[All photos by Leslie Lowe, Green & Grey Photography]
When I saw a positive pregnancy test I was in tears. For many reasons.
One- I have always been told I would have to go through fertility to get pregnant. But this is what happens when you heal your body through food and supplements- it can heal and function well.
Two- I was terrified. Not for another baby, we knew we wanted more kids. I was terrified to go through pregnancy and delivery again. My last experience was filled with sickness, hospitals, needles and more.
God quickly spoke loudly through the noise: healing. That’s all I kept hearing.
I told Clint I couldn’t do a hospital again- I didn’t know what that meant but I couldn’t.
I first contacted Julie Byers. I knew she was the best and would pray and walk through it with us. Long sorry short, we ended up with Janelle at Paris Mountain Midwifery. That started our birth team.
There were so many reasons and things pushing against this plan but God continued to remind us He had big plans for this birth and baby. Healing.
Pregnancy was beautiful. Yes there was sickness at times but nothing like I knew before. I loved it. Truly. Healing.
I assumed it was a baby boy because well… that’s what we do here. Clint wanted to wait until birth to find out. I didn’t. The boys really wanted to know. Tolman had said from the first day it was a girl. He knew it and truly never wavered. We compromised and had a sweet friend put together a package for us to open Christmas morning- it was a girl! We were all shocked except for Tolman. Tears and shock. Then came the naming her journey- if you know, you know lol.
We enjoyed the holidays and just continued to live and wait. We hiked, traveled, played with friends.
We all thought this sweet girl would arrive in mid April. I had all of the birth signs. Then nothing. And nothing. But I felt ok, was still eating clean, walking, getting adjusted, etc.
On Friday, my midwife sat in my living room. She let the boys find her heart beat, measurements, vitals. All was well. One of my favorite things about this journey was the family involvement. My boys loved going to appts and chatting with Janelle. She listened to their excitement over a baby, answered any and all questions. After, we sent them outside to play. I knew we were getting to a point of encouraging this baby out. I cried. I didn’t want hospital intervention. Janelle and Clint laid hands and we prayed.
I woke up early Saturday. Contractions were on and off all day. But I had been having contractions since 37 weeks so they didn’t stop me. There were times I felt them more intensely, and then not bad.
About 5:30 we decided to go eat at our favorite sushi place in Clemson. On the way there, Clint texted Julie when he saw me noticing the contractions frequently.
I finally said maybe we should time these, they are consistent.
Y’all they were 3 minutes apart. Needless to say we got food to go and headed home.
I ate sushi- yes I ate it. Still thinking this would be prodomal and stop at some point.
Then it switched. Fast.
I felt intense pressure suddenly. The only thing that relieved it was Clint to provide counter pressure on my back. I wish I had this picture bc he was a rockstar. Between contractions, he would get me cold washcloths, then be there as I leaned over the cold bathroom sink.
What I didn’t realize until later was this was transition- I was in denial. I had all of the lights, affirmations, play list, photographer, etc.
Clint called Julie and told her things picked up fast.
About 5 minutes later, I felt an intense pressure wave and my water broke. Never had that happen. Climbed in the shower.
Julie arrived at 8. She smiled. Walked out of bathroom and called midwife and said come fast. [Doula note: I only live 10 min from Cherie’s house so I was able to get there quickly but as soon as I watched one contraction, I realized we’d be lucky if this baby waited on the midwife. I also messaged her photographer to come. I told them both to speed.]
Still thought I had time. Then my body pushed… without me doing it.
Julie started to fill my bathtub. I remember saying we had time to fill the big tub. She smiled and said, “This baby is coming fast… If you feel the head I need you to tell me.”
I climbed in my tub. Pushed just a few times- paused for Julie to grab the boys because Tolman wanted to be in the room. Pushed again and she was here- 8:22.. she didn’t cry. She was peaceful and so perfectly content. Clint caught her. Forever a special, incredible and healing moment. Her birth song was “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher
Julie had arrived just 22 minutes before our baby. Janelle and Leslie arrived a few minutes after baby.
After I was tucked in the bed, I looked around the room. Julie was chatting with the boys, Clint and Janelle were doing measurements, Leslie was sitting in the rocking chair.
Peace. Healing. Love. What birth should look like.
Do I wish I had more pictures of the labor? Sure. Or the delivery? Yes. But it was perfect. It was peaceful. It was crazy fast. It brought us a perfect baby girl.
There were no bright lights, no stress, no strangers. Just us.
Homebirth is beautiful. It makes me want to do it many times over. I wish everyone could experience the peaceful, beautiful birth.
Jesus delights in birth- my doula mentioned this at our first appt. Worship music was playing. Holy Spirit was so present. And healing definitely took place.