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The day was just another day along my crazy pregnancy journey. Little did I know it would end with a birth… It was sunny and warm- not really abnormal in any way… the only thing different about today was that it started with me drinking a healthy dose of what is lovingly known as “the midwife’s brew”.

A Tumultuous Pregnancy

This pregnancy was like no other. It had started fairly normally, the first moment I knew I was pregnant was when I was called upon to pluck a chicken and my stomach revolted at the smell that wafted my way… We moved across the country around the beginning of my second trimester to be “home” and closer to family.t

My midwife had been closely monitoring me as diabetes runs in my family and I started rapidly gaining weight… but there were no other signs of gestational diabetes. My womb rapidly grew and we started to question if twins were present.

Ultrasounds ruled out twins but revealed moderate polyhydramnios. I was labeled by the doctors as high risk for preterm labor and was closely monitored. My midwife worked with us and consulted with several doctors. Ultimately they decided that homebirth would be considered safe as long as all else stayed within normal parameters.

When will he come?

The doctors also said something else- that my baby was quite large and that my dates had to be more than a month off! This was a shock to us! We expected baby near the end of September and now we were told August? To add to that, we were high risk for pre-term labor? Crazy!

As we tried to wrap our heads around this info, all I could say was that I knew my dates… I am as sure as sure can be- and that I knew that I was not wrong… baby may be big and coming early, but I knew when my last period was!

We waited patiently- hoping and praying that the risk for preterm labor would pass… and one day, it finally did! We were excited! Things were ready for a home birth! Baby could come any day!

But he didn’t come…

We waited and prayed… they said early- but what do “they” know? We played the game and went to multiple long and drawn out ultrasounds- all showing the same thing- a healthy and big baby.

The Time is Now

On my last ultrasound, the tech told us baby was measuring in around ten pounds- give or take a pound! The high risk doctor encouraged us that we needed to go to the hospital. Our back-up OB said we had a few options. We talked about it with our midwife and prayed for wisdom. And then, we formulated a plan.

We would attempt an at home induction on Wednesday and if it wasn’t successful, we would leave for the hospital early (4am!) Thursday morning. While I had been doing many labor stimulation techniques- the time had come to kick it up a notch.

It was a heartbreaking decision for me. I had all my prior babies at home. With all of the current legalities and “precautions”, my mother and children would not be allowed with me… we would need to sacrifice our birth plan- cord burning, placenta plans, and more…

The Midwife Brew

And so Wednesday morning, I drank the brew. We didn’t find apricot juice or lemon tea, but we did mix the castor oil with prune juice and nut butter. I closed my eyes and gulped it down- imagining it to be a sickly sweet PBJ sandwich shake. I gagged, but it stayed down!

After the brew, I continued trying to stimulate labor with tinctures of black and blue cohosh as directed by my midwife and consulting OB. We also tried pumping to stimulate contractions. As the day wore on, nothing worked. I had no contractions- not even the slightest one.

I packed our bags- not sure what to pack or bring as I had never stayed overnight at a hospital before. My sister-in-law stopped by to give me a hug and offer her encouragement (she has her children in the hospital and gave me much needed packing advice). As she was leaving, the castor oil hit and some of the concoction came back up.

As the afternoon wore on, I called to pre-register at the hospital and get our final instructions. I programmed it into the GPS and wrote out instructions for my mom regarding the littles schedule. Still no contractions…

A Sudden Surge

All of a sudden, as I stood checking my hospital list for the hundredth time, a strong contraction came. I was excited but reserved- I turned to my husband and told him that I just had a strong contraction and wondered if it meant anything. Moments later, another one came… followed by another. I started timing them, trying to not get to excited… for the past week I had been having start and stop contractions (prodromal labor)… was this going to be any different?

After about 15 minutes, I checked my log- contractions had been every 2-3 minutes and lasting 1-2 minutes… and they were pretty strong. We talked to our midwife and let my mom know so everyone could start heading our way.

About 30 minutes or so later, I went to our bedroom to try and quietly work through the contractions. They were one on top of the other with little to no break in between. I breathed and tried to relax but still couldn’t feel baby’s head descending which had been a problem near the end of this pregnancy… I could feel him sitting on my pubic bone…

Clearing out for Birth

I swayed and circled on my hands and knees… I made trips back and forth to the bathroom as the castor oil cleared my system… then back to the bed and rhythm to sway.

We tried the rebozo between my husband setting up the birth pool and checking on me… whoops! It induced a wave of nausea and vomiting as more of my insides cleared out.

My mom had arrived by this time and was watching the children. I was tired- everything was going so strong. Would this last forever? My past labors of hours on end were in my mind… I asked my husband if we were almost done- and he said no, it would still be a while… I took a deep breath as the next contraction swelled and surged.

A move and a click

My husband realized I was overheating and starting to hyperventilate as our room was quite warm. He encouraged me that I should get up and move to the living room. “Is the pool ready?” I eagerly asked. No, he replied… it was not warm enough.

As I held his hands and stood up, I felt an internal “Click” as baby’s head slid off the pubic bone and hit the cervix full force… “WOW” I said “I feel pressure now”- all good signs my husband assured me…

I made it to the couch and braced myself back in hands and knees position as the next contraction swelled. There was intense pressure down low… I wanted to push but instead took a deep breath…


With the next contraction, the push came and as it did, so did the most tremendous SPLASH of fluid! I was stunned! “Call the midwife” I said as I surrendered to the inevitable… she wouldn’t be here in time.


What happened next was all a blur. The midwife coaching us to check heart tones with my doppler- but I knew there wasn’t time. As my husband tried to call my mom and littles inside and made his way back to me, I moved myself into a squat. With the next contraction came a powerful swell, a push, and I welcomed my son into my arms, unwrapping his cord from his body as I drew him into my chest.

I remember laughing and crying- my mom and littles coming inside and shocked that they had missed his arrival! The midwife was still on her way… but she talked my man through the delivery of the placenta… I just held my baby and cried tears of joy.

While all of my prior births took the standard several hours (my shortest labor had been 7 hours active) this birth happened in an hour and 55 minutes- start to finish! Not only had we experienced prodromal labor- we also had precipitous labor!

A Birth of Confidence

And so was my baby bear’s birth… dramatic and unexpected! We were so sure we would end up at the hospital and so thankful that we didn’t! The whole experience was one that boosted our confidence and trust that our Creator made us and loves us more than we know…

Birth is such a miracle! To be a part of a miracle is a huge honor and blessing… as I reflect on the birth of my “little” man (He ended up being 9.2#- an ounce shy of his oldest brother) I am still in awe… and thankful… I am thankful for the lessons it taught me… for the confidence it gave me… and ultimately, for the blessing of a healthy baby in my arms.

I am so grateful to my husband for his strength, tender care, and patience with me… to my midwife for her gentle love and support… to my mother and best friend who always is there when I need her most… and to my dear friends afar who supported me in prayer during my time of struggles… Most of all, I am thankful that I have a heavenly Father who was watching over me and my little one… who gave us a swift birth, speedy recovery, and helped me through the tough times after as we navigated tongue tie, my personal image issues, and adjusting to having one more little in the family.

I am blessed!