Home Sweet Homebirth - The Birth of Everly Ann
I love all birth stories, but my own birth story is one of my favorites. It is a story of healing, support, and realization -things that I never imagined a birth could do. When I became pregnant for the third time seven years after my second birth, I had completely new feelings. You see, my first two pregnancies, although complete blessings, were surprises that threw me into motherhood before I was quite ready. This time after eight years of practice, I felt ready. Its laughable to think any one is ever “ready” for a new baby, no matter how seasoned a parent you are. Ready to me meant… I knew how I wanted this birth to go. I knew what my resources were to prepare myself for birth. I knew my options. Immediately after finding out I was pregnant, I told my husband I wanted to have a homebirth. I had an unmedicated hospital birth with my second birth and felt that home was the right option for this one. Thankfully I have a husband that gives his unwavering support at all the crazy ideas I’ve thrown at him during our marriage, and this was no different. We found a home birth midwife to provide my prenatal care, took Bradley classes so that we were educated on all things birth, hired a doula for extra support, and drew out our birth plan. As my pregnancy grew closer to my due date, I started getting those restless anxious feelings that all pregnant moms do. Like many of you may have, I looked to google to give some ideas of how to get labor started like walking, bouncing, eating two whole pineapples in one sitting (I don’t suggest that one at all). But there I was, three days before my due date, still pregnant, swearing off pineapple for the rest of my life, and accepting I was going to stay pregnant forever. The next morning, I woke up around 6:00 with some mild cramps. I walked around trying to decide if I was imagining things or if this could really be it. After another hour of being able to time the cramps, I went to wake my husband up. I shook him lightly and said, “I think we are going to have a baby today.” Calmly with a smile he said, “oh really?” and got up to make himself a cup of coffee. Around 8:00 AM I started notifying family that I was definitely in labor. My sister-in-law came to get my eight-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. I gave them hugs and kisses and told them that as soon as baby was here they could come back. My mom came, and we walked up and down my long dirt driveway as contractions intensified. I chatted with my midwife and doula keeping them updated, assuring them I was fine and would let them know when I was ready for them. My sister who is an amateur photographer came over to document the labor and birth. While my mom and sister were doing their best to keep me in good spirits, my husband decided it was a good time to clean his hunting rifles (because men do weird things to handle stress). Around noon, things started to pick up quicker than I expected. I bounced on my exercise ball to get through the contractions, but I instinctively felt the need to get in my bed. My husband let our midwife and doula know that we were ready for them. About thirty minutes later my contractions were coming so close together, and I started to have some fear that the baby would be there before the midwife. Things had changed so quickly. My husband called her to see how far she was, and I could hear some panic in his voice. Although completely on board for a homebirth, he had not intended to deliver our child himself. I continued to *try* to stay calm and breathe through my contractions as my husband held my hand and my mom reminded me that I could do this. After what seemed like years to me, my midwife and doula arrived. My midwife calmly came in and accessed the situation, told me I was doing a great job and checked baby’s heartbeat. She told me baby is doing great and to let my body do what it needs to do. At this point I was so uncomfortable and nothing gave me relief, so I decided I wanted to get in the bathtub. My mom and sister rushed to fill our huge bathtub, but it was taking too long and I was starting to feel the urge to push. My midwife said to my mom and sister, “there is no time for the bath now, we are going to have a baby soon.” I pushed every time my body told me to over and over, but nothing happened. I was beginning to get exhausted and frustrated because I didn’t understand why this baby was not coming out. I was so tired that I am literally falling asleep in between contractions so my doula suggested a honey stick and a whiff of peppermint to perk me up. After about 20 minutes of pushing my doula offered to help get me in a different position. It was exactly what my body needed because I was then able to deliver my baby immediately. My doula didn’t have time to do much during my labor, but I will always consider her an angel sent from heaven just for being there to suggest that position change! Once my baby girl was placed on my chest, I felt like I had just accomplished the greatest thing in the entire world. I was in awe of myself and my body. My little Everly Ann was here and healthy. I looked around the room and saw my husband beaming at his brand-new daughter, my midwife smiling as she listened to my baby’s heart, my mom holding my hand making sure I was ok, my sister filled with excitement as she snapped countless pictures of her niece, and my doula telling me that I did a great job. So much love and support surrounded this precious new life right here in the comfort of my own bedroom. I was able to shower in my own shower and put on my own robe and climb back into my own comfy bed. Soon after, my older children arrived and hopped in my bed so eager to meet their new sibling. Each took a turn to hold her and point out all her tiny features. Family members came in and out as Everly and I rested and recovered, never having to leave my bed. This birth was everything that I needed and more. It healed me and showed me that I am strong and capable, and I also learned what amazing things can happen when women support women. Everly’s birth is what inspired me to become a doula myself so that I can help other women realize their strength through birth.