My husband and I had two beautiful daughters, ages almost 2 and 3-and-a-half when we decided to try for another baby in September of 2010. Our first two were conceived very easily and only took one month to get pregnant! For our third child, things were different; I was having irregular periods and painful ovarian cysts. I ended up miscarrying three babies before I became pregnant again with our sweet little miracle baby, April.
My pregnancy with April was very different than my first two. I had lots of morning sickness for the first 16 weeks, in addition to bleeding the through the first trimester. Since it was so different, we were all sure I was going to have a boy, but on my birthday, Dec. 11, we found out we would be having our third girl!
Once the morning sickness subsided and I wasn’t bleeding anymore, I really started to enjoy the pregnancy. I knew it would be over quickly and then I would end up missing it! I felt calm and patient as I continued with every day life, including playing the drums the whole time! It wasn’t until about a week before she was due that I started getting anxious and really wanting her to be here.
On April 23, 2013, 2 days after I was due, I decided to try the ol’ castor oil to hopefully encourage my labor to begin. After I put my oldest daughter on the bus, I took the first dose, 2 ounces mixed with orange juice. Gross!!! I felt absolutely nothing, so I took the last 2 ounces 3 hours later at about 11:15am. I walked down the hill to get my daughter, who was getting off the bus at 11:25, walked back home and started putting away the kids’ clothes upstairs. 20 minutes later, my tummy starts rumbling and I need to get to the bathroom. For the next several hours, I had to use the restroom…a lot! The castor oil was definitely in full effect! Every now and then I would have some mild, non-painful contractions. I started timing them, and at about 4:00 I alerted my midwife that they were becoming more regular- every few minutes, but only about 30 seconds long and still not painful. Shortly before 5:00, I called my husband and told him that I thought labor might be starting. He came home a little after 5:00 and we started making phone calls and texts to the friends and family who were going to be there.
My labor with my last daughter, also born at home, was quick- 4-and-a-half hours total from the first cramp to her being born. Because of that, we wanted to make sure everyone had enough time to get here, including my mother-in-law, who had a 2+ hour drive. Friends started showing up around 5:00, very excited that the day was finally here! I immediately went on a walk with a few of the first ladies to arrive. We went around the block and back to the house, so I could get some water. Contractions at this point were still very minor and not painful at all. No one could even tell I was having one unless I told them. At this point, with my mother-in-law on the way and my friends showing up, I got really nervous, worrying that maybe I wasn’t actually in labor and had called everyone over for nothing.
Determined to make sure contractions kept coming, I went on another walk with some more friends. I live close to the high school, so we walked there, down a long set of stairs and went to the track to keep walking. My friends and I walked up and down, up and down, up and down the bleachers, all the way across. We then circled the track and made our way back up the stairs and continued on to my house. STILL, not much was happening and I felt anxious.
One of the ladies got some sandwiches and cookies for us to snack on while we waited. When she got back, my friend (and also pastor’s wife) lead us in prayer for the event that was (hopefully) about to happen. I went on one more walk with just my husband this time. We walked around the block holding hands, and my contractions actually started picking up a little bit. “Maybe it was actually happening?” I started to think.
We all sat down and ate after I got back. I got antsy and really really wanted to make sure the mild contractions would continue, so I got up and played “Just Dance” with my friend and daughter. We played through a song, which I won (booyah!) and then I sat down, while my midwife and daughter continued to play. Suddenly, I felt two pops and then a gush. I stood up, a little confused and said, “I think my water just broke?” (My water was broken in the hospital for me with Lexus and with Holly, it didn’t break until I was already in the tub and about to push). All the ladies gathered around the bathroom where I stood off the carpet, excitedly looking at my wet pants and the water dripping down my legs. It was about 8:10 p.m.
Really soon after my water broke, the contractions got a lot more serious. Almost instantly, things went from, “I think I might be in labor?” to “Wow, this is happening.” I sat on the yoga ball (and updated my Facebook), while Jason and Marcene got the temperature in the tub just right. Then I got in the water.
Things at that point started getting really intense and I started to detach from what was going on around me and focus on the labor. The only voice I could hear was Marcene reassuring me that things were okay when it got really painful. I lost track of time and just made it through each contraction until I felt like my body wanted to push. Marcene checked me and said I was ready! Good, I was ready to be done with this! I pushed for a while, very aware that this one was harder than Holly. After a little while, her head came out, then finally her body. Marcene guided her between my legs, so I could grab her out of the water in front of me. I was overcome by emotions, hardly able to believe that my baby was finally here and I just birthed her with only minutes of pushing! That was at 9:42 p.m., exactly as Joanna predicted with prompting from the Lord!
My newborn baby girl was healthy and rooting just minutes after she was born. She had a ton of vernix covering her body, and she had a head full of dark hair. I held her and waited for the slightly short cord to stop pulsing. Jason cut it when it was time and she was ogled by the waiting ladies, while I got out of the tub to birth the placenta. I had some minor tearing, but didn’t need stitches, which was great!
After I got cleaned up, I came out to the living room and Marcene started examining April. She had a strong sucking reflex, ten cute fingers, ten sweet toes, and healthy lungs and heart. Now it was time to measure her. She was 21 inches and 9 pounds, 5 ounces…BIG! No wonder she was harder than my last two, which were 7lb 13oz and 8lb 8oz.
The experience was awesome (super hard and painful of course, but awesome). I am so thankful for the people who prayed for us and to the 8 friends who were there that night. They will always have a special part in my heart and in April’s life. And of course thanks to my wonderful midwife, whom I will always love very dearly and hope to see again if or when we have another child. Thank you, God, for this miracle. And, welcome to the world, baby April!
Many thanks to Angela Pittman for sharing April’s birth story with us. To view a slideshow of her home birth, take a look at her YouTube video.
Would you like to share your birth story? We’d love to hear it! Take a look at our “What’s Your Story?” post to find inspiration and direction.