Baby Joy’s Accidental Unassisted Home Birth Story

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So because this blog is so sadly neglected, here I am posting yet another birth story so that I don’t forget it……without the announcement here that I was pregnant first. Guess it goes to show how much I remember to blog any more.

A little background….
I chose to pursue another homebirth for this precious little one. I ended up using a different midwife than the last two births. One huge bonus this time around is that my midwife (Damaris) came to our house for all our visits! That was absolutely wonderful.

I was due January 3, 2017. Because I went overdue with Esther and Luke, we decided not to tell people our due date this time. I was hoping that it would cut down on some of “those” phone calls. You know, where people call you every day from your due date on, asking if the baby is here yet. I got really annoyed with that the last couple pregnancies that I figured this wouldn’t hurt. It was kind of nice to keep the date a secret, and to see people try to guess.

I had a miscarriage scare at 8 weeks, but was able to get an ultrasound at 9 weeks where we saw a beating heart. What a relief! Then at our ultrasound at 19 weeks, we found out that this baby was a girl. I had been praying for a girl for a year before I got pregnant, so I was really excited to find out that God had answered that prayer.

The rest of the pregnancy was normal for me. No complications, not a huge weighht gain (thankfully!), but low energy, fibromyalgia flares, and a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. The Braxton Hicks were less severe this time around though, so I was thankful for that.

I had my 39 week appointment on Tuesday, December 27th, and Damaris stripped membranes at that appointment. Based on how the rest of that day went, I had a feeling labor would be soon, but didn’t want to get my hopes up. Wednesday morning started with a single contraction at 7 am. It was severe enough that I told Stephen if I had another like it, I was officially going to call it labor. I had several more off and on through the morning but they stayed far apart and weren’t regular.

I had been praying the entire pregnancy that God would allow me to have a short labor, and that I’d deliver early (my last two babies were both born after 40 weeks), and that the baby would be smaller than the 9+ pounders I’d had previously. I had prodomal labor with my previous pregnancy too, so I’d also been praying that once labor started, that God would let it just continue and not stop and start.

Once I started having contractions Wednesday morning, I was a bit concerned. Stephen needed to take Anna to an appointment an hour away. I was concerned I’d go into active labor while they were gone since they’d be gone for several hours. So I prayed that I’d either go into labor Tuesday night (which didn’t happen), or that it would wait until they got home Wednesday afternoon.

The contractions did get somewhat closer together throughout the day but not enough for me to worry. Even though they were getting closer together, they were extremely inconsistent. Stephen and Anna got back home and I felt like I could relax if labor really did pick up.

By 5pm, the contractions were getting pretty intense but were still 10 minutes apart. I called my midwife anyway to get her opinion. She told me to call her back at 7:30 with an update, unless things really progressed sooner.

I was very torn. If you looked at the app I was using to time contractions, you could see that they weren’t consistent. However, if you looked at the summary of average time between contractions, you could see they were getting closer together as the day went on. I wasn’t sure which to go by, so I went by the fact that some were still 10 minutes apart.

As I got off the phone, Stephen walked into the room and told me he’d called our pastor to say he and I wouldn’t be there. Even though Damaris thought he’d be fine to go to church, I wanted him home. He was supposed to preach that evening, and I didn’t feel right asking him to stay home with me even though I wanted him to. After Luke’s stop and start labor, I was convinced this labor would stop if we started putting a plan in place, but I felt a lot better knowing Stephen was staying home.

A family from church came and picked up the kids. That was a relief for me too. After everyone left, Stephen and I went for a walk around the cul de sac to see if the contractions would stop. We made it one lap. It was a little chilly out, and I couldn’t stop shivering. In retrospect that was probably the start of transition, but I didn’t recognize it at the time.

We got back in the house and I called Damaris. She lives an hour away, so told me she would leave right then to come. The contractions were averaging 5 minutes apart, but they still weren’t very consistent. I was convinced the midwife would arrive and things might stop again.

I had no idea how wrong I’d be.

I got off the phone with her and ran to the bathroom. One contraction I had while I was in there made me realize that I felt a little “pushy”. I thought “that’s not good” and then figured maybe it was just me imagining things.

I stood up by the sink while another few contractions came and went. I looked at the app again and noticed that they were lasting a good 2 minutes each and were right on top of each other. That’s when I realized I really was in transition. I stood there and the thought crossed my mind, “Damaris is not going to make it”.

She called a moment later to say she was held up by a train! It was a short one but still had me worried. I started praying that God would just get her here and fast.
One of the next contractions was an absolute monster. It was strong enough to break my water. It really startled me – it was a huge, violent pop that you could actually hear. I must have had a lot of fluid because it went everywhere. I was just thankful I’d been standing in the bathroom where cleanup was easier. Not that I could move between contractions, but at least it was not on carpet. Stephen brought a towel to clean it up and I just stood there looking at it, afraid to move for fear I’d slip and fall.

I called Damaris back to tell her. She cautioned me to be careful because things can go more quickly once water breaks. I said ok and hung up. I was concerned about the next few contractions, because at that point she still had a good 30 minutes left of driving to get here.
At that point, I looked at the birth pool, and thought, “I’m not going to even have this baby in the pool either”. I was hoping I’d be wrong, but…

The next contraction brought the urge to push. I almost threw my phone at Stephen telling him to call Damaris immediately to let her know. He put it on speaker so we could both hear her.

Stephen had been filling the birth pool, but it was only halfway full at that point. For some reason, the water was murky colored, even though he’d changed the well filter a few days earlier. Damaris asked me not to get in. I panicked a little mentally – my last two births had been water births and that’s all I wanted this time too.

She had been telling me to breathe through the contractions instead of pushing, so that’s what I had tried to do. Stephen was right there supporting me, saying don’t push…..and all I could say was I can’t NOT push. My body was wanting to push on it’s own at that point.

Damaris told me not to fight against it and that she could walk us through it on the phone. Once I get the urge to push again, I did, and knew that the baby was very close. She asked if Stephen could see the head, and he said no. I reached down and could feel the baby’s head crowning. I knew that the next push would be it.

He had not been in a good position to deliver the baby since I’d been standing by the bed, and he had been at my side supporting me. I felt myself starting to push and yelled at him “catch!” because I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch her myself.

A couple of big pushes and she was born. Damaris said she wasn’t sure if I had delivered or not since I hadn’t made a lot of noise. In my memory I roared, but Stephen tells me I didn’t make much noise at all.

He passed the baby up to me and I just stood there in awe. She looked so tiny! We had changed the sheets on the bed but didn’t have anything else laid out, so it took him a few moments to dry himself off and find something to wrap around the baby. We had had it all bagged and set aside, but not laid out since we didn’t expect active labor to go so fast.

Stephen helped me up onto the bed so I could rest. Our midwife arrived 15 minutes later. She was just in time to help me with the placenta.

Stephen was completely calm throughout everything, even though it was never in his plan to deliver the baby by himself either. But it was so nice to have our midwife arrive and take over. A few minutes later, her assistant arrived too. They both just barely missed it, and yet Stephen had almost everything cleaned up by the time they got here. They both joked that he should be called an honorary midwife.

I never dreamed I’d have an unassisted homebirth. That was never part of my plan, but it was an amazing experience anyway. In retrospect, there were many moments where I wondered if I should call Damaris to have her come, but I always dismissed the thought, thinking surely my labor would be longer. I’m a bit humbled, actually – God answered every one of my prayers about my labor, yet I never expected Him to actually allow me to have the shorter labor I had asked Him for. I should have just made the call sooner when I’d thought of it; if I had, Damaris would have been here for the birth after all. Next time I pray for something, you better believe I’ll be praying with more faith!

Baby Joy weighed in at 8 lbs 15 oz, and was 19 ½” long, and was born at 8:15pm.

By the time we got a phone call from our friends asking where to bring the kids, we were able to tell them that the baby had already arrived and that they could just bring the rest of the kids home instead of meeting Stephen’s parents like we’d originally planned. I never dreamed that I’d go into active labor AND deliver the baby by the time my kids got back home. It was so nice to have everyone under one roof for our first night as a family of eight.

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