My Wyoming Home Birth (Braidyn, Birth Photographer)
Why Home Birth?
I've been asked a lot over the course of my pregnancy "why?" The moment I found out I was pregnant, I had considered home birth an option. Like many people do, I had my concerns too. This was a very researched, thought out decision. I could explain all my reasons as to why I chose home birth (there's a lot), but that's not what this blog post is about. So here's the most important one to me. I wanted a care provider that would listen and let me be in control of my birth story. From my personal experiences with my first child, midwives really listen. When I was sixteen and trying to figure out motherhood I had a lot of people trying to tell me what was best for me, except for the midwife who went on to deliver my first child. She always listened to me and treated me like a woman having a baby, not a baby having a baby. Her kindness inspired me to go on and pursue work in the healthcare field (for a short time I went to school with end hopes of being a nurse midwife--it's still a goal, just maybe not the nurse part). I really wanted that same experience and since she was no longer practicing I started looking into midwives that deliver at home. Through word of mouth and actually photographing a home birth, I met Amy with Journey Birth Services. Amy exceeded any expectations I had and put to rest any concerns I felt. I am extremely grateful for her.
Friday, November 17, 2017
My blood pressure had started to get high towards the end of my pregnancy. I had delivered Lily around the 38 week mark and November 17 put me at the 38 week mark. I had been trying everything to keep it down (including some pretty nasty tasting herbs). I really didn't want to go to the hospital. That morning my blood pressure was reading pretty high, too high for comfort. Reluctantly, I informed Amy. She drove from Worland, Wyoming to check on me. When she got to my house around 11:30 A.M. I was contracting. They didn't quite have a pattern, but by the time she was getting ready to leave my house they had fallen into a pattern of about 10 mins apart lasting 45 seconds. It sounded promising, so she decided to call the other midwife, Jackie, and see if it would turn into anything.
Around 5 P.M. they both came to my house. I was contracting now at 7 mins apart and dilating (I think I was at a four at this point). It really felt like I was going to have a baby that evening. They left again and said they'd be back at 9 P.M. if I didn't call them sooner. I hung out with my fiance and his brother to see what these contractions were going to do. In the four hours that my two midwives had left, my contractions grew stronger and closer together. They weren't unbearable so I didn't call.
They came back at 9 P.M. I was checked once again and still dilating and effacing. I thought for sure it was going to be a long night. This baby was coming. My contractions were getting closer and stronger... My cervix was changing. Amy and Jackie decided to get a hotel room in Sheridan. Once again, they told me if I didn't call them sooner they would be there at 8 A.M. Buffy and I decided to watch a movie. We thought it would be one of the last times we'd have any quality time together. Throughout the movie, contractions started getting uncomfortable. I had to switch positions a lot to be able to concentrate on the movie. The movie finished around midnight. I thought I should get a nap in, or try to before this baby comes.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
I feel asleep and promptly woke up at 1 A.M. with contractions 3 minutes apart. They were so uncomfortable, I had questioned actually calling Amy and Jackie at this point, If Amy was in Worland, I would have called, but knowing they were only fifteen minutes away I decided to try and labor as long as I could without them there. From 1 A.M. to about 5 A.M. contractions continued at 3 minutes apart with no change. I'd fall in and out of sleep. When I'd wake up, contractions would bring me to my knees. Finally at 6 A.M. they just stopped. It was a really strange feeling. I decided to go for a walk to see if contractions would pick up at all. They didn't. Internally, I started to panic. All of my family were expecting a baby. My midwives just spent the night in a hotel expecting a baby. After my walk, and nothing was happening I really couldn't help myself and I started crying. I felt really defeated. I just spent all night feeling really uncomfortable. How does it just stop? When Jackie and Amy came back at 8 A.M. I probably looked like a hot mess. I had been crying for at least a half hour and feeling sorry for myself before they got there. They checked me again, and I was measuring somewhere between 5 and 6 cm. At this point, Amy and Jackie got together and gave me a list of ideas to try to get the contractions to come back. Buffy and I tried them all. This baby wasn't coming, and finally by 1 P,M. in the afternoon they decided to go home.
Monday, November 20, 2017
At 4 P.M. on Monday something didn't feel right. It didn't necessarily feel wrong, but I was feeling a lot more pressure and sort of crampy. Contractions weren't in a pattern, but something felt off. At this time I had also caught a cold, so I wasn't sure if it was just me being sick and emotional or if something was going to happen. Regardless, I texted Amy and let her know what was happening, She said if contractions fell into a pattern to let her know. That night I cleaned my house, changed my sheets, and got some last minute stuff together.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
I woke up at 2 A.M. contractions were at a pattern. They were about 30 minutes apart, lasting a minute. I couldn't sleep. I tried everything from taking a bath, to trying to sleep on the couch. Nothing was working. Finally it was time to get Lily ready for school so at 7 A.M. I woke her up and drove her to school. I hugged her extra long that day. After I dropped her off, I went and spent some time with Buffy. I told him I didn't feel well, but I didn't want to tell him I think I was going to have the baby today for fear of what happened a few days ago. I suggested we get up and take the dog for a walk. At noon we decided to the gas station to get some drinks. It was a super nice day. On our walk my contractions sped up to about 13 minutes apart and I felt really awful. I told Buffy and he suggested I call Amy and just let her know what was going on so she wasn't surprised if anything did happen. She told me she was meeting with another client in a town that was almost four hours away from where I lived but she was going to be leaving soon, if I needed someone sooner to call Jackie.
Buffy and I made it to the gas station. We sat in front of the gas station and looked at where we'd get married in Hawaii. We probably sat there for a good hour looking. In that time we decided on a place. I had considered walking to pick up Lily, as I was already half way there, but my contractions were getting really uncomfortable so I decided we should go home and pick up the car to get her.
At 2:30 P.M. I picked up Lily and I told her we should clean her room when we get home. Lily and I were both really hungry after we got home. I cooked some chicken and rice soup. Buffy suggested that we go to town and go to the bank so we can put down our deposit on our Hawaii house. I agreed and went to use the bathroom before we left. As I was sitting on the toilet, my contractions sped up to five minutes apart and were extremely painful. I crawled into the shower and turned on the water to try to relieve some of the back pains that I was having. In a half hour I went from walking and making decisions on a house, to crying and unable to make a decision.
At around 3:30 P.M. I told Buffy to call my mom and to have someone come and get Lily. He also made the right decision and called Amy and Jackie. After the water went cold, I walked into my bedroom and Buffy gave me his god awful Alaskan redneck t-shirt. At that point I really didn't care. My brother showed up and picked up Lily.
By 4 P.M. my contractions were three minutes apart lasting a minute long. I really didn't think the midwives would make it in time. I don't think they thought they'd make it either. Amy had called my dear friend, Laura, to go over to my house to help us in case no one made it. The strange thing about laboring women, is if they don't feel safe or comfortable it can prevent progression in the laboring process. I love Buffy very much, but I also knew he'd never witnessed a baby being born and I didn't feel safe or comfortable enough to catch and deliver a baby on my own. My body somehow paused progression. Somewhere around 5-5:30 P.M. (I'm really not sure on time frames after this point) Jackie walked in the door and Laura followed behind shortly after. I felt a little safer, and started to relax. Even with my contractions being a minute apart at this point, I still thought it might be false labor like last time. Jackie checked and I was somewhere between 7-8 cm dilated. That felt promising, but there was still something that was preventing my body from completely taking over and delivering this baby. I continued to labor in my bedroom with Buffy by my side as Laura and Jackie filled up the pool in the living room. Somehow, Buffy and I were still able to carry on a conversation and we'd be laughing, and then I'd promptly tell him to "shut up."
After a little bit, I couldn't ignore the pain anymore and started crying, around the same time I heard Amy's sweet voice and my front door shut. I think I was subconsciously waiting for her: because at that point my body completely took over (this is why it's so important to trust your care providers). There was no more laughing, just pain and focusing on where baby was at.
My blood pressure was high, of course, so Amy and Jackie fed me a cup of mineral tasting juice. They also advised I lay on my side, which was horrible. I've been blessed with two beautiful children who gave me the worst back labor. After my blood pressure went down, and I couldn't stand laying on my side anymore I continued to labor on my hands and knees to try and relieve pressure. The only relief I'd get is from Buffy pushing on my lower back.
I asked them to check me again. I felt a lot closer, but not all the way complete. I was at a nine at this point. They offered to break my water, but due to a strong sac it was unsuccessful. I remember thinking, "Dang a birth pool would feel great right about now," and throwing my shirt off. It didn't matter, soon after that final check I felt an urge to push. I remember thinking, it's so strange that my water hasn't broken yet and I'm pushing. At that moment, there was a pop, and gush of fluid. Buffy was so shocked, if I wasn't in the pain that I was in I probably would have died laughing. I felt really weak, with no energy at this point. I was at the end, but it felt like I'd never reach the finish mark. I could feel this baby descend into my pelvis. I wanted to push, but at the same time I was fighting it. I remember grabbing Jackie's head as she was searching for a heart beat. I was trying to push her out of the way so I wouldn't vomit on her (I didn't, thank goodness). Finally, Amy said, "With your next contraction, hold your breath and push." That's exactly what I did and I felt baby's head emerge and with the next contraction the rest of the body. I think I may have been doing a lot of swaying back and forth because Jackie was in the front to catch and Amy was behind me to catch. Jackie caught our precious baby and handed baby to me.
I checked and it was a boy! I held his precious little body to my heart. I was so excited. I couldn't stop looking at him. How did we create something so perfect? At around 8 P.M. we met our little dude, William Cooper Looper.
After this moment, a lot of it was a blur. I was completely engulfed in this little miracle that I just created I really didn't listen to anything anyone was saying. My family was down the street eating and waiting for him to arrive. They brought pizza and it was so amazing. One of my favorite parts about this process is that Lily was able to be present for her little brother getting weighed and measured. That's something I have not known a sibling be able to be present for in hospital births. She was so shocked when she met him, but after a bit of touching his hands, she couldn't wait to hold him. I think at this point Amy and Jackie had left?
I felt really good afterwards. I was able to walk myself around the house, something I couldn't do easily after Lily. After my parents and Buffy's mom came to meet him, I laid my new baby on my chest and with no interruptions we fell asleep.
This healing process has been amazing. I was able to get the rest I needed the first couple of days after Cooper was born, something I didn't get when Lily was born (hospital beds are awful). I feel amazing. A week later, and I can't stop looking at him. The only sadness I've felt is that I'm not pregnant anymore (I really liked being pregnant). Jackie stopped by to check on us on Thanksgiving (how amazing is that?) and Amy came a few days after that. I loved my pregnancy and birth story so much that looking at my postpartum body doesn't make me unhappy. Buffy and our families have been super helpful. I'm grateful for all of them. Anything I've needed, they've helped me with. Buffy has been a wonderful dad and partner to embark on this journey with. He recognizes basic needs that I need like showering and cooking dinner. I'm so grateful for him.
My home birth experience has been everything I could ever want and more. I'm so in love with life and I think being in control of how I wanted my birth has really helped with this transition. I'm grateful for my midwives and letting me choose what I thought was best for me. It's a gift that means the world to me. I couldn't have done it without any of you guys.
As far as Mr. Cooper... he's been a great baby. Everyday has been full of love since his arrival.
If you're thinking you want a home birth and need someone to talk to about it, please contact me. I'd love to talk with you.