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Jack Walker's Homebirth Story

Written by mama, Catherine Hallsten.

This pregnancy was probably my hardest of the three. it felt like i had been pregnant forever and we were so excited to meet our sweet baby! i started to feel some contractions thursday morning while walking around grocery shopping. i knew these felt different than the prodromal labor i’d been feeling for weeks. we went home and had some lunch and started to get the house in order. nesting mode was in full effect for the next couple hours! around 3 pm i decided it would be a good idea to get some rest in case this really was the day! i slept for two hours and then got up and decided to go for a walk. the kids rode their bikes and we just walked slowly, i didn’t bring my phone to time them but I could tell that they were consistently coming about every four minutes. we walked the neighborhood which took about an hour and then when we got back inside, i timed a few contractions and they were three minutes apart. i decided to call my birth team while adam got the kids dinner and ready for bed. it was 6 pm at this point and after talking to my midwife and doula, we decided everyone would come around 7:30 so we could get the kids to sleep first. i read the boys a few books and just enjoyed our final night together knowing baby boy would be here before morning! waylon was so sweet and even bent over so i could lean on his back and said “you can use me to lean on, mommy.” the boys went to bed and I decided to take a quick shower and put on comfy clothes to labor in. when I got out, my midwife was just arriving to the house. we listened to baby’s heartbeat which was perfect and checked on his position. he had been posterior for weeks before this and my prayer was for him to flip before labor began. he was LOA! exactly what i needed to hear. she went ahead and checked to see where we were at and I was at a 5. i was so happy to hear that too since my other labors progressed so slowly. my doula and a photographer she was collaborating with (thank you so much for these beautiful photos!!) arrived and we were in full labor mode!

my midwife started preparing the birth tub and adam made me a snack and was assisting with whatever my midwife needed to get set up. my doula was amazing and was giving counter pressure with every contraction. we labored in the living room for a while and then moved into the bedroom. leaning over felt best during contractions and we even added a heating pad for my back and a cold rag for my neck and forehead. adam was so sweet and so encouraging and helped me through those tough contractions. we were laughing and joking between contractions which is something else i had prayed for…a peaceful and joyful labor! we tried a few different positions to move baby down because he was being a little stubborn and didn’t want to engage. around 11:30 i was in the birth tub and could feel contractions getting more intense. i knew we were getting closer. my midwife called her assistant in which is another sign i was almost there! she ended up checking progress after i had been in the tub for an hour and I was fully complete! which normally means ready to push but he was still up high in my pelvis so we had some more work to do. i was feeling pretty nauseous and kind of faint which I attributed partly to the warm water so we decided i’d get out and we would try some more things to move him down. some of these positions made the contractions extremely painful and i was having very bad back labor so I was starting to lose my peacefulness and starting to yell through the pain. the kids somehow slept through the whole thing! we eventually moved to the bed and we tried some coached pushing on my back which is not how i envisioned it going but it was the most effective thing we had tried so far, he was actually starting to crown! my midwife and doula were encouraging me that he was almost here and to keep doing what I was doing! his head was part of the way out when my midwife started telling me to give soft pushes. i attribute the fact that i didn’t tear at all to her! a couple pushes later and he was here! they laid him on my chest and it was the best feeling in the world.

adam and i just stared at him like “how did we make this perfect little thing?” and talked about which brother he looked more like. i birthed the placenta and nursed jack for the first time. my whole birth team was so encouraging and supportive. they cleaned up everything for us and after having the newborn exam done and making sure everything was good with me postpartum, they left. i think it was around 4 or 5 am at this point. adam made us some food but we ended up falling asleep before we got to eating it. we were exhausted and knew the big boys would be awake soon. we all cuddled in bed together and when the boys woke up they jumped in and met their new baby brother! a little while later, adams parents came and picked up the big boys to spend the night at their house so we could rest. we had an amazing time of rest and taking in the newborn bliss.

we are so thankful for a healthy labor and birth. some of the things we prayed for that were beautifully answered prayers were: labor to start spontaneously, labor to start in the afternoon so i could spend some time with the boys knowing it would be our last night as a family of four, a peaceful and joyful labor with worship music playing, dimly lit room and surrounded by people I love, no tearing and for adam to be able to be more involved as a birth partner than he was able to be in the hospital with our other two births. jack was born at 2:40 am, he was 10 lbs 2 oz, 21.5 inches and his head circumference was 15 inches which broke my midwife’s record after delivering over 400 babies. no wonder he had such a hard time coming down! my midwife also said after doing the newborn exam that there was some evidence that he might have flipped posterior again at some point during labor which would explain the terrible back labor and difficulty coming out. even with the struggles we faced during the end of his labor I would 100% have a homebirth again. it was so beautiful and comfortable being in our own environment, i was able to eat and move around during labor, i felt so empowered and made decisions easily and confidently, i fully trusted my body, my baby and my birth team (cannot say thank you enough to them!) and adam got to be fully present with me without being disturbed by having to sign papers, answer questions etc. thank you Jesus for answering these prayers and finally experiencing the birth I knew I needed!!

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