Visiting Salvation: Born At Home, Elliot’s Story
Visiting Salvation is your story.
Today’s post is from Vanessa, mother to Emerson and Elliot and fellow Madison Home Birther. Please enjoy her son’s long overdue birth story, who himself was long overdue. The apple didn’t want to fall from the tree, but when it did, it fell spectacularly.
Despite having preterm contractions late in the second trimester, I found myself overdue with our baby the first week of February, 2014. There were a lot of fits and starts that would not continue. This was a bit stressful because we were planning a home birth and could not have one after 42 weeks which was February 5th. My baby had a single umbilical artery and typically this is monitored at the end of pregnancy with NSTs and biophysical profiles but we were confident that our baby was fine and growing well so we declined them. While waiting for his arrival I listened to my Hypnobabies tracks, ate eggplant parmesan, walked as much as I could, had acupuncture and used the breast pump to get things going. We also tried a few different homeopathic remedies as I shifted through different states. One thing I read in a woman’s birth story is that her contractions would start and then she would go to sleep and they would stop overnight. So she decided to stay awake to see if they continued and they did. That seemed to be my pattern as well so I tried that one night after the waves started coming. I was convinced I needed Gelsemium but hadn’t taken it yet. At 2:40 am on February 3, I couldn’t sleep and was listening to the “Come Out Baby” track from Hypnobabies. I took one dose of Gelsemium and started getting pressure waves five minutes later. I got up and started walking the house and doing chores to keep them coming. I didn’t sleep at all that night. In the morning I had a few more pressure waves but nothing consistent and we decided with Hannah, our midwife, that we should get an NST to make sure our baby was doing well and to reassure everyone. That was at 11:30 am. The doctor gave us some tips on using the breast pump safely at home so we went home and did just that. I pumped and took three more doses of Gelsemium then had acupuncture at 2:30 pm. After dinner I had bloody show. Yay! Then in the bathtub I talked to Elliot (the name we had already chosen) and told him if he wanted to be born at home he had to come by Tuesday and if he wanted to be born in the hospital he had to come on Wednesday. I went to bed at 10:00 pm and had pressure waves about every 15 minutes over night. We were excited that things were starting to happen! In the morning my sister Erin came over about 8:00 to watch my four-year-old daughter Emerson. I had major bloody show in the morning and a lot of bearing down sensations. I was exhausted and napped a little but didn’t want to sleep for fear the pressure waves would stop.
Our dual-care OB called to check on me and wanted us to come in for an appointment to discuss induction. My husband Aaron told her I was in labor and wanted to stay at home. At that point I burst into tears. It was a lot of pressure to feel like you had to have your baby by a certain time. I also really liked our doctor and was ultimately comforted by her call. Aaron gave me Pulsatilla for the weepiness. That seemed to help a bit. Then we decided to switch to Cimicifuga because I was saying “I can’t go on”. Within one hour, at about 1:30 pm, my pressure waves were consistently 4-5 minutes apart. I spent a lot of time in the tub listening to Hypnobabies and saying “open, open, open” with each wave. After a while I felt like having a bowel movement so I got on the toilet but that hurt too much so back in the tub I went. We were afraid to call the doula and midwife too early so Aaron just texted them and gave them updates. Emily, our doula, was anxious to come over and we asked her to come at about 3:30pm. She arrived at 4:20 and was wonderfully helpful setting up oils and candles. Hannah arrived around 5:00pm and listened to the baby who sounded “beautiful”. Emily had me switch to hands and knees for a few waves which was incredibly painful on my hips so I sat back down in the tub. Then she wanted me to switch positions again so we went out to the bedroom. Walking to the bedroom I had a few waves which rocked me to the core. I leaned over the dresser and breathed through more waves while my hips felt like they would burst. Hannah was underneath me listening with the Doppler. I asked her to check me at about 5:45pm (my one and only internal exam the entire pregnancy!). I had to know if we were close at all. I was 8cm! We were so elated. I had a few more intense pressure waves on the bed. Aaron and Emily each put counter pressure on my hips to help with the burning I was experiencing there. I asked for the birth pool and they had to boil some more water because the hot water ran out. We waited a bit for that and then we both got in. It was hard getting in there with a baby so low in the pelvis!
The pool was nice but I couldn’t quite get comfortable. I was on hands and knees for a couple waves and then at the end of one my body started pushing the baby down without my doing a single thing. Of course it felt like a ton of pressure so I added to the momentum. Emily told me just to let my body do what it wanted to and not to be afraid. I asked Aaron to tell me something good and he said some really sweet things. The pressure was so intense I was thinking ‘never again!’ Ha! Then the Pushing Baby Out CD was skipping and Emerson came in chatting happily. I thought I wanted her there but things were too intense so Erin brought her back downstairs. I asked to go back to the bed so we moved everything over there. I wanted to be side-lying like I was with Emerson’s birth. Hannah held my leg while I had a few waves and after one of them I pushed out Elliot’s head. (Probably a little too quickly because I tore again.) The cord was around his neck and they simply slipped it over his head and said “hello baby!”. (Those midwives are so sweet!) He looked great! Then the midwives suggested just as I thought that maybe I should get on my hands and knees to push out his body. He was born at 7:50 pm on February 4th, 2014. He cried and cried and was so beautiful!
Emerson came up shortly after he was born and sat beside me cooing over her baby brother. It was just such a relief to us that he came when he did so we could have him in our home and that he was healthy even with a two vessel umbilical cord. He immediately started nursing and the midwives checked him over. Aaron baptized Elliot and then we sang “Happy Birthday” to him with candle-lit cupcakes. Our doula Emily made me something to eat and Erin was helping us with anything we needed as well. In the meantime another midwife was called in who was good at repairing lacerations and she stitched me up. The mood was so beautiful and celebratory and before we knew it, it was time for all of us to go to bed as a family of four at about 11:00pm. The midwives tucked us in and said goodbye. We felt completely blessed and grateful for such a beautiful, unforgettable birth experience. I am so happy that our community has such wonderful midwives and doulas and that homebirths are allowed in Wisconsin.
Thank you so much Vanessa for sharing your birth story. I am moved by your calm confidence and proud to call you a sister in birth and friend in life.
Do you have something to share with the BPS community? I’d love to read about your experience with birth, infertility, graffiti-gawking, bird-watching, motherhood or how much candy is too much candy – if there is such a thing. If you’d like to Visit Salvation, erase my details, add yours and submit the form below. I will contact you with next steps.