Harding Birth Stories
My husband and I had been married for 3 years when we decided to start a family. When we landed pregnant in the beginning of 2016 I suddenly realized I had no idea what pregnancy and prenatal care looked like. It was the same night I found out I was pregnant that I was given the number to Tiffanie. I originally went in for blood tests due to family history and when the results came back that I needed some medication, I was sent to an OBGYN’s office in the city to be able to receive it. I hated everything about my experience there. I immediately reflected back on how simple the process was of getting an appointment at Well Rounded Momma, meeting Tiffanie only a few days later, and how at ease I was in the office and with answering all the questions pertaining to babies. I talked to some other mommas I know who had done homebirths and gone with the care of a midwife and I knew in my heart of hearts it was how I was going to enter motherhood. Throughout the entire 9 months, under the care of Tiffanie, I grew to trust my body to know what it was doing. She helped build the strength and courage in me to have my first baby at home, because after all mommas have been birthing babies for centuries in situations just like I would be in.
We awaited the day for labor to start. My due date came and went and I continued on with my regular routine. A few days later in the wee hours of September 1st I was awoken with random pains. I ignored it for a few minutes and then the thought popped into my head, could this be labor?? Of course I couldn’t sleep so I got up quietly and started walking around downstairs and ate a quick snack. I woke my husband up around 5am and told him to call into work because I was pretty sure it was baby day. At this point I wasn’t in a whole lot of pain, but my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. I text Tiffanie a screen shot of my contraction counter and said hey I think this is it! A little while later I ended up lying down on the floor downstairs while my husband did dishes so we could get the birth tub set up. Around 6:30am I called my sister and was talking through contractions (sort of forcing myself to, not knowing I was in active labor).
At 7:30am I was quite uncomfortable and I went up stairs to maybe jump in the shower to help cope. I must have kick-started transition when I walked upstairs because I couldn’t do anything hardly but lay in bed, barely breathing through the contractions. My poor husband was up and down the stairs between trying to fill the birth tub and me yelling at him that I needed him to cope with the pain. He finally got the tub set up and he tried to help me down the stairs to get in the tub. I was hit by a contraction and fell to the floor. It was somewhere in that wave that I felt my waters leak and I got to the toilet as quick as I could. With the next contraction my waters fully broke (I’m still so happy I saved my brand new carpet! Haha!) This was about 8am, and my husband called Tiffanie to see where she was at on the way to the house. It was getting intense for us, this being our first baby and neither of us having ANY idea I would labor so fast. Not to mention being a first time mom and not knowing what labor was really like. After my waters broke we moved as quick as we could in between contractions and to the birth tub downstairs.
Honestly, I have no idea how long I was in the tub (trying not to push on the advice from Tiff over the phone, easier said then done!) when we heard a car park and saw Tiffanies assistant running up the driveway. Seeing part of my tribe walk through my front door flooded me with relief (my husband too I’m sure!). Not a few minutes later Tiffanie came swooping in and started setting up to meet our baby! Baby was checked while I was still in the tub and I was finally told, “You’re doing great! You can push whenever you feel like it!” What sweet sweet words those were! I had my team there, I could think so much clearer, and it was game time! Our precious 6lb 10oz first-born, Averi Grace, entered the world at 10:55am with Tiffanie coaching me through breathing, when to push, and when to ease up. I remember just thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m having a baby. This is what its like!” and was still shocked when Tiffanie pulled Averi up out of the water and handed me an actual real life tiny human. It was incredible. A moment I won’t ever forget.
The best thing about it all was that the birth wasn’t treated like an emergency. It was normal, women give birth every day, that day just happened to be mine. And even after a loud delivery and all the business afterward I wasn’t once ever made to be embarrassed or do anything that wasn’t my choice during the whole process. They didn’t separate me from my baby to test her or bathe her or give her shots. She was right next me the whole time, both of us reeling from what we experienced but overjoyed. We only did the newborn screening after baby had nursed and we had a chance to bond for a while. The whole process was just so right and the way it was meant to be, I couldn’t have asked for a better and more empowering way to bring my first child into the world.
It was a rainy August afternoon when I saw the line turn pink on a dollar store pregnancy test. Finally. I knew in my heart that I was pregnant again but all the tests I had taken up to that point had been negative. I was shocked, it being our first month trying for our second baby, but I was excited! I knew instantly that we would be going back to Well Rounded Momma! I had grown to love the midwife model of care and so a few days later we went into the office for my early blood draws, happy to see Tiffanie again! My pregnancy progressed without any complications and our visits were always fun because big sister could come with us and see momma looked after! The 9 months went by, me busy with a toddler and a daddy who was in the police academy. When April rolled around we were all playing the wait and see game if our boy would come early.
He did, but only a day. Haha! I woke up on April 19th at 7am, got our oldest up for the day and we sat down for breakfast and morning cuddles. It was about 8am when I realized that I was having gas pains that weren’t going away. Not thinking much of it I was like, why not time them?? Turns out they were early contractions and they were steady. I realized it was baby day. I quickly text Tiffanie and my doulas that I was pretty sure I was in labor. Then I worked on getting some kind of help over to the house as my husband was gone early to the academy. I had a quick 8 hour labor with my first so I was expecting this little man to make his arrival even faster. Pretty soon my dad came over to pick up big sister, help start the set up the birth tub, and try to contact my husbands sergeant to let them know that I was in labor. Lucky for us they were able to let him come home, something we didn’t know if he would be able to do until I was actually in labor. My dad stayed through till my doulas arrived, followed quickly by my husband. I kissed my oldest goodbye, a bitter sweet moment for sure because I knew life would be forever different when I saw her next.
By this time my contractions were getting more intense, I would have to pause through them. But I knew what I was doing this time much more so then with my first, and I was more prepared. One of my doulas, Jillian timed them for me while I focused on staying calm and collected while I let my body do it’s thing. We went through a few contractions while my husband and Heidi were finishing setting up the birth tub when suddenly Tiffanie arrived. I had no idea but Jillian had text her! I still remember standing there in the living room swaying through a contraction when she walked in. (It’s funny the very distinct moments you remember from when you’re in labor. That’s one of them for me.) She quietly started setting up for baby, watching me with her experience telling her almost everything she needed to know about where I was at. It was quiet for a few minutes while I worked into transition, Tiffanie checked on baby and when I felt the urges to start pushing a few minutes later I got into the just finished tub. I was in my space to have my baby and it being my second I knew what was about to happen. After some time pushing in the tub, between the effort and the warm water, I grew hot. One of my doulas wonderfully took ice cold water and massaged my shoulders between contractions, allowing me to get out of my head for a moment and relax before the next contraction hit. I don’t know how long it took, but it couldn’t have been long because at 12:44pm I delivered our chunky 8lb 14oz baby boy, Cannon James! From start to finish I was only in labor for 5.5 hours with only 2 hours of active labor. It was intense and I’ll forever be proud of the fact I delivered a practically 9lb baby medication free. If I can tackle that, I can tackle anything else that comes my way!
Our third baby was quite the surprise. I was only 11 months post partum from our second kid, I had finally settled into life with two after dealing with health issues with our second for the first year, and we had just had the conversation about waiting to add to our family. So when, on a whim, I decided to take a test on my birthday I honestly can say I was a little devastated when it came up positive. I grieved for my body, which still hadn’t fully recovered from having 2 kids in 2.5 years. I still to vividly remembered delivering my second, the recovery, and the hard sleepless months right after. To be honest, I really hated being pregnant this time, when with my previous pregnancies I didn’t mind it one bit. I felt like everyone judged me walking around with a 3 year old, a 1 year old and obviously pregnant again, and for some reason I felt shame in the whole situation. It probably took me a solid 4 months for it to sink in, for me to grasp it, and get out of the funk I was in. Time flew by being busy with 2 other kids, but even when December rolled around I was so ready to be done, get my body back, and meet my baby. Because I knew everything would change when I held my girl. And it did. Our surprise baby was different from the start, so her labor and delivery of course would be different too, right? Of course! She took me a ride early on at 36 weeks with false labor, the first time I had had anything like that with any of my babies. When I was still pregnant at 39 weeks I figured she would stick around till her due date like her brother and sister did.
Come December 6th I woke up after the first good nights sleep in a while and I remember thinking it was so nice to finally feel rested. I was still pregnant and I had seen Tiffanie the day before and I told her I had just accepted the fact I was going to be pregnant forever! I made plans to run out with my mom and the two kiddos to shop for a last Christmas gift for my husband that afternoon while he was at work. We went and walked the mall for a while, I grabbed a Starbucks and we eventually headed back to my parents to drop my mom back off. Thankfully my oldest pipped up that she wanted to play at my parents house and I figured I didn’t have anything else better to do so we went in! That was around 4pm. They played and had dinner and we were just sitting talking and around 5pm I started noticing some discomfort and Braxton Hicks contractions but was ignoring it because had been uncomfortable and having contractions for a long bit now on and off. About 5:15pm my mom said why don’t you just time them? It’ll make me feel better.
They were coming around 4-5min apart and didn’t go away if I got u and went to the bathroom or anything. Not wanting to get too excited and worked up they helped load the kids up around 5:45pm so I could get them baths and in bed. I told them I would keep them posted and headed home. I got home about 6pm and I felt my waters leak! That’s when I knew I would be having a baby, like finally accepted it could be happening for real and that it wasn’t false labor again! So I text Tiffanie and Jillian, my doula, and told them what was happening. I also text and told my mom to come over to help with the babies and she showed up around 6:30pm. By now I had to pause thru my contractions, especially if I was up helping trying to get the kids settled and the area for the birth tub to be set up. At some point I text my husband to let him know to make plans to come home from work. His sergeant said he best you just go change out and go home. So thankful he did because I was in labor land and had no idea of a concept of time and how quickly things were actually progressing. So my husband walks in the door around 7:30pm, Tiffanie arrived around then too and my mom headed out because the kids were down for the night and I had my tribe!
I was laying on the couch, timing contractions and just trying to stay upbeat and positive. Tiffanie checked on baby and me at 7:45pm and she sounded good.
By then I knew it was baby time. This being my 3rd homebirth I knew my body well enough that once I got up to go to the restroom that I was in for the roller coaster of transition and pushing. My husband and my doula had the tub finally set up and filled. I took a deep breath and I got up off the couch. I went to restroom where I made more progress with a contraction. I stripped down and got my robe on and walked to the counter in the kitchen. I stood there and breathed through about 4-5 contractions that were really bad. I remember getting negative, thinking I didn’t want to do this again, that I was already done. Then I got on myself for being negative and that if I was I going to make it another little while in labor that I needed to be positive. Not a minute later I get the urge to push!! I was like, what?? Already? It was only 8pm.
I told Tiffanie that I feel the urge to push, she’s like get in the tub! So I got in and I had one other contraction that I was pretty quiet through, then it hit. I couldn’t NOT push. Two contractions, two pushes, and one loud momma later at 8:10pm our 7lb 10z Autumn Rae was born! I kept saying “I can’t believe I’m done!” “I can’t believe she’s here!” “I’m done?!?” I was shocked. I only had 3 hours of contractions and 47 minutes of active labor. I was so thankful for how quick it was, and thankful that she was my easiest recovery! A small answered prayer from the beginning of my pregnancy. Autumn wasn’t expected, but what she’s given me since she’s been earth side is more then I could have asked for!