just so excited to share her birth story with ya’ll! She was born at home, this was my second home birth (I had one with Mercy and you can read about that here.) It was so different than my experience the first time. All of my babies have very different birth stories and I am so happy to be able to have experienced all of them the way that they happened. God has a plan for us even when we don’t know it and that really does hold true for each of my births.
For those of you that want an amazing midwife and you’re in my area, Vanessa is the ONLY one that I recommend (I am more than happy to give you her information if you’re interested in having a homebirth.) She was also my midwife for Mercy and has honestly become like our family. We all love her so much and not only is that the case but she is the best of the best and really knows her stuff. I have never felt more supported during my pregnancies than the time that I’ve known her. That’s one of the major differences in a hospital birth and a home birth. YOU are the focus and how you want your labor to be is what the midwife focuses on, not being just another patient in a room.
I went to the beach last Friday when I was 39 weeks pregnant to see my midwife, Vanessa. She weighed me, took my blood pressure, monitored the baby and checked me to see how dilated I was. She checked me because I asked, I had not been checked before that point in this pregnancy. I was 2cm and 50% effaced. I left there feeling anxious because I know that I have pretty fast labors and this pregnancy I’ve experienced Braxton Hicks contractions for the first time. I’ve never had them during previous pregnancies. She told me (as always) that if I started feeling any certain way to call her and she would be on her way to my house. I live about an hour and a half from her and since my labors are really quick we all know that this is important to take seriously.
My weekend went as normal with activities for the kids and no baby deciding to make her appearance. Sunday night I started having pretty consistent contractions so I called Vanessa and she was on her way with her assistant Hallie. It was about 7:30pm and our children go to bed around that time so they had all just settled down for the night. Our babysitter/nanny, Mrs. Winnie, had just come back and was upstairs in her room so I let her know I was having contractions and she was so excited! She is like a grandparent to our children and her grandmother was a midwife so she was giddy like a school girl about being here for the baby’s birth. We had several friends on call to come and be with her so she wouldn’t be alone with all of our littles if my labor progressed.
By the time Vanessa got here, my contractions had stopped and I just felt normal again with no signs of labor. I felt upset and defeated that I thought “this is it” and had gotten everyone to come over for nothing. Derrek and Vanessa assured me that it was all ok and not to worry about it. So, I decided since she was here I would like to see if we could get my labor started so she wouldn’t have made the trip for nothing. Just having Vanessa here made me feel so much more at ease because she would be right here if anything changed.
The next morning, all the kids went to school as normal and Mercy stayed in the house with Mrs. Winnie. I decided to get up and drink the “labor cocktail” (you can google that for more information) to try and get things started. I just could not keep that thing down and I couldn’t even finish it before I had to go throw up. After that, I went for a brisk walk around the neighborhood with Derrek and felt my contractions come back. They were pretty strong and would cause me to stop what I was doing to focus on the contractions. An hour later, we went to my acupuncturist, Dr. Jennifer Evans, and she gave me acupuncture to help strengthen my contractions. I felt like I would have the baby in her office so we left and came home. No joke, the contractions stopped within an hour.
I went for another walk, tried doing lunges up the stairs, ate another pineapple and yet nothing. I felt so mad that my labor was stopping and starting so much and I had gotten a friend to get Scarlet Reese from preschool and then another friend to pick up Nolan and Harper. We decided that they would all stay at my friend’s house that night just in case something changed and Vanessa just kept monitoring me. She checked me again and I was 6cm and 90% effaced. Before bed, I told Derrek that I was just over it and if the baby didn’t come that night that I was just going to tell Vanessa she could go home and I would call her if anything changed.
Well, I went to bed and things changed! I woke up around 3am with contractions that were consistent and painful. I waited about 45 minutes before I woke up Derrek to make sure it was the real deal. Then he went to wake up Vanessa and Hallie. Vanessa started monitoring me and couldn’t get a good pulse on me. It could have been from the laboring over the course of a few days or it could have been from something different but she didn’t like that and the fact that I had labored on and off so she wouldn’t let me get in the birth tub. We woke up Mrs. Winnie and took Mercy to her upstairs so we could fully focus on the labor.
No lie, my contractions were strengthening and this just sent me over the edge. I was so mad. My plan was always the birth tub, I didn’t want to have the baby in the bed or anywhere else for that matter. Since she wouldn’t budge (ps, I am thankful for her not budging because she knows best) I asked if I could go labor in the shower so at least the water would hit my back and maybe help with the pain. She told me yes and off we went to the shower. I kneeled down in the shower and labored for about 20 minutes with the water hitting my back, towels all over the floor so we wouldn’t get water everywhere and Derrek in front of me coaching me through. All of a sudden, I felt the urge to push and that’s when I thought my water would break.
I knew once my water broke that it wouldn’t take long at all for the baby to come because I had let Vanessa check me when I got in the shower and she could feel my bag bulging and the baby’s head about to pop out. I tried to push and make my water break again and I asked Vanessa to just break it for me. She broke it and that’s when I really felt like pushing. They had turned the shower off at this point so they could get closer to me. I pushed once as hard as I could and Vivi’s head came out. Vanessa and Derrek told me to stop pushing so hard and focus on smaller pushes so I wouldn’t exert my energy. I remember leaning on Vanessa’s shoulder and pushing again, taking a break and pushing one more time and Vivi was here. She was here and in my hands.
That moment when your baby comes out and it’s all over is seriously the best moment ever and I just started cried. I couldn’t believe it. Labor is over and she is here! She’s here!!!!! I just held that sweet baby and cried. Derrek and Vanessa just let me have that time with her right there in the shower. After a few minutes they moved me and Vivi over to a little area they had made for us on the bathroom floor so I could birth the placenta and have skin to skin with the baby. I birthed the placenta which is seriously my least favorite part of birth because you’re so excited about it being over but yet it’s not! Then enjoyed holding my baby and loving on her. Adrenaline kicks in around this point and you are just shaking for a good 5-10 minutes but it does go away. It’s hard to remember specifics during all of this because you get so focused on what you’re doing in the moment.
Vanessa and Derrek made sure we were all warm wrapped up in clean towels from the dryer and we just sat there, Vivi and I. She was born at 5:28am Tuesday morning. I couldn’t be more thankful for this experience at our house. Vanessa helped me take a quick shower to wash off, slip into comfortable pjs and get directly into bed. As you can see from the pictures, she weighed and measured the baby and did all of her newborn screenings in our home. Soon after birth, Vivi was checked and adjusted by Daddy and met her littlest sister. After spending all morning alone with her and Derrek, he picked up Scarlet Reese and introduced her to her new sister. She was so excited and sang her a few songs. Later that afternoon, Vivi met Nolan and Harper and they fell in love just as quickly as the rest of us. Our home birth didn’t go as planned but it was perfect and I wouldn’t change one thing.
Q: How do you handle transition?
A: Honestly, I like this period because it gets me so excited that baby is getting closer to coming. The contractions change in intensity but that’s when you know you could meet your little one soon. I don’t like to be touched a lot once my labor starts so I just focus on breathing and counting through my contractions and leaning on Derrek when I want too.
Q: What made you choose a home birth this time?
A: I really enjoyed my birth at home with Mercy and I know that delivering at a birth center isn’t an option for me. My labors are normally really quick and the closest one is 2 hours away. I wasn’t supported at my two hospital births and I will never have another hospital birth again because of that.
Q: Did you have someone to watch to other kids?
A: yes, we had several friends offer to help keep the kids for us. We are very thankful for them offering their homes and time to keep them so we wouldn’t have to worry about where and what everyone else was doing.
Q: What is the age gaps of all of your babies and what type of deliveries did you have with each?
A: Nolan is 7 (born at a hospital), Harper is 5 (born at a hospital), Scarlet Reese is 3 (born at a birth center), Mercy is 15 months (born at home), and Vivi is a newborn (born at home)
Q: What are your tips for moms wanting to go all natural?
A: educate yourself beforehand. It’s something that I wouldn’t go into without learning more about first. Watch the documentary “the Business of Being Born,” read some home birthing books, listen to podcasts, follow bloggers who share about their home births, ask around and find a midwife in your area who is well respected. Ask all the questions and don’t feel like a particular question is too silly.
Q: How did you push through the contractions?
A: Your body innately knows when you should push. When you feel the urge to push you just push but also don’t overexert yourself and try to push just once. It takes more than one push to bring a baby into the world.
Q: Were the other children present?
A: They were not. I thought about it but I mean they don’t like to see me in any pain, it really bothers them so I opted to have them with a friend instead. We have watched birth videos together, they know where babies come from and the process but they didn’t actually see me in labor.
Q: How are you feeling?
A: I am feeling well. Almost too good! It makes me want to get up and do stuff but I’ve been told by my midwife that I have to lounge in bed and not pick up anything other than baby for at least a week. So, I’ve been listening. When I do get up and do anything my body starts to hurt and I’ll bleed more so I’ve learned to lay in bed. Other than that, I am tired. But that’s be expected.
Q: How long was your labor?
A: My intense contractions started around 3am and woke me up. She was born at 5:28am.
Q: What does Mercy think about not being the littlest anymore?
A: She is obsessed with her new sister. We have to keep a very close eye on her.
Q: What is your favorite part about having a home birth?
A: Being able to have free range of being where I want to be and then after birth getting into my own bed.
Q: How was the pain?
A: It’s a lot better than having the stomach flu, I can tell you that! But seriously, intense labor is something we can all handle… it’s a scary thought but I promise you can get through it. The stomach flu was 10x worse than a natural labor.
Q: Did you deliver all your babies with no pain meds?
A: yes I did. Harder to do in a hospital because they kept trying to get me to just get an epidural but I didn’t want that.
Q: Did you tear?
A: No I did not, thank goodness. I’ve heard that tearing occurs more often when you use things like Pitocin and are not in certain birth positions. I’ve actually never torn now that I think about it.
Q: What is the hardest part of having a home birth?
A: Not knowing when it’s going to happen and trying to plan where everyone will be, etc.
Q: How was the pain level compared to the other births?
A: It was higher than a water birth that’s for sure but all in all it wasn’t horrible. When it felt it’s worse is right before she came out.
shewwww… longest blog ever, ha! But I hope ya’ll liked it! If I didn’t answer any of your questions please let me know.