Hope Elise Mussulman

July 25th, 1999

11:13 p.m.

8 lb. 4 oz.

20 inches long

14" head circumference


This is the birth story of Hope Elise Mussulman.


We were planning to have a waterbirth at home with a small pool in our bedroom.  Earlier in my pregnancy I had researched waterbirth on the internet and found many helpful and informative sites.  My husband, Craig, wasn’t too “keen” on the idea.....especially when I told him the price of renting a birthing pool.  But through much research and talking with my midwife I found a 60" X 22" kiddie pool from KB toys that would work perfectly.  I also bought a hose, floating thermometer, and an adapter for the sink.  


I thought that I had a little too much energy Saturday, July 24th.  I cleaned my kitchen, bleached the counters, and mopped the floor.  (With everyone walking in and out, I think I mopped the kitchen four or five times that day.)  Saturday evening I tripped on my husbands power saw that he left on the bedroom floor.  I stumbled and fell out onto the kitchen floor landing on my left side.  Craig came to see what was wrong and saw a small pool of blood.  He felt a bit panicky because he didn’t know where the blood was coming from.  I had sliced the back of one of my toes on his saw.  He “doctored” me up.  My toe was sore and it was a little hard to walk.  He really felt bad for not taking care of his tools.  We went to church Sunday morning and I  wore some shoes that I hadn’t wore in a while.  They were so tight and uncomfortable not only from my toe but because my feet were so swollen. 

Our pastor had written a small article in the church bulletin about timeliness. (Being on time, etc.)  We took our Sunday afternoon nap and while napping I felt like I had a painful urge to urinate (it felt like my bladder was too full).  I woke up at 6:15 and was having contractions ranging from 5-7 minutes apart.  Craig said “we’re late for church again.”  I said “Oh no, did you read the article in the church bulletin?  I don’t want to be late.” :c)  Anyway, I went to the bathroom and had a loose BM.  I started getting ready to go back to the evening service at church; but decided that this may be real labor and I should stay home for a while.  I cleaned the bathroom and folded a little laundry for the next ½ hour.  Then I started to get the children’s clothing in their backpacks.  (We were planning to send them off with friends for the birth.)  My husband’s parents called and he had been on the phone with them for quite a while.  I told him to get off the phone so I could call the midwives.  He told his mom that he knows it’s the “real thing” when I’m getting irritable.  When I knew it was the “real “thing” I was feeling very anxious and wanted Craig to pray with me; but he had to get the children ready and take them to the church.  At this time contractions were coming every 3-5 minutes apart and were getting rather uncomfortable in my lower back.  Meanwhile Craig said to go relax and he would get the children’s things together and take them down to the church.  (Where our friends were for the evening service.)  I tried to call the church to see if someone could come and pick the children up, as I really didn’t want to be alone.  But all I got was the answering machine.  


By the time Craig had dropped the children off and came back I was in the bathroom leaning on the birthing ball wearing nothing but my bra.  (This is because I was going to get into the shower, but decided to wait awhile.)   Craig came back and was trying to set the hose up on the sink to fill the birthing pool.  We had an older filter on the end of the faucet that he couldn’t get off, so Craig called our plumber (who is a good friend) and asked him to come over and help.  The midwife (Kara), her assistant (Kate), and the doula (Suzanne) had arrived by this time (approx. 8:30).  The plumber came, took a wrench and with one good push ripped the filter off the sink.  Craig felt stupid because he could have done it with help.......but he was running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.  I’m so glad that the doula was here to help me when Craig couldn’t.  As soon as Suzanne (the doula) arrived, she started rubbing my lower back, and applied a heated rice sock.  This helped but I couldn’t stand the lavender scent from the rice sock. 


It took about 45 minutes to get the pool full enough for me to get into it.  The water temperature has to be kept between 99 and 102 degrees.  We kept the temperature at 100 degrees during the whole labor and delivery.  (I didn’t think about this till afterwards--but everyone else must have been extremely hot.  We have central a/c but it was still warm in the house.)  The midwife checked me right after they arrived and I was 5 cm going on 6 cm.  (I had been dilated to 5 cm for a couple of weeks now.)  Suzanne encouraged me to walk around a bit before getting into the pool.  Craig was heating water on the stove because we had used up all the hot water from the faucet.  The contractions were getting pretty intense and I could really feel them in my back. At approximately 9:30 I got into the pool and the only position that felt comfortable in was to be on my knees while leaning against the side of the pool.  I’m glad the bottom of the pool was cushioned.  Someone also put a towel under me for extra cushioning. 


At this point, I asked Craig to pray for me and he silently prayed.   I would tell everyone when a contraction was starting and Craig would apply pressure on my lower back while Suzanne poured water over my back.  (My back wasn’t totally immersed in the water in the position I was in.)  Suzanne kept telling me to keep my eyes open during a contraction and focus on something whiled inhaling and exhaling deeply.  I drank a lot of water during labor also, I was very mobile throughout the entire labor and kept getting out and going to the bathroom.  (At one point, while I was laying on the bed and the midwives had gone into the kitchen, I said "It feels like it's right down there, somebody check."  So, Craig moves down to the end of the bed and I yelled "Not you!  The midwife!"  Poor guy.)  This is when the midwives would listen to the baby’s heartbeat and check my progress if I wanted them to.  Around 10:30 p.m.  I was dilated to 6 cm.  This was a bit discouraging to me as I thought I would be around 8 cm by now.  At one point when I was laboring in the pool, I told them “I’m losin’ it........I’m gonna lose it.”  During this intense labor Kate or Kara would look into my eyes and tell me how well I was doing and encourage me to breath deeply throughout the contraction.  (Not meaning the baby, but meaning that I’m going to totally freak out and go nuts.)


 Kara gave me a couple doses of an herbal tincture called Smooth Transition which I think really helped me through this time of transition.  During each contraction, I would take deep breaths and really try to relax my pelvis.   I got up to use the bathroom around 11:00 p.m. and while in there I told them that I felt like the baby was right down there.  I was moved to the bed and laid on my side (my back hurt too much to lay on it) where they checked my progress.  I was dilated to about 9 ½ cm.  WOW!  I went from 6 cm to almost 10 cm within a half an hour.  They told me I could start to push when I wanted to and they asked me if I wanted to get back into the pool.  I told them “No, I’ll just have it on the bed........can I have it while I’m on my side?”  I was told that was fine.  


Well, I changed my mind right then and said that I wanted to move back into the pool.  (Poor Kara, she had just set up her stuff right by the bed so she had to move it all over by the pool.)  I tried to push but really didn’t feel the urge just yet.  To me, the second (pushing) stage felt like it was in slow motion.  I felt the babies head descend and just screamed this terrorizing scream while pushing her head out.  (This is when my water broke.)  Her head was out and I heard Craig say, “Oh, look at her hair floating in the water.”  Kate later told me that she could see that the baby’s eye’s were open.  It seemed like a long time before the other contraction “seized” me.  And I remember thinking “I don’t think my legs are spread open wide enough for the baby to come out, but I don’t feel like moving.”  I felt the urge to push again and OWEEE!!! did I ever scream.  I don’t think I’ve ever screamed that bad before.  (Remember, this is my fifth child.)  It felt like her body was taking a while to come out.  Craig said that it seemed that her legs were stuck or hung up on something.  


The second stage of labor lasted a whole 4 minutes!!!  Hope Elise was born at 11:13 p.m.   Right after she was born I turned over and lifted my leg over her, then sat down and took her from Kate.  I lifted little Hope’s face out of the water.  She was so still and calm.   She didn’t even cry.  Now, I had read that waterbabies don’t usually cry when they’re born, but it still surprised me.  I talked to her and tried playing with her lip to stimulate her a little.  She was so precious.  I finally got to meet the little one that had grown inside of me.   After a couple of minutes Kara suctioned Hope and Hope started to cry.  

Kara gave me some herbal tinctures to try to help me deliver the placenta.  It took awhile for the placenta to be delivered.  I had to sit on the birthing stool to try to push it out.  When it finally came out Kara had to “tease” a small string of the placenta out by twisting it. I think it took about 30 minutes to deliver the placenta.  We thought I had a small tear; but after examination Kara decided that I needed to have stitches.  Basically, I had a straight tear from an old episiotomy.  I had three hospital births and an episiotomy with all three.  I tore while delivering my fourth child--a homebirth.  I would much rather tear than have a straight cut; it seems to heal much faster. 


Hope latched on to the breast really well and is now successfully nursing. 

Her big brother and sisters love her and have adapted really well to having a new baby in the home.  They are also a great help to Mommy! :c)    



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