First-time Mama, 9 lb baby, Six hour labor, Peaceful Home Water Birth

November 7, 2011

Kat was one of my most dedicated hypno-birthers ever. She really put her heart and soul into preparing for this birth, and with the help of her wonderful husband and excellent midwife, Richelle Jolley, she gave her baby such a beautiful welcome on his birthday. This story gave me the chills.

Today Phineas is a week old, and it’s time I wrote the birth story before I start forgetting things. So, here it goes!

As many of you know, Travis and I took HypnoBirthing classes together. We started this when I was around 20 weeks because I wanted to have many months to practice the techniques and really prepare for birth. That’s exactly what we did. I listened to my affirmations 4x or more daily, and most of all practiced the different types of breathing. I was concerned at first about my ability to go deep into relaxation but once I released my fears and worries about birth, I felt myself becoming a more calm and collected person, which led to our successful birth! HypnoBirthing is not just a way of birthing, it is a way of life. I truly adopted its concepts and soon realized that as a pregnant woman I was more even tempered than I EVER was before I got pregnant!! I completely owe it all to HypnoBirthing and my amazing supportive husband who was willing to go on this crazy journey with me.

Because we did HypnoBirthing, I learned so much about the unnecessary interventions that accompany births in a hospital. (Please do not misunderstand me, I respect all those who birth the way they choose. The decision is personal and you will not receive judgment from me. I ask the same respect from you.) I decided that I didn’t want to “fight” hospital staff and doctors to get what I wanted… such as: delaying the clamping of his umbilical cord, leaving the vernix on his skin, letting me bond with my baby without anyone taking him from me, letting me birth in whatever position my body wanted, being able to labor and birth in water, (and muuuuch more). I didn’t want an epidural, pitocin, or even an I.V. I knew that in order for me to get what I wanted, I would really have to fight. I didn’t want to be in a position to fight for what I wanted and still remain fully relaxed and deep in concentration during birth. I just wanted to birth in an environment where I felt safe, secure and comfortable. That meant: home.

When I approached Travis about the idea of home birth, he was a little hesitant, but said that we should definitely research it and pray about it. So we did. I became a research queen. There was no article I didn’t read, no concept I didn’t cover. I read articles for and against it. I talked to people, I pleaded with the Lord and received blessings about the subject. I asked professionals in the field, and even went to my family practice doctor and asked his opinion. After looking at my medical records and history, he told me to GO FOR IT!! I got his stamp of approval and we didn’t look back.

We interviewed midwives and fell in love with Richelle Jolley. She was everything I had been dreaming about and more. We knew we made the right choice in asking her to assist with our birth. She was very good about keeping me on track with nutrition and taking care of my body and baby. The first time we had our appointment, she put her hands on my belly and introduced herself to our son. He responded with kicks when she said, “Hello baby, my name is Richelle and I am going to make sure your birth is beautiful and wonderful. I promise to take great care of you and your mommy.” Of course, I cried at the thought of this amazing woman being there for us and I knew she would be all I needed.

Well… the waiting began and the excitement of Phineas coming so soon was definitely hitting us hard! We talked to him everyday and told him that we love him and couldn’t wait his arrival.

On Sunday, October 30 I was having some practice surges (aka braxton hicks) pretty much all day but not more intense than usual. I was fighting a bad bad cold and truly didn’t want Phineas to come yet because I didn’t want to birth while ill (and I couldn’t breathe through my nose!) Travis gave me a blessing and I was told that I would get better and that “the baby was coming soon.” I took that with a grain of salt because “soon” could mean an hour, day, or weeks.

That night we went to my parents house and had dinner. I was having some intense surges by this point but I was still able to talk through them and function just fine. My mom was convinced I was in labor. I wasn’t. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. The day before, Saturday, I had passed my uterine seal (aka mucus plug) and Richelle told me that usually for first time moms it’s a full 24 hrs or more and then labor begins. So she told me that I would probably have the baby Sunday night/Monday morning. She told me to go to bed early as I would need all the rest I could get. Again, I took it with a grain of salt.

Well… at 12:30am, Phineas kicked me and I felt a pop. Then my bag of waters released! It felt so different! I immediately woke Travis and said, “My water just broke, it’s happening!!” I got up, and my waters gushed again several times. I thought, how much water could I have?! It felt like a gallon. We called Richelle and felt bad for waking her. I thought it would be a few more hours before we called her to actually come, so I told her to go back to bed and we’d see how things progressed. It was shortly after I hung up with her that I felt the waves of strong surges. They were coming 2 minutes apart, very regularly. In between, I was able to direct Travis on what I wanted. Move this here, move that there. We tried to watch a TV show to get me laughing and to pass the time, but my surges were so strong and close together that it was impossible to stay alert in between. I needed to get in relaxation mode, and ASAP. So I did. Travis put on my birthing playlist on the ipod and I fell into relaxation. I breathed up with each surge and calmly relaxed in between. After an hour, Travis told Richelle to come.

They filled up the birthing tub and all I could think was, “I want the water, I want the water!” As soon as I was in the water, I felt amazing. Travis read me a relaxation script and I fell even deeper into relaxation. At one point they thought my surges were slowing down! Nope, I was just deeply into my thoughts and my baby.

Time passed so quickly. I was unaware of the time, and I didn’t care. After a while, my body curled and instinctively started pushing. I did not force it. I worked with each wave and began breathing my baby down. I was more vocal than I thought I would be, but it felt so empowering. I was giving life!

Travis was right there the entire time. I would open my eyes and see his loving looks, the compassion in his eyes immeasurable. He was constantly touching me, whispering sweet thoughts in my ears and kissing me. He had really set the stage for birth. It was romantic, with only 2 lamps and the room FULL of candles. Music softly playing in the background. I fully relied on him with my whole heart. At one point I was literally hanging on him, letting gravity do it’s work. Mind you, I was heavy, and bearing down. Good thing I have a huge strong husband! :)

Slowly, Phineas’ head began to emerge. It was slow and perfect. I was able to check how his head was emerging on my own by “checking my station.” It helped me to feel my own progress. Richelle checked the opening and thinning of my cervix pretty early on and I was only 2.5 cm. Within an hour and a half, I was feeling the urge to breathe my baby down. Pretty fast! That happened after Travis read me the relaxation scripts. :) Thanks, honey!!

Finally Phineas’ head was out. Then another push and his body came. The rush of oxytocin was incredible!! I was on an all time natural high. It felt so amazing. Travis received the baby and passed him under my legs to me, still in the water. I brought him up to air and he began to take in his first breaths. He opened his eyes and gazed at me. My son!!!! I was overcome with emotion and began to cry. I looked at Travis and said, “Honey, look!! Our baby! Our baby! He is so beautiful!” That moment was spiritual and so sacred. Phineas kept looking at me, then to Travis then back to me. He knew who is parents were and we knew he loved us. I felt so honored to be able to bring a healthy boy into the world, with the help of my amazing husband. All 3 of us birthed together as a team.

And so, that is how we welcomed our son into the world, 6 hours of birthing time, born at 6:42 am, on Halloween. 9 lbs 21 3/4 inches long. (Is anyone besides me shocked that I had a 9 lb baby??) I birthed him in a tub of water at the foot of my bed, in my own home. In fact, the very room where he was created. It was beautiful, easy and perfect. I would not have wanted it any other way.

Believe it or not, this is the “short” version of the story. There are many more amazing details which I will keep sacred and only for our family (sparing you the mooshy gooshy-ness of it all). All you need to know is that birth is amazing. It is incredible. Home birth is not scary, and birthing without fear or interventions is totally doable. We can ALL do it.

I have never felt more love and respect for my own body and its capabilities. I believe childbirth is the closest I have ever been to my Heavenly Father and I thank Him for the most uplifting experience of my life. The love I have for Travis and this precious baby is indescribable. I thank my husband for his support throughout my entire pregnancy, each stage bringing its own challenges but ultimately the greatest reward; a healthy and gorgeous baby boy.

Now I am preparing for a new chapter of motherhood and while it is definitely hard, I know I can do it because if I can birth naturally, I can do anything with the support of my husband and of course, my Heavenly Father.

We are doing well. My milk came in after a day and a half and my precious little baby isn’t little anymore. He is already 10 lbs and growing fast. As for my body, it is healing well and quickly. Hours after having him, I weighed myself and instantly lost 17 lbs. Just from childbirth. I weighed myself this morning, a week after, and I have lost 28.5 lbs. Only a pound and a half and I will be back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I didn’t NOT expect it to happen that fast! I gotta say, breastfeeding is the best weight loss program out there! And super great for baby, too. :)

Thank you to those who supported me and my crazy ideas about birth. All your encouraging words mean the world to me. Thanks to my family for their support and most of all, Travis. I could not have done this alone. I love you.

I think it’s time I close this chapter of birthing and truly begin the never-ending chapter of motherhood. It’s time to enjoy the journey and all its rough moments along with the good. And believe me, there is SO much good.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda Shattuck November 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

As a very nervous first time Grandmother and not knowing anyone who had done a home birth, I have to say, I’m impressed. The excellent training Travis and Kat had with their amazing midwife, Richelle Jolley, was first class. Her spirit of calm, and her excellent skills both in terms of birthing and people skills are incomparable! I was present just hours after delivery, and the quiet and calm prevailed. The pictures taken by the assistant were so beautiful and tasteful, that I just cried with joy in these beautiful moments captured forever. While I did not have a choice or a voice in their birthing experience, I’m glad I supported this decision for them, and kept my nerves to myself. Richelle displayed remarkable professionalism coupled with compassion. I would highly recommend her to anyone making this beautiful choice to birth at home.

Becci Buck August 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Thank you for your story! This is exactly the kind of birth my husband and I envision. We didn’t know how possible and safe home birth was until quite recently, so we’re still trying to get that organized. I’m 35 weeks and a few days pregnant, but we feel so strongly that this is what we want that we’re going for it.

Anyway, I’m just so inspired by your story and your mom’s comment. =) I haven’t had an opportunity to discuss our plans with my parents yet (they live a few hours away and there just hasn’t been a right time), but I anticipate more than a little anxiety from them. In fact, I wasn’t sure how much to involve them DURING our son’s birth (because if they’re nervous, it might make me nervous), but now I’m hoping it can be a beautiful experience for them as well.

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