That Time I Had a Baby in the Hallway - Therese's Birth Story

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

In honor of Therese's 1st birthday yesterday, I decided to write up her birth story!

Therese is our second child, first daughter, and first home birth. The story of how we got there makes a lot more sense if you know John's birth story. I'll get around to writing it someday. Suffice to say it was a two WEEK labor, induction, and horrendous postpartum care experience. I was in tears the one time I was back on the L&D floor after that. I was 99.8% sure I could not go through another birth in the exact same place barely two years later.

So we made different choices and looked into homebirth!

We surprised ourselves by going with a certified professional midwife (CPM), versus a certified nurse midwife (CNM). When we interviewed her it all clicked. Matt even liked her. He was the tough crowd in this endeavor.

She suggested a doula for me. Her suggestion was actually someone I had serendipitously met over a year earlier in a parenting group. Win!

We also found a doula-in-training and hired her as a sibling doula, someone who knew about birth but would be assigned to taking care of John (a little over 2 years old at the time.) She would be able to explain things to him if he was at the birth, and was comfortable hanging out with him out of the house if that was more suitable.

Due to NFP-awesomeness, we had a very accurate due date of September 1st. (Labor Day, trust me the joke was not lost on any family members.)

I went into labor about 5am on August 31st. By 6:30am I knew this was the real deal and called Rebecca, our doula, to give her the heads up so she could arrange child care for her kids. John had just woken up and we tried to keep his routine as normal as possible.

We started getting things together: making up the bed, getting food/drinks in order. Matt decided he was not confident in the waterproofing abilities of the old shower curtain I had as a mattress protector, so he took John on a run to Target. I was very not ok with this plan, but it ended up being fine.

Rebecca arrived about 8:30 and immediately started helping out blowing up the birth ball and filling the birth tub.
The adapter we got to connect the sink and the hose to fill the birth tub caused very low water pressure. Eventually Rebecca just took the biggest pot in the house and started hauling pots of hot water from the bath tub. Did I mention she is awesome?!

Things got intense about 10am. I was still liking walking around and doing the "slow dance" move with Matt to get through contractions. I decided to get in the tub at that point. The water helped with the hard pressure and let me relax better between contractions.

John was very cute rubbing my arm and telling me "you doing so good momma."

Rosie, our sibling doula, arrived and we decided to have John go with her to the park like he would on a normal day.

Ellah, our midwife, arrived about 11am. She was concerned that the baby was descending faster than I could progress with dilation, so she had me get out of the tub.

I am a major shaker during labor. Whenever I change phase (early labor to active, active to transition) I shake like I'm having a seizure. I'm fine, but I'm not in control of my arm and leg muscles at all. Matt was awesome acting as my stable tree.

Rebecca was flitting around getting us sips of gatorade or water, feeding me yogurt and honey, and relieving Matt so he could actually eat and use the restroom. That's when he decided this doula idea was amazing.

Therese never really stopped flipping in utero and she flipped into a less than ideal position during active labor. I had about 10 minutes of back labor while trying to walk around on the patio for a change of scenery. Holy cow, if I was in a hospital that would have broken me on the epidural decision right then and there. Hats off to women who go through hours of that.

A little after 4:30pm Ellah suggested trying to use the restroom. I had just gone thru a pretty intense round of active labor (in hindsight, might have been transition) and thought I should use the time I had.
Well my water broke in the bathroom. Thankfully Matt was with me because I was a little shocked. I tried to get between the bathroom and the bedroom so I would not have to deliver the baby right then and there, but Therese had other plans.

I made it to the hallway (read two steps) before I just knew I could not walk any further. There was no pushing involved, just two contractions, and Therese was born on the hallway floor.

Per typical Therese, she cried just as much as necessary then proceeded to look around at all the people.

I handed Therese to Matt so I could stand up, and moved over to the bed. It was awesome to just rest in my own bed, snuggle my newborn, and just not have to worry about anything. Ellah did all of the exams she needed on me and the baby on the bed. Rebecca made me a sandwich and some tea, drained the birth tub and packed it up, gathered up laundry, washed dishes, and got some sitz bath herbs going on the stove (repeat, doulas are amazing!)

Rosie and John arrived back from the park. John was so happy to see his baby sister. He crawled up on the bed, held out his arms, and requested "now I hold it?"

Proud big brother.
Postpartum at home was amazing! I do not understand how people enjoy staying in the hospital. It is never all the way dark, and people come in every few hours to make sure your blood pressure is still exactly the same. Or worse, wake the baby.

At home, I could sleep in my own bed, not have IVs in my arm, eat whatever I want, and hang out with my family as much as I wanted. You know, actually recover from this having a baby business.

These two have been buds ever since.


  1. Kirby this story was so cool! I had a really rough induction also and a home birth exactly like you described is my dream. I just need to pray for my family and husband to have peace that it would be safe.

    1. BTW this is Carey Helmick, on blogspot my comments come out under my old email instead of my new wordpress account.

  2. Hi Kirby! Thank you for sharing your stories! I had a question about insurance... Do they pay for homebirths/doulas/CPMs?

    1. It depends on your insurance but so far mine have reimbursed at the out-of-network rate for the midwife fees. With my insurance coverage it works out to be about the same, or cheaper, than my hospital birth but with a lot more choice and postpartum care.
      Some things are not covered under your medical insurance, like the birth kit that your midwife will have you order, but you may be able to use HSA funds.
      Doulas are typically not covered. With my first homebirth the doula was provided as part of my midwife fee. This time I am using a student doula who needs to attend births to complete her certification. There are lots of ways to make this more affordable!


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