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born in our living room: the birth story of my fourth baby December 17, 2006

Posted by guinever in babies, birth, birth stories, birth story, home birth, homebirth, midwifery, pregnancy.

Mary Suzannah was born Thursday, November 18th at 3:04 a.m. in our living room. She weighed 9 pounds and was 21 inches long.

On Wednesday, I really wanted to have this baby so I did several things to help bring labor on! A few trips around the block throughout the day. Eggplant Parmesan for lunch. Todd massaged the acupressure points above my ankles. Hot salsa at dinner time. Braxton Hicks started about 7 P.M. while doing the hokey pokey with the kids.

I was feeling “yucky” between 10 and 11 and just laid on the couch. I don’t remember having any contractions–just an unsettled feeling. Did I mention I took a teaspoon of castor oil with OJ too? I went to bed at 11 P.M. Contractions immediately started hurting (finally!). I called Anne (my friend and doula) at 11:30 to have her head on over. After talking, I wondered if I had called her too soon. But it’d take her about an hour to get here, and I just had a feeling that harder active labor could kick in any time. I didn’t call Todd at work because I didn’t want him to be anxious or bike home before his shift was over if I didn’t really need him yet. I stayed in bed another 20 minutes.

Anne arrived at 12:40 am to find me pacing the living room, eating a frozen juice bar. We talked between contractions for awhile, but Abby (21 months old) was crying so Anne went to rock her. At 1:30, Todd came home and held Abby for a little while before putting a vinyl table cloth under the sheet to protect the mattress for the birth. Abby kept calling out my name.

Mommy. Baby. Mommy Baby.

So we let her join us in the living room. She was a little doula/midwife, lying down next to me with her baby doll, rocking on all fours like I did and moaning with me. Abby also mimicked Anne; when Anne pressed on my back, Abby pressed too.

Soon, I settled down on my knees leaning over the love-seat in the living room. I didn’t want to move. At 2:00, Anne called my midwife to alert her that I’d be having the baby that night. We didn’t necessarily need her to come right away. But when she asked me if my contractions were up front or down low, I said they were low and I could feel them down my legs. Maybe she should come, I thought. I asked her what she was doing and she said, it’s 2 am; I’m in bed sleeping. (Right, duh!). I said well you can sleep over here if you need to. At 2:30, we called two more of my friends that were planning on coming over. I didn’t dream birth was only a half hour away.

I started sitting more upright toward the end of my contractions moving my hips forward. I was feeling a little “pushy” but I didn’t tell Anne or Todd because I didn’t want to say I was pushy only to find out I wasn’t “very far along.”

But just a couple minutes later when my midwife walked in the door, I knew for sure this was it. Another contraction hit and I yelled,

I’m pushing — you’d better get something under me.”

Todd was already on his way to get a vinyl tablecloth and the basket full of chux. I really don’t know how they saved the carpet in time because I had everything gushing out of me! I heard my midwife say, “There’s a baby. There’s a baby.” I rubbed the top of my baby’s head until I felt the next urge to push. And out the head came. A few seconds later, I pushed hard again, and the baby slid right out of me. I heard someone say, “It’s a girl.” I scootched back and the midwife passed her to me under my legs and I picked her up. I took a deep breath and whispered, “It’s Mary.” Then I turned around so I could lean back against the couch. Abby was right beside me. I laid down on the floor so we wouldn’t have to cut the cord right away. When we put a hat on Mary’s head, Abby pointed at the hat and to her head, indicating she wanted a hat too.

Mary didn’t nurse right away like my other children had. About 45 minutes after birth, she was lying on my chest. She opened her eyes, lifted her head up, saw my nipple and dove for it. (Very cool!) Just like I had seen before in the video Delivery Self Attachment.

Alex came out of his room just in time to watch Mary being weighed and diapered. He said he had heard the baby crying. Later, Caleb came out too. About 3 hours after the birth, we all climbed into bed for a family picture.
Anne and the midwife went home, Todd put the kids to bed, and then he went outside to bury the placenta in the rhubarb patch (gotta love a man who doesn’t procrastinate on stuff like that!). Holding Mary, I rested a little while before calling my parents to tell them the happy news!

Read my other birth stories:



1. leslie - October 17, 2008

Hi i’m 39 weeks and 5 days early this morning around 9 I had gotten of our sofa and felt a gush of water trinkle down my leg i immediately assumed my water broke and headed off to the birthing center when I got there the nurse called the resident and she did a specular exam and swabbed me and sent me home stating that my water did not break although she was very clumsy and clueless before checking me she ws getting ready to put on unsterile gloves and the nurse told her to use sterile gloves also when she was performing the specular exam she pinched my inner lip trying to adjust her specula and when i told her Ouch ur pinching me i immediately pulled my skin away gosh! anyways i’ve been spotting all day and i am unsure if my water did break or not pease hellpp.

Leslie, spotting is different than your water breaking. If you have continued to leak fluid, then your water probably did break….but if you’re just spotting, then that’s a result of the speculum exam, etc. ~blessings, Guinever

2. Roseanna - August 2, 2007

I have 3 children. 1,2 and 5. I’ve had 4 miscarriages, the most recent being on the 4th of July, 2007. My husband and I do nothing to prevent pregnancies nor do we try to become pregnant. I’ve been considering having the baby at home. The negative side is that I here if something goes wrong, The state can press charges on me for not delivering in a safer environment. Have you heard this to be true?
Also, I wanted to ask you about your 4th birth. Did you tear? If so, who stitched you up?

Dear Roseanna, I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. Homebirth laws vary by state, so you’ll have to check into your own state laws. You can do this at the citizens for midwifery website. This link will take you to their state page. You might find more helpful information on the CFM’s website as your research doing a homebirth. You might want to do an internet search for your state and homebirth as well.

It is unusual for the state to press charges against parents. Usually, it would be done against someone (a midwife) for supposedly practicing medicine without a license, and the parents do not want charges to be pressed. It is not illegal for a woman to birth her baby at home. ~Guinever P.S. yes, I tore with my 4th birth. My attending midwife (a certified nurse midwife who also does hospital births) stitched me up. She used local anesthetic just like what would have been used in a hospital birth.

3. Kellie - January 28, 2007

Hello! My name is Kellie and I am a member at a message board called frunchymama.com. We are attempting to begin some lively conversations about home births and we would be delighted if you could join us to start some new topics or join in on the ones we currently have. Please find us at http://frunchymama.com/boards/ and add to our conversation!

Thank you for your time,

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