Our Birth Story

The Beginning

At just over 2 months postpartum, I am finally ready to write our birth story. Life is certainly busier now with three kids but I mostly was just procrastinating for an unknown reason. 

About two days before the end of 2019, we were about to trade in our SUV for a smaller one but I just knew I needed to take a pregnancy test before we made that decision. I was hoping for a negative but really in my mind already knew I was pregnant. Sure enough. One time was all it took. We ditched our NYE plans to avoid people asking why I wasn’t drinking, kept the suburban, and spent NYE seeing Frozen at the theater with the kids. 

I always like to say my pregnancies were not always planned but also not prevented and we would just be good with whatever happened. Upon seeing the positive test, I was happy, sad, mad, shocked, lots of emotions. Having another kid sounded like a good idea until it was a reality and it definitely took me some time to get used to the idea and feel excited. Our other two were potty trained, slept all night, were in school and now we were going backwards.

Due to my lack of excitement and uncertain feelings, we told very few people. Only our closest friends and our parents. That was it. I did not show for a while and was conscious about what I wore to hide it from others when I was out. However, being pregnant with two friends all due within a couple weeks of each other made it a little easier and more exciting.

Then Came COVID

Little did we know that Covid-19 would appear in March, causing stay at home orders, social distancing, and a world of other changes. Not seeing people for months sure made it easy to hide. This also brought a lot of changes related to my pregnancy. Spencer went to the very first appointment, that was it…maybe one more towards the end. Rules changed and you weren’t allowed anyone else with you at your appointments and of course masks required…the masks at my appointments and in life created a lot of anxiety for me and led me to quitting my job (which was a blessing anyways!). And I really didn’t mind going to my appointments alone because…3rd kid!

With masks, temperature checks and questions at the door, I went to all my OB appointments. I loved my OB, had her for my last pregnancy, everything was great. As it became clear COVID wasn’t just a 2-week vacation in March like we thought it would be, I began to worry about my birth experience in the hospital.

Policies were changing daily. I didn’t mind the no visitor rule because I didn’t want them in the hospital anyways but I certainly wasn’t going to wear a mask while having a baby and I felt very strongly about not getting a COVID test which was required. At each appointment, my OB would give me an update on what things were like at the hospital and one day finally told me, I didn’t have to get a COVID test but I would have to deliver alone…YEA RIGHT! The stupidest part of that was Spencer didn’t even have to get tested, only me.

This is when I really started listening to that voice in my head saying we needed to have a home birth! It was something I had thought about before but never seriously. I consider myself a little “crunchy” but not super. I also didn’t really know that much about it or anyone who had homebirths…or so I thought. And there was the little bit of fear if something were to go wrong and not being at the hospital because that was all I knew.

Finding a Midwife

Now Crosby is almost 5 months old and I am ready to finish our story. I began doing a little asking around to two acquaintances I knew who had homebirths-asking them questions and for referrals. I casually mentioned it to a friend who told me her sister-in-law had a homebirth and reached out to her. At 33 or 34 weeks pregnant, we didn’t have much time left and I wasn’t even sure if a midwife would take me that late in the pregnancy but we decided to proceed.

After some on-line “research” and a few phone calls I had set up 3 appointments-2 with midwives and one with a birth center. (I’d like to add, do not judge people based on their websites, they are not always an accurate reflection of the service provider!) I had told my OB that I was considering a homebirth and she was mostly supportive as long as I was safe and I did continue to see her for the rest of the pregnancy as well.

My due date was August 30th and on July 15th, we met with our first midwife, Patrice Bobier, of Full Circle Midwifery, who we ended up picking and was used by our friend’s sister. We made the almost hour drive to her home and when we arrived, she was in gardening clothes and seemed surprised to see us. She had forgotten we were coming but luckily, she was home and we could still meet.

I left that meeting so excited about a homebirth, feeling much more educated, comfortable and even more sure of my decision. Spencer was always supportive of what I wanted to do but I know he felt better too. Patrice was so personable, kind, calming, honest, and I just felt drawn to her right away. I knew that she was a great match and we left knowing she was the one.

Just to be sure I kept my appointment with the other midwives, ones my friend has used 3 times. She spoke highly of them so I figured they must be great…they were not. I knew within minutes of meeting them that it was not a good fit and that Patrice was our choice. I cancelled the appointment with the birth center because we decided home was where we wanted to be.

We made our decision, scheduled our appointments, and started gathering supplies. I felt so excited, a little nervous, but I knew it was the right decision. Our friends were so supportive, my mom was worried, but the only opinion that mattered was ours.

Now We Wait

I was feeling great. Baby was doing great. We had everything ready. I had my weekly appointments with my OB and Patrice. The birth tub was inflated and I was just waiting. We also didn’t know the gender of the baby, which was surprisingly not as hard as I thought it would be. We had a name for a boy, not really a girl. Also, we finally decided to hire our doula, Jenny, to help us and for photography. We used her with Levi and definitely wanted to have her again but had waiting because of the uncertainties at the hospital.

I felt like the baby was never coming. I was so ready to meet the baby and was getting impatient. At my 38-week OB appointment, as soon as the nurse walked in, she asked, “Do you want to be induced?” I was instantly SO angry. NO! I did not want to be induced. They knew I was planning a homebirth and it was not even my due date yet. At that appointment, probably because of the question, my blood pressure was high. Which led to more annoying questions from the doctor, talk of non-stress tests, and induction. I scheduled the test and went to get blood work to check on things. I left crying, the bloodwork came back normal, and I officially decided to ditch the rest of my OB appointments. I continued to monitor my blood pressure and report it to the midwife. All was great, we just were waiting for baby to arrive!

My due date came and went and week 41 came. I was starting to get worried knowing that if I was having a hospital birth, they would have induced me already. And everyone asking about the baby and if I was being induced didn’t help. I tried to stay calm, not make plans, and literally was just waiting every day.

I was also a little frustrated because my two pregnant friends BOTH already had their baby boys, and ours was supposed to be in the middle of them.

Almost Time

At 41 weeks + 2 days, I was still pregnant with no signs of labor. I knew I wouldn’t be pregnant forever, though it felt like it, and that they baby was cozy inside and would come when it was ready.

It was September 8th, we went to bed like normal. I woke up around 11 to go to the bathroom. Laid back down and started to think maybe I was having some contractions. I woke Spencer up and he thought I was joking. I laid back down to try to get some sleep but it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen.

The big kids were sleeping and while the plan was they would go to grandpa’s when it was time, we decided to let them sleep since it was late.

Contractions were manageable but getting stronger. Spencer called Patrice to let her know but there wasn’t much rush. We also let the doula know things were getting started. Both were about an hour away and around 11:30pm we let them know they should probably come.

It was really happening, our home birth was happening. I was so excited to finally meet our baby, slightly nervous about the pain considering both my previous births were in the hospital with an epidural.

Now it was September 9th. Around 12:30am, everyone had arrived and were getting things set up. The contractions were intensifying and I couldn’t find a comfortable position. Standing, sitting in the chair, on the ball, it all just hurt.

I didn’t know what to expect but everyone was so calm. My husband was doing amazing and being so supportive. Jenny our doula, was so helpful, and the birth team was in the other room. I remember wondering why weren’t they being more hands on doing more. They were there when I asked questions but for the most part let me do my own thing.

Around 2am, I decided to get into the birthing tub. Patrice warned me that it could slow things down but I was uncomfortable and just wanted to try. It felt good, the contractions were intense, but I was getting hot and couldn’t get comfortable in the tub. Overheating, I knew I needed to get out. I was back to nothing comfortable- tried sitting, standing, the toilet, the ball, I didn’t like any of them.

At this point I was really doubting myself and really wanted something to take away the pain but that wasn’t an option. Everyone assured me I was doing so great, that my body was doing what it should, and my baby would be here soon. Things I know I would not have heard in the hospital.

It’s Really Time

At 3:15am I thought I had to go to the bathroom so I tried to sit on the toilet. That was so painful so I stood up and was leaning over my bathroom counter with Spencer and Jenny by my side. 

Then my water broke. It REALLY broke. It was so awesome and disgusting at the same time. It could be heard all the way in the front of the house. It was like an eruption all over the floor. I was laughing in shock and surprise. Immediately the pain was more intense than I ever imagined. My legs hurt so bad, I didn’t think I would be able to walk the few feet to my bed when Patrice asked me to.

I remember she wanted to check the babies heart rate and I asked if everything was okay. She said yes, that I was ready to push. This was at 3:25am.

It was painful, exhausting, and indescribable. I still don’t know how the big kids didn’t wake up because I know I was loud. Being in our home, in our bedroom, on our bed, with dim lights was so soothing. Much better than bright hospital lights being told to push. The birth team helped me stay calm, reminding me to breath and blow, and let me push as I wanted.

At 3:39am, the babies head was out. I remember asking why it wasn’t crying and they told me because it wasn’t fully born. Also, at this point I said, “I did it!” The feeling of knowing I actually did it was amazing and knowing in a very short time I would be holding my baby was so surreal.

At 3:41am, our baby was born!

It’s a BOY!

I am very much a planner and do not like surprises but since we already had a boy and girl, I decided I wanted to be surprised this time. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be not to know and I had this vision of what time moment would be like when the baby was born and I found out. It did not disappoint. The baby was placed on my chest and my husband told me it was a boy. That is something I will never forget.

Our boy, Crosby John, was so perfect. Aside from being excited our baby was finally in my arms. The feeling of accomplishment was amazing. I have never been so proud of myself. It truly is amazing what your body is capable of.

Right before the baby was born our three-year-old woke up. Seeing Barb scared her and she ran back to her room. This broke my heart that I couldn’t comfort her right away but just a few minutes later, Daddy was able to get her and she was the first person to meet her baby brother. This time is something I will also never forget, it was so special and sweet. I am forever thankful we had a birth photographer to capture those memories.

9 pounds 7 ounces, 22 inches long, born naturally at home. I was shocked at his size and made Dorothy double check the scale to make sure it was right. He was perfect. Within an hour, everything was cleaned up and the birth team was on their way.

Final Thoughts

So many parts of this experience were my favorite but there was something so great about just being home. No waiting to get discharged, no one bugging you at all hours of the night. Just us. Home. Comfortable with out sweet baby. In the morning, when our son woke up and we told him the baby was born, he thought we were joking.

I am thankful for having the experience of hospital and home birth and would definitely recommend homebirth. You are so much more in control of things, the way it should be. While COVID has been tough on everyone in so many ways, I am forever thankful for it because without it I probably would not have chosen a homebirth.

I will also be forever thankful for Patrice, Barb, and Dorothy for their care, confidence, and kindness when bringing our baby to the world. Our follow up visits with them in the days after the birth were great and we miss seeing them regularly.