Another Boy!

My husband and I found out that we were pregnant with our first son on October 2nd, 2010. We knew from the start that we wanted a home birth and researched extensively on the topic. We knew the risks, the benefits. Having lived in Alaska for years, we also knew it was something that was common, normal, and did not need to be about fear or uncertainty. We watched videos, we read books, we planned and prepped. We began receiving prenatal care from a home-birth midwife. The baby was breech at most of our appointments, but we all tried our best not to be concerned. A breech baby could turn. I read more, I performed strange stretches designed to turn the baby, I went to a chiropractor. The day before my 39th week of pregnancy, I had an appointment with the midwife. My husband and I stopped for our customary greasy fish sandwich at the restaurant on the way home. The midwife was mildly concerned that the baby had not yet dropped. We discussed an ultrasound. I woke at 8:00am the next morning with contractions. They were 4-5 minutes apart fairly consistently and quickly. We went in for the ultrasound at 3:00pm and discovered that he was still breech, and probably not going to turn. I remember crying on the way home and my husband just holding my hand. Everything we had worked so hard for was about to fall apart. I was in constant communication with the midwife as we tried to decide what to do. At around 9:00pm, my water broke, and I knew it was over. The midwife still wanted to talk options, but I knew that it was time to go to the hospital. Our son was born at 11:04pm by cesarean section on June 1st, 2011. It was devastating. Of course we were happy that we had a healthy baby boy. But we were also completely shattered and traumatized by an experience that was everything that we did not want. Our son had problems with his feet from being breech that resulted in 18 months of braces. He had problems with his head and neck from the delivery. He screamed more than he slept, it seemed, and we cried more than we laughed. We both struggled with postpartum depression- my husband and I both grieved in our own ways, and often separately. We felt detached, we felt disconnected. We felt like it was difficult to really bond with this little person that was handed to us wrapped in a blanket behind the blue shroud that was my open abdomen. I don’t think that we really healed until December 15th, 2013, the day that our second son was born at home, assisted by the midwife.

The day began like any other day. We had just had company, and I was feeling unusually tired. I felt like it was fairly difficult just to get up and off the couch. I was making dinner at about 5:30pm and felt a little tightening in my abdomen- similar to the Braxton Hicks, but this one was slightly uncomfortable. The second one rolled in like clockwork 15 minutes later. This continued for about an hour. I casually mentioned it to my husband, cleaned up dinner, and put our son to bed. We decided to let the midwife know that things were probably starting. The phone call did not go through. I tried again…and again…..and again. The contractions were about 7-10 minutes apart when we finally got in touch with the assistant. She decided that she would need to drive the 3.5 hours round trip to our midwife’s house and pick her up, since the phone seemed to be out. That 3.5 hours seemed so long. I had sent my husband to bed to rest, and as I paced downstairs, he jumped out of bed upstairs every 10 minutes or so to see if they were here yet. I listened to music and prayed. I prayed like I never had before! At this point I had a pretty cool talk with God. I was feeling grumpy because I was uncomfortable and felt like I shouldn’t have to be alone. I was feeling a little bit abandoned. God and I had a pretty serious discussion about how delivering this baby WAS something that I was alone in, but with God by my side, I really wasn’t alone. He made it clear to me, though, that no one but him could really walk with me in this journey- that it was just him and I dealing with this pain. I felt him in the room with me that night, touching my shoulder, and reassuring me that even though there are times in life that I will feel totally alone- I will never be alone with him by my side.

The midwives finally arrived at the house at 1:40am. By this time, the contractions were taking a little more concentration, but we decided that everyone should try and rest. I was having a tough time resting, so I paced for awhile.
At about 3:30am, the contractions were getting more serious and the midwife came upstairs with me. I do not have a very good sense of time from this point on, but I can tell you that from about 6:00am until our son was born, I experienced some of the most intense moments of my life! My husband was absolutely wonderful- rubbing my back, whispering how much he loved me, encouraging me to keep going through each contraction. It was super tough, though. I felt frustrated, I felt hopeless at times, I felt exhausted, I felt like giving up. And then, in an instant after what seemed like an eternity, I held our son in my arms with my husband behind me, looking down on us with such an intense expression of love and joy.
There are so many things that stick out in my mind about being at home, delivering this new life with just my husband and midwives present. It intensely bonded my husband and I, and strengthened each of our separate and combined relationships with God. It bonded us with this new life in a way that I cannot even begin to describe. One of the coolest things about it, though, is what it did for us as a family. In many ways, it healed much of the trauma from our first son’s birth and changed how we view the whole experience with him. It really made us all feel more like a family, and not so disconnected. I cannot say that a home birth is for everyone, but for us, it has been, and probably always will be an extremely powerful moment in our lives as a family. I am so thankful that we got to experience it together, in the quiet of our own home. Welcome, little one!