William's Homebirth Story

William Christopher Murray
"Protector" and "Little Christ"
 Thursday 3 May 2012
7 pounds, 19 inches

Birth Team: Jen Bolter (Midwife), Amanda Deardorf (Midwife's Assistant), Adele Connally (my dear friend and our Doula), and Jason Murray (my awesome husband and Birth Coach)

Though my mom claims that moving the the Pacific Northwest made me into a hippie, I shower on a pretty regular basis and would never consider myself "granola" by any means. I had a lot of reservations about having a home birth, but after a ton of research, prayer, and counsel, I found myself on Thursday May 3rd laboring in the torn up bathroom of our apartment (more on that later). 

Labor began on Wednesday evening. I'm not sure when the contractions started exactly, but after a trip to Costco for dinner with some friends, I realized on the drive home that my Braxton Hicks contractions were a rhythmic 5 minutes apart lasting 20 seconds. "Jason, I think I might be going into labor," I told my husband. He said he doubted it. When we got home, I started prepping some of the birth supplies, just in case. I fervently prayed that this was not labor. We had been having a mold problem in our bathroom and I had been pestering our apartment manager to have it cleaned up before Will's arrival, but they kept giving us the run around. Finally, a repair man came and tore it up on Wednesday, only to nonchalantly say, "can't finish up until Monday" after he was done.

Unfortunately, this was the real deal; Will wanted to come out in time to party for cinco de mayo. At 9pm I lost my mucus plug. "Jason, I really think this is labor." He told me to go to sleep, but I was so excited, I could barely sit still. I texted my doula and told her what was going on. She urged me to drink a glass of wine and go to bed. Thank heavens for that advice. I slept through the night and the next morning, my contractions were still a steady 5 minutes apart lasting 20 seconds.  Jason was not convinced it  was time yet and was ready to head off to work, but I called the midwife, who confirmed that I was indeed in labor. Jason was in a daze as he made me carbo load on toast and eggs before my marathon. Though his intentions were good, my contractions started getting much stronger, so I had a hard time eating, and shortly thereafter got super sick and the big breakfast went down the drain, literally. 

I started crawling around the apartment on hands and knees trying to keep William from being sunny side up (it kind of worked, we still had back labor, though). While I did that, Jason was a champ. He frantically ran around and cleaned the house, set up the birth space, timed my contractions, and rubbed my back when a contraction hit.

The contractions started to get really REALLY painful at 11:30 am. I felt like a boxer was punching me in the back from the inside out. We had tried several labor positions in our Bradley birth classes, but I found that the only one I could deal with was sitting backwards on the toilet clinging to the towel rack for dear life while the huz rubbed my lower back and encouraged me to relax.

For all the preparation I did on relaxing through pain, and verses I had memorized to help me cling to the Lord in the trial of birth, I felt completely at the mercy of my body and couldn't remember a single thing. The only thing I could think of was taking one wave at a time. Thankfully, my husband was there encouraging me, praying over me, and taking care of the details like making me eat and drink between contractions. No IV drip for me, thanks. We stocked up on honey sticks, go gurt, and oranges. Also, Big 5 has this awesome squirty water bottle with a straw that was a god send in labor.

I started to feel really frightened that things were progressing so rapidly and my birth team and birth tub weren't even at the house yet! At 12:45 my doula, Adele showed up and helped with pain management. She had Jason rub cold Coke cans up my back (best idea ever) and took care of the details of arranging the tub when they arrived to set it up. 

At 1:30 I started feeling the urge to push and felt terrified. Our midwife was still on her way! In our birth class we learned that this meant we were getting close to the end. This was the most painful part of the labor, wanting to push, but not being able to.The only way I can describe it is explosive, like dynamite was going off inside of me.

Jen finally got to the house, and when she checked me I was all the way dilated and ready to push the baby out. I labored on the bed for a little bit since the tub still wasn't full, but eventually decided to just get in the tub the way it was because I was miserable.

I didn't plan on having a water birth. A friend of mine wanted to labor in the tub, but when she got in she hated it. I wasn't sure how I would feel, so I ordered the tub and figured I'd play it by ear. Once I got in, I was not getting out. It was amazing how immediate the relief was. I only wish it had been set up sooner.

 It took 2 hours once I started pushing. I was surprised at how long pushing took, because in all the birth videos I watched, the babies popped right out! Pushing was the best part of the labor because I finally got to do something! 

One of my biggest fears about doing the home birth was that the cord would be wrapped around Will's neck and he would suffocate. He did end up having the cord around his neck, but Jen handled it very calmly and just slipped it over his head. Finally, after one push, he slid out and we got to meet the precious little man. He was kind of blue from the cord situation, so we gave him oxygen while we snuggled. 

It was amazing holding him. The whole time I was in labor, I kept thinking, "I can't believe this is happening, it feels so unreal!" Even now, it's sometimes hard to believe that we have a baby. Before we had William, even though we were a family, it didn't feel like one. Now it feels like a real family. 

For those of you who haven't had babies yet, here are a couple things I learned:

1. Recovery after labor can take a while. I thought I would be up and about in a couple of days, but it really took 2 weeks before I could get out and about, and even then it was short trips. I was actually sitting on a doughnut for a while! Even two months later I'm still not fully healed.

2. I must live under a rock, because I didn't know this until we took a birth class. Once labor is over, you're not done. Oh no friends, you still have to push your placenta out. Someone told me it was easy, and maybe it was for her, but it took me a while and was pretty painful. 

3. Babies are life changing. Some of the changes are awesome, like the snuggling, the smiles, and the warm fuzzy feeling I get when Will looks for me when I leave his line of sight. Some are not so awesome and harder than I ever could have imagined, like the rush of terror and adrenaline I feel when Will cries and I can't figure out how to soothe him and the exhaustion from lack of sleep. 

Despite the difficulties, we cherish him, knowing that he is a gift from God. Psalm 127 says that "children are a heritage from the lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." Jason and I have been learning that the reward comes not just in Will's smiles and coos, but in the way he is shaping us. He is growing us in patience and love. We learn Gods heart for his children is gracious as we parent William and seek his good. We are so glad to have this opportunity to parent, to build a Murray legacy, a heritage!

Dedicating Will on Mother's Day


PS The bathroom repair man came back earlier than anticipated, thank God. It was the best shower ever!


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