Saturday, May 5

Home Birth Story

Chase is snoozing beside me on our bed, just a wee bit over 2 days old. He's brilliantly wonderful and a lovely addition to our family.
I'm more than aware that this magical story of his birth will not interest some readers (the men, I'm guessing!) and so I'm putting it here with the link on the main page. I've tried to edit the photos for modesty, but hey - its birth.
Here are the attendees at Chase's birth:

Me, round in the middle and ready
Sean (fantastic MVP from start to finish!)
Chase (being birthed)
Laurie (supportive friend with an interest in midwifery)
Diane (wonderful friend and photographer of the Birth Day party!)
Midwife and her assistant (not to be downplayed in any way! The midwife was fantastic and caring and made me feel like I was in control. Love her! However NY state is not midwife friendly and so her image and name has been edited. She is fantastic!)
Kaelin, Douglas, Christopher, and Catherine - our four children asleep in the room right across the hall

When I began writing out his birth story and read it over, it just seemed to mechanical. Contractions this many minutes apart, then this happened, then transition, then this....
Not at all the idea of having a home birth that I wanted to convey. So I back spaced and deleted. Most births contain elements like contractions and transition. Having a birth at home is unique and different and incredibly special. I can say this with certainty, having had four hospital births some of which included epiderals, being induced, a few cuts, sutures, ice packs and sitz baths....

After two days of ten minute easy-peesy contractions, I awoke in the middle of the night with a gush of water and sleepy-eyed stumbled to the bathroom, letting Sean know and grabbing the phone to call the midwife.
Our friend Laurie arrived first at our home, a little before 2am. She is just finishing her nursing studies and is interested in midwifery. As a side note, one of her daughters is our babysitter and we absolutely love their family. Laurie would make an incredible midwife should she choose that path!
Smiling and happy to see me in labor, the midwife soon arrived. I was walking around downstairs, had started some laundry, and peeked in on our four children, all fast asleep across the hall. At the midwife's encouragement, I ate a yogurt and drank some grape juice. The dogs finally stopped looking up at all the strange people coming in and out of the house and went back to sleep.
Everyone left Sean and I alone downstairs in the living room as I stood in front of the hot wood stove, the only light in the room, and rocked and breathed. It was incredibly peaceful.

"Can I take a shower?" I asked the midwife as I walked back upstairs and she laughed and told me I could do whatever I wanted! (I was very thankful the well didn't run dry and the hot water tank kept me supplied.) Because of the baby's positioning, my back hurt a lot during contractions and squatting in the shower with the hot water pouring on it felt great. I'd describe labor as being more of intense pressure and tightening than actual pain, but in this instance, my back did really hurt.

Coming out to use the toilet, the midwife peeked in and suggested I sit on it for a few contractions. She really knew what she was doing because that positioning sped things up so quickly. There was barely time in between the waves of tightening for a few words, a laugh, and a deep breath.

My lovely friend Diane came and took over the camera sometime after 4am.
I dried and pulled on a short nightgown, staring at the label and wondering to myself if I was the first woman to give birth in Victoria S*cret. (An old tasteful nightgown from back before the company made their big pornography push.)

That was when I assumed the above positioning. Squatting by the bedside during contractions and standing in the brief moments in between. Sean and Laurie took turns rubbing and applying pressure to my back during the contractions. This made a HUGE difference in the back pain.

The room was hot though it was cold outside, a space heater cranking out warmth for the soon to be new arrival. Everyone was quiet, letting me do whatever I felt to do. Sean encouraged me with sweet whispers and the midwife was busy getting ready for the baby. Our bedroom was quiet, friends around, watching and praying.

Cold clothes on my chest and head stemmed off the nausea I always get in labor but of course the inevitable happened and I puked. I hate puking. That was probably my least favorite part of the labor, which says a lot.

Breathing in and out was the only thing I did as the waves of tightening came one on top of another.
Everyone helped me up onto the bed when I began pushing. I knelt and leaned forward and pushed, grabbing the sheets tight between my fists. In the warmth of our home, the familiarity of our bedroom, the comfort of our bed, Chase was born. That feeling, of getting a baby born and pushed out, is a wonderful one!

It was 6:31 in the morning, sun streaming through the windows, morning doves cooing outside in the trees. Perfect.

Chase pinked right up and let out a wail, waking up Douglas across the hall. Soon there was a line at the bedroom door of sleepy-eyed children with messy bed hair, looking sweet and wonderful, watching in awe.

Everyone slowly and quietly left in the early sunlight to get kids ready for school, go to day jobs, and take final examinations. Here at home we all hunkered down with the phone on vibrate. Sean snoozed with Chase next to him while I lay in bed, uploading photos, still on an adrenaline rush, amazed and happy that I had experienced this wonderful thing called home birth.

The official stats:

Time in hard labor: 2 hours
Time pushing: 15 minutes
APGAR: 9.9
Chase's Weight: 7 pounds, 10 ounces
Vitamin K: not necessary
Gooey eye drops for syphilis: not necessary
Sutures for Mama: none because the midwife used olive oil
Does it hurt to pee: no
Do I need ice: nope
Is a midwife really different from an obgyn? Yes. A 100 percent better than all the ones I've had.
What did Sean think of me wanting a home birth?
I think he thought I was a bit crazy until I showed him the statistics of births at home vs. hospital births. I overheard him telling a good friend that it was wonderful and he didn't feel like I was in a birthing assembly line in a factory (which hospitals remind him of..).
Cost: because Sean is self-employed and health insurance would cost $15,000 a year, we chose to pay out of pocket.
The midwife's costs were under $3500 for everything including prenatal appointments, and we paid about fifteen hundred extra out of pocket for all my lab tests, a level two ultrasound (to check his kidneys because of our son Christopher's history), and a bunch of tests to check my heart back when I was having palpitations.
What about a birth certificate? We'll bring him down to the town hall soon to fill out the necessary paperwork. I've heard these visits can be interesting as you're looked at like you have a third eye for having a baby at home. We'll see!


Tiffany said...

Thank you so much for posting your wonderful story.

It deepened my desire for a home-birth should the Lord bless me with children.


Trish said...

Oh thank you for telling the story of the birth. What a beautiful experience a home birth must have been. Congratulation and blessings abundant!

Caroline Howard said...

What a beautiful story! God is so good.
I have been reading your blog for quite sometime and am always blessed by your words.

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story of Chase's entrance to the world! The picture of you and your littles on the bed is just precious. Take care mama and enjoy these fleeting newborn days! :D

Dawn said...

What a wonderful birth story!

My history made it impossible to consider...but I have long admired those who can do this.

Blessings on you and your delightfully sweet family.

Dawn @ (4:53am)

Kelley said...

Beautiful story. I gave birth to my first daughter (who is now 7 mo old) at a freestanding birth center since I wasn't quite ready to take the home birth plunge but I definitely did not want a hospital birth. Other than not actually being in my own bed all other events of my labor and delivery are remarkably similar to yours (including the back labor, ouch!) Maybe for our next little one - contractions in the car are no fun.

Meredith said...


Katie said...

This actually almost makes me want to consider having a homebirth someday... ;) almost...maybe when I decide I actually want to physically have kids. lol Love you, so happy for you!!!

New Mom said...

What sweet pictures and memories you'll have! Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing Chase's story. What a wonderful way to bring a baby into the world. We have our third coming in Jan. and hope to have a home birth story too.

Melissa said...

This is the first time I've commented, but I just had to respond to your beautiful post. Our fourth child is due in a few weeks, and it will be our second home birth. (First one was at a hospital, second one at a birth center with a midwife.) It is definitely an amazing experience, and I had tears in my eyes as I read your story. I'm so glad you had the blessing of this very peaceful and personal way of welcoming another precious child. Congratulations!

melissa said...

Sweet, beautiful, awesome birth story! GOOD WORK, Mama!! :) What a precious baby you have.

I related so much to your story, as I had my first homebirth in February with our fourth child, after 3 hospital births. I'm STILL working on Judah's birth story, because I too am having trouble capturing it all in words.

It's just like nothing else in the world!

Have been enjoying your blog for a while. Thanks! Enjoy these sweet, fleeting first few days and weeks with your babe.

Lynn Hasty said...

Hannah, I love the one of little Baby Chase wrapped in the blue blankie! I love how he's peering out with his brand new little face! He looks so bright!

I'm so very happy for you that things are well and you are holding your sweet new son now.

And it's time for spring!!


Anonymous said...

Wow. That is an amazing story. I love how relaxing your birth sounded. THanks for sharing, I had my first 2 in the hospital, induced, epidurals, and now that I am pregnant again, I am re-thinking how I want things to go.

CHase is beautiful...congrats:)

Borbe Bunch said...

Thank you for taking the time to write out such a wonderful and beautiful account of Chase's Birth Day, what a blessing...tears welled in my eyes, as I long for the chance to do a home birth, but God has different plans and so, I trust Him...I enjoyed reading of how peaceful and beautiful his birth was for you! To God be the glory!!
Congratulations and enjoy as I know you are :)

Anonymous said...

When I had my kids many years ago I had complications with my pregnancies and so both were hospital births. I wish that I could have experienced what you had during your home birth and I'm glad you got to try it. We have friends that have had 7 home births and they would have it no other way...

Mackenzie said...

I'm new to your blog, but I just had to say how beautiful this story is! I had planned a home birth with my first, but due to being very overdue had to be induced in a hospital...the midwife was still wonderful, but it wasn't the same! My due date with this next one was yesterday and this time I chose to go with the local hospital...however, whenever number three comes along, I plan to track down another home birth midwife. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story!

Anonymous said...

I was amazed while reading your story and imagining how wonderful it must have felt to experience the birth process in the comfort and peace of your own home. Thank you for documenting the event so meticulously without being overly scientific! It gives hope to people such as myself who are very curious about home births. I have mentioned it to Rob before and he's looked at me like I'm a little crazy, but something inside of me really wishes for the chance to do this someday.

On a side note, your blog is lovely and well-written. Every time I take a peek at it, I feel as though I've stepped back in time. Back to a time where life really was all about God and family- the way it should be!

I cannot say enough, Congratulations! I can't believe you and Sean have 5 CHILDREN!! :)

cotedetexas said...

What a great story! I enjoyed every minute of it! just wondering though why Sean's shirt came off while you were breast feeding? that made me laugh.

Best blog story I've read in a long time.


Emily said...

What a beautiful story. I found your blog through Kelly at Barefoot Mama. I had my second daughter and first home birth a month. I have been so blessed by reading your blog. I can't wait to read more. Blessings.


Anonymous said...

Just came across your blog through someone else's. I loved the picture of you with your five precious children on the bed with you soon after the birth. I'm expecting our fifth, and can hardly wait for that moment! What a wonderful birth story.

the Stork Nest said...

my husband is an obgyn (we call him the stork :) and so, i'm obviously biased-- he's the best, of course! He is a Godly man, who takes incredible (and patient!) care of his patients-- but i agree, that can be very hard to find one like that. I found your birth story to be very beautiful! I especially loved the photo of you with all kiddos in the bed with you! one to treasure forever, for sure. I am glad your experience was so good, and that you have been blessed with such a beautiful family!
God bless you!

Me said...

What a blessing to the birth industry that there is a godly man like your husband as an ob/gyn. We met with a Christian ob/gyn while contemplating home birth but using a midwife was definitely the right thing for us at that time. I can't believe it was almost two years ago! Time flies!

Jessica said...

I enjoyed your birth story. :-) Very beautiful.
The birth of our second son last September was in a birth center, and was very home-like and beautiful. I would have preferred a home birth, but they are very expensive here in Australia, and the birth center is paid for by the government. So, I am very thankful there was an option other than the hospital for us.

Unknown said...

Hello Hannah! I'm Jules from Spain.

I now this is an old post but we just found out we are pregnant (6 weeks). We are thrilled!! It will be our first baby.

In Spain is unusual giving birth without using epidural but only lately our Social Security System ask you to choose at a relative early stage of the pregnancy (if you choose to go under epidural, they make you sign a consent form). I sincerely... don't want it, I want a natural childbirth.

We will take pre-birth classes from our 6th moth of our pregnancy; by then, I need to know what I really want.

The wonderful thing about Spain is that we have a medical system for free that covers every single person: poor and rich. The not so good factor is that in matters of childbirth we are not as developed (or as into) natural childbirth or natural medicine as other countries in Europe, where from the first moment of your pregnancy they supply for you information on natural childbirth, how to lose fear, how to control pain and so on. These other countries care for the future mother’s feeling during the process, like for example freedom of movement

For this and because I love how you describe everything, I have a request for you (only if you wish and/or have the time for it)
¿how did you prepared? ¿What helped you during the process –breathing, postures…? ¿Any book or books you recommend? And anything you may think is useful for me and any women out there in my same situation.

But please, if you can’t don’t you worry!!! I will still enjoy your blog as much as I do at the moment!
Thank you in advance,


Me said...

Hi Jules,

If you'd like, send me a message at the "contact" tab at the top of the blog page, or at cultivatinghome at uticasystems dot com. I'd love to answer any questions you have.

JustForDaisy said...

Thank you for sharing this lovely story of such a wonderful birth.
I loved my birth with my daughter - but I would love to try and have a homebirth next time. Thanks for the encouragement!