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    Caiden’s Birth Story | My First Home Birth

    This post is long overdue, but better late than never!! Caiden's birth was VERY different from my first two. (You can read Carson's birth story here.) It was everything I prayed for and nothing like I expected! With both Maddie and Carson, I was induced in a hospital and got an epidural. Both births were great experiences! For years I said I'd never have an unmedicated birth, let alone a home birth…but a lot can change in 5 years!


    The Backstory

    Since having Carson 5 years ago, I really have changed as a person.  I like to call myself a “scrunchy” mom.  Now I'm not fully crunchy, but definitely more than I used to be! I'm a lot more aware of what we put into our bodies and the impact that has on our lives. I also became a lot more educated about true physiological birth and how the medical system just wasn't built to support it.

    The idea of having a home birth was a couple of years in the making. As much as I loved my epidurals, I didn't really want to put my body through a medicated hospital birth again for a number of reasons. A friend of mine had a beautiful home birth and shared about her experience leading up to it, and it grew on me to the point that I remember praying, “Lord, if I have the chance to have another baby, I'd love to be able to experience a home birth.” I didn't even know if we'd have another baby, but I just couldn't shake it!

    Fast forward to a few months later, and we got the surprise of our lives – Baby #3 was on the way!! As soon as I saw those two pink lines, I just knew I wanted a home birth. I had only had babies with an OB (who was amazing, by the way!), but I was really excited to experience things with a midwife this time around. I had some scary bleeding in the first couple of weeks, and I remember googling midwives near me. I didn't even do much research, I just knew I needed to talk to someone right away to make sure everything was ok. I called the first midwife listed, and Maggie answered the phone. She had never met me, yet she calmed me down, gave me her cell number to text her updates, and prayed over me and my baby…all while in the car line waiting to pick up her daughter from school! I wasn't even officially her client yet! I couldn't believe the care I received from someone who I had never met.

    Thankfully, all was fine! We officially hired Maggie and Chelsea with Wild Fig Birth as my midwives, and everything went very smoothly. Right away, the level of care with my midwives was head and shoulders above anything I ever received with my OB. And I had a great OB! Even though this was my third baby, I felt way more informed than I ever had before. Our appointments weren't the super quick in-and-out we had with our OB. We spent at least an hour there every time getting questions answered, learning about diet and supplements I never knew about before, and of course checking on our little guy! (If you've never worked with a midwife, I HIGHLY suggest it over an OB!)

    I'm very thankful that our pregnancy was very smooth and uneventful after the first few weeks. My body handles pregnancy well, so we sort of expected that. Then around 36 weeks, things started to get interesting.


    The Birth

    If you read Carson's birth story, you know I was induced at 37 weeks with him after a week of prodromal labor (time-able contractions anywhere from 15 minutes apart down to 2 minutes apart…all day, every day). With Caiden, when I started experiencing prodromal labor at 36 weeks, I thought FOR SURE he'd come early! I had never made it to 40 weeks, so why would I this time? (HAH!)

    Around 37 weeks – a week into prodromal labor – we started doing all the things to help move labor along. Long walks, miles circuit, curb walking, more long walks, bouncing on the birthing ball, eating spicy foods – anything we could think of! And the prodromal labor continued for another week. And another. And another! By this point, we had several times where we thought that was it, just for contractions to stall out. I remember texting our doula, Sarah Ford, so many times hoping she'd say it was active labor. (Spoiler alert, it wasn't. She was so patient with me!)

    Since I was having consistent contractions literally for weeks, we couldn't go based on timing them to know if labor had picked up. Usually my midwives say to call them when contractions are 5 minutes apart. Mine had been like that going on 4 weeks. So they told me to call them when things felt “different.” I didn't really know what that meant since my body had never gone into labor on its own before! So we waited.

    As you can imagine, I was EXHAUSTED. And our little guy stayed nice and cozy until his first due date. (We had 3 due dates: the first was from my missed period. The second was a week later from our 6-week ultrasound. The third was splitting the difference because he was measuring 2 weeks ahead.)

    On December 10th, right at 40 weeks, I went to bed just like I had every night for the last month…still contracting. But then I woke up at 12:30am and the contractions felt…different! My prodromal labor contractions always felt high at the top of my uterus. These felt more like light period cramps down low. I decided to time them for about 30 minutes because I still wasn't convinced they were real, and they were 2-3 minutes apart. (Again, I had experienced contractions this close for weeks on and off, so I wasn't super alarmed.)

    Then I decided to call my doula, Sarah, just in case.

    From this point, things moved super fast, so I'll use time stamps:

    12:30am – woke up with contractions feeling “different”

    1:02am – I called Sarah letting her know things felt different, and she told me to keep timing them and that she'd head our way after she was finished with the birth she was at. Daniel happened to still be awake, and came into the bedroom as I was on the phone with her. I debated whether or not to call my midwife also since I still wasn't fully convinced I was in active labor, but I decided to go ahead and call her anyway. She told us to prep the bed and fill up the birth pool (I wanted a water birth), and that she'd head our way. At this point I wasn't in any pain. My contractions felt super mild and didn't seem to be getting more intense.

    1:06 am – Daniel and I were kind of scrambling to get everything prepped. We got the bed ready, which was harder than I expected being 40 weeks pregnant! As all of this is happening, I was still having contractions, and they were getting a little more intense. Still nothing more than period cramps.

    1:08 am – My water broke! Finally I was convinced it was really happening! Daniel called his dad to have him come get the big kids. Our plan was for him to pick them up so they wouldn't be home while I labored. If the timing worked out for Maddie to see the birth, we would have done that. But since it was in the middle of the night, we opted for them to leave.

    1:10 am – We started running the water to fill up the birth pool. We had a hose running from the shower, and it needed to be at a certain temperature before we could fill the pool. While waiting for it to warm up, we were making sure we had all our birth supplies where they needed to be.

    1:20 am – Daniel's dad got to the house. He and Daniel started gathering things for the kids (we didn't have any bags packed since they have a lot of stuff at Mimi and Papa's house already), and then were loading the kids into the car starting with Maddie. While they're doing that, I was going back and forth between the bathroom and my birthing ball just trying to get comfortable. My contractions had definitely gotten more intense after my water broke, but still very manageable. They felt like gas pains at this point.

    1:25 am – The only place I could get comfortable was sitting on the toilet. As I was sitting there, I felt Caiden's head starting to crown! I jumped off the toilet and sort of crouched on the bathroom floor and yelled for Daniel to come! He was still working on getting the kids into the car. He ran into the bathroom as I was on the phone with our midwife. She said she was pulling into our house, and told Daniel to get some towels. By this point, Caiden's head was completely out! I didn't push at all. Fetal Ejection Reflex just kicked in!

    I have to mention that as soon as he started crowning, I felt ZERO pain. None at all. I had actually been praying for a pain-free birth! I did a lot of studying about whether that was even biblical (which it is), and was really believing for it. Now I don't know if my body was in shock that it was happening so fast or what, but I do know that his head was out and I didn't feel any pain! It was hilarious because when Maggie told Daniel to grab a towel, he reached for the first one he could find – a nice white one. I was so coherent that I said, “Love, would you mind grabbing a darker towel? I have some set aside in the laundry basket in the corner.” While Caiden's head is out!! I'm sure it was quite the sight!

    So I'm crouched on the bathroom floor, Caiden's head is out, Daniel is grabbing towels, and my midwife ran into the bathroom. I knew the rest of Caiden's body would come during the next contraction, so I was just sitting there waiting. Sure enough, again without pushing (thanks, Fetal Ejection Reflex), the rest of his body came at 1:27 am, and I caught him! Caiden Daniel Rice was born perfectly in my bathroom with zero complications!

    He started crying immediately and I brought him to my chest. Then we all sighed and couldn't believe what had just happened! My midwife said she figured I'd go fast because my previous deliveries were fast, but not THAT fast! It was 57 minutes total, 19 minutes from the time my water broke! Daniel went out to tell his dad that Caiden was here, and he was shocked. They got Maddie out of the car and back into her bed. Carson never even made it out of his bed! We turned the water off in the shower and laughed that it happened so fast that we never even got to fill up the birth pool.


    After the Birth

    Then the best part – I got to go straight into my own bed! I nursed him right away and did skin to skin for the first hour while our birth team got everything cleaned up. Our doula and the assistant midwife both arrived after I was safe and sound in my bed. Daniel cut the cord, and they took all of Caiden's measurements on the end of our bed. He was a whopping 8 lbs, 14 oz, our biggest baby by almost two pounds!!

    The birth team hung around until about 4:30 am to make sure Caiden and I were both stable and thriving, and then they headed out. It was incredible to be home and to not have nurses coming in every hour! They came back to check on us the next day, and all was well.

    When Maddie and Carson woke up, we had Daniel take Caiden into our bathroom to hide. I got to love on my big kids, and then Daniel walked in to surprise them with their baby brother! I'll never forget those first moments as a family of 5!

    I mentioned before that this birth was everything I had prayed for and nothing like I expected. I never expected for it to go so fast. (Thank goodness we didn't plan for a hospital birth…we would have had him in the car!!) I thought I'd have a peaceful water birth. I thought he'd come early. I thought I'd have beautiful birth photos taken by my friend, Grace. Even though none of that happened, this birth was still so perfect in every way. If I were having a hospital birth, I likely would have been induced. I would have ended up loaded up with pitocin and pushing on my back. I'm so thankful this experience was different in every way!

    It was one of the best moments of my life, and I'd do it the same all over again!

    Since we didn't get birth photos, enjoy our lifestyle newborn photos by Grace Paul Photography!

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