Samuel’s Birth Story

I am so happy. Home birth was such an incredible journey I took in the comfort of my own home. I am thankful for the people in my life who truly love and support me. I am thankful for trusting my body, my baby and life. I am so thankful that I have a healthy, happy baby boy who chose me to be his mother. I am forever grateful to have such an amazing partner who was so gentle and caring during my labor… and hands down the best doula I could have ever asked for. I feel extremely blessed.

I found out I was pregnant at the end of January 2017. I remember taking the test. I immediately screamed when I saw two lines. It was probably more disbelief than excitement. However, It really was the beginning of such an exciting time in my life. I was going to become a mama!! We had our own private gender reveal and when we popped the big black balloon, all I saw was blue confetti fall all over the place. We were going to have a little BOY!

Eventually, It was time to start thinking of what we were going to name him. Each name we said never gave us that feeling. We kind of just let it go and didn’t give it any more thought. Then a few months later, one day while laying in bed I said out loud “Samuel? I kind of like it”. Dillon said that was his Grandad’s name. I laughed and said “Samuel Algirdas”… with Algirdas being my Grandfather’s name. Just like that, In that moment… We had that feeling. It stuck. We named him without any effort and after our favorite people ever, our grandfathers.

I never visualized my birth because I didn’t want to be attached to an outcome. I just prayed that it would go smoothly and that he would come here safely in whichever way that was best for him and whichever way that was best for me. I meditated regularly to stay connected to my body and how
I was feeling. I also meditated to keep my mind clear, stay relaxed and make room for positive thoughts.
Once thinking about where I was going to have our baby, I felt like having him in the hospital wasn’t the best decision for me. I seemed to feel a disconnect with what I wanted and what a hospital could provide. I had met with an OB and did a tour of Sacred Heart. While finished with my tour of the birth center, I stopped by the nurse station in the birthing area. I asked some very real questions and then I shared that I was thinking that I wanted to have my baby with GBO…and that’s when I met Hayley. She told me she just got “all warm and fuzzy” when I said that. Hayley shared that she was also a birthing assistant with GBO. I could tell she was passionate about it. Deep down, I knew I was supposed to meet her.
Weeks later, Dillon and I were on the way to grab food and he suggested Evercrisp to get a salad. My man… suggesting a salad place for lunch? Amazing, I thought. (He never suggests this place or salads). We were joking on the way there that we would either go to GBO to have our baby or to The Farm in Summertown, TN. We were 100% having an out of hospital birth. Also probably almost 100% on going to Summertown…I was in love when I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. While ordering our lunch, I noticed Hayley standing beside me. I struck up a conversation with her and we started talking about GBO again. I knew I was supposed to see her. This was what I needed, this conversation, to calm me with something I didn’t grow up with–Natural, unmedicated childbirth. I totally felt like it was a sign from God, seeing her there, and I had this deep knowing to trust my path, decision and intuition. That was the happiest salad I ever ate! After that conversation, I knew – We are totally using GBO for our birth!
We eventually decided to have him at home.. I loved the idea of laboring at home and never having to leave. Little did I know, having a Home birth would be one of the best experiences of my life.
It’s now October, a few days past my due date, I was feeling so calm and confident. Samuel was going to come in his perfect time. I had this unbelievable amount of calmness and trust that came over me around this time in my pregnancy. I knew it was all in God’s hands and all I needed to do is get out of the way and allow my body to do exactly what it’s made to do. With Cindi’s ok, I went in to get acupuncture by Dr. Wu. This was such a great visit with…It felt amazing and while I was there he just continually blessed me and the baby. The next day, I went into labor.

On Oct 12, I went to visit Cindi in the morning so she could check to see if I was dilated. That was my first major contraction. She was so calm and said I was 2 cm dilated and my cervix was soft and that was good. Okay, I thought, not having a baby yet! I really didn’t think I was close to having a baby. However, Some kind of magic was worked because I ended up going into labor that evening.
It’s late in the afternoon and Dillon left to work on the boat, and my mom was thankfully at home visiting with me. I was having very light cramping all day and joked how funny it would be to have a baby on Friday the 13th.
My mom and I were outside and my dachshund alerted us to a large bird, a Heron, that was stuck in the trees between the balconies. The fire dept and wild life rescuers had to come help get it out of the tree. (This was totally my stork… telling me to get ready because the baby is being delivered). And although this chaos was a wonderful distraction from the dull cramping I was experiencing, it was very clear that my mood started changing–so I called GBO. I was told it was normal to have cramping after sweeping the membranes and they will probably completely stop or get worse. To call if the cramping became stronger or became more frequent.
Well, they did. I turned down my shopping trip to Home Goods (That’s when my mom knew that this was the real deal–I was about to go into labor). She called Dillon and had him come home. She stayed with me until he arrived. Once he was home; she ended up leaving shortly after to start cooking for us so we had plenty of fresh cooked meals for the next few days. I was feeling fine and told dillon he had to go to the store to get string, paper and color pencils so I can make my last minute affirmations and hang them on the wall. Also, I needed fingernail polish remover.
By the time he came home. I was in the tub having true contractions. I no longer cared about my affirmations or my chipped toe nail polish, He comforted me.
Since I was in labor, He lit the candle that was gifted to me at my blessing way.
We called Cindi. She suggested that I rest. I feel like we called her back again right away. I threw up. There was no way I could rest. I was starting to get so uncomfortable. We called Katie, our photographer, around 8:30 and asked her to come sit with us. I remember being super chatty with her. She was so awesome to have around. I was in the tub for awhile before moving to the bed. I was smiling, laughing and talking. It was sort of confusing how far along I was because I still was talking even though I probably shouldn’t have been able to.
Once laboring in bed, I stayed in my meditative breath the whole time that way I could get through the contractions… Dillon was just so gentle and caring. He held me and comforted me. My mom came back with food to drop off for us; she came upstairs to say hello to me during labor before she headed back home (as I had planned) but I asked her to stay. She ended up being the most amazing presence. She would step in when Dillon needed a break and then at the same time I was able to be comforted by my mother. I remember just holding her hand and telling her that I loved her so much. I will never forget the feeling I had while holding her hand. There were so many emotions. Every touch she gave was so supportive and filled with love. She just held space for me, which was exactly what I needed at this time.
Dillon joked with me and said that as soon as my mom came in to drop everything off for us, she was staying because he wasn’t going to let her leave. He felt like he needed her there more than I did. I thought that was such a beautiful thing to say.

While laboring in bed, my water broke. It was a very memorable “POP” and fluid was everywhere. That’s when Katie told Dillon that now was a good time to call Cindi and to have her come. My contractions were certainly intensifying now. More fluid came rushing out with each additional contraction I had. Dillon was breathing with me. Breathing between and during my contractions so I would stay in my breath. That helped me so much because there were times I would almost fight my contraction. Dillon stayed with me the whole time. His breathing would help me by reminding me to get back into my meditative breath. I found that It was so much calmer there. So, that’s where I stayed throughout my labor. I just remember thinking about the ocean while I was breathing. When I was in between contractions- the water was calm…I relaxed and rested. When the wave was coming, I squeezed his hand and I allowed it to happen. I knew this wave wouldn’t last forever. It was going to break and it was going to be okay. I totally surrendered to my body. It was such a beautiful feeling.
I was truly allowing my body to be the portal from the spiritual world to the physical world. This was my sacred journey into motherhood just as much as it was my child’s sacred journey into this life. This was important for me to do this for him. To breathe, allow, surrender and relax so he could come into the world peacefully.
The contractions that were happening at this time were incredibly powerful. I couldn’t stand when I tried. I started visualizing my blessing way in my head. I was looking at the most amazing women in my life surrounding me that night. I was replaying their encouraging words over and over and over again. I was looking around the room and watching them hold and pass the very same candle that was burning right beside me as I labored. I could feel them and their words. I could feel how I felt that night. Visualization really got me through this time.

I was feeling the urge to push and vocalizing it.
Contractions were getting even stronger and I felt there was no way humanly possibly they could get any closer together. Soon after…around 11 pm–my midwife, Cindi and the birth assistants Hayley and Kat came in. I truly had the perfect energy at my birth. It was almost like I was seeing a long time friend when I saw Hayley come in. I immediately felt the kind energy of Kat and I already knew and trusted Cindi. Everything came full circle at this time. I was so comfortable in my birth setting. It’s true, there is nothing more beautiful than that secure feeling. I trusted the people who surrounded me. My contractions at this point were taking over. So strong that I was dreaming of my birth tub. I was so ready to get in. Cindi asked me to come into the bathroom and sit on the toilet for a few contractions. I stayed here for a while. I labored here, all out. Woooo! It was very intense laboring on the toilet. I did not feel very glamorous at all, with my legs propped up on two separate stools! Yet Dillon held me, was looking at me in awe and whispered to me “You are so beautiful”. He was just so so sweet to me. So kind and caring throughout my entire labor. He was so present. I am still just so blown away.
Cindi was sitting to the left of me. She said “You’re probably going to have a Friday the 13th baby”. I remember laughing either in my head or out loud… but definitely thinking let’s have this baby!!! Can I get in the tub yet?!
I could barely get out anything I was thinking. I was really focusing on my breath. Not long after she asked if I was ready to get in the birthing pool and push. I was about to have Samuel. Walking to the birthing pool was so crazy! He was right there and I could feel him.
The best feeling in the world was that birth pool. I felt like an astronaut who landed on the moon. There was Instant relief. It felt unbelievably good. I knew I could do anything after being in the bathroom laboring. I was in the pool and had a contraction. Cindy told me I had to push the baby out to get him here. I remember saying “Wait, I have to push him out? He won’t just come?” She was like yes, You have to push. I was in a daze.
The next contraction I had, I started pushing. I felt like I only had a couple of contractions and I was already crowning. I remember feeling so excited to meet my baby. Later, Katie told me she never heard anyone say they were excited while crowning or even smiling for that matter. For some reason, I was. It was like I had left my body. I had the birth high that people talk about. It was amazing. I reached down and touched his head…. he was almost here. Pushing Samuel out was so surreal. Seeing his body come out and catching him underwater was out-of-this-world amazing. I wasn’t even in this world when it happened.
He was born on October 13th at 1:19 am.
Holding Samuel in my arms and placing him on my chest was magical. Home birth is magical. I started to cry when I heard his cry. It was music. I was so connected. It was the promise that God gave to me, fully realized, he was here- happy, healthy and birthed at home. It couldn’t have been any more peaceful. It couldn’t have been any more perfect.

Follow this link for the video


The Birth of Kinley Ley

The HBAC story of Ainsley Moirin

The birth story of Ellory Quinn

The Birth of Emmilia

The Birth of Kairi Celia Belle

Due to several contributing factors with my body my pregnancy was quite a surprise. I don’t like saying my baby wasn’t planned or an accident, the plan had just been for it to be a little later than it was; and we really didn’t know if the plan was possible. When I went to the doctor the options seemed to be more pelvic complications or I was pregnant. The doctor actually said before the test that it was more than likely my typical issues and we talked about trying yet another option. Not that I felt prepared for a baby at that time, but I did pray right there for it. Maybe that was selfish because I didn’t want to deal with more pain than I was already dealing with for no reason. I wanted it to be for something- really, someone. When the doctor came back he was surprised too! I was pregnant! Then reality set in and every thought of “we’re not ready for this” came crashing down. It also didn’t help that the doctor then wanted to discuss with me my high likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy or other complications due to my past surgeries and advised me not to make the news too public as I was only projected to be 4 weeks and 6 days along.

I went home and thought immediately- I have to find a new OB/GYN (I lost count at how many I had seen at number 9- but seeing this doctor last year was the worst. Long story with her basically slitting my insides open unnecessarily while I was 100% conscious). I thank God everyday for helping me find Cindi and Gentle Birth Options. I was nervous because of my history that I wouldn’t be a candidate for an out of hospital birth but when I talked to Cindi she reassured me that it would be fine. Not surprisingly (to me anyway) I had just about every symptom I had heard or read about. My whole pregnancy everyone would ask how I was feeling. My typical answer was always good or at least okay (up until the last 2 weeks or so!); a majority of pregnant women have to deal with symptoms related to it so I didn’t see the point in complaining. I did have some additional pain that others may not have but I gelt like this time it was for something so it didn’t bother me as much.

Flashing forward several months. I saw Cindi Tuesday morning for my first non centering appt. 38w 5d on 4/4/17. We had just moved into our new house the week before and I felt like things were different. At the appointment she said “we might have a baby this weekend, or maybe a couple more weeks.” She also said my baby was very far on the right side and was concerned she may end up posterior during labor. Another woman had just delivered a “sunny side up” baby a couple weeks before she made sure I understood I did NOT want to do that and I needed to lay on my left side exclusively from then on. I of course agreed and just remember thinking, “yeah Friday sounds like a good day.”

That evening was my usual Tuesday night Bible study, I hosted at my house so everyone could see it. My friends all brought wonderful snacks and a cake since my birthday was the next day. Looking back I’m so glad they did so I had a little birthday fun at least. I sat on a ball during the study and was grateful I was at my own home when I noticed I was a little wetter down there. I thought it was a combination of sweat and normal pregnant things. I was huge at this point and sweating A LOT more. I changed clothes and didn’t think anything of it. I went to bed that night around 11pm and set myself up as best I could on my left side (my left hip had been giving me a lot of pain so I really didn’t want to). There was a severe thunderstorm that night and I remember waking up just after 1am to pee and seeing the lightning through the blinds. It was my birthday that day and I had plans to have lunch with a friend who shares my birthday and then to swim afterwards. I had been dying to see what it felt like to swim while pregnant so I was disgruntled by the storm thinking that it would ruin my plan.  I went back to bed as normal not realizing that it wouldn’t just be rain that stopped me from swimming that day. I woke up at 1:40am   I later woke up at 1:40am to a gush of water (thank you GBO for recommending double lining the sheets with shower curtains!!) My first thought was, of course you’re going to share my birthday, thankssss. My husband just asked if I had peed the bed. Ugh! I of course snapped something in regards to do you think I could pee this much!?
Contractions started but weren’t very frequent. I sat on the toilet trying to make sure my water had stopped coming out and texted Katie Murray (my birth photographer) to keep her in the loop and ask some advice. I had thought that contractions would come long before my water breaking so I didn’t want to get ahead of the game and wake up Cindi or Kassie for no reason. She advised me to go ahead and give the after hours line a call. I spoke with Cindi and she said to put on a pad and try and get more sleep- which is what I figured. Each time I tried getting back in bed (twice before I gave up) when I laid down so much water kept coming and I had to keep changing so I got frustrated and paced the floor trying to plan. With just moving I wasn’t completely prepared and still needed to go to the store for several things. I kept telling Kaleb I needed to go to the store and he kept begging me to go back to bed like Cindi said and wait a few more hours. My water was still gushing every few moments so I stayed in the bathroom on the edge of the tub for awhile. I realized I only had one pad left so I NEEDED to go to the store. Kaleb finally offered to go for me but I knew it would be to complicated to explain all the things I needed to I packed and extra pair of underwear in my purse and we went to Walmart around 4am. He dropped me off at the front and as I was getting out of the car there was another huge gush that my pad couldn’t hold. No one was around, it was raining and thank the Lord for black shorts. I hobbled into the bathroom and changed quickly but had to put back on the wet shorts. We went all around Walmart pausing with contractions and checking things off the list. After going home I continued to prepare for my baby to come home later that day. We still had many things in boxes so I was frantic. My mom and sister came over to help with things. Cindi called around 9am to see how I was doing. I hadn’t been timing my contractions but guessed they were about 8-10 minutes apart. Since my water was already broken Cindi asked us to come in for a membrane sweep to stir somethings up. We got there around 10:30am and discussed different ways to move so I could hopefully progress things faster.

After going home and moving on the ball and swaying my hips a lot things really picked up and I started to feel horrible ripping lower back pains with each contraction. Our instructions were to come in when I could no longer talk through contractions. Things progressed and we got to the birth center around 5:30pm. Katie had arrived just before us. Cindi did say she may not end up sharing my birthday after all but at that point I thought for sure she would come before the day ended. Back labor hit me hard and it wasn’t something I was expecting to deal with. Each lightning strike came and felt so unproductive. I had been holding onto the “every surge brings baby closer” and it certainly did not feel that way after the back labor had begun. My team was so amazing though and took turns giving counter pressure to get me through it. Somewhere in all the blur Larissa, the in house chiropractor came in and was comforting as much as possible. I am SO grateful for her going above and beyond like that and for Cindi calling her in.

The birth tub was filled and after trying to relax there for a while I got out. The pain was a bit more manageable it the warm water but I didn’t feel like things were progressing in there. On the bed Cindi checked me and told me she thought I was ready to push. It was just after 10pm. There was definitely a learning curve for this first time mom! I thought I figured it out after not too long and I was still thinking we’d share a birthday. It was about 11:30/11:45 when Cindi said they could see her head! She was almost here and I just needed a few more pushes, or so we thought. As I pushed and pushed and changed positions I was thinking, well she really does want her own birthday, okay.

I remember it was 12:10am when I saw the clock and thought, this is the push!!! We even have a picture of Kaleb’s face excited and happy and me screaming. It wasn’t. And it wasn’t for several more afterward. We continued to change positions and I was truly giving it everything I had.  I remember looking around at Cindi, Christy, Sarah, and Katie and feeling so bad for making everyone have such a long night. As we kept trying new positions and I kept pushing, the clock kept nagging me. I could feel her head only about an inch inside since just before midnight. It was reassuring that the whole time, my baby girl’s heart rate was strong and did not drop.

At about 3am Cindi said I needed to get this baby out or think about transferring to a hospital. I was so opposed of course. I was pushing with every ounce I had left in me and many ounces I didn’t know I had. She let me go two more hours and at 5am we decided to do what none of us want to and headed to the hospital. I was so thankful for Cindi coming with us!

Getting in the car was probably the most difficult part because of the defeated feeling and of course the baby I could feel so closely between my legs. I “sat” with my legs underneath me for the ride there and tried to breathe through the contractions as Cindi has said. That was extremely difficult. My body NEEDED to push and I would say about half of the ride it did. I felt something change after we got off the bridge and thought that I might very well have her in the car. Kaleb was completely silent- at about the outlets I glanced over and saw he was doing the speed limit exactly. I said something to the effect of: “Can you just give me 5 over!?” . After arriving at the hospital getting out of the car was just as difficult as getting in. They wanted me in an wheel chair but I didn’t want to sit on her head so I held myself up. I really don’t know how I had the strength. By the time we got in the room and on the bed I pushed a few times and she was out within minutes. The doctors around had seemed angry when Cindi let them know how long I was pushing but my strong girl was monitored with each contraction after about 2am and her heart rate was constant. I did have a second degree tear but being stitched up didn’t matter at that point. I FINALLY had my baby and with no pain medication or intervention. Baby Girl Howze was born at 6:10am on April 6, 2017. Not the typical GBO birth but I still count it as one. Cindi was right next to the doctor as Kairi was born. I can’t say enough how awesome everyone at GBO is! No hospital would have given anywhere near the support I had from my team every step of the way and I’m confident they would have forced me into a c-section after pushing for a couple of hours with her head showing. After a little over 24 hours we named her Kairi Celia Belle. 💕9lbs 6.6oz 21.5 inches.

The Birth of Lux

Birth Story of Isla

 To read mom’s birth story click here: Isla James BirthStory


The Birth of Sofie Parker

Birth Story of Gideon

Born at home surrounded by love and calm, after a fight from within to bring our sweet 9lb 4oz baby boy earth side.

When I woke up on Wednesday, February 22nd, I knew it was almost time to see your sweet face. Daddy went to work and I got ready to go see our Midwife Kassie for my 40+2 appointment. I felt certain and relaxed. She checked me and I was at 3-4cm. So, after chatting with the amazing women at GBO I headed home to eat lunch and take a nap. Around 3pm, I text Russell and told him to head home because things were picking up and I would feel more comfortable having him by my side.

I then took a long hot shower and sat on my birth ball doing my hair when daddy got home (yes, he sped!) He then started picking up the house and going over all the things we needed to do before I got too uncomfortable. We then went to pick up food and talked in between contractions. By the time we got my food and headed home, contractions started getting closer together.

We got home and sat down to eat, halfway through my food I thought I might need to call the Midwife to see about having someone swing by and put the IV in. Kassie arrived and monitored me through a few contractions in a few different positions. We had also called our parents and our birth photographer, Katie. As the midwife was leaving to allow me the peace to progress everyone started showing up.

I sat in the living room and watched big brother play video games. He was so full of energy that night and very excited for this little baby he’d been hearing all about. After awhile, I began laboring in different spots every 30-45 minutes. Squatting in a hot bath, daddy spraying hot water on my back while i did lunges in the shower through contractions, sitting on birth ball, pelvic lift and tilts on the wall, and then finally laying in bed before telling Russell to call the Midwife. It was starting to get real!

Once they arrived at about 11:30pm, they filled the tub and started checking my vitals. Getting in the birth pool was absolute heaven, seriously, if you have never experienced labor in a birth pool you are missing out. Aquatherapy is amazing!! I was pushing with the contractions, my water broke and things felt like they were right on track. This was way easier than my first. Or so I thought.

After awhile i started to get really hot. Daddy was keeping me cool with ice cold wash cloths. But eventually, I had to get out and try to labor out of the water awhile. Immediately I felt gravity hit and oh the back pain!!

After a quick cervical check to see that I was ONLY at 6cm, I started to doubt myself. Christy was calmly reminding me that I held more power than I was allowing myself to believe. Cindi kept reminding me that this was NOT as bad as Gabriel’s birth (which I swore was a lie….but she of course was right!!)

They started pulling out all the birth tricks and through my certainty that I couldn’t do it and begging for it to be over. Everyone around me was calm and peaceful and loving. Talking me through each surge.

My sweet baby boy worked so hard to turn and twist. I pushed. I dug deep. I believed in my body’s ability to birth. My midwives helped him descend, and with a push I could feel the ring of fire. With another out came his head. Kassie even gave him a little mohawk while we waited for the next contraction. I pushed with all I had left, took a breath and then screamed him out with their help.

There he was. In my arms. On my chest. God, I loved him so fiercely. My sweet perfect Gideon was in my arms and I was in Daddy’s arms. We watched him open his eyes, then take his first breathe. The room was silent and peaceful. After a quick check by the midwife we laid there soaking in the life we made together. His fingers, toes, mouth, nose, eyes, everything was perfect.

Not too long after that we were cuddling in bed as a new family. February 23, 2017 at 3:32am. It was the perfect Birthday for our strong, fat, precious Gideon Michael.