The HBAC story of Ainsley Moirin

Birth Story of Kent

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This birth story begins with an end. Actually multiple ends. Mothering three kids, 4, 2, and 9 months, we got a surprise pregnancy. While it certainly wasn’t planned it was quickly accepted. Just as quickly as it happened, things took a turn. Bleeding, blood tests, an ultrasound or two. I got to see that little flickering heart beat and felt hope that this little one would be okay. The next morning it struck me. The cramping and bleeding was undeniable. I knew I had lost it. Another ultrasound showing an empty uterus, blood work confirming the numbers dropping, it was heartbreaking. My mom sat with me while I continued to miscarry, and encouraged me to try again one day. That there was a reason, there will be hope one day. My midwife Cindi was always supportive and continued to check in on me. I only carried that baby for 7 weeks, but I loved it none the less. I had experienced a new level of mom sadness and a new appreciation for my three perfect babies.

A few months later the biggest heartbreak came knocking on my door. Police officers brought me the news that my parents were involved in a car accident and they did not survive. I stood there shaking, distraught, and the moment I walked back in my house I collapsed to the floor in a pain no one should experience. Luckily in that moment I had two dear friends at my house and they literally picked me up and helped through the day while I watched my world crumble further each phone call to family I had to make.

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The days after that are a complete blur. Friends and family came to my side, and Cindi stepped in for support in her midwife ways and she held space for me. I could have a conversation with her without feeling pitied, or getting constant apologies and over abundance of sympathy. I could spend time with her and her family like everything was, or would be, okay. No questions asked, just comfort in a way I needed.

I love the Denbow family.

As a birth photographer I still had two clients due, and one had gone into labor. I remember feeling relief knowing I could be welcomed into their space for the birth of their first child. It was distracting from the real world, it was uplifting and full of people I cared deeply about. Witnessing this birth, just days after so much death, was something otherworldly for healing. I was still shattered but felt hope in life. After traveling out of town for the funeral, while on the plane back home, I got the text my next client was in labor. Immediately after landing I drove home for my camera and turned around to pick up Cindi and drive to this birth. Something about birth can turn any day around. This new life emerging right in front of you. I had just had my already broken heart torn into smaller pieces while being one of my mothers pallbearers, listening to taps and being handed that folded flag, seeing both caskets hang over their holes in the ground, all while just a short walk away from my oldest brothers grave. Being present for the birth of a child and watching a family become parents makes you forget all of that, just for a bit.

It was after midnight when Cindi and I were headed home when I decided we should stop at Walmart for a pregnancy test. I can’t tell you what compelled me to do this, I wasn’t super late and I even took one a few days prior that was totally negative. Once I got home I took it… and it was positive. Pretty sure my first text to Cindi at 1am was a picture of it with “I knew it!” Talk about a roller coaster of emotions…

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Pregnancy was… I was just pregnant. The beginning was stressful. What if I lost this one too? How would I handle anymore loss? Cindi immediately had me start progesterone, as my levels were a little low. As the first trimester came and went I realized this baby was saving me from myself. I can’t fathom what would have happened had I not been pregnant right after my parents accident. I would have lost myself in alcohol and I can’t even think what would have happened to me as a mother as I slipped away. This baby was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. This baby was the ultimate rainbow. “A ‘rainbow baby’ is a baby born following the loss of a baby. It is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravage of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope. Sunshine after rain, calm after storms, joy after sadness, peace after pain, love after loss.”

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Milk bath images by the husband

Not finding out the gender was new for us. It made picking a name pretty much impossible. It was nerve wracking but so exciting. As the end of pregnancy was coming, so did the pelvic pain. Something about the baby’s position was giving my pubic bone hell. Grinding and shifting, popping and clicking. Chiropractic care could only do so much. With a good hard adjustment around 37 weeks, I left and started having some small contractions. Well they just wouldn’t go away! Chiro Larrissa had royally pissed off my uterus. While texting with her I learned Cindi was out of town. Que anxiety! Some small bloody show and all the time little contractions for days felt like a lifetime. In that moment it finally hit me that HEY, a baby is coming one of these days! I didn’t realize how disconnected I was and how ill prepared I was. In the words of Kevin Hart, No She wasn’t ready!

My amazing GBO (gentle birth options) family and friends held a mothers blessing/blessingway for me. So many beautiful souls surrounding me, uplifting me, bringing positivity to my home. It was just perfect.

2016-12-16_0001Blessingway images by K Reeder Photography

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Luckily no baby yet and I had plenty of time to really prepare my space, my mind, my body, and really accept the outcome… It was difficult to think that this baby would never meet or know my parents, and it was very hard to really grasp. Such an emotionally taxing thought. I had to accept this before the baby arrived or I knew depression would take over.

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Week 38/39 I started to get itchy. The itch from hell. Puppps. It was in a small patch at the bottom of my belly and down my left arm. Thought it was NOTHING compared to my first pregnancy with puppps, where it covered me from my shoulders to my toes… I could handle this little patch! Resisting the itch was manageable until I slept, where I scratched in my sleep.

The day before my due date, Sunday nov 6th, I started having pretty regular contractions. Into the night they continued, but intensity never picked up. They annoyingly kept me awake all night long but their strength was totally whimpy. I asked my husband to come home from work Monday morning, and naturally all contractions stopped. I had my hopes up that I was having a due date baby but the day came and went. Tuesday I had an appointment with Cindi and in my “I’m done” mood we did a cervical check and sweep. I’m the type that has to know there’s progress, or lack thereof. I NEED to know. Here I was 4-5cm with nothing going on. I try not to complain, because that’s half the labor already done! But frustrating at the same time because CMON kid, just get out! Cindi offered to break my water if contractions picked up, and what do you know, they never would pick up. I would have some good ones back to back then nothing for 30 minutes or more. The same frustrating prodromal labor continues for days. Another sweep Thursday with another chiro visit. At this point, I fully accepted that baby was not coming until next week. I would be 41 weeks+ again, just like the others. I had determined that this baby was doing exactly what it’s big sister did; prodromal labor for days, quick active-transition labor with water breaking and a baby literally falling out in 9 minutes. Knowing I was already 5cm I was terrified of my water breaking and a baby rocket happening. I had my husband miss a week of work for all of this prodromal labor and it was now Friday and still no baby. I had spent the last few days in tears. I was sad, mad, frustrated, all of the emotions. I was trying not to chase labor, but it was so exhausting not being able to sleep and contractions starting and stopping for so long.

Friday night as we were getting the kids ready for bed, I stepped into my room and my water broke. MY WATER BROKE. I froze. I clenched my butt so hard! I called Cindi faster than I could process the fact my water broke. While on the phone I realized 1) baby didn’t fall out 2)I’m not having contractions. Big sigh…sort of. My pants and floor were soaked. It was close to 8pm at this point. I texted our photographer, Cassie, right after the phone call and she was ready to come over. I had to have been standing there frozen for a solid 15 minutes. What a weirdo. I had felt like I was crying wolf all week, all month really! And now it was really happening. My husband put the boys to bed while my daughter bounced on my yoga ball and I attempted to slap some make up on puffy eyes while starting to fill my birth pool. I was determined to use it this time! My youngest, my daughter, my baby for only so little time before she becomes a big sister. I loved our hour together one last time.

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Cassie and I were hanging out in my living room while my husband went to put our daughter to bed. In the process he fell asleep and about 10 minutes later the birth team arrived around 10:45pm. My contractions were lame. Not hard at all and way spaced out. I did some super sexy crab walk and squats up and down my stairs in attempts to get contractions going. Sitting on the toilet with feet up on stools. Rocking, swaying, up and down stairs. Cindi and I went up to my bedroom where she released the rest of my waters so my uterus could really contract around baby. Sooo much fluid. I mean my water breaking initially was a lot and then even more came gushing out! So so much! At that point I think she said I was 6cm and it was around 11:45pm. It was almost instantly that a contraction came on. Cindi and I laid in my bed in the quiet together. It was a moment I won’t forget. A strange moment, but in that quiet I felt her presence. She was there for me and I wasn’t alone. As a friend, a midwife, and in a way stepping into a place where I would want my own mom. Cindi was there. It was peaceful and comforting. Back to back contractions were starting. We decided to go back downstairs and I was asked if I wanted the birth assistants to leave and come back later when things pick up. Before I could even finish my answer a big contraction took my breath away. I asked Cindi to text Christy, another birth assistant who had become like my family, to see if she could make it over.

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I stood over my counter through contractions that seemed to go from 0-60 in .5 seconds. My lower back was aching with contractions but it wasn’t too bad while leaning forward. One contraction I noticed my legs were shaking and I knew things were picking up speed. Ready to go back upstairs! I should probably wake my husband up now, too… Contractions were getting intense and close together but I was still happy between them. My breathing through them was getting deeper, I was really panting and breathing them out.

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We had pots of water boiling to warm up the pool and I started getting antsy to get in. Oh the pool was so so nice when I got in it finally. In comes Christy, yay! We had some great Credence Clearwater Revival pandora playing and small talk between contractions.

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I wear my dads wedding ring and my moms claddagh ring everyday. Some days they hurt to look at, but most days they’re my constant reminder to stay strong. I can hear their voices telling me so and I know they are with me.

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All of a sudden my back was really killing me during contractions and Cindi suggested moving positions. Just as quickly as I moved, the intensity picked up. I was no longer Katie. I was a laboring women in the zone. Breathing hard, moaning, I needed my husbands hand at some point and managed to spit the words out. The back pain grew to now pubic bone pain. I couldn’t even focus anymore with the pubic bone pain taking my full attention. I wanted to grab my bones or push on them with counter pressure, just something to make that pain stop! The next few contractions I lost all control. I was no longer here at all. The world totally muffled as if I had stuck my head under water. I couldn’t tell you what anyone said to me or what I might have even said. I remember hearing “low tones” and my husband encouraging me. I was in another world.

Pensacola Birth PhotographyPensacola Birth PhotographyPensacola Birth PhotographyPensacola Birth PhotographyI sat there head hanging down and had a long pause before the next contraction (well… to me a long pause. My time perception was way off at this point). I knew exactly what was coming. I had seen it time and time again, this beautiful birth pause where the body seems to take a breather and then the next thing you know, here comes baby. In my mind I thought how much I didn’t want to do this anymore, I can’t take anymore, I feel like this has been so long, why does this hurt so bad… Then back to work my body went with a fierceness. The pause brought me back for just a quick moment and then I was back out in labor land. Making noises of all kinds. Yelling, screaming, moaning. I was out of control of myself. As my baby made its way through the birth canal my eyes were shut and I had an out of body experience feeling my baby emerge and stretch my body for its arrival. In that moment my pubic bone and lower back felt like it just had a bomb go off from the inside. It really -f@#&ing- hurt. I reached down and felt my baby’s head. It was totally surreal through the chaos. I felt baby’s super soft head, and an ear. It’s head felt like velvet and I sat there rubbing it, hoping and pleading for it to just come out already. It was really just amazing. In the amazing moment, I was still in amazing pain! I froze again. I was still in another world and I remember hearing Cindi say something to me, then her pulling my leg over to her on the side. I lost my steam for pushing, or maybe my uterus didn’t get the memo to keep pushing baby out, or maybe just this huge baby came out a little crooked or got a little stuck, I’m not really sure! but with a little of Cindis help, I felt the rush of release and relief. I felt my baby’s body come out and I reached down to lift up and hold my baby for the first time. It was instant flash back to reality and oh my gosh my baby is here.

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You’re here. Finally, you’re here!

It was as if parts of my parents were finally here with this baby’s arrival. As if somehow this baby carried parts of their souls. The longest year of my life and this baby, my parents, were finally here with me. The excruciating heartache filled year didn’t matter in that moment. All of that horrendous pain I just went through was as if it never even happened. He was here.

Oh my gosh, it’s a boy!! Talk about totally surprised. Subconsciously I must have really thought this baby was a girl the whole time. Everyone did it seemed! I was shocked! Finding out at birth was SO exciting. The roller coaster of pregnancy, labor, and birth, then add on the joy of finally seeing who that little baby is, is just something indescribable.

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As I came back to reality one of the first songs I could hear, or rather realized I could hear, was Born On The Bayou. How absolutely perfect. I can remember singing this song with my mom and dad in the car so clearly. It was perfect timing almost like their way of saying hello, they were here, my heart was happy. Then came another song.. ‘Have you ever seen the rain’

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After delivery of the placenta and a gentle newborn exam we tied the cord with yarn. The yarn was my moms as she was a crazy knitter and crocheter and was ALWAYS with her yarn bag. To slow things down from a quick snip we had decided on doing cord burning instead of cutting. My husband had built a box to catch the wax drippings and we used two candles to burn and separate the cord. My original thoughts on the candles were to each represent one of my parents. As we severed ties to this baby boys original life source, we brought him into this new world together. My family, my adopted birth team family, my parents, my children. We brought him into this new world together while cutting ties to the past and had the time to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the moment. My oldest son came in to help finish the burning and meet his new baby brother and shortly the next two were woken up to come meet him.

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What better way to announce to the world of social media that you’ve had a baby than by taking a placenta selfie?

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My rainbow baby was here. My Kent Dempsey (named after my dad and grandpa) was 9lbs 11oz 22.3/4″ long. Might I add, with a 37cm head and 38 chest! My big giant rainbow baby! Born early Saturday morning at 2:26am on November 12th in the water while in our own home.

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The pregnancy, prodromal labor, and intensity of birthing this baby boy made me dig deep. I had to find balance and had to stay healthy for this baby. I had to pick myself up of the floor and survive. He made me survive the heartache for him, for my older kids, for my marriage, for myself. He made me stay strong. He made me find patience in so many ways. He made his entrance into the world intense. It was as if the year had been compacted into minutes of physical pain and then in an instant the pain was lifted. I felt joy again. With such a long prodromal labor week my actual active labor once contractions really got going was only about 2.5ish hours. The experience of having another baby born in the same room as his sister is just so cool and amazing. I could not thank Gbo enough for all they do for me. They all made it incredible and unforgettable. I couldn’t have asked for a better birth team or experience. My 3vbac. Second homebirth. Just amazing.

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Huge thank you to Gentle Birth Options for the amazing care through the last (almost) 3 years.

Another huge thank you to New Light Birth Photography, Cassie Ringl, for her amazing work in birth photography. Forever cherished. These images mean the world to me. See her awesome work at newlightbirthphotography.com

SO MUCH LOVE to my husband. He supports me in so many ways and loves me through my crazy. I love him through his crazy. He is my rock, my high school sweet heart, my butthead that I love so hard. He has done so much for me to get through this year and I can’t express my gratitude enough for all he does.

ALL THE FEELS! I love these people so much. I could never thank them all enough.

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The Birth of Jax

Birth Story of Harrison Lee by Photographer

This birth was special. Leading up to this, the family with two baby girls were expecting their third. Their last. Momma went above and beyond to soak in every moment of her last pregnancy. This would be her second home birth after a cesarian. She also was the most prepared pre-birth planner from notebooks for the birth team, labeled everything, birth affirmations, the works! Dad is the only son, to an only son, to an only son, so the anticipation for what their surprise gender baby might be was on a whole new level. Dad could possibly be the last man to carry his last name. His last minute guess was another girl, whereas momma had a feeling the stars had aligned just right for her boy.

I got an update in the night that her water had broken, but minimal excitement to follow with slightly irregular contractions. I was tingly and couldn’t sleep, so after a few texts back and forth I decided to jump in the car and make the hour drive to her home. She labored so calmly, humming through each wave. We talked and laughed between them. She had the lights off and the christmas tree lit. It was beautiful. With finally deciding to empty her bladder, she was hit with wave upon wave. She knew. I knew. Call the midwife ASAP! The midwife, like I did, had an hour drive to her home. The youngest baby girl woke up from her slumber while dad called the midwife. Momma had prepared a beautiful birth room, with christmas lights, a birth pool, affirmations all over. She stopped in the living room and got on all fours. Baby was coming right there on the living room floor and right now. The intuition was strong for us all, including the midwife, who happened to be right down the street already! I ran to wake up big sister to join us as momma started to push. Within just a few minutes baby was here….

I must point out the photos momma chose on her wall to focus on.

Both of her daughters births. Her first baby a csection and her second baby a home water birth.

The affirmations she wrote herself are truly perfect.

 

 

“BABE. OH MY.. BABE! ITS A BOY!”

 

 

Pure Bliss

The Birth of Claire Avery

The Birth Story of Mavie Brígh

In the midst of trying for baby 3 I knew the birth would be different. I was determined to have the experience of natural birth I’ve always wanted and knew I was capable of. With my first I was too passive and was talked into an early induction at 39 weeks for having such a miserable, painful, itchy pregnancy. I had a large amount of medical intervention that lasted 29 hours ending with a cesarean. Details aside, I was so drugged up on narcotics that I don’t remember meeting and holding my son for the first time. Pictures and thankfully a video camera hold the only “memory” of the moment I became a mother. The pregnancy, the labor, the birth, the newborn stay at the hospital was a nightmare of nightmares. I felt broken and robbed of what should have been a happy time in my life.

My second pregnancy I wouldn’t back down from my fight for a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean.) With an Ob that had faith in me and my persistent pleading for more time, I was able to go 10 days past my due date (each day more stressed out than the last) and went into spontaneous labor two days before my scheduled csection. Labor at home was comfortable but as soon as we got to the hospital my confidence plummeted with the constant cervix checks and the anesthesiologist coming in and out asking how I’m doing with hints of his pain relief. I was tense, cold, hungry, and afraid of another csection. Caving, I got an epidural, and 45 minutes later my son was born. Forty five minutes! I was crushed. I could have managed another 45 minutes for a natural birth. But, I got my vbac! I could do it!

Trying for baby 3, I was even more headstrong about having a natural birth. I went to GBO before I was even pregnant to attend a class for exploring the GBO options and told my husband that we were going to have a homebirth if we got pregnant and that was that. Pregnancy was wonderful. I soaked in every moment and enjoyed every second I could. GBO became my second home filled with people I was comfortable with, bonded with, and felt like “these are my people.” That means a lot for a pregnant girl needing a bit of confidence to have a hbac when so many outsiders spit out negativity and raise an eyebrow to having a baby out of a hospital let alone after a csection.

At the 36 week home check, I will never forget, chatting with Christina for at least 20 minutes about where I want to have my baby. Upstairs? Downstairs? This room that room? By the end of the conversation she just looked at me and pretty much said “where ever you end up is where you will have your baby. Don’t over plan.”…

 I had envisioned how it would go, and planned a water birth renting a birth pool. I prepared my downstairs for everything to happen there. I had hung up birth affirmations, had essential oils ready, had baby hats and my giant birth supply box ready to go with the pool nearby to blow up when the time came. I relaxed there, did my breathing and focus practice there, and pictured it happening there. I planned on the kids being there just after birth to meet their sister. I wanted my oldest to cut the cord with daddy. I watched numerous homebirth videos and swooned over all of the photography and videography they had of their labor and birth. Catching their own babies and pulling them up out of the water, their faces seeing their baby for the first time and the look of relief and pride of “I did it”. I mentally prepared and pictured my own labor and birth going just like that… Silly me.

My due date of October 22nd came and went and I wasn’t worried and I wasn’t stressed to go into labor before a cut off. I was relaxed and ready for her to pick her day. As the days went on I had contractions here and there but nothing strong or regular. Monday, October 27th, at my appointment with Carla we did a sweep to stir things up and I was 1-2cm. I went home with some cramps and eventually started having contractions 10 minutes apart. Getting excited I decided to go to bed and get rest for the big moment. Then I woke up in the morning with nothing. A little upset but decided to brush it off. By 9am that Tuesday I had a large amount of bloody show. Yay! Contractions came shortly after at an average of 5 minutes apart. They weren’t too strong but definitely noticeable. They lasted all day and by 3pm just stopped. I called a friend to come walk with me and the boys to the park and maybe get things going again. I crab/cowboy walked up and down my stairs, I bounced and rolled around on my yoga ball, I did lunges and squats, I cried an ugly cry out of frustration, but they were gone.

Wednesday morning GBO called me, knowing how frustrated I was, and told me to come in for another sweep and NST. My cervix made progress so it put my mind at ease that my contractions weren’t for nothing and my body was working. When I walked out of GBO I had a contraction, then another, and another. They were stronger than the previous days and somewhat regular. By 10pm they were getting really strong, but didn’t seem very consistent, some 3-5 minutes apart some 10. They took all of my attention and all I could focus on was breathing. I texted Carla just to let her know and tried to get some rest. Ha. Tried to get some rest. They were strong and inconsistent and any position to try to sleep felt worse. I watched a movie (or three) while the rest of the house slept peacefully. By 4am I was pretty exhausted with maybe an hour total of sleep and my contractions felt more and more spaced out and much less intense. Feeling defeated and frustrated I texted Carla again to let her know what was going on and she had me take a bath and try to sleep. I grabbed some relaxing essential oils and filled my bath tub. The bath made my contractions basically disappear but at that point I didn’t care, I just wanted sleep. I slept hanging over the tub then I was able to get a few hours in bed before needing to get up for the day.

Thursday October 30th and contractions were gone but I had another appointment with Cindi at 10am. I asked my husband, Wes, to stay home despite not even being in labor. I felt like I had cried wolf to him all week with the stop and go contractions but today was different. I called my mom to watch the kids while we went to my appointment. Cindi did a major sweep and I was 4 maybe 5cm already. Confidence boosted! It was almost instantly that contractions started and during another nst they were 10 minutes and pretty strong. On our way home around noon we decided to pick up lunch to bring home for everyone. I waited in the car while Wes went in for panera and my contractions were really kind of painful but I associated the pain with being tender from so many sweeps. All of a sudden I needed sleep and I couldn’t keep my eyes open I was so tired so I slept between the contractions until we got back home. I had no appetite but tried eating anyways while pausing frequently to breathe through contractions and at one point told everyone to shut up during one (sorry!). They were strong and seemed to be about 4-5 minutes apart and I really wanted to take a bath and try to sleep a little more. Apparently I sat in the tub for an hour with Wes by my side, but to me felt like it was 5 minutes. I was back and forth between sitting on the toilet to pee and sitting on my bed. I wasn’t timing them but they were still scattered. Some were close together and even right on top of each other while some were far apart. 3pm I asked for my mother in law to take the kids to her house. I don’t know what compelled me to do so, I was upstairs in my room and they were outside at the park, but I had a feeling I’d go into the night with this labor and just wanted them elsewhere for the night. My contractions sucked. I couldn’t do anything but just sit motionless and breathe really deeply until they were over and between them I was shaking and shivering but felt normal. 3:30pm and Wes was getting the kids situated with grandma outside to leave when I texted Cindi about the contractions. I asked her if it was too soon to fill my birth pool and walked off to go pee, again. When I stood up I had a much more intense contraction, then another right on top of it. Cindi tried calling me multiple times and I couldn’t even hear my phone through the contractions. We had a quick chat and I felt kind of in a fog so when she asked if she should come over I said yes. (Glad I did!) The contractions, while insanely strong, didn’t seem close enough or even rhythmic. They were still going from close together to spaced out and it kept killing my confidence that this was the real deal labor. I felt like I was going to be in labor forever. I was still in my room sitting on the side of the bed in the dark when Cindi arrived around 4:30. She timed how long my contraction was (something I didn’t even think about doing) and they were lasting 60 seconds. Went pee, again, and had Cindi check things out. “Oh wow!” was her reaction and telling me I was pretty ready at an 8! My cervix has a lip/scar tissue so with one contraction she wanted me to bear down while she pushed it aside (uh, ouch.) Then another without her pushing it. My legs were shaking and shivering like crazy! She asked if I had a photographer so I immediately texted my best friend/photographer to come now! Right as I sent it, Carla texted me so I asked her to come, too. Cindi had me go empty my bladder, again, and sent Wes downstairs to go start filling the birth pool. Around 5pm-ish the birth team was here and getting things ready. Lorrie was in the bathroom with me checking vitals and checking baby’s heart rate. My bff/photographer was here and said hi. I was kind of embarrassed; I had totally neglected cleaning my bathroom while my focus was on downstairs so I kept apologizing. I sat on the toilet for a bit and Lorrie asked if I wanted to move to the bed but it was actually more comfortable sitting there. At 5:11 my water broke with a contraction. It was a small pop and small gush and as I told Lorrie mid-sentence my baby was coming, RIGHT NOW. It was INTENSE pressure and I was involuntarily pushing. Lorrie got me up and it was a slow but tried to be dash to the bed as she had someone run to get Cindi. The next moments are difficult to describe or find the words to describe my experience. Have you seen a movie where someone has a near death experience and the world goes quiet around them? Everyone around them is a blur and their words are almost muted as if underwater. That was me. At this point I had no idea what was going on around me. I felt my baby coming and couldn’t focus on breathing, all I could do was push and make noise. I got to the bed and was told to get on all fours. Somehow my yoga ball from downstairs was in front of me to lay on. I was grunting and yelling as the world around me disappeared. I couldn’t tell you who was in the room or where, what anyone said to me, I have no idea what happened. I was in another universe and the only thing I was aware of was my body and my baby coming. I felt her head and faintly heard Cindi tell me she was crowning. At this point it was an out of body experience. I wasn’t in any pain but could feel everything and was peacefully in a quiet world as I pushed with all I had. At some point Cindi told me to put a leg up, I asked for water, I told Jessica I was sorry for squeezing her arms so hard (still, so sorry!) I’m told that everyone was encouraging me and that my mom was telling me I could do it and how strong I was while I said I couldn’t do it… I have no recollection of any of that. I’m telling you, I was in another world! As quick as it started it was over. 9 minutes and she was earth side in her daddy’s hands at 5:20pm. It was instant lights on and I was back on earth and here was my baby. I was in such a disoriented state that all I could focus on was sitting down and picking my baby girl up to me. I think Cindi tried telling me something but the world around me was still muffled. Deep breaths and saying hello to my baby girl, reality started coming back into focus. I did it!! Holy hell, I did it! My daughter was here, and a healthy 8lbs 13oz 21″ of perfection delivered at home by the greatest birth team I could have ever asked for. I was caught completely off guard and wasn’t totally prepared for things to happen yet. My contractions weren’t the textbook “transition” times I was waiting for and if Cindi hadn’t called and basically told me she was coming I would have waited too long and she wouldn’t have made it! I truly didn’t think I was close, and had convinced myself that it was another day of irregular contractions. My birth “plan” went nothing to plan but exactly how it should have and was meant to and I wouldn’t change a thing. So much for that water birth! All night long I sat in awe of what just happened. I couldn’t believe I just had a baby naturally, so fast, and at home! It was so surreal and absolutely amazing. Completely different from how I pictured my birth going, and it was so much better than I could have ever imagined. I’m forever changed by that moment and so unbelievably thankful for Cindi and all of GBO. Because it all happened so fast, I don’t have the adorable labor pictures, big brothers helping out, or the sweet candid shots of my husband being his awesome self while I labored looking out the window for that perfect black and white picture. I don’t have it on video either, and that’s okay. My photographer captured the moment things got crazy and that moment is all that matters. It makes for one hell of a story anyways.

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The Birth Story of Cecily Mae

The Birth Story of Jovie

Labor and Birth Story of Emory

Thursday April 3, 2014 – I went about my normal work day and had my 36 week prenatal appointment with Cindi, my awesome midwife, everything went well – she told me I was far enough along that should anything happen (such as my water breaking like with my first child) I would not risk out of home birth, we listened to baby’s heart and he sounded great, I even had a couple contractions on the table that she commented were “really nice contractions.” Afterward, I went and had my chiropractic adjustment. That evening I went home and was in the mindset of enjoying my last day or two of work (expecting to finish with Friday and sub for a coworker on Monday – ha! Baby had different plans!), and anxious for my mom to fly out on Monday.

Friday April 4, 2014 – I woke up at 2 AM feeling a strong pressure/contraction, got up to use the restroom, came back to bed, but couldn’t get comfortable again. Drifted back off to sleep, only to wake up again at 3 AM and repeat the process, and again at 4:30 AM. At 4:30, I decided there was no way I could go back to sleep, but never thought/imagined I might be in labor. I figured it was late pregnancy insomnia. I went to the office and looked at photos of rainbows on the computer and chatted with a friend who happened to be awake in California till about 5:50 AM. I figured at that point I’d just go try to catch a nap before having to be up for work. I went to lie down in bed, but that lasted 10 minutes.

6 AM – I had more intense pressure, went to the restroom and as I peed, it felt like there was more force behind the pee than usual which was my first sign that something has changed. My husband had been getting ready to go to work (scheduled to fly) and was ready to walk out the door when I told him to wait. I stood and walked by my mirror when I remembered that if it was my water that broke, there would be fluid leakage while I stood still and contracted my muscles as if to stop a pee – and sure enough, as I stood still, fluid leaked onto the floor. My husband was not going to be flying that day, baby was coming! I had my husband, Brandon, make his phone calls while I made mine: first to my mom to tell her she needed to change her flight, then to Cindi to let her know my water had broke and discuss the next steps, and finally to my boss to let her know I would not be making it to work that day. My mom wasn’t super thrilled since this was the second time I’d had my water break on its own and she wasn’t here to help me (she was supposed to be my child care for Damian). Cindi and I agreed since my GBS status was unknown at the time, I would receive IV antibiotics just in case, and we would talk again later that morning to determine my progression/how I was feeling.

I went about my morning, showered, ate a hearty breakfast, then we took Damian to school with his Big Brother books. By that time, it was 8:45 AM, and my coworkers all had heard the news, and several of them asked why I was out of the house with my water broke – uhh hello! Trying to keep busy and nothing was being inserted into my vagina, so low risk of infection not to mention getting antibiotics later…and walking is good for labor! (Laughing!)

9:00/9:30 – After we dropped big brother at school, Brandon and I went to Wal-Mart to pick up some last minute essentials, food, etc. I ended up using the restroom there and found I was losing my mucous plug! As we walked around getting everything, it was getting more difficult to walk through the contractions without concentrating on breathing, and they were 15-20 minutes apart.

10:30 AM – We got home from Wal-Mart, I got to setting up the bed for the birth only getting through one layer of bedding with a shower curtain liner underneath, while listening to one of my two new Linkin Park CDs.

11 AM – Cindi called to check on me. She had to be at the office to see a postpartum mom, and told me to call her whenever we needed her since contractions were regular/progressing and I seemed to be coping well. I decided to try and eat some lunch and rest since I didn’t know how long I’d be in labor, and I wanted to ensure I wouldn’t put myself in a position of having to transfer for exhaustion if labor ended up being really long. I went out to the living room and tried eating a bowl of chicken noodle soup only to deal with contractions that wouldn’t let me get through more than one bite at a time, and even then, I couldn’t chew through them. I soon abandoned the idea of eating and instead focused on staying hydrated and working through my contractions.

1:20 PM – I decided it was time to call Cindi and have her head our way and get antibiotics started since contractions were picking up and it was difficult to do anything but stay on the couch where I’d been laboring for the past hour, or in the bathroom where I alternated emptying my bladder and laboring on the toilet (and I felt better being in the bathroom in case I needed to vomit as I was becoming nauseated between contractions). She said she was leaving and heading our way, so I went back to laboring and my husband worked on getting the pool blown up and filled.

2:something PM – I was laboring on the toilet in the bathroom when Cindi arrives. I recall being very vocal through contractions while keeping my tone as low as possible like we learned in our childbirth education classes. Once I’m through the contraction I made my way to the living room. Things get fuzzy from here on out, and time pretty much ran together. Cindi took vitals and listened to baby (he was doing great, which was a relief to hear!), and worked on getting my IV antibiotics started (only took three pokes thanks to my veins rolling away from her) and I went back to laboring. I continued to labor both on the couch (facing the back and rocking/swiveling/rolling my hips) and in the bathroom – Cindi brought her stools into the bathroom, had me put my feet on them, and hold up my belly through the contractions. This helped ease some of the discomfort, but eventually I made my way back to the living room where I ended up staying. At one point, she asked why I kept going to the bathroom, and my answer was along the lines of “in case I need to throw up, I feel better being in the bathroom” but I can’t quite remember.

I know at some point Christina arrived, and Jessica, but I have no idea of what time it was. All this time, Brandon was alternating heating water/filling the pool and coming to hold my hand and help me through contractions. He says whenever he touched me or did something I didn’t like I shook my head and made a grunting/growling noise…I can’t quite recall.  I do vaguely recall asking if the water was ready…apparently I asked more than once…it finally was as ready as it would be around 4. By this time I was sitting on the couch working through contractions, and somewhat sleeping between them and Cindi asked if I felt any pressure in my bottom, which I was starting to, indicating I’d be pushing anytime in the near future, so I got into the pool (and man the feeling of the water was amazing!).

4:15 PM – It felt like not long after getting into the pool I really felt the urge to push – it felt like I really needed to have a BM, with tons of pressure, and I had no control over the urges, so I went with it. I would push for what felt like several minutes then as the contraction and urge would decrease, I rested against the side of the pool and drink water offered to me (I think by Christina, since she was usually sitting in front of me and held my hands through all my pushes). I don’t remember how many times I pushed, I just remember working with my body to get baby down a little at a time, and breathing through the pushes to try to ensure I’d stretch slowly as his head made its way out. Cindi advised doing a one-legged kneel as I pushed, so I started with my right leg up for several pushes, then she had me switch legs. Cindi was there guiding me and doing what she does best, and everyone kept me going telling me I was doing great, yet it seemed like it was just me and my body, everything and everyone (except Christina) faded into the background until baby was finally born.

4:54 PM – After several pushes with my left knee up in the half-kneel, baby’s head is finally out, and oh how good it felt to have that hard little head finally out. Cindi and the birth assistants had me turn over to push the rest of baby out, and while I knew Brandon was in the pool with me for the pushing, I was now facing him. I leaned against the back of the pool and pushed with all my might with the next contraction, and baby was born in the water, caught by his daddy.

It was 4:55 PM when baby’s body exited mine and he was brought up out of the water and placed in my arms with assistance from Cindi and Brandon. We soon discovered the knot in his cord, which surprised everyone. I just couldn’t believe I had my HBAC and water birth! I was so happy and in awe of everything that had just happened, of the sweet baby in my arms I just sat there stroking his head and kissing him until it was time to get out and deliver the placenta, cut the cord, and check my bottom for tears. I had a small tear, so Cindi stitched me up, and eventually we moved to the bedroom so I could shower and we could measure/weigh Emory.

Emory Lynn Deusenberry

April 4, 2014 4:55 PM

6 lbs., 9 oz. 20 ½ inches long

Water Birth/Home Birth After Cesarean

Damian got to meet his baby brother later that night since he was at school the whole time, but got a better meeting the following morning (above photo).

The Hombirth of Nolan Vincent

 

 

Labor of Love

I am so excited, thankful, proud to announce that Nolan Vincent is here!  He arrived October 30th, 2013 weighing 8.5 lbs and 21 inches long.  He is the most amazing chill little man.  We are just soaking him up.  As well as the fact that we are a family of 4 now. 🙂
The Story~

October 29th, I had a last minute scheduled appointment with Cindi, (my midwife), and Larissa, (chiropractor).  I was 39 weeks and  I was having some pelvic pain and I really needed to be adjusted.  The last few weeks were so uncomfortable.  I was trying my best to accept it because it was caused by him being so low and head down.  That was a great thing!  I would take the pain over him being too high or head up, like his sister was. 😉   When I scheduled the appointment with Larissa, Cindi wanted to see me too just to check on how I was doing and the position of baby.  It was a quick check up with Cindi.  She asked how I was and I plastered on a smile and said, “ready”.   Oh, how ready I was.  Ready to meet him, ready and anxious for the labor to start and ready to sleep comfortably.  (haha!  I forgot what it was like to have a a newborn apparently).  We talked some and then she checked his position as well as his heart beat.  All was great.  He was low and engaged and I heard “I don’t think it will be much longer”.  I just smiled and thought “I want to believe you but I feel like he will be in there forever”.   Went and got adjusted by Larissa and she too said the same thing and talked about how loose my bones were.   I wanted to be excited but I really heard all these things since 36-37 weeks and he was still in there and not out.  It’s funny how slow time is when you’re pregnant.  As well as how dramatic you can be….or is that just me? 😉  Anyways, I went on with my day.  Picked Anna up from my moms, went home and we both took a nap.  I woke up from my nap choking from vomit. (eww!).  I ran to the bathroom and threw up just a small bit.  I immediately texted my sister to ask if she ever vomited before going into labor.  She answered that she did with her first right before labor started.  However, it could have been from being adjusted.  I again tried not to get too excited.  I have been having contractions for a few weeks but nothing persistent and worth timing.   I was having slightly stronger ones through out the day and into the evening but again, nothing worth timing.  I told Kyle about the nap and that the contractions were stronger by a little.  I also got in mega clean mode.  I deep cleaned the bathroom and downstairs.  Now looking back, I think I “knew” this really could be it.  As much as I tried to deny it so I would be disappointed incase it wasn’t.  In fact, that night, while rocking and praying with Anna before bed, I prayed over the birth, (as I did every night just in more detail), and then told Anna that this could be the last night of her being the only child.
It was 1030 pm when Kyle and I were watching Sons of Anarchy and the contractions kept coming.  Still wasn’t timing them but didn’t know if I ever wanted to at this point.  Instead I just moved from the birth ball to squatting.  Trying to get comfortable and I was also feeling a little antsy.  During a commercial I went to the bathroom and that’s when I lost some of my mucus plug as well as started having bloody show.  I called for Kyle and told him.  He asked me what that meant and my mind was blank.  I couldn’t remember.  I couldn’t remember what to do.  I was too nervous to text Cindi.  I don’t know why!  I just sat there on the toilet a little frozen.  When I finally came back to my senses, I did text Cindi as well as my sister Kristen, (since she would be coming over once labor started).  They both pretty much just said that this could be it or it could still be a while.  That I needed to rest just incase this was it.  Kyle and I did a few last minute things to get ready for labor such as blow up the pool, make the bed and put up sheets and stuff.  We went upstairs when we were done to get some rest.  However, as soon as I laid down they got really intense.  I was having to breathe and really concentrate on them.  I would grab Kyle’s arm when they would come.  After a few of those Kyle wanted to start timing.  I let him.  The contractions were about 6 minutes apart.  He then texted Cindi and let her know.  She advised that I get in the tub and see if that stalls them.  I got in and the contractions became even stronger and closer together.  When Kyle started timing them there they were about 2-3 minutes apart.  Here is when time and events get a little fuzzy.  I was really having to concentrate.  I did tell Kyle while in the tub that this might just be a really fast labor.  I just couldn’t believe how fast and sudden the contractions were coming.
I decided I was ready for my mom and sisters to come on over.  Kyle also told Cindi that we were ready for her.  I labored a little bit more in the tub and then got out.  By the time I was out is when my mom showed.  We went downstairs where my birth space was set up and I automatically got on all fours and labored.  Sometime during this is when Kristen, Cindi and her birth team arrived.   It wasn’t until Cindi sat with me and placed her hands on my back and told me to relax my muscles that I even realized there were other people in the room.  I was in my own world and found it amazing how easy it was to block everything out.  I was only aware of the music we had set up, the oils we had burning and my breathing.   It was really serene.  Though the contractions were coming strong and fast, I didn’t feel like I was in crazy pain.  Don’t get me wrong.  It hurt.  I guess it was just more of a very uncomfortable pain.  I also will add that when I first started feeling those first real contractions I was so excited to feel them.  I welcomed them.  I had waited for this.  I waited since I was pregnant with Anna!  Three years later I was doing it.  I was laboring and birthing my baby.  I really think that mind set is what really helped me with the pain too.  Well, the pain of contractions anyways.  🙂
I labored for hours in all different positions.  Hands and knees; hovering over the birthing ball; sitting on the birthing ball; sitting on the toilet; in the birth pool.  It was amazing getting to labor however was most comfortable for me.
I can’t recall how many  hours it’s been or what time it was but when I was in the pool, I could feel myself dozing off in between the contractions.  Cindi had asked if she could check me and see where we were.  I was so tired at this point and I just didn’t care.  I got out of the pool and she checked me.   Boy, did I regret allowing her to do so.  It hurt like a…well, I don’t know what to compare it to.  It just hurt.  She didn’t just check my dialation though.  Nolan was so active while I was in labor that she was needing to check his position and feel for his head.
I was at this point 8-9 cm.  She advised that we try and get some rest so that I am not drained and tired for the pushing.  I couldn’t move hardly so I just stayed there on the couch.  Worst decision.  I was so uncomfortable.  This is the time when the contractions really hurt and it was hard for me to relax.  I don’t know how long I stayed there.  My sister, Kristen, would rub my arm and encourage me everytime a contraction came.   It was exactly what I needed.  I learned that I hated feeling alone during labor.  I needed someone there touching me.  I needed to see someone when I would open my eyes.  Because of how I was facing, when I opened my eyes I couldn’t see anyone.  They were all behind or on the side.  I didn’t want to move my head though.
I finally got the energy to vocalize that I was hot and wanted off the couch.  I also really needed to use the bathroom.  I was drinking so much water during labor and it was going right through me!
Cindi advised that I still rest.  There was just a few hours left before the sun would rise.  They helped me upstairs and that’s where Kyle and I stayed for a while.  Again, I have no recollection of times so I don’t know how long I was up there.  I was able to sleep in between contractions.   It was nice even if it was very little rest.    However, I eventually became uncomfortable laying down and was ready to go back downstairs to my birthing space.  I desired the music and water.
When I made it back downstairs I realized that Kristen and my mom had left.  As well as the birth assistant.  Nikki was now here to take the place of Rachel.  Shortly after coming down stairs is when Anna woke up too.  Kyle got her and called his mom to come pick her up.  We knew she wouldn’t be able to handle being there seeing me in pain.  Now, I am so glad we made that call!  I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until the last month of pregnancy.  When Tricia came and got Anna is when my good friend, Ali arrived to take pictures.   She was ever so sweet to offer.
The pool was ready again for me to get back into.  I labored more in there.  I also was starting to push.  Not exactly because I felt the urge but just to get him to drop more.  This is where the birth began to feel like it was never going to happen.  Eventually being in the water was spacing my contractions out and so I decided to get out.  I labored and pushed on the floor.  Again, in all different positions.   All fours, squatting, leaning over furniture and even laying on my back.   Which of these do you think was most  successful in getting Nolan to come out?  Yep- laying down on my back.  😉  He would get so close and I would think it was almost over and then he would go back up.  I pushed for hours!   Then, when we thought he was almost out everyone talked me into getting back into the pool since I wanted a water birth so bad.  I did.  I somehow was able to walk, waddle is more like it, back into the pool.  I pushed a while in there.  Again, it slowed down my contractions and his heart rate actually started dropping.  Cindi allowed me to try for as long was safe and then we just decided that he was coming out so much better on the floor.  I somehow was able to climb back out and walk back to the floor.
I pushed and pushed!  It hurt and he was not coming out.  Cindi told me that I wasn’t getting mad enough.  That is when I started getting really vocal.  You hear about how beautiful a woman’s “labor song” is.  Well, if there is such a thing as a “pushing song”, let me tell you- it’s not pretty!  Mine wasn’t anyways.  I was scaring myself sometimes by the noises that were coming out.  🙂  I didn’t care though.  I was ready for this baby to get out!   I was tired and I was in pain.   I wasn’t feeling this relief from pushing that I heard and read all about.  It was making me angry.  I wanted to push when I felt the urge but it turned out that I needed to be coached.   I needed Kyle or Nikki to count for me while pushing.  The kind of things that I said were unnecessary  when writing my birth plan.  Well, they were for me.  I kept wanting to give up mid push.  I was just too tired.
Then I hear everyone cheering.  My mom, Cindi, Nikki, Kyle and Ali.  Telling me that he is coming out.  I was doing it.  His head came out and I was so excited and anxious I actually reached down about to pull him.  Cindi had to remind me that I needed to push the rest of his body out and then told Kyle to come and catch his son.  I pushed one last time and Kyle caught him and laid him on my chest at 12:12 pm on October 30th, 2013.
I dreamed of this moment.  When I became pregnant with Sky and knew that we were going to have a homebirth.   Then after we lost Sky and I became pregnant again with Nolan, I dreamed like you wouldn’t believe.  It was a constant dream going on in my head.  During the day; while I slept.  Dreaming of this pregnancy going to full term.  Dreaming of me feeling a contraction.  Me pushing and birthing my baby and holding him on my chest and me just crying because I did it.  I successfully carried this baby full term.  Allowed him to come into this world on his timing and birthing him naturally.   When that actual moment was here and it was no longer a dream, I didn’t cry.  I just held him so tight and silently thanked God for blessing me.  He was crying and I would tell him that I was here.  It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life.  Better than I could have dreamed or imagined.  We did do it.1452231_10153492714680508_596722243_n
Kyle was so amazing during the whole thing.  He was my rock.  Telling me that I was doing a great job when I felt like my body wasn’t doing a good job pushing this baby out.  He allowed me to grab his hand or arm at each contraction.  He would kiss my head as a silent way to tell me that he was there and he believed in me.  My heart grew so much that afternoon.   Making room for me to love Nolan as I do Anna.  Also, falling deeper in love with Kyle.
Nolan latched right on and nursed for a good hour.  I ate some food that Kyle cooked and tried getting some energy back.   After Nolan was done nursing, Cindi weighed him and did some vitals.  He weighed in at 8.5 lbs and was 21 inches long.  My perfect little boy.
It was a long labor and a long 4-5 hours of pushing but I wouldn’t change any of it.  I feel so blessed to have had a successful home birth after having a c’section with Anna.  It confirmed to me that I can do it.
So thankful for Cindi and her birth team at Gentle Birth Options.  From when I first made the phone call to schedule an appt after finding out that I was pregnant again, they were excited for us and believed and encouraged me the whole pregnancy and into the birth.  Cindi who would gently remind me that I didn’t need to be afraid during the birth and that I could do it.
Ali who was so generous to come over and take pictures of it all.   She captured some of the most memorable moments for my family.   Her sacrifice and patience during it all is such a blessing.  Being a wife, mama and business owner herself and gifting us with her time of taking  all the photos of this whole experience and then editing them.  There are not enough thank yous.
My amazing mom and sisters.  Present for the birth or not, they each too were there for me during the whole pregnancy and birth.  It be through prayer, listening to me voice my excitement or concerns.  They were and are the best support team I could ever ask for.
Kyle who is my amazing partner.  What a great team we make.   He had to listen to me list off our to do lists the whole pregnancy as well as complain about how uncomfortable I was at the end.  He still amazes me as we work as a team with two small kids.  Both of us losing sleep at night with a newborn and a tot who decided doesn’t need sleep either, he takes on his daddy and husband role with no complaints.  I am beyond blessed that God chose him to be my husband and the father of my children.

He even was born with a perfect heart shaped birth mark.  So much love!