Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Felicity Anne's Birth Story - Our Fourth VBA4C

Lifting Felicity out of the water, just seconds after birth

Felicity's birth story started off very different from Liberty's birth story. Because Liberty was 13 days late, I was fully expecting to be pregnant at my 41 week check-up. When I left the midwife's house after my 40 week check, I told her I'd see her next Thursday. Kent and I made a trip a Sam's. I have to say that walking around Sam's for an hour a few days past my due date was not as enjoyable as it sounds. :) We left Sam's and went to eat. Madisyn had arranged for her and the other kids to stay with Unc and Aunt Amanda while we had a night out.

Friday was a normal day except that we kept smelling something in the house. We finally determined that Ty had stepped in manure when feeding the animals. Unfortunately, he didn't realize it and tracked the nastiness all through the house. By the time I realized what had happened it was too late in the day to clean it up. On Saturday, I woke up and set to work . I vacuumed most of the house (we have no carpet) and then mopped over 2,000 square feet.  After the Sam's workout on Thursday night and the mopping workout Saturday, I went to bed exhausted on Saturday night.

Kent capturing her first moments and checking out her beautiful face

Saturday night I was incredibly thirsty and drank about 60 oz of water before bed. I knew at the time that I would be up a lot during the night but my thirst was very strong. I finally fell asleep around 1 am. I woke up needing a trip to the restroom not long after that. I laid back down only to wake up again at 3:30. I was leaking something and I wasn't sure if I had drank too much and didn't make it to the bathroom in time or if I was leaking amniotic fluid. The midwife had given me some nitrazine paper that tests for amniotic fluid. The problem was that it was still outside in the car. I threw on a pair of shoes and Kent's sweatshirt and headed for the car. When I got to the door; I had a really rough pain. I stood at the door for a minute until it passed and then went outside. I found the paper and when I got back inside, I had another pain. I tested the fluid and it was negative. I decided that I had just over done it the last few days and laid back down. The pains continued. I was moaning through them and woke Kent up. I started timing my pains and realized they were 5 minutes apart and lasting at least 45 seconds.

I was sure that I wasn't in "real" labor. The contractions were very low and only on the front of my stomach. I thought the pain was caused by the symphysis pubic dysfunction I have during pregnancy being aggravated by the mopping I did earlier in the day. Also causing doubt was that contractions from my past births were felt across my entire stomach and in my back. I had been having contractions most nights from the 35 week mark on.  They would usually last a few hours and then I could go back to sleep. Kent kept asking if I needed to call the midwife and I kept asking for more time. Around 4:30, he decided that I was in labor despite the fact that I was still denying it. LOL Interesting enough, he always seems to know when my labor is "real" and not just more prodromal labor. He called the midwife and started filling the birth pool.

Daddy holding Felicity for the first time

After he called the midwife and had the pool filling, he left our room to turn on the outside lights and the lights in the kitchen. He discovered Griffin asleep on the couch. Kent scooped Griffin up and carried him back to his room. Griffin sleeps on the top bunk and Kent laid him in bed. He quickly discovered why Griffin was on the couch. He had gotten sick in the night and left his bed for the cleanliness of the couch. After cleaning Griffin up, Kent returned him to the couch and tossed the sheets in the washer.

By this time, my contractions were lasting over a minute and were terribly painful. They were coming every 2-3 minutes. Around 15 minutes later, I was still having fluid issues so I checked it with the paper again. This time it instantly turned black. I don't know if I had a slow leak earlier in the night and I had cleaned enough of it up that I couldn't test it or if I had a leak that occurred later. Around 4:50 am, I had a major leak and there was no doubt that my water had officially broken. The contractions became much worse.

The midwife getting a workout weighing our 10 pound plus baby

Let me take a minute to extol the virtues of a birth pool. We have an inflatable "kiddie" pool that is 60 inches across. The sides are inflated as well as the bottom. The softness  of the sides and bottom make the pool much more comfortable than a bath tub. It has enough give that I can push on it during a contraction and not be up against something hard. It is also firm enough to not collapse when I do this. We have a deep jacuzzi tub and it pales in comparison to the pool. The pool also allows more movement. The last few weeks of pregnancy I have trouble moving from my side to back or from sitting to standing; these problems are greatly alleviated in water. I was able to turn from side to side and even move to a hands and knees position in the water. The ability to move helps move the baby down the birth canal and also helps with pain management.

The pool wasn't completely full but I climbed in anyway.  The hot water heater in our bathroom had been emptied, but thankfully Kent had water heating on the stove. When I got in the pool my contractions were much more bearable that I was afraid I had slowed my labor. I didn't tell Kent because I didn't want him to tell me I needed to get out of the pool. I had already told him that I didn't think I could do this again (it was a way too late at this point to change my mind about having a baby LOL). I think that I basically started labor on Sunday morning in transition. I honestly don't know how women handle labor without hot water. The difference between being in the pool versus “on land" is unbelievable. It still hurts; hurts pretty badly, but it is so much better.

I knew that Griffin was on the couch and I really didn't want him to be a spectator to his sister's birth. I don't think I'm a loud birther but I'm not quiet either. Thankfully, the boy never even moved. He slept until Kent woke all the kids up to tell them that Felicity had arrived.

Holding Felicity after getting a shower and getting her dressed

Around 5:35 I told Kent that something was happening. He asked to check and I told him no. I was still in denial that I was really having a baby right then. A minute or so later I told him that her head was coming out. I had to give in and let him look. He told me that her head was just crowning. In my extremely involved in labor state, I was using as few words as possible and meant that she was crowning when I told him her head was coming out. A few seconds later her head was out, followed by one shoulder and then the next. At 5:43 am, Felicity Anne was born. As Kent was handing her to me, the midwife walked through our bedroom door. She said that when she opened the back door she heard me holler and knew that the baby was here.  She declared every thing to be OK and when the cord stopped pulsing, she cut it. I delivered the placenta in the pool (again I highly recommend lots and lots of hot water for "birthin' babies"). After the placenta was delivered, I hopped in the shower to quickly rinse off. I wanted a new gown and to lay down in my own bed. Laying in my bed is one of the greatest benefits to a homebirth.

Felicity was covered in vernix and despite weighing 10 lbs 2 oz, she didn't seem to actually be post date (she was born at 40 weeks, 4 days). She was 21 1/2 inches long. Felicity nursed well and was incredibly alert. She set a couple of new records for us. She is our largest baby by 10 ounces and she was my fastest "labor day" labor at just over 2 hours. Kent and the midwife drained the pool and rinsed it out. They changed the sheets on the bed, brought me a snack, started a load of dirty towels, and straightened up the bedroom. We waited until around 8 am to wake the kids up and then the midwife took our first family picture as a family of 10. Kent fixed breakfast and when the midwife was confident that I would actually stay in bed and had eaten a proper amount, she headed home. She came back Sunday evening to give Felicity and myself a quick check-up.

One of my favorite pictures. Our first photo as a family of 10.

Once again, the Lord granted most of my desires when it came to Felicity's birth. I prayed for her birth to happen in the night so that child care wouldn't be an issue. I wanted everything to be dark and quiet. I prayed that Kent would be home and I wouldn't have to labor while waiting for him to arrive. I also prayed that the baby would come when it was a convenient time for the midwife. I didn't want to leave her searching for a sitter for her children or interrupt her visits with clients. I had even had a discussion with some of my friends that my perfect birth would be just Kent and I with the midwife appearing just as the baby was born so she could declare that everything was OK. The Lord was gracious and granted me all of these things. The only things I didn't get was a small baby and an early delivery, though 4 days late seemed early after Liberty being a 42 weeker!

I know that homebirth is not for everyone. Kent is very supportive of homebirthing. I honestly couldn't do it without his involvement and support. When we met with the first midwife we used before our first homebirth, she asked us how we would handle an undesirable outcome. We responded that we completely believe in the sovereignty of God. If something "bad" is going to happen during a birth, it will happen whether we are at home or in the hospital. Sometimes that's a difficult thing to remember but I never could have had a baby at home if I didn't believe that fully. That said, if I had any true risk factors or problems develop in labor; we would head straight for the hospital (like we were attempting to do when Mary Claire was born). I also believe in a woman's ability to give birth the way her body was designed by God. Complications can arise and affect this, however, for most women their bodies will do what they need to do, when they need to do it.


  1. That is a wonderfully written story about Felicity's birth! Thanks for sharing. Love, Aunt Euna

  2. I know you are thankful for all those answered prayers and I absolutely agree with the wonderful part of being able to hop in your own bed!! What a blessing!!