EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of the most inspirational birth stories I have ever read. I wanted her to have more children so I could read about her wonderful journey!

First Name: Bethany Baby’s Name: Kain, Gage, Aubriel, & Brodric Birth Date: 1/99 2/01 6/03 10/05 : These are my four natural childbirth stories that tells my journey from hospital to homebirths.

Kain Samuel-

Discovered I was pregnant with my first child in May of 1998. I always thought I would have homebirths, just as my mother had given birth to me at home and I hate hospitals. Although when I suggested this to my husband he thought I was nuts. I found myself in a place I had always dreamt of being but had never given much thought to the actual journey I was about to take or how I would get to the end result. I had a friend that was a great Doctor, Peri, and despite the fact that she delivered babies in a hospital shared many of my same view points on childbirth and doing it naturally as well. I wondered how my mother found the strength to have a home birth herself as I fell victim to what many others feel is unsafe. So with the encouragement of my husband and my rationalization that this was my first baby and since I didn’t know what to expect perhaps a hospital birth was best. I held strong that I would deliver naturally and minimize as many medical procedures as I could and felt confident trusting in Peri.

In November of 1998 I turned 21 years old only a few months away from my first baby’s due date of Jan. 20, 1999. I never received an ultrasound during my pregnancy. Planned to at least labor in water at the hospital and planned to labor at home for as long as I could. I would deliver without medication of any kind and leave the hospital as soon as possible which Peri assured me would not have to be any longer than 24 hours. Another dear friend of mine, Becky, had spent 13 years as a nurse in labor and delivery, she had since left that job and became a massage therapist at the time I became pregnant. She had two children of her own, natural births, one being a water birth and was pregnant with #3. She agreed to be my doula, which gave me an added security that my birth would be a natural one.

Throughout my whole pregnancy with Kain whenever I would dream of the baby I would dream it was a girl, except the Tuesday before he was born I dreamt I had a boy. Turns out he was born exactly one week to the day later. Monday, January 25, I had my first contraction at about 12:30 pm, while I was sewing a baby blanket. David was at work that day so after having a few for about an hour I called my Mom at work to see if I could be going into labor or not. She of course said that I could be and I should just keep an eye on them and call her back if I needed anything. After I hung up the phone with her I called my husband who was busy with a customer so I left a message with his manager. I was over come with so many emotions with the thought that this might be “it”, I tried to keep myself from getting too excited as I was expecting if I was really in labor it would have to hurt far more than this, of course thinking that would start right away from all the horror stories I had heard about childbirth.

After a few more hours of steady contractions I called his work again at about 4:30 pm. His manager answered the phone and as soon as he heard my voice remember he forgot to tell my husband. He felt awful, knowing that I was pregnant and over due and immediately gave him the phone. I told him that I had been having contractions for a while and that I might be in labor so he came right home. He got there at about 5:00 pm and requested that I call the Doctor’s office or asked if we could just go to the hospital. I was reluctant to go since I wasn’t convinced I was in “real” labor yet and didn’t want to be at the hospital any longer than I had to. So to make him happy I called and talked to a nurse who pretty much convinced me I wasn’t in active labor since she told me I would feel my contractions in my back, they would last a minute long and be five minutes or less apart. I never felt any contractions in my back, and they would either last a minute long or be five minutes apart but never both at the same time. After I had the baby I thought she was crazy for the information she had given me since I was obviously in active labor but looking back it was a blessing as I was able to then labor at home longer without Dave bugging me every five minutes. I was comfortable at home anyway so I didn’t mind staying there. Dave and I laid together in bed and when I would get contractions I would get up on my hands and knees and breathe through it while rocking back and forth and he would gently rub my back. It was great and I was in such peace!

Finally at about 9:30 pm Dave asked if we could please go to the hospital, I finally agreed reluctantly. So fearing they wouldn’t let me eat and that it would still be a while before the baby came I ate a peanut butter sandwich, called my Mom and off we went to the hospital at about 10:00. We got there and checked in at about 10:30. The nurse checked me and I was already at 5 cm which made me very happy, although I suddenly found myself so much less relaxed, feeling like I had no control any longer and was at the mercy of the hospital staff. My husband called his step-sister, Leah, and my doula, Becky, to come and my Mom was already on her way. I wanted to get into the shower but the nurse wouldn’t let me and already seemed a little upset that I wouldn’t lay down in bed. I continued to labor on my knees while my husband supported my upper body. People finally started showing up between 11:30 pm and midnight which put my mind at ease. Becky got me some warm compresses to sit on in between my contractions and would massage my back which helped so much with the pain. My sister-in-law, Jen, was there as well offering support to Dave and massaging him as well (she is also a massage therapist), while my other sister-in-law, Leah, was there taking pictures. I was so grateful to have Becky there since my nurses were so stupid.

Once Peri arrived and Becky asked her about getting into the shower which she said I could but it would be time to push soon. I can’t recall what I was at when she first got there; I believe I was at 7 or 8 cm. She was the last to arrive some time after midnight. I was also planning on laboring in a birthing pool which Becky brought but it would have taken her about an hour to set it up and we feared the baby would be here by the time it was ready. The room was so hot, Peri asked the nurse to open a window after I ripped my gown off from over heating. The open window felt so good as I was so hot even though it was snowing outside. Becky also figures the heat of the room played a part in my throwing up during labor but it only happened once and I was soon ready to start pushing. So my Dr. broke my water, I laid down on my side and begin pushing, I don’t remember exactly but I probably pushed for 20 – 30 minutes and my son was born at 1:25 am. I remember wondering while his head was crowning if it was all going to be worth it or not but of course the second he was out there was no doubt in my mind. Peri announced “it’s a boy!” and put him up on my stomach right away. I remember it being like something out of a movie where everything around him got blurry and I could only focus in on his perfect little face. I was totally overcome with emotion and was on the brink of tears but then I looked up at Dave and saw him crying so I held back. I am not even sure why I did, maybe I simply got lost in the look of wonder and amazement looking at Dave’s face looking onto his son for the first time.

Kain Samuel entered not only the world but our lives and forever changed us in a single moment into Parents! Everything went as perfect as I could have hoped for, for a hospital birth anyway. I had a completely natural labor and delivery as I planned, I didn’t get to labor in the water as I had hoped but I didn’t tear. My Dr. gave the baby to me right away and then waited quite a while before cutting the cord. Peri then clamped the cord and offered up the cutting of it to Dad who declined. I started nursing him right away. We then weighed him and measured him; he was 7# 3 oz and 19 inches long. After I got him back I offered him to Dave as he had not held him yet.

<blockquote>He then walked across the room with Kain and sat down in a chair away from anyone else and talked to him softly. It was beautiful to see the transformation of man to father right before my eyes!</blockquote>

Before the birth his plans were to not hold him for about the first 3 months of life or so but as I held him up he quickly snatched him up as if he had held babies his whole life. He then walked across the room with Kain and sat down in a chair away from anyone else and talked to him softly. It was beautiful to see the transformation of man to father right before my eyes! I was so grateful to everyone that helped with the delivery of my son. However after everyone left I was alone to deal with the stupid nurses again. My husband fell asleep and the nurse made me get “rest” while she took the baby. I was so angry and was left alone crying in the dark. At least since I was breastfeeding they brought the baby in often and once morning hit, I eagerly woke my very tired husband and made him go and take our baby back. They asked several times throughout the day if we wanted some alone time but Kain never left our room again. Peri came that morning to check on us and gave me a clear to leave despite the nurses wanting me to stay at least 24 hours. So that night we left at about 7:00 pm so I was able to sleep in my own bed with my husband and new baby. I felt so blessed to have had such a natural experience in a hospital as I know how rare that is these days! Gage Peri- Soon after Kain turn 1 Dave and I started to discuss when would be the best time to have another baby. We were not sure about the spacing we wanted for our children as both of us only had one sibling about 4 years apart from each of us. We new we wanted our children to be closer in age than what we were with ours in hopes they would have a closer relationship so we tried to contemplate what life would be like nine months from now.

So once Kain was about 15 months we decided to have another baby. We didn’t have to wait long for it, we discovered in June of 2000 we were expecting again. This now left us with the chicken and the egg theory of which came first. It all happened so quickly we wondered if we really decided to have another baby and quickly got pregnant right away or if we were already in fact pregnant and then decided another baby would be a good idea. In any case we couldn’t have been more thrilled with the news. Except of course that we were between moving and living with my parents at the time. After how well my first birth went I again even more than ever not only wanted a homebirth but knew I could do one! But yet again the thought unnerved Dave and he once again convinced me that with being at my parents and being farther away from the hospital and the fact that our Dr., although supports home births can’t do them herself that we should just have another hospital birth. My Mom had me at home so she had no problem if I wanted a homebirth but I gave in to his insecurities much to both of our dismay now. I went ten days “past due” with the second pregnancy and as much as I was SO done being pregnant I wanted everything I had, had wit
h Kain’s birth so I insisted on going COMPLETELY natural. Peri again supported me on this as she said herself she doesn’t like to induce. So just like Kain’s pregnancy I did not receive an ultrasound and kept any medical invasiveness to a minimum and planned another completely natural childbirth in a hospital. A few weeks before I was due I again contacted my same doula and asked if she would attend my birth again, which she agreed to and Dave’s step-sister requested to be present once again as well. Just like it had been with Kain my whole pregnancy I dreamt I was going to have a girl and then one week to the day I had a dream I was having a boy. I woke up that morning and told Dave we are having a boy next Tuesday Feb. 13. So sure enough just as I said I woke up early the morning of the 13th with contractions, they started at about 5:00 am. Since it was my husband’s day off that day I wanted to let him sleep in and I figured I had plenty of time (they say your second can come faster but really how much faster are we talking about?). I figured this labor would be about 8 hours or so if I was lucky since my last was about 13. So I laid in bed for a while until I got too restless. Everyone in the house was still sleeping and I didn’t want to disturb anyone so after a little while I got up and took a bath and shaved my legs. After that I went and laid down again for a little bit until 8:00 am finally rolled around and I decided to wake up Dave. I said I was sorry for waking him up but I thought I was in labor, so he asked me how far apart the contractions were and I replied, “oh probably about 7 – 8 minutes”. So he grabbed his watched and started timing them. Just then he jumped out of bed and screamed “BETH, they are less than 5 minutes apart we have to go!” While he raced around like crazy, I sat back and told him to calm down that the baby wasn’t going to fall right out. I went and woke up my Mom, more so she could help deal with him than anything. My Mom was headed upstairs to shower as we were ready to head out the door. Just then I said I kind of feel like I could push so my Mom decided she didn’t have time for a shower and was going to get ready to follow us in. We left the house about 8:30 am and my mom was going to be shortly behind us while my Dad stayed home with Kain. On our way to the hospital Dave called Leah so she could meet us there, we should have called my doula then too but thought I would wait until I got there so I had something to tell her. We arrived at the hospital so we arrived right at 9:00 am. As they were bring me into my room the nurse asked me if this was my first baby, I replied by saying no my second and then she asked me if I was sure I was in labor, to which I replied, YES! She decided to check me and then said “well, I’m going to go call your Dr. right now because you are at 10 cm”. Well, Becky, my doula lives an hour away so we didn’t even call her thinking she wouldn’t make it on time and we were right. They were so busy that day they had to move me to a delivery room instead of a birthing room, that didn’t even have the heat on because they didn’t think they would need it. I laid there for a half hour waiting for my Dr. to arrive. She got there at 9:30 am, she broke my water, I had a 1 contraction and pushed and I remember the nurse saying I could take a break but I knew once I got the head out it would be cake so I just kept pushing. His head came out and on my next contraction I pushed the rest of him out. He was born at 9:43 am; Peri said “it’s a boy” and gave him to me right away. Gage Peri, named after our Dr. and friend that delivered both our boys entered the world as peaceful and naturally as his brother (although probably a bit colder). She waited again for quite a while before cutting the cord but not as long as we did with Kain as they wanted to get me out of that room. Again I was lucky enough I didn’t tear and had a completely natural birth. Just as he let out his first cry Leah walked into the room so we had no pictures of the birth of the baby that just couldn’t wait for us to meet him. My Mom still hadn’t made it. They moved us back to my other room and as they weighed him – 7# 6 oz. 20 inches long, my Mom ran into the room, turns out she had car trouble, she came over to me right away and I said it’s another boy to which my Mom cried “what another boy!” Dave thought she was pissed because it was another boy but it turns out she walked right by him and didn’t even see him, she was just upset she missed the birth. Peri had to go back to her office and again I got stuck with stupid nurses, they said his temperature was low so they took him to put him under a heat lamp. Of course had a I known then what I know now I would have put us skin to skin! And the worst was when my Dr. came back she even said they should have done this! Anyway, after his short stay under the lamp, he spent the rest of the day with us and took to nursing right away. Later my Mom brought Kain came up to the hospital to meet his little brother and I know they don’t say babies smile right after birth but all of us saw Gage smile for the first time when he heard Kain’s voice! After Kain and Gage got acquainted my mother-in-law took him back to her house. After work my Dr. came and checked us out and said we could leave that night so I did. We left the hospital at 7 pm, picked up Kain and were home by 8:00 pm that same night! I was grateful that I didn’t have to be at the hospital as long as I even did with Kain but I knew after this birth I couldn’t go back to the hospital. If I had only stayed home a little longer I probably would have had a homebirth with him! Aubriel Keith- Once Gage had reached the 15 months that Kain was when we discovered we were expecting our second baby we again started to think about when to add our third addition to our family. Both Dave and I had enjoyed having the two boys so close in age so we once again thought about trying for another baby. When Gage turned 18 months I found myself able to get pregnant again so we started trying right away for a baby girl. I had one cycle, started on Sept. 9 our wedding anniversary, and conceived right away! We found out in Oct. 2002 that we would be parents to three children. This time Dave had run out of excuses and at long last lost his battle with “managing” our children’s births. We were now living blocks from the hospitals, living in our own house, he had watched me give birth twice before with no complications of any kind and with the help of our Dr. she even recommended a home birth with as quickly as Gage came. In addition to this my friend and doula, Becky, was just finishing up school to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. I quickly got her on the phone to share with her our joy of having another baby and pick her brain about attending our baby’s birth in some way even if just as a doula again but would love for her to be our midwife. She told me she will only have one class left by my due date of June 16, 2003, so she would love to do the delivery if we were comfortable with it (like she needed to ask that!?) but can’t do the prenatal visits. Luckily since Peri, my Dr. believes so strongly in homebirths she agrees to do all my prenatal appointments. So with that set Becky asks a friend of hers, another midwife to attend the birth as well so she can use her equipment and this time I was SURE I wanted a water birth. Since I was due in the summer I had dreamed of an outdoor water birth but where we were living we were right on top of our neighbors with a very small back yard. But in the back of our house we had a beautiful sunroom with windows on three sides. I spent the next few months before my due date preparing everything; I ordered a pool and had it set up along with a futon made up as a bed next to the pool. I was so excited to finally be getting my home birth I had dreamed of for so long. I was due around an astrological cusp and hoped for a cancer baby, like Dave. I remember waking up on the morning of the 18th and thinking that I was in the clear I only had t

o get through two more days and I would have a cancer baby. I talked to my Mom that day and she told me her and my Dad were thinking of going to visit my brother that weekend and I asked her not to. I didn’t think I would have the baby anytime soon as I was 6 and 10 days over due with the others but I still felt like I needed her close. Lucky for me she decided to stay and not leave that night. Again just like with the boys all during my pregnancy I dreamt I was having a boy but this time it two weeks before but still to the day my daughter was born I dreamt I had a girl. I remember everything about it; I had a perfect water birth and remember her coming out with dark hair and round cheeks. I thought this odd at the time since my boys were both red heads and nothing on either of them was ever round. Sure enough I wake up Thursday, June 19 (which happens to be my Mom’s sister’s birthday and her daughter’s birthday as well) at 5:00 am with my first contraction. This time I only wait for one more and then woke up Dave. Taking no chances he has me call my midwife right away and she said she would get ready and come in, I also called my Mom and she comes over right away. My husband sits with me again and supports me during contractions so I can kneel or stand and I walk in between. I made myself a cup of tea and drank it while I waited for everyone to arrive. My Mom was first to get there this time even before either one of the midwives and feeling a little helpless Dave takes a break after she arrived to play video games for a while. He was so nervous but was wonderful throughout the process. Once we decided to go ahead with a home birth he supported me and the plans 100%. We waited until Becky got there before I filled the tub and I got in, to make sure I was progressing. As soon as it was full I got into the tub and I instantly felt better, it took so much pressure off of my contractions. My two year old, Gage, just kind of came and went as he pleased while my four year old, Kain, continued sleeping. I wanted Dave to get into the tub with me but he wouldn’t but he did sit right by the pool the whole time. It was perfect! When I felt like pushing I would and every once and a while I would lift my belly out so my midwife could check my baby’s heartbeat. Everything was going great. I asked about having my water broke since my Dr. had broke it each time before when I had my boys. Becky told me to push a little and it would probably break on its own. At one point I reached down and felt my bag of water. I yelled for my Mom that was in the kitchen making coffee for fear she would miss yet another birth even though she was right there for it. After another contraction I felt again and I could feel my baby’s head in the bag of water. I finally asked her to break it for me only because I knew it would alleviate some of the pressure. Becky likes to say she was in fact born “in caul” (believed that babies that are will have “second sight”) since her head was pretty much out when she did break my water, I gave one small push for her body and she was born at 9:00 am. Aubriel Keith entered our world in a peaceful medium; from her world of warm water that created her inside of me into warm water that surrounded both of us. Becky helped guide my hands to reach down and as I lifted her out of the water I held her close to my chest. It was amazing, she never even let out one cry, she took her first breathe without being suctioned and she pinked up right away and gazed up at me with her big blue eyes. I stared at her perfect little face with dark hair and big round cheeks, just as I had dreamt about, not even knowing if she was a boy or a girl, at that moment it mattered none. It was so peaceful for both of us and we loved just “being” together, it was as if both of us had just been born. Finally my Mom asked me what it was and I got to be the first to look and I cried out “it’s a girl” I loved that moment. Gage had come back in the room to meet his new baby sister. Then I got out and sat on the bed with her and she started to nurse right away. While I was nursing the placenta came out on its own, I ended up cutting her cord since Dave still wouldn’t (he didn’t with the other two either). They weighed her and measured her; she was 7# 6 oz, 19 inches long. I then dressed her in the same thing my Mother had dressed me in after my home birth. Then I gave her to my Mom and Dave helped me shower. My Mom went and woke up Kain so he could meet his new baby sister. Kain told everyone throughout my whole pregnancy he was getting a sister (although I never had one ultrasound with this pregnancy either) and he was going to name her Brianna, I think he called her Brianna for the first two weeks of her life. Dave ran out and got me lunch, we called everyone and told them of the news and the rest of the day we continued to have visitors coming and going. I loved everything about her birth! I never thought to video tape it as I expected it to be just like my hospital births but at home. It was and it wasn’t, physically it was, and the emotions that I felt for my children was not any different between any of my births but the emotions that went along with my labor and birth were indescribable. I felt such empowerment, such a peaceful calm over me, it was a spiritual event which I think anyone that experiences the birth of their child can agree with but having it all on your own terms and being able to listen to your inner voice and do what nature calls you do at that moment is like none other. I wish I would have video taped her birth but the feelings, images and experience will forever be a part of my soul. Knowing now, having gone through it I can truly appreciate my own birth and experience my mother had with me. I feel our relationship has come full circle and connection has been strengthened. In this experience I found what it is to be a woman and how extraordinary we are, not to simply be a mother in that demeaning term that gets thrown out there that we are just mothers but that we are spiritual beings that create life, that our bodies are specifically designed to transform nothing into something incredible, to care for it and deliver it from inside of us into this world. I believe in this moment of realization I went from just a mom to a “mother”; I looked at my daughter, the soon to be new maiden, I just experienced a rebirth along side her birth and could understand the journey of my mother that she had taken before me, now the crone and I knew in my soul that my days of creating life were not over. I was addicted to childbirth, I had fully embraced it, I discovered what I was meant to do and now when I had finally just found myself I could not say good-bye to it! I finally had my answer my original question when I found myself expecting Kain… it was not strength that brought my mother to a home birth it was truth and love, not only for me but for herself as well, I now know that truth to be my own. The truth of what we are as mothers… as women! Brodric Becket – I was due Oct. 21st but I was over due with all of my other kids so I expected to be with this one as well. I wake up on Sunday Oct. 2nd and told my husband I dreamt about having a boy but remember nothing about the birth except that it left me with an awful feeling so I didn’t think it was “the dream” I had with all the other kids. After that I had two more dreams; one that I had a girl and one that I had twins, a boy and a girl and in both of them I dreamt that I delivered before my midwife could get there and never in the water like I was planning. These dreams left me thinking I would have no time with this baby. Thursday Oct. 13th at about 9 pm I started with regular contractions, even though they were 10 – 15 minutes apart and hardly even noticeable we still decided to call my midwife, Becky, just incase this was it. She arrived at about 11 pm. I never had false labor with the other kids so I thought this would continue to progress. That night at about 1 am we decided to get some sleep just incase they continued my midwife felt more comfortab

le spending the night because she felt if things got going she would not have enough time to come back. Well morning came and my contractions had stopped. I felt so awful for calling everyone and having them come over for nothing. The next night at about 9 pm the same thing started, thinking I should get some sleep I went to bed and figured they would either get worse and wake me up or they would stop. They stopped and by morning I wasn’t having any. I was happy about this because it was now Sat. Oct. 15th and we had a busy day. Dave brought Gage to skating and when they got back Kain and I went to his football game. Dave stayed home to get ready for our party. We had planned a baby shower of sorts for our newest addition. Since we already had all the baby stuff we needed we had everyone come over and make a stepping stone for our new garden we were planning for the kids. Aubriel and the new baby would have their placentas planted with a bush and we would place a lock of hair from the other two kids with theirs and surround them with the stones made by our friends and family. We got home and the party went great! I was happy I made it through the party without any signs of baby coming. That night again about 9 pm my contractions started just as they had been. Feeling very tired from the day I decided to turn in early at about 10. Aubriel was up at about 11:30 and Dave was trying to get her back to sleep but she was having an awful time trying to fall asleep. She kept tossing and turning and crying. So much so I was even getting worried that she was maybe sick or something. During this time my contractions had started again this time coming closer together. Finally at about midnight Aubriel went back to sleep and Dave laid her down in her bed. We timed my contractions and they were about 5 minutes apart so we again called my midwife. She decided she should come over and check and at least see how I was doing. I called my Mom after I got off the phone with her. Dave called his step-sister, Leah and his cousin Madeline. I went down stairs and sat on the couch for a while, since it felt better to sit up than lay down. Dave wanted me to wait on walking around until it got a little closer to when Becky should arrive, she was an hour away. Leah and her husband Eric were the first to arrive. Leah made me a cup of tea and they sat and talked with us. I talked in between contractions and breathed through them when I had one. Then my Mom and Dad arrived next and I started walking around since it felt better to keep moving. My Mom would stand with me during my contractions. They were becoming stronger and I felt like I wanted to get in the tub but wanted to wait until Becky could check me first to be sure I was past 5 cm. Dave filled the tub so it would be ready when she got there. Becky arrived at about 1:30 am. She went upstairs and got her supplies out and ready. Then at about 1:45 am she checked me and I was at 9 cm! After that I got in the tub to labor some more. It felt so much better once I got in the water. Aubriel woke up soon after I got in the tub. They tried waking up the boys a few times during my labor but couldn’t. I labored on my hands and knees for quite a while breathing through my contractions when they would come. Dave would rub my back during a contraction and Becky would rub my shoulders and head. Then I laid back and stretched out my legs as they were starting to fall asleep. I was pushing during each contraction now and they seemed to last longer and be much stronger. I then had to move back to my hands and knees. I knew it wouldn’t be too much longer now so I asked that they try to wake up the boys again as I didn’t want them to miss it. They woke up and came into the bathroom. Kain took one look and saw no baby so he went back to bed. Gage stayed close by though. During each contraction he came closer to see if he could see the baby yet or not. Then Kain decided to come back in and watch although not as closely as Gage. Aubriel was sitting on my Mom’s lap in the doorway of the bathroom. I probably could have had the baby within minutes of Becky arriving but I was determined to “actually” have this baby in caul. I could feel the bag of water but not the head. I was a little discouraged by this as with my daughter even though she was in her bag of water her head was right there. I was feeling like I couldn’t really continue so I thought about having my water broke. I was hoping to do it without breaking my water but I knew the head was right there and it would come much sooner if the water was broke. After a few more contractions I knew the head came down even more and it was even painful when I wasn’t having a contraction so I decided to have Becky break my water. I went back and forth with this for a while but I finally decided that I was too worn out to keep going as I was. She broke my water at 2:54 am and a minute later he was born at 2:55 am. I pushed his head and one shoulder out right away. I then reached down for him, thinking I am sure his head is out but it didn’t quite feel like it. Then Becky told me to push again and get his other shoulder out. Once I did that he came right out and I reached down for him. He let out a little cry as he came out of the water but stopped right away when he reached my chest. I looked at him and thought right away he looks like Gage (and thought his name should be Brogan but never said anything as we had planned to name him Daman). Then my oldest son Kain came closer to see what it was. He announced to everyone, “It’s a Boy”. I sat there in the warm water looking at my new little man with all of my children and husband looking on. I knew it had been a beautiful birth but still felt disappointed in myself for some reason. I had felt like I had done better with my daughter’s birth. He did kind of come out sideways and because of his large shoulders my midwife thought that maybe he was bigger than my other babies. After a while I got out of the tub and sat on the toilet, which is when the placenta came out. My son Gage came in to cut the cord with Daddy’s help. Gage took the first cut and some blood came out, he said “gross blood” and ran away leaving Dad to finish the job. This was the first cord Dave cut! I then got cleaned up and went and sat in bed with Daman. He weighed in at only 7# even and 19 inches long, my smallest baby yet! Dave put the other kids back to bed while Becky checked me, not even a tear. I felt great and was told I looked great too. I think we settled into bed at about 6 am. I was up early and I think my lack of sleep has been a big part of what I think is post pardom depression. Two weeks after Daman was born we decided to change his name. He spent another two weeks simply being “lil Bro” until we decided on Brodric Becket or Brody for short, although many times he continues to just be lil Bro. Even with as well as my first two hospital births went compared to many that I hear and I loved my Dr. they don’t even compare to my homebirths! I loved everything about being at home to have my babies and wish now that they all could have been born into the surroundings of “us”. Weeks later my 6 year old came to me and told me that when I had his new baby brother he felt like he was going to cry. My first thought was “oh no he was scared and he never said anything”. Fearing I scared my child for life I asked him “why?” his response was beyond what I ever imagined. He told me “when I saw Brody being born my heart filled up with so much love it made me want to cry, has this ever happened to you mom?” I knew then I did everything right. The newest member of our family was born to all of us and this way they knew it. Mom and Dad did not leave together for the others to stay behind with Grandma and Grandpa and return with a new little stranger, they were there to welcome him into our family the same way my husband and I did, into “our” home, he was surrounded by love and my other children knew they were a part of that love. Yes, my heart has been so full of love it made me want to cry… every time I have watched a

new live enter the world through me!