Naomi's birth story

Here's the scoop--in one big entry--on my 2 1/2 hour labor and Naomi Elizabeth's birth...

For background on how Bret and I decided to have a home birth, read Natalie's birth story, intro part 1 and intro part 2.

After waiting 10 extra days (and being ready for three weeks before Naomi’s July 13 due date), labor began at about 10:30 p.m. July 23. ...

The story continues below.

I was nursing Natalie to sleep when I felt a very strong, painful contraction lower in my abdomen than I’d felt before. More such contractions came while I continued to nurse, and I soon needed Bret to touch my arm and ground me while I tried to relax through the pain and also reassure Natalie.


After about four or five of those contractions, I couldn’t stay in bed any longer. Bret called our midwife, Mary, to alert her while I got in the shower. Mary said to call her back if the contractions continued. They did, and she said she was on her way. Bret then called Sarah Miller, who was coming to help with Natalie, and our doula, Barbara.


Sarah came within a few minutes and sat with Natalie in the living room watching videos while Bret and I walked up and down the hallway through my contractions. Bret started filling the birth tub in our dining room in between my contractions, which were strong and regular at that point.


When Barbara arrived at about 11:40 p.m., I still felt clear headed and was still able to smile and crack jokes and acknowledge that it seemed like early labor. I was mentally trying to pace myself and be ready for the possibility that I could be enduring the contractions for a long time yet.


Once the birth tub was filled, I decided to change positions—even though I didn’t want to. I sat on the side of our bed, and Bret sat in front of me on the birth ball. I leaned into his shoulder and arms with each contraction. I also made a point to groan and make deep noises with the pain—it helped quite a bit. I felt each contraction both in my back and abdomen, like I did with Natalie’s labor, but this time I didn’t want anyone to touch my back. The pressure didn’t seem to help, but a hot compress was a welcome relief.


Mary arrived shortly before midnight and checked me about 20 minutes later. I was mentally prepared to hear that I was still at 4 cm, so I was relieved to learn that I was at 6 cm! I then asked Barbara to ask Mary if I could get in the tub, and she said yes.


I remember relishing the feeling of buoyancy when I got in, though that delight was quickly overshadowed by the increasing intensity of the contractions. I instinctively got on my hands and knees with one hand supporting me on the floor of the tub and one hand on the edge of the tub. Again, I put my face against Bret, who was sitting on a chair at the edge of the tub with a pillow in his lap.

It wasn’t long, maybe a few contractions, before I went through transition. The extra intense stage of labor was mercifully short, and I still felt relatively clear headed. I knew that the things I was saying--”I don’t know what I want;” “I just want to feel better”—were classic signs of transition, as were the three contractions I had on top of each other.

Then I felt a growing need to push, which I announced despite my own disbelief. I was just at 6 cm, how could I already want to push?


Mary told me to blow through those contractions if I could, so I did. I felt myself come close to losing control a few times but was able to adjust my breathing and make it through. It also helped to hear Bret, Barbara, and Mary encouraging me through each contractions, saying things like, “good job,” “you’re doing great,” “perfect,” and “you have a lot of strength in you.”


Soon, I couldn’t blow through the contractions anymore, so Mary said to bear down. I felt stinging and lots of pressure, and Mary said she could see the bulging bag of waters. I was impatient that the head wasn’t crowning yet—but that took only another push, maybe two.


I remember working really hard with each push—something I don’t remember about Natalie’s birth—especially when the head emerged a contraction or two before the shoulders. I felt Mary rotating the shoulders as I pushed, and then the baby was fully out!

It felt amazing—a huge relief—and before I knew it, Mary had handed me the baby under my legs. I saw the face and was immediately impressed by the round cheeks—they looked like my cheeks. Lots of hair and lots of vernix also caught my attention—this was a big, beautiful baby.


It was a few minutes before Bret and I checked whether we had a boy or a girl. My exact words were: “It’s not a boy!” I kept repeating them—I, along with most of my friends and family, had been convinced that I was carrying a boy.


When I saw the baby as a girl, I was struck with the name Naomi. She didn’t look like an Anna, which had been our frontrunner name.


She eventually nursed and continued to do so for about 20 minutes while I sat in the tub and kept her body warm in the water. She opened her mouth wide and had a great latch from the start.


As everything was settling down, I asked what time it was and was surprised to learn that it was barely 1 a.m. Labor had only been two and a half hours! I couldn’t help but be a little proud of my body. I loved knowing what my body was doing and how to work with it, even through the intensity—the violence, as Bret put it—and the pain.


I got out of the tub, continued nursing the baby, delivered the placenta, Bret cut the cord, and then Mary escorted us to the bedroom. The birth team then gave us some private bonding time while they tidied up the dining room and kitchen.


Natalie, by the way, slept through everything. Sarah picked her up and tried to wake her as the baby was being born, but she stayed asleep.

At about 3 a.m., the birth team came into the bedroom for the newborn exam, during which we learned that the baby measured roughly 23 inches long and weighed 9 lbs 5 oz! After Mary was satisfied that we were all doing well, everyone gave us hugs—we stayed in bed, of course—and left. Sarah brought Natalie in and placed her in her usual spot between us in the bed, and the baby slept in my arms.


I slept for about an hour, Bret got nearly four hours of sleep. Natalie woke up between 7 and 8 a.m. to a new baby in her bed. Bret asked her who it was, and she said, “baby Tilly”—the only baby she knows. She was delighted to learn that it was actually her own new baby. The delight soon gave way to hunger, though, and she climbed out of bed and asked for something to eat.


Ryan and Sarah brought over breakfast—as per tradition—and hung out for a bit. My mom was on the road between 10 and 11 a.m., and we officially had a new baby.


I enjoyed feeling clear headed, though tired, and had fun alternating between admiring the baby, nursing her, and calling friends and family. Bret and I also studied her face to determine whether she was Anna Naomi or Naomi Elizabeth. It took all day to decide on Naomi Elizabeth. It fits her completely.


Naomi is now 10 days old, beautiful, and relatively easy to care for thus far.


All in all, Naomi’s birth was a powerful experience, and everything went just as I hoped it all would. I’ve even come to be glad that she was 11 days late—because of it, her head is bigger, her muscle control is better, her mouth is larger—all of which have made nursing easy thus far (plus, I’ve been nursing for two and a half years!).


I’m ever so thankful to the wonderful birth team—Mary, Jessica, Heather, Barbara, and Sarah—and to Bret, my amazingly patient and loving husband and coach. Praise God for a swift, safe birth experience and a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

Andrea, Monday 03 August 2009 at 6:27 pm two comments
Molly Stevens, - 05-08-’09 22:53

Great Story Guys.
Welcome baby naomi…we have been waiting for you. I anticipate a most beautiful life for you little one.

with love

Leslie Isch, - 07-08-’09 00:21

I love hearing birth stories and all the details. It is an amazing and wonderful thing that God does when he creates life. Blessings to you all.

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