Bentley's Waterbirth Story
I like to think that the birth of my 3rd child was a bit different then your average birth story. For starters, I lived an hour away from my midwife, which freaked some of my family out. Let alone that I would be having a home birth in the water! Not only were they raising eyebrows over that but they also weren’t too happy that I wouldn’t be finding out the gender until birth. Apparently, that makes me some kind of old school hippy! I’m okay with that :)
...It was around 5:30 pm when my water broke all over the couch. Although, that’s definitely not where the story starts...!!
I had been trying to go into labor for weeks. Every evening I would begin contractions 2-10 minutes apart for hours. I would call my midwife, Faith Morie, and she would tell me to make sure I ate some protein, drank water, rested, and took my supplements. It never seemed to help but I would eventually fall asleep around midnight and wake up in the morning with no contractions.
This went on for a few weeks about 5 nights each week. I didn’t bother her about it every time it happened even though she assured me it was no trouble to her at all. I felt like such a dramatic pregnant lady. “What is wrong with me!”
I would ask Richy, my husband. I hated bothering Faith with so many false alarms! And every time I would get my hopes up thinking it was actually the real thing.
Finally, Faith convinced me to make a chiropractic appointment to see if that would allow my body to go into actual labor. Although it was still a few days before my due date, I had had my other two kids two weeks early and three weeks early, and it was obvious I was trying to go into labor. Apparently, I wasn’t properly aligned to allow baby to descend comfortable (if I remember correctly). I made my appointment, and drove all the way to Tulsa. For weeks I had also been dealing with pubic bone pain and a little bit of uncomfortable tail bone pressure.
Let’s not forget that I was also just getting over a massive sinus infection that made my entire face feel like a bruise. Thank the Lord if you do not know what it feels like to have a coughing attack while having pubic bone separation issues. The drive there was so uncomfortable, but I thought if it worked it would be sooo worth it! I was ready to have this baby!
After having the chiropractor adjust me, I instantly realized my pubic bone pain disappeared! She sent me on my way back to my house to rest. I was anxiously anticipating contractions and actual labor! But, nothing happens.
6pm (ish) rolls around and I start to have contractions again, as I did every evening. Except this time they were farther apart. 10-20 minutes apart. I went about my night as usual, but I casually set things up in hopes that this would be it. Just maybe. They slowed down to 20-25 minutes apart and I was able to fall asleep pretty peacefully without that annoying pubic bone pain.
That morning on April 18th as I opened up my eyes I immediately tuned in to my body to check on the contractions. I laid there for about 15 minutes and didn’t feel anything. I woke up pretty late. Must have been much needed rest. It was about 10:30 when I decided to get up.
The girls were in the kitchen with breakfast that daddy had set up for them before he left for work. I felt a little depressed that it had been another false labor, but I was pleased that I could cough without pain in my pubic bone. It was also really nice to sleep so long!
Then about an hour later the contractions came back! I instantly knew this was it. I just knew. They were still far apart so I went and took a shower, cleaned house, and got the girls ready.
After I was satisfied that we were all set for labor to begin I laid down on the couch. I can't remember at this point when exactly I let Faith know what was going on, but I’m sure at this point I had let her know I had been having contractions consistently all day. Richy called to see how I was doing and to let me know he was on his way home from work. I told him I was having contractions all day, and that they were now 5 minutes apart consistently for about a couple of hours.
I hung up the phone and about 30 seconds later I had a really intense contraction and at the peak of it is when I heard the pop of my water breaking. I felt it leaking slowly and I tried to stand up without letting it flow out but it did. All of it. All. Over. The. Couch.
I ran to the bathroom and sat on the toilet while I dialed my husband again. “Babe, my water just broke. Its really happening tonight. Am I ready for this?” He told me to calm down and that he is about to walk through the door. I changed my clothes and put a maxi pad on. My husband threw the couch cover in the washer. Laid a big pad on the floor for me to sit on so I could do pelvic rocks leaning against my birth ball.
I let Faith know I wanted her to come so that we would have time to fill the birth pool. I was so nervous it wouldn’t get set up in time! And I did not want to have a baby anywhere else!
She said she would be on her way in just a bit. My husband cringed at that thought. “She better just get here now!” I don’t think he was too comfortable with the idea of giving birth without her! I called my friend Jody so that she could go ahead and come to my house to help me with the kids and take pictures and write down notes. She made it over within 30 minutes. My husband was busy starting he meal we had planned to feed the birth team.
He set out the healthy snacks and drinks as well. I was busy talking to the girls about the exciting night we would be having. Their bags were packed just incase we needed to transfer to the hospital for an emergency. I began to think about meeting my new baby. Contractions increased intensity at that point and I was having trouble getting through them. I panicked thinking that birth was closer than I thought. I remember feeling so eager for Faith to walk through that door. I needed her so bad. I was beginning to fall apart with fear and anxiety.
She finally arrived, with not one student midwife but three! Followed closely by another midwife after that! I felt relieved when they arrived, but alerted to the presence of so many helpers…. Was something wrong with me. I couldn’t ask because I was focused on contractions.
It was then that I heard mumbling about another active birth in Bartlesville (about 10 minutes from me). I was glad it wasn’t me that was the problem but I felt a ping of fear when I thought I heard Faith tell her student midwife that she would be leaving to go see her. I immediately started to feel myself start to cry.
“Please don’t leave, I’m scared.” I said softly in pain and anxiety. I don’t know why but I needed HER - not any other midwife or student. I trusted her, I felt safe with her. Even though I adore the other midwife and students, whom I had met several times before at appointments. Faith reassured me she would be staying with me in the most loving and gentle way, and that just melted my anxiety down to nothing. Something about the way she communicates is so soothing. Maybe I hallucinated her saying she was leaving. Letting my fears have their way with me. I don’t know the whole story about that other birth, but I know we were both teetering the same progress and I’m sure Faith was just praying the birth was at least 10 minutes apart to leave time to drive and make it on time! My midwives are super heroes!
We went back to my bedroom and sat on the bed for reasons that I do not remember at all. Maybe I wanted privacy. Everything is a little blurry. I know she was monitoring the baby and I closely and everyone in the living room was working on the birth pool. I wanted in so bad! The contractions were too much. I think I even told Faith that I wasn’t going to make it in the pool. I began to fear the mess it would make if I had the baby outside the pool. I began to start thinking of where would be a good spot. Looking back
it reminds me of a mother cat right before she starts to push. She will start to look frantically for the perfect corner. Maybe the bed will be fine, the couch might be easier but there’s no liner! Maybe the kitchen floor! No carpet to stain there, maybe I could lay down a few blankets for comfort. I decided none of those options would do and asked Faith if I could just get in with it half full. First they had to boil a few pots of hot water to add in to bring the temperature up, but I was finally able to get in and I didn’t care that it was not super full yet.
I felt so comfortable and so relaxed. I instantly became a little more happy and a little more present to my surroundings. I said hi to my girls and gave them kisses and told them it wouldn’t be long now. But they went to their room to watch a movie after that. I remember envisioning my girls sitting around the pool asking me if I was okay, and witnessing the awesomeness of birth, but in reality I think they were bored and just wanted to see this baby that they probably thought was never actually going to make an appearance. After all, nine months to a child is like a lifetime! My husband cooked, helped with the kids and made sure the video camera was aimed right and charged.
After my 20 minutes (or however long it actually was) of peace and easy contractions in the water it started to get a little more intense. It felt good to make noises but at this point Faith wanted me to breathe during contractions. I’m guessing she wanted a stronger heartbeat perhaps, but I’m not sure how all that works. Each contraction felt like it would never end. When it ended I was instantly fearful of the next wave. I kept saying I cant handle another contraction, I’m not going to make it. Not that I even thought about transferring for an epidural. That didn’t even cross my mind and I have no idea what I even meant by “I’m not going to make it”. Faith had a way of saying the right thing and in the right tone. It was like she was commanding me to have strength but in a very loving and soothing way. Every time she spoke to me I melted into peace for a few seconds. I was trying so hard to find strength. I would tell myself to pretend this was the very last contraction! All I have to do is get through one more. Of course it wasn’t just one more. It was more like 5 or 6. Maybe it was only 3 or maybe it was 10…I don’t remember. I just sat on my knees with my hand and head laying down on the side of the pool pretty much the entire time.
At one point I remember feeling a slight pressure, like I needed to push. I was kind of confused because with my last child the urge to push was overwhelming and my body did it without me actually bearing down. I am assuming it was the water taking some of that feeling away, or maybe I wasn’t quite ready. As soon as I felt it though, I felt so relieved and I knew it was ending soon!
I wanted to push this baby out so bad but Faith needed to check me first. I flipped over in the water and sat on my butt as one of the midwives put her arms over the side of the pool so I could lean back and stabilize myself on her arms. Faith checked me and I was given permission to start pushing. I didn’t really feel a huge urge to push which was kind of
overwhelming, because I knew it meant I would actually have to work to get the baby out, which I am not used to and I certainly didn’t feel like I had the energy to do so. I leaned back in the center of the pool and started to push through contractions.
My other two kids were 5 pound babies and so easy to push out. This baby was clearly a bit bigger. I could feel the difference. I could feel what felt like a bowling ball in my pelvis. It was hard work this time. It was like trying to push a boulder up a steep hill.
After the head came out I was so tired. My husband got ready to help Faith catch the baby, and I am oblivious to anything in the room except Faith. She is the only thing I see and hear at this point. Faith told me I needed to push, but I remember saying, “Hang on just a second”. Faith said, “I need you to push, Randie”.
So I did as she asked and I pushed with everything in me. I thought to myself, “You're almost done, you can do this one more time”. As I said before, it felt impossible. This baby felt so huge! That push wasn’t enough and I would need to push again. This time I made sure I was concentrating on the right muscles. I held my breath and pushed in that focused area for as long as I could until I thought I was going to pass out, because I knew I didn’t want to push again. I had to get this baby out THIS contraction! And finally, 5 hours after my water first broke on the couch, at 10:47pm, out pops the baby along with a rush of relief and peace.
Faith and my husband lift the baby up to my chest and someone else throws a towel around the baby. They suction the liquids out of the babies mouth and nose and the first cry was the sweetest little squeal you have ever heard. It sounded like a kitten meowing. It melted my heart and probably overdosed my brain with oxytocin :)
I am so overwhelmed with the relief and the exhaustion that I don’t even think about what my babies gender is despite months of dreaming and anticipating this very moment! I had told the midwives that I wanted to look for myself at my prenatal appointments. But before I remembered to look they had put a hat (the tan hat that comes in the birthing kit) on my baby, and in the lighting of my living room the hat looked pink!! I instantly thought someone had looked already and threw on a pink hat! I say , “So, I guess it’s a girl?!” Faith said “Nobody looked yet!” Confused I look down and see a wee little penis! Yayyyy! It’s the little boy I have been dreaming about for 3 years now!
I’ve had his name picked out for years. Bentley Wayne Nichols. Of course, my husband already knew because I had let the nurse at our sonogram tell him and only him if it was a boy or girl. I think he was relieved that the sonogram was accurate though, because there is always that chance that it was wrong! I asked for someone to go get the kids who were clueless in the other room as to what was happening despite only being twenty feet away.
They came in and were so excited and amazed that there was an actual baby! Like a moving, live baby! The looks my three year old Bella gave were like “where in the world did this kid come from!?” My 5 year old, Kailynn, helped daddy cut the cord.
Everything after this is sooo blurry. I remember my husband picking up my son and the one of the midwives checking his heartbeat, while Faith helped me out of the tub to sit on the couch. I immediately noticed my tailbone had been injured. We later determined it was probably bruised but not fractured. It hurt to walk, sit down, and lift up off of my butt. So basically, moving at all!
They then brought my beautiful son to me after I had settled on the living room couch. Its strange how no matter how many times you give birth it always feels like a new experience. I was so exhausted I had forgot how to hold him. Faith reminded me to put him under the blanket with me to keep him warm. As I sat there I just kept repeating the same things in my head, “I cant believe this just happened!”, “I love him so much!”, “I love my midwife!”, “That was so fast!”
After a little struggle with getting comfortable on the couch, we finally found a good position for nursing and he latched on. I still had a cough and it was then that I noticed every single time I coughed it felt like a hammer hit my tail bone. Which ended up being the worst and longest lasting pain I have ever experienced postpartum. My actual vagina (ya know, where it is SUPPOSED to hurt) was fine and dandy; no pain at all. An injured tail bone, especially while suffering from a month long cough, is one of the most painful things to recover from.
Bentley was examined right there on the couch with me. He weighed 7 lbs 9 oz. That is a whole two pounds heavier than my last two babies, which explains why I had to work so hard this time around.
At this point Faith had had to leave quickly to attend to the other birth. Apparently the other mom had been progressing rather quickly as well! I can’t even imagine the dilemma a midwife faces during this kind of circumstance. Wanting to be there for both women and balancing time spent with me while also making sure she leaves in time to make it to the other birth! Faith left me in the capable hands of
four other beautiful ladies. One was another midwife and three were her midwife students. I felt very special to have such a large birth team. While one of the midwives examined Bentley the other three were standing in the kitchen with my husband enjoying the food and drink we had provided and preparing my herbs for my bath. It was a lovely atmosphere. Like a little celebration party. Everyone overflowing with happiness, jokes and laughter. I was still high from the rush of everything, but I remember being so thankful that they were still there and enjoying the experience as much as we were. I will never forget the feeling of the atmosphere that night. It was one of the happiest and most exciting moments of my life.
After Bentley’s peaceful examination our bath was ready for us. We sat in peace and quiet soaking in the warm herb-infused tub. My husband sitting beside the tub. Which I just have to point out how completely different this experience is from our hospital experiences. My husband remembers feeling so annoyed at how traumatic the hospital bath seemed to be for the baby. Yet, here we were, bathing our son in peace. No crying or fear involved here. My son looked up at us both seeming to say, “What is this amazing liquidy warm substance I am floating in?!” His eyes so wide open and curious looking. He seemed to really enjoy his new world.
My youngest daughter wandered into the bathroom to tell me goodnight. She apparently had been falling asleep in the living room. After all it was probably around 2am at this point. My oldest daughter, of course, was not ready to go to sleep. She stayed up as we said goodbye to the remaining midwives shortly after our bath.
A couple of the midwife students had left earlier after receiving a call from Faith to go to the other birth, they had to leave in quite a hurry, although I cant remember if this happened before or after my bath. The midwife and the final student finished straightening and making sure the house was clean, and made double sure I was ready for them all to leave. Although I seriously wanted them to stay the night, or maybe even a week, I told them that we would be fine. We thanked them for their amazing service and for providing such an unforgettable and beautiful experience.
The hours that followed were filled with peace, relaxation, happiness, awe, pride, love…pretty much complete ecstasy. I don’t think we managed to fall asleep until around 5am or so. Nothing could have made this birth any better.
For those who do not understand why someone would choose a home birth, I hope that you understand now why I chose home birth. The knowledge that my midwives had about birth exceeded the knowledge of any doctor I have had. They go the extra mile, and continue to educate themselves daily. They never stop craving birth knowledge. They live and breathe birth. They go the extra mile to educate their clients! They explain things in detail. They explain the cons and pros of every decision to be made. They have a plan and the equipment for every scenario that
could happen during a home birth. They know every early warning sign of complication , and they monitor you very closely. So, enough of the fear. This experience is too important to a mothers life to go on robbing her of it needlessly the way we have been doing in most hospitals. Most importantly, educate yourself before judging a mother for choosing homebirth. Don’t assume she is crazy and endangering her baby and herself. Most people just don’t understand the knowledge and equipment a midwife actually has. They assume it is some old lady that just rubs your back and gives you some juju herbs for good luck!
And yes, Faith came back out to my house to check on Bentley and I a little less than 48 hours later. My favorite part about having an awesome midwife is the ability to stay home, and away from the germ-y hospital with my newborn baby, and the ability to text or call her at anytime of day or night with concerns, questions or even just to talk about my feelings. She messaged us frequently to ask how we were doing and what our temperature was and other important questions about our health.
I could go on and on about my love for midwifery care. I am so thankful to have had this experience, and so thankful to have found Faith. Although, everyone is particularly in love with THEIR midwife, I truly believe she was the best choice for me! The other student midwives at my birth are going to make lovely midwives, and I am glad they were at my sons birth!
The visitors that followed the next few days were full of questions and curiosity about this crazy home birth thing I just did. I couldn’t have been
more excited to talk all about it to anyone who wanted to hear. I am actually sad that I don’t plan to have anymore babies, because I would love to have this experience a hundred more times!
Thank you to my selfless, courageous, inspiring and beautiful midwives - Faith Morie, Brandi Stone, Sarah Tilford, Rebecca Schulz, and Rachel Haas! And also a special thank you to the rest of my birth team - my awesome husband Richy, my loving and supportive friend Jody Bunch, and my beautiful little girls Kailynn and Isabella Nichols! They all took such good care of me in the weeks following Bentley’s birth :)