Bethany's Birth Story | Grand Rapids Birth Photographer

Bethany's home birth was so special to witness and photograph. It was a healing birth experience for her, after having two cesarean births and a hospital VBAC. Bethany wrote her birth story, and shared it with me. Reading her story after seeing it all unfold before my eyes and through my lens was a privilege. I share it here now, with her permission, in hopes that it is also meaningful to you.

"I started having early labor the night of Tuesday, Oct 10 but it wasn't very consistent. This prodromal labor lasted all throughout the next day and night and though it was two weeks before my due date and I didn't feel ready, I knew that it would be soon. After having been up all night with contractions unable to sleep for the second night in a row, I had Nick call into work that morning because I really felt the baby was coming that day. 

We woke up the kids and told them Grandma was picking them up soon and the baby was coming. They were surprised since he wasn't due until the 26th, but they were very excited. I spent the morning texting my midwife Jen with updates, and Nick did last minute things around the house to get ready.

Jen checked on me around noon and my contractions had started to space out, so she said it might be a little while yet and to get some rest. She said I could get in the pool, but it might make labor stop altogether. Around 1:00pm I decided to go ahead and get in the pool, it felt wonderful and actually made my labor kick into full gear, possibly because of how relaxed I was. I loved the pool, but just hated having to get in and out so often to pee! I had forgotten how much you have to go to the bathroom in labor.

I had a worship playlist on and was meditating on scripture in between contractions and doing lots of praying. I was so excited, but I freaked out a little with my third baby and didn't want to let any of that fear in this time. By 2:30pm, I felt pretty sure that I was in transition and said I needed more support. So Jen said they would start heading over soon. I can't remember what time everyone showed up but I believe it was around 3:00/3:30pm. 

As things intensified, I needed Nick to hold my hand during contractions and he and the midwives were putting cold washcloths on the back of my neck which felt great. At some point Teresa asked me if I'd like some counter pressure on my lower back - she would do that during the contractions which felt great. I never once said "I can't do this," and I really believe the Lord gave me supernatural peace to get through those hardest parts. I just kept asking for the strength to get through one more, and taking it one at a time really helped. I remember thinking "I don't know how much longer I can do this," but I just kept praying through. I remember when Jen or Teresa would try to listen with the doppler to the baby and I would swat them away because I just didn't want to be touched, haha!

I started pushing at 4:09pm and it was so intense. But I like this part better because instead of just enduring through it, you get to do something and work with your body - having something to do really helps get through it, plus the urge to push is just so strong. My water broke as I was pushing and it had meconium in it. Nick had planned to catch the baby but I was pushing fast and just needed him to stay where he was, holding my hand. He couldn't believe the baby was so close to coming because I hadn't freaked out enough or been yelling or crying yet. Pushing the baby's head out was a crazy sensation, but once his whole body came out it was the most amazing feeling. I had labored on my knees leaning over the tub the whole time and Jen caught him between my legs. I quickly sat back and she told me to reach down and grab my baby. Emmett Jacob was born at 4:14pm.

Pulling that sweet little wet body up to mine was incredible. I was so exhausted, but amazed at what had just happened. He was just the sweetest little guy ever and I was instantly in love. I just kept saying, "Thank you Jesus!" And "I can't believe I just did that!" We stayed in the tub getting to know each other for awhile before getting out and cleaned up. It was a magical precious time, I remember his sweet little face looking up at me for the first time and it's like you already know each other so well but you're finally meeting. It's the best moment.

Being at home with the support of my husband and birth team was a wonderful experience and I'd never want to do it any other way. Emmett was 6 pounds 10 ounces and 20 inches long. My early labor was very long, but active labor was about 3 hours and I only pushed for 9 minutes!"

Attending Midwives

Jennifer Holshoe, CPM from West Michigan Midwifery and apprentice Jenn DeWaard

Teresa Cramer, CPM from River Birch Midwifery