Sunday, July 1, 2012

Our Home Birth

  I'm sorry if this post is a bit foggy.  I wanted to write about our home birth before I forget the details!  Our sweet Joey is about 2 weeks old now, so it's time I got crackin', right?
  Just a little background information to start: our first two boys were born in the hospital and nurse midwives attended both births.  Our oldest son was born in a German hospital, which was an interesting and good experience.  Our second sweet boy was born here in the States.  It was also a fairly good experience, however I absolutely felt like the nurses were rushing my labor along.  I was told to walk for two hours to dilate more, otherwise I'd be sent home.  (Traveling by car to the hospital is one of the most stressful parts of the birth for me, so I took them seriously and did as I was told.)  I did indeed keep "on schedule", but I was extremely tired out by the time my son was born.
  I started out my 3rd pregnancy under the care of the same hospital and a nurse midwife, but started seriously considering a home birth about 2 months before Joey was due.  I had read a number of books about home birth, watched some great documentaries about our modern obstetrical practices, and have three friends who have had great outcomes with home births.  When I researched even more, I found out that the data does support the fact that in a low-risk pregnancy, home birth attended by an experienced midwife is just as safe and sometimes safer than a hospital birth.
  I started talking to my husband about it and showed him some of the statistics.  He told me he'd think and pray on it.  After a week or so and many conversations later, he agreed that we should attempt a home birth, even though our insurance wouldn't cover any of the cost.  We found an excellent midwife, Yolanda Visser, who runs Birth Song Midwifery in Grand Rapids.  She's attended well over 2,400 births, and she's an absolute champion as a midwife, in my opinion.
  Because I had come so far in my pregnancy under the hospital system, I continued to see the nurse midwife, so that if I needed to be transferred to the hospital or if I was told late in pregnancy that I was not a good candidate anymore for home birth, that there would be no issue of "continuity of care".  The nurse midwife knew I was considering a home birth, and she had agreed that I would be a good candidate for it.  At her request, because of hospital and insurance issues, I was never able to tell her outright that I was planning a home birth.  
  I was very pleased with my prenatal care with Yolanda.  My appointments were usually an hour long, and she spent a lot of time making sure my nutrition was on track.  She switched my prenatal vitamins to a food-based vitamin and added fish oil, evening primrose oil, and raspberry leaf tea to my daily regimen.  She treated me like a human being with a normal life situation on my hands, instead of someone who was ill.  I really appreciated that.
  When the day finally came, I was more than ready to not be pregnant anymore!  Contractions started around 4:30 am, but I didn't feel like the baby was dropping much.  I was in contact with Yolanda all day by phone, as she monitored my progress.  I had been cleaning most of the day to get ready to show our house, which is for sale.  We actually left the house and went out to dinner while I was having contractions so that the house could be shown.  (Why waste a clean house, right?!).  By the time we got home and put the older boys to bed, I thought it was time for Yolanda to start making her way to our house.  The baby was dropping and the contractions were coming faster and harder.  Around that time, we also called our moms to come and be at the house in case our boys woke up.
  By the time Yolanda arrived at 11pm, my contractions were coming one on top of another.  I attribute the brevity of my active labor time (4 hours) to the raspberry leaf tea and being on my feet all day.  Man-oh-man, I somehow thought labor at home would be easier, but it was still extremely intense.   Going through contractions on my hands and knees on the floor worked the best for me this time around.  There's no way in the world you'd ever find me on a hospital room floor, but at home I could choose to be wherever I wanted.  My husband was a huge help to me during my labor.  He was incredibly supportive and encouraging.  I asked him later if this birth was different for him than the first two, and he said he felt more involved in the process at home.  He was very pleased with the whole experience.
  By 11:30 my water had broken, and it was time to push.  At 11:47pm, Joseph took his first breath and let out a tremendous yell.  I had been praying before he was born that he'd let us know right away that he was healthy and well.  That prayer was answered!  He is by far our loudest screamer (which is a feat if you know my oldest son).
  Within a few minutes, we invited our moms into the room.  It was a really special time for both of them.  My mom has since told me that it's one of the highlights of her life.  We all saw Joey's newborn examination as Yolanda told us each factor she was looking for.  It was interesting for me to watch because for the other two births, the boys were always taken away to be weighed and checked.  Mr. Joey was 9 pounds at birth!  We were shocked at his size!  In keeping with his enthusiasm for eating, he latched on almost immediately and started nursing.
  A few minutes later, my husband got our boys up to meet their brother.  Our oldest son had been so insanely excited about the whole pregnancy; we knew it would be a great moment for him.  He said "hi" and immediately leaned over and hugged him.  Our 2-year-old son surprised us by taking delight in his new baby brother.  We attribute most of this to his meeting Joey right away and in the comfort of our home.  My husband and I didn't leave for the hospital and then come back a few days later with a new sibling, which we knew would have greatly bothered our sensitive little guy.
  Yolanda stayed with us for about an hour and then left us with our newest addition!  It was wonderful to go to sleep in our own bed, without nurses coming in and waking us up many times.  When I woke up very early in the morning, I just went downstairs and got myself a drink and some fruit.  How nice to not have to wait for the hospital's cafeteria to open!  Later on, we enjoyed a feast prepared by my mom and just hung out as a family.  It was a wonderful experience for all of us, thank God!  We had prayed earnestly for a healthy labor, deliver, and baby, and He answered all of our prayers.

Psalm 139:13-15

New International Version (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being;(A)
    you knit me together(B) in my mother’s womb.(C)
14 I praise you(D) because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,(E)
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made(F) in the secret place,
    when I was woven together(G) in the depths of the earth.(H)

Welcome to the clan!
 Newborn exam

9 pounds!


  1. Love your story!!! I had a relatively short first time labor that my midwife attributed to my regular and committed use of RRL tea too :) I'm so glad you had such a wonderful home birth experience. I LOVED my home birth. All of your boys are gorgeous and I hope I get to meet Joey in August!!!

    1. Thank you! We were so happy that everything worked out without any problems, thank God!

  2. Totally bawled reading this Kate, loved it all! I'm so glad you shared all the God laced details, amazing I say!! I'm so proud of you delivering a nine pound baby, wowzers girl! Praising God with you guys!

    1. Thanks so much, Becky. We are so very blessed (family and friend-wise : )