Reagan Anne Walters

Parents name: Jake and Grace Walters
Baby’s name and birthday: Reagan Anne Walters 6-8-19 
1st baby and 1st homebirth 
Address: 5650 108th Ave Holland Mi 49424 
Why did you choose to have your baby at home: I looked into home birth originally because my mom had her last biological child at home (21 years ago, Patrice was at the birth). I then started to research the pros and cons of home birth compared to hospital births and felt that home birth was the right direction for Jake and I. This was based on having a natural, familiar, calm environment for our birth without the extra possibility of having interventions which happen more often in the hospital. 
Describe your labor and birth: June 8 was one week and a few days past our estimated due date. At 2:30 AM I went to the bathroom and leaked a bit on the way. Realizing that this could be my water, I emailed Patrice. She was at a birth at that point so quickly responded. From that point on the contractions were noticeable but nothing horrible. Slept until eight or so, got up and had breakfast, made sure everything was ready around the house. We set up a tent without sides outside and the birth pool underneath since our floor was not strong enough to hold it. The contractions began getting a little more painful in the afternoon but still were sporadic. I wasn’t sure what stage I was in even though we went through the classes and read all about it. I was in contact with Patrice throughout the day. I kept track of my blood pressure, ate food, journaled, watched a movie. We took a walk around outside to see if that made the contractions more or less. It made them closer together, I thought, but less painful. Jenn stopped by around 7pm on her way to an event in Holland to check on me. She showed us some moves (shifting baby moves..which I had known about but sadly didn’t do as often as I should have!) and said most of the births that week were first time moms and the babies were slow turning the right way for the labor to continue. After she showed us those again, we did them, and I threw up twice (not sure if it was because of pain or the baby moving around the food I’d ate that day). The contractions definitely became stronger and more painful but still not very consistent in how far apart from each other. I had remembered the rule 411 about contractions for letting the midwives know when to come. But they were so random sometimes six minutes or four, or seven and for the last little bit jumped to two mins apart. Patrice said Jenn was on her way, she arrived around 9:20, checked my blood pressure, baby’s heartbeat. She said yes, this is active labor and that I could get into our birth pool, which was outside, to take the edge off and help with the pain. I got in the pool, it helped but the contractions were still so painful. In my mind I had a vision that I would deal with them calmly, but it was hard to put that into practice when they hurt. Jake kept bringing out pans of hot water to keep the pool warm. I was in there for 20 to 30 minutes but eventually Jenn suggested moving inside since the temperature outside was not warm enough to have our baby. So I moved to our bathtub inside, was a lot easier to keep the water hot inside. I labored in there for 20 to 30 minutes as well, it seemed like a lot shorter. It was a shallow tub so we were preparing to move to the bedroom since the labor was progressing. I kept having the sensation of needing to poop, Jenn said this was probably the urge to push which feels very similar. I kept thinking that it hurt so bad but I felt like I should hurt more at the same time knowing that a baby had to come out of such a small hole. Jenn said she could check how far dilated I was if I wanted but I decided to wait. I thought if I was checked and only half way I would be so discouraged. Our second Midwife, Barbara, arrived before we moved into the bedroom so she helped us move between contractions. This was around 10:30 or so, we got situated in our room, blue pads on the bed, we had our waterproof mattress pad on. Patrice arrived shortly after Barbara around 11 or so. So from 11 to 11:37 when our baby was born a lot happened but it went by so quickly at the same time. I did not face the pain as calmly as I had practiced in my mind, the midwives reminded me to try and channel it into each push. Jake was got me cold towels and ice water because our bedroom is pretty warm with me and labor, three midwives and Jake. I don’t remember if the heart tones of our baby had been up and down while I was in the bathtub, but they were up-and-down when I was in the bed, we changed positions a few times to see if it helped the baby’s heart rate. A few of the contractions i wanted to give up, it was so hard I felt like it wasn’t possible for her to be born. I think I was on my hands and knees when Patrice said some thing wasn’t good. She had Barbara called 911 so that they would be on the way in case we needed them. I remember praying right then, so worried but at the same time God have me peace that it would be alright. I remember Patrice asking if she could cut to me because they needed the baby out faster due to the heartbeat. She cut and I think one or two pushes and Reagan was born! The cord have been wrapped around her neck and her stomach area which was why the heartbeat was so up and down in that pushing stage. They unwrap the cord and I think that’s when the 911 people arrived, pop their head in the door to make sure everything was okay, and the midwives had them stick around a few minutes while they did the baby checks. Everything was fine! Reagan was great once the cords were unwrapped. The emergency people left. I was able to have skin to skin with her right away after the cords were unwrapped and she was checked quick. She was so beautiful. I was so amazed that she was inside of me just a few minutes before. After a bit the midwives did their check up on her, the placenta was delivered maybe 10 minutes after with a push, felt funny, but didn’t hurt. I was able to go rinse off in the shower, and Patrice did a few stitches where she had to cut. It wasn’t a huge cut but the stitches would heal it that much better. Everyone who told me that I would forget the pain after I saw our baby was right -she was worth every minute of it. 
What was your favorite part of your baby’s birth? For me it’s hard to separate one part of it. Of course her actual birth, that last push when she came out and I got to hold her and know she was okay was such a relief. But the experience as a whole wouldn’t have been the same without each part making it the perfect experience. 
What would you do differently if you had another baby? I would practice more before hand how to calm myself. I think being able to face each contraction is so important instead of “running away” like I tried to do with some of them! That’s one thing that would have made it better for me and the baby I think. 
How can we improve our services? I can’t think of anything. I know that’s not helpful, but our midwives were so incredible. Jenn coming earlier in our labor to check up on me. They all arrived at the right time it worked out and were so calm and kind to us during the whole experience. They were in contact the whole labor and gave good advice but not pushy with anything. I felt like Jake and I were in charge of our labor but they were there every step to help.