Nicole's Home Birth Story

Joseph Kenneth Gaertner was on September 25, 2003 at home after 44 hours of labor to Michael and Nicole Gaertner.

My 3rd child was also born at home 3 years ago.  It was also a long and painful labor.  I was taken by surprise at the amount of pain I experienced, as my 2nd labor (my 1st natural birth) was considerably less painful.  I fought my labor the last 2 hours of it.  I moaned loudly through every contraction.  I felt imprisoned by my own body.  I felt out of control.  Praise the Lord the 2 other children were upstairs fast asleep.  It was finally time to push and pushing felt great!  Rebekah was born in 15 minutes.  But there was a problem.  She had the cord wrapped tightly around her neck three times and around her shoulder.  Her oxygen supply was cut off.  The midwife had to drag her out of my body to resuscitate her.  It took 3 minutes; the longest 3 minutes of Mike's and my life.  Praise the Lord she was fine.  We were so thankful, but I felt cheated of the birth experience I had dreamed of.

When I got pregnant again, I promised myself I would not lose control.  I would gratefully accept whatever labor and birth the Lord blessed us with.  I would not expect a painless, short, or easy labor. 

Contractions woke me at 2:30 AM Wednesday morning.  They were a bit painful, but short and far apart, just as they had begun in my previous 2 labors.  I knew what to expect.  That first day was very leisurely as we prepared for our son to be born the next day.  Unfortunately, the contractions hurt enough to keep me awake the whole time.  My best friend, Lory Lagro,  came up from LA to attend the birth and we had a lovely evening chatting and watching movies. 

My water broke at around 3:30 AM Thursday.  I took several showers and baths throughout the night and day.  The midwife came sometime that morning and told me I was only 3 centimeters after all that work.  I tried to nap, then we went for a walk.  By noon the contractions were extremely painful, about a minute long, and about 5-10 minutes apart.  By 4:30, I was 5-6 centimeters and the midwife was concerned (she told me after the fact) that my uterus would not be able to finish the job.  My broken water was an additional concern.

I called the midwife to stay shortly after dinnertime (I think).  I labored in a store bought inflatable wading pool filled with warm water from our sink faucet.  It felt wonderful.  By around 8 PM, I was 7 centimeters and in considerable pain.  I started saying that we may need to go to the hospital and get Pitocin and an epidural.  What emotional signpost was I displaying?  I got out of the pool and got in the shower where I felt more comfortable as I needed to get away from all the eyes waiting and watching.  I prayed to the Lord that He would open my cervix.  I had been asking for the contractions to strengthen, but I just couldn't ask for that anymore.  I thought I might explode if they got any stronger!  I soon got overheated and reluctantly had to leave the shower.  I went back out to the living room and rocked in my rocking chair.  What got me through those horrendously powerful contractions was chanting to myself "Thank you, Jesus!  Praise you, Jesus!"  If I didn't thank Him for the contractions, I wouldn't be able to accept them and I would lose it!  I also needed my friends and mother to massage my neck, shoulders and arms.  I needed to have some other physical sensation to concentrate on other than the pain.

Suddenly, finally, I was pushing.  I squatted down on the floor and pushed with all my might.  They kept telling me to blow.  I kept saying "No!  I don't care if I tear!"  I pushed out my beautiful, 9 pound 3 ounce baby boy in 12 minutes.  *I* got to deliver him!  It was the most spectacular moment of my life.  He was perfect!  And I never lost control.  I was quiet, relaxed and surrendered to my Lord as He worked in my body to bring my baby into the world.  My children watched the birth and said they weren't the least bit afraid because I was so calm and quiet.  Praise the Lord He made sure they were there. 

It was horribly painful and long.  It was incredibly gentle and empowering.  I wouldn't change a thing!

~Nicole Gaertner

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