It started on December 7, 2017. 37 weeks 4 days. We had just had our "homevisit" appointment with the midwife 2 days before to make sure everything was in order for the birth. We decided to birth at our friends and intended parents, Casey & Jordan's house. That way I wouldn't have to worry about my house being clean and the parents could stay at home with the baby. We had both had homebirths before so this wasn't anything out of the norm for us. It was my 3rd successful vbac and homebirth and it was the easiest by far! Just 8 hours after awaking in my sleep and 4 hours after arriving at Casey's house, she was born!
I rolled around in bed during the night thinking that the double ice cream cone I had for Vivian’s birthday the night before really played a number on my stomach, but managed to mostly sleep until about 4:45am. I got up to go the bathroom and had a feeling I should turn the light on just to see if anything was going on….and sure enough, bloody show and I started the “cleaning out” process. Amazing how are bodies are designed like this to prepare for the birth. I knew this wasn't an upset stomach anymore, it was labor! I laid back down and noticed a little trinkle when I flipped sides. I decided to start timing the contractions and I think they were somewhere between 6-8 minutes apart and strong, way down low. They felt much more like a menstrual cramp than I remember my other labors feeling. They actually seemed to increase in intensity when I was lying down.
I attempted to “rest” and let my support people rest a little longer and let them build in intensity before alerting everyone. At 6am I decided I better start letting people know because once in active labor, my labors go pretty quickly. I texted my midwife, Ginger, my friend, Casey, and my friend and doula, Mary. “Good day for a birth?” I said. I let my midwife know what was happening and that I had a little tiny “leak” after my contractions. I texted Mary, “are you up???” She replied right away and I let her know what was happening and asked if she could run an errand and pick up the donated breastmilk that I had secured for the baby that I was going to pick up that morning.
Casey never replied to my texts – probably still asleep - so around 7ish I decided to call her. I don’t remember exactly what I told her - something like, "are you ready to meet your baby???" but I know I asked – is the birth pool all ready to go, did you get a hose for the pool? (That was one thing we said still needed to be done on Tuesday at our appt.) She said no and I asked her to send Jordan to get it, because I was definitely in labor. She had to get her kids ready and off to school and we had to do the same.
At some point around this time I woke my husband up saying “I think I’m in labor” and he replied “no, you’re definitely in labor.” He knows me too well. I then frantically started pulling my birth bag together as he got the kids ready and off to school. Occasionally I would lay on my bed and moan through the contractions and I really felt it was strange to be vocalizing so "early on" but it helped!
I know, I know, I should know better waiting to the last minute to pack….but we were all planning to finish getting everything ready that weekend. I do usually have my babies early, but not that early…and with it being a gestational carrier situation, we didn’t even know if the pattern would remain the same for this pregnancy. But I’m SO glad it did! I never even got to the point of being terribly miserable or ready to be done with the pregnancy. God’s grace was all over this, as I had endured much more fatigue throughout this pregnancy.
The midwife decided we probably should come to her place so she could confirm that my water was broken. I thought it was so strange that I was feeling just a little leak AFTER my contractions – but she explained that during the contraction, the baby’s head was likely applying pressure, not allowing anything through, but after the contraction, the water was able to come out. So we got everything together and decided to make the all important stop at the chiropractor’s office first. Thankfully the chiro, midwife, and Casey all live within 10 minutes of each other. It was around 9am on the way to the chiropractor and my contractions were definitely getting strong and about 5 minutes apart now. I even had to stop in the lobby to breathe through one. I decided I didn’t want to be in the car any longer than possible so we called the midwife and asked her to meet us at Casey’s house.
Around 9:30 we arrived at Casey’s house. She offered to make me an egg muffin which I scarfed down between contractions. I worked through contractions and talked in between while sitting on the birth ball. We got into a conversation about everything we had planned that day – we had moved up an ENT appt for Vivian for that day bc we thought the other was too close to the due date. The midwife commented that she had planned to get her nails done and get a massage. She tested my urine and said it was definitely positive for blood and rupture of membranes so there was no reason to get a cervical check. At one point I asked the midwife where her nail appt was and when, because we didn’t know how long this would be going on…I think I was in the mindset that it could take all day to get into "active" labor like Vivian’s birth did. She said it was right around the corner so we told her to go ahead and go. She called to see if she could get the appt moved up sooner and they said, sure you can come 15 minutes early. HA! Anyway we convinced her that it was fine to go, as my contractions had actually spaced out a little (probably all of the commotion and people, maybe). I think she ended up leaving around 11ish?
I continued to labor and not long after she left I needed to be standing and leaning over the counter during the contractions. Casey offered to warm up a rice sock which I stuffed into my maternity pants and it felt AMAZING! Aaron started giving counter pressure along with Mary – I don’t know who was doing what but I know it helped, as well as moaning through the contractions. I tried to eat some dates as those were supposed to help with hormones and possibly lessen a chance of hemorrhage as well. Well there are many benefits to them!
This is a picture we managed to get between the contractions. See that fake smile on my face? I think I requested this picture because I had wanted a cute pregnancy picture in front of the tree, but hadn't taken one.
I went to the bathroom and remember having a contraction in there that took me a while to recover from, things were really getting stronger. When I came out we talked about getting lunch as people were starting to get hungry. Casey was taking my order for sandwiches and I couldn’t for the life of me tell her what I wanted on it….just kept saying, “I don’t know.” Ha – prime sign of transition here, not being able to communicate. This is because our thinking brain shuts down – probably due to the flood of hormones. I found out later that after I turned my back, Aaron told Casey, “I think she’s in transition.” And she agreed. We sent Jordan, Casey’s husband, to go get lunch.
At this point I think Casey suggested that we go get in the birth pool which sounded amazing. The feeling of the birth pool was amazing!! And things really started to ramp up in intensity. I'm guessing the time was around noon.
I had a couple of contractions that felt like it lasted FOREVER. Seriously, if felt like 2 minutes long and I wondered if it would ever end. At some point the midwife and her assistants came in and I could barely open my eyes to see the commotion that was going on as they got everything set up. I remember Jordan came back down and prayed for me and the birth of this baby and Casey read scripture although at that point I was so focused on the contractions that I have no idea what she read. After a really long contraction, I decided that I really needed to go pee. The midwife encouraged me to just pee in the pool since it’s sterile, but I wasn’t able to relax enough to do that. I decided to quickly get out and go to the bathroom. After going pee I really felt the urge to have a bowel movement. My husband sat in front of me and reminded me that it probably meant the baby was coming. My midwife even reminded me that I did my cleaning out this morning but they couldn’t get me off the toilet.
Casey waiting as I was in the bathroom.
I had a contraction that felt a little different/grunty but it passed and I stayed there because I was convinced I had to go to the bathroom. The next contraction came and everything changed! My body started pushing and I could feel the baby coming!! The midwife quickly turned on the light and looked at me and asked if it was the baby to which I nodded yes and she demanded that I start blowing through the contraction to get through it. I did everything I could to hold back the contraction and blow, blow blow! I did end up passing some stool – so there! HA! My midwife had me quickly get up as soon as it was over. I told them I can’t bend over to clean myself because it felt like her head was way down there, so my sweet hubby got that job. He just told me recently that when he did, he could see the top of her head…..no wonder I couldn’t bend over.
I got in the tub, sat back, opened my legs up and her head was birthed immediately, it just slid out. Casey quickly jumped in the pool so that she could catch the baby. We waited for the next contraction (I started getting antsy but my midwife reassured me that everything was fine). The next contraction came and she was born!! I don’t even recall pushing – not actively anyway, but maybe I did. Casey caught her and we just looked at each other in amazement. “WE DID IT!” We just kept saying with a shocked look on both of our faces.
Jordan came to join us as soon as I was covered and Aaron left the room for Casey to do skin to skin (not pictured). It was important to our men that we retained our modesty. The placenta came with no issues and hardly any bleeding- as Mary continued to feed me dates after the birth. We cut the cord after the placenta was birthed. Our husbands hugged each other - a moment I'll never forget. I was able to nurse Lottie so that she got colostrum after the birth and then continued to pump for her for about 12 weeks. After getting all the baby's measurements, she went to Casey as I recovered. It was a beautiful moment when the kids got to meet her. I thank God for using me in this way to bring life - I can't wait to see the plans that God has in store for her!
Casey got to catch the baby!
Yeah, we got a little close to each other. Everyone encouraged me to sit back but I didn't feel like moving. HA! Sorry, Casey!
Here we are just overjoyed and stunned at what had just happened. Their dream of adopting a child, the process of adopting the embryo, attempting to carry it, and then me carrying it had finally resulted in this beautiful baby!! WE DID IT! GOD DID IT! SHE'S HERE!
Welcome Charlotte "Lottie" Rae born 12/7/2018 at 1:39 p.m. 5 lbs 14 oz
(And Mary - feeding me dates!)
What a crazy ride God took us all on as we trusted and followed Him. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it!
Happy 1st Birthday Lottie!!!!
Because Birth Matters Blog
Bethany Fenlason, Wichita Doula
Welcome! I'm a wife, stay at home mom to five children, and a Wichita doula. My passion is to educate and inform mothers and families of their choices and options in pregnancy and childbirth. Through support and education, I hope to help many families achieve a birth that empowers them as mothers and fathers and allows them to trust birth for the incredible and natural, yet-awe inspiring process that it is.