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Knoxville Birth Photographer | Home Birth Story of Joey told by Mom

I woke up on my due date feeling the same as I had every day before. Bart let me sleep in and I had plans to make this day as relaxing and freeing as possible knowing that life was going to change very soon. I ran an errand by myself, got my nails done with my mom and sisters, and went out to a leisurely lunch wearing my favorite "due date" dress, the most comfortable black maxi. I took one last bump photo with my big kids and it was a really wonderful day. I ended the day feeling like I was finally ready to meet this new baby. We were in the middle of buying a local business and really needed all the time we had to get things done before we added a newborn to the mix. Since I went to 41 weeks with my other two, I fully expected to have to wait another week for this one as well.

That night, Bart said, "If you were to go into labor tonight, I'd be ok with that." So with that, we got the room all ready and went over the last few birth prep homework sheets our midwife had given us. We finally turned off the lights around 11pm; Bart fell right to sleep and I realized that I felt crampy. I laid there for an hour or so, not able to sleep and very uncomfortable from the cramping. Around 1am, I decided to get up and move because laying down was too uncomfortable. I was definitely in denial that they were contractions because it felt nothing like the contractions I remembered from my last labor. I unloaded the dishwasher, folded the laundry, and at 1:30am, I decided to sit on the birth ball while watching the bachelor finale and track the "cramps" to see if they were consistent like a contraction would be (obviously, still in denial). They were anywhere from 10 minutes apart to 7 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart, with no consistency, so I continued to deny it was actually labor, BUT, I did decide to text my BIL Kevin. He was going to be leaving for work at 4:30am and would not be back that day leaving my sister unable to make it to the birth. He decided to delay leaving just in case and then ultimately decided not to go since the "cramps" continued. 

I had also texted my midwife explaining the cramping and she responded at 5:45am when she woke up asking how I was feeling. By that time, I had finally laid in bed trying to sleep between each contraction. I think I decided they were actually contractions at that point, but for some reason I didn't find it urgent enough to wake anyone. Bart woke up at 6am and I greeted him with, "good morning, babe. I've been awake all night with contractions. The kids will be up in one hour so better make good use of this hour you have to get what you need to get done!" My midwife called me and asked how I was doing. I said I had a lot of contractions, but since we already had our appointment scheduled for 9am, she could just come then. At that point, I was doing most of my laboring on the toilet, which worked out perfectly because at 8am my water broke. I immediately called my midwife and I will never forget what she said in the most calm voice, "Well, then let's have a baby today!" I called for Bart to come over and said, "Great news, my water broke, but you don't have to clean anything up, so you're welcome. Also, Pauline is on her way over and so are my parents and sisters." By 8:30am, my midwife, parents, and sisters, Becky and Kelly all arrived.
Everything went as smooth as possible. My dad immediately started playing with Graham and Davy, my mom sat with me to help get through contractions, my midwife started setting up, and I really don't know what Bart was doing, but he was all over the place helping everyone out and always making sure I knew he was there. I sat on the birth ball the entire time. My contractions were not painful as I had remembered them to be in the past, I just had to really concentrate on breathing and relaxing through them. The mental concentration combined with not sleeping at all the night before made me start to realize how exhausted I was getting. At 9:30, I decided to finally have my midwife check my cervix because I wasn't sure how long I could do this for. Sure enough, I was 9cm! This was a huge encouragement to me and I remember looking at Bart and we both thought the same thing, "we can do this! we've passed the hardest part!" We had read the night before that typically the hardest part of labor is between 7-8 cm. Kelly had been filling up the birth tub, so I got in around 9:40am.
I only had a couple contractions in the tub before I realized my body was ready to push. Becky ran to get Graham because he really wanted to be there for the birth. I remember feeling the ring of fire and a sense of panic began to stir in me. I then looked up at my affirmations on the wall and read 2 Timothy 1:7 and the midwife's assistant told me that I was safe. During this pregnancy, Pauline had talked to me about how it was going to be just me and the Lord, that my husband would be there, she would be there, and my family would be there, but ultimately, it was going to be me and the Lord having this baby and it was in that moment that I really felt that. I felt like it was just me and the Holy Spirit in that moment and my body just did it's thing. I had no fear! I never had to try and push, this baby was coming and I just needed to slow it down so I could help prevent tearing. I then remember reaching down and pulling up my baby myself and that was the most amazing thing! All of the concentration and hard work was done and there was this huge wave of relief that came over me; I couldn't even move my head to look down at my baby, I was so tired. I waited a few minutes and then told Bart to check if it was a boy or a girl and just like we had predicted, it was a girl! Graham got to run out and tell my dad and Davy and invite them in. That moment, still in the birth tub with those I love most surrounding me and holding my new baby girl, was one of the best moments of my life. Even my little sister, who lives across the country, was facetiming in for the whole thing. I can only describe it as magical.
We spent a little bit of time in the tub before I got out to deliver the placenta. I laid on the bed and that was probably the worst part of it all. But then I was in my own bed, nursing my new sweet little babe, and getting to be home was just amazing! Life felt like it couldn't get any better. Cassie's Birth Film Slideshow Midwives: Pauline Carr

Justine is a birth photographer/filmmaker and doula in the greater Knoxville area, serving Maryville, Greenback, Madisonville, Loudon, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, Fountain City, Townsend, Sevierville, Strawberry Plains, Gatlinburg, etc. Justine is passionate about physiological birth the way God designed it and thus specializes in home and natural births. Interested in hiring Justine for your birth, click here to get in touch.

Knoxville Birth Photographer | Home Birth Story of Joey told by Mom
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