Jarel's birth story (finally!)

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Jarel's birth story (finally!)
Thu, 12-14-2006 - 12:53pm

Jarel Braddock - born at home Friday, October 13, 2006 at 7:26pm
9 lb 4 oz; 22.5 in.

How did we get to the place where we decided to have our baby at home? I wish we'd arrived there a lot sooner than we did. With our other three children, each birth had more and more "bad" that happened than the previous one. Our third child was born in a military hospital after prenatal care that wasn't, by medical definition, horrible, but definitely less than desireable in my book (prenatal care was also exclusively at the military hospital). When we knew we wanted more babies, I swore I was not going to repeat that particular experience and started to look at my options. "Just looking" became "this is what we should've done all along."

On to the actual birth story, though ;-).

My official and "best guess/determination" EDD was October 12, a date I felt was pretty accurate. I had lots of real contractions off and on for a couple of weeks before he was actually born, but Oct. 11, after I went to bed, I didn't really sleep all night. I thought *maybe* I was in labor, but wasn't entirely sure. All day on the 12th, I felt pretty yucky, but was able to function. Ctx were anywhere from 5-20 min. apart and varied in intensity, but felt more "real" than any other previous ones. That afternoon, they kind of tapered off some, but were still there. Around 10pm or so, I had a couple of really awful feeling ones less than 10 min. apart. J had to go to work for midnight shift, but my mom was there and she started timing them, even though I wasn't timing them myself. I didn't want to start obsessing, since I've uh, cough, had a tendancy to do that in labor lol. The ctx were super-intense and were wavering back and forth along the whole span of 8 min. to 25 min. J ended up making me mad before he left because he said something to the effect of this not really being anything different than any other night (labor/ctx-wise). He told me later he changed his mind on his way to work and decided I probably really was in labor (LOL!). My mom went to bed around midnight and I stayed on the couch. I couldn't sleep b/c of the ctx and ended up getting up around 3am and going on the computer. J called me about then and we talked for a bit. I stayed on the computer until almost 5, because it kept me occupied. I finally was able to doze a little by then, but not for very long. My mom came to check on me around 6 *smile - she was worried* and I wasn't sleeping. I called Nicole - my MW - at 7. J got home sometime after 8 and Nicole came sometime between 9 and 10. J had a meeting at 11 that I said he could go ahead and go to, since it wouldn't take long. Nicole started filling up the pool (AquaDoula - awesome!) and around noon, she said she was going to leave and come back after awhile and that she wanted me to try to sleep while she was gone. J came home right after she left and since he hadn't been to bed at all yet, either, we both went to bed. I did manage to sleep for almost an hour and a half and then got up. About 15 minutes after I got up, I started having ctx one on top of the other - the kind that start before the last one has even totally ended. Ugh. I tried my ball, but it wasn't helping. I woke up J, because I wanted to get in the pool. Nicole hadn't filled it the last bit so we could add warmer water if we needed to, but she'd left the heaters in it and covered it and it was almost as full as it needed to be. I was being all wishy-washy, telling J I really, really wanted/needed to be in the water, but that she wasn't here and the hose was still in there, blah blah blah. He finally just told me to get in and quit worrying about it. He took the hose out and helped me get in the water. Sweet bliss, let me tell you! It didn't totally take the pain away - not by far - but it helped SO much. My mom called Nicole for us and then J talked to her. She got slightly alarmed and told me to get out of the water until she got there because I might deliver! Bwahahaha - I refused to get out of the water and said that "that was the point!" (delivery hehe). I think Nicole got back around 3:30 ??, because I know I was in the water about an hour before she got back. She lived almost 30 miles from me and it was mid-afternoon traffic - bleh.

She brought an assistant with her - Nancy - who I'd never met, but I was ok with her being there. Brynna kept bringing me cold wash cloths that my mom was giving her - they kept swapping them out in a big bowl of ice water. The boys came in and out periodically, but Brynn was with us the whole time and my mom was in the room most of the time, too, if I'm remembering right. Nicole checked the heartrate with the underwater Doppler a couple of times and I actually felt slightly worried every time she did that, but I didn't tell anyone that. I felt ok again every time because she'd say very reassuring things like "Beautiful. That's excellent." and I could obviously hear it, too, which was a great sound! At some point, I felt my membranes rupture, which was a new experience for me, since with the other 3, it never did get to happen on its own. A dr did it all 3 times. Also, not once did I have an internal check, which really helped me focus on the moment during labor, instead of numbers. I don't know what time it was, but Nicole said I should try to go to the bathroom, and that while I could do that in the water, she wanted me to get out of the water and walk just a bit. I was able to go to the bathroom and then I laid on my side on the bed. That was probably the worst part for me of the entire labor. The whole time, I'd been concentrating and focusing on keeping my face and my whole bottom end relaxed through each ctx. It was a lot harder to do that on the bed. However, as hard it was, when it came time to have to go to the bathroom again, I didn't want to move at all. Mostly because I was concentrating so hard that the thought of making the (painful!) effort to move was almost too much. I was definitely in my own zone and while I definitely heard both Nicole and J telling me to get up, I didn't give them really any attention. Finally, Nicole basically pulled me up and she and J helped me get in the water, with several stops in between for ctx. I didn't mind - in fact, I needed them to do that, because really, I *wanted* to be in the water, but I knew I wasn't going to get there. The warm water did help the rest of my body relax again and felt great. I had started some "kinda/sorta" pushing at the peak of ctx while I was still on the bed, but in the water, that definitely picked up. I was on my knees and leaning forward and holding on to the edge of the AD. Nicole figured out pretty quickly that I was pushing and reached in from the back to do perineal support from that side. I had reached down and felt the baby's head and was doing my own perineal support at the top. During crowning, I kept pushing and would have continued to until Nicole told me to breathe. That made me stop and I did breathe, because we'd talked about before how I was going to "breathe" the baby out, not push it lol. I didn't understand that until I was doing it. I was still pushing, but making sure I was breathing, too. Stopping pushing to breathe was really, really hard, focus-wise, but I did it. Nicole told me she didn't think I was going to actually listen, but she's glad I did, since she said I was about to tear, but I didn't. I've never had a harder pushing experience and I was wondering about that while I was pushing, since after the first time, the other two had been fairly quick and easy once I started pushing. When his head was halfway out, I had my hand on it, but I heard Nicole say something about an ear and a cheek (found out later she was telling Brynna and my mom that, since they were both taking pictures lol) and I figured out that what I had my hand on was, in fact, his ear and part of his little chubby cheek! His head came all the way out and then there was a pause of sorts in my ctx, which I remember thinking felt odd, but it really wasn't that long. Nicole helped - I think! - guide his shoulders out and then he sort of just shot out and bobbed up in the water and I caught him. That was incredible. Nicole helped me sit back and get his head up out of the water. He was totally pink and started screaming immediately lol. Within a minute after he was born, though, he was latched on perfectly and nursing. After a few minutes, he started sucking his thumb instead and by that time, my boys were in the room. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing before clamping and then Brynna cut his cord. I was SO surprised that he was a boy! I had thought the whole time that he was a girl! Nicole helped me to the bathroom, which is actually where I ended up delivering the placenta. THAT was the sweetest relief ;-), since everything that needed to get out was out. I got settled a bit on the bed and watched Nicole give Edge and Brynna the coolest science lesson they've ever had. They checked out the placenta with her while she explained it all in the best way I could've ever asked for. They thought it was very, very cool. If I was surprised at having a boy, I was even more surprised when he got weighed and measured. Previously, Brynna held the record as my biggest baby at a whopping (not) 7lb 14 oz/21 in. Even Nicole was surprised, since one of her MW talents is very, very accurately guessing baby weights and she'd pegged him at 8-8.5 lbs, even while she was holding him. She picked him up in the sling scale and said "Amy, you're not going to believe this!" because she was just as surprised as I was. He was 9 lb 4 oz and 22.5 in. His head was 14in. and his chest was 14.5 in. The chest being bigger than the head really surprised me, since I really had no problems with him getting stuck or anything.

He's 2 months old now and he's such a blessing. All of my kids are, but this whole experience was a redemption of sorts in so many ways. After Nik was born, J had a vasectomy. 4 years later, he had a reversal. In fact, Jarel was born exactly 1 year to the day after the reversal (Reversal was 10/13/05), which was really a neat thing for us.

This birth experience was 100 times better than any of the other ones and barring any medical emergencies, I'd never do a hospital birth again. My experience with Nikolas' birth was what drove me to need to have it different and it was a polar opposite experience. I'm so thankful for a healthy, normal pregnancy, a wonderful and godly midwife who ended up being a great friend now and for a beautiful new baby boy who fits in our family perfectly.

Amy :-) dw to Jerry; CPST and HS Mom to Edge (almost 10 - eek!), Brynna (8), Nikolas (5) and Jarel (10/13/06)

Photobucket Amy :-) dw to Jerr
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-24-2004
Thu, 12-14-2006 - 4:03pm
Thanks for your birth story! I'm getting cloers & closer (EDD 2-25-6) and every story gets me excited for this 3rd baby, my first at home. Congrats!
Avatar for lindsay3480
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-20-2003
Thu, 12-14-2006 - 5:37pm
I know the feeling of wishing I had had my others at home too.
Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-24-2006
Tue, 12-19-2006 - 8:39pm
Congratulations Amy, and welcome baby Jarel! Thank you for sharing your story. I absolutely love reading natural birth stories, especially the homebirth ones! Since I won't be having any more babies it also gives me a chance to reminisce. Glad you got your homebirth!
--Liz, proud mommy of 5 boys and 1 girl, the last 3 born at home
Clayton born on Halloween 2006, his due date!

  Thanks to Andrea and Toiny for my gorgeous sigs!
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006
Wed, 12-20-2006 - 2:43pm
Just wanted tp congratulate you on your wonderful homebirth. Those homegrown babies do get big dont they ?!?