Boden Adam Whitman

A Home Birth Story


Despite living in St. Louis, we had made the decision to have our baby in Michigan during the summer of 2013 before we knew how the remainder of the year was going to play out.  I wanted to have continuous care with one provider the entire pregnancy and know who we were going to be with and where.  Since my graduation was scheduled for December 2013 and Adam had started a Michigan job search, we planned that we would be in Michigan by January 2014 and therefore decided to have our baby in Michigan.  I knew that if for whatever reason we were to have a baby, I wanted a home birth.  I had Trevor and Courtney naturally at the hospital, so I knew having a baby naturally was doable.  I also knew that I did not like the regimen at the hospital and the rules and time lines they put on the mother and baby.  Plus, hospitals are where sick people go…not an ideal clean environment to give birth to a new baby with a perfect immune system in tact!!  Adam was easy to convince, as he hates hospitals, so next step was to find a midwife.  This was an easy decision for me.  My doctor’s daughters all had planned for homebirths with one midwife, and Adam’s cousin had the same midwife for both of her births, so I knew to start out by meeting with Patrice Bobier of Full Circle Midwifery.  After meeting with her the first time, Adam immediately felt at ease so we decided to look no further.

Now, This is not to say we didn’t have our bumps and hiccups along the way…appointments on the weekends we were in town, Adam’s job search proved more challenging than anticipated, I struggled through my last couple of months in clinic (I struggled a lot mentally but also physically treating patients the bigger I got),  figuring out where we were going to give birth after our anticipated January move fell through, dealing with a court hearing courtesy of Trevor and Courtney’s dad and almost having to quickly find a midwife in St. Louis and stay home…it was endless.

And so it begins…

February 28, 2014 was already a planned weekend for us to be in Michigan.  Adam planned to go back for the week after that with Courtney for work and school while I would stay in Michigan with Trevor as I was no longer going back to St. Louis as pregnant as I was!!  But, Adam & Courtney decided to stay in case our baby decided to come early.  We couldn’t have been more wrong!!!  With an estimated due date (EDD) of March 14, 2014, I was planning to be up in Michigan 2 weeks before my EDD.  Our sweet little man had other plans.  After waiting 5 weeks and 5 days…he finally made his appearance!  Here is a list of some of the things that we attempted to induce labor: Lots of walking, many drives down bumpy roads, eating: spicy foods (which I hated!!), ham & scalloped potatoes, eggplant parmesan (the most frequent), smoothies (recipes courtesy of the almighty Pinterest!), massaging certain Reflexology points, Essential Oils, Chiropractic adjustments with AK (of course J), a big argument with Adam, Mother’s Milk Tea, other “natural” means of thinning the membranes….that is all I can think of, but I do know the list is longer!  I will admit, all of those did help to increase contractions/Braxton hicks, but since our baby was not ready to meet the world, it didn’t matter…actual labor didn’t start…and wasn’t going to until my body and the baby were ready.   I said all along that he wasn’t going to come until it was warm…and I was right! Just one reason we were so very thankful to have a team of midwives who encourage patience (because I certainly needed it!!).

We had one evening of false labor on March 5.  I had contractions 5 minutes apart for about 5 hours.  They stopped when I went to bed to rest and try to sleep…we had filled the tub and prepped the ginger compresses…Adam had a full blown panic attack with chest pains and shortness of breath.  His attack stopped when I scolded him and told him that he cannot have something bigger happen to him while I was in labor J…well that worked and his pains subsided.  But, alas, so did the contractions!

Our appointments became more frequent after our due date.  Wanting to make sure that my blood pressure and the baby’s heart beat were normal and that the baby’s heart rate was responding to stimulation.  All of those factors stayed completely normal the entire time with no concerns arising.  He had been head down for quite some time, so his position was not of concern either.

I started sleeping more the last few days of March; sleeping better at night and also taking naps.

On Monday, March 31, it was finally a beautiful day!!!  I decided I was going to take a walk…a long walk with the dogs.  But, considering I hadn’t walked all 3 of them together for months because of the weather, I wasn’t going to start that day because there were many other dogs out on a nice day!  I didn’t need all 3 going crazy being out and about then seeing another dog to play with!  So, I picked a route of a few blocks, which turned out to be a mile, and walked it 3 times so each dog had the same length walk.  Needless to say, I was exhausted, sore and very thirsty.  My hands swelled up really bad.  I got quite worried about my blood pressure, but when I put my feet up and drank a ton of water, everything was better.  A short time later when I went to the bathroom, I noticed that there was a significant amount of mucous discharge!  Could it FINALLY be that I lost the mucous plug!?!?!  But, there still wasn’t any bloody show, so didn’t get too excited.

The next day, April 1 – April Fool’s Day,  we had an appointment with our midwives again.  I slept on the way up and partially on the way down.  They didn’t expect me to make it to that point…and neither did I!!!  Everything was ok and normal.  Courtney came with us for this appointment…she loves Patrice and going to her house despite the drive (but you get kids content with an hour and a half drive when they regularly drive 7—8 hours, that is a drop in the bucket!!).  The midwives thought the same thing I did…any time now because of the mucous, but we’d all been saying “any day now” for quite some time!  I went to the bathroom before our drive down and had more mucous but this time had the bloody show with it!!!  I told them before we left and we all thought/hoped it would be VERY soon!!  On our drive back to Holland, we stopped and had lunch with Chris at Olive Garden for more Eggplant Parm and proceeded back to my parent’s house in Holland where I took a nap.  I woke up about 3:00 and was having a contraction, so I figured I would start the stopwatch on my phone to see what happened (I had done this MANY times and finally quit because it was getting depressing to have contractions that never developed).  They were about 20 minutes apart, but stayed 20 minutes apart.  Adam was looking a bit shaggy, so I encouraged him to get a haircut, so he went to do that.  My parents ordered pizza as Tuesday night is their meeting/choir night and I was in no mood to cook!  They ordered Village Inn, and I chose pieces with the sausage that has a decent amount of kick to it.  My contractions did get closer together…about 15 minutes apart now. I sent a text to Patrice and asked how long we can leave the water in the birthing tub since we had filled it once before and didn’t want to fill it and empty it again for no reason.  She said it would be ok for a couple days and a tbsp. of bleach if needed for each day.  I was afraid that if we didn’t start to fill it, I wouldn’t get to use it.  A friend who had a home birth last fall had that happen and I knew I wanted to be in the water and didn’t want to miss it because of timing.  Adam came back and had scheduled Trevor to get his hair cut, so we all left together.  Contractions were still about 15 minutes apart, so after that we went to JP’s (as I had given the kids money to spend there).  I wasn’t going to, but ended up with a decaf white chocolate mocha…and contractions were about 10 minutes apart by that time.  It was really nice to have a chance to spend the evening with my kids one more time before a little baby was going to be there with us the next time!  When we got home, we picked “Blindside” to watch in bed in my room via the projector on the wall so we could hang out and be comfy.  Contractions were 8-9 minutes apart and getting more painful.  While we watched the movie, Adam was working on filling the tub.  It took 3-4 rounds of letting the hot water heater cycle through and re-heat.  Courtney would comment that I should call the midwives because she didn’t like to see me in that much pain (if she only knew how much worse it gets!!).  The movie was quite scratched and wouldn’t play beyond the halfway point.  So, I finally put the kids to bed, but that proved challenging as contractions were 5 minutes apart by then at 11 p.m.  As I kissed them goodnight, I told them we would wake them if/when we called the midwives.

I sent a text to the midwives to let them know how the evening had progressed and that it would be tonight.  Then, crawled back in bed and tried to sleep, but was really only able to rest between contractions.  They were getting quite intense and more uncomfortable.  I was getting up every 30-45 minutes to urinate.  The contractions were 3-5 minutes apart.  Finally, I got up at 2:00 a.m. and told Adam I was getting in the tub because I couldn’t take it anymore.  But before I got up, I sent a quick email to my sister-in-law Melanie.  They were leaving that morning on Spring Break and I didn’t want them to leave until after the baby was born!  Then, I went to the bathroom and got in the tub.  It was instant relief.  The pain wasn’t gone, but so much more tolerable!!  I relaxed in the tub for about 15 minutes then told Adam at 2:30 to call the midwives.  Now, Adam had seen close to a dozen videos on home and water births so he deemed himself an expert.  He tried to tell me that my contractions would likely slow down and it was still going to be a while.  I reminded him (I tried to kindly, but not sure if I did!) that I was in the tub with Trevor for 15 minutes and dilated from 5-9 and needed to push…with Courtney I went from 3-8 dilation in an hour in the water and she was born a half hour after getting out of the tub.  So, NO, call the midwives now.  Meanwhile I’m clocking contractions at 2-3 minutes apart lasting 1-1 ½  minutes each.  He called Patrice at 2:30 and she told him the same thing he told me (Ok, so from their perspective he was right….from my history, he was not J).  I said I wanted them to come now because there was travel time to consider…so she dispatched the troops.

At 3:30 a.m. Jen arrived.  I was so relieved to have one of them there!!!  She checked the baby’s heart rate right away and it was normal at 140.  At 3:40 Barb arrived.  She asked when I had last been to the bathroom and told me to go urinate again as it would relieve some of the pressure having an empty bladder.  The thought of getting up was awful!  Contractions seemed to be right on top of each other; I didn’t know how I was going to get down the hall to the bathroom! At 4:00, heart rate was 120. When I got out of the tub, I had 2 strong contractions right in a row.  Jen helped me get through them as Adam had gone to put the dogs outside.  I asked to have the kids woken up as well.  I got to the bathroom and it did help to urinate, but had a few contractions while sitting there.  As I was going to get up after a contraction, I felt an extra gush of fluid and my water had broke (or at least partially!!)!!  After that I wanted to stay in the bathroom because I felt the need to have a bowel movement.  BUT, at that point, which I knew but didn’t care, it usually means the baby is moving down and getting ready to come out. I was strongly told NOT to have a bowel movement and that I needed to get back to the tub quickly. Patrice had arrived about 4:00.  Heart rate at 4:05 was 136, 4:15 was 140…all was well!  I stood in the bathroom through two more contractions and didn’t want to move.  I could hear both kids awake now and dogs were back upstairs.  Just imagine…2 kids, 3 dogs, 5 adults and a portable hot tub in the space of 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and a hallway…with all other normal furniture J!!

After a contraction I took a deep breath, warned the kids I was going through and hightailed it back to the tub.  Trevor still laughs at the memory of how I looked going down the hall hunched over J.  At 4:10 I was feeling pushy…and even though I didn’t want to wait, the midwives encouraged me to blow through the contractions.  I had torn with both Trevor and Courtney resulting in an episiotomy with each of them and by delaying the actual pushing, it can prevent tearing so I kept running that through my mind.  I was doing some sort of modified squat/sitting on my knees in the water.  Adam was by my side rubbing my low back.  Courtney was by my head holding a cup of water for me to drink and rubbing my forehead gently…such a sweet comforting girl.  Trevor was taking care of Slugger and Peanut in the other bedroom as they were both trying to nose into the midwives bags.  Rookie was very close by me worried about what was going on.  At one point I felt that the head had started to come out…so I asked and was told no.  Courtney told me I said several bad words!  I don’t recall, but can easily imagine that “Oh shit” probably came out a few times…more out of exasperation than anything else!  With my contraction at 4:35 Patrice told me to push hard and keep pushing.  I did and they said his head was out and keep pushing!  I was anticipating that I would wait for the next contraction but I pushed again and could tell he was almost out – actually felt his little feet flutter inside of me when I stopped pushing!  So pushed one more time and Patrice helped him float up to my chest!  Boden Adam was born at 4:36 a.m on April 2, 2014 with his right hand by his head.  He still puts his hand by his head when he is relaxing J

The cord was wrapped around one shoulder, which they slipped off while moving him to me.  Boden gave a very gentle cry but was mostly very content.  Before I even had the chance to cradle him in my arms to see his face…Rookie made sure his was the first face that Boden saw.  He is one amazing dog…right there, quietly waiting, sniffing gently, didn’t lick but just wanted to be close.  Boden was very alert and calmly looked around, didn’t cry much…had an Apgar of 9 (not a 10 only because he hadn’t pinked up quite yet).  Each of my parents came up to see him while we were still in the tub.  Adam was holding me up high enough in the water so Boden’s head wouldn’t go back under; I just wanted to lay back and relax.  I needed the help as my legs were quite weak and shaky…go figure!  After a few minutes Boden started rooting and found where he needed to eat!  So I helped him latch on and he started to nurse for the first time at 4:50 while we were still in the tub and the cord still attached.  I was happy about this because I knew that nursing could help make delivering the placenta easier.  And at 4:58, I felt a bit pushy and popped the placenta right out while he nursed!  It was SO much easier than with Courtney (which was very painful and lasted several minutes…like giving birth a second time).  They were very careful in handling my placenta because Jen took it home to dehydrate it and encapsulate it for me to take in pill form.  At 5:01, Adam cut the cord and then Adam held him for 10 minutes while I was helped out of the tub and into bed.

Bodie was checked out around 5:45 and was 8 pounds 20 ½ inches…everything was perfectly normal aside from the snorting which seemed to be in the back of the throat and nose.  He did not have any vernix left and his skin was peeling because he was late.  But based on presentation, he appeared to be 41 weeks gestation and not 42 weeks 5 days.  Courtney helped Jen to get him diapered and dressed for the first time and then she got to hold him next to me.  That sweet girl who was not happy about having a baby brother was all of a sudden quite smitten!!  Grandma got to hold him after that for a few minutes.  During that time (around 6:20/30 a.m.) my brother’s family stopped by.  They were on their way for vacation but stopped by to see us first…Add 7 more people to the description of the upstairs!!  Trevor got to hold him for a few minutes after that.  I was helped to the bathroom and to get dressed, my mom made me some scrambled eggs.  I nursed Boden again, and then it was naptime for both of us for a little while.  Once we were settled, the midwives packed up and left.  Couldn’t quite believe that the first midwife arrived at 3:30 and all were gone by 7:00 a.m.

It felt amazing to finally sleep with my baby in my arms and no longer in my belly!

And…to answer a few final questions for the midwife birth report:

Having a home birth was such an amazing experience it is hard to choose what my favorite part would be.  I guess I would have to say that my favorite part of our baby’s birth was having my family with us on our own time frame and in our own space.  It was amazing to let my older two sleep until it was time.  And to have my dogs close to experience the transition was great.  I know many would cringe at the thought of having dogs close by, but it was great.   They are part of our family and didn’t want them left out completely. We still gave them blankets to sniff, but all were completely adjusted by the end of the day.  The biggest transition with the dogs was with the yorkie mix, Peanut.  As the only girl and the most recent rescue, she is our little crazy punky one.  What we did not expect was how her maternal instincts kicked in.  The first day, she did everything she could (including picking fights) to keep Rookie and Slugger away from the baby.  She is constantly under my feet and if Boden cries, her chin quivers and she will attempt to lick every square inch of him!  If she could change a diaper and give him baths, I wholeheartedly believe she would do anything possible to help.  But, she was a puppy mill dog.  We got her at a year and a half.  She had already had a litter of pups that all died and she had nursed a different dogs pups.  So, she knows what it is like to mother and she does it well…in her own way J 

What would we do differently if we had another?

NO CHAOS LEADING UP TO BABY!!!  That is really the only thing we wish we could do different.  Would be that we were settled.  Everything else was outstanding…in fact, writing this the day after our final 6 week checkup for Bodie…I almost wish we would have another just so we could experience it again without the chaos!  We would absolutely have another home birth with the Full Circle Midwifery team!!!

How can we improve our services?  I would have called sooner to have you at the house longer before Boden arrived.  We had such a fun and calming and relaxing midwife team that I wish we could have had you at the house longer!!!


Boden is my

  • 4th pregnancy (Trevor is 13, Courtney is 8 (closer to 9 now!) and one miscarriage at 12 weeks 11 years ago),
  • 3rd baby
  • 1st home birth.