I am overflowing with joy and gratitude to be writing this brith story because it has been the healing I longed for and the story I only dreamed of having. This is our redemptive birth story.
Sunday evening, May 31st, I was up most of the night having on-again, off-again light contractions. As the morning of June first came, things started to taper off and I began to wonder when labor would actually start. I went to my scheduled acupuncture appointment at 10 am that morning and was able to take a nice nap that afternoon. Around 4 pm I started preparing dinner, enchilada casserole, for the family. I began to get light sensations again, so I decided to pay more attention to them and see if a pattern arose. They were about 4-6 minutes apart lasting around 30-40 seconds. I was still able to talk, and eat through them. It was time to get Jett ready for bed, so I soaked up the chance to tuck him in, as my maternal instinct knew it would be the last time I’d say goodnight and snuggle before he became an official big brother!
I decided to watch a movie with my mom and Jocelyn to help distract my mind and see what labor decided to do. Mason headed to bed early as he knew something was on the horizon. My midwives had mentioned to me that my labor could be sporadic, since baby was in the posterior birthing position. I kept this in mind while patiently awaiting signs of a more steady labor to speed up. I headed to bed around 9:30pm and as I started to relax, waves seemed to be picking up a bit, both in intensity and length. I started to take deeps slow breaths and focus on my breathing as they came and went. I started timing them, and soon realized a pattern appearing. Around 11pm I got up to ask Jocelyn’s opinion. Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart lasting from 30-60 seconds. I went ahead and informed my midwives. Jocelyn and I began to set up my birth affirmations, and light some candles. We turned on some worship music and I began to labor calmly and peacefully between the birthing ball and standing over the kitchen island. Funny how little moments humble you. I wanted a day birth (not a night owl here) but Knox had other plans to keep me up all night...
Around 2 am the midwives showed up as it seemed labor was progressing more actively. Knowing baby was still posterior, Amanda had me start the miles circuit to try and kick things into higher gear. It’s a serious of positions for me to labor in at 30 minute increments to help baby turn. It helped baby moved some and waves started to pick up. I then decided to do the moves again in rotation but not on a time scale, but rather listening to which my body responded to best. After, I ended up relaxing and resting some as my body needed a break to gain some more energy. Some time went by and the midwives suggested to have some snuggle time with just Mason and I to try to speed things back up by releasing some oxytocin (an old midwifery trick). Shortly after we began relaxing together, Jett woke up with the sunrise (per usual) and came in to say good morning. Little did I know seeing my first born was exactly what I needed in that moment. High levels of oxytocin released and a wave of emotions overran my body. I cried joyful tears of thankfulness. Thankful for my amazing husband, and my sweet Jett. Thankful I was birthing at home and my prayers were being answered. My body needed this. My baby needed this. Together, we moved forward into very active labor.
I asked to have the tub filled (where I planned to give birth) and made my way to the bathroom before getting in. I got in the tub at 6:18am. “Ahhh, this is the stuff” I remember saying, it was an amazing feeling of relaxation, warmth, and comfort. Just what I needed before what was to come. About an hour later (it felt like 20 minutes to me, which explains I was enjoying it too much) I was encouraged to labor outside the tub on my hands and knees again, as that is when my labor picked up the most frequency. I agreed as I was ready to meet my baby, and anything that brought me closer to that moment was what I needed to do. I got back on the bed in hands and knees position, leaning down on my pillows and the waves came back stronger and more frequently than before. My midwives fully trusted me and my body, never once needing or wanting to check progress, there was no need. This was transition (although in the thick of it I didn’t register that yet, all I knew is that I wanted it to end).
Transition. This was a new stage of labor l’ve never experienced before. With Jett I had an epidural before getting to this stage (but that’s another story). And boy did it rock me, literally, to my raw core. It was the most intense, powerful, overwhelming experience of my life. My whole being was not in my control, I had to let go and release. I struggled with my thoughts through it all, there were moments of I can’t do this, make it stop! But, there were more moments of pure surrender, a voice deep inside that found it’s way out of me I couldn’t hold back. I bellowed, I yelled, and made all sorts of noise. I took comfort in those around me, encouraging me to let go and breathe. I had moments that I questioned my body, and my ability, but they too passed. I dug deep, and was soon overcome with joy as I realized it was truly happening, I was going to give birth at home. (quick backstory, I had a planned home birth with Jett, but ended up being transferred to the hospital for a non-emergent reason) Thank you, Jesus.
Suddenly I just wanted to be done! I told the midwives I had to “poop”, and as soon as I uttered the word, I knew. It’s time to push, your baby is coming! I got off the side of the bed and didn’t make it a step further. Another humbling moment. I leaned into my midwife Christina for comfort. I held the sheets of the bed then Mason’s hands so tight to hold me up and release tension as I squatted to the floor. At 7:55 am I began pushing with each wave that led me to squat to the floor. “I can do this” I said. I gained all the confidence I needed and right there, in that moment, I released any negative thoughts and let my body take over completely. The sensations began to grow and I could feel your head begin to make way, stretching through my cervix a little more through each push. Here it came the “ring of fire” everyone talked about. Yes it did feel a bit stingy, but mostly just intense stretching. It was more releasing than anything, more enjoyable than transition. I felt you more with each push and after only 13 minutes of pushing, your head submerged from my body. What a release! I stood up to give you more room and leaned over on the bed waiting for my next wave to push you into my arms. The sensation of only your head out of my body lasted longer then I anticipated, and it was a feeling I’ll never forget. Listening to my body, and just over a minute and a half later the wave to push you out came and you were officially born at 8:08am. Christina caught you and handed you between my legs and into my arms. You cried for a few seconds, your color was perfect, and then I laid you on my chest and looked at you for the first time. All was right in the world. That moment of pure heaven on earth was worth it all, a million times over. I looked over at big brother and reassured him by commenting on how slippery you were, as that’s how he described all the babies we watched in home birth videos for preparation. A slippery, beautiful baby boy! You were born into a peaceful room full of love from family and friends. What a gift! We love you beyond words Knox Tyler and we will shower you with it everyday! My water birth didn’t end in water yet again but I am fully happy nonetheless, you choose land, because after all your name means “from the hills”. ~Alyssa
Lola’s home birth.
I woke up Sunday morning at 3am to my water leaking. At first I thought I peed my pants a little. I went back to lay down in bed and a few minutes later it happened again. I still wasn’t convinced...this was not how I anticipated my labor starting. I joked nervously with my husband and after a couple hours of random leaking, it was obvious I was indeed in the early stages of labor!
At 5am I called my midwife Christina and told her what I thought was happening. She was super calm and told me to try and get some rest and we’ll talk later in the morning. Having a home birth I knew I had a longer window for active labor to start, than being at a hospital. So I wasn’t worried, but was hoping things would get moving sooner rather than later. Sunday afternoon I started having random contractions...all mild and nothing consistent. Later that evening I wanted to vacuum as I had a feeling that things were going to pick up in the middle of the night. This happened with my first birth also...I cleaned for 100th time, the house felt just right and things picked up! Sure enough, as soon as I laid down for bed around 10:30pm contractions came on stronger! I tried to sleep in between them but that was easier said then done and lying down through these contractions weren’t fun. Time is a blur but eventually, I got up and got in the shower and had Steven time them for me! I would say “start”, then “stop” from the shower and he would try and sleep in between contractions ha...they started getting closer together and stronger and around 5 am I texted my midwife and told her things were getting real. My pain level was at 6-7 at that time and contractions were around 4-5 mins apart. At 6:24 Steven texted Christina it was time to come over. I continued to labor in the shower and contractions continued to get more intense and closer together. Cash woke up and Steven made him breakfast and put a movie on in the living room. My sister and cousin showed up shortly after, followed by my amazing midwives! When everyone showed up my labor stalled a little which I had expected. I got out of the shower and said “this is so surreal”—having my midwife there and being in labor I was realizing my dream of a home birth was actually happening. Baby girl’s position and heartbeat were checked. Everyone went back in the living room accept for Steven and I. We cuddled for just a short while and things started back up real strong.
I labored on the side of my bed and felt my contractions changing. Christina came in to check on me and it was obvious things were picking up. Until this moment I had been able to just breath through my contractions, but now I was getting vocal. My midwives rubbed some oils on my back as my lower back was starting to hurt and I leaned into Steven for every contraction—he seriously was the best support ever. I heard my midwives filling up the birth tub and knew I was getting closer. They had me go to the bathroom before getting in and I labored on the toilet for a bit and started to feel sensations to push...the tub wasn’t quite ready yet so Steven helped me up and I labored along the side of the bed again. Things continued to get more intense. As soon as I got in the tub it felt nice but contractions were changing once again and this was my least favorite part of labor. Transition—a confusing time Christina said, and it couldn’t be more true. It didn’t click that I was in it until Christina told me, and even then I still couldn’t quite process it fully. I knew baby was dropping down and kept checking to feel her but nothing yet. This added to the confusion as I felt like my butthole was either being ripped open, or I was having the biggest poop of my life! Neither were happening, but the pressure on my backend was the worst. I didn’t feel in control at this moment and said I didn’t think I was handling this well. They looked at me and said “we aren’t sure why you think that because you are doing it!.” I accepted their answer but then decided to have a conversation in my mind, with myself. It went like this...”I really don’t think I can do this...I want to get an epidural...but I’m not going to make it to the hospital...and even if I did, it’s too late to get one...the only way out is through”. When that last statement popped in my head, it couldn’t have rang more true. Finally, I mustered up some courage and with the coaching of my midwife, to be less vocal at this point, and concentrate more on pushing if my body was telling me to do so. I did just that and felt her head crowning. I think everyone wasn’t expecting her to be crowning just yet, but I knew she was right there so it was a relief to finally feel her! Crowning is my second least favorite part though. Need I say more. Amanda asked if I was ready for Cash, my sister & cousin to come in...at this moment I didn’t want to scare Cash. I still felt I wasn’t handling things the way I envisioned for him so we said no. I’m not sure how long I pushed for but out her head came and it was the biggest relief. Right away I said “heads out”, Christina replied “yes”, then I said “you can tell them to come in now!” I felt so much better and still needed to push the rest of her body out. They came in and I remember wanting to say something to Cash but I couldn’t get the words out. I waited for another contraction to come and I can’t remember if one did or I just tried to push the rest of her out. I felt like I didn’t have much control when it came to pushing now...but also, I thought second babies just slid right out? Not this one. She’s been a wiggler since the first days of feeling her in the womb and must have gotten herself in a funky position I thought to myself.
My midwife had me turned from my squatting position to my back and checked to see if her shoulders were stuck, they weren’t, yay! I tried pushing again but for whatever reason little miss needed some help getting out. Christina—so calm throughout the whole thing—explained exactly what she was doing as she got one shoulder out, then the other. Both shoulders were out and Steven helped to pull the rest of her out...my body didn’t want to let her go ha! Then the best moment ever...She’s here!!!
I reached for her as Steven put her on my chest and it was like we knew her all along. She looked at us and was moving around, but no cries. She was purple, full of vernix, and even though she was alert she needed some extra breaths. Christina asked if she could give her some help and we said yes. Instantly her color turned pink and we heard her sweet little cry, which was still so tiny! Never did I feel worried during this time, and my midwives were so calm and didn’t seem worried either. We just stared at her and talked to her and it was pure bliss. I delivered the placenta, got into my bed and she tried to latch. After her cord stopped pulsating and the placenta was born, Cash got to cut it the umbilical cord! He said she was so pretty. It was the best ever being in bed with my little family right after. No worries just a love filled room. We’ve been in heaven ever since. ~Desirae
When we found out we were having our third child, we knew we definitely wanted to be able to birth at home this time around. I’m fortunate enough to have Christina in my life, not just as a midwife, but as a friend. When it was time to figure out our birth plan and who I wanted to be there to support me I knew I wanted Christina’s calm and gentle spirit there with me. That was the best decision we could have made. She really brought so much peace and comfort to our home and there was never any moments of stress, panic, or worry. Christina was able to calm me when transition hit with her soothing touch and soft spoken voice.
What I’ll never forget is the essential oils she rubbed on my back. All I wanted was her delicious smelling hands right by my face when I felt like I was going to lose control. She allowed mine and my husband’s hands to be the first hands to touch our baby girl and I was able to pick her right up and place her on my chest. I never felt rushed to do anything wether it be delivering the placenta, cutting the cord, or even having to get out of the birthing tub afterward.
The whole experience was so organic and was one of the best days of our entire family’s life. It was such a beautiful empowering experience and that is in large part thanks to Christina. She has been such a blessing to our entire family. ~Amanda
We've known Christina for the past eight years. She was our Bradley instructor with our first pregnancy. We loved her class so much that we took it again with our second baby. She was so thorough and shared with us a wealth of child bearing knowledge that we felt extremely prepared during the birthing process. We had our first two in the hospital and because of how well she prepared us we were able to have successful drug-free births.
With our third and fourth babies we decided to have home births with Christina. When selecting a midwife we had a lot of criteria we were looking for. Things that were important to us were: someone that had experience and medical knowledge to bring new life into the world safely, someone able to listen to concerns objectively and present several options, someone willing to let the parents guide the birth, someone with a compatible personality to us, and someone that is loving and able to offer comfort, peace, and support during labor. I can genuinely say Christina offers all of these qualities.
Our last birth (July 2014) was so peaceful and special. She allowed us to birth the way we wanted, there were no restrictions, or feelings of being rushed. She was extremely calm and peaceful and very attentive to us and the baby's needs. We felt so loved and safe in her care. It's not likely we will have any more children, but if we do without hesitation Christina will be our midwife. We have had a wonderful journey with Christina and now share a special bond with her, we really love her! We are so sad to see our baby days being left behind! ~Ambrea
I am a first-time mom who had a lot of expectations for how I wanted to bring my little one into the world. As much as I had dreamed and planned for that day, it was not what I had expected.
I am so grateful for Christina's patience and endurance through my long labor and delivery. She adapted seamlessly to meet my needs and requests.
I labored for 56 hours including 2 1/2 hours of pushing. Throughout which Christina groaned with me voluntarily as well as upon request, this meant more to me than she even realized.
She gently offered creative ideas to make me more comfortable during labor (including offering peppermint oil for me to smell because I was very nauseated). And sound wisdom and encouragement for pushing.
She worked hard with me to deliver my baby into my arms and make my dreams come true! I felt as though she was as determined as I was to have a safe, natural home birth. It was very reassuring to have the presence of someone who shares the same priorities as we do.
Thank you so much Christina, for not giving up on me and working hard to make me as comfortable as possible without compromising the safety of me or my baby! ~Sarah