March 9, 2024

Bethany's Birth Story

"I had experienced a hospital birth with my first child, complete with an epidural, overly long stay, and unnecessary interventions. During my second pregnancy, I decided to have an out-of-hospital birth."

My sixth pregnancy was tiring, but otherwise uneventful. Five pregnancies had taught me a lot; I knew exactly what I wanted and needed and what to expect.

I had experienced a hospital birth with my first child, complete with an epidural, overly long stay, and unnecessary interventions. During my second pregnancy, I decided to have an out-of-hospital birth. Since a natural birth seemed a huge step and to calm concerned family members, my husband and I chose to go to the center instead of having a home birth. One very uncomfortable car ride, one short labor (just over 3 hours total), and one fast delivery (baby arrived under 30 minutes after we arrived at the Birth Center) made a home birth seem the logical choice for future pregnancies. I didn’t want to have a baby in the car!

During my sixth pregnancy, I had contractions throughout the last trimester that made me think labor was starting since they were different than Braxton Hicks, but they always fizzled out. I was very concerned that I wouldn’t recognize labor until it was “too late”!

Before my husband left for work the morning of March 28th, I was having contractions, but in my mind, they were not serious enough to justify having him stay home. Off to work he went, an hour and a half drive away. With my history of short labors, I knew I wanted to tell him as soon as I was sure it was labor, but also didn’t want to “cry wolf.” The contractions continued, and became strong enough that I started timing them. Worried about having a baby without my husband, at about 8:30 I asked him to come home and also had my mom and sister come pick up our five children. I had an appointment scheduled for that morning, but messaged the on call number to let them know the circumstances and cancelled the appointment.  My husband arrived home to me washing dishes and prepping a meal for the midwives. I fully expected a baby by lunchtime!

The contractions continued, but would stop for an hour or more at a time and never really grew in intensity or length. I started to have pelvic pain, which I’d also never experienced. I was feeling frustrated! Cassandra called in the afternoon and we discussed the possibility of baby not being in a good position, which kept my labor from progressing. She suggested belly wrapping and sitting reclined; within 15 minutes of doing so, the pelvic pain was gone!… but so were the contractions, again. Eventually, it was bedtime. I went to bed and slept very well, waking only once to a few contractions, then falling back asleep. I awoke again sometime later to a contraction that was downright uncomfortable! After it passed, I had a brief rest before a second started. I checked the time and registered that it was sometime after 3 AM. I waited for the contraction to stop, thinking, “I can’t stay in bed through these, I want to walk and see if this is it.” I crawled out of bed and went to the bathroom, where I had 2 more contractions. By this point, I was fully awake and thought that I should time these so opened an app on my phone. I briefly tried rocking on my yoga ball in various positions, but was growing increasingly uncomfortable, and quickly. I started timing another contraction and suddenly realized that I needed to wake my husband and call the midwife.

My husband wasn’t easy to wake, as he’d been asleep for only 2 hours, but my urgency got through. I walked back into our living room to keep moving. He was barely dressed when I told him that I needed him to call the midwife because I couldn’t. I should have seen this as a sign to gather supplies, as I can carry on a conversation and activities as normal throughout labor until right at the end. He went into our bedroom with the phone. As I heard him say, “bye,” I pushed once without conscious thought and reached down and could feel my baby’s head! I felt the intense need to push again. I somewhat frantically said, “Danny, I need you to come catch the baby!” I squatted next to the loveseat, leaning on it, and pushed. With very little effort, Katrin Paige was born, my water breaking with her arrival. Danny passed her up through my legs to me, and I turned to sit on the loveseat. I was glad that I had brought a towel to the living room earlier, since all of our birth supplies were in the bedroom. I think we were all a bit surprised by the quickness of her arrival!

Kat and I rested on the loveseat for a few minutes while she nursed and Danny prepped the bed for us to move there. She was such a quiet, cuddly, sweet-natured little girl! After moving into the

bedroom, I remembered the midwives, oops! I picked up my phone to call them. After I hung up, I saw that my contraction timer was still running. My last contraction, the one before waking my husband, had started only 22 minutes and 21 seconds ago.

My birth story goes from being so completely insecure about birthing my first baby that I chose an epidural and a hospital to feeling knowledgeable and mostly (haha) in control while having my sixth baby at home with only my husband present. I don’t believe I would ever have had such a positive, relaxed birth experience if not for Misty, Emily, Maya and Savannah (in past pregnancies), and everyone else at Brookhaven. I appreciate all of the love and encouragement they have given me and my family. Ladies, you are incredible! Thank you for everything you’ve done to give my babies a happy, healthy entrance. ❤

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