• Faye Strauch

Born at Home in the Water; The Surprise Gender Birth of Baby B

I met Laura and her oldest son Carter when I went for a consultation to chat about documenting their third and final birth which was going to be a homebirth. I loved them immediately! I always say that children can tell I'm a grandma because they warm up to me very quickly and the next thing I know they're sitting on my lap and asking me to go see their bedroom. That's how it was with Carter except he sat right next to me and made me feel so welcome. What an amazing little boy! His brother Brayden is just as adorable but I didn't meet him that day because he was napping.

As Laura's due date approached we stayed in pretty good contact about how her midwife appointments were going and so on. She was so patient and knew her baby would come when he/she was ready. When she was 40 weeks and 3 days contractions started and were about 10 minutes apart. She just wanted to give me a heads up and wold keep me posted. By that afternoon they were a little closer together but not as intense so she was just going about her day. That ended up not being the day her baby wanted to be born. Contractions had stalled out and nothing was happening. She texted to say she would let me know when things picked back up.

Active labor didn't start until a week later when she was 41 weeks and 3 days. Everyone who's had a baby a week past their estimated due date knows exactly how she felt. She let me know that contractions had started about 7am and were 30 minutes apart and by 3 in the afternoon they were 12-15 minutes apart. She was making steady progress and I was just waiting for her to decide it was time for me to come. At 4:45pm she called me to say they were 5 minutes apart so I jumped in the car and headed to her home because it would take me an hour to get there.

I walked into her house to see her chatting and handling labor very well. They were filling up the birth pool and she was visiting with family while labor progressed. Labor did not get intense until about an hour before baby came and she was in the water so she was able to take one contraction at a time with her husband Ian right by her side cheering her on. This was a surprise gender baby (they had 2 boys already) so they were discussing how they were going to conceal baby's gender so they could make the announcement to those present and those waiting in the other room. One of her midwives already had a towel ready to cover baby so no one would unexpectedly find out before the it was announced.

At 7:11 on a beautiful Saturday evening, baby made their way earthside in a beautiful and peaceful waterbirth. The towel immediately was placed so no one would know if they had a baby girl or a baby boy. When baby was 5 minutes old, Laura took the towel away to reveal they had a baby GIRL! Everyone was so thrilled! Laura said she had felt in her gut that baby was a girl so she wasn't surprised at all. Dad was so overcome with joy that he couldn't hold back his tears. Both grandmas were there to witness Faith Noella's birth.

It is widely known in the birth community that the after pains get worse with each additional labor/birth so we were prepared for Laura to be in slightly more pain afterwards since this was her third birth but none of us were prepared for just how much pain she experienced! As the minutes ticked by, the pain just kept continuing and actually getting worse so eventually the midwives suggested she make a visit to the hospital just to be on the safe side. The paramedics came and took Laura and baby girl off in an ambulance to the hospital to be evaluated and observed but no cause was ever found for the severe pain and she was back home the next day.

Laura showed so much patience and calm while birthing her baby. It really was a joy for everyone who was there to witness such a beautiful waterbirth and the celebration afterwards by this sweet family.

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