UPDATE: Check out the video of Grady's birth at the end of this post! Also be sure to check out Grady's newborn pictures here :)
This is my 3rd birth story to post on my blog. I’ve chosen to share my birth stories because I LOVE reading birth stories and I know that there are other women who do too. Reading other people’s birth stories really helped me prepare for my own labor and delivery. Although there were some similarities, all 3 of my birth experiences were pretty different. So here we go again…
READ ME FIRST (DISCLAIMER)
In case you couldn’t tell, this is the story of the natural birth of my youngest son. I don’t leave out very many details. If you have no interest in reading about the birth of a baby – this would be a good place to stop. I share details and photos – none of which I would consider inappropriate to post online – but, if any of those things might make you uncomfortable STOP HERE.
I use the term homebirth because that’s mostly what I was searching for when I was looking for birth stories. I wanted to labor naturally and so I wanted to hear about other women’s experiences with laboring naturally. Although you can labor naturally in the hospital, I knew that searching “homebirth story” would guarantee I would find stories from women who planned to labor naturally. But in reality, I didn’t have any of my babies at home. They were all born at Special Delivery Birth Center here in Tulsa, OK under the care of the most experienced midwife in town, Ruth Cobb.
I was extremely happy with the birth experiences I had with my first two children so there was no doubt in my mind I would be returning to Ruth and her birth center for baby #3. My labor with Bay (click here for his birth story) couldn’t have gone any better or any more perfect. My labor with Emma Mae (click here for her birth story & video) wasn’t quite as smooth. In fact I believe that, had I been in a hospital, I could have very well ended up with a c-section. But because of the knowledge and experience of my midwife, Emma Mae arrived safely and naturally. With Emma, I had to work hard to keep my labor progressing. Ruth had me labor in all kinds of positions to help Emma get positioned correctly. All this to say, I felt very confident in my decision to go back to Ruth. I also really like that her birth center is located less than a mile from one of Tulsa’s major hospitals in the rare case that anything were to go wrong with the delivery or the baby.
Well that’s a header I’ve never had in a birth story before! With my other babies, I started having light contractions that got heavier. I knew that I was in labor and then bam (8-12 hours later) there was a baby . But Grady wanted to be different.
On the evening of Thursday, June 16th I began having some contractions here and there. They were very far apart, and not at all regular. But I knew that they were true labor contractions, not the Braxton Hicks contractions I was [extremely] familiar with. I was a little excited and a little confused. I went to bed. Nothing. The next morning I woke up, and there they were again. Still far apart, still irregular. I took the kids swimming with friends. Contractions. I went about my day. Contractions. We went to dinner at my brother-in-law’s house. Contractions. By this time, they were pretty regularly 10-15 minutes apart, sometimes going as long as 20 minutes. We went home. Contractions. I went to bed. Contractions. ALL NIGHT LONG, every 10-20 minutes. I didn’t sleep much. They never slowed down and they never picked up. The next morning I made breakfast. Contractions. They got closer together but shorter and less intense. Then they got further apart and stronger and more intense. Then I went probably 45 minutes without a single contraction. It was frustrating and exhausting. Finally, around noon, they got closer. 5-10 minutes apart. They got a little more intense. Could this be IT? Do I need to call my mom for childcare, my midwife, and my friends who were documenting the birth? Or would I drag them all to the birth center just for the contractions to let up again? I waited. An hour and a half later they were still 5-10 minutes apart and still pretty intense. I called my mom to come watch the kids. JP and I headed to town. They stayed 5-10 minutes apart but continued to intensify. This was about 1:30 in the afternoon and I texted everyone to get them on standby and we went to Sonic for lunch. While at Sonic, I felt a contraction pretty intense in my hips and my back and knew they were becoming productive. We told everyone and headed to the birth center.
When we arrived at the birth center it was a probably 2:30 pm. Ruth checked me and I was dilated to maybe a 3 but my cervix was pretty soft and she stretched me out to a 4 to (hopefully) get things going. The baby was still pretty high. She recommended that I squat or lean on the birth ball during contractions to help bring the baby down. Then my contractions slowed down and got less intense. UGH! I went ahead and followed her instructions and the contractions felt most intense (and I could feel the baby get lower) when I squatted, so I did that.
Eventually things picked back up again. She checked me again about 3:30 and I had dilated to at 5. Yay!
After she checked me, things continued to pickup. My contractions were pretty painful and squatting was a little too intense. I kneeled on the bed with my head in a pillow and moaned through contractions. As long as the contractions kept coming on their own, I wanted to get in the tub when I got to a 6.
Ruth checked me again around 4:30 and I was about at a 6. Hurray!
I got in the tub. Oh my goodness, I can’t tell you what a difference that made. The warm water instantly relaxed me and I was really able to relax my entire body during contractions. It was so amazing. But then I noticed that my contractions didn’t seem as bad. I was hesitant to tell Ruth because I didn’t want her to tell me to get out. After 45 minutes or so in the tub, I told Ruth that I had to admit that, even though I loved the tub dearly and did not want to get out, my contractions seemed easier and I wanted to make sure I was still progressing. I held my breath as she checked me. I was at a 7! PRAISE THE LORD, I got to stay in the tub! JP got me a cold rag with lavender oil for my head. The heat of the tub felt amazing and relaxing but the warmth in my face was a little too much. The cold rag helped a bunch. Ruth also put a fan on the bed, pointed at me blowing in my face and that felt GREAT.
At this point I started to lose track of time and everything else. Contractions were very strong. Baby was very low. I was just doing my best to relax through them and just waiting for that urge to push.
Suddenly (this must have been around 7:35), it came. And it came strong. I didn’t want to deliver in the tub so Ruth said I needed to get out as soon as that contraction ended. I sat on the edge of the tub, about to get out and I got another contraction. I had to try with everything in me NOT to push. It was super intense. JP and Elizabeth (Ruth’s assistant at this birth, also an amazing midwife) helped me to the bed and as soon as I was up there I got another contraction.
This time I could go with the urge and I pushed. Before I knew it, the baby was crowning. Another push. Head was out. More pushing. Out came the body. All in one contraction… all within a single minute! Talk about a speedy delivery! It was CRAZY.
They put the baby on my chest. I asked, “Is it a boy or a girl?!” Elizabeth held him up. GRADY! We have a Grady! A boy! I was so excited. I was a little surprised and overwhelmed about how quickly he came. One minute I had the urge to push and about 3 minutes later I was holding a baby in my arms! Oh, and boy was he handsome! He had a head full of beautiful dark hair. We waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing and JP got to cut the cord. Pretty soon, Grady was nursing. After his tummy was full, Ruth looked him over and got a length and weight on him. He was 6 pounds 5 ounces and 21” long. He was our longest and lightest baby and my latest delivery (Grady was 1 day early, Emma was 2 days early and Bay was 4 days early).
We hung out at the birth center for a bit (Ruth requires that we stay 4 hours). JP’s parents brought us a late dinner, I took a shower, and we rested and called and texted friends and family. Just before midnight we headed home.
When we woke up the next morning, Bay was SO excited to meet his brother. He kept saying “I LUB HIM! I LUB GRADY! Tank you, mommy! Thank you for getting Grady out of your belly!” Bay constantly checking on Grady and asking to hold him. Emma Mae is still adjusting, but she seems to be pretty fond of him, too. And here we are, outnumbered 3 to 2 with 3 kids in 3 years. It’s wild. And beautiful. #wishmeluck
I cannot write a birth story without saying thank you to the incredible people who helped make Grady’s birth a success and my 2 amazing friends who documented the whole experience.
If I haven’t said it enough already, Ruth Cobb is phenomenal. She’s been delivering babies for almost 40 years and has attended over 2200 births. But more than that, she’s calm, caring, and extremely capable. I cannot say enough good things about Ruth and I cannot thank her enough for helping me bring 3 beautiful babies safely into the world. I love you, Ruth!
Also, Ruth’s assistant for Bay and Grady’s birth and fellow midwife Elizabeth Norwood. I am SO glad that you were able to be at this birth, Elizabeth! I told Ruth after Bay’s birth that if, for any reason, she wasn’t able to be at one of my deliveries, that you were the only other midwife I would feel comfortable with. Thank you!!
And, of course, I have to thank my awesome husband, JP, who fully 100% supported me in all of my natural birth experiences. He believed in me so much that it made it impossible for me not to believe in myself. He had a “no big deal, you’ve got this” attitude at all 3 births and helped me stay calm and be strong.
I also have to thank my friend Andrea Sooter who photographed ALL THREE of my babies’ births. All the birth pictures in this post and all the birth pictures from my previous posts were taken by Andrea. She took time out of her own schedule, found childcare, and rushed to each one of my births just to sit there with me for hours and hours. Talk about a generous friend! Thank you so much, Andrea!
And last but not least I have to thank the ever-so-talented Amy Teague of Happily Situated Photography & Video! After watching her amazingly crafted film of my last birth, I knew I had to hire Amy again for this one. Check it out at the bottom of this post! If you’ve never had a family film done, consider doing one of Amy’s “time capsule” sessions. Talk about capturing sweet memories! That’s definitely on my list for the future.
Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog! I hope you enjoyed Grady’s birth story. Check out Amy's film below! :D And, of course, I'd love for you to take a look at Mr. Grady’s newborn photos.