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It was autumn, my favorite season of the year. The evening before, my husband and I had taken our two children to a pumpkin patch. Evelyn (2) surprised us with her courage in riding a horse with her daddy. Benjamin (4) drove play trucks through sandboxes filled with corn kernels. We took a family photo in the corn maze as the sun set behind us, me with my big tummy and a child on either side. It was a perfect slice of autumn deliciousness.
The next day, we traveled to a funeral just over an hour from our home. Though the day was bittersweet as I grieved with family over the earthly loss of my great-uncle, I was relaxed and content. I enjoyed talking with family members I had not seen in a long time and appreciated the afternoon of sitting and being filled with conversation. Ben and Evie played in the church basement, entertaining themselves and sneaking cookies when no one was watching.
On our drive home, I relaxed in the passenger’s seat and admired the beauty of the harvest happening on either side of the rural highway. The sky glowed sunflower yellow and orange as the sun began to approach the hillsides. It was then that I noticed my abdomen tightening rhythmically, in a gentle and noticeable way. It was 5 pm.
I did not want to think that I was in labor. By my calculations, I was 38 weeks 1 day. I had a full week of class to instruct through the university and then final grading to accomplish. The house was a mess and I had not done the laundry in nearly a week. I had not felt a “nesting” instinct that would give energy to accomplish a list of tasks. In short, I was not ready for this baby to be born. Read more…
First published in the September 2010 Birth Blessings Messenger
Early one stormy morning in December I awoke to go to the bathroom yet again. This pregnancy was physically very taxing for me. I was rather large for date and I felt it. When I climbed back into bed I felt a gush. My first thought was my water broke then I tried to reassure myself that it could not have been as I still had eight weeks left till my due date. I got up and spent some time going round and round in my head “my water broke” “no I just peed my pants”. I finally admitted that my water had indeed broken. This was pregnancy number six for me. I was sure I had plenty of time as all my other labors had been 24-48 hours long and I wasn’t even having any contractions yet. I woke my husband up and we prepared to go to the hospital. We had nothing ready since we still had two months left.
Wouldn’t you know it our first really good snow storm of the year was brewing outside. Being an hour from the hospital in good weather we wanted to make sure we had everything “just in case”. I was very large for date but was sure of my conception dates as I was using the Sympto-Thermal Method of charting my cycle (see www.ccli.org). Since I was measuring big myOBhad done an ultra sound at my last visit to check for twins. We only saw one baby!? This left me wondering, why was I so big?
During the next two hours that we were at home getting ourselves ready and the kids set, I started having contractions at first 5 minutes apart so wimpy I wouldn’t even consider them a good Braxton Hicks contraction. About 45 minutes later they went to 3 minutes apart and I had to think about them. At this point I was thinking that we would have a baby by that night (one of my labors I had more intense contractions 3 minutes apart for over 24 hours).
About 45 minutes later I remember thinking that I was done-that I couldn’t do it anymore, the typical emotional signpost that you are in transition. Yet I had no physical signs. My labor so far had been easy and I would say painless. I went to use the bathroom before we left. That is when I had a contraction and realized that I was pushing at the peak! In an instant I was flooded with sheer panic. I was two months early! I couldn’t give birth at home to a preemie! All the “what if’s” flooded my head. Then reality hit…we were over an hour away from the hospital with a snow storm picking up steam outside. It didn’t take me long to realize that we had more control of environmental factors and had more things available to us at home then in the car in a snow storm, thus making it safer to stay home at that point. Read more…
First published in Birth Blessings Messenger in December 2008
Growing up in the great state of South Dakota, my husband and I always considered it to be a matter of pride to say, “I am a South Dakotan”. South Dakotans pride ourselves on hard work, protecting our freedoms, personal responsibility, and logical thinking. In most cases, that is still true. However, I was shocked to find out what was happening “back home” while we began our family out of state.
After having 3 wonderful home births with two different midwives, it was obvious to me that, that is the way birth is meant to be- a loving caring environment for BOTH the mother and the child. Midwives are the experts in normal, healthy birth which allows them to identify issues sooner. My midwives were a source of positive reinforcement that everything was going the way God intended it to. In all pregnancies my midwives were proactive in many areas, they guided me to better nutrition to prevent unnecessary bleeding and encouraged protein in plentiful amounts to prevent a host of problems.
When we moved back toSouth Dakota, there was no question that we would have our children in the safety and security of our home. We knew that midwives were scarce up in the “north country” and had heard that most if not all were practicing only in hospitals. Shortly after moving back home, we found out the exciting news that we would be bringing another child into this world. That excitement soon turned to question – Would we be able to find an experienced person to assist in the birth of our child? Read more…
First published in Birth Blessings Messenger August 2007
When I woke up that morning I told my unborn baby that it was a great day to be born – of course I had been saying this everyday for at least the last two weeks. It was May 31st – 3 days past our due date and it really was a beautiful spring morning. I had a few light contractions when I got up, but nothing different than I had been feeling off and on for weeks. We had an appointment later that morning with our midwife, so I had a quick breakfast and took a shower. By the time I came out of the shower my contractions had really picked up and I told Quint he had better call the midwife and tell her to bring all her stuff to the appointment. This was to be our first home birth and I was very excited and a little nervous. We decided on a home birth because our last labor had lasted only 3 hours and we were concerned about having this baby in the car.
I was so glad we had made the decision to stay home as Quint made phone calls summoning those who would be at our birth. Taking care of the children that morning (our 3 ½ year old twins and our 18 month old) and getting a meal in the crock pot were wonderful distractions from the discomforts of my labor. Read more…