Sawyer's Birth Story

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant, we decided to start praying about where the best place would be to deliver.  My husband is a Chiropractor and he has always wanted to have a homebirth, but I was quite fearful of the idea and always thought my first baby would have to be in the hospital.  He said he would support whatever I want to do, he just wants me to be comfortable with the decision. I looked at hospitals, birthing centers, homebirthing midwives (which there aren’t many in the Muskegon area!)  I visited a birth center, contacted Midwifery Practices and contacted my OBGYN.
When Patrice E-mailed me back I knew right away I wanted her to be a part of our birthing team.  Her enthusiasm and excitement for us (without even knowing us!) warmed my heart and made me feel so comfortable!  I had many questions before our first visit(spotting and other symptom questions I wasn’t sure of) and her team (even Laurie, who I never had the chance to meet but so thankful for her support the first weeks of pregnancy via E-mail) was so supportive and informative (again, we still haven’t met them or paid for any of their services).  Having a caring birthing team available 24/7 via phone and/or E-mail was something I needed during pregnancy.  Thankfully I also had a great family doctor who helped us with having any tests done we wanted throughout pregnancy.  Due to all the support and confidence our team had in natural birth, our prenatal experience was so peaceful!  Now onto the birth! 🙂
Leading up to labor I was trying to prepare myself for going late since it was my first pregnancy (and that is what usually happens!)  Our gestational due date was Sept. 1st and our 20 week ultrasound due date said Aug. 26th.  We decided to stick with Sept. 1st.  I was working as a massage therapist in our Chiropractic Office and feeling pretty good leading up to the birth.  The only thing different was the past week I was feeling extremely tired and taking 2-3 hour naps a day.  We went to our prenatal at Patrice’s on Tuesday August 23rd.  Everything seemed normal and fine and we went home.
That night I woke up at 1am and felt cramping (kind of like I had to use the bathroom).  So I decided to try to go to the bathroom but nothing happened.  So I went back to bed.  I continued to feel the cramping and at around 3:30am I started getting tightening the same time my cramping came.  I went to go to the bathroom again and this time I saw blood in the toilet, as well as with wiping.  I was concerned so I E-mailed Patrice (I was afraid to wake her up for nothing!) She ended up E-mailing me back within 10 minutes (that is another thing that I was so amazed by…the midwifery team was available 24/7 and got back with you as soon as possible!  They always made us feel taken care of.)  She said it could be early labor and to rest, get something to eat, and monitor the contractions.
The cramping and tightening were every 10 minutes and were lasting anywhere from 20-50 seconds.  I wasn’t convinced this was labor, but it was definitely something!  I tried to fall back asleep but each contraction woke me up.  They weren’t that painful, just enough to wake me up.  Once I got up and had breakfast with my husband the contractions went to about every 20 minutes now, so I started to get discouraged that this wasn’t actual labor.  I was 1 week 1 day early and therefore really made me feel this couldn’t be it.
I was supposed to massage a couple of patients that morning but I decided to cancel them just incase it was labor. I relaxed all day and decided to do some cleaning, catch up on some things and try to keep my mind off of the contractions.  My contractions went back to 10 minutes apart around 11am and stayed that way until about 3pm.  I went to the bathroom sometime during the day and I lost my mucus plug.  This gave me more confidence that my body was working!
I decided to go to our Chiropractic Office and get out of the house.  I also wanted to try to get adjusted one more time (my husband tried to adjust my sacrum earlier in the week(as well as the past 5 weeks) but it wouldn’t budge – so I wanted to try one more time).  I also called Barb to ask her if she should come over now and check on me or wait until my contractions were closer (I was afraid to have anyone come too early, but because this was my first experience with birth I wasn’t sure what I was doing! Haha!  So I wanted them to get there on time as well).  Barb said to call if I had consistent contractions 4-5 minutes apart throughout the hour.  When my husband adjusted my sacrum it moved with barely any force!  I was so excited!  My back felt a huge relief.  From that moment on my contractions got stronger and closer together.
I hung around the office (still in denial) until my mother-in-law (she is our other Massage Therapist) told me I need to call the midwives.  She was watching me and timing my contractions and they were about 3-5 minutes apart!  I decided to leave and called and left Patrice a message and I also got in touch with Barb (Barb lived the closest to us).  Barb said she would come and check on me (yay!).  My mother-law walked me up to our condo (we live above our office) and I got in comfy clothes and had to start concentrating a little more on my contractions.  My mother-in-law helped get things ready and helped me get comfortable.
Barb came around 5pm and my husband closed up the office and came home too.  He started filling the tub and getting things ready as well.  Someone got me water with apple juice (it started to become a blur from here!)  My mom also stopped and got some ice from the gas station on her way home from work.  I felt like chewing on ice chips.  My husband also got me some toast with peanut butter.  It felt so good to eat my own food and drink my own drinks in my own home!!!
I decided to have Barb check if I was dilated.  I was so nervous!!! I didn’t want her to say no!  During pregnancy I debated telling people that I’ve had 2 LEEP procedures done in my past because I didn’t want to hear people tell me that I could have a hard time dilating during labor – but now that everything went fine I want to share with people who may have had LEEP procedures done that your body can still work!  I was dilated to a 5 at 7:10p!  I was so excited!  Barb said it takes the longest to get to a 5 so I got a boost of confidence from here on out.
I continued laboring and the contractions became more intense.  My sweet husband was such a great support!  He let me lean on him, squeeze him, cry to him!  He kept telling me “lets just get through this contraction together.” I labored in the tub (which felt so good!)  I labored in the shower, on the toilet (this is where I felt the most progress), on the bed, on the couch, everywhere! haha!  I tried to walk as much as I could.  My water still hadn’t broken yet so the midwives were following me everywhere with a blue pad just incase:).
Patrice and Dorothy showed up around 8:20p.  Yay!  That means I was getting close!  It was such a relief to have the whole team there!  Patrice checked me at 9:30p and I was already complete (10 cm)!!! WOOHOO!!!  I couldn’t believe it!  She said when I feel pushy I could start pushing.  I didn’t really feel pushy yet but I still wanted to push when a contraction came to get this going.
I always heard that pushing was the easy part because you get to do something….well pushing for me was not easy!  I pushed for 4 hours!  The baby was coming down correctly, except it had it’s hand up by its face so it made it a little more difficult to come down the canal.  The midwives would check the baby’s heart rate throughout my pushing and it seemed to be doing just fine.  I was so tired, I didn’t feel like I could do it anymore. I kept saying it hurts, I’m exhausted, I can’t do this, should we go to the hospital?  Fear started to flood through my mind, “it shouldn’t take this long, you aren’t pushing right, this isn’t working, you need to go to the hospital”.  The midwives were SO encouraging and kept reassuring me that my body is working just the way it should and that I was doing great.  They are SO patient!!!  My husband was such an angel to me during this time.  As I was getting exhausted he would hold me up, massage my hips and my back (WOW the intense pressure in my back!!!  The massaging was such a relief!)
I continued to push in different locations. (the shower, the tub, the bed).  I did not like pushing in the tub.  I always thought I’d have a water birth but I just didn’t feel like I could get in a good position to push so I decided not to do that.  I was sitting on the toilet pushing and my water finally broke at 10:44p!  Great place for it to break! haha!  It was a huge relief of pressure it startled me!  It was clear and cloudy with vernix.  This was a relief to me!  Patrice said I could reach down and feel the head, and as I did that I realized the baby was coming….just slowly!  The head felt squishy, I wasn’t expecting that.  I decided to try the bed again to push.
The midwives had me switch from my right to left side and back again to try and help the baby come down.  Dorothy would hold my hand and let me squeeze as hard as I could!  She was a comfort to me during the whole process.  I stayed in the bed for the rest of pushing and now my Mom and Mother-in-Law are in the room helping me push.  They were very encouraging to me.  The head was starting to come out during contractions and they could see hair so they thought it was a girl.  The Moms cheered “come on out Arabella!!!”  That was our girl name we picked.  After the contraction the head would go back into the canal and make me extremely discouraged:(  My mother-in-law ran downstairs to our Chiropractic Office to grab a mirror off of our wall so my husband could see the head while I was pushing!  I didn’t have energy to look, I just had to bury my head in my husband’s chest and give all my strength to pushing.  I remember being extremely hot as well, and wanting a fan on the whole time.  My mom took pictures for me to help me see the progress I was making.
Around 1:24 I was fully crowning and I was experiencing the “ring of fire” that everyone talks about!  I had to hold myself back from pushing and my husband helped me breath through the burn.  It helped a lot!  Then when I could push our lil baby come out beautifully!  An amazing feeling!  My husband left me and went down to catch our baby BOY, Sawyer James @ 1:27a, Aug. 25th, 2011!  He was put on my chest and I couldn’t believe it was all over!  What a rush!  All that hard work was done and we now have our gift from above laying on my chest.  The Moms were shocked it was a boy after all their cheering for a girl!  He was beautiful in every way!
After about 3 minutes of crying the cord shut down and stopped pulsing.  Sawyer started to go limp and his heart rate went down.  I was so tired and out of it that I didn’t know what to do. I just laid there and thought I’d have to prepare myself for an ambulance to come get our baby.  My husband said he wasn’t nervous, but was starting to go a little white.  Thank God for our experienced midwives…they knew exactly what to do.  They kept him close to me, bulbed and rubbed him to stimulate him.  His color started to look better and his breaths were clear.  Within a couple of minutes his heartrate was going up and he started to function better on his own.  Dorothy got oxygen out just incase, but it wasn’t needed.  My husband had to leave the room afterwards because he thought he was going to pass out.  That was so scary and not something you want to go through, but we kept telling ourselves how thankful we were for such a strong, calm, experienced midwifery team.  God has given them so much wisdom and love for birth.  They made that scary moment feel ok.
Once Baby Sawyer was ok, my husband cut the cord, and he got all cleaned up.  I delivered the placenta.  I always wondered what that would feel like.  It didn’t hurt, just was uncomfortable.  Patrice did everything really slow and waited for my body to deliver it.  It was a very smooth process.  Family came in to say hello and meet our bundle of joy once I was cleaned up!  Sawyer is the first grandchild on both sides of our family, which makes him that much more special!  I then nursed for the first time.  I said, “I don’t know how to do this!”  and the midwives said, “but Sawyer does!”  And sure enough, he nursed just fine!
Such an incredible bond God gives us.  After nursing, Sawyer got his newborn exam on the bed.  He was perfect:)  Weighed 6lbs 14 oz, 20 3/4 in. long.  Daddy gave little Sawyer his first chiropractic adjustment and got him all dressed:)  The midwives helped me walk to the bathroom and got me a snack.  I felt very very light headed and extremely weak.  I guess that’s what happens after you birth a child! 🙂  They made sure we were all comfy, healthy, and safe in our beds, and they left at 3:35a.
The overall experience was so surreal.  I could not imagine being anywhere else besides our home.  It was very peaceful and comfortable.  Our baby was welcomed into a nice dim, quiet room.  We were able to go to bed in our own bed together as a family of 3.  Our midwives took such good care of us!!!  Our bed was made, laundry started, and everything cleaned up.  We can’t thank them enough for being a part God’s amazing journey planned for us.
Another memorable part of this birth was having my Mom there to experience homebirth and see her filled with excitement.  Leading up to the birth she wasn’t too excited about us having a homebirth, but now she is a supporter!  With an awesome midwifery team, an incredible husband, a healthy pregnancy, and an amazing God, homebirth was possible for us.  I plan on having future homebirths if God blesses us with more children.  Our bodies are made to do this, and we CAN do this!  God has big plans for you Sawyer James!  We can’t wait to love on you and make many memories together!