born in our living room: homebirth of 4th baby

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This is the birth story of my fourth baby and first homebirth. Mary Suzannah was born Thursday, November 18th at 3:04 a.m. in our living room. She weighed 9 pounds and was 21 inches long.

On Wednesday, I really wanted to have this baby so I did several things to help bring labor on! A few trips around the block throughout the day. Eggplant Parmesan for lunch. Todd massaged the acupressure points above my ankles. Hot salsa at dinner time. Braxton Hicks started about 7 P.M. while doing the hokey pokey with the kids.

I was feeling “yucky” between 10 and 11 and just laid on the couch. I don’t remember having any contractions–just an unsettled feeling. Did I mention I took a teaspoon of castor oil with OJ too? I went to bed at 11 P.M. Contractions immediately started hurting (finally!).

calling my doula

I called Anne (my friend and doula) at 11:30 to have her head on over. After talking, I wondered if I had called her too soon. But it’d take her about an hour to get here, and I just had a feeling that harder active labor could kick in any time. I didn’t call my husband Todd at work because I didn’t want him to be anxious or bike home before his shift was over if I didn’t really need him yet. I stayed in bed another 20 minutes.

Anne arrived at 12:40 am to find me pacing the living room, eating a frozen juice bar. We talked between contractions for awhile, but Abby (21 months old) was crying so Anne went to rock her. At 1:30, Todd came home and held Abby for a little while before putting a vinyl tablecloth under the sheet to protect the mattress for the birth. Abby kept calling out my name.

toddler at homebirth

So we let her join us in the living room. She was a little doula/midwife, lying down next to me with her baby doll, rocking on all fours like I did and moaning with me. Abby also mimicked Anne; when Anne pressed on my back, Abby pressed too.

Soon, I settled down on my knees leaning over the love-seat in the living room. I didn’t want to move. At 2:00, Anne called my midwife to alert her that I’d be having the baby that night. We didn’t necessarily need her to come right away.

contractions down low

But when she asked me if my contractions were up front or down low, I said they were low and I could feel them down my legs. Maybe she should come, I thought. I asked her what she was doing and she said, it’s 2 am; I’m in bed sleeping. (Right, duh!). I said well you can sleep over here if you need to. At 2:30, we called two more of my friends that were planning on coming over. I didn’t dream birth was only a half hour away.

I started sitting more upright toward the end of my contractions moving my hips forward. I was feeling a little “pushy” but I didn’t tell Anne or Todd because I didn’t want to say I was pushy only to find out I wasn’t “very far along.”

my midwife arrives

But just a couple minutes later when my midwife walked in the door, I knew for sure this was it. Another contraction hit and I yelled, I’m pushing — you’d better get something under me.”

Todd was already on his way to get a vinyl tablecloth and the basket full of chux. I really don’t know how they saved the carpet in time because I had everything gushing out of me! I heard my midwife say, “There’s a baby. There’s a baby.” I rubbed the top of my baby’s head until I felt the next urge to push. And out the head came.

A few seconds later, I pushed hard again, and the baby slid right out of me. I heard someone say, “It’s a girl.” I scootched back and the midwife passed her to me under my legs and I picked her up. I took a deep breath and whispered, “It’s Mary.” Then I turned around so I could lean back against the couch. Abby was right beside me. I laid down on the floor so we wouldn’t have to cut the cord right away. When we put a hat on Mary’s head, Abby pointed at the hat and to her head, indicating she wanted a hat too.

after the birth

Mary didn’t nurse right away like my other children had. About 45 minutes after birth, she was lying on my chest. She opened her eyes, lifted her head up, saw my nipple and dove for it. (Very cool!)

Alex came out of his room just in time to watch Mary being weighed and diapered. He said he had heard the baby crying. Later, Caleb came out too. About 3 hours after the birth, we all climbed into bed for a family picture.
Anne and the midwife went home, Todd put the kids to bed, and then he went outside to bury the placenta in the rhubarb patch (gotta love a man who doesn’t procrastinate on stuff like that!). Holding Mary, I rested a little while before calling my parents to tell them the happy news.

homebirth of 4th baby

homebirth of 4th baby