Katie’s Birth Story – Unassisted Homebirth, Postterm Pregnancy, Unassisted Pregnancy
In December 2016, I unexpectedly got pregnant again. I was ecstatic and chocked at the same time, but I suspected the pregnancy within a day of conception. With the new baby coming, we had to reschedule the planned visit of my family in Germany to avoid flying during the last trimester.
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I suspected twins, because my belly got big very fast. While we were in Germany in the spring, I dreamed I was carrying quadruplets—all boys. The dream along with other uncertainties in my personal life drove me to find reassurance about the baby.
I scheduled an appointment with a German OB/GYN. She performed an ultrasound and confirmed there was only one baby, most likely a girl. I think both the doctor and I were glad I didn’t plan to continue prenatal care with her.
Later, I regretted the ultrasound. I had originally tried to find a midwife who could reassure me about the number of babies just using her hands and a stethoscope, but I couldn’t find one. I hated that we already knew the sex of the baby ahead of time.
Every pregnancy and birth is different, even if you’ve given birth several times. This time, I had varicose veins in my lower right leg. It worried me greatly, because my mother had a thrombosis. Varicose veins aren’t unusual, and my leg didn’t hurt.
Braxton Hicks contractions started at 34 weeks of gestation with this baby. Having pre-labor contractions wasn’t a new experience, but they had never started this early before. It did offer a glimmer of hope that maybe this baby would come closer to her due date. After all, this was my first unassisted birth with a girl baby. Supposedly, it’s boys who take longer.
At the end of August, about a week before my due date, I woke up with painful contractions. I even woke up my husband and asked him to get the room ready—I was so sure this was it. After a while, the contractions simply stopped.
I was disappointed and confused. The next day, I felt let down, because I was still pregnant. I kept having contractions on and off over the next few days. They continued to be rather painful, so much that I had to breathe through them. And yet, my baby didn’t want to come.
Braxton-Hicks contractions continued to show up daily, but they were less painful now. This pregnancy also continued past 42 weeks. Apparently, post-term pregnancies are my specialty. But at least, she came before 43 weeks. She was born at 42 weeks and 5 days.
One morning, I woke up with the kids around 7 a.m. Contractions started again, but I didn’t pay attention to them. They were my norm. We were working on a shopping list, because my husband had plans to go to the store.
I had to stop in between to breathe deeply through the contractions. My husband asked if he shouldn’t stay home. But I was sure the baby wouldn’t come anyway, especially if he stayed. But things picked up, and he ended up staying, which was a good thing.
The contractions quickly became more intense. By 8 a.m., I was in the bathroom—my planned birthing location. Our bathroom is spacious, and I liked having the toilet nearby. I actually hopped in the shower, because I hadn’t had one yet. However, my husband had to help me dry off, because I couldn’t bend over with the contractions coming on strong. I didn’t even bother getting dressed, because I knew birth was imminent.
The birth was different from the others in many ways, especially the time of day. All the kids were awake. We let them watch TV to keep them occupied and out of the way. Meanwhile, my husband decided to sterilize scissors. He thought he had plenty of time, based on his previous experience with my births.
But by this time, I was already in transition and I yelled for him. He finally came back to me—not fast enough in my opinion—and stayed. With the other unassisted births, my husband was in the room with me, but I didn’t want to be touched. This time, I craved physical contact with him and held onto him. I even had the urge to bite him, because it hurt so much, but I didn’t (to his relief).
Then my water broke, and it was green in color. I was momentarily nervous, but I knew it didn’t have to mean anything bad. I worried even as I gave birth to her. But she cried just like the others. I had the feeling she cried harder and longer, but my husband didn’t notice any difference compared to the other newborns.
As the ultrasound predicted, we had another girl—our tie breaker. She weighed 8 lbs 3 oz. The birth was faster than all the rest. The first contractions happened sometime after 7 a.m. My baby was born at 8.58 a.m. in record time.
I cuddled with her for a while and then took another shower. Only after I was cleaned up and cuddling with our baby in our bed, we talked about her name. We had several favorites, but in the end, we named her Katelyn, short Katie.
While I gave birth, part of me hoped the other kids would come and watch. I still couldn’t decide if I wanted them to be present or not. Later, my oldest old me Michael got scared when I started screaming. But she told him I was having the baby.
Michael came to look in on us while we were still huddled up in the bathroom. Presumably, he didn’t like what he saw, because he didn’t stay long. Or maybe the TV was more interesting.
It took a while until the kids came to meet their new sister. I was glad to rest in bed and cuddle with the baby. At the time of this writing, the baby is already 3 ½ years old. And of course, she’s become an integral part of our family, just like all the rest of them.