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The homebirth of Juniper Kate Rose

post #1 of 7
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My daughters had been invited to a birthday party at pump it up on my due date. I prepped them ahead of time telling them I wouldn’t be able to go on the inflatable slides and obstacle courses, yet once we were there and they held out their hands to me I couldn’t say no. So I, and my giant belly, climbed up the giant inflatable stairway and slid down holding onto Josephine or Jewely. They screeched in delight and hugged me. After all this was the most active I had been in a little while having spent most of my time feeling tired and humongous. I spent an hour sliding, climbing, snake crawling and jumping with my kids thinking maybe I will have this baby soon after all.

That evening around bedtime I began to have contractions, I did not put much stock in it though unsure if I was having braxton hicks or if one of my super long pre-labors was about to start. I decided to tell my husband but for the most part ignore it. Exhausted I lay down around 7 pm and left the care of the kids to my husband, Chris. I paid scant attention to the contractions that were sort of crampy, taking note only that they were approximately 5-30 minutes part. I slept fitfully that night waking up on and off with contractions. Then hearing my daughter cry I wandered into her room to find she had wet her bed. With little fanfare Chris and I attended to the situation and I thought of all the women who had told me of their contractions stopping when life’s demands had interrupted their bodies work. I was waiting for these contractions to stop, I really expected everything to come to a halt, and I was just waiting for the event that would make that happen. Sleep wasn’t doing it, and I had thought that would stop things. I lay back down and waited for things to stop, but was once again woken up by Josephine, this time I heard her coughing and puking in the hallway. Too much cake and sweets too little good healthy food, Josie can not handle this combination. I walked her to the bathroom and sat rubbing her back and contracting thinking ‘surely now things will stop’. I tucked Josie back in, cleaned the floor, and almost stumbled to bed I was so tired.

Waking early with the sun, and my bladders insistent demand for the toilet found me 12 hours later still contracting. I decided to casually keep track of the distance between my uteruses crampy contractions. I was starting to think that maybe, just maybe I would indeed have a baby today. Chris’s almost hopeful “so do you think it will be today?” comments spurred me on in this thought, yet I didn’t want to get excited, I didn’t want to get everyone geared up if my body was just going to cut everything out later. So I remained almost blasé on the outside, yet inside I was almost starting to dance with excitement. I could meet my baby TODAY!

I don’t know when I called the midwife, Andrea, still believing that I was not going to get the homebirth I wanted. It was sometime before brunch with a second cousin I don’t remember meeting before, we had a pleasant time. Although honestly contracting at the table and in the streets of Tampa as we talked after words was not. Chris had stayed home with his friend Ryan and worked on the back of our house. After all we had a wide gaping hole that needed French doors installed, and very likely Chris would be busy later. I had called Andrea at my mom’s insistence and told Andrea the history, and that I wasn’t really expecting things to continue but just wanted to give her a heads up. She agreed maybe something was happening and I should call her later to see if anyone else was going into labor, then we could decide where we would have the baby. My first thought was “Oh shit! My house is trashed.” I told Chris that it looked like we might still get our home birth after all. His response was the same as mine.

When I returned from brunch I visited Chris in the backyard and admired their handiwork. The doors were being framed and chiseled and installed with all sorts of hinges and such. We chatted for a bit and then I headed in to start cleaning. I wanted to get the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room done, but I did have my priorities and a small sense of reality. I started in the kitchen. Around this time I started timing my contractions, and found they were between 3-6 minutes apart. I also decided I would need to feed people and wanted to start some chilli … but I was out of beans and onions. Chris couldn’t stop working to run to the store, and besides we were out of money for the moment so I started asking and calling around. My friend Stacy hearing of my present condition and cleaning goals offered to bring me some beans and take Jewely to her house to play with her son Noah. I agreed and continued working on the kitchen without starting chilli. When Stacy came to get Jewely she came bearing black eyed pea soup and told me she was also going to make chilli. I finished the kitchen and started work on the bathroom when my sister Meredith showed up. She chatted to me and hung out in the backyard while I cleaned, and by the time I was finishing the bathroom my friend Marilib came to help me clean up. We chatted and went to work on the bedroom. It was good she got here at this point because I was really starting to get tired. Meredith came in and started playing the name game. You know suggesting baby names, only she came up with horrible names or spin offs of her own name. It was getting very annoying, and my contractions were starting to last longer and they were much more intense. We finished the bedroom I decided I didn’t really give a crap that the living room was still a wreck and I realized it was Sunday. In my neighborhood that means there is a kids kickball game down the street at the Garden Center. The kids don’t actually play kickball, but they play something with some of the dad’s that show up while the moms sit around and talk. (It really is a beautiful thing.) Since poor Josie had been getting very little interaction from me, I thought we should walk over and pick Jewely up and head to the park. Marilib agreed, so I called up Stacy and made it happen.

On the walk contractions were still pretty intense so I called my mom to let her know what was going on. When she heard of my plans she of course freaked out. I reminded her that when I was in labor with Josephine we walked around the zoo and that all turned out fine. In the end I had to tell her my back up plan for every location and promise I would call the midwife now. Since I am such a good daughter I did indeed keep my word and Andrea agreed that things were moving along and that after I got back from the park I should call her and she would head over to at least check me out and see how things were progressing.

Marilib and I stopped at Stacy’s house to get Jewel and headed to the park. Noah’s step mom Keely and Noah joined us which was nice, as the contractions were getting intense and Keely played with Josie. I chatted with the other moms while the kids played, and after about 15 minutes or so decided it was all too much and we had better head home. It took another 5 minutes to actually leave. I called Andrea on the walk home and she said she’d be about an hour. My sisters boyfriend Mark carried my dog, who had escaped the house, on his shoulders and the girls all walked together. Meredith asked me to take a picture at one point and I told her to “F*ck off.” The kids and my sisters ran ahead and Marilib and I walked more slowly, I had to stop every so often. It was at this point that I began to think about how amazing the day had been. It was so relaxing and natural to just be here with my friends, and my sisters, my kids, my husband and his friend working in the backyard. To just live life as if this wasn’t some big thing, but just an event in our lives. We didn’t need to freak out and pack bags, we didn’t need to get up tight and drive somewhere. It was one of the most beautiful days I had ever experienced, ranking right up there with those care free days you remember from childhood where the sun beats down warm on your back yet the air is the perfect temperature, all you care about is having fun and being a kid. I told Marilib as much.

When we arrived at the house I went to talk to Chris. I wanted him to get changed so we could get the family maternity shots done. It had been pushed back and pushed back because Chris needed a haircut, but there was no avoiding it any longer, or getting his hair cut. He changed out of his construction clothes, whined a little about needing to get the doors attached and then stood for the photos. We have a lovely one of him laughing as I have a contraction just as we took the picture.

After the photos Chris went back to work, the kids played with their aunts and I headed into the shower, one of my very favorite places to be when I am in pain or in labor. The contractions were strong and long causing a lot of moaning and rocking. I really felt like maybe we were pretty close, and wondered if the baby would come before the midwife. The pressure was starting to get intense as well. I listened to all the people in the house and marveled at how wonderful the party type atmosphere was. I enjoyed this birthing process as it unfolded exactly as I had wanted it to. I continued on in the shower for about a half hour when my sister came in to use the bathroom and my phone rang. My old friend Mandy who I hadn’t seen in years was calling, she said it was very important she talk to me. I told my sister to tell her that I was in labor and if it was bad news I just couldn’t handle it right then. Already I felt my body start to stop things. Wondering if she said it was bad news how could I really continue on not knowing what it was. Well Mandy isn’t the sort to understand someone else’s point of view, and said she really needed to talk to me. Or maybe in her eyes I was being the sort of person who wasn’t thinking of other people I don’t really know. I got on the phone with her while standing in the shower and she told me Papa, a man who had taken me into his home when I had no place to go and accepted me as family, was in the hospital and it was not looking good. I had known Papa was in poor health, but he just seemed the type who would keep going forever. I consoled Mandy and bit, and after the conversation was over I just held my belly and told the baby it was okay, we could still do this, I told my body to keep working. Yet I felt like my body had not only stopped but that it had back tracked. I had felt just before that the baby would come VERY soon and now I was trying to convince my body and my baby that it could still do this. I was done with the shower, I didn’t need to rock and moan.
Chris and Ryan had finished the door, Ryan and Mark had left. I got dressed and shortly after that Andrea came. When she checked me around 7 -7:30 I was 4 cm, the baby was effaced and I was very soft. I was horribly discouraged. All that and this was all my body had accomplished? I was an hour away from the time I had guessed the baby would come and the progress was dismal in my opinion. You could see it on the faces of my sisters, my husband, and Marilib as well. I began to think about how I didn’t really know my body after all. Here I was at my third birth thinking I was about to have this baby and I was so far away. The whole thing was just horrible and depressing.


It gets blurry here, the sequence of events. Andrea did some paperwork on the couch, she encouraged me to eat. Which I found difficult since eating made me feel like throwing up. Andrea said that often women feel nausea with cervical dialation. We hung out: Chris, my sisters, Marilib, and Andrea. Andrea was very cool and I found myself thinking it would be neat to be her friend. I did express my concern that I wouldn’t have the baby that night, and I wasn’t sure if my body would really do it. We exchanged stories and had nice conversation. The kids showed off a bit, you could tell they were impressed with Andrea as well. I think everyone there was. Partly, but not entirely because they so disliked my last midwife. Marilib left at some point, as did Meredith. Meghan was the last to go. Meghan and Chris helped put the kids to bed about 9-9:30 you could tell they were getting tired. Meghan left shortly after that. I hopped in the shower again, and Chris thinking there would be a fair amount of time before anything happened lay down on the couch for a little nap.

In the shower I once again was moaning and rocking, and occasionally half sobbing. I was tired, and in pain, I wasn’t sure things were really happening or even if they would. The water was hot but I was feeling a bit cold and really I just wanted to lay down and go to sleep. (This would have been the reason Andrea had tried to get me to eat earlier.) I went back into my bedroom and Andrea checked me, I was 8 cm I think. We got Chris, and I don’t think I ever did get dressed after that last shower. Andrea and Chris began getting supplies and such together, setting everything up for the birth. My back was rubbed when I needed it, the mood was much lighter then I had just been experiencing in the shower. There was conversation between contractions, and as I got further along the painful contractions sent me wondering why the hell I wanted to do a natural birth again. When Andrea left the room I whimpered to Chris and expressed my doubts. Soon I expressed wonder at wanting to do this naturally to Andrea. She reminded me I wanted to give my baby a peaceful birth, or was it a gentle birth. This whole period really is a blurry sort of time in my memory. The gist of this last bit is that I was having trouble dealing with the last painful contractions, and was starting to doubt myself and I was starting to sort of whimper and whine as I hung my arms around Chris. This was getting me nowhere and honestly was a bit embarrassing, plus hanging from Chris’s shoulders was making me feel better, just having him there for me.

I knew I had to change my attitude, so I started humming through contractions, thinking of the lady on YouTube who sang this beautiful song while she was in labor. As a contraction would start I would begin to almost cry out and then I would reign myself in, control my breathing, hum, rock whatever. I don’t know when I moved onto the bed, maybe when I started feeling pressure. By this time I had started to vocalize positive thoughts, mostly in an effort to make myself believe it, to help my body to get where I wanted to be. “You can do this”, “Come on baby, you can come out, nice and gentle, it’s okay”, “open up”, all the things I had read about other women chanting during contractions. Occasionally there was a harsher command “Get out of me baby!” I informed Andrea when the unpleasant side effect of birth was happening (you either know about this embarrassing event or you don’t want to.) I told them when the head was coming, at which point the phone began to ring, and said such weird things as “Oh my God we’re having a head, we’re having a head!” to the more normal “Oh my God, we’re having another baby.” and “What color is her hair?” As her head was delivered in quick succession I said “Oh there’s the body…oh her leg is still in there.” I crawled forward a step and felt her out of me, I bent down and gosh this is the strange part, I don’t clearly remember this moment., I don’t remember what the first thing I said was. It was a mix of “Oh my God we have another baby, look at her!” And “It really is a girl!” and “three girls we are so lucky!”, “Look at her hair!” and things like this followed by an “Oh thank God I never have to do that again!” When did I reach down and pick her up? I don’t know she was on the bed then she was in my arms and I was just staring at her, and thinking of it makes me cry now, it was just so amazing. I don’t really know what Chris was doing, or what Andrea was doing. At some point I wanted Chris to wake Jewel up so she could cut the cord. He tried to wake her up, but she wasn’t budging. I decided then that I wanted to cut the cord, since Chris told me after Jewely was born that the cord felt much different then he expected. I tried but the angle was all wrong so Chris did it after all.

People were called, people came and all that information was lost as I stared and stared at that little baby. My sisters and mom came, and pictures were taken, and Andrea pushed on my uterus and it hurt all the while I just held her. I didn’t even think to give Chris a turn. Eventually I gave one of my sisters a turn and then realized how rude it was of me not to offer her to her father first. I went to the bathroom and the newborn exam began, after she checked out Chris dressed her for the first time ever and then I was once again given this lovely little Juniper Rose. The name Juniper had been on our short list, but Juniper Rose is what popped in my head while I was pushing her out. I did give Chris the choice then of Juniper or Imogen,, but I knew he would chose Juniper of the two. I finally got het to latch on, as she hadn’t on my earlier attempts, I do believe that Andrea had said I should get her to. She did latch on and boy did she nurse. All three of my girls nursed differently at first. Jewel latched on, but only sucked for about 7 minutes, Josie latched on right away and nursed forever. Juniper did not latch on right away, but when she finally did she stayed on forever as well.

People began leaving at that point, I don’t know in what order. I think Meredith and then Meghan and finally Andrea. Andrea gave me a hug as she left and I remember feeling a connection to her unlike I had with either of the midwives who delivered my other girls. Jewel’s midwife I only met at 10 cm, I saw her for the 10 minutes I spent pushing and a little afterwords, I couldn’t tell you what she looked like. Josie’s midwife I went through an entire pregnancy with only to be unable to look her in the eye while I was in labor. This labor was different then the others, I was at home, I really liked my midwife, and it all played out almost exactly as I had imagined it from the relaxed day of contractions to the mostly peaceful positive energy birth I had wanted.


I fell asleep at some point only to wake up throughout the night to stare at my new perfect baby. At about 6:30am I had to use the bathroom and met Jewel in their. She saw my belly, reached out her hand and said in a breathy amazed voice
“Oh momma, you had the baby!”
I told her she had a sister named Juniper and we went into the room and lay in bed together. Chris and I were going to let her stay home from school, but as she wouldn’t stop moving around on the bed and such we decided to send her after all. Chris took her to school and while he was gone, around 8:30am Juniper started crying, as I comforted her I heard Josie waking up and walking into the room. (I thought about how Jewel and Josie each made their own walking sound in the house, and how you could always tell which one was coming into the room.) She walked into the room in her pink pig pajamas, holding her stuffed dog Mip-Mop, and with that slightly sleepy look in her eyes as she almost demanded
“What’s that noise?”
She figured it out before I answered her and she walked up and stroked her sister. She was very happy to tell the baby
“I’m your big sister Josie.”


Juniper and Turkiper
post #2 of 7
: congrats!!!!
post #3 of 7
Wonderful birth story, thank you for taking the time to post it, and congratulations!!!
post #4 of 7
Beautiful and perfect and just as it should be mama. Enjoy your baby!
post #5 of 7
YAY!!! well written, good story, your baby is so beautiful, congrats!
post #6 of 7
COngratulations!! Thanks for sharing your story!!
post #7 of 7
Tears in my eyes! Thanks for the story.

Nancy
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