Monday, October 8, 2012

Heaven's [Home] Birth Story

I was due to have our 4th child on September 29th, but like her oldest brother, Nation, she decided to come 5 days late. Unlike my other births, I spent the previous two weeks before I was due thinking I was in labor on several occasions. Proving by the third time, that my midwife has more patience than Mother Theresa. Each time I'd have contractions in the middle of the night for a few hours, they were mild, but significant enough to worry myself & midwife [1.5 hours away] that I might have another 3 hour birth like Moses'. 

I buy Margaret a "Life is Good" shirt every pregnancy and she wears it to my birth. This year, just so happens, it was pink. Prophetic I guess. Nevertheless, I was sad to see her come and go wearing the shirt twice now. By the time she showed up on this third occasion, I was really hoping THIS time it would end in a baby.

[to the best of my recollection these are the events the took place]

Thursday, Oct 4th [5 days over-due]

3:15 AM 
Having only slept about 2 hours [difficultly sleeping that night] I started having contractions regularly again about 5-10 minutes apart increasing in strength and inability to labor through them in bed. However, still nothing I couldn't talk through. Mild. I jumped in the shower after an hour---they stayed. I walked around downstairs for a little bit to see what would become of them.

6 AM
Margaret arrives and checks me. I am at 4-5 cm. Same as a week previous when we did this whole shenanigan all day. I'd spent the whole day on herbs & exercising from dawn till dusk. Literally. However, this time I was now 100% effaced, but it was unclear if today would in fact end with a baby. I was a bit discouraged at the lack of strength now in the contractions. I decided I would do whatever it took to bring them back on---seemed like using the elliptical at 20 incline and 20 resistance brought them back on the most. So I did. For hours that day---. I still don't know how my legs did it. Still, I was not feeling the bite in the contractions I knew I needed to progress.

I spent the rest of the day switching between elliptical, walking the neighborhood [hill included], up and down both my stairs, and squatting. Unfortunately I was still way to humorous and talkative at this point. At this time, I had not called anyone else who had been invited to the birth as it was such a slow and boring thing to watch. For now, it was just me, Charles, my midwife and her assistant, Brande. My mother had come and picked up the kids when they woke up around 7 AM.

11 AM
Everyone in the house lays down for a nap. I tried to rest, but was too sore. After the only hour I took off my feet that day was over--- I started back again...exercising. If I wasn't exercising I wasn't contracting and even if they were minor, it gave me hope---they would go somewhere.

2 PM
Charles and I take a walk around the block. I hold back huge tears. I am super discouraged. I am well overdue and uncomfortable, clearly my body keeps trying to go into labor [3 different days now over the course of two weeks] and I know that sleeping and going on a few more days like this probably won't happen nicely. In my head I keep saying, "God is good, everything He does is for our good, He has only good for us." I told Charles that it's hard to see what God is doing, but I know He is doing something good, event though this seems like it's going no where. 

Nation's birth was a progressive textbook 12 hours, Solomon's was very similar to this birth---started off strong, dropped off---broke water and baby super quick after that, Moses' birth was just an immediate 3 hours of transition. I was so confused about baby #4. What was happening? We all had a feeling that if my water could just be broken then the head would finally come down fully on the cervix and I could progress, but my bag of waters wasn't really in a good place or bulging so the consensus that day was to wait a little more to be on the safe side. 

3 PM
After the walk, my midwife & I had a talk and she informed me that after seeing us try this for 12 hours and consulting other midwives she felt that it was now a safe option for us to go ahead and try to break my water since nothing else was really working. I became the happiest girl at this very moment. We finished up lunch and then headed upstairs.

3:30 PM
After much effort, my bag of waters was broken, but only a teeny tiny bit. It was the best she could do. It just wasn't the normal water breaking. I was super discouraged at the quarter size drop of water that came out wasn't sufficient to help me progress. I headed to the shower---again---this would be my 5th shower of the day. I was overly clean and ready for a baby. I'd had this lingering cough for about 5 weeks, but it turned out to be a bit of a blessing all of a sudden. After exiting the shower I realized everytime I coughed my water would break more...and more. Then...a contraction, with bite. Yay!

4:17 PM
The above photo was taken just about an hour after having good contractions. Here I'm seen squatting beside the bed on my phone in between contractions. They were just about to get to the point where the phone wouldn't be picked back up again until after the baby arrived.

5:01 PM
Leaning over the ball was new for me, but actually brought on the most contractions next to squatting. However, squatting was a bit hard on my legs at this point since I had been up for 33 hours with only 2 hours of sleep and more hours of exercising that I could count. I really loved this position.

5:25 PM
Thought I felt the urge to push enough, but after a few minutes realized I'd feel more comfortable doing the next few contractions squatting beside the bed.

5:47 PM
Back in the bed to push. I wasn't really having many contractions or urges to push. Apparently I was a little swollen so I had trouble feeling how to push. Margaret held up a little lip and with a few pushes [2?] SHE was out.

6:17 PM
It's a girl. Followed by lots of tears of joy and relief.

Apgar 1 minute: 10
Apgar 5 minute: 10

21 inches
7 pounds 9 ounces
13.5 cm head

Keeping with tradition, Daddy does the first diaper & clothing change.

"The Girls": Brande, myself, Heaven, and the midwife Margaret.


  1. Congratulations, Candra — truly, she is simply breathtaking and I can only imagine you are over the moon! God is so faithful, and this is an amazing story. Love you!

  2. Love it! I love your writing, I love watching God bring these little miracles into your precious. I'm so glad that you are so phenomenal at capturing these moments and sharing them. It's a treat for all of us. Congrats, congrats, congrats! PINK!

    Love, Noelle

  3. what a beautiful story and beautiful pictures. so great to have it all captured. i love the one of y'all both crying-made me tear up. she is perfect. it's so funny because pierce's birth was quick so we were kinda expecting that and then Love's was 20 hours of progressing/little sleep then stalling out. but i can't believe how much you exercised!!! that is truly amazing!

    when i was impressed to pray at 2pm and texted you i had put "He is good" and that is exactly what you wrote above under the 2pm heading. i am still so excited about all of that and that i got to participate in some way even considering the distance.

    so so so happy for y'all and that you are on the other side and holding your precious baby.

  4. so, so sweet! thanks for sharing your story and many big congratulations on your new you get to share your love of all things PINK :) what a blessing!! XO

  5. So beautiful!! Congratulations!! My favorite picture is the one where you and your husband are looking down at her as she looks up while nursing. It's like she's saying, "you're my mommy."

  6. Thanks for sharing! I have had 3 homebirths and it never gets any easier. I have never tried the ball though.

  7. So beautiful. Had tears in my eyes. So happy for you guys. :-) Martha



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