Our amazing home water birth experience
My husband and I had decided that when we had children, I would not have a hospital birth. I am not good with hospitals. I faint and am not comfortable at all so a home birth made sense to us. When my husband Curtis and I found out I was pregnant I immediately emailed Heidi Coughlin. I was due in April. From the time I found out that you could have a home birth I looked up midwives in the Edmonton area and found Heidi. I knew I wanted her as a midwife because on her website she said she was a Christian and Curtis and I are too. It seemed like a perfect fit and I prayed that she would be our midwife. Five days later I got an email back from Heidi saying she had a spot for me. I thanked God for that answer to prayer.
April 1, 2013 had been another normal day of pregnancy for me. I was at 39 weeks and still happy to be pregnant. Up until then I had been telling everyone that I wanted our baby to be born any time after April 1st. There are so many birthdays, anniversaries, etc. in our family in March and I didn’t want an April fools baby, so I was content on having the baby after the 1st. My due date was April 3, so this seemed quite possible.
That night (April 1st) Curtis and I had gone out to Walmart to pick up some groceries. I wanted to make sure we had food in the house when our baby came. We ended up seeing someone from our Bible study and joked that we might not see her at Bible study the next night. She was right!
At 1:20am on April 2 I woke up and jumped out of bed with pain shooting in my lower stomach area. I instantly knew it was a contraction, but was it false labor? I had no idea. I immediately felt tired and just wanted to go back to bed, but instead I walked past our ensuite and went to the main bathroom in our house. For some reason I felt I wanted to be alone for a minute. I tried to sit on the toilet, but it was too painful. I went back to our room and told Curtis. He suggested I just lay back down in bed, which I did and then instantly jumped back out again. It was much too painful for me to lay down.
This being our first child, Curtis and I didn’t really know what to do. We kind of figured it must be false labor since that was common, right? We did as our midwife Heidi had told us at one of our last appointments, to ignore the contractions at the beginning. Curtis was good at this, he kept sleeping. I tried to ignore them, but they were too uncomfortable for me to do anything but pace around the house. I didn’t sit down again until I had our baby.
I paced around the house for about an hour and a half. I did’t want to do this alone, but I didn’t want to bother Curtis, so he slept on the couch in the living room to keep me company. I was very tired and just wanted to sleep, but I had to keep walking. At one point between contractions Curtis held my hand and prayed for me. I needed that prayer and God was working to answer it.
My contractions started to get worse and at this point Curtis was up and helping me to get through them. I had stopped pacing in the house and had confined myself to the main bathroom. I would be on my tippy toes and stare at something or I would hold the towel rack and stare to get through the contraction. Sometimes I would wring my hands in the air and not say anything or I would say, “oh, oh, oh,” until the contraction was done. I didn’t really want Curtis to touch me too much because I lost focus on my contractions, but sometimes he would give me a gentle touch on the back and said I was doing good. I really appreciated having him there, even if there wasn’t anything for him to do. He seemed to know what I needed. He was amazing.
We decided we should start timing the contractions because I didn’t know what to do anymore and I was telling Curtis how tired I was. He know I wanted to call Heidi, so he found the sheet that Heidi had given us about when to call her and we started timing. We timed for about 45 minutes and my contractions were about 3 minutes apart and lasted between a minute and a minute and a half. At this point Curtis knew he should call Heidi. Heidi asked if we wanted her to come, but we didn’t know, so she suggested a bath or a shower. I think we still thought it may have been false labor, although it should have been obvious to us that it wasn’t. I had thrown up twice by this time and I was not able to move from the bathroom sink as I was now grasping it with each contraction. I kept thinking that I was going to pull the sink faucet off! I never did have a bath or shower.I think it was about 15 minutes after Curtis’ first call to Heidi, that he called again and said he wanted her to come.
While I was in the bathroom Curtis was running around the house tidying up and preparing the birth pool. I think he had figured out that the baby was coming. This was not false labor! I was doing most of the contractions by myself at that point, but Curtis would keep checking on my. He was so helpful. While I was in the bathroom having contractions I kept singing in my head 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman. I remember thinking how much pain I was in, but I had so many reasons to praise God anyway.
Once the birth pool was ready Curtis suggested I try getting into it to help my pain because at that point I was crouched over the sink, grasping the faucet and making high pitched squealing, then grunting sounds and holding my breath each contraction. It was during those contractions that I could feel myself starting to slowly push. I told Curtis I was scared to move to the birth pool because I didn’t want the contractions to get more painful. Eventually I decided to try the pool since I did plan to have the baby there. Curtis helped me in and I got into a kneeling position up against the side of the pool. It felt good to be in the warm water and there was less pressure on my back. I rested my arms and head on the side of the pool until I had a contraction. When I had a contraction I would put my hands on the bottom of the pool and all I could do was scream. I was in the pool for about 10 or 15 minutes when I felt a small pop, my water had broke. Curtis was sitting on the couch in front of me really close letting me know I was doing good. His support was so encouraging to me. Originally I had thought that I would want Curtis to rub my back while I was in labor, but I didn’t even think about it because things were going so quickly.
Heidi and her back up, Tara, arrived about 10 minutes after I got in the pool. As soon as she got in the door I started pushing for for real. Heidi checked how I was doing with a mirror in the water. She could see the head already and asked Curtis if I my water had broke. I remember Heidi softly telling me I was doing good. She didn’t tell me what to do, but was just there making sure everything was fine. It was nice to have both her and Curtis there to support me.
In between pushes I was really tired, so I would rest my head on the side of the pool and relax. This was so comfortable for me. Curtis was right beside the pool which was exactly where I needed him. Heidi told him to pour water on my back from the pool. So he did that for me and it was so comforting. Around this time another midwife showed up.
I remember the feeling of our baby’s head the first few pushes and it burned! Once I realized that the baby was so close to coming out I knew that I should push harder each time so that it would come out faster. So that’s what I did. I pushed and screamed for about 20 minutes (5 or 6 pushes) and then our baby was born! I remember the head popping out and the huge relief of pressure and burning. Then suddenly I had to push again and the rest of the baby’s body seemed to just slide out. It was a good feeling. Heidi told me to catch my baby, so I reached down in the water and grabbed my baby. I sat down in the pool and relaxed with our baby in my arms. I sat there smiling at our baby and at Curtis. Curtis was smiling at our baby and me with tears in his eyes. It was a very special moment.
In a few minutes the baby started to breast feed, which was really neat. Curtis and I didn’t know what the baby was yet, so we asked Heidi. She said she thought it was a girl, but she hadn’t actually looked yet. She checked and we did have a girl! We were all a bit surprised, but very happy. Everyone had told us that we were having a boy. It just goes to show that heartbeats, the way I was carrying and all the other indicators just don’t work. Only God knows. Our little girl Adelin Elizabeth Jones had arrived.
About 15 minutes later I felt some small contractions and I pushed the placenta out with a few pushes. Heidi put it in a tinfoil pan and it floated in the pool with us. I stayed in the pool and fed the baby for about an hour. It was really relaxing and comfortable for me. When I was ready to get out of the pool Heidi clamped the umbilical cord and Curtis cut it. We had decided to do delayed cord clamping so that some of the blood could go back to our baby. Heidi showed us what the placenta looked like when the baby was in it. It was really neat to see where our baby had been for the past nine months.
Once I got out of the pool Curtis made me pancakes for breakfast (this was one of the many benefits of being at home for the birth)! Heidi weighed Adelin and she was 7 lbs 10 oz. and 19.5 cm long.
Our home water birth experience was amazing. We wouldn’t have changed anything. I only labored for 4 and a half hours which was such a blessing, especially this being my first baby. I praise God for that! Having a home birth seemed so natural to us. At no point did we panic or worry about anything, even though Curtis and I were alone for most of the labor. We knew that God had everything under control and we were in Heidi’s kind and capable care. We were so thankful to have her as our midwife. We can’t say enough about how wonderful she was. We would recommend her to everyone we know who is having a baby.
I was so thankful to have the three midwives at our birth. They all played a special part in the birth and the few hours after. I am so greatful to them and their gentle care. Most of all I am thankful to God for our wonderful birth and our little Adelin.