Calvin’s birth (home birth – 4th VBAC)

On Wednesday, March 6, 2013, I began having contractions that became more consistent, unlike the previous few days. I called my mother to come over and stay so that, in the event something went wrong and we had to go to hospital, someone would be there with the kids.

The morning of March 7, I awoke around 7-ish, definitely in labor. Thankfully, I’d been able to sleep most of the night, although the more we moved into morning, the more intense things were becoming.

Ceili Fey and Henry, camping out in the hallway, awaiting Calvin's arrival
Ceili Fey and Henry, camping out in the hallway, awaiting Calvin’s arrival
Noah dressed up to meet his new brother.
Noah dressed up to meet his new brother.

For some reason, wires got crossed and my mom thought she wasn’t needed so she headed home. I’m still not sure how that happened as I thought I’d made it quite clear the night before that things were really beginning to happen. I phoned her to see why she left, and she told me she was on her way back. It seems that my oldest sister had seen the post I made on Facebook to announce to everyone that labor had officially begun so she excitedly called our mother. Upon learning that things were really happening, my mother turned around and came back.

I spent the next couple hours laboring, until, somewhere around 9, we opted to call Penny, our (Certified Nurse) Midwife. She and her birth crew (Gretchen and Jan) packed up their gear and headed our way, and not a moment too soon, either.

As they were arriving, I took a shower to ease some of the labor pain – water feels wonderful during labor! I had really hoped for a water birth as I had with Henry, but there was much concern about the floors in our apartment (in a very old building) not being able to hold the weight. The shower definitely helped, though.

When I came back into the bedroom, Penny wanted to listen to the baby, so I laid back on the bed.

Next thing I knew, I heard and felt a pop and then a gush! as my water broke. All over the bed. There was meconium in the water and, boy, was it green!

No one was expecting that to happen, so the bed had not been fully prepped at that point. I had to get up and go wash off while everyone did their best to clean and cover the mattress.

I put some water in the tub because the idea of standing in the shower just didn’t quite suit me. I continued to sit in the tub for a bit. Jan asked me if I wanted to birth in the tub. I recall thinking about it for a moment, then decided I was feeling somewhat claustrophobic.

Shortly afterward, I returned to our bedroom.

Even when the contractions are serious business, there are breaks in between.

At this point, Penny decided I needed to receive the IV antibiotics we had previously discussed – I had tested positive for GBS (Group Beta Strep) at one point during pregnancy.

Now, bear in mind that, when in labor, the last thing I want is to be poked and prodded. I cannot stand for anything – excluding people – to touch me. It wasn’t too long before I was ready to rip the IV out! but I didn’t, I was good. πŸ˜‰ I had discussed with Penny beforehand how I did not want a hep lock in place. I was fine with her just poking my vein as many times as it took, provided that the needle came out the moment she was finished.

Counting down the moments ’til the IV can come out!

That IV wasn’t done fast enough for me. I swear, I was almost to the point of crying. I also felt very bad because – and I think this was due to all the meconium – Gretchen kept putting the doppler on my belly to listen to the baby. I kept asking her to stop. I’m pretty sure I remember whining – yes, actually whining! – about both the doppler and the IV. *insert embarrassed face here*

I’d been feeling a little “pushy” but I believe it was very nearly the moment that needle came out, I was ready to really push. I couldn’t seem to find a comfortable spot. I had been standing next to the bed, sometimes leaning over on the bed, but this time I got up on the bed on my hands and knees. I was rocking back and forth and trying to push. I remember feeling as though the baby was stuck. I kept pushing as I felt the urge, but it felt as though nothing was happening. I would later learn that, for whatever reason, Calvin had not descended rapidly as babies normally do, so when I first started pushing, he still had a long way to go. Penny, Gretchen, and Jan kept assuring me that he was not stuck, but boy, did it feel like it!


After what truly felt like forever, I pushed and felt him starting to come out. I felt the so-called “ring of fire” and knew we were finally getting somewhere. I pushed a couple of times through this, then, even though I knew he wasn’t fully out yet, completely lost the urge to push. I kept waiting for it to come back, but it didn’t. All the while, I’m being urged to push. I just kept saying, “I can’t!” which resulted in everyone telling me “You can!” which, admittedly, was a bit frustrating because, physically, I couldn’t just then. Poor Calvin was stuck partway out while I willed myself to push.


I’m not certain what changed, but at last, I felt one last urge to push! At a few minutes after 10, Calvin popped out, onto the bed.

Almost out!
Almost out!

As I was scrambling to climb backwards over him to scoop him up, Penny told me to stop! but by that point, I was already in motion. I was later told that the cord was wrapped around his neck and Penny was trying to remove it.


I stated to scoop him up – although, he was so very slippery, I actually dropped him back on the bed. Luckily, it wasn’t much of a drop at all – just a few centimeters – but just enough to make me feel awful in that moment. I succeeded in scooping him up the next time. πŸ˜‰

On his way out, he had more meconium, so Gretchen suctioned him a bit to remove it.

Gretchen suctioning the meconium from Calvin.

As I was holding Calvin in my arms, and looking at him, I realized he was not breathing. I’m not sure if I noticed this first or if Penny did but she immediately began talking to him, telling him to breathe. At this point, I was starting to panic. I started rubbing him – I think Penny did, too – and continued to panic. I’m a bit embarrassed that I was so panicky instead of thinking more clearly but I think, at that point, it was a bit of PTSD kicking in. The only thing I could think of was losing another child! Thankfully, Calvin began to breathe. I realize that this all happened in mere seconds, but it felt like an eternity.

Penny, telling Calvin to breathe.
Penny, telling Calvin to breathe.


After that, everyone started coming in to meet Calvin Elias.

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Ceili Fey came in right away. Noah and Henry were more standoffish. They didn’t care to be photographed with their new brother.

Henry, no longer the youngest.



Soon came time for weight. Drumroll, please!


Calvin Elias weighed in at 11 pounds 11 ounces.

He didn’t look as though he was over 11 pounds!

He checked out okay. No issues.

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All his fingers and toes.

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So beautiful and so perfect!!


While I was getting cleaned up, Jon had some one-on-one time with baby Calvin. I love these pictures!



We (Calvin and I) did have a bit of an issue with breastfeeding for the first few days. I was having excruciating pain whenever I breastfed him. I was perplexed because he seemed to have a good latch and he was definitely getting milk, it was just so very painful. Luckily, Penny is a Lactation Consultant. She actually came to us and observed and then pointed out the problem. It seems that, when Calvin was awaiting my last push, his shoulder and neck might have been made somewhat sore by the length of time he was partway out and that really opening up to breastfeed could be actually causing him pain. She said it was that or, he could be a lazy baby because she’s seen those, too. After things cleared up in a couple of days, I’m pretty sure that it was because he was sore. Otherwise, I think we’d still be having the issue. πŸ˜‰

I am so grateful for Penny because, had it not been for her, I’m not sure how long I could have continued breastfeeding at that rate. I was crying every time I had to feed him. But things are 100% better now. He latches – and eats – like a champ, every time.

With our newest addition

Calvin continues to gain weight and grow as he should.

We’re so excited to have him. Noah warmed up to him right away, Henry is getting there. Noah and Henry constantly kiss and hug him. Ceili Fey frequently requests to hold him.

I know that the wait seemed so long (almost 42 weeks!), but it was all worth it.

Extra special thanks to Lillie Weihe for photographing Calvin’s birth!

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