The birth of a child is the most beautiful moment that all mothers will remember and cherish for their lifetime. Our third child, Evan was welcomed into this world in the comforts of his own home. We were instantly in love with this precious bouncing boy the second we laid eyes on him.
Evan has an older brother (8), and an older sister (6), who were both born in a hospital. During both of their pregnancies I gained 60+ pounds and developed toxemia. Our first son was born five weeks early. My membranes ruptured and we went to the hospital and I was immediately given pitocin to induce labor. I knew the risks and difficulty of being put on the pitocin but the doctor said it was our only option. I was in hard labor with our first son for 14 hours. I will never forget the annoyance and pain of the strap from the fetal heart rate monitor that was tightened around my contracting body the entire time. He was born weighing 6 pounds 15 ounces and was in the NICU for one week. I again developed toxemia with my daughter’s pregnancy and the only thing that my doctor told me to do was to not eat any sodium. 10 days before her due date, I was once again forced into being induced with pitocin because I was spilling protein in my urine. She was born weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces. Their births were of course some of the best moments in my life, but not being in control of my own body during these life changing moments were always in the back of my mind.
We were so excited and shocked when I became pregnant with our third baby! What a fun surprise! I started out going to the same doctor as before. A few months into the pregnancy I started researching home births and midwives. I always reflected back to the labor in the hospital and being strapped to the monitors and confined to the hospital bed. I will never forget when I told the doctor when I was pregnant with my first child that I didn’t want any pain medication. “Oh I think you will change your mind. It hurts like a stinger.” I had a birth plan with both of the older kids, which was completely pointless. The doctor was in total control of everything. I remember the look on the face of the doctor who was delivering our daughter when I yelled at him as he grabbed the giant scissors to do an episiotomy after I had pushed only once. “Don’t cut me!” All of these little instances just stacked in my mind and I knew I did not want to be treated the same way with this pregnancy. My husband and I knew that a homebirth would give us so many more options and support.
After thorough research and recommendations, in enters JUDITH SCHMIDT. (Cue the angels signing!) She came into our home for an interview and we knew immediately that she was the answer to all of our prayers! I was already five months pregnant and had gained 30+ pounds and was on the same track as i was with my first two pregnancies. Judith sat me down and we had a lesson in diet and nutrition. During my past pregnancies I was eating whatever was in front of me. Well that was my main problem, my diet. At no point in time did my previous doctors ever talk to me about my diet. I was told to “Lay off the sodium.” a couple of times but I had no idea my nutrtion could be the reason why i had developed toxemia. Judith and I spoke for hours about the proper foods my body needed (I thought I knew What proper nutrition for pregnancy was!) I started a high protein diet with lots of vegetables and minimal carbohydrates, minimal fruit and absolutely no sweets. The question of “sodium”? Well come to find out sodium is vital for pregnant women. Refined carbohydrates and sugar are the enemy!
Boy was it difficult to get on the proper track and say goodbye to those comfort foods and yummy sweets and starches. Judith was so helpful and supportive. She knew how difficult it would be for me and for anyone for that matter. She gave me so many recipes, ideas and helpful tips for my diet. Judith was like my very own motivational speaker and life coach and nutritionist all packed into one sincere, caring sweetheart. Oh and she is also an informative and wise midwife who had so many different pregnancy and birth stories. She always took the time to answer our questions and to share her suggestions. Her knowledge is astounding. I was speechless at times. Judith and Sha (her daughter that always comes along with her) soon became apart of our family.
When Judith and Sha would come to our house for appointments the kids got so excited. The atmosphere in the house was full
of love, laughter and joy! They loved our kids and our kids loved them. Our children had so many questions about that growing baby inside of me. They always took the time to explain to them the answers. Their favorite time was listening to the baby’s heart beat and Judith and Sha would always feel around my tummy to find the position of the baby. Judith would always speak softly to the baby. These visits soon became something that our whole family looked forward to. We had our whole family supporting us.
Throughout the last months of my pregnancy, my face thinned out, I had more energy and I barely gained any weight. I felt on top of the world. Changing my diet was so difficult, but I could see the effects of it and I was so pleased. I had no signs of toxemia. I had done it. I had done it with the help of Judith. Everything just fell into place and it was wonderful. My due date was slowly creeping up. Excitement and anticipation soon filled our home.
I started having mild contractions the evening of the 23rd. That was followed by an awful bout of vomiting and diarrhea. This fun lasted for eight hours. At first Judith thought that my upset stomach was just my body’s way of cleaning out before birth. The contractions remained the same and I had no dialation. I was cleaned out like never before. I was exhausted and felt like death. After the “fun” came to a hault Judith and I decided that my body was not in labor. The cramps that I was having were from my upset stomach. Well, come to find out it was a highly contagious flu that soon visited everyone in my family for the next week.
Judith and Sha decided to let me rest and they started back home. Well about four hours later, the REAL contractions came. The stomach cramps from being sick must have triggered labor because when the contractions came, they came with a vengance. Judith and Sha were about an hour away when my husband called them and told them to turn around. I was only in labor for about three hours with the last hour having hardly any breaks in my contractions. I labored mostly in bed alone and some with my husband laying next to me. When the contractions gave me no breaks I felt the need to stand. I labored the last hour standing in my bathroom and watching my husband, who was standing behind me, in the reflection of the mirror . He eventually told me that the way I was starring at him was a bit creepy! Ha!
Judith knew that I was very close so she wanted me to come into the bed so she could check me. I was ready to push! I pushed once and had this horrible charlie horse in my hip and I screamed out that I couldn’t do this. Judith looked at me and calmly said, “Well you’re just going to have to.” Well I pushed one more time and then Judith said, “Sara, I need your hands!” I put my hands between my legs and felt my baby’s soft head and I put my hands on his shoulders and delivered him into this world. Tears filled the room. We had done it. So much hard work came to a glorious end. Evan was here and he was beautiful. I nursed him immediately. My husband cut the cord and I delivered the placenta shortly afterward. My family soon came over to meet Evan! I took a shower while everyone had their chance of holding him. After I got out, I cuddled with all three of my children and my loving husband in our bed. We took pictures and made phone calls to everyone. Our older children really enjoyed watching Judith and Sha check Evan out and examine him. My husband weighed him in Judith’s adorable little scale. 7 pounds 12 ounces. He was perfect. His birth was magical and we were in love with our tiny baby.
Having a home birth was the most amazing experience. My husband enjoyed a long nap afterwards and the comforts of home were right at our fingertips. We had a very relaxing first day and weeks that followed. Judith and Sha came back the next day to check us both out and then again a week after the birth.
Evan’s birth was the most spiritual and natural moment in my life. God placed Judith and Sha in our lives for a reason. Our family is so thankful and blessed to have had these women in our lives. We will never look at birth the same.