Carrie's Home Birth Story

I was so paranoid about having another baby so soon after Max was born; I was not emotionally ready for it. In fact, when I discussed birth options with my husband, I burst into tears and told him that I would NOT birth another one of my babies in a hospital for as long as I live. Never.

When I was nearly 12 years old I was able to be present at the home birth of my little brother, who is now 13 years old. He wanted to be with me when I had my baby, but he lives in another state. He would have been very welcome, though.

It started when my husband Tim, son Max (18 months at the time), and I went to take a nice long walk together on Thursday afternoon, October 18, 2001. We left about 4 and got back about 4:30. We went to our Thursday meeting at our Kingdom Hall, as usual, and I was contracting pretty often. It was not painful; I was very laid back and relaxed about it all. Max was being rather difficult to deal with that night, but Tim and I remained calm and unstressed. I knew something was in the air�

When the meeting had ended we stayed and visited with friends for awhile. I met a family that had just moved into our congregation. She had had 2 homebirths of her own and told me I had the look of being in labor. I smiled kind of slowly and agreed. I felt different than usual. It was funny to shock my friends and tell them I was probably in labor.

We had to stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up some teething tablets for Max and I had a craving for a few other things; hot chocolate, lemonade popsicles, and a cherry fruit pie. I ate the fruit pie but nothing else appealed to me after that.  

We got home about 10:45 PM and put Max right into bed. I went online for a little while but contractions were getting more intense so I went to bed. I lay in bed for about 30 minutes, I guess, and then decided to take a bath w/ lavender essential oil. I can't remember if I decided against the oil or what. I know I considered it. I told Tim that he needed to call the midwife, Kara, now because I really thought it was time. He called her from his cell phone at 12:03 (he was visiting me while I was in the tub), then paged her a few minutes after. She called back about 12:10 and spoke w/ me. I didn't know how close the contractions were, I guessed 5 minutes, but Tim said, "No. That was closer to about 3 minutes, Carrie." Oh. Okay, if you say so. I couldn't speak through them, could only handle quiet. I tried to stand and get out of the tub, but I got a contraction right then and sat right back down. I wasn't hurt.

Kara arrived about 12:30 or 12:45 and a few min. later Tim ran to the store because we were out of distilled water for the hot compresses. That was unusual because we always have distilled water in the house. Kara checked me while Tim was out shopping for water. This was the first and one of 3 or 4 internal exams I received during the entire pregnancy. A vast difference from my pregnancy with Max! It was about 1 AM and I was already at 7 or 8 centimeters. I called Tim and told him to hurry because this baby was coming soon! I kept standing during the contractions and shaking my hands at my sides like an athlete warming up for a race. I remember hearing the scratching of pens on paper while my midwives wrote things down. That was the only sound I could handle, I did not want anyone to speak to me.

Tim FINALLY got back while I was sitting on the toilet dealing with contractions. It felt good to sit on the toilet, for some reason. I should have had a birth stool, I think! I was pushing now, had been pushing a few times throughout the evening, but not at every contraction. I grabbed Tim's forearms and would bear down and pull on his arms during the contractions. Kara told me not to push right now. I asked her, "Why? Why, why, why? Tell me why." I was whining horribly. I needed to distract myself with talking or something, just to get my mind off the pain. "Because we don't want the baby born on the toilet", she tells me. Oh. Yeah. Ok. It crosses my mind to tell her a quick story, but I decide to tell her later. (I once dreamed that my son was born on the toilet. Hey, he was a hospital birth, maybe it's a figurative toilet. HA!)

Kara suggested I go to the bed so I complied. I liked to lean on my right side, but that wasn't working out well for me. They helped me prop myself up with a million pillows, Tim continued to stand beside me and let me rip his arms from their sockets. Kara suggested something else. What if I pull my left leg as close to my body as possible and use the energy to push down instead on using the energy to yank on Tim? (She put it much nicer than that.) Again, I complied. It made sense.

Kara used very warm, almost HOT compresses on my perineum and WOW did it feel good! She told me I was stretching very nicely, and Holly, her assistant, agreed. The midwives could see the baby�s head and they were discussing with Tim how they could see the hair now. Something splashed and Tim got grossed out and asked what it was. We all informed him that it was just amniotic fluid and he calmed down. The baby was starting to crown, Kara told me to hold it and she used more of those wonderful hot compresses. Tim asked if he could feel the baby's head. I reached down to feel, too. It was wrinkly and soft. I had another contraction and urge to push, so I did, slowly because that's how my body was doing it. The baby's head came through and we paused for a few seconds as we waited for the next contraction. More warm compresses. Wooo-wee, those felt great! I could feel the baby coming out; I sat myself up more so I could watch. It was so COOL! She was born at 1:45 AM on Friday, October 19th, 2001. Technically it 1:43, but the birth certificate says 1:45.

Tim announced that it's another boy! I was doubtful, as are the midwives. It's a GIRL. ha-ha! And she's nameless - for about an hour. My arms were so sore and achy from pulling on Tim that I could not hold the baby for very long, so I had Tim hold her. He walked with her around the apartment and then suggested the name Rachel. It fits her, she looks like a Rachel. I give her the middle name Anne because it fits.

The midwives told me how cognizant I was, how alert, how interested and how calm. Not every mother reacts that way. It was nice to hear the praise.

Max woke up about 2 hours after Rachel was born. HE watched the video we had taken of her shortly after birth and he would go and peek at her in the bassinet and then watch the video again. It was very precious. (That bassinet was useless after she was a couple weeks old! We never used it because she was always in bed with us!)

Recovery time was AWESOME. I felt great within a week! There was no episiotomy and I didn�t need any stitches for the tiny tear I had. I did get pitocin because of blood loss, but it wasn�t near the degree that I lost with Max.

Max adjusted very well, he just loves his baby. He gives her kisses and hugs all the time and likes to sit right near her and just play while she sleeps or lays there. He's very sweet with her. She laughs at him and they jump on the bed together. Now that she�s nearly a year old I can see them both growing and being friends. It�s such a wonderful thing!

Rachel�s birth went so much better than Max�s did. I�m very grateful that I researched my options this time. I didn�t when my son was born.

~Carrie Cooling
San Antonio, Texas

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