A Mama's Birth Story Collection | Tampa Bay Home Birth Midwife

Caring for families through several pregnancies is such an honor. I am so pleased to say I have walked with this family for all THREE of their babies coming earthside- from a birth assistant, to a senior student, to their primary midwife 2 babies later. They are such a beautiful family and I am grateful to have been invited to be a honorary part of the family over the past 6 years. Katelyn has a gorgeous blog where you can read about how she spends her days homeschooling, natural parenting, and loving on her littles in Central Florida. 

"Kaden’s Birth Story

Kaden’s “due date” was May 9, 2010 (Mother’s Day.)My contractions started Monday, May 17. I went to the Prime Outlet mall with mom to do some walking & for her to get clothes for her trip the next week, & then we went to Whole Foods for lunch. On the drive home I noticed some contractions, but they were so light I don’t think I would have even realized what they were if I’d been doing anything.Tuesday May 18 I had a midwife appointment with CharLynn & was 1 cm dilated. She said she could try to separate the membranes, I wasn’t really sure what that meant, but it ended up not working anyway. I got a herbal tincture to help start labor, & set up to make apt for Friday with an OB-GYN to be “approved” to have my baby at the birthing center, since I was more than a week overdue.Noticeable contractions started Tuesday afternoon. I used an iPhone app to time them, which made it very easy.

I did LOTS of walking Tues-Thurs in Artisan Park with mom & dad. It was nice in the evenings but really hot during the day. We got one of those little spray bottles with a fan which helped some.

The whole time I really didn’t feel sick of being pregnant like I hear some people say, I just knew that I did NOT want to have him in a hospital, & if I went too far overdue Florida state laws require that, so I felt pressed for time in that sense.

I took the herbal tincture Tuesday & Wednesday, every hour for 6 hours or whatever the bottle said, until Wednesday I started to feel dizzy. Then I called Char Lynn & she said to stop them, that the alcohol in them was too much for me or something like that.

Mom & I went to Jenna’s to visit while walking on Tuesday at 8:40 pm & Thursday at 8 pm. Tuesday was fun, but Thursday I just felt uncomfortable, I was having such hard contractions. They stayed about 7-8 minutes apart when I wasn’t walking, 2-5 minutes when I was.

Thursday the midwife on call switched from Char Lynn to Marianne.

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Thursday night/Friday morning at 2 am I woke up shaking, Landon called Marianne who said we should come to the birth center. The drive there was the only time I listened to music while in labor. There were police outside for the Ally Gator bar, which we thought was strange. I was 2 cm dilated but she wanted to keep me there to monitor me, so we went to sleep. It was a hard bed & I timed contractions all night, & was up for the bathroom a lot.

In the morning we drove to New Port Richie to see the OB-GYN, I was extremely uncomfortable in the car.

We got there, did paperwork, a non-stress test, ultrasound, & listened to scare tactics – risk of still birth, shoulder dyscotia, that I was too small for 9 lb baby, & might need C-section, etc.

She said I could try Castor Oil for induction. I was 3 cm dilated, & it was extremely uncomfortable when she checked my dilation. I realize now that she probably separated my membranes without bothering to ask or tell me, which ticks me off, but she gave me until Sunday May 23rd to have my baby out of a hospital, which accomplished why I went there.

I had a whole wheat bagel & black cherry smoothie from Panera for lunch on the drive back to the birth center. Once we got there we watched High School Musical 3, & then decided to go home to sleep in our own bed.

Mom, Dad, & Faith came over & brought us dinner, I don’t remember what because I didn’t eat it. I was having very hard contractions & was still shaking since that morning.

I sent Landon to Publix for sweet potatoes because I didn’t want to eat anything else, but he forgot to get them & came back with Silly Bandz instead (funny now, not then.) He also went to Walgreens to get Castor Oil for the next day.

I laid in a hot bath a lot that evening to keep from shaking, & I just felt better in there.

Landon called Marianne to see if she had any suggestions & she said I could try a little (4 oz.) wine to stop the shaking so I could hopefully sleep.  Landon went back out & bought Strawberry Wine at Mobil, so I drank 4 oz wine, (my first drink ever, besides Communion at Grandma’s church) but threw it up immediately.

Tried again a little later, slept a little. I ended up awake most of night though, with just a little sleep in bathtub for about an hour or two.

Saturday May 22 I got up around 8 am, my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. At that point I felt like this couldn’t possibly last much longer.

After talking with Marianne that morning we decided to skip castor oil because she was concerned the effects on my body would be too exhausting when I was already so sleep deprived.

Initially I thought I just wanted Landon there when the baby was born, but I decided the night before that I wanted my parents to be at the birth center too, so Mom & Dad came over at 9 am, & we drove there in their van.

Once we got to the birth center, I sat on birthing ball, & rocked against table & wall to help baby drop or something. Deep breathing really helped during contractions, & rubbing my own back did too. I had been having really bad back labor the whole time, & didn’t like anyone else rubbing it because they just couldn’t do it like I wanted at the time & it was too much work to try to tell them.

They kept forcing me to eat. I did not feel like it at all, but I had dry Cheerios out of a ziplock bag & some vitamin water.

My water broke around 11 am, mom heard a “pop” & asked, & I realized that it felt like I wet my pants so it must have broke. It was a pretty small amount of fluid. Marianne did some kind of test on it to confirm that it was my water that broke. I was 8 cm dilated then.

I got in bathtub after that, which helped a lot. Landon kept me company in there, because as usual I didn’t like to be alone.

(Mom & dad were in the living room watching a Star Wars marathon on Spike on a tv with no sound all day.)

I had one super long contraction (5-10 minutes) & called Marianne in. She said that a lot of times the final contraction before pushing is extra long, so I got out of tub & started to push – standing, birthing chair, hands & knees, etc. but nothing worked. When I started pushing (noon) I asked how long it would take & Marianne said usually a few minutes to an hour or two. I find that funny now.

Charlie had gotten there while I was in the tub. I was glad she was going to be my birth assistant because I felt like she would be on the same page as me for the most natural birth possible, and I knew her better than anyone else because she had taught all the labor & delivery classes.

I did lots & lots of pushing. I was almost falling asleep in between contractions, I was so exhausted from not sleeping the 2 nights before.

Marianne talked about having to transfer to a hospital if I didn’t make progress in the next hour around 4 pm, but I did not want that. After all I’d been through already there was no way I was going to get a C-section now.

Kaden was posterior, which I guess is why I was in labor for so long, had such bad back labor, & pushed for so long.

Marianne helped coach me a lot with the pushing. I think she wanted me to be more confident in myself & do what my body felt like but I just was not feeling that confident in myself. Next time I’ll know what it’s like so I think it would be easier to trust my instincts, but I’m glad she & Charlie & Landon were there to be confident for me. Their saying that I was doing it right and that I could do it really helped me get through everything.

They forced me to drink water, vitamin water, eat peanut butter, & honey. I didn’t especially want to at the time, but I needed it. I don’t think I was especially moody or anything, but I do remember getting mad at Landon for eating around me.

Hours later we were still pushing. When they got a mirror for me to be able to see the progress it made me push much more effectively. Once he was down far enough that I could feel top of his head, it felt much more real that he was really coming. The “Ring of Fire” thing when the baby crowns is real, but I didn’t really care at that point, and the hot compresses definitely helped.

Charlie was checking Kaden’s heartbeat pretty frequently. They said they were impressed with how strong we both were.

At one point I think they had me not push for a contraction, & then Kaden turned the right direction (from posterior to anterior) on his own. After that he was born pretty quickly.

Once his head was out it just took another push.

Marianne said “now pick up your baby” so I did. That was the most incredible feeling in the world. I’ve never been so happy and so relieved in my life! He was so beautiful & perfect, not “ugly newborn” at all. His little eyes were so big & wondrous, & his hands were so tiny & sweet & just everything about him was completely precious. He was born at 9:01 pm. The second I held him everything we’d been through all week was completely worth it.

I was surprised how big he seemed, he wasn’t how I imagined a newborn. He had a lot of hair & it looked like a faux-hawk right away, which was funny, although they put a hat on him so you couldn’t see it anyway. Mom said he had a pretty pointy head at first, but I didn’t notice.

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They gave me a shot of Pitocin in my leg after he was born, because they were concerned about me bleeding too much or something. I didn’t really care about that either then.

My Dad went to get us Subway. I was glad that we ended up having mom & dad there in the living room because it was nice to have them keep everyone updated through texting, & run & get us food (& pray for us!) Also I just felt more comfortable since Landon was still not feeling 100% from being sick, that if he had needed to rest or something they would have been there. I think it was special for them too, to get to see Kaden right after he was born.

Sometime shortly after Kaden was born (maybe 15-30 minutes?) he stopped breathing. That was scary, but I didn’t really freak out or anything. I just didn’t think God wasn’t going to let anything happen to him. Marianne seemed a little shook up by it. That’s when they cut the umbilical cord, so she could rub his back & use the little tube sucker thing (later learned it was a De Lee suction) to get stuff out of his lungs.

They weighed him maybe an hour later & he was 8 lbs. 15 oz. He’d already pooped twice so they said he was definitely 9+ at birth.

I was able to nurse Kaden pretty soon after he was born. I had been a little nervous about breastfeeding, since it was obviously something I’d never done before, but it really felt very natural. Charlie helped with how to hold him & make sure he was latched on correctly, which helped me feel more confident too.

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I ate my Subway but they made me have some chicken broth first. They also made me have juice & yogurt & take a shower. The shower was nice, but Charlie wouldn’t let me shave my legs. I couldn’t believe how swollen I was, no one warned me about that (but I guess 9 hours of pushing can do that to you.) And my stomach was all stretched out, which I didn’t really like, but didn’t especially care then either.

I made Landon video tape the birthing center before we went home, while I was holding Kaden on the couch.

I said goodbye to Charlie & told her I was glad she & Marianne were the team I got. She said any other midwife would have probably made me transfer to a hospital, so then I was even more glad!

We left for home around 1 am, and I was so tired. I could not believe I’d just done that. The Ally Gator bar next door was packed, police & all. Kinda creepy, but once again, I really didn’t care then. I was just so tired & so happy & so relieved.

My Thoughts afterwards:

I think I started pushing a couple hours too early. I didn’t know then, but I definitely wasn’t having pushing contractions when I started, for at least probably the first hour.

Next time I think less walking while in labor would be better, so I could save more energy. It was very draining. More walking during pregnancy, but less during labor.

Less rigid timing contractions would be okay too. Especially throughout the night.

The bath tub was a HUGE help. Will do again.

Anything to possibly help avoid a posterior labor would be worth trying.

For some reason, I think I’d gathered from somethings I read maybe, I thought that when I went into labor I wouldn’t be able to think clearly or remember what I wanted & didn’t want, but that was definitely not the case. I could think & remember fine, it was just like I was working really hard, like a really tough workout.

I wasn’t planning on “catching” my own baby, but I’m glad I got to. It was very special to be the first person ever to hold him

Alia’s Birth Story

The Day You Were Born
Dear Alia,
Your birth was not at all what I expected, but I guess that’s how births tend to be 🙂
Your “due date” was August 25, 2012. Since your brother came 2 weeks late, I thought you might come a bit later too.
On Thursday, August 23rd, Daddy, Kaden, & I drove out to Lakeland to see mommy’s midwife. Kaden got to see the choo choo train, which he was very excited about. We talked with the midwives about what happens if I go overdue, when to call when I’m in labor, & said that at this point we are pretty much just waiting for you to come 🙂 After the midwife we went to the chiropractor mommy had been seeing for the past month or so to help my pelvis get in alignment so you could get in the right position. He said you were in perfect position for delivery, which I was very happy to hear after having 5 days of posterior labor with your brotherWe left the chiropractor and headed off to Hobby Lobby to look for some frames to decorate our new home. We had just moved 2 weeks before & I really wanted to have it nice & homey before you came 🙂 While we were shopping there I noticed I started having some contractions. I mostly felt them in my lower back, and my belly would get hard when my back hurt, for about a minute every ten minutes or so. We went to Michaels next, & then got lunch at Longhorn. Kaden & I shared their salmon lunch special, and I realized his appetite is getting too big for us to share anymore🙂 I may have eaten a whole loaf of bread to make up for it. The contractions kept coming all through lunch, so before we headed home I called Marianne, one of my midwives, to let her know. We left for our 45 minute drive home, which was very uncomfortable with my backache. Once we got there I nursed Kaden to sleep in his toddler bed, & got into the “big bed” & took a nap too.

That evening we went to Mimi & Pa’s house for dinner. It was their 26th wedding anniversary so we had Pasta Milano takeout from the Macaroni Grill & cake from Whole Foods for dessert. I was still getting over a cold I’d had for the past few weeks, so I only ate a little bit. Daddy & Aunt Roo (Clarissa) had worship team practice, but the rest of us watched the anniversary video we made for their party the year before, & hung out before we got a ride home in the NEV around 9 pm. 

When we got home Daddy hung our pictures in the frames we bought that day on our wall. That was the last thing to finish on my “before baby comes” list, & I was very happy to have it done. Daddy had been especially helpful with all the tasks on it, because he really wanted you to come, & joked that you wouldn’t be born until I was done with my list. So he said now you’d be born tomorrow 🙂 

I had been having mild contractions every 10 minutes since they started around 11:30 that morning, so called Marianne again to give her an update. I asked at what point I should call in the middle of the night & she said if they get to 5 minutes apart, lasting for a minute, for an hour, or if anything else changes like my water breaking.

We went to bed, I think I slept a few hours, but kept waking up every ten minutes with contractions. They didn’t hurt too much, but were definitely noticeable, mostly in my back (which was how they were with Kaden too.) The combination of the back pain from the contractions & being too excited to sleep kept me up about half the night. 

I remember feeling your tiny foot pushing out my side, just like you’d been doing for the past few months, & thinking about how it might be the last time I felt it. You got the hiccups too, & I thought about how they might be your last ones inside my belly. Then I thought about the little things I wanted to remember like to lay out your little birdie outfit & hat, and the little lion one in case the ultrasound was wrong & you were a boy 🙂 I thought about if I wanted to put on makeup in the morning in case you were born that day, since we were having a birth photographer & I’d be in pictures. I decided no. Around 3 am Kaden woke up & I went to lay down with him again. I thought about how he and I did this two years ago & you & I could do it now. I whispered to him as he slept that his baby sister was coming soon & he was going to be such a great big brother & that I love him so much.

As some contractions got harder I mentally reminded myself to breathe through the contractions, to relax, and work with my body. I thought about how my uterus is a muscle, and it’s just contracting as it works really hard to open the door for you to be born.

Morning finally came & Daddy was very excited when I told him I’d been still having contractions all through the night – he wanted to meet you so bad! Kaden wanted pancakes, so Daddy cooked us some for breakfast while Kaden watched. I sat on the balance ball at the table while we ate. After breakfast I went back to bed, because my back was really hurting. I stayed in bed most of the day, & used a contraction timing app on & off to see where they were at.

Mimi came over to play with Kaden while I rested & Daddy worked. Mimi & Pa had reservations that night for the Omni as a mini-vacation for their anniversary, so she wasn’t sure if they should go, since our plan was for them to come help with Kaden while you were born. But since I was in labor for 5 days the last time, & my contractions were still somewhat mild, I thought I probably had quite awhile to go, & told her they should just stick with their plans, and could come back if my labor really picked up.

I called my midwife & talked to Charlie this time, who was with Marianne at another birth. She suggested taking some calcium-magnesium to relax my muscles enough to nap, since I hadn’t slept much the night before. I did that, and the contractions stopped enough to nap with Kaden from 1-4. I woke up a little after 4pm with stronger contractions than earlier, coming about every 7-8 minutes, still lasting a minute. 

Aunt Roo came over to help with Kaden after she finished her day shift at Market Street Cafe. I sat in the old rocking chair for awhile during contractions. It felt good to move a little through them. Unlike earlier, sitting on the balance ball did not help now. I moaned a lot through the contractions, which felt like it helped keep my body relaxed. Clarissa asked what a contraction even is, & I explained as best as I could that it’s just the uterus contracting, like when you flex a muscle, to dilate the cervix, like opening a door for the baby to come through.

Daddy made homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner, but I didn’t want that. I asked him to heat up the leftover enchiladas for me, but then started to feel pretty nauseous during the contractions, so decided to try taking a bath instead around 6pm.

Once I got in the hot bath I felt SO much better. Just as I got in a thunder storm started rolling in, so dad said I should probably get out. I told him no way, and said a prayer that we wouldn’t get stuck by lightning, because there was no way I was going to get out of that tub. 

Charlie text me that the baby was just born at the birth they were at, and they would be finishing up there in the next couple hours. I didn’t think I needed them to come yet, since I felt like I might have another day or so to go. She said if it got more intense before they were done I could call Melissa, another one of my midwives.

After getting in the tub I felt good enough to eat, which I thought I should to keep my energy up. I asked Daddy to get the enchiladas for me. They were a little burnt from the reheat, but still tasted pretty good, especially the crispy shell. Daddy came and sat with me in the bathroom for awhile, which was nice to have company. Clarissa was still playing with Kaden.

I stayed in the tub for about an hour. The hot water felt great until I would have a contraction, and then I felt really hot & nauseous. I’d turn on the cold water & put my feet under it, which helped a bit. The contractions were starting to hurt like crazy in the tub too, so I got out and tried laying in bed. That hurt too, so I got back in the tub. Contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart now. I threw up half my dinner during one contraction, & then the other half during another.

By 8pm the contractions were getting really intense. The rest of the birth went really fast in my mind. After checking in a few times to see how I was doing & talking to Daddy, Mimi & Pa decided to leave their hotel a little after 8:30 & come over. Charlie called around 8:30 & said they could come straight here after they grabbed my chart. I said that would probably be good, although I still wasn’t convinced you were coming especially soon.

At this point the contractions hurt so bad. Remembering back, I don’t think they ever got that intense with Kaden’s birth, probably because his was just so much slower. I was still in the tub, and would put my feet against the end of it so I could rock back and forth, which may have helped a little. 

I got out again & went back to bed. Mimi & Pa got here around 9:30 & the Marianne & Charlie got here about 9:50. I could hardly breathe through the contractions anymore, much less relax through them. Moaning was turning into yelling & I was feeling really out of control. Auntie Faith had come over with Mimi & Pa & she told me later Kaden said to her in the living room “Mom mom say ‘Oooo!’ Let me see!” with a little smirk on his face 🙂

At some point I tried standing for a contraction & rocked against the nightstand, that seemed to feel slightly more manageable. Charlie & Marianne also rubbed my back during contractions, that helped a bit too. I remember Charlie asked me when the birth photographer wanted to come. I told her around 8 cm so she could shoot some of the labor, the birth, & afterwards. Charlie told mom she should call her & tell her to come now.

One contraction I was standing by the nightstand & my water broke just as it was starting, & then the contraction stopped. It was a lot more fluid than when my water broke with K.

A few minutes later I started to feel a lot of pressure in my bum during contractions, which seemed like they were almost continuous at that point. I told Marianne that & she said “that’s your baby coming” & after the contraction finished they asked if I could climb on the bed, so I got up on my hands & knees and started to have another contraction. My body was starting to push and I was feeling SO much pressure. They said I could lay on my side if I wanted but I just couldn’t move.

After just a couple minutes of almost constant pushing contractions, with one sip of water in between, you were born! First your head, then torso, then another push & you were out. I got to pick you up & hold you. I could hardly believe you were already here, but was SO GLAD that labor was over. It had just been crazy, & I was so glad to finally have you here. You were born with one hand up by your face, which I’d been feeling on my lower tummy for the past couple months. They said your cord was super long. I checked to see if you were a boy or girl, & was happy to see our ultrasound was correct & you’d get to use all the cute little girly things we’d gotten for you 🙂

A minute or so after you were born Kaden, Roo, Faithy, & Pa came in to see you. Daddy & Mimi were there along with the midwives when you were born, & Daddy called Nana & Papa right after to tell them you were here! I held you on the bed propped up against some pillows. I felt SO spent. It was crazy. I was so happy to have you though. You were wiggly & warm & pink & just perfect.

Kaden was so excited to see you. The first thing he asked was “any more baby sisters?” to which we laughed & told him no, just one 🙂 Then he remembered that he wanted to tell you “gDiapers.”

The birth photographer & uncle D got here within half an hour after you were born.

Your birth time was 10:36pm. You weighed 8 lbs. 3 oz. Something I noticed right away was that you had so much hair! It was very dark too. You looked like your brother when he was newborn, but different too, especially all the hair.

I nursed you for the first time shortly after you were born. I’d forgotten what it was like to nurse a newborn, but you knew just what to do, and it was so nice to hold & feed you.

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brother at home birth celebration florida midwife

Charlie did your newborn exam while Kaden decided to put on his Winnie the Pooh costume. I’m not really sure why, I guess he wanted to show you 🙂 He saw it in the closet and asked Auntie Faith to help him put it on.

I ate some soup, a pear, & some sandwich meat. Then I got stitched up while the family held you out in the living room. I really, really did not want stitches, & had asked during labor how to avoid tearing. Charlie said since I didn’t with Kaden after pushing for 9 hours I probably wouldn’t this time either, but then you were born with your hand by your face. Daddy held my hand while I got stitched up, which helped me feel a little better.

I sat up on the edge of the bed to try to get up to shower, but felt too dizzy so laid back down & ate a banana, some almonds, & water. Then I was able to shower, to soap up & rinse off. Marianne helped me dry off & asked what I wanted to wear. I said I’d find something in the drawer & she said no, I would tell her where to look & she would find it. I asked if I could put some blush on before the photographer took some family pictures & she said she didn’t care as long as I was sitting.

I climbed back in bed & had Mimi get Kaden in his jammies, & told Landon he needed to wear something besides the Michigan jersey he had on for the pictures, since we were all wearing pajamas. He found a Detroit Tigers tshirt & Michigan sweatpants to wear :-/

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Everyone except Mimi left around 1:30am & then we all went to sleep.

Your birth was so intense and fast once I realized it was actually happening! It was so nice to be home for the whole thing, & just climb in our bed & all go to sleep afterwards 🙂 

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You are such a beautiful, sweet baby & I’m so happy you’re here – we all love you very much!

Love, Mommy

Leo’s Birth Story

I was 40 weeks pregnant on Monday, May 16. That morning I had a chiropractor appointment and used the gift certificate our church gave out on Mother’s Day for a 30 minute massage. The massage therapist said she could work on some points in my feet that induce labor, if I was ready to have the baby today. At first I thought yikes, I don’t know if I’m really ready today, but then decided that what the heck, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, so told her sure, go ahead and do that.

When I got home I spent the afternoon in the kitchen making the last 2 freezer meals I wanted done before the baby came (a braided turkey & cheese sandwich and homemade veggie burgers), and noticed that I was having some contractions. They continued the rest of the day (we did a quick run to Target that evening for a few essentials) and through the night, and were strong enough that I woke up about once an hour from them.

Tuesday morning Alia and I went to a friend’s birthday party. The other moms asked about baby and how I was feeling. One friend told me she had a water birth tub if I’d like to use it. She said it was just in her closet deflated & she could drop it by later. I wasn’t sure if I would use it or not, but I’m SO glad now that she offered.

We went home for the day after the party was over around noon. Since I’d been having contractions for about 24 hours at that point I thought or hoped that they would pick up sometime that day & we’d get to the active labor part. But the rest of the day I still had a couple contractions an hour, all through that night as well. They were increasing in intensity but not frequency. I rubbed and squeezed my back during them, because I was having a lot of back labor. I prayed a lot too, alternating between God help me, I don’t know if I can really do this and God thank You so much for this baby. Thank You for letting us have this experience.

Wednesday I continued having 60 second contractions about 20 minutes apart all day long while resting, and closer together (like 10 minutes) when I was up and moving around. I was kind of feeling frustrated at this point, just wondering when is this going to turn into the real thing? Plus I was tired from not sleeping well 2 nights in a row, and the contractions were at an intensity that I couldn’t function to do anything else (they really hurt! Especially in my back), so I just laid around all day having contractions & wondering when this baby was coming.

By evening I felt mentally and physically exhausted, so I called my midwife, Charlie, to ask for suggestions. She said prodromal labor is more common the more babies that you have, but that sometimes the contractions are trying to turn the baby if they’re not in an optimal position for birth. She suggestion that I get adjusted by a chiropractor as soon as possible, and to do forward leaning inversions.

I called my chiropractor’s office, which was closed for the evening and the next day, but thankfully got ahold of the dr who lives nearby and said I could come by their house right away to get adjusted. My mom picked me up a little before 7 pm & drove me over there, he adjusted my hips, & we went back home.

Landon had made dinner so we ate when I got back (steak & mashed potatoes). During dinner we both noticed the contractions were coming closer together, like 7-8 minutes apart. I thought maybe it was just because I’d been up & moving so much, & that they might slow down again if I lay down.

I went upstairs to get ready for bed & try to relax in the bathtub, which would have been nice except our bathtub is so shallow it was pretty much worthless. I was cold and tired, so I just got myself and the kids ready for bed. Contractions were still coming pretty frequently, and were very intense. I started shaking around then and couldn’t stop.

I called my midwife again to tell her what was going on, and she said it sounded like baby was coming and that she would head our way now (she lives about an hour from our house.) We called my mom to have her come over as well.

I was feeling miserable at this point, so I asked Landon to fill up the water birth tub. He set it up in the bathroom next to the shower, so the shower hose could reach and fill it. We also had the electric tea kettle upstairs, to make more hot water to get the tub to a good (hot!) temperature.

Landon took Kaden & Alia to the kids room to go to bed, but Alia fell on the way and was crying and overtired and very sad and just wanted mommy so I told him to let her come lay with me. She snuggled up to me in the bed and we laid together while she fell asleep. I was still shaking and still having very strong contractions. When I looked at Alia I would stop shaking for a little bit – it was like I couldn’t stop for myself, but looking at her and thinking about how much I love her and how I want her to be able to sleep peacefully, I could stop shaking for a little bit for her. I also thought about the way I know that I love her, and how I know that God my Father loves me even more than I love my own children, and how He was with me and I’d be okay.

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Once she was asleep Landon moved her to the kids room, I threw up my dinner, and then got in the tub (around 10:45 pm) – I felt SO much better in there I can’t even describe it. Before getting in the water it was like my whole body was on edge constantly – during contractions, in between – I could not relax at all, or stop shaking. Once I got in I felt a million times better. I stopped shaking, and I felt great in between contractions. Then a contraction would come & it was still really intense, but I could rest in between them and that made an enormous difference. I’d labored in a bathtub with both of my other births, but the water birth tub was so much nicer – I could change position to whatever felt most comfortable, and lean on the soft sides. I highly recommend it (this isthe tub I used.)

My water broke sometime while I was in the tub, but I didn’t really notice, except that I heard a little “pop” sound that I think was it.

Clarissa got to the house sometime around then. I felt a little bad for her listening to me in the final stages of labor, thinking at the time that she is never going to want to have kids after this (but really I’m pretty sure she was fine.)

I had started listening to my “birth” playlist when I got upstairs, and kept it on while in the tub. I’d never had music on while in labor before, but it was nice, I think it helped me relax more and gave my mind something to focus on besides everything that was going on.

Landon was timing the contractions and noticed that they were getting consistently closer, 4 minutes apart, then 3 minutes. He called Charlie at 11:06 and she said she was about 10 minutes away, to call back if I started to push. Three minutes later I told him “I’m pushing! I’m not trying to, but it’s just doing it.” so he called Charlie and told her, and she stayed on speaker phone with us until she got to our house at 11:14.

The pushing contractions were so intense, I can’t even. I’m so glad I was in the water for the whole thing, I really don’t know how I would have been able to cope without it.

At 11:19 our baby was born. I think I pushed maybe 8 times total. He was born with his hand up by his face (just like Alia was), which Charlie suggested is why I had such bad back labor.

Once baby’s head was out I really just wanted to be finished so I asked Charlie “can I push the rest out?” and she asked “are you having a contraction yet?” to which I said “no, I just really want him out” and she told me to wait for the next contraction, which came like 5 seconds later.

Once baby was out I picked him up and held him. He was very slippery in the water, and warm and snuggly and perfect. As soon as I saw his face I knew he was a boy. And even during the last stages of labor everything I said about baby was about “he” or “his head”, so maybe somewhere in me I knew we were having a boy, although in my mind I didn’t know it. But once I did know for sure, I told everyone “it’s a boy!” which was fun and exciting to finally know for sure.

We stayed in the water for a little bit, and Charlie listened to his lungs & told me to rub baby’s back, which helped him breathe regularly.

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home birth celebration florida

At some point I moved from the tub to the bed. I held Leo for a long time, and then later Charlie did his newborn exam and weighed and measured him. Once he was born she said she thought he looked about 9 lbs. 2 oz., and he weighed in at 9 lbs. 3 oz. – my biggest baby yet! (I hope to not beat that record – why do I have such big babies?!!)

Charlie had her assistant give me a shot of pitocin in my leg because they said I bled a good amount before the placenta detached & I’d be bleeding more afterwards, so they like to be precautious rather than deal with hemorrhage. I could appreciate that, I’d rather be precautious too.

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Right away we saw that Leo had blond/maybe a little reddish hair, and I didn’t notice until the next day when the lighting was better, dark blue eyes.

They had me eat and drink and helped me take a shower before they left, and we went to bed around 2 am. I don’t know when I finally fell asleep, but it took a few hours – I just laid next to Leo looking at him and thinking about everything we’d just done & how happy I was he was here. Adrenaline high maybe?

Kaden and Alia met him the next morning – Kaden came into our room around 7:00 & I told him “this is your baby brother.” He was so excited and said “brother?” in his sweet little morning voice, with a big smile on his sleepy face, and scrambled up onto the bed to see and snuggle Leo.

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siblings at home birth
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Alia came in a minute later – she had been looking out the window in the kids room when Mimi asked her if she wanted to come see the baby. Alia said “the baby is born already?” and hurried to the bedroom to see. She was so smiley and happy and wanted to touch and kiss and snuggle him. She mentioned a few times over the next couple days that she’d been hoping for a sister, but followed up with “but we will love him no matter what” and we all do 🙂

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