I had the privilege of assisting and photographing at my dear friend, Julia’s homebirth in September. I didn’t take nearly the amount of pictures I thought I would due to the fact that it was a fast labor and it was SO quiet! The camera was not quiet however, and neither was the 100mm lens I used occasionally. So instead of around 500 photos, I took just under 300. Don’t worry, I only picked my favorites for the slideshow. My friend Tamra, lent me her baby (read: one of her DSLR cameras and all but one of her lenses), while she was on vacation in California. Julia’s little one happened to wait until Tamra got back, but due to a mis-communication, I was still photographer. Our midwife (I say our, because she’s also my midwife), had called her assistant shortly after I arrived, but the baby came so fast, that I ended up being assistant as well.

I was in awe the whole time. Julia was amazing to watch. Her home was so peaceful, and so was she. She needed no interference or help. She trusted her body and listened to her heart. It was such an honor to be there. I told her that I loved the whole experience. I love birth and babies! Thank you, Julia, for allowing me to be a part of this sacred occasion.

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Some disorganized rambling thoughts of mine —

I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks of pregnancy with my now 5mo since one of my best friends, Tamra, is due with her fourth biological child next week.

I remember how difficult it was to wait for my body to begin labor, especially after a week beyond my due date.  The only people I really wanted to talk to were my best friends and midwife who knew what to say and what not to.   I knew they could sympathize without making me doubt my abilities to birth my baby without medical “help.”  It “seemed” as if everyone else was so concerned that something was going to go wrong.  It “seemed” as if very few people trusted in my ability to receive revelation for myself and my baby (although I do have to say that these people may not have seen it in this light).   I was irked by it all, but I tried to stay happy and calm despite the negative feelings I received from a few people.   The Spirit is what helped me keep my sanity when Satan was working at making me doubt what I knew was right.

David was a tremendous help, but even he began to wonder if all would be well.   He was ready to check me into the hospital at the first day of week 42.   I wasn’t, however.   I have to say, though, that I couldn’t have had such a wonderful experience during and after the birth if he hadn’t been there for me.  He was such a comfort.   Thank you honey!

My midwife, Cathy, was so calm and trusting of me and my body.   She was an extreme calm in my storm of frustration.   She was always reassuring and willing to help or sit back and watch.   She didn’t seem alarmed at anything.   I think she was too kind when she said I was the nicest overdue mom she’d dealt with.   :)

My close friends were also very reassuring and willing to help in any way possible, whether it be babysitting or just lending a listening ear.   I wouldn’t have made it to week 41 if it hadn’t been for their help.   They always knew what I needed to hear to keep me going.

We had difficulties hearing the heartbeat at the beginning of the pregnancy, yet I didn’t feel like I needed an ultrasound.   I knew that homebirth was right for this baby’s birth as well.   I don’t recall a time in any of my other pregnancies where I trusted the Lord so much.   He gave me comfort and uplifted me when I felt at my lowest.   My recent post on Joy would have been a HUGE help at that time.   I understand, now, that I wouldn’t have felt the immense joy I did, had I not felt the deep sorrow.

I guess I should go into more detail as to what I mean…   I went had a whole day of prodromal labor the week before Wendy was born.   My midwife and friends all came over, but despite our efforts, the contractions stopped and everyone went home so I could rest.   The next week was extremely hard to deal with.   I wanted my baby in my arms so badly.   Well meaning family and friends would ask about how I was doing, what was I going to do if the baby didn’t come soon, how long was I going to wait until going to the hospital, etc…   I was tired of the same questions from different people.   I began screening my calls after a while.   On General Conference Sunday, I didn’t go to a family breakfast because I wasn’t looking forward to more questions.   I stayed home and rested and cried, rested and cried.   I was so emotional, but I hung on.   After getting the kids in bed, David and I talked for a while.   He voiced his concerns, and I voiced mine.   We didn’t argue or anything, just cried together.   After a very emotional discussion I asked for a priesthood blessing.   I felt better and more at peace (like I had prior to the doubting thoughts snuck in by Satan–he doesn’t have a problem with getting someone when their vulnerable).   I listened to a hypnobirthing CD and fell asleep.   I woke up early with contractions.   Baby Wendy was born later that afternoon after 14 hours of labor (not all active labor) and no difficulties.

So my point…I knew with all my heart, that the Lord would bless me with my desire for a homebirth and that all would be well.   If I hadn’t been in the depths of despair (so to speak), I would never have had the incredible joy I experienced when she finally made her arrival that calm, beautiful day in April.   It gives me hope for the next pregnancy and birth.   I know I can do it, and I know that the Lord will always help me if I’m living righteously and listening to the Spirit.

Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, candle lighting, and support during the last couple of weeks. It was difficult to wait for this little one to get here, especially after a days worth of prodromal labor. I’m so grateful for my support team who helped keep me going. Thank you, Tamra, for updating everyone!

We’ve finally named our daughter. She’s literally a joy to have around. Having my other 3 kids around mauling her isn’t a joy, but we’re getting used to it. :) Wendy does have a tongue-tie which will be getting clipped tomorrow morning (thank goodness–nursing isn’t fun right now). My milk came in this afternoon, and we’re both doing well. I’m trying to take it easy, and my husband has been a HUGE help with the kids and around the house. He’s stressed and would (I think) rather be at work, but he’s toughing it out. My sweet Lightning (22 mos.) is having a rough time adjusting. I’m hoping (when my nipples aren’t so sore) that he picks up nursing again.

A little about the labor and birth…Last week (3/29-41 weeks), as many of you know, I had a whole day of prodromal labor. It never really got to active labor and I was saddened that it wasn’t going anywhere. My midwife asked me around 11pm if I wanted to rest or if I wanted to try something to get it going. I was very tired and chose to rest. By Wednesday afternoon my contractions were gone. Waiting out the next week was hard. I thought I’d never go into labor. I enjoyed General Conference as best I could, but would cry at the drop of a hat on Sunday. I was tired of all the questions from family (my husband took the kids to a family breakfast without me to save me from more questions). It put that little seed of doubt in my head that made me think I probably couldn’t do it on my own this time or that I was risking my baby’s health. (I know that the prayers and thoughts of everyone helped get me through!)

Early Monday morning (4/4-41w6d) I had contractions that were waking me up. I decided to get David up to get the birthtub ready (again). I called a few friends and my midwife to let them know I was pretty sure that I was in labor this time. My labor support team (except my midwife) came over. My labor seemed to slow down a bit, but I believe it was because I was tired. We did some Hypnobirthing scripts to help me rest. After resting my labor picked up again. My midwife, Cathy, had come by then and suggested ways to help me turn the baby (she was stubborn and kept turning from ROT to ROP/OP). Later, I got into the tub and felt more relaxed. I had some back labor, but it wasn’t as bad as I had thought. I tried several positions and Cathy tried counterpressure by pushing on my knees. We believe that’s when the baby turned because she was able to find the heartbeat right away (it’d been hard to hear before because of her position). As labor got more serious my girls came back. I was getting so tired, but knew I had to keep going. I’m not sure of how long transition was (it seemed like forever!) I began pushing. I was surprised that my water hadn’t broken yet (a vaginal exam proved that). I could feel her head descending and then the water broke (an answered prayer since I hadn’t been tested for GBS this pregnancy, although we did a chlorhexadine wash to be safe). After 2 minutes of pushing (not bad, eh?), Wendy was born. I asked Ella (my 6yo) if she wanted to announce if it was a boy or girl, but she didn’t want to. I was sort of shocked that it was a girl. I’d been so sure it was a boy! LOL We’d picked a name and everything for a boy, but we had nothing for a girl. I fell in love with her anyway (of course!). I had a small skid mark, but no tearing this time! Her stats were: 9lbs. 8oz., 22 inches long, with a 15 inch head. She has lots of hair (on the sides and the back!) and she’s beautiful!