I haven’t blogged in about a year… but since we had a new baby, I think it calls for a post!
The Birth Story of Ben Michael
Before we even got pregnant, we knew we wanted a home birth with our next baby. Matthew’s 40 hour hospital birth had us thinking homebirth even with Charlotte, but for financial reasons we opted on having Charlotte in the hospital as well. I think most people assume that we were against hospital births because we chose a homebirth, but that’s not the case at all. We had great hospital experiences where our birth plans were respected, we were treated compassionately and all our wishes were met. But the hospital isn’t a comfortable place especially while in pain. But mostly, I don’t like the idea of leaving my kids overnight or for long periods of time and we wanted to stay together.
Charlotte’s birth went so smoothly I was very confident I could have a great homebirth experience. We excitedly interviewed midwives and when we met Kayti, even though she was only our second interview, we knew she was the right midwife for us. And even more of a blessing was that Kayti had student midwives who were willing to help us care for the kids during the birth. One of the best things about the homebirth experience was that the kids were active participants in the prenatal care. They loved their sibling from the moment they knew he existed in my womb. They affectionately named him Sweet Baboo.
Ben’s birth was much anticipated since we decided against finding out the gender ahead of time. As I approached my due date, we definitely thought I’d have him before November as I had a lot of prodromal labor and signs of readiness. Weeks 38 and 39 were emotionally rough for me, I was exhausted and not sleeping great, having contractions almost every night and waking up still not in labor. Getting the kids out of the house was beginning to be overwhelming but staying in was making us all crazy. I didn’t want to have a Halloween baby so the night before Halloween I was filled with anxiety trying to make him stay put. Once November 1st, came I suddenly felt better! I had a renewed energy and I was willing to go through daily life and not rush Sweet Baboo.
At 3am on November 8th, I woke up having contractions about 10 min apart. I tried to sleep through them but by 3:30 I couldn’t lay still through the intensity and was having to move through them. By 4am, Scott was up with me and timing them. They very quickly became longer, stronger and closer together and by 5am, were coming 5 minutes apart, with great intensity and length. We called Kayti and told her that I was in labor, but not to rush. I knew by my mood that we still had some time.
Kayti and her team arrived around 6am and started getting ready for the impending birth. Shortly thereafter the kids and the sun woke up and my contractions started to pitter out. I spent about 20 minutes walking around the backyard, but while the intensity remained the same the contractions were still about 10 min apart. Kayti decided they would leave and we could labor alone, then call her when they picked back up. I had her check me before she left, just because I was curious.
I was dilated to a 4 and Kayti told me I felt very ready, and she knew I’d have this baby today. They left around 9am. After they left, I tried to rest and Scott took the kids to the store to get me a ham and pineapple pizza. At about 10:30 the contractions were kicking again and I was starting to vomit so we assumed things were picking up and called Kayti to come back. I was a little hesitant because I was still feeling really pleasant between contractions but I also had hoped that because of the homebirth maybe I’d have an easier birth this time.
One of the midwives supporting me
This is about where I lost track of time, but I’ll give my best estimates. After another hour or so of contractions, despite my pleasant mood, I had Kayti check me again and sure enough I was 0 station, 8 cm and getting close to being complete. I decided to get in the tub and labor in there for a while. Laboring in the tub was great. It definitely helped me cope with the pain and made the contractions less intense.
Around noon, Scott went to put the kids down for their naps and I kept on laboring. Pretty soon I was ready to push and I was quite sure I would be having this baby any time. I started pushing and could very quickly feel his head approaching crowning. I was so excited, especially because while the labor was hard, it was going very quickly and smoothly and I was in a great mood (which is not normal for me in labor!).
After pushing for quite some time with no results (and starting to get very tired, discouraged and feisty) Kayti checked me again and we found out that it was not his head pressing down, but rather my bag of waters. This was bad news because the bag of waters is not able to dilate the cervix the same way and can make birthing the baby more difficult. Kayti asked if I wanted to wait or if I wanted her to break my bag. I was sure that if she broke my bag, the baby’s head would engage and I’d be able to push him out right then. I was wrong.
After Kayti broke my bag, she noticed that I had a lip on the front of my cervix and I was not fully dilated like we thought. This was about the time I started hating the labor (my normal) and got very discouraged and upset. I felt like I had just had an entire labor and then was told I had to start all over again. Even though Kayti and the other midwives assured me that I was not starting from square one, I was exhausted after about 12 hours of labor.
The midwives suggested I get out of the tub and move to the bed. As soon as I was out the contractions got brutal. Having my water broken, the contractions were coming close and hard. Kayti had me switching side laying positions, to help even out the lip on my cervix. The contractions were incredibly painful and were starting to have the natural pushing feeling indicating that he’d be coming soon. And while my mind knew that to be true, I refused to believe it and was still convinced I had many hours to go.
I really wanted to transfer to the hospital and mentally was weighing my options. After every contraction, I would beg to go to the hospital, curse homebirth, declare that I needed a c-section but during the contraction, when I could not talk my thoughts would turn to my kids. I didn’t want to leave them, I didn’t want someone else putting them to bed, I didn’t want them to miss the birth and I didn’t want to be away from them for an entire day.
Finally, I agreed for Kayti to check me again so I could make a decision if I wanted to go to the hospital or not. I knew that if I decided to transfer for pain medication it was likely to take a while and I could have the baby before I got relief any way. Kayti told me I was at 9 and ¾ and that I was at the finish line. But “you’re going to have this baby soon” was the theme of the night and “soon” was not soon enough for me.
Nancy suggested I go to the bathroom and have a few contractions on the toilet (gravity is helpful). With Scott helping me, I had a few hard contractions on the toilet and decided to get into the tub again. Scott left the room to get the kids ready for bed.
It was about this time that I retreated into myself and what happened next was a blur. I got on my knees and held onto the side of the tub. The contractions starting coming fast and hard. I could feel my body pushing and his head moving lower but I allowed the pain to interrupt my thoughts and I ignored it. I remember telling Kayti it hurt in my butt and she said “that’s good”. I yelled at her “It is NOT good! It’s really bad. BAD.”
Shortly thereafter, I felt the infamous ring of fire and I thought “No way… no way he’s crowning.” Suddenly, my body pushed and I bared down, the fire burned and my only thought was that I literally could not stop pushing and suddenly I was holding my baby’s head in my hands.
I remember looking up and all of the midwives, Scott and the kids were in the bathroom and Scott was saying “Look, do you guys see Sweet Baboo’s head?” Just then Kayti jumped in the tub with me and said “Jennie, I need you stand up.” She got behind me and I stood up. She had me put one of my legs up on the side of the tub. She said, “I have a nuchal hand, Jennie, I really need you to push.” As we noticed later in the ultrasound, Ben liked his hands up by his face!
I pushed as hard as I could and suddenly my baby was out. Kayti told me to sit and she set him on my chest. I said, “He’s out, he’s out! Is he a he?!” She said, “Check!”
I turned him over and I said, “It’s a BOY!” I told Matthew to look and Matthew said, “Mrs. Buehler! He has a penis! He’s Ben Michael!”
The kids were delighted. Charlotte wanted to get in the tub, but it was a little messy so I told her to wait. After a while, I had not delivered my placenta yet so we decided to cut the cord and hand him to Scott for skin to skin while I took care of it. Matthew cut the cord and we handed Ben to Daddy for snuggles.
Ben was born at 8:11 pm and weighed in at a healthy 8lbs, 9oz and 20.5” inches long. He is very healthy and doing wonderful. He’s such an amazing addition to our family and I am elated that everyone got to be there for his birth.
The big kids were so wonderful during the whole birth. When they came into the room, they were calm, helpful and encouraging. When the left the room, they played nicely, took their naps and helped the midwives make food. After the birth, the midwives told us how great our kids were and it was such an amazing compliment. I am so proud to be their mama and I am so thankful for the gifts the Lord has given to us.
To our little Baby Ben, your name was chosen as a tribute to your Yankee Papa, my dad that I loved and miss every day. I know that throughout your life, you will remind me of him… especially because you came out with your dukes up! I love you little guy and you will be a treasured part of our family.