born at home
Thank you, Genevieve, for sharing Teagan’s birth story!
On March 28, 2014, Jared and I found out we were pregnant with baby #3! We were thrilled! After an early ultrasound, we were given a ‘due date’ of November 25th.
On November 13, I took my 2 girls (5, and barely 2) to meet my Mom for lunch and then go to the Goodwill. I had been having some contractions throughout the morning, but they weren’t serious. After walking around in Goodwill for an hour or so, I started to have a pretty intense pain in my lower back. The best way I can describe it is to say it felt like there was a knife stuck in my lower back- just above my bottom. And I was also having some pain in my cervix, along with crampy contractions. I decided to head home and called my doula on the way to see what she thought. Allison (my doula), said she thought it sounded like the onset of labor. Especially considering my baby had been posterior at my last midwife appt and typically posterior labors cause low back pain. I know this all too well as both of my previous two girls were born posterior and all I had ever experienced was back labor. Allison suggested I give Aundria, my midwife, a call and let her know what I was feeling. Aundria told me she too, thought it sounded like it could be the onset of labor and told me to call if things progressed.
That evening, I had some painful contractions up until about 2 am, then nothing. The next day (11/14), it was as if nothing had happened. Aundria texted to see if she could come by and see me. She was concerned about my emotional state. We had talked a lot in the past few weeks about my depression and anxiety level and what I needed to do in order to cope and even seek help, especially after baby was born. We decided to do a vaginal check to see if there was anything going on since I’d had contractions for so long the day before. I was sure there wouldn’t be anything happening as with both of my last 2 babies, I had been in full blown labor before I even reached 1 cm (with Lillie, I was in labor for 8 1/2 hours with broken water, and was only 1cm dilated when I went to the hospital, with Tirzah, my contractions were less than a minute apart, 80 seconds long and super intense when I went to the hospital and I was only 1.5cm dilated). I was shocked when Aundria told me that I was 1.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced! This may not sound like much to most mamas, but to me, it was a miracle! I had been telling myself all along that I just had to make it to 3cm and then it would happen quickly (as had been the case with the first 2). And the really fast and easy part was the pushing phase. Lillie was born with only a few pushes, and Tirzah was born after 2 pushes and a laugh- my midwife didn’t even make it and Jared got to catch her.
Once our children were in bed that night, I started to have contractions again. At around 11, I had one that was super intense and I thought for sure this was it! I panicked! I started crying and pacing the floor. I told Jared I wasn’t ready to do this yet and questioned why we thought having another baby was a good idea! I had a good cry for about an hour, and then started to pray and calm down. The contractions lasted through the night until sunrise and then suddenly stopped. I was tired, and emotional.
I called Aundria and talked with her about my emotional break down. I felt much better now, and more ‘ready’ to give birth. She said she felt like I was ready and baby was ready, but because I am such a control freak (my words, not hers), that I was preventing my labor from progressing once my kids were awake. She suggested that I ask someone to take my girls for a few hours to see what happened.
That evening, my parents picked up Lillie and Tirzah and took them to my sister Kathleen’s house to watch a movie. I had some contractions and did the Miles Circuit to try and get baby into a good position and help labor along. Teagan had been either posterior, or ROT (Right Occiput Transverse-head down, facing my left hip) for the past several weeks. My contractions never picked up, and at this point, I was thankful. I just wanted to sleep! Once the girls were in bed, Jared and I went to bed and I actually was asleep by 10:30pm!
At 5am on Sunday, November 16th, I was awoken by an intense contraction. I decided to time them for an hour before waking Jared or letting anyone know as this had happened so many times over the past few days. By 6am, they were coming about a minute and half apart, and were about a minute long. I woke Jared up and asked him to get the girls breakfast and ready to go to his parent’s house. I called Jan (my mother in law), and asked her to pick the girls up at 7:30. I then called Allison and she said she was going to get ready and head to our house. I then called Aundria and let her know that I thought this might finally be the real thing.
While waiting for Jan to pick up our girls, my contractions started to spread out to about 15 minutes apart. I did have to work through them, but I was worried that they may putter out again. Just after they left, Allison arrived and suggested we walk around our neighborhood. We walked and talked and although I was having contractions that I had to stop and breathe through, they weren’t very close together and it made me nervous. I was still waiting for them to be like they had been with Lillie and Tirzah were they were back to back, super intense back labor. Allison assured me that what was happening was normal and she still believed this was the real deal. After walking through the neighborhood, we came home and had hot cocoa and coffee and talked at our table for awhile. I told her that I’d like to try laying down and relaxing for awhile before things got intense, so we went into our guest room and turned on the tv. She sat in the rocking chair and timed my contractions while I lay on the bed and rested. After about an hour, I wanted to turn the tv off and listen to the Rainbow Relaxation cd from the Hypnobirthing set I’d borrowed from a fellow home birther. My contractions still weren’t super close together (4-5 mins), but they were getting more intense and I wanted to remember how to relax through them. Allison turned the cd on for me and stepped out to give Aundria a call.
Aundria arrived awhile later and came in and sat on the bed to talk to me. She asked how I was doing and also asked if she could do a vaginal check to see how I was progressing. I told her no. I felt like I was in a peaceful place and I was worried that I would be super discouraged if she did a check as with past labors, I don’t progress very quickly until I get past 3cm. I thought for sure I hadn’t had any change since she had checked me on Friday since my contractions were not close together and totally bearable. She reminded me of our conversation from that day where she told me that she would need to do a vaginal check upon arrival to determine whether or not to stay. She said she didn’t have to tell me if I didn’t want to know. I agreed. She checked me and then told me she was gonna go into the living room and hang out with Jared for awhile. It didn’t even occur to me that she was staying. In my mind, I was still thinking my labor could stop at any minute. {I was 5cm dilated!}
After an hour or so, Aundria came in and told me I was doing great, but thought it may be a good idea to get up and do something different for awhile as I’d been laboring in bed for a long time. I got up and walked around the house, and up and down our stairs, and just talked with everyone. I was in great spirits, and felt totally fine in between contractions. It was so bizarre for me!
Aundria suggested Jared go ahead and fill the birthing tub and asked me if I’d like to labor in there for awhile. I said I was worried that if I got in there that it would stop my labor. She assured me that wouldn’t happen at this point. I got in and it was wonderful! The water was so relaxing! Aundria called Mary Carol (the 2nd midwife), and Jared texted our birth photographer and let them know we were getting close. I remember hearing Jared tell Allison that the birth photographer said it would be about 20 minutes before she could get here, and Allison said, “she may not make it!” but it STILL didn’t click for me! Seriously, my powers of denial are strong! LOL! I was so determined that this labor would look and feel like the last 2, that I was still thinking it would stop. Not only were my contractions not close together, I also wasn’t experiencing back labor! Praise the Lord!
I started having trouble relaxing through my contractions and I told Aundria it was too hard to try to do that now. She asked what I felt like doing, and I told her I felt like pushing! She asked if she could check me and then told me if it felt right to push, then to try it and see. It was so much more relieving to do this! I pushed through each contraction for about an hour, but baby still wasn’t coming. Mary Carol and Melinda (photographer) arrived, and still, no baby. Aundria asked me to get on the bed for another vaginal check. She discovered that I had a cervical lip that was preventing baby from getting all the way into the birthing canal. My waters were still intact and she said there just wasn’t enough pressure in that spot to move it out of the way. She asked if she could push it out of the way while I was having a contraction in hopes that it would allow baby to get down where she needed to be. I was afraid of the pain, but finally agreed. Yep- it hurt! But, it did move out of the way and I started doing some hula hoop and figure 8 hip swiveling to try and coax baby down. After pushing awhile longer, Aundria checked me again, and to my dismay, the lip was back! She asked if she could move it again, but I declined. I REALLY wanted to do this on my own. I just knew that given time, she would get where she needed to be and then I would deliver her. Aundria told me I could keep laboring how I wanted. She told me baby was great, and I was doing great too. She did suggest that I try sitting backwards on the toilet while laboring. To our delight, my water broke while doing this! We all thought that was exactly what needed to happen to allow baby’s head to put pressure on that lip and be born. Aundria told me that if I wanted a water birth, I needed to get back into the tub. After another 20-30 minutes of pushing with each contraction, I started to get really discouraged. I’d been falling asleep between contractions because I was so tired from not sleeping much the nights leading up to labor. Wasn’t this supposed to be the fast and easy part?! Why hadn’t my baby been born? Something had to be majorly wrong because ‘with my other two’, the pushing was super fast! Why wasn’t she coming out already? I thought that I either wanted to stop labor and take a good long nap, or she just needed to be born already! I was getting frustrated with this in between business!
Audria asked me how I was feeling. She said baby and I were both physically great, but she was getting concerned about my emotional state. She told me she was willing to help me by pushing the lip out of the way, or that she would transfer me if I felt like I wanted to go to the hospital. I asked her, “What the hell is the hospital gonna do for me?” lol! She told me I could go there and get an epidural if I wanted one. I didn’t. I just wanted to push her out! She checked me again, and told me that in addition to the cervical lip, baby was ROT and couldn’t get down where she needed to be. She said she needed to be turned so that she could be delivered. WOW! This was so disheartening! I had to face the reality that I could not do this on my own. I failed.
I started to cry. And panic. In my mind, I was fighting a major battle. Part of my brain was saying “I’ve failed so I may as well just give up”, and another part of my brain was saying, “what in the world am I gonna do now- I don’t want to have my baby turned”, and another part was saying, “you’re just gonna have to do it!”
I was a mess! I told everyone that I just wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural. Of course, I didn’t, and I knew this, but I was just panicking and didn’t know how to handle my emotions or the situation at hand. Everyone started preparing to leave. Allison asked me if I was sure, because she knew it’s not what I wanted. I just cried and said I didn’t want to do this at all. Jared asked the ladies to leave the room and let him have a private conversation with me. He got his serious tone on and asked me if that’s what I really wanted. He said the only person who didn’t think I could do what needed to be done was me. He told me that if I decided to go to the hospital, he’d support me, but that the reality was I would have to wait at least 2 hours before I could even get an epidural as it was a 20 minute drive, plus being admitted, having blood work done, being monitored, getting fluid and all the other protocols I’d have to have before they’d give me one. And he pointed out that I probably wouldn’t even make it to the hospital anyway. At this point, my contractions were much closer together and much stronger. He. Was. Right. And I knew it. I knew it before, but I just didn’t want to admit that I needed help. There it is; I said it. I needed someone else’s help, and I couldn’t do this on my own. I prayed and asked the Lord to be with me, and finally said it out loud, “I can’t do this on my own”. At that moment, the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”, by Fernando Ortega started playing in my head/heart. I felt the Lord’s presence with me and I was ready. I told Aundria that I didn’t want to transfer and that I wanted her to do what needed to be done to deliver baby. She told me she needed me to tell her that I consented to what needed to be done. I offhandedly said, ‘yeah, let’s do it’, and she said, “No, look me in the eye, so that I know you know what you’re saying, and tell me that you consent to what needs to be done. You can’t fight us on this.” It just got real, folks! LOL! I did what she asked and we got ready to have a baby.
I had to lay on the bed on my back with my knees up by my ears. They took a flat sheet and made it long and thin and wrapped the top of it around the top of my stomach, and then through my knees and up where I could hold each end. Aundria told me that Mary Carol would be the one doing the delivery, and Mary Carol, who had been a quiet, peaceful presence in the background, walked in, looked at me and said “It’s time to get your big girl panties on and have this baby!”
Mary Carol explained to me that with the first contraction, she was gonna push the cervical lip out of the way, and then with the next contraction, she was going to turn the baby. She said that I was going to want her out of me, and that I needed to use that anger and pain, to push as if I were pushing her hand out from the inside.
On that first contraction, I was pushing alright, but I was trying to push my legs down, and push everyone away from me. Needless to say, it wasn’t working. It finally struck me that if I wanted this to be over, I needed to stop fighting it and push with everything I had in me to get her out! *lightbulb!*
The next contraction, I listened to the instructions Aundria was giving me, I relaxed my bottom and focused all of my strength and energy on pushing with my abdomen. I remember thinking that the sound I was making in order to push that strength out of me was like nothing I’d ever heard or made before. It sounded so primal! In THREE PUSHES, she was born! PRAISE GOD! It was such a powerful moment! I asked Allison and Jared to sing the doxology and Mary Carol even joined in. I can’t describe the emotions I was feeling.
Teagan was born at 6:44pm, weighing 8lbs 4oz, and was 21 inches long. My biggest baby by far!
Through this experience I learned so much. I learned that I am not a failure just because I have to accept help from others or because things don’t happen the way that I plan for them to. I DON’T HAVE CONTROL OVER EVERYTHING; and that’s ok. Regardless of past experience, my labors and deliveries, and babies ARE all different, that’s not just a saying. I am STRONG! Stronger than I ever realized! And most importantly, if I want to be the wife and mother I should be, then I have to let go of my control issues and secretive/reclusive tendencies and get help. So, for this new child, and this new chapter, that is what I am promising to do.
I am so very thankful and pleased with my home birth experience. It was amazing in every way. From my beautiful, peaceful labor, to the hard delivery that required so much. If we are blessed with any more babies, I will definitely have another home birth, and if I am faced with a similar situation where baby needs to be turned, you can bet your britches, I will allow my midwife to help me and not wait 5 extra hours out of stubbornness, to deliver my baby!
“Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye Heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen”