Monday, October 15, 2012

the homebirth of hazel sevine, part 1

this story begins with bad gas. 
i woke up at 4am on tuesday morning at 38 weeks and a few days with what i thought was bad gas.

i debated over whether i was ready to write our story out so soon or if i should "wait for my heart to catch up" as one dear friend put it. but each day my thoughts and feelings over this experience build and finally overflow in tears and i just think it's time. maybe it's the hormones or maybe having part of my heart outside my body in the form of a tiny human has changed things. i am always blaming ryan for being too mushy and if you know me you know i rarely cry :) 

i didn't share much on this blog about planning a homebirth because i feel it's a difficult topic to talk so enthusiastically about without others getting offended in some way. that's probably not a good reason to keep silent about something i'm so passionate about, but lord knows i want nothing to do with mommy wars. 
the truth is, i believe low risk women should birth in environments that reflect that. 
i believe this would lead to better infant and maternal outcomes and more positive birthing experiences for mothers.
i wish the information to educate mothers as to why this is safe if not safer was more widespread and common. 
home birthers aren't superwomen with magical hips and an exceptionally high pain tolerance. 
they are normal women who are confident in the normalcy of birth. 
ina may couldn't have said it better when she stated american birth culture is superstitious. 
superstition: a belief or practice resulting from ignorance or fear, a false conception of causation.
there. i have said my peace :)

so back to the gas. i was SO sure that's all it was. it was 4am on tuesday morning and i hobbled to the bathroom to find i had lost part of my mucus plug. even then i told myself i was just having strong braxton hicks. i mean, i was 38 weeks after all! the thought of meeting my baby soon was just way too surreal. every contraction lasted from 45 seconds to 1:15 but their frequency was all over the place and the top of my uterus wasn't getting hard.

noelle: ryan, i lost my mucus plug but i don't think i'm in labor.
ryan thinks: don't freak out. act like nothing special is happening today. but it probably is.

and he did just that :) he did homework at a coffee shop most of the day and when he was home he was overly calm. he says to tell everyone he was trying to keep the mood of the house peaceful, not be insensitive ;)

i spent all day working through those darned "braxton hicks" contractions. i just wouldn't let myself believe that it was real labor. i kept thinking if it wasn't then i was in trouble and i wanted to keep my moral up. so i just tried to focus on the fact that my uterus was working and that meant something. 

walking made things feel better and baths made things feel better, so i spent from midnight to 4am doing that. at 4am, 12 hours since my first contraction, i leveled with myself. 
i was in labor. 
this train was not stopping or slowing down anytime soon.
i was in labor.
and i had no choice but to move forward.
i timed my contractions and they were finally consistent at 7 minutes apart lasting about 1 minute each.
i tried to doze in between them and breath deeply through them, but they were no joke.
i texted my midwife to let her know we were in business.

by 7am contractions were finally 5 minutes apart. good news and bad news. good news because i was finally in active labor and the end was somewhere in sight. bad news because i knew the hardest work was in front of me and i was just so. so. tired.

at lunchtime (8 hours since contractions became regular) we decided it was time to get checked.
i needed to know where i was at to wrap my head around what i needed to do to get this baby born. 
my midwife's apprentice who lives just a few blocks away came to check me and found that i was 6cm. 
hallelujah! that was just what i needed to hear :)

i texted friends to let them know baby hazel would be here soon and my mom (whose bags were already packed) jumped on a plane.

i labored for another 3 hours before things really started to heat up and a little after 3pm my midwives came to set up. when they got to the house i was in the bathtub and i was not budging. i remember vocalizing everything i was feeling in between contractions and i remember my eyes feeling very heavy. fighting contractions was not an option. wiggling made them ten times worse. i would go limp and breath deeply and let them run their course.

at 5:30 we checked again and i was 8-9cm. i did a few contractions lying on my sides and walked up and down the stairs a few times and then got in the birth pool. almost as soon as i got in i started feeling pushy. i was soo exhausted at this point and a part of me thought about just holding on and letting my body do it's thing, but i was ready to be done. i was ready to hold my baby.
so i actively pushed through every contraction and then fell completely asleep in between them.
i needed ryan's hands and my midwive's encouraging faces, but no one could do it for me and i was committed to finishing this thing.
during those pushing contractions that were so forceful and strong i would think, i hate this and i want it to be over. and then when they would let go and i could rest i would think, that wasn't so bad :)

i pushed for 1 hour and 25 minutes and then she came :)
she was born at 7:15pm on wednesday, october 3rd and she was perfect.
she was pink and screaming and then she settled and we breathed.
ryan cried and i laughed.
the midwives did their thing.
i thanked the lord for supernatural strength and perseverance.
in a few seconds, two had become three. we were three :)

so, after 15 hours of early labor, 12 hours of active and 1.5 hours of pushing, she was here :)

and that's only part one of this story :)


  1. Wow I LOVE it!! Way to go superwoman!! So proud of you for making the decision that you felt was best and for persevering! Hazel is beautiful!

  2. Hazel is precious and lovely; this is a beautiful story. We rejoice with you! May God continue to provide all things needful for the health and well-being of your family.

  3. I love the pictures : ) And I just noticed the picture on the side "our little hazelnut" and i could cry...she is such a sweet little nut!