February Mom of the Month

Lauren Bothel is one of our veteran moms. Along with her husband Andy, she has three children. Their oldest son, Ryan, was born at the hospital with an OB. Their negative experience at the hospital led them to choose, a birth center experience for their second child. Anna, 3, was born at Brookhaven, and it was a wonderful experience that led them to have their 3rd child, Luke, at home. Andy works for Dynamic Aviation and Lauren is blessed to be home with the kids. Lauren’s story is as follows.

It was a Saturday, a week past my expected due date, when Misty called to check in with me. She had plans to go out of town, because after all, we all thought I would’ve had this baby already. Not having anything to report, I told her to have a good trip. Of course, in the back of my mind I thought, great, I’m going to have this baby today because my midwife is going out of town.

That evening, as I put our older kids to bed at 7:30, something felt different about my Braxton-Hicks contractions. It was subtle, but uncomfortable in a way the practice ones were not. So i did what any other expecting mother would do, I cleaned the bathroom while I waited to be certain. When I was pretty sure that the contractions were the real thing, I told my husband, who jumped off the couch in a panic, “Did you call Misty? We have to blow up the pool. I gotta make coffee…” I called Misty, “Guess what, I think I’m in labor, no the contractions aren’t strong yet, still irregular, but sometimes only three minutes apart, time to head back to Harrisonburg.” Then I called my Mom. 

My husband and I inflated the birthing pool in our dining room and started to fill it with water. I tried to lay down for a while, but it made the contractions feel worse. Besides, who could sleep? I was finally in labor! My mom got to the house at 9:30, and Misty and Zazi arrived shortly after. While we waited for my labor to progress, I decided to listen to comedian Jim Gaffigan. He has a funny standup about home births, all of his children having been born at home. As my contractions became more intense, I decided to take it to the couch and watch a movie. I knew we wouldn’t make it through the whole movie. Halfway through, I got up to use the bathroom. I could feel my body was in transition. When I came out I told everyone I was getting in the pool. My husband poured in the pots of water we had heating on the stove, to a wonderfully warm temperature. I climbed in while everyone came back to the dining room. The water felt great and eased the pain in my lower back.

Soon I felt pressure as my body was starting to push. I felt a slight pop of my water breaking and got on my hands and knees. Misty monitored baby and I as I pushed. I think it was 4 or 5 real pushes when I felt baby come out. Misty had turned baby towards me and I got to pick him up out of the water and place him on my chest. I did this quickly and hadn’t stopped to see the gender. After a while, someone asked. We had a boy. It was amazing. I had just given birth in my dining room. I was in awe. It was 12:22am, 5 hours after the start of my labor, and Luke Patrick wasted no time in announcing his arrival. My daughter was the first out of bed, eyes wide open. “Is the baby here?” After Misty and Zazi helped me out of the pool, I headed straight for my own bed. They checked Luke and I, and then I let the newly big sister and big brother come in to see him. He was 8 1/2lbs of beautiful. I was already nursing him and what a strong latch he had! It was about 3am when the birth team and my mother left. We finally coaxed the other kids back to bed so we could all get some sleep. It felt good to be in my own bed. I could not have had a better labor and delivery. Thank you Brookhaven!”

Luke Bothelluke

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