Before I got pregnant, I would joke with my husband about having a home birth or a water birth so when that day in January rolled around and we got the exciting news that I was pregnant, all joking went out the window. This was real and there were decisions that needed to be made now that would affect the whole course of this pregnancy. I prayed long and hard about having a homebirth, read books, did research online, found statistics–and then had to present it all to my husband. When the time came for me to talk to him about it, I kind of just choked it out to. He was definitely nervous and unsure of the whole idea of home birth. A few days after that not-so-productive conversation, he said something about having the baby in the hospital and I busted out into tears. I think a lot was hormones (always blame the hormones!), but I was definitely not comfortable with that idea at all! When Lance realized just how much having a home birth meant to me, he quickly got on board. The next step was finding a midwife that would come to our area because we don’t have any near here. I got in touch with Alina, a midwife in Baton Rouge, and she agreed to take me on! The next nine months were smooth sailing!
To start, let me say that this was absolutely ideal! Typically, women go in with an idea of how they want their birth to go and rarely do women get the birth they want. For me, I had a very open mind about everything, but knew how I would like the birth to happen, and it happened!
September 25th came and went—no baby, no false labor, nothing. I was convinced this baby was never coming! On Thursday, September 27th, I had my 40 week prenatal appointment with my midwife and as I was leaving I told her jokingly, “We’re having the baby before next week! This is my last prenatal appointment with you!” I was still believing that as a first time mom I would for sure be one of those 41 or 42 weekers. Lance and I left to meet my mom for lunch and throughout the whole meal we kept joking about Elijah being born that weekend. We finished lunch, bid my mom farewell, and started on our 2 hour drive back home. I was pretty exhausted because I had been waking up at 2:30am every morning the whole week without going back to sleep so I took me a nap on the way home. Much needed sleep for sure! On our way into town, I asked Lance to stop so we could rent a movie and have a relaxing night. At supper, Lance prayed for our meal and asked God to allow our baby to be born when His timing was right. We watched our movie, I could barely stay awake, and once again we went to bed joking about the baby being born. While we were laying in bed, I shared some fears and anxiety I was having about the birth with Lance. Once again, he prayed for me to be strong when the time came for me to give birth and for Elijah to come when it was time.
At 12:50, I had my first contraction that woke me up, although I just thought it was stomach cramps. I made a trip to the bathroom and back to bed I went. At 1:50am, I woke up to the same kind of stomach cramps, went to the bathroom again, and then back to bed. At 2:50am, I had another contraction that woke me up. This one lasted a lot longer than the other two and felt different… this was contractions! I wasn’t really sure what to think so I hopped in the bathtub. I was thinking if this was false labor, the contractions would fade off and then completely go away. I tried to get some sleep in the tub, but contractions were still coming about every 15-20 minutes. After an hour, I decided that this probably was labor so I got out of the tub and went back to bed. I tried to lay down through the next contraction and I almost lost it! I quickly jumped up and started pacing around the room. About 4:30am I called my midwife to tell her I was in labor. We agreed it was still very early and the best thing to do was for her to get more sleep and for me to try to get some as well. So back to bed I went. Lance woke up and asked me what I was doing. When I told him getting ready for a baby to come he said, “Are you in labor?” I told him yes and he asked two more times before he really believed me! I told him, “When we go to bed tonight, we’ll have our son with us.” He jumped up and said he had to go to Walmart to get some last minute things for the birth and was going now because he couldn’t sleep. I cracked up and told him go ahead and that I was going to try to get some rest.
Calley, one of my best friends and also a doula, came over around 8:30am to start our day! We worked on cleaning up a little bit, getting all of the things ready and in one place for the birth, and just working through the day. It was definitely a waiting game for sure. My contractions had spaced out from 5 minutes to about 15 minutes so we decided to go for a walk. When we got back, I decided I would try to lay down again and get some rest. That didn’t work well. My contractions had picked up to about every 3 minutes and I could no longer sit or lay down through them, I had to be up walking or rocking. Around noon I hollered for Calley and she and Lance both came running to the bedroom. I was pacing and told them it was time to call Alina. My contractions were more intense for sure and I was starting to feel pressure, assuming this was the baby moving down the birth canal some. Calley and Lance took turns applying counter pressure on my hips and massaging my back during contractions–that helped a whole lot! We went for another walk somewhere in there. Alina arrived at our house close to 2:00pm and checked on me and the baby—we were both doing great! I was so relieved that she was there. Sally, her assistant, arrived shortly afterwards and they worked on getting stuff ready for the birth. I just kept on laboring. Around 5:00pm I asked if I could get in the pool and Alina said whenever I was ready. I was ready! They set it up and at 5:45 I was so ready to jump in! I sat on a birthing stool for a little bit, but being so tall, I wanted to be in the water more so I slid off of that and onto my knees. My husband got in behind me to do some counter pressure and Alina told Lance he could sit behind me to help keep from straining his back. He looked at her and said, “I have everything in my pockets… I didn’t really think this through!” I told him to run and go change if he wanted to and he came back ready to help me out! He was AMAZING throughout the whole labor and birth! He gave me counter pressure on my back during contractions and Calley sat in front of me to rub my shoulders and back. I could hear them praying for me during contractions and that really kept me going. Alina would whisper to me during contractions and explain different things to, the whole time encouraging me and telling me I could do it! Contractions were definitely about 2 minutes long and coming about 45 seconds apart. At one point I looked at Alina and asked if breaking my water would speed things up and she replied with, “Yes, why? Are you in a hurry?” Ha! I got my answer! Patience. This was a process. I must add that I impressed everyone because even though contractions were intense, between them I would just talk and crack jokes. I even had them laughing at me a few times during contractions because I would just start talking! So I just kept laboring the best I knew how and around 7:00pm my water broke during a contraction! That was so crazy! Things seemed to pick up again after the water broke, contractions seemed stronger and longer and it seemed like the break between them was very short. I looked at the clock and thought to myself that if Elijah wasn’t born sometime that night then I was probably going to have to transfer because of exhaustion—and that thought terrified me so I quickly put it out of my mind and kept on. (I was told afterwards that this was probably when I hit transition.) Labor was definitely intense and it was like I zoned out into a completely different world during contractions. I remember at one point reaching down and feeling his head. That was the encouragement I needed. I was SO close and knew it… and that was my drive! I stepped my game up. After about 15 minutes, Elijah Paul Hula was born at 7:45pm on Friday September 28th at home in the water! Alina told me, “Reach down and pick up your baby!” and I was like, “WHAT?!” I scooped him up and placed him on my chest. When I looked over my shoulder to see Lance, he was bawling! It was such a precious moment! We let the chord finish pulsing and then Lance had the honors of cutting it. The placenta took about 45 minutes to come and then I was able to get out of the pool and start nursing! Everyone else was working on cleaning up and I was just in maternal bliss! I think we finally got into bed around 1:00am Saturday morning. I seriously could not have asked for a better team or birth!
The big question I’m asked now is, “Will you do it again?” and my answer is, “YES!” Was it easy, no. It took work and it took a preconditioned mindset going in to the birth. But I can say that it was the most rewarding and amazing experience of my life. So as long as I am able to have home births, I will!
Lance never left my side.
Apparently something I said had Calley cracking up! And no, she’s not trying to force me to uncover my face-she was rubbing my arms, which was very relaxing to me. Right after Elijah was born… a very precious moment for everyone that was there
Weighing the baby – 7 pound 11 ounces!
My absolutely amazing birth team! I seriously don’t think that I could have done this without them. Thank you guys so much!
[Calley, me, Lance, Elijah, Alina, & Sally]