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Homebirth Info


Next Session:

5pm, Sunday, March 19th, 2023
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Miles Jacob

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.57.42 AMWaiting for Baby B was not an easy thing for me.  At over 42 weeks I was tired of being pregnant and eager to meet this person (we did not know the sex).  At my 42 week appointment with the midwives I was, once again, reassured that I would not be pregnant forever, that baby was doing just fine and that labor would start when baby was ready.  Though slightly anxious, I did not fear for my baby, myself or even of labor, but I was starting to feel a little pressed for time; my birth team had been on call for over a month, spring breaks having come and gone (my doula is a teacher), and now Passover was just around the corner and I didn’t want my birth team to miss out on family occasions.  Yet, still no baby.  I focused on dates…3/23/13 would be perfect so the midwives, their assistants, and I all decided baby should come on that Saturday evening after Dan, Finn and I had attended the DC United match, early evening before anyone had to miss anything (study session on Sunday for the midwife student or political obligations in Baltimore on Monday for my midwives).

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Alas, baby did not decide to come that Saturday and my family made it to the DC United game with plenty of time to tailgate after the 3p match.  Funny enough, I got a text from Sarah, the Washington Post photographer who was to be at the birth, with her hopes of getting enough notice so she could make it home from the game in time…we caught up at the game and reviewed our plan to have baby sometime that evening.

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So, Saturday came and went, then a long night wherein Finn gave us a break and actually slept.  I woke Sunday morning to a few squeezes that were a bit intense.  Here is Finn mimicking me breathing through a contraction at breakfast.

Dan was out most of the day on appointments and Finn and I hung out.  We took the dogs for a walk, played around the house and got in a nice long two and a half hour nap.  Contractions continued throughout the day, getting stronger off and on, but with no distinguishable pattern.

Dan arrived home around 4p and contractions immediately picked up.  They got stronger and harder to get through then backed off after an hour or so.  After dinner, Finn was off to bed and minutes after I finished our nightly routine of nursing while reading and prayers at the bedside, contractions picked up and we were off and going.

I had been in contact with my midwives and my birth team throughout the day to let everyone know that contractions had started.  By 7:15p I was on the phone again trying to figure out when everyone should plan to come to the house.  It seemed a bit on the early side, but I also didn’t know how fast this kiddo would come (second babies generally come quicker than firsts).  Leigh, my doula, arrived around 9:30p, Sarah around 10p and the midwives just after.  Contractions were still going and picking up in strength.

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While waiting on the birth team to arrive, Dan busied himself with setting up the birth pool in the bedroom while I double made the bed (putting a set of sheets on top of a waterproof cover so we could dirty these during the birth and then easily strip them to have a nice fresh set of sheets immediately after).

The rest of the night was a blur of movement, contractions, cat naps and baby checks.  Early in the evening I tried to rest; resting in between contractions on the toilet, sitting or laying on the couch, or resting my torso on a pillow.  Back labor with each contraction had me flipping onto my hands and knees to allow someone to apply slight pressure to my sacrum.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.59.38 AMFinn woke around 2a, used the potty and then Dan and he stole away to nap in his room while Leigh took over labor support.  By that time, labor was going hard core and napping, for me, was out of the question.  I was moving around as much as I could, in and out of the birth tub, on and off the toilet, up and down the stairs, doing squats and lunges where I could.  My waters remained intact and labor kept rolling on and on. I remember getting into the tub and needing a pep talk from an old friend…I called Susan (yes, it’s 3 am but as she now lives in LA and works nights, I wasn’t worried I’d wake her).  Susan is one of my best friends and my doula from my first birth, we chatted about where I was in labor and I got some encouraging words that helped my mental state.

I worked through a couple more hours of contractions with the midwives checking me and baby per their protocols and Leigh by my side helping me breath through the contractions.  Mentally, I felt strong but by this point (going on 9 hrs of hard labor), I was getting tired.  Leigh kept me centered and with each surge I had to tell myself not to lose it…I’d take a nice cleansing breath in at the start then the back pain would come and I’d have to tell myself to loosen and relax.   Leigh monitored my breathing and if it got too fast or shallow she would remind me to take deep breaths.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.00.06 AMAround 4:30a, Finn and Dan woke up to find me in the birth pool.  At this point we called Dani, our Finn care friend, to come over and be available for Finn, should he get overwhelmed or where I got to the point where I really needed Dan.  Finn gave lots me pats and kisses as he sat with Daddy at the side of the pool … labor continued.

It was getting close to 6a (I think) and I was getting very tired of being in labor.  Aren’t second babies supposed to come quicker? In the hopes of giving myself a boost, I brushed my teeth and then checked myself while sitting on the toilet. I was disappointed to not feel a head.  I got discouraged and even though I know it doesn’t help labor any, I asked to have a vaginal exam to see how dilated I was.  Fortunately, my midwives are awesome and instead of jumping to and just checking me, we talk about why I feel I need to be checked.  My answer “because I feel like I should be pushing…it feels better to push than not to push but I don’t want to be pushing against cervix.”  Mairi, one of the midwives, advised me to check myself again with the next contraction to feel for anything.  With the next surge, I felt inside- there’s a head!  I was so excited I said “Oh, thank God, there’s a baby in there!”  But all I felt was a hard something, did my water break and I didn’t feel it? I got really emotional at this point knowing that s/he was almost here and realizing how much my life was about to change.  Anyway, on I went, working through more contractions knowing that there would be an end…but when?

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.00.17 AMAnother hour or so later (time warps in labor states) and I felt again, it didn’t feel like there had been any progress and I got frustrated so I ask if there was anything else I could do to move things along.  My favorite position (not!), squatting, was suggested.  At this point, I would try anything.  Dan helped me by holding my hands during contractions and I squatted through the next few minutes of surges.

Finally, some progress!  The feelings were much more intense and I couldn’t help but push with the contractions. I rested and laid back in between surges and sometimes got up to a five minute break as my body geared up for the last rush of power before birth.  This was so much harder than I remember!   I was back to laying on my side in the pool with Dan supporting my legs.  Cassandra, the student midwife, took over coaching me and had me reach down to support baby’s head as he came out.  This technique helped me keep my focus and not push too hard too fast because I could feel the baby move with each surge.  I heard words of encouragement from all sides;  Erin, in her gentle voice offered reassurance that I was doing a great job, Leigh was in there somewhere telling me how strong I am, Dan was reminding me to hold back so I don’t tear and Cassandra was reminding me to breath all the way down to my baby.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 10.00.50 AMFinally, s/he’s here!  The first words I heard myself say are “hello princess” (I’d thought this kiddo was a girl from the first time I heard his/her heartbeat at 10 weeks).  Then I asked, “what are you?” and found out, HE’S A BOY!

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The beauty of home birth is that there are no restrictions.  During labor, I moved as I pleased, ate and drank what my body needed, and had as many support people as I wanted.  My birth team was perfect; every person had their place and they each provided support in exactly the right way.  Finn got to meet his baby brother less than two minutes after birth, I was moved to my own comfortable bed a few minutes after that, and Miles latched on immediately while Dan and Finn oohed and aahhed over him.  All the while, Miles was in my arms, baby checks were held off until after he nursed and after we got some family bonding time (when the midwives excused themselves to complete their charting and notes).

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After an hour or so, I had the opportunity to get up, use the bathroom and shower and eat.  The midwives prepped the cord (the placenta was born 12 minutes after birth) and  Baby Miles got weighed and then the midwives gave us a “tour of our baby” taking us through all the necessary baby checks of vital signs, reflexes and dating (ears are floppy on preemies, term babies won’t allow you to draw their arm across mid-line, and post date babies generally have less vernix and more lines on the soles of their feet).  They dated Miles to be 41 weeks based on these checks but also stating that some babies cook at different rates.

Then after a thorough review of the postpartum instructions (mostly stay in bed with the baby, eat, drink, and pee regularly-NO HOUSEWORK), everyone left and we all slept.