The Birth of Kate Marie

Noah & Dorothy Vandezande; Hesperia, MI; 3rd baby and 3rd home birth

My due date was August 6th, but I had said for the last month of my pregnancy that this baby would be born August 8th and share a birthday with a cousin. August 7th I had a few contractions all day and they got a little closer and stronger toward evening, but nothing timeable or strong enough to interfere with cleaning my house. Again. J

I went to bed and slept well till about 2:30am, when I started having irregular contractions. They got stronger and ranged from 4-10 minutes apart and I didn’t like being in bed for them. I got my exercise ball and put it beside the bed and tried to rest and sleep in between hopping out of bed to sit on the ball for contractions. The contractions were only like 20-30 seconds long and so by morning I was tired and frustrated with these contractions that were just enough to keep me awake but didn’t seem to be doing much.

Noah left for work and I went back to bed and slept a little more with just a few contractions. The girls and I got up and went about our day. I ate breakfast and lunch and mostly just rested on the couch. I was still having contractions, and they came more often when I was up and around. They were decently strong, but still very short and irregular.

Patrice & Barb went to a birth 1 ¼ hours north of my house, so everyone was a little nervous about them being that far away after how short my active labor was last time.

All of my labors have followed the same pattern of contractions all night that tapered off in the morning and then active labor suddenly kicked in late in the afternoon. So around 4pm I started getting nervous that it was suddenly going to be very intense and I’d be there by myself. I texted Noah that I wouldn’t mind if he came home even though nothing had changed. He was trying to finish up a project at work so I called my mom to come instead. Then at 4:25 contractions started coming every 5 minutes. I called Patrice and she had just told the other family that she felt like she should leave to come to my house. I talked to Noah and he headed home too. Contractions were strong and longer and 5 minutes apart—I was singing through them and praying out loud. My 2-year-old, Sylvia, rubbed my back and Amy, my 4-year-old, held my hand for some contractions. It was so sweet and precious. One of my favorite moments in labor was somewhere in here as I was sitting on my ball and praying and singing I realized Amy was sitting behind me on her little bouncy ball and breathing and saying, “”Oh Lord, help me.” It was so cute and sweet.

Noah got home shortly before 5 and I was so glad he was there. I leaned back on him while sitting on my ball. My mom and sister got there a little after 5 and my sister took our girls outside to play and my mom filled the tub for me. It felt so good to get in the warm water and relax a little more. Contractions were strong and close and I could no longer sing through them. I was praying out loud with each contraction, asking the LORD for strength and peace and being positive and thanking God for each strong contraction that meant my body was working so well and bringing my baby closer to being in my arms. Noah was holding my hand and supporting me as I sat up a little with each contraction. I threw up a couple times after I got in the tub which I hate doing but Noah was laughing and reminding me when I complained that I always say that vomiting is a GOOD sign in labor. J

My mom fed the girls some supper and it was cute overhearing Amy in the kitchen telling my mom very matter-of-factly, “You have to make a lot of noise to get a baby born.” After supper my sister left to take the girls to the park. It was ok but next time I want them to be at least at the house if not in the room when the baby’s born.

Patrice arrived around 6 and Jen around 6:15. It was a little after 6 when I felt a little bit pushy with a contraction. I think I said, “Oh that probably means I’m 7.” (With my previous labors I felt pushy around 6-7 cm.) I just kept working with contractions and breathing through. Noah was so great, telling me I could do it—reminding me that I’d done it twice before and I could certainly do it again. He and my mom held my hands and prayed with me through the contractions.

By 6:45 that pushy urge was much stronger. That’s when I said, “Check that it’s a head, Patrice!” This baby had flip-flopped between breech and head down many times up until 38 weeks and although I felt fairly certain it had been head down since then it was reassuring to have Patrice check and tell me it was definitely a head! She also said I was 9+ with just a lip of cervix! When she asked what I wanted to do about it I asked her to hold it back while I pushed. I’d hoped to avoid that this time but I was ready to be done! My water broke with the next contraction—I LOVE that feeling. I checked and the lip was still there. Patrice held it one time and it slipped back over the baby’s head easily while I pushed. I felt the baby’s head and felt the lip still there but pushed anyway. It didn’t feel good to push at this point, which was a bummer for me because I remembered enjoying being able to push before. Once the lip was out of the way it felt much better to push. After a few contractions I checked again and the lip was gone. Yay! Complete at 7:07 pm. And Barb arrived a few minutes later. She had driven super fast from the other birth (Laurie was still at that birth, no worries J) and I was so happy for her that she made it and didn’t miss my birth!

I was once again doing my own counter pressure on the baby’s head while I was pushing. It was so different this time, though, than with Amy and Sylvia. Since Sylvia was born I’d actually had the experience of catching babies, and I felt so much more in tune and knew exactly when I needed to push and when to breathe and blow to slowly ease the baby’s head out and avoid a tear. With Amy & Sylvia I really depended on everyone telling me over and over to blow, but this time I don’t even remember hearing anyone tell me to blow. If they did I wasn’t paying the least bit of attention. It was just so easy to feel and so instinctive to give gentle pushes and blow when I felt more of the baby’s head coming. The baby’s head was still going back in between contractions—schloop! I reallllly do NOT like that feeling! But as I felt more and more of her head showing I was SO thrilled knowing we were so close to meeting our baby! I said “Oh I’m so excited! We’re almost done!” When her head was almost full crown it was just coming even though I was blowing and I had a little frantic moment and I think I said Patrice’s name feeling like I needed her to help me with counter pressure more. But then I realized my baby just wanted to be born and it felt ok and I kept breathing and blowing and let her come. I heard Patrice say my favorite words “Full Crown!” and then my baby was born to the nose. Patrice told me I could give another little push to get the whole head out so I did. Then right away had another contraction and pushed the shoulders and my whole baby out into the water at 7:26pm. I scooped her up out of the water and held her against my chest. Such a perfect, beautiful moment. She cried right away and I snuggled her close while I praised and thanked God for His goodness in giving us this sweet baby. After a few minutes I held her away from me so we could see that we had an adorable little girl! I kept kissing her head—there is nothing on earth like kissing that tiny, brand new, wet baby head. Can’t get enough of it!

Baby Kate Marie started nursing around 15 minutes after she was born. Amy and Sylvia got home around then to meet their new sister and Amy helped Daddy cut the cord! Sylvia was so disappointed she didn’t get to see the baby come out, but when she saw the pictures later she decided it was ok and she didn’t miss that much after all. Amy didn’t care—“Sylvia, we were at the PARK!” What could be more fun than that? J

Labor is a lot of hard work. Even though I’d seen a hundred births and given birth myself twice before, there is no way you can be prepared for the intensity of it. But it’s not more than you can do—God is faithful to give enough strength. I told Noah that some women labor and give birth so gracefully and calmly and I felt like such a spaz and so loud. He reassured me that I just do everything loudly. J

I’m so grateful for another quick active labor and I love giving birth in my home with people I love and my older girls so quickly there to meet the new baby. It’s so special and wonderful and beautiful. And God is SO good.