Tuesday, August 22, 2017

M's Birth Story

*Side note: this is the sweet birth story of Baby M. Many people have asked me "What does a home birth look like?" So I've written this to give a little understanding of what my own home birth looked like, and also because my baby M is one year old this month and her birth has been on my mind and in my heart. 
Pressure Waves are also known as Contractions. "Birthing Time" is also known as "Labor". *  

When telling a story one usually starts at the very beginning. But when does a birthing time really begin? 

Maybe it was three weeks before M was born when I began feeling stronger pressure waves in the night. 

Maybe it was two days before M was born when I began feeling pressure waves every 20 minutes. 

Since I must choose a beginning, I will start on a quiet Monday night. Through great persistence and diligence and prayer and discussion and study and more prayer Hunter and I had chose to have a home birth for our sweet baby girl; I knew without any doubts that it was the safest option for my situation and my baby. Every item on the "To Do" list had been checked off. Every plan had been made and remade. Now we were one week over our "guess date" and I was just waiting and eagerly anticipating holding my baby girl in my arms.

I woke up at 3:30 AM to Hunter rubbing my shoulder. 

"Are you ok?", he asked. 

"Yeah, why?", I woke up and asked. 

He told me that I had been moaning quietly. I timed a few waves. I decided to follow my sleep rule for my birthing time that I learned at my birthing class with Kristen Burgess:


So I said a prayer asking for peace... and I drifted off to sleep.

I woke again at 4:40 AM to a powerful pressure wave. I felt no pain at all. But it was a strong feeling - like a tight hug all across my tummy. I decided to time them. They were 10-12 minutes apart. 

I was quite shocked. I wasn't feeling overwhelmed or in pain as I had imagined one would when they were in their active birthing time. I had been thinking that this would be a lot more difficult. 

We were told to call the midwives when my pressure waves were 7-10 minutes apart. H was quietly sleeping on the floor of our room and so Hunter and I whispered a discussion about whether we should call our midwives or not. This had happened before and the pressure waves had melted away after 30 minutes. We decided to wait: I did not want to call everyone over just to have things die out and send everyone back home again.

Hunter did a couple things for me and then I sent him to bed to get some sleep. I said another quiet prayer. 

Most of my waves had been 10-12 minutes apart but in between all of those one of them had been 4 minutes. I went to the bathroom a few times and noticed some bloody show. I thought to myself "This is it". 

I found Hunter laying in bed, eyes wide open, starring at the roof. If any of you know my guy you know that he falls asleep tremendously easily, so this actually surprised me quite a bit. It was a sweet sight to behold and I won't soon forget it. I think that deep down he knew "This was it" too. He was excited to meet his baby girl.   

The waves really began picking up at this point and everything started becoming a little fuzzy and muddled and shaky. Hunter called everyone over: 
  • my Mom (who was acting as a doula/birth support), 

  • my Dad (who was to stay in a room on the other side of the house and was in charge of H+B if they woke up;), 

  • Kaylee Ralph (who was taking pictures for me), 

  • and my Midwives (Terri and Eve) along with everything they came with (to save description time it is a little hospital that comes straight to your house and whatever bedroom or area you feel like having your baby in ;).
Some "Stuff"
 I vaguely remember everyone arriving and Terri asking if she could check baby's heart tones around 6:40 AM. I said yes, and everything sounded great. I had already discussed with them that I was not consenting to any vaginal exams, barring a few limited exceptions as they are generally quite unnecessary (more on that later). It was a dream to not have to worry about getting any painful exams. 

I rocked on my ball and leaned on Hunter, swaying and moving as much as I could to work with baby. When I stood up and had moved around, I could feel the waves becoming slightly stronger and closer together.

After some deliberation, I decided that I wanted to get into the birthing pool. The water was warm and the weightless feeling was perfect. Sometimes if you go in the water early in your birthing time, it can slow or "stall" things. I did not want this to happen. I was worried I had gone in too early because I still wasn't feeling as if I had come to transition yet, where a birthing time is very intense. The water felt divine though and so I stayed. 

My mama. This photo was only a few minutes before M was born <3
Terri checking heart tones while I am relaxing in between pressure waves: yay, for waterproof dopplers :)
This photo isn't very becoming of ME but it showed how dedicated Hunter was. We had brainstormed ways and techniques that he could use to help me during my birthing time and he stepped up remembered them all. He brought me water, helped me to the washroom, held me up and looked me in the eyes and reminded me I was strong when things became intense. 
Slowly the pressure waves began feeling more and more intense - I was needing to work through them more and more. I had a few waves that had a really powerful edge to them and Terri asked if I felt any urges to push. 

"I can't be that close, yet... I still don't even feel at my limit...?" I thought to myself.

This little device was my pressure wave timer and also the speaker for my HypnoBabies soundtrack (a course that I took which was a heaven send; it teaches deep relaxation methods to help in eliminating pain during child birth).
Hunter was dutiful in timing my waves for me - I had asked him to. When my pressure waves really started becoming more powerful, I knew we didn't need timing anymore, but I was too focused to verbalize this to Hunter. Whenever he picked up my phone the sound of my Hypnobabies tracks became louder, This was super distracting, On one especially powerful wave, Hunter dutifully picked up the phone to start timing. I snatched it from his hand, slammed it on the couch in front of me, and put my forehead back down... he didn't time anymore pressure waves after that :)

It only took two or three more pressure waves before I realized, without question that Terri was not far off the mark and baby would be coming very soon. I knew that I would wait as long as possible before pushing (no "purple pushing" for me). But I found that my body was pushing all on its own, without me even putting any thought to it: I didn't need someone shouting at me "Push to the count of 10! 1... 2... 3... 4.... ". In fact, I probably shouted enough for everyone in the room; the pressure waves were so powerful that it felt good to yell at the end of the wave.

I could hear the words of my song (Stay by Alison Porter) playing and I had never dreamed that I would want to, but it felt perfect to sing to it: 

I am yours and you are mine,
Bound together from the start
I will carry you until it's time to go.
And I'll always be the home
You come back to in your heart.
Oh, stay, stay, stay.

After a few more waves, I felt the urge to push along with the pressure waves, but it didn't feel uncontrolled, frantic or exhausting. 

Me, quietly pushing, focusing hard. I thought this photo was fun because you may notice Hunter's relaxed expression. He's casually resting his chin on his hand and holding my hand at the same time. He hadn't quite realized that the baby was REALLY coming very, very soon. And with all of my focus and working through my waves I had not told him how close we were. Only one or two minutes after this photo I reached down to support baby's head being born, looked up at him with a joyful expression and said "She has lots of hair!" He flashed me a shocked expression, probably not really comprehending that baby's head had been born. 
A few powerful waves came and I began to push with them. Her head was born and my bag of waters ruptured at the same time. Then I changed positions so the rest of her could be born. My midwife Terri and Hunter both supported me in a third position and she was immediately born. It was 7:39 AM. Terri lifted her up, out of the water and into my arms, where I saw my sweet baby girl, who I had waited for and labored with for many months. Tears came to my eyes immediately.

Some time later Haven saw this photo of me holding my baby girl for the first time. He asked me

"Mom, you are crying in that picture. Why were you so sad when baby Mae was born?"

"Oh, Havie... " I said "I felt anything but sad. I was joyful. I was triumphant. I was peaceful. And most of all, I felt love. I felt the "pure love" that God always tells us about. I felt so much love in my heart that it was just bursting out into tears. It was as if I felt all of the "I Love You's" I had EVER given or EVER received all at the very same time." 

Oh my love
Stay, stay here in my arms
So fast these moments fade
Stay, stay, never go away

Oh your eyes
Telling me what words can't say
I wish you'd never change
Stay, stay, never go away

I am yours and you are mine
Bound together from the start
I will carry you until it's time to go
And I'll always be the home
You come back to in your heart
Oh stay, stay, stay

My only
So much that we could say
You were made just for me
Stay, stay, never go away

I am yours and you are mine
Bound together from the start
I will carry you until it's time to go
And I'll always be the home

You come back to in your heart
I will stay, stay, stay

Oh, my love
Stay, stay, never go away

"For this child I prayed..."
- 1 Samuel 1:27


  1. Awww... that brought tears to my eyes! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Beautiful, Megan! I have heard many positive stories about homebirths and I am glad yours was so perfect for you. <3