Birth date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2015
Birth Time: 7:05 pm
Weight: 8lbs. 2oz.
Length: 19 3/4 in.
Head: 14 in.
Stefen, Blake, and I went to my 39 week appointment on Tuesday, June 16th. On our way there I asked Stefen if he thought I should ask Sizzly to do anything to get things going. With Blake I was in no rush to get him out and didn’t have any checks or anything until after 41 weeks. I was enjoying this pregnancy and wanted Houston to stay in as long as he needed, but in the back of my mind there was the fear that there’d be some sort of repeat of Blake’s birth; not going into labor, pre-e, c-section.. Anyways.. Stefen said that he thought I should. Even though I was only 39 & 1/2 weeks things were already progressing more than they ever did with Blake. I had been having contractions -mostly at night- consistently for the past week or two, nothing painful though. I had even said at one point they were kind of enjoyable. I’m weird, I know.
When we arrived at my appointment Sizzly did ask if I wanted to be checked. I said only if she would also do a sweep because just checking seemed pointless. She said she’d only do whatever I wanted and since Stefen and I had already talked about it I said yes. I was 2cm, which of course means nothing to me since at one point I was 6cm with Blake. She went ahead and did a sweep. There was no cramping, bleeding, anything afterwards. I told Stefen I wasn’t sure if she really did a full sweep cause I didn’t feel any different. We went to Los Vallartas for our weekly $1 Tuesday tacos and then headed back home. On our way home I was saying how I felt like everything was ready for Houston’s birth, the only thing that I kind of wanted to do was make a “labor/ birth” playlist. I wasn’t that worried about making it though because I wasn’t sure if I’d even want any noise in the moment. I sat down that night and made a list of some pretty perfect songs with the help of Google and Tanya.
Side note: I started listening to this playlist while I was putting it together that night and the songs were so encouraging and motivating that I listened to it on repeat during the next day while in labor and did have it playing during his birth.
I had a small sinus thing for a few days and this was the first day I was able to taste food again so I made myself a cup of chocolate milk and had a couple chocolate donuts that had been sitting on the counter all week. Chocolate overload and I didn’t even feel bad about my decision. That night I went to bed still feeling fine, having a few of the small “feel good” contractions as usual. Around 3am I woke up having contractions strong enough that I would move from side to side, I was too tired to time them but after waking up again and again with each one I finally got my phone and started keeping track of them around 3:45am. They got a little stronger to where lying down didn’t feel good so I just got on my hands and knees and lied on/ hugged a pillow. Stefen rolled over a couple times asking what was going on or if I was OK, to which I replied “it’s nothing”. They were consistently about 8-10 minutes apart and lasted like all morning. As long as I got on my hands and knees they weren’t bad though. That morning while Stefen was getting ready for work, he kept asking if he should stay home and I said no. Whenever I’ve heard birth stories and the wife says she didn’t wake her husband up or he went to work as usual for the day, I’ve always thought “there’s no way I would do that! I’d have to tell Stefen right away”. Well he left for work at 7:30am and as soon as he did I had a few contractions that were 3 minutes apart. I took a shower and they didn’t slow down at all but they still weren’t consistent. They’d go from 5 minutes apart, 3 minutes, 3 minutes, and then 9 minutes. For some reason I had it in my head that unless they were consistently close to 2 minutes apart then I was just in beginning labor, if that, and had a long ways to go.
I had a chiropractic appointment scheduled for 11:15am. I didn’t really want to leave the house but figured it’d be the best thing to do if I was in labor to make sure everything was in place. Stefen kept checking on me and asking if he needed to come home. Since he works in Tampa it would take him at least an hour to get back. I kept assuring him that even though they were kinda painful I didn’t think I was anywhere close to it being soon as some people are in labor for days, but that he should maybe be ready to leave around lunchtime in case the chiropractor sends me into labor. When I arrived at my appointment Dr. Tinari asked how I was feeling. I told him I was having contractions since early am but nothing consistent so I was good. He said “you look ready. For the first time in all the times I’ve seen you you look ready. It’s gonna be soon”. Usually at every appointment he’d say something like, “you look great!” but somehow he knew something was different today. He started announcing to the rest of his staff “we’re gonna have a baby soon!” When I left they even told me just to call and schedule instead of setting up my next weekly appointment like usual. Afterwards I went to Hobby Lobby with Tiffany and we walked around for awhile. I was secretly in a lot of pain through some of the contractions and it was Blake’s nap time so when we were done there I went straight home afterwards, nursed Blake to sleep (which became really hard to do during a contraction, especially having to lie down), and just walked around the house for awhile. I let Stefen know nothing had really progressed since my adjustment besides that some of the contractions hurt pretty bad so he probably wouldn’t need to come home early.
Thinking I was still very early on in labor and would have awhile to go, I kept saying things like “I think my high pain tolerance is gone. I feel like I’m being a baby cause this actually hurts”. I realized I hadn’t eaten since early that morning so I made a hummus wrap, took one bite and was nauseous so I put it in the fridge for later. I texted Sizzly around 1pm just to give her a heads up I was having contractions but nothing serious, then called my mom to ask about some oils I could use to lower blood pressure as I normally have high blood pressure already and wanted to keep it under control. While on the phone with her she kept saying she thought I should call Sizzly because it sounded to her like I was in labor. I decided to text Stefen first and asked if he could just go ahead and come home, to which he replied he was already on his way home! Once Stefen was here he also kept saying I should call Sizzly because “she would know if you’re in labor by hearing your voice”. So I finally did around 3:15pm. I started by saying “Stefen and my mom keep telling me to call you..” Besides being more painful than earlier, nothing else had changed. Some contractions were closer but some were still far apart. She told me to stay hydrated, eat, and take a bath this time. If things picked up or formed a pattern after that than it was time.
While in the bath, they only became more consistent and closer together mostly around 2-3 minutes apart. Once I got out, around 4:15pm, I sent Sizzly a screenshot of my “contraction timer” app and told her things were definitely progressing. She asked if I wanted her to come over, I said “probably” still not sure I was anywhere close. During this time my mom arrived, my dad was on his way with subs, and Amber said her and Adam were coming over with dinner. I was fine with everyone coming over and Blake was especially happy to have company, but I just kept thinking they were kind of wasting their time hanging out waiting for Houston because I probably wouldn’t have him till the next day or at least the middle of the night. I was still walking around the house and talking with everyone but I would stop to breath through some of the contractions. Sizzly arrived around 5:30pm. She and I went upstairs, she checked me, and immediately said “holy crap” I asked “what?” and she said “you’re 10cm.” This made me very excited so I went right back downstairs and said to Stefen “well I’m not a baby, I’m fully dilated”. I’m pretty sure my mom got her phone out right away and started updating everyone that it was going to be soon.
holy crap” I asked “what?” and she said “you’re 10cm!”
As much as I wanted to have a water birth they didn’t think we’d have enough time to set up the pool by this time. And when I kept asking if we could try we realized we didn’t even have the hose attachment. Stefen offered to go to Lowes to get it and that’s when I decided we would do without the pool. Sizzly suggested breaking my water because everything else was ready and said I could be pushing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted it broken, partly because I thought it’d be cool to have Houston born in the bag of water but I also knew that once it was broken the pain could get stronger. To which she assured me it couldn’t get any more painful because I was already at the end. I still was stalling though.. I went downstairs and walked around some more, changed into the outfit I had picked out to birth in, and talked to Sizzly about how and where I wanted to deliver Houston. When I went downstairs Stefen was just getting ready to eat so I told him when he was done I was going to have her break my water. “I don’t have to eat now, I can wait” he said. But I told him to eat because I wasn’t sure how long it’d be till he could after that. Blake was staying occupied with my family downstairs, watching movies, coloring, and playing. He was in such a good mood and did so great all day. A few minutes later we both went upstairs where Sizzly was waiting. I had a few more strong contractions and then finally told her I was ready. With the next contraction she broke my water.
As the three of us were sitting there waiting it felt like so much time was going by without another contraction, even though realistically it was probably only 5 minutes or so. She said my body was just giving me a little break before things started. And she was right.. Soon after I started having contractions again. When we were talking about where I’d give birth (shower, next to the bed, in our bed, etc) I told her I pictured myself standing next to the bed, I didn’t know how someone could give birth lying down cause it just didn’t seem natural. Well after my contractions started I didn’t want to get out of bed so I just turned over onto my hands and knees. After a few contractions like this though Sizzly suggested lying on my back again, so I did, and surprisingly it was the most comfortable. She said I could start “practice pushing”. Houston still needed to work his way down a tiny bit. After a few pushes I said they could have my mom come up to help keep me in position. Before Sizzly could even tell her assistant to get my mom she was already running up the stairs saying “I can come up?!”
At this point it was a little after 6:30pm, Houston was in position and with the oncoming contractions I was starting to feel the urge to push, so I started pushing for real. Stefen sitting next to me on one side, my mom standing on the other side, Sizzly sitting in front of me, and her assistant wherever she was needed at the time. I had told Sizzly earlier that I wanted my sisters (Tanya & Lindy were out of town, but Amber & Tiffany were here) to be there for the birth but not till I started pushing. Sizzly, understanding me better than I did myself told her assistant that once the baby was crowning to tell them to come up. She didn’t want me getting discouraged and stalling with everyone watching. The only downside to this was every time Sizzly would say Houston was close her assistant would ask if she should tell my sisters to come up and Sizzly would say “not yet” and I’d reply “ugh that means he’s not really close then”. Shortly after when she did tell them to come up though I knew that meant Houston was coming too! After a really good push Sizzly told me to take a break before the next contraction, I told her I couldn’t and she said “ok then keep pushing” and with the next push out came his head followed by his body! I can’t describe how amazing it felt to have Houston placed right on my chest and be the first one to hold him. That has been one of the hardest things looking back at Blake’s birth and thinking of all the nurses, doctors, and yes even Stefen, holding him and touching him before I could. I held Houston and fed him for the first hour+ of his life. He was weighed and measured right by my side. Stefen helped suction his lungs and cut his cord while he was lying on me. After holding him for close to 2 hours Stefen asked if he could hold him and take him downstairs and I was like “oh yeah, you haven’t even held him yet. Well it’s payback since you got to hold Blake first”. There were way more emotions and tears filling our room than I thought there would be. As strange as it may have been for my family to see me give birth it probably caught them more off guard to see me crying so much because I don’t cry often, and never in front of other people.
Houston’s birth was more than just another birth. To me it was the healing experience I needed so badly. Being able to say “I did it” meant much more than I ever thought it could. Hearing Sizzly say to me that I’m not broken and that all my hard work preparing for this birth paid off was so encouraging. I was, and still am on such a high every time I think back to his birth. I’m sure there were people who thought I was crazy, and still do, people who didn’t even know it was possible to have a HBAC (home birth after cesarean). But I know that Stefen and I made the best and right decisions for our family during this whole pregnancy. I will be forever grateful for Stefen, my family, and Sizzly being so supportive through my pregnancy and working towards making this possible.
5 responses to “Houston James’ HBAC Birth Story”
[…] is the list of songs I played during labor and the birth of Houston. The songs weren’t in any specific order. The first song that came on I Have A Dream (It […]
May the Lord bless you all. Yes, Kara, you did it! Praise the Lord for His grace and strength for you! Our love and prayers continue for you all. Hugs and kisses all around, from Oma.
[…] am writing a second birth story for Houston (read the first one here). A second point of view, from the medical perspective. I will try not to repeat myself entirely, […]
[…] For those of you reading this who may have never experienced the pains of labor and/or birth but instead are feeling the pain of “failing” know this.. You are not a failure. Your body is not broken. And, if you do plan on having more children in the future there are options! Read my hbac (home birth after caesarean) birth story here. […]
[…] are just my personal experiences. You can read each birth story here: Blake’s birth story, Houston’s birth story, and Joelle’s birth […]