If you’re curious about our first VBAC home birth experience with Hannah’s birth, give that a read first. It sets the stage well for much of this home birth story!
This is our second homebirth story of Sawyer Judson, our little boy, who was born on October 25th. I know many people like birth stories with pictures (I do too!), so I’ve included many along the way.
This birth story blog is long, but detailed. I hope, if you are planning for a home birth, you find it helpful or inspirational.
Homebirth stories were so inspirational and positive for me during my pregnancy, especially positive birth stories that normalized the whole process.
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We all thought Sawyer (who we didn’t know would be a boy), aka baby #3, would be early. Hannah, my second, was two weeks early.
And I was feeling and showing large. At every prenatal appointment, the midwives told me I didn’t have much room left for baby to grow!
So, I had it in my head that baby would be born early.
However, a week before he actually came, I had a fall down our stairs. I must have landed pretty badly because it was extremely painful.
I couldn’t move and turns out, it was a muscle strain, but a bad one. I was pretty much immobile for the next week as any movement hurt.
I was worried about baby, but the midwife came to check on him and all was well. I also went to the chiropractor 3 times that week to try to get back in alignment, saw my doctor and a PT.
I saw so many medical providers to ensure there was no internal bleeding and all was ok. Life went on. I had my baby shower and got more excited for baby.
However, I started to doubt my ability to have a home birth and more particularly, another home VBAC. With all of the pain I was in, how would I be able to push?
My midwives and everyone else reminded me that the back pain would subside or seem less exaggerated when I was pushing and going through labor. I had my doubts but still worked towards the plan.
The Day Before Birth
Our positive home birth story starts on Monday, October 24th. I had a nice, quiet and slow day. In the afternoon, I went with my neighbor (who was also 39+ weeks pregnant!) for a walk around our neighborhood.
We did a little over a mile, which was the furthest I’d gone since my fall where I tweaked my back badly the week before.
Ed was taking the girls for a walk and I opted for a relaxing warm bath, the first one I’d done since falling a week before. It actually felt really good on my back.
I listened to hypnobirthing affirmations, as I had been doing nightly and during the day when I could find the time.
I came out feeling relaxed, though my cough was still bothering me. I think I helped with the girls’ bedtime that night but don’t remember completely.
Our Home Birth Story – How Labor Started
I tried going to bed around 930-10, but was still up at midnight coughing on and off. I couldn’t get comfortable, and in the back of my head, I wondered if tonight would be the night.
At 1:28 am, I felt my first contraction. Again, I questioned if it was just a gas pain, but about 10 minutes later at 1:38, I felt it again. I still had doubts that this was actually going to be labor, but I had my suspicions as well.
It went on like this for another 30-45 minutes, getting a contraction every 10 minutes or so.
I didn’t want to wake Ed up just yet so opted to let him sleep and texted my doula and hopped in the shower around 3am.
By 330-4 am, contractions were 4-5 minutes apart, per my text to the midwives. After the shower, I felt extremely nauseous and threw up, cleared my bowels, and then started shaking.
I knew hormones were going crazy and this baby was on his/her way out! I remember shaking uncontrollably after hannah’s birth (not from feeling cold but more from hormones), but having it during labor was a new feeling.
Things escalated quickly as they tend to do based on the history of my labors. I told my doula that I thought things would happen quickly and after the shower, I confirmed labor was happening.
Contractions soon moved up to every 4-5 minutes, and then shortly, every 3-5. Ed worked on making the bed and started blowing up the birth pool.
At 4:40 am, Ed and our doula called the midwife to let her know that she should head our way and things were progressing quickly.
Handling Labor and Contractions
What felt most comfortable during my contractions was sitting on the toilet or being on all fours (hands and knees) and focusing intensely on my breath.
I really really tried not to tense up during the waves of contractions, but instead, embrace them and breathe through them while relaxing my jaw and whole body.
I thought about the waves in the ocean, I thought about the color hypnobirthing, I thought about holding my new newborn baby.
Despite not sleeping at all, I had to get the tiredness out of my head – my body was doing this no matter what.
Here’s the last pregnant photo I have – taking a break between contractions after hopping out of the birth tub.
Once Michelle (doula) arrived around 3:30, she helped by providing counterpressure and just mentally keeping me focused.
She reminded me all of this was normal and the body was doing what it needed to do and my baby would be here soon.
Similar to last time (although this time I was GBS negative), no one asked to check me. I asked Michelle, who is actually training to be a midwife, where she thought I was as I labored on the toilet.
She said around a 7 if she had to guess. She assured me I was handling things beautifully.
Once the birth tub was ready, I was anxious to get in. The first few minutes were amazing as the contractions subsided for a bit.
Then, they started again and I coped by leaning over the edge or leaning back. I tried to move as much as possible, with Michelle’s reminders.
I was probably in there for 30-45 minutes, as Heather, our midwife, was on her way. I felt no urge to push.
Eventually, I started feeling really hot and lightheaded and knew I had to get out.
Around 5:30-5:35, I went to the toilet. This is about when Heather arrived. At 5:38, my water broke and I felt instant relief, and an immediate urge to push.
Heather and Michelle instructed me to immediately get off the toilet and get back in the tub, which I did.
After 1-2 pushes, the head came out immediately at 5:53 am, which was a relief.
With Hannah, I pushed for 90 minutes and it felt endless. However, after getting the head out, my urge to push kinda stopped and I felt stuck. The midwives cautioned me to not let his head go under water so I was sort of squatting in the tub/leaning over the edge.
His head ended up being out for 2-3 minutes before the midwives realized his shoulder was stuck with mild shoulder dystocia, and they helped me out of the tub and onto my back on the floor where they maneuvered him out pretty quickly.
He was born at 5:58 am and cried immediately.
It took a minute for both ed and I to realize it was a boy! Ed looked and announced it was a boy just as they handed him to me to lay on my chest.
And that instant feeling of love, satisfaction, pleasure, and just everything being worth it happened.
They helped me move to the bed where we had 45-50 minutes of the golden hour of just cuddling and feeling ecstasy in my own bed – I had a boy! I didn’t think that was possible.
I would have been over the moon happy with a third girl, but something about this boy feels like a new kind of happy, and the perfect addition to our family😊
The golden hour was luxurious as they started cleaning everything up.
From here, we were looking forward to the girls meeting our new baby boy. He didn’t have a name until later that day. We had about 3 names we were considering but wanted to spend the day with the little guy before deciding.
Camryn had been adamant about having a girl, so we were a little nervous about how she would handle the news that she had a baby brother.
She came in our bedroom to meet her baby brother and was ecstatic – she said how cute he was and wanted to hold him.
Hannah woke up next and was so excited to meet and hold her “baby brother.”
My doula and midwife had been saying what a big baby he was since he was delivered. We didn’t weigh him until after that golden hour.
I heard them guessing weights upwards of 8 or 9 pounds, and in my head, I was like “no way!” Camryn, my first, was 6.5 lbs at birth. And while Hannah was a little larger, Ed and I did not think we could make large babies.
Well, Sawyer was 9 lbs, 4 oz, and 21 inches. I was amazed at how big he was! Between his size and the shoulder dystocia, no wonder he got stuck for a bit.
Delivering the Placenta
Between 6am after I delivered and for the next hour, they checked my uterus and did his vitals but it was not an interruption to us. However, my placenta didn’t want to come out.
After 45 minutes, they started getting more serious about trying to help get my placenta out. I had no urge to push and I was spent after the intense, quick labor.
We moved to the toilet to try to have gravity help us, and they gave me a shot of Pitocin. They helped me back to the bed and had to push on my uterus (SO painful) to help loosen up the placenta.
Eventually, it came out in one piece. I had a minor first-degree tear that the midwife stitched up, and it was a little painful, but having the little guy on my chest made things more bearable and took some of my attention away.
He did start rooting off and on and had his first feed at 7:15 am
The rest of the day was filled with so many cuddles. The girls had breakfast in our bed and we all marveled over his little fingers and “toesies.”
They were times I’ll never forget, and being in our own bed in the comfort of our home, was the best part. A main reason I love homebirths.
We nursed and snuggled in bed for the next two days as my colostrum came in. My milk came in about 2 days later and I had to relearn navigating feeling full and positioning a newborn.
The exhaustion was at an all time high as I barely slept that day, and slept only a few hours the next. I have trouble sleeping after the highs of a birth, and just want to stare at my little newborn all day.
Final Thoughts On our Home Birth Story
Would I home birth again? Absolutely – in my mind, it’s the only way I ever want to give birth, if we were to have more children.
After suffering a traumatic first hospital birth that ended in an unnecessary C-section, I am so passionate about women having autonomy and choices, and knowing their options.
While not all home birth stories have “happy” or planned endings, there is a lot of preparation you can do ahead of time if you have the knowledge and support.
And either way, your home birth story is your own.
It’s so important to have a well-versed care team that you trust and feel comfortable with.
And if you feel most comfortable in your home environment, why shouldn’t you be able to birth there?
It’s definitely a conversation worth having with your support team and care team.
Now, he loves looking at the ceiling/fan, and our headboard on our bed.