by Bethany McDonnell
When Rick and I found out in February that we were expecting, we began to look into the home birth options. I chose a home birth because I believe that birth for a healthy mama is natural and I wanted to be in a place where I felt comfortable and safe. We got some counsel from Rick's mom, who had several successful home births and knew what questions and qualifications to look for in a midwife. Thanks to a friend's recommendation, I found Lauren Osborne-Bibin at Serendipity Midwifery. When I met Lauren, I knew that we would get along and that she was super qualified.
So...the birth story...
My due date was Saturday, October 11. Since I had been on almost-bed-rest for three weeks due to elevated blood pressure, I was hoping so much that Ronan would come early. But he didn't. His due date past and I began to think that I was going to have to be induced at the hospital and my dreams of a home birth weren't going to come true.
But on Wednesday morning October 15, I woke up at 5:30 with labor pains. I had been having contractions on and off since Monday, but they didn't hurt. After I gave the contractions some time to make sure this was it, I woke Rick up, called my mom, and called the midwife.
My mom arrived around 8:30 a.m. and by this point I was pacing through the house to make it through each contraction. I think they were about three or so minutes apart. I recited Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 (my favorite psalms) during most of the contractions, because it took my mind off the pain, helped me have positive thoughts, and helped me depend on the Lord for strength.
My midwife, Lauren, and her birth assistant, Cassie, arrived around 10:30 a.m. I don't remember how far apart the contractions were. I was mostly just focused on making it through each one and trying not to go insane. When Lauren arrived, she told me she would see how much I had dilated soon...maybe in 30 minutes...when she had all her things ready. She told me that since I was smiling in between contractions, that I probably wasn't far along and that I needed to remain focused since this would be a long labor (a first baby usually is longer!).
After about 20-30 minutes, I asked Lauren to check me (actually I was inwardly begging!). I was feeling pretty uncomfortable and starting to regret my choice to have a birth with no pain medication. Before she checked me, Lauren said she wouldn't tell me how much I was dilated because she didn't want me to be discouraged. After she checked, Lauren said, "Or I can tell you. You are 6-7 cm! You are going to have a baby very soon!"
I could not believe it, but I was so thankful! I had already had a few fleeting thoughts of saying to Lauren, "Let's go to the hospital now and get an epidural. I can't do this!" Thankfully, Lauren, had warned me before this that at some point during the labor I would feel like this, so I was prepared.
Lauren, Cassie, and Mom prepared the birth pool while I continued to work through contractions. The pain was mainly in my lower back and upper thighs. Rick put pressure on my back and I rubbed my thighs. Oh, I could not have made it through without Rick. Later, Rick told me he was tearing up seeing me in pain.
I kept asking, "Is the birth pool ready yet?" I wanted the warm water sooo badly! Finally, when it was ready and I got in. The warm water felt amazing! Yet, I was already at 10 cm and ready to push. I had made it through the most difficult part of the labor without the warm water, which was NOT what I had planned, but oh well! I pushed for a while in the birth pool. The plan was to have a water birth. I felt like I pushed and pushed and was getting no where. I was getting quite warm in the water, I was exhausted, and I was hungry (I wasn't able to keep down my breakfast that morning!).
Lauren and Cassie kept monitoring the baby's heartbeat, and then at some point, Lauren said, "You are going to need to get out of the tub and move to the bed." I was a little disappointed for no water birth, but at that point, I was ready for it to all be over.
We moved to the bed and I began to push again. Rick was going to catch the baby, but as the baby started to come, Lauren realized that he was a big baby and that his shoulder was stuck. She said to Rick, "Sorry, dad, but I'm going to have to do this one."
The end was very intense. Lauren, Cassie, Mom, and Rick were all screaming at me--"Push!!! Push!!!" I was so scared that something was wrong so I prayed that the Lord would give me strength and I gave it everything I had. Lauren maneuvered the baby's head and shoulder and then at 12:46 pm, he just popped right out. :) We were all amazed at his full head of hair and his size, 10 lbs. 7 oz.!!!
My midwife and her birth assistant were amazing! They were so qualified, encouraging, and helpful! I would NOT have been able to have a home birth without them.
The whole labor took about 7 hours. God was so good to me. Until the very end, I didn't felt afraid. He gave me strength and peace through the whole process. And He gave us a handsome, big, healthy boy--Ronan Timothy McDonnell. We are blessed.