Enjoy reading my natural home birth story of our 4th baby. I started out with the stomach flu and ended up with our first baby boy.
The Stomach Flu
It all starts with the kids getting the stomach bug when I was 37 weeks pregnant. Clara and Rosie got it first and then my husband Ben started throwing up a few days later. I felt nauseous off and on for several days after that, but didn’t throw up. By the weekend, naturally I thought that Lottie and I were going to escape the stomach bug this time. I was really thankful as I was so worried if I got sick, it would put me into labor. I have heard a few birth stories where the mom was throwing up between contractions because she had the stomach flu. I was really hoping to avoid something like that.
Sunday, after church, Lottie said her stomach was really hurting. Sure enough, she threw up. I just knew I wasn’t going to escape this time. So I resigned myself that I would probably be next. By Monday afternoon I was feeling really nauseous and knew it was coming for me.
By that evening feeling pretty awful and finally threw up. However, I am so thankfully my version of the stomach flu was really short lived compared to the rest of the family. I only threw up once and by Tuesday morning, although I still felt nauseous and my stomach hurt I felt the worst was over.
Early Labor Starts
But Tuesday morning I also started to feel mild cramping, the tell tail sign of labor. Those early contractions were very mild but still there was no denying that this was the start of labor. I tried to rest and do as little as possible in hopes of feel better before things really picked up. I tired to eat and drink as much as my sensitive stomach would allow to replenish my body and give myself energy for the labor ahead.
The contractions continued to be very mild and inconsistent so it was hard to know if they were going to go anywhere. By the end of the day, they seemed to fade to about one every hour or so but never completely went away. I had a few in the middle of the night and did not sleep well. I was feeling so restless and achy.
By Wednesday morning I thought that perhaps the contractions were going to just kind of go away and maybe the baby would stay put for a little longer. This had never happened to me before, but I thought perhaps that this time was different because I had the stomach flu.
Let’s Go Get Baby Chicks
I was feeling better and had a little more energy. We had perviously planned on picking up baby chicks at a local farm store this Wednesday. I decided that instead of waiting around to see if the contractions picked back up, we would just continue with our original plan and go get the baby chicks.
I loaded up all the kids in the car and we headed off around 10 am. The store was about a 30 minute drive and I noticed my contractions were back not long after getting in the car. However, since they were mild, I decided not to worry about it. But I did pray that nothing crazy would happen while we were out on our errand. The kids were so excited about getting the chicks, I didn’t want to disappoint them. We got to the store and bought our baby chicks and were heading back home in no time.
After getting the new baby chicks settled into their new living quarters, the girls and I ate lunch. Then because the girls were dying to hold those sweet baby chicks, we went to the basement and I let them all have some chick cuddles. The chicks pooped on everyone, as chicks will do. So after cleaning everyone up, I got Rosie down for a nap and I decided to lay down too.
This Labor Is Actually Going Somewhere, I Hope…
As I was lying in bed, I had 4 contractions in 45 minutes. I also felt like my contractions were a little different. There was more pressure with them. They were still really mild but since my third baby arrived so quickly that the midwife did not arrive in time, I decided it was a good idea to have Ben come home from work. I didn’t want to be home by myself if this labor ended up like the last one. I also called my mom to let her know and she said she would come over too.
Ben got home around 3:30pm and my Mom got there around 4pm. My contractions still weren’t regular but they seemed to be coming more often, although they were not consistent at all. Some were 8 minutes apart and some were 10-12 minutes apart. I did have a bloody show and that did help me know that I was actually in real labor even thought my contractions weren’t getting any stronger or closer together.
To pass the time, I got a shower and then sat outside with my bare feet in the grass soaking up the warm March sunshine.
What Should I Do With Myself?
I didn’t know what to do with myself. It felt like I was just waiting for something to happen. I don’t really work like that when I’m in labor. I usually just busy myself with life until I have to stop. But because I was still tired from being sick and not eating very much, I kind of just felt like I didn’t know what to do. I cooked up some ground beef for our spaghetti dinner and ate a little of that.
Then later my mom and I took a walk around the farm. On our walk I had some contractions that were about 5 minutes apart which was the most consistent my contractions were the entire labor.
Around 8 pm I just went and laid in the bed and rested. I didn’t want spaghetti for dinner. The children were also so excited from getting the chicks that day and hopefully getting a new sibling really soon, that the energy level in the house was really high. I needed some peace and quiet. I laid on the bed for awhile and my contractions were coming somewhere between 6-10 minutes.
The Midwives Arrive
I had been texting my midwife here and there over the last few days letting her know what was going on. Although, Ben was the only one around while we had our third baby, he wasn’t interested in repeating that. So he and my mom encouraged me to let the midwife know that maybe she should come over soon. This was around 9:15pm. I hate having a bunch of people around waiting for me to give birth so I was a bit reluctant to tell them to come.
They arrived around 10pm and set up all their things. My contractions were still so mild that both my midwife looked like they thought they were going to be here for awhile and maybe a little disappointed they came. I was laying in bed resting and Krystina, my midwife, casually suggested that I get up and walk around if I wanted to have a baby sooner. I did take her advice and got up and bounced on the exercise ball.
Birthing Ball, Bed, Birthing Ball, Bed
After setting up all their supples, Krystina and her assistant Barbara, went and rested in the living room for what they thought was going to be a long night. Ben and I hung out together and chatted and laughed and I told Ben to take one last picture of me pregnant around 10:45pm.
I had a few contraction on the birthing ball that were a little stronger where I needed to breath through them. I went between the ball and the bed. The bed contractions were much more mild but I also wanted to rest as much as I could since I was already working with a body still recovering from the stomach bug. Barbara came in every 30 minutes to listen to the baby’s heart beat and ask me how I was doing.
I Think I Need To Push…
Around 11:40 pm, my contractions started to get a little closer together and more intense and I needed to breath through them but still was chatting to Ben between the contractions. I started to feel a little like I needed to push. When Barbara came in to check the baby’s heart beat around 12 am, I told her I was feeling like I needed to push.
She went out to talk with Krystina. My mom was also resting on the sofa and she asked them how it was going. They told her that they had come right away because I have a history of fast deliveries but implied to her that this one might take awhile. Barbara told Krystina that I was feeling pushy and they both got up and came to check on me.
Both the midwives came in and I was having a hard contraction, the first one they had seen.
We Have a Son!!!
They could tell that things where different now. I had back to back hard contractions and then my water broke. Pushing was instantaneous after my water broke. I pushed through three contractions and remember saying that this baby felt so big. Turns out he was only a sweet little 6lb 12oz, 20 inch long baby. And then he was born at 12:10am March 16th!
I brought him up to my chest and soaked in that wet fresh baby smell. There is no better feeling in the world! Neither Ben nor I had seen if was a boy or a girl at this point. Krystina, with a twinkle in her eye, said she had seen. I check and couldn’t believe that after three girls we finally had a boy! Ben said, ” well no more hand-me-down clothes for you, my boy!”
The Part You Never Think About
Now for the part you never think about when having a baby. I’ve never had trouble delivering my placenta but this time my placenta just didn’t want to come out. I tried pushing but I wasn’t having any more contractions. And since I wasn’t bleeding at all, both midwives agreed it was detached but just wouldn’t come out. After many several different positions it finally came out. That was the most frustrating part of the whole experience. Krystina did say that sometimes a cervix can just close up tight and not let the placenta out. I guess that is what happened to me this time.
Welcome to the Family
It took several days to name our son. Boy names have never been something that we had felt super settled on. We had a list of many names but after deciding that we were going to use Curtis as a middle name (Ben’s middle name that had been passed down for 3 generations), it made the first name so much easier. James! James also happens to be my dad’s name and it just has such a warm happy feeling with it.
I’m so glad we ended up being able to use meaningful names from both Ben’s side of the family as well as mine.