Terra Hope


Parent’s Name         Jeanna and Chris

Baby’s name and birthday   Terra Hope Lamar  December 23, 2011

This was your    1st   baby and your   1st   homebirth.

Address   11085 Southlawn Dr.  Stanwood  49346

Why did you chose to have your baby at home?

We had been into natural health for a while so when we decided to have a baby the question was, “What are our non-hospital options?” Jeanna did a lot of research to find out all she could about midwives, doulas, home-births, birth-centers, etc. My sister had her first child in January and she had wanted to do things as naturally as possible- no induction, no drugs- but she had my niece in the hospital and ended up being coerced into accepting pitosin. This story combined with the research Jeanna had done convinced us that we would have the most freedom to labor and birth on our terms if we were at home. Very quickly an ideal home labor and birth scenario formed in our minds.

– Chris

Terra Hope’s Birth Story

To begin with, I am very thankful that we were home when my labor started. We got a call from Chris’s mom that his cousin’s husband passed away suddenly from a heart attack. No one expected us to make the trip down to southern Michigan since I was 38 weeks pregnant, but I was feeling great and we decided to go. We returned to our house after the funeral on Dec. 21 and I went into labor the night of Dec. 22!

Contractions started around 12:30 am and stayed pretty consistent at about 8 minutes apart throughout the night. I stayed in bed and tried to snooze between them because I knew I would need all the rest and strength I could possibly get. I got out of bed at 7:30am and started walking around. Contractions quickly progressed to 5 minutes apart as long as I was up and moving. Chris called Patrice to let her know that I was in labor, but we said we didn’t need anyone to come yet since my water had not broken, I had not lost my mucus plug, and I was finding comfort in holding on to the kitchen counter or to Chris during contractions.

We kept checking in with Patrice every couple of hours and finally decided we wanted to have them come over at about 1:30pm. Patrice, Amanda, and Laurie arrived at 2:30 and made themselves comfortable. By this point, I was laboring all over the house: a few contractions upstairs, a few downstairs, standing, on hands and knees, squatting, hugging Chris tightly, etc. He had already filled the tub, but I wasn’t ready to get in yet. The midwives stayed out of our way so as to let it be a special time for the 2 of us, but every couple contractions one of them would come and check my BP and Baby’s heart tones. Patrice told me she could check how dilated I was, but that she could tell from the way I was breathing and moving during contractions that things were progressing. I never felt the need to know for sure how dilated I was, but instead just let my body tell me when it was time. At about 3:30, I went to the bathroom and my mucus plug came out. I was also starting to feel a little pushy at the peak of my contractions. I got in the shower around 4pm and then was in the tub 10 minutes later.

The water felt so nice and relaxing, but not so much that it slowed down my contractions. At 5:20, I was feeling stronger urges to push. Patrice recommended I change positions so I moved to my knees and rested my elbows on the outside of the tub. My water broke at about 6:00 while I was pushing in this position. I moved back to semi-sitting in the tub at 6:30 and Patrice started perineal support which was a great help! Through all of this, Chris was outside of the tub, right behind me, encouraging me the whole way. I couldn’t have done it without his love and support!

At 7:03pm, Patrice said she could see dark hair on the baby’s head. She suggested that I move to side lying in the tub and then during a contraction I pushed my top leg against her hands as I pushed. (Before I got in the tub, I handled my contractions by breathing deeply and moaning. But I discovered that during the pushing phase, the best way to get through a contraction was by screaming. I never could have imagined that I could scream as loudly as I did!) At 7:34 I moved onto my other side and by 7:52 there was some of the baby’s head that was staying out in between contractions! The contractions while trying to push the head out were super intense and it felt like it took forever! It was extremely hard to fight the urge to push and instead blow at the peak of contractions, but by 8:05 the baby’s head was fully crowned and at 8:10 our little girl made her big appearance! The cord was a little short and the she couldn’t rest on my chest without going under the water so the midwives had to help keep her head above the water. Everything happened so quickly at this point. Each of the 3 midwives had their own task to ensure the baby was okay and they did it so efficiently and noninvasive! After about a minute or two, Patrice asked if we wanted to see if it was a boy or girl. We were just so happy and shocked that we hadn’t checked yet. It was a girl!! I started breastfeeding her to encourage the placenta to come and then Chris got to cut the cord after that. I got out of the tub at 8:45pm and Amanda and Laurie helped me get cleaned up and into bed where I got to continue nursing little Terra. I got to hold her and cuddle her for a long time before the midwives did the newborn exam! Chris got to put on her first diaper and clothes which he was really excited about and was great to get to see the entire exam (weighing and measuring, checking reflexes, etc.)

After the short exam, the midwives placed Terra in my arms, tucked us in, and then said goodnight. It was wonderful to actually have Terra at home and in bed with us the same night she was born! We are absolutely in love with our little girl!!


What was your favorite part of your baby’s birth?

            My favorite part of Terra’s birth was when she first came up from under the water. My first thought was that she looked just like a little “me.” I’ve never been so happy as I was in that moment when I first saw her! It was also so amazing to get to hold her and nurse her uninterrupted for as long as I did. Terra was born at 8:10 and the midwives let us just stare at her and enjoy her until 9:30 when they did the newborn exam. That is SO different from most hospital birth stories I hear and I am very thankful that we got that special bonding time immediately after her birth!

What would you do differently if you had another baby?

            As far as the birth goes, I was extremely happy and wouldn’t do anything differently, but I did have a difficult and painful first few days of breastfeeding (cracked and sore nipples). When we have another baby, I will make sure I prepare my nipples better several weeks BEFOREHAND by moisturizing with oils, using lanolin, and exposing them to sunlight. I think this is good advice for new moms-to-be.

How can we improve our services?

Please don’t do anything differently! You were ALL amazing and had your own special part in my pregnancy and Terra’s birth. You gave us such great support through the entire labor and birth, but we never felt smothered or overwhelmed. It was a very special time for Chris and myself and Terra Hope was born into a very relaxed and loving environment.