Today, our Sweet River Grace turned ONE year old. I cannot not celebrate her birthday, without celebrating her BIRTH. We had planned a home birth with our amazing midwife. You’re probably thinking right about now, “Why?? Why a home birth? That’s weird.” Our first two children were born in a hospital with an epidural and just about as normal as the pregnant lady next to me. There was nothing even as much as complaint worthy during our hospital visit. However after experiencing one of my best friends prenatal care and home birth’s I was forever changed. My eyes were opened to how amazing of an experience pregnancy and birth could be. (The best way I can explain it is like going to the local miniature golf course your whole life and having a great time– but then experiencing Disneyland! You can not LIVE that!) But, as far as I planned I was happy and content with my two kids. I often said I’d have a homebirth with my imaginary third child. (Jokes on me!) Not long after we were surprised to find out we were pregnant, and then miscarried. As a woman and a mother, once you see that faint pink line after anxiously peeing on a stick, in your heart you are instantly a mother again. The loss was deep, and the desire to to have a third was as real as the waves in the ocean. After more than 8 months we found out we were pregnant again.
So like I said, we planned for a home birth. To make things even more interesting than just having a baby in our living room, we had decided to move, and it was pushed out to the month I was due. It’s just where the chips fell. We had no idea where we would be living the day we would have our baby. It was quite interesting g to say the least. We had sold our home and were renting it back from the gracious new owners after I played the pregnant card and practically begged them to let us stay in our house just one more week. We were waiting eagerly for the OK to move into our new home. Nearly everything we owned was packed, sounds like their perfect time to have a baby right?!
I woke up and just knew it was the day we were going to meet our baby. I set up the dining room where we were going to have our baby just like I had planned. I called the midwife, my mom and mother in law, the photographer and my hair stylist. (That’s right, my hair stylist. You can’t retake these pictures!) By 9:30am everyone was in our living room and what little contractions I had seemed to stop. My midwife checked me and told me I was dilated 6 cm and she could feel my baby’s head. WHAT?! I was literally in no pain. How was I already dialated more than half way?! I panicked for a moment because I realized all though I had two babies, I had never let my body give birth. I walked into labor and delivery, was given pitocine to speed things up and then couldn’t bare the pain (Literally thought I was dying before I was dialated 4 cm both times!) and then was given an epidural. After about 8 hours in a hospital bed with machines and nurses telling me what to do and when to do it- I had a baby. THIS was different in every way. I tried not to psych myself out–of course I’d KNOW when I was in active labor!! My midwife thought it’d be best if I rested and we would all reconvene in about three hours or when my labor picked back up, whichever came first. We all agreed it was a good idea and no one traveled more than 10 miles away.
So I rested on the couch and after a 45 minute nap I woke up hungry. My mom brought over enough food to feed a high school football team. Pizza. 4 different kinds of sub sandwiches. Clearly she was nervous and excited and we like food in my family so she brought food. My mother in law returned from taking my kids to lunch and running errands a few minutes after my mom walked through the door. I ate 1/2 a sub and my contractions kicked in. After just 10 minutes, my water broke. One minute I was eating a sub sandwich and the next I was having a baby. I was having a baby and there was no midwife. I was having a baby and there was NO water in the birth tub. I immediately texted my photographer and got no response. My husband, unbeknownst to me, was on the front porch frantically calling our midwife. They were close and on the way but the freeway was STOPPED. (I swear I was paying attention, I’d had two babies before and thought I’d know when I was in labor!) To make things even more FUN, at the same exact time my water broke an oil tanker flipped over and closed the only freeway/road to get to our home.
As our three year old son napped in his bed, my husband, mother in law, and 5 year old daughter grabbed the garden hose and the one pot that wasn’t packed and filled the tub as fast as the water would flow. My mom was now praying over me as I laid on the hard wood floor in my living room and tried my hardest NOT to have a baby, I needed water in the tub!! I did not want to have a bat in the floor– that justseamed messy and gross to me. Yes I was having a baby at home but I had a vision of what that was supposed to look like. It took about ten of the slowest minutes of my life before there was enough water in the tub so I could hop in.
My husband facetimed our midwife who was less than 5 miles away, my mother in law videoed from her cell phone, our five year old daughter jumped right in to help-grabbing towels and cleaned up water that was on the floor from the hoses, and my mom held a towel waiting for a baby. Because in the movies when a baby is born unexpectedly it gets wrapped in towel right? (This is still so funny to me!)
Enjoy the video recorded by my mother in law, and then edited by my photographer who didn’t make it to capture the birth.
Watch the video here —> The unassisted homebirth of River Grace
From the time my water broke to Rivers first breath it was just 20 minutes. Our midwife arrived about 45 minutes after River’s birth. The rest of our family spent as much as 3 hours traveling just 12 miles to get to our home. It was nothing I hoped the day would turn out like– but so beyond perfect.
As soon as our midwife arrived she assisted in delivering the placenta, and then I walked upstairs to my bed for River’s newborn screening. (Don’t mind the moving boxes everywhere!) Here are some of my favorite moments captured by our photographer from the rest of our afternoon/evening. This is our beloved midwife Lisa Marie Oxenham and her husband Richard. We are so thankful for their influence and love. They are some of the most genuine people I have ever known. You can find out more about them on there business page: Sacred Journey Midwifery. Never, have I ever received better medical care. Prenatal, delivery, post natal and newborn care. I cannot say enough great things to fully explain how amazing they are. (But if you want me to try just email me, I could sing their praises from the rooof tops until the cows come home!)
And that my friend’s is how a (pretty normal) person has a baby at home. If I can encourage you to anyway, hear my cry to do your research. Don’t just follow the pregnant lady in front of you. Know you have options and make an educated decision– it could lead to one of the BEST decisions of your life.