This pregnancy, we decided to have a home birth. There were a lot of factors that went into our decision, but honestly, we had a really good experience with Jedidiah’s birth at the New Braunfels Family Birth Center and that gave us the confidence to try this time at our home.
We changed midwives this time around. We loved our midwives last time- Amber and Galyn were both amazing! But my mother-in-law had sent me an ad that she’d seen in the newspaper for Ms. Nikki McIver Brown, and she had her own practice out of Garden Ridge, which was closer to our home than New Braunfels had been. That was more convenient for us for our prenatal visits. I also had a good friend who was pregnant who was using Nikki and loved her! We decided to set up an interview and see how things went! When we met her, we really liked her. She is a certified nurse midwife (CNM), which is a step above a regular midwife. She has many years of experience, both in the hospital and then in her own private practice. She has great relationships with the doctors/nurses/staff at the hospital in which she previously worked, which gave us some peace of mind should a hospital transfer become necessary. The only catch… she only does home births! That was one of the factors that influenced our decision. If we decided to use Nikki, we were doing this thang at home!
But more than that, we just felt comfortable and empowered to be able to do it at home. We took amazing birthing classes (for the second time) taught by Ms. Shelby Miller and we felt like we were ready to take this step. And like I said, our experience at the birth center was great (minus the drive there and having to leave to go home afterwards). We figured that this time, we’d cut out the traveling to and from, and just stay put, in the comfort of our own home, where Jedidiah can play while I labor and we have everything else we could possibly need right here!
Speaking of everything else we need… preparing for a home birth is a bit different than preparing for a hospital or even a birth center birth. Nikki gave us a list of things we’d need to have on hand for the birth itself, for me afterwards and of course, for the baby. We packed everything into a big bin, and ordered a separate birth kit that has everything that Nikki would medically need for the birth as well as some things for me after he’s born. At our 37 week visit, Nikki came to our house and brought along the birth pool, which we will inflate ourselves when labor starts. It is currently sitting in our living room, along with all the other necessities. I personally love the bucket- “Let’s do this!” AMEN!
There are other perks to being able to create your own birth space. I have my birthing play list ready on both of our laptops- one stationed in the living room (where the birthing pool will be set up) and the other one in our bedroom, where I hope to rest and send some of my early labor. It is a bunch of worship songs that will hopefully focus my mind and spirit on the task at hand. Labor is such a spiritual experience! There are also candles (both real and fake) that are ready to be lit in different areas of our house to create a nice, dim lighting perfect for birthing.
I have a bulletin board in my room with some scriptures and affirmations and some photos of Trent, Jedi, both of our families and some of our very best friends. I’m hoping that this will be a place I can go to refocus my energies.
I also have an ultrasound photo of our little guy surrounded by a snow globe containing a photo of his great grandparents, who we lost earlier this year. It gives me some peace knowing that they probably already know this little guy and are giving him some sound advice and wisdom for when he arrives. On the other side of the snow globe is a photo of my parents, who live in Minnesota and won’t be present for his birth. Also in that space is a special candle, which I made out of left-over shot glasses from our wedding 7 years ago. They were our wedding favors, but they remind me of the love that made it possible for this little life to even exist!
Also in our room, I have my Himalayan salt lamp and diffuser ready to rock and roll, next to a little journal where Trent and I write little “I love you because…” notes to each other.
There are other little spaces that are meaningful to me as well. In our living room, there are several spots where we have created special reminders and memories. On our TV stand, where Jedidiah often plays, are blocks that spell out Levi’s name. Along with that is a photo frame that my mother-in-law made for me on my first Mother’s Day after Jedidiah was born. It has a photo of us right after he made his appearance (we didn’t really have any good photos from his birth) and a verse from 1 Samuel 1:27 that says, “For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted the desire of my heart.” It reminds me that I’ve done this once before and that I can do it again!
Hanging on our walls flanking our TV are two different collages. The first is a series of little trinkets on little square shelves. Not all of them are extremely impactful, but among them are a little army man from my dad (he loves to paint them and would always sneak them in my luggage when I would travel. This one is Robert E. Lee, which ended up in my bags when I was making the big move to the “South” aka Texas), a “Best Parents” Grammy award, brought to us by Yi-han from her trip to Hollywood, and several trinkets from our travels to China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico and the Bahamas (where we spent our honeymoon). Of particular importance was our time in China, as it is a constant reminder that hard things are SO worth it! God showed us his faithfulness time and time again while we were there and so these little trinkets are constant reminders that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
On the other side is a sweet collage that Trent made me for our fifth anniversary with photos of different stages of our life together. Some travels, our wedding, our birth announcement with Jedi and baby Jedidiah. Below that is a tea set that we bought in Vietnam, and made an arduous trek (on motorbike) through a typhoon in the Philippines and still made it back to the US practically unscathed. Behind that is a fan that Yi-han hand painted for us! Then of course, are pictures of my two loves… Trent (back when we were first dating and still practically babies ourselves) and the other of Jedi when he was little!
Last, we have a little reminder of one of our baby showers, the little stork cake-topper that was on top of our cake. This reminds me that we are surrounded by people who love and care for us and who are excited to meet this little guy (whenever he finally decides to come).
In addition to ALL of that, we had to prep some other things as well. Our bed is covered in a plastic mattress cover (in case my water breaks) and then covered again with sheets. We have all sorts of labor snacks prepared- some in the freezer, others in the fridge and some more out on the counter. While in the hospital, you are not allowed to eat during labor; however, midwives encourage eating before, during and after labor. Labor is like a marathon, you need all the fuel you can get!!! I also made this homemade electrolyte drink that Jedidiah and I love (he calls it his “lemon”). It was pretty easy and it has done a great job of keeping me hydrated. If you want the recipe, I found it on https://www.carolinevencil.com/homemade-labor-aid/.
So, all that being said, some people think I’m extremely “brave” for having a home birth. Others think I’m coo-coo crazy. Me, I just think that this is the best option for us. I love the idea of freedom during labor- freedom to move around, eat, drink, and labor as I see fit, push when I’m ready, etc. I love that when he’s born, we can climb right out of the tub and in our bed and rest. I love that Jedidiah can be a part of what’s happening (to whatever extent that ends up being).
If you would, pray for us as we are SO READY to meet this little guy (40 weeks, 3 days). Pray that this birth is quick and smooth and that there are no complications. Pray that we can have little Levi right here in our living room and that everything will go well!
More to come when he’s finally here!