Harper’s birth story

Harper Joy was born at home on June 16th at 4:32 pm.

On the evening of June 14th (Thursday) I started having contractions. I’d had them a couple days here and there and they were always sporadic and not worth keeping track of so I tried to ignore them. They got more consistent and were 6-8 minutes apart and strong enough I couldn’t sleep through them. I started keeping track of them and thought we might have a baby that night. The contractions kept me awake almost all night and then spaced out around 6 am and I got a few hours of sleep. They were random during the day on Friday, I got about an hour nap and then they started back up again in the evening. The same pattern, lasting about a minute but still 6-7 minutes apart for the most part. They were definitely stronger and it was very frustrating because they weren’t close enough to feel like real labor but close enough I couldn’t sleep between them. I was texting my sister (who is also my midwife) Dot and giving her random updates. She told me it was probably prodromal labor and to try to sleep if I could since I hadn’t the night before.

The midwives had specifically told us to wait until contractions were 4 minutes apart lasting a minute for an hour before calling them, so it was discouraging when I’d have a contraction and then another one 5 minutes later and then not another one for 7 minutes.

I tried to ignore them and laid in the recliner for about an hour. Logan faithfully slept on the couch close by me. Contractions got too strong to ignore and some of them were closer together (4-5 mins) so I got up and sat on the exercise ball just to have something different. I texted Dot at 2 am and said I didn’t know what to do and that I couldn’t sleep. She asked if I wanted her to come, and I guiltily said yes hoping that she wouldn’t be coming for no reason. She got here at 2:40 am and things were picking up. I was walking and leaning over the counter with contractions and she said if I wanted mom to be here I should call her. Mom got here at 3:30 and at this point I was already feeling exhausted and shaky. At 4 I got in the birth tub which felt so good and seemed to space contractions out a little bit so that I could rest. Patrice and Barb came around 5 and Dot turned on worship music for me. Logan pushed on my back with every contraction and mom braided my hair and put a cool wash cloth on my face.

At one point I said “I guess I’m doing it!”

Contractions were so strong and I was so tired and I remember yelling at mom to “PLEASE PRAY” when a contraction started.

At 7:30 I said “it wants to come out!” And asked if it was normal that I wanted to push. Dot said yes, if it feels good to push. I pushed for about an hour and then Dot asked if I wanted her to check me and I said yes. She said I was 9 cm dilated but there was still a lip of my cervix in the way. I knew from her birth experiences that this wasn’t a good thing and wouldn’t feel good. She asked me if I wanted her to hold it back while I pushed and I said we could try. She held it back and I pushed once and it felt absolutely awful so I spent the next couple hours breathing through the contractions. I remember my breathing being so shaky and almost hyperventilating and how good Logan and Barb were at reminding me to take long slow breaths.

I got out of the tub and moved to bed around 10 am to try to get things moving a little bit. I started pushing again around 11 and they said my cervix was thinning out and almost out of the way.

They kept making me switch positions every two contractions which I did NOT like, and made abundantly clear. At noon I was still pushing and I was feeling so exhausted I kept wanting to give up. I was crying and asking for prayer and saying that I just couldn’t do it anymore. Logan was amazing and prayed for strength for me and told me I could do it and that I was doing it! I was rotating in bed between each contraction or two and they were checking baby’s heart tones with each new position. At 2:30pm they said they could see baby’s head peeking through! At 3 my cervix was finally back on its own and they kept telling me that I was making good progress. They used the word progress for so many hours I was starting to not believe them when they said it. I went to the bathroom at one point and looked in the mirror and my eyes were so swollen from pushing that I was seeing double. I remember my hips cramping with almost every contraction on my back and Patrice telling me to push through the pain and that it was because of baby’s head coming. I felt baby’s head at 3:46. They were still monitoring baby’s heart tones and asking me to switch positions because they were slower than they liked. (They got down in the 80s a couple times but I never knew this until after she was born) I was in sort of a haze at this point and not sure what was going on, but I could hear an edge of urgency in Barb and Dot’s voices when they told me to switch positions. At some point in here I asked if the baby was okay, and no one answered me. After a few seconds Dot calmly said “OK, it’s just time to get your baby out as quick as you can.”

I felt the head again at 4:30 and I was full crown with the next contraction. With the next couple contractions, she was here! I have never felt so much relief and joy feeling her wiggly body put on my tummy and hearing her cry for the first time. I couldn’t stop crying and thanking Jesus that she made it here safely. After a few minutes Logan asked if baby were a boy or girl and Dot picked her up so we could see. A girl! Our Harper Joy. ❤️

I am so thankful for the team at Full circle Midwifery for being a part of Harper’s birth and for the support and encouragement and knowledge that they have. I am so thankful for my sister especially who talked in such a calm voice and who helped Harper come into the world safely. I’m thankful for my mom, who prayed for me and reminded me to rely on God’s strength when mine was gone. I’m so thankful for my husband Logan who prayed for me and cried with me and lost sleep to take care of me and who pushed on my back for hours. I could not have done it without him.

I am so grateful that we could have her at home and naturally. I loved hearing worship songs in the peace between contractions. I loved being in a familiar, comfortable place and having the freedom to move around and let my body do the work.

We are so thankful for the gift of our precious daughter.