birth story.

So, I was lying in bed at 1:30 a.m. in the morning when I rolled over to my left side and felt the tiniest little “pop” down bellow. I thought to myself, “Did my water just break? No… can’t be. Just wishful thinking. Um… WHOA!” Yes, indeed—my water had broke! I woke Travis up and he helped me make my way to the bathroom without making a huge mess of things. We both were kinda giddy with excitement and kept looking at each other like “Here we go!” Having been induced twice, my water had never broken on it’s own before—and we certainly didn’t expect anything to happen so close to my due date. We couldn’t believe that this was it!

We called the midwives to let them know that things were getting started and then we tried to lay back down and get some rest… but that didn’t last for too long. We couldn’t help but talk about baby names and other things, but at least we tried to rest. Sometime around 3:30 or 4:00 a.m., I started to feel a lot more uncomfortable, so I asked Travis to start filling up the AquaDoula tub for me. He had a little trouble with things at first (couldn’t figure out how to get the spigot to work with the hose), so I tried filling up the bathtub to float in there for a bit.

Once the tub was filled up, I hopped right in. But the hot water quickly ran out and the water was a bit chilly feeling at 85 degrees. The AquaDoula has a built-in heater, but it’s designed to keep the water warm, not heat the water up. So later we tried adding some hot water Travis had boiled on the stove (which is what you’re supposed to do at a home birth, right? “Boil the water!” LOL!) and then a second round of hot water from the tap helped a great deal and the tub felt great after that.

At about 5:30 a.m. the midwives arrived. They did an exam to check my progress and I was at 7 cm already. I was very happy because I remembered things progressing rather slowly with Katie and Joshua’s births. I was going to be disappointed if I was only at 4 cm when I already felt this bad. But then, as it turns out—I got stuck at 7 cm. for a long, long time. The midwives estimated that I was stuck at 7 for 7 hours! The other thing that we were more concerned about was that the baby hadn’t descended yet either. She was happily floating up high. So, they recommended I try a few things, like walking up and down the stairs and strolling around the house. I made one miserable trip down the stairs to the kitchen, having a contraction every few steps. I just headed back upstairs again. They suggested I try to sit on the birthing stool they had brought along or on the toilet, but both squatting positions hurt like heck! Then they suggested, even though it sounded counter-productive, to try laying on my back (because of the way that the baby seemed to be falling forward—we were hoping that it would help her fall back into place).

So, I tried all these various things for about an hour, but I just felt tired, worn out and I was starting to dread the coming of each contraction. I kept eying up the tub because I just wanted to crawl back in. But water is known to slow down your contractions, too and we didn’t want that. They were concerned that my cervix was already a little swollen. They said I could transfer to a hospital if I felt like that was what I wanted to do, but we all knew that I would end up with a c-section if I did that. So, I said that if they felt like it wasn’t an emergency situation yet, I’d like to get back in the tub and just see what happens. They also gave me a little Blue Cohosh to see if that would help speed things up.

I think I floated in the tub for about two hours after that, gradually feeling stronger and stronger contractions. Sometime around 12:30 p.m. my in-laws arrived at the house, which we were so thankful for. My mother-in-law had driven all through the night from Pennsylvania, made a stop in Ohio to pick up my father-in-law who was camping out on their property and made it to the house just in time. We were grateful that someone could be here to be with the kids to comfort them if needed. Up until this point, they had been blissfully watching movie after movie in Katie’s room (and I think they really liked the treat!).

So, sometime after this, the midwives asked me if I felt like I could eat anything, like some yogurt, and I said I’d try. I hadn’t had anything to eat for hours, but I didn’t feel hungry. Well, it was a challenge to get two bites down. But then around this time I started to feel ready to push! And then I got my second wind. I remember saying to Travis “Wow! I’m going to do this!” and feeling excited that things were now going so well. And I also remember saying “Gee, I could have TWO bites of yogurt now!” Ha!

It wasn’t my initial plan to have a water birth. I had pictured myself laboring in the tub and getting out on dry land when it came time to push. Well, after the experience of walking around the house and trying to squat and such, I wasn’t up for that kind of fun anymore. I didn’t know how long I would be pushing for and I was very happy now to stay in the tub. It didn’t make the pain go away, but it really did help me relax more in between contractions—I wasn’t “afraid” of them when I was in there. I had even been able to lay my head back and fall asleep between contractions in the tub (we were both so tired at this point from not having slept). Plus, it was so easy, being weightless, to move around and change positions… and I also wasn’t tiring out any of my muscles. So, I changed my mind about having a water birth and asked if that was okay with the midwives, too. They said sure and we turned up the heater and got ready!

They say that I only pushed for nine minutes… it felt like longer to me! But I was probably counting from the time I felt like pushing and they were probably counting the actual time spent pushing. Either way, it wasn’t that long or that painful. It did get rough there right at the end but I kept thinking how quickly it would be over and the baby would be out like magic—pop! And then I heard the midwife say “I see the eyes, the ears, the nose…” and with each facial feature she mentioned, I felt SO much better. It just took one more push after that and then I brought our beautiful baby up from the water into my arms!

I looked at her little face and then I looked down to see if she was a boy or a girl. What I saw confused me for a second and I actually said “Oh, you’re a boy!” because her belly button was stretched out all the way and looked to me at first like “little boy parts.” But then I thought “Wait, why is the umbilical cord connected to there?!” LOL! So I looked again and moved the cord out of the way and saw that she was a GIRL! Hooray! Just what I was hoping for.

After this, we climbed out of the tub and moved over to the bed. They wrapped her up in blankets to keep her warm and I held her for a good, long time. She was even able to nurse right way. I had forgotten how cute babies can be when trying to get the hang of nursing! She made me laugh. Travis asked if we really did want to name her “Penny” after all. We were thinking at first of Penelope Jane, but Travis suggested Penelope Joy, which we thought would fit better with Katherine Grace and Joshua Felix (which means “happy”). I think I said “Can’t I just call her Pumpkin?” Ha ha! So, Penelope Joy it was…

She turned out to weigh 9 lbs. and 4 oz.—my biggest baby to date, although she did NOT look like it. Katie had been 7 lbs. and 13 oz. and Joshua 8 lbs. and 11 oz. Penny topped them both! But she was a little shorter at 20 inches. Katie was 21 in. and Joshua was 21 3/4 in. But thankfully, pushing her out was not the hardest part—it was dealing with all those darn contractions! Ugh!

So, now that it’s all over, I’ve been asking myself if I’d do it all over again. At first I was thinking “No way! Sign me up for another epidural!” But after thinking over all the little things that made it so nice to deliver at home, I think I can safely say that if I had a tub, I’d go for it again seeing as I’ve had very normal pregnancies and very healthy babies. The biggest benefit—no one pushed me into doing anything I didn’t want to do! I didn’t have to fight with any doctors or hospital staff to let things progress naturally, like I felt that they should. I didn’t have to fight with anyone about what I wanted to have done (or not have done) to the baby. No one (but the baby—LOL!) woke us up at night to check on us. We were able to sleep in our own bed, eat whatever we liked and just do things at our own pace! Probably the biggest drawback was that there was a lot of things to clean up and Travis was exhausted, but aside from that, everything was just lovely and relaxed. I’m so very happy with how things turned out.

And that’s my story. ๐Ÿ™‚

12 Responses to “birth story.”

  1. Charla Says:

    Beautiful!! I’m so glad it all went so beautifully and that you were able to have such a peaceful birth story! You’re right; having them not push anything on you is a huge help. I’m so happy for you…and so tickled to read about a home water birth! (I’d planned on a water birth but wanted out when it was time to push!) Lovely ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Bryn Says:

    Awww, our Penny!!!

    What an awesome story, Nicole…
    I hear ya about the clean up I was thinking about that through the whole story!!

    <3
    I’m glad you didn’t have any complications.

  3. denise Says:

    What a great birth story. I am so happy everything went well!!!

    Hugs, my friend!!!

  4. amymom24 Says:

    Thanks so much for sharing that, Nicole:) You are brave to have her at home (I don’t think it would be for me – too much of a worrywart!), and I’m so happy that it turned out so well. Congrats on a job well done and on the blessing of your beautiful baby. Can’t wait to see her in lots of LOs;)

  5. LuAnn Says:

    fabulous story!!!

  6. Tammy L Says:

    Beautiful story! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

  7. Kelley Mickus Says:

    WOW- you are brave! What an awesome experience delivering her right in the water!! Congrats again!

  8. Brenda Says:

    What a fabulous story. I wish I had written a birth story for my two. Maybe I could still write what I remember. TKS for the idea. lol

  9. Elise Says:

    I love birth stories!! I’m so glad you were able to experience Penny’s arrival exactly as you wanted to, too. How wonderful!

  10. Pati Says:

    What a sweet story! I wanted to give birth at home, but Brian wasn’t comfortable with that idea… Anyway, glad it worked out for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Kelleigh Says:

    {sigh} I just love this! If I ever decide to have another baby, I just might have him at home!!!

  12. Danielle Engebretson Says:

    I finally found my way over to your spot here and read your story and I am wiping my tears. What a beautiful story, just beautiful…I just am crying, I think all of us would love to be able to deliver that way, but only some of us have the pain tolerance and strength to do it, accolades to you Nicole, that is such a wonderful birth to have….thanks for sharing your beautiful story and beautiful Penny with us ๐Ÿ™‚

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