Sadie: A Home Birth Story

"One year ago today I was 40 weeks pregnant on the nose. I had an appointment with my hospital midwife to check my blood pressure once more and run an NST to check on baby. My homebirth midwife met me there to keep me company. The appointment took forever. I listened to music on my headphones to try to stay calm and keep my blood pressure down. But I was panicked. I was afraid they would tell me I needed to be induced. I was afraid baby had flipped breach again. I was afraid of my blood pressure leading to a stroke. I was afraid, period.

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My hospital midwife suggested we do “whatever it takes” to encourage baby. I asked her to check me and strip my membranes while she was at it. I was dilated to 3ish... same as I had been for a few weeks by that point. Then they sent me home to eat a good, protein-filled meal, and rest. I was having contractions picked up on the monitor, but nothing that bothered me.

I stopped at Panera and got my favorite salad with extra chicken. I drove home crying... feeling like my body was failing me.

When I got home I went live in the BirthTube group where I was planning to livestream my birth. I shared my fears. I shared my plan... with the approval from my midwives I was going to take castor oil. (Not something I recommend to anyone else unless you’ve spoken with your care providers and are showing signs that labor is eminent.)

About this time in the evening my homebirth midwife stopped by just to check on me as she was headed through to another mama. I didn’t really think I was in labor, but while we were chatting my contractions picked up quickly. I’d been catching up on FRIENDS my entire pregnancy and was at the episode where Rachel goes to the hospital to have her baby and it’s taking forever.

I had been sitting on my birth ball and bouncing gently, doing figure eights with my hips, and squatting. I could tell baby was engaged and things got a lot more intense. Elizabeth suggested I hop in the shower while they blew up the birth pool. My thinking at the time was that I would take a shower, blow dry my hair, and throw some mascara on so I would look adorable when my birth photographer got there. Hailee was on her way. So was my mom and grandma.

After a few minutes in the shower I had a massive contraction that made me nauseous. Nausea is pretty standard for me in transition, but I just thought it was maybe because of the castor oil... no way was I in transition yet! I couldn’t be!!!

After that first major contraction in the shower, that was it. I was definitely in labor. My knees were shaky. I was nauseous. I had to really focus to breathe through my contractions.

I just repeated to myself over and over, “My body knows what its doing, whether or not *I* know it.” I had a moment of calm where I was able to get out of the shower. It took me forever to make it the 10 [feet] from the bathroom to my bed because I would go 5 steps and have a huge contraction.

I pulled on a dress (easy to labor in) and laid down on my side to rest for a minute. My midwife was in the kitchen on the other end of the house getting things ready. The boys were “helping” fill the birth pool in the living room. And Paul (husband) was outside.

I had a big contraction with an urge to push... but again, I thought there was NO WAY it was that time yet. It had barely been 40 minutes since my labor really started. Well, my water broke and another big pushy contraction came on. I screamed, yelled for the midwife and Paul, then got control of myself. By the time Elizabeth came in I was gently breathing and reminding myself to make little pushes. She sent the boys for Paul and when he came in he closed the door behind him.

At that point a calm came over me. “It’s okay. Open the door. Tell the boys to come in. I’m okay.” With [my sons] on the bed next to me and Paul behind them, baby sister joined us at 9:37pm.

I really wanted Sadie to have a gentle welcome to the world. We stayed skin to skin waiting for my placenta to be delivered before cutting the cord. Her big brother Lane (age 5) cut her cord and was so honored. Wade (age 3) patted his back for encouragement and support.

The photographer arrived only MINUTES after her birth and immediately went to work capturing amazing images. My best friend and sister-in-law got there just after that. And then my mom and grandma arrived. My mom and grandma had been at the birth of the boys so it was super disappointing that they missed this one.

They all snuggled Sadie for the first time while my mom got me a beer (with a straw) and my midwife stitched my tear. Then I got into the birth pool with the baby for an herbal postpartum bath. It was an amazing experience and I highly recommend it. My blood pressure was fantastic at that point!

Honestly, the entire experience was wonderful. I wish my labor had been a little slower so I could have gotten the powerful pictures I’ve been wanting and so that my mom and grandma could have been there. But I had a great team and so much love for this rainbow baby.

All three of our kids are rainbow babies actually. Altogether Paul and I have lost 6 babies over the last 10 years. Parenting has not been remotely what I expected, but we are so very blessed.

I honestly can’t believe it’s already been an entire year. This baby just fit right into our family and all of its crazy. She’s spent time in The Roosters Whistle slinging coffee with mama. She adores her brothers and her daddy. She has the best giggle and the sweetest smile all the time. She learns so quickly. And she eats everything!

She’s so very loved and she gives that love right back to everyone around her."

-Sarah, Harrodsburg, KY