The Average Length of Pregnancy

We have three stacks of pancakes: stack one with eight pancakes, stack two with three, and stack four with four pancakes. There are 15 pancakes in all. If we rearrange the pancakes to have an equal number in each stack, we get five in each stack. Upon doing so, five is thus the average number of pancakes in each stack.
 
With this logic in pregnancy, we take three women: one who goes 38wks into her pregnancy before giving birth, one who goes 40wks into her pregnancy, and one who goes 43wks into her pregnancy before giving birth. There are 121wks total among the three women. If we arrange the weeks to have an equal number in each pregnancy, we get 41wks for each woman. Upon doing so, 41wks is the average number of weeks a woman would go into her pregnancy before giving birth to her baby…
 
Except pregnancy doesn’t work like that because 41wks might be the average length of a pregnancy until one reaches full term, but it doesn’t mean it’s for every woman. Due dates are calculated around this illogical idea of the average length of pregnancy and thus creates an already difficult journey to feeling like one is expired when truly, their baby is exactly where they should be (except for exceptional cases, of course) and their pregnancy is not yet to the end. As such, there is no such thing as going “late” or “too long” in a pregnancy. One can only reach their own very unique and personal full term with each individual pregnancy and each individual woman. 
Women and pregnancies aren’t pancakes. We’re a lot more amazing than that. 😉

A Word From the Admin

The main goal here at Free Pregnancy and Freebirth is to arm men and women with information to make educated choices about health, pregnancy, and birth. Pregnancy and birth is not predictable, and as such, it’s important to understand the body, how to care for it, and the dynamics of birth to encourage a safe and empowering experience. Keeping the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual states of the mother, father, and baby in mind all factor into this experience.

We support the desire of men and women who feel more comfortable with assistance that includes chiropractic, midwifery, naturopathic, or obstetric care. It is not our goal to ostracize the medical community. There are scenarios when the need for urgent care arises, and that should be the only time interventions take place. For this, we are thankful for those in the medical community who seek to serve, educate, and empower families in their pregnancy and birthing journey, and take on the life-saving tasks when it’s a true need.

Freebirth is not a desire to risk or endanger the lives of babies or women. It’s a calculated and educated choice with the desire to be free to birth as it was designed and to be free to seek help if and/or when it’s needed. Emergency cesarean sections are a gift, only when they are necessary. The decision to move onto a cesarean section should not be taken lightly if a woman would rather give birth vaginally. In order for that to happen, interventions should only take place if there is a need. Routine practices and liability concerns are not needs.

There is a known truth in our culture and it’s not that ‘labor is hard’ or that ‘women are strong’. It’s that men and women are intelligent and capable of making choices for themselves that is in the best interest of their families; it’s that they are the protector, provider, and parent and will seek help when they need it for their babies. It is never okay to ignore that truth, no matter whether one deems themselves in a position of authority. Even if anyone had authority over the woman and what she feels led to do in birth, good leadership comes when you consider the benefits that everyone brings to the team. This includes the woman’s knowledge of her own body, her compassion for her baby, and the wisdom she has in how to address any situation involving her family.

Here at Free Pregnancy and Freebirth, we believe women are designed to bear, nurture, and bring forth life. We believe that both men and women should be cared for while during this transition of welcoming their new baby into their arms. We believe that birth is not a medical event. We believe that birth is beautiful.

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Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#6

Fourth UP/UC, Second Son (Sixth Child) born on 12/25/2015!

We were so thrilled to learn that we were expecting our sixth child on April 4th 2015! I had no clue I was pregnant but took the test just for fun. We shared the news with our friends and family after surprising the kids with the news. It was a lot of fun to see the expressions on my kids’ faces and to hear everyone we told be excited with us. Here is the video of us telling the kids:

I determined by what information I had that I was due around December 5th. The pregnancy was full of emotional healing and growth from other  events in my life as we enjoyed doing my own care ourselves. The pregnancy went very fast for the most part and I enjoyed watching my belly grow.

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Once I reached 38wks pregnant, I began to get a bit antsy but was determined to continue trusting in the Lord and allowing my body and my baby to do what was needed to prepare us for the day our newest blessing would be in our arms.

The following weeks leading up to the birth were a mix of high spirits and meltdowns. I did my best to stay positive and had an amazing support system surrounding me who were compassionate and understanding, yet helped me focus on the benefits of being patient and laying my life down for my child(ren). I can’t say I didn’t have bouts of fear, but I can say that knowledge and wisdom, and most of all God’s peace, overcame each of those bouts.

At 42 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I woke up to a very strong and sharp pain and an intense contraction followed. In hindsight, I realize that the baby flipped from posterior to anterior. From there, active labor began.

The night before that however, I had a mini freak out. I told my husband that maybe we should head to the ER and get an ultrasound just to be safe that baby can in fact be born. He had not engaged in my pelvis, I wasn’t dilating nor effacing, and he kept floating in my uterus. He was still moving, so we knew all was well, and the Lord constantly spoke to me through those last few weeks, reminding me that He is near and that all was well. It was a walk of trust and faith that pushed me to my ultimate limit. My husband reminded me of all these things about the Lord and he encouraged me to rest and prayed over me and the baby, for our protection and for the Lord to lead our steps in wisdom and prompting.

As I slept through the night, I dreamt of a rural community that was united and loving and each person came to me and encouraged me and helped me to push the baby. I woke up with contractions that were more intense than they had been but still not engaging the babe. I practiced bearing down and moving my hips around with each contraction and I heard the Lord tell me that the people in the dream were all the people who were praying for us. I asked the Lord what I should do and I felt led to rest. I prayed hard that He would continue to lead me…

When I awoke the next morning to that strong pain, at 7:45am, it was sudden and I startled my husband awake. Contractions were 3-5mins apart and really strong. We began to prepare that this was it. From 8-9am, I sat on the ball and rotated my hips and felt lots of pressure with each contraction. I got very hopeful that baby was finally able to engage and was coming down. At 9am I got into the tub and the contractions got even stronger but I got a bit of relief from floating… but then it got to be too much.

When I got out of the tub, I was a bit discouraged because I checked to see if any dilation had occurred. Baby was still high, no dilation or effacement had occurred but thankfully there was a bit of bloody show to indicate that the baby was coming within the day or two. I got back in bed around 9:30 or 10 and continued working through the contractions that were now 1-3mins apart and lasting over a minute long. My husband was amazing, we watched the show American Pickers on his phone in between contractions (or I rested) and when each contraction came, he tracked each one and told me how much longer I had to go… I listened to his voice as he said, “20 more seconds babe, you’re doing great. These are doing great work. 10 more seconds… and 5 and then it’s going to start coming down. You’re doing great. Great job babe. 2 more seconds…”

11:15 came and I felt the need to pee so I went to the bathroom. I couldn’t go at first and was overwhelmed at the intensity of the contraction that came next. My husband could tell the time was coming because I began bearing down with the contraction and he encouraged me to come to bed, but I couldn’t… I was staying in the bathroom. haha I checked my dilation and while my cervix was low, I was completely closed and not effaced. I became concerned about the fact that my body was pushing. I told my husband that I can’t push because I could tear through. He reassured me to listen to my body and relax, that God was in this and I can do this. I listened and focused on doing what felt right and didn’t rush or fight it. I couldn’t stop the sensation to bear down. I pushed hard but tried to go slowly and I felt my cervix opening as the baby’s head pushed through it. I told him the head is coming…

I never fully dilated nor did I fully efface. The baby came out in the anterior position and flew out with just one swift push, so fast I nearly dropped him on the floor. At the same moment, because I was standing and the cord was short, the cord snapped and blood went ev.er.y.where. LOL On the walls, all over the toilet and floor, all over the baby and I. We were in shock as all the kids swarmed the doorway. I looked and saw he was a boy… we were all so elated and crying. He was HERE!

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11:30am, December 25th, 2015, approximately 7lbs, dark brown hair, and the most content and peaceful baby I’ve ever seen. He didn’t have any vernix on his body so I wiped him down and I sat back on the toilet. Within minutes I felt my placenta coming and it accidentally plopped in the toilet. haha We marveled at the newest member of our family as the kids cried and laughed and expressed how cute and little he was and that they had a new brother. About a half hour later, I got into bed and I nursed him. After he was settled in and cozy, we tied the cord that was now cold, white, and limp, and trimmed it down. From the moment I woke up to the moment he was born was a little over 3½ hours.

We are so in love… and as I’ve said to him, many times now, it really was worth it… all that waiting and difficulty surprisingly was all worth it… to be holding him and knowing him… I can now say I have sons along with our daughters. When I had my second daughter and could say daughters instead of just daughter… sisters… it was such a sweet moment! And now I can say boys, sons, and BROTHERS! ❤ We are so blessed…. 6 children! Unbelievable. I would never have known that this would be our life, 12 years ago when we made our vows to share our lives together in the will of the Lord…. but it’s full and blessed and enriching. I’ll take all the difficult and challenging for this beauty I get to live with these beautiful little people to share it with. ❤

<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#3: Christopher Thomas>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#4: Kathryn Martha>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#5: Kimberlyn Mariann>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#6: Craeghar Timothy>>

Pregnancy & Birth Truths

In a culture where birth has turned into something quite medicalized, I’ve been pondering the different beliefs that are circulating about labor and birth. So I thought I’d throw something together with some information. Please feel free to share more topics in the comments that I can touch on and I’ll make a second post! 🙂

1. ) First, let’s address our “EDD”. This is our, estimated due date, and determines a general date around which we can expect the baby. However, what is often not shared is the commonality of women giving birth up to 5wks before or after that date (check out the info here)! While many have come to believe 40wks is the time that which a baby must be born, it’s actually the average time frame of when a woman gives birth. This date is determined by last menstrual cycle, however many women’s cycles vary! Women can have a cycle from anywhere between 20 days and 45 days, however, most doctors automatically determine the 40wk mark by a 28 day cycle. So, not only could the 40wk mark be off due to the cycle calculations, one may not even give birth to their babies at 40wks! Try and picture the math for a moment:

If a woman cycled at 20 days and her last period was on August 4th, her 40wk mark would be May 1st.
Compare that to a woman who cycles at 45 days and her 40wk mark lands on May 26th.
That’s a full 25 day difference!
Add to that a woman who naturally delivers around 42 weeks, she’d give birth on June 9th.

A woman with a 28 day cycle would be due on May 9th. If one were to consider induction at 36-38wks based on this 28 day cycle (what many believe to be considered “full term”), the dates would be between April 11-25th! That would be nearly two months premature!! Two months!

2. ) And so the transition into induction: The belief is that inductions carry little to no risk. A medically induced labor is the use of synthetic drugs in order to trigger labor and acts much like a spontaneous labor. However, what’s actually happening is quite different. The drug, Pitocin for instance, mimics that of the hormone Oxytocin (what your body naturally releases to initiate labor). Pitocin however does not take into consideration what the body as a whole needs and is a constant drip, whereas the communicators in the body determine how much and how often Oxytocin should be released. Therefore, the drugs cause more intense labor than the body is built for and at a pace the laboring woman has a difficult time keeping up with. For a VBAC, this can be especially dangerous because it can put added stress on the previously made cesarean scar and in some cases lead to uterine rupture. This includes what some deem as “natural inductions” because it is still pushing the body harder and encourages it to go farther than what the body knows it is capable of. However, even for a birth without prior c-sections, this can still lead to pain medication and other interventions.

3. ) Pain management: Epidural, Demerol, Staidol, etc. are all synthetic drugs to aid in pain management in hospitals. However, while they may manage pain, there are lots of side effects to be aware of. Each of these can minimize the ability to work with your body as labor progresses. I personally used Staidol while in labor with my second child and I felt completely out of control. I could not stay awake, I couldn’t communicate with my husband, I found it difficult to make my body push… I could barely function. I threw up all over myself and I had to lay in it until my baby was born 2 hours later. You know that feeling when you’re falling asleep at the wheel and you wake up suddenly and panic because you realize you’re falling asleep while driving? That’s how it felt with each contraction at one minute apart…. for at least 2½ hours. As each contraction came, I woke up in a panic, confused. I have found in my 4 other births that I did not use pain killers, that I was able to focus, have clarity of mind, communicate what I needed and wanted, work with my body, move around, and most importantly, remain calm.

From research and from my own experience, I’ve found that these drugs will completely alter how a woman will instinctively behave while in labor. A progressive labor then turns into an active mission because your mind and body are no longer able to work together – either the mind is foggy from the drugs, or your body is numb from the drugs, or both. You now have to help your body bring the baby down the birth canal through encouraging certain movements rather than allowing natural instinct to come into play. For the epidural, that also means not being able to move around like one may need or desire to do if not medicated.

4. ) Laying on your back: Also called Lithotomy (flat-on-back) or C-position (resting on tailbone with body curled in the shape of a C) are the most used birth positions in hospitals. They are almost solely used for the purpose of convenience for the doctors and rarely because the woman has preferred that position. Not only are these positions often the least comfortable to labor in, they can actually hinder the laboring process. It results in reducing the pelvic outlet up to 30% smaller and puts greater pressure on the perineum (which can thus lead to tearing, episiotomy, forceps delivery, or vacuum extraction). It also can decrease the fetal heart rate and other types of distress leading to continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM), increased risk of shoulder dystocia, problems with presentation, or a prolonged pushing phase. There is no need for a woman’s legs to be held back and can in fact lead to putting lots of unnecessary stress on the perineum which in turn could also lead to tearing.

5. ) Electronic Fetal Monitoring (EFM) also known as the non-stress test (NST): This is a machine that measures both the fetal heart rate and the uterine contractions at the same time and was invented by Orvan Hess and Edward Hon. It was introduced to make a reduction in cerebral palsy which has essentially been proven to have made no progress (the rates have remained the same for the past 30+ years). The EFM became universally used in the US, it has been linked to dependence on the machine, and thus has led to increased misdiagnoses of fetal distress and increased (and often unnecessary) cesarean deliveries. That being said, often, any varying combination of pitocin, pain medication, and the lithotomy position can cause such distress and thus lead to a now necessary cesarean delivery.

Our Freebirthing Journey

What led my family to the decision to pursue self-prenatal care and planned homebirths without a midwife? Well, it’s not something we can really explain in the depth of where it started and emerged to the surface, but here is a general idea of one family’s journey. Trigger warning, I share my hospital birth experiences. ♥ If you prefer to instead just read our freebirth stories, you can find them here: Our First UC, Our Second UCOur Third UC, and Our Fourth UC.

The journey to freebirth began for my husband and I well before the story begins, but I’ll start from the morning we discovered we were pregnant with out first child. We were so very excited and embraced the idea of not rushing to the hospital for “what if’s” and “just in case’s”. We knew the Lord as the great Physician and trusted Him.

However, after 20 weeks we fell to the pressures of the few of those around us who were concerned (they felt we needed a plan B in case our plan to trust God was more like testing Him). Looking back, that sounds silly… but we went to see the OB. After numerous doctors’ visits, several unnecessary tests, 5 pointless ultrasounds, and needless worry about the size of our baby, we finally got to hold our 7½lb sweet little girl in our arms.

My labor with her was amazing. I didn’t even know that it was “it” when the contractions were coming. I walked around, enjoyed conversation with family, and then as they started to become what seemed to be “unbearable” we left for the hospital. They were 1 minute apart but slowed down when we got to the hospital. They told me that I was already 6 cm dilated, even still, at 7-8cm dilated my doctor felt things weren’t progressing fast enough so she wanted to break my waters. It was what I had seen to be normal in the birth stories and videos I researched beforehand and I was very excited to meet our little girl so I agreed. As time progressed, I found myself in transition, saying the famous “I can’t” like they said I would and in my head I knew she was coming soon. We had a healthy baby girl just moments later. From the moment I got to the hospital until she was born, the amount of time was a little over 3 hours.

Once the time came where we believed we were pregnant with our second, and confirmed our suspicions, we were so excited. Upon request of our OB, we started the doctors visits at 12 weeks. My pregnancy was longer than I could’ve imagined and quite impersonal. Again, numerous doctors’ visits, several unnecessary tests, doctors not believing me when I said something was wrong (and then being prescribed a dangerous treatment that causes miscarriages for the infection I had), 5 more completely pointless ultrasounds, requests for more in order to put her on antibiotics fore the next 5 years of her life (and an angry doctor when I refused both), and needless worry about her size… let’s just say, I found myself quite impatient near the end. A week before my due date I ate raw licorice, something claimed to be a “natural inducer” and tried to get things going. I believe I did just that, but before my litte girl was ready. For the next week I had strong contractions getting her engaged into my pelvis (and perhaps trying to turn her from a posterior position- but to no avail).

The morning before she came (right on her original due date), I awoke to painful and unbearable contractions. I timed them and when I could no longer take them any longer, we headed to the hospital. The contractions were the worst, most painful thing I had ever experienced. We arrived at the hospital for them to inform me that I was 7 cm dilated. “Praise God!” I thought. This was it! The contractions were right on top of each other, I was 7cm dilated, it wouldn’t be much longer! However, I was in soo much pain… I cried and I screamed in pain and begged for something to ease it… and taking that medication will be another one of the many things I regret doing during her pregnancy/delivery/postpartum care.

I threw up all over myself, fell asleep between contractions and had no control over my body. I was a slug and felt completely out of it. After several hours of long hard pushing, my 7½lb daughter (who was in posterior position) finally entered the world and was placed in my arms. Due to the stress of labor however, she was born with a hole in her lung and they wisked her away and she was hooked up to machines and she was also given several x-rays while my husband was not allowed to hold her hand. He was barely allowed to touch her afterward as well…

Thankfully, the hole in her lung healed very quickly… but the bonding time was already effected.

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I struggled with my emotional attachment to her but it wouldn’t be for several months that I’d realize I was suffering from postpartum depression from the traumatic experience of birth. Despite that, my sweet little girl brought such joy in our lives and has changed me in ways I couldn’t begin to list. ❤

We began educating ourselves on limiting doctors’ visits and the possibility of a home birth. We concluded that we desire to have the intimacy of new beginnings to be shared with each other – without the distractions, concerns, fears, demands, probing, and constant reminder of “how LONG” pregnancy is. We wanted to enjoy every moment and embrace each as God’s perfect timing. We wanted to surround ourselves with people who would inspire us to be healthy, happy, and trusting in Jesus. We wanted to experience faith, freedom, and serenity. And we have!

When my second daughter was around 15mos old, we were blessed with another little love and were so excited! This time however, we decided to look for a midwife but couldn’t find one who didn’t have legal restrictions that limited their ability to avoid interventions. As time progressed, we learned more and became more comfortable with the idea of freebirth and decided that was what we’d pursue.

I experienced several weeks of prodromal labor and I began to dilate 2-3cm by August 2nd and to 5cm and back to 3cm by August 5th. Tired, I joked that I’d never have this baby and the Lord put Isaiah 66:9 on my heart and I laughed and continued to rest in His timing.

My water broke! And 30 minutes later, before I had time to move to the daybed, surely before I’d have had time to get things together to get to the hospital and certainly before a midwife would have made it, our first son was born into my husbands hands – right there, on the bathroom floor. We laughed, we cried, we ooh’d and we ahhh’d, and we had the girls come and meet their brother. It was a BEAUTIFUL experience; raw, real, personal, and fun. No poking, no suggestions, no tests, no monitors… We were immediately made comfortable and got plenty of rest that night.

After our first two experiences with pregnancy and birth we saw impatience and dread encompassing much of it, and with our third, it was very very different. We were so thankful for our joyful, healthy, safe, and exciting home birth in patience and love.

When I was pregnant with my 4th child (pursuing my second freebirth/UC), I was SO excited!!

In preparation, I began seeking out informative sites and blogs to educate myself even more about medical problems that can arise during childbirth and what needs to be done, what alternative options there were and what risks we weren’t willing to take. I was quickly reminded of how radically opposed some people are to those who choose homebirth – especially without a midwife.

Views and statements that seemed to be popular were:
“Planning a home birth? Sorry, but you’re just selfish and reckless.”
“It’s irresponsible to not have a midwife.”
“Unassisted childbirth is just plain careless.”
Selfish, reckless, irresponsible, and just plain careless….
Many of the views suggested that people who home birth are hippies, mystic, religious freaks, or what have you. It is believed that home birthing families (shall I say, “we”) are selfish and irresponsible people who only care about our comfort and are careless with the life of our children. That we refuse to see the dangers that come with pregnancy and birthing, and that doctors are our enemy! How dare we not just obey the doctors!

I want to clarify that my decision to home birth started initially with little having to do with my faith, little to do with my trust or lack thereof in doctors, and little to do with the comfort of birth. These things have their parts but I am not anti-doctor nor am I afraid of them or their demands. I am not anti-hospital and I wouldn’t avoid them in the event of an emergency. I am not selfish and thinking only of myself when I choose a homebirth. Ultimately, I sought out if it was Biblically supported, but my decision was based on it’s safety AND comfort.

Many women freebirth… intelligent, capable, and confident women. My husband and I have taken careful steps in making this decision and we’ve only ever encouraged others to educate themselves and discover what they are most comfortable with based on the truth and not just what they’ve been told. That is not to say that I know better than a doctor… however, I do believe I know different things that many doctors don’t. They are more educated in sickness and treatments of drugs and/or surgeries… I am more educated in health and alternative self-care options. Additionally, the doctors that I and others I’ve spoken with over the last 9+ years, are arrogant and narrow minded to any other possible routes and get offended or mock when we question their tactics, knowledge, methods, and especially when we refuse the recommendations they give. Doctors are not our health police. They are a resource for information with a genre of specific education. We have every right to decline their suggestions and every right to refuse their treatments.

I seek to make an informed decision, and while the majority of our culture has become dependent on the views and care provided by doctors in several areas of our lives (medication for instance, both preventative and as treatment), I refuse to join in the belief of the lie that childbirth is innately dangerous and harmful to ones health. I’ve not based my research on biased information. I’ve searched far and wide and compiled my views based on my own rational and logical thought along with evidences I’ve found.

While in labor with my fourth child I was quite tired because I had stayed up too late and ended up starting my labor just a few hours later. So come time for preparations to be made, my instincts took over. I wasn’t due for another week and yet I got the place ready and had my husband stay home from work. Again, my contractions intensified and following a handful of contractions 7-10 minutes apart, my husband helped me on my bed and I gave birth to our third daughter.

You see, pregnancy is not a disease that needs continual monitoring and probing nor is it to be frightening and stressful. Childbirth is not an inevitable death sentence without the hand of a doctor. What pregnancy is, is a natural part of life – as waste elimination, breathing, blinking, and swallowing… It’s occurred as long as humans have existed! Yet we don’t contact the doctor upon the need to have a bowel movement, even though the rare chance of it malfunctioning can take place. No we take action when there IS a problem. Childbirth is not without the potential of dangers, no matter where you are. Babies and mothers die in and outside of the hospital. While some feel that they would rather have a doctor present for the “just in case” events that may arise, many feel just as strongly that they would rather be home to be free from the interventions that cause many of the events that people want a doctor present for. A dangerous situation arising during birth is not the norm for most. This is not idealistic or hopeful. This is the truth.

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When I became pregnant with our 5th child, we were overwhelmed with the responsibility and the excitement! We excitedly prepared for another UC. When 4am came on October 5th and contractions began waking me up from my sleep, I wondered if this could be it. I became increasingly uncomfortable and headed to the bathroom. Something wasn’t right… and I knew it. My contractions were 10min apart and they were incredibly intense. I paused and knew I needed to get into the lunge position. I put lots of pressure on my bum and my perineum and I pushed hard but breathed when I felt too much pressure against my hand. My baby was posterior, so her head was pushing toward my bottom. I felt and heard a pop as my hips opened up more to enable her to come through the birth canal. As her head came through, I heard crying! But the doctors and every online source I’d ever read said (and says) that this is impossible since her chest can’t yet expand until she emerges from my body! And yet, here she was, CRYING with her body still inside of me. I knew she needed to come out, so I focused, and I pushed the rest of her out. She was beautiful, healthy, and just wonderful. Our FOURTH daughter and FIFTH child! How blessed we were!!

 

I am not afraid of the doctors. In fact I appreciate them when there is a need. However they have no super human powers. They are educated in their field and under certain circumstances. I too am educated and I know my own body better than anyone ever can. I know my limitations and I know when I need help – and I am not afraid to ask for it. I would never allow my pride to interfere with the life of my child. If a need arose and we needed a doctor to save me or my baby, we would see a doctor – without a moments hesitation!! However, in the situation of my fifth child, would I have torn if I wasn’t allowed to move around? What if I was so focused on fighting for my rights to be in a lunge position or unable to determine that is what I needed to do because of everyone else taking charge of MY birth? What if I felt too embarrassed in front of everyone to put pressure on my bum? See how there are what if’s with hospital birth too? It’s very likely that if I was in the hospital, laboring on my back, that I would have torn from my bum to my birth canal opening because of the intense pressure with the counted pushing that OB’s often practice. Or, that I would have gotten a c-section because my baby was stuck on my pelvis.

We were so thrilled to learn, just a year and a half later on April 4th, that we were expecting our sixth child! I had no clue I was pregnant but took the test just for fun. We shared the news with our friends and family after surprising the kids with the news. It was a lot of fun to see the expressions on my kids’ faces and to hear everyone we told be excited with us. Here is the video of us telling the kids:

I determined by what information I had that I was due around December 5th. The pregnancy was full of emotional healing and growth from other  events in my life as we enjoyed doing my own care ourselves. The pregnancy went very fast for the most part and I enjoyed watching my belly grow.

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Once I reached 38wks pregnant, I began to get a bit antsy but was determined to continue trusting in the Lord and allowing my body and my baby to do what was needed to prepare us for the day our newest blessing would be in our arms.

The following weeks leading up to the birth were a mix of high spirits and meltdowns. I did my best to stay positive and had an amazing support system surrounding me who were compassionate and understanding, yet helped me focus on the benefits of being patient and laying my life down for my child(ren). I can’t say I didn’t have bouts of fear, but I can say that knowledge and wisdom, and most of all God’s peace, overcame each of those bouts.

At 42 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I woke up to a very strong and sharp pain and an intense contraction followed. In hindsight, I realize that the baby flipped from posterior to anterior. From there, active labor began.

 

When I awoke the next morning to that strong pain, at 7:45am, it was sudden and I startled my husband awake. Contractions were 3-5mins apart and really strong. We began to prepare that this was it. From 8-9am, I sat on the ball and rotated my hips and felt lots of pressure with each contraction. I got very hopeful that baby was finally able to engage and was coming down. At 9am I got into the tub and the contractions got even stronger but I got a bit of relief from floating… but then it got to be too much.

My husband was amazing, we watched the show American Pickers on his phone in between contractions (or I rested) and when each contraction came, he tracked each one and told me how much longer I had to go… I listened to his voice as he said, “20 more seconds babe, you’re doing great. These are doing great work. 10 more seconds… and 5 and then it’s going to start coming down. You’re doing great. Great job babe. 2 more seconds…”

I never fully dilated nor did I fully efface. The baby came out in the anterior position and flew out with just one swift push, so fast I nearly dropped him on the floor. At the same moment, because I was standing and the cord was short, the cord snapped and blood went ev.er.y.where. LOL On the walls, all over the toilet and floor, all over the baby and I. We were in shock as all the kids swarmed the doorway. I looked and saw he was a boy… we were all so elated and crying. He was HERE!

2

 

11:30am, December 25th, 2015, approximately 7lbs, dark brown hair, and the most content and peaceful baby I’ve ever seen. We marveled at the newest member of our family as the kids cried and laughed and expressed how cute and little he was and that they had a new brother. About a half hour later, I got into bed and I nursed him.

We are not careless. The decision we made to home birth, as with most home birthers, is not without its preparation, which includes preparation for what needs to be done in the event of an emergency or an area of concern. And my only desire in sharing what I have experienced and learned along the way is to keep a log of it for myself and for my kids, and to share with those who are interested in expanding their own knowledge by one woman’s experiences. It is never to judge… even despite my very contrary views.

I’ve not made the decision to freebirth at the risk of my babies lives. I’m doing it to add to the quality of their life and to the quality of our relationship, to ensure the best possible outcome for them and not just that they survive. I want the best for them… from day one.

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And just for the record, if it came down to it and there was a real medical emergency, I would get the c-section. I’d just rather be educated and avoid it at all costs if it is possible without endangering my life or the life of my child… because in most cases, it is avoidable and preventable. C-sections have risks too! We all need to weigh the risks and ask ourselves what we personally want to live with. No one else can make that decision for us.

 

Read my freebirth stories in full at the links below!
<<Kristi’s Birth Story of Baby#3>>
<<Kristi’s Birth Story of Baby#4>>
<<Kristi’s Birth Story of Baby#5>>
<<Kristi’s Birth Story of Baby#6>>

 

Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#5

Third UP/UC, Fourth Daughter (Fifth Child) born on 10/5/2013!

On the morning of October 4th, before heading out for the day, I went to the bathroom. I was bleeding and had to force myself not to jump immediately to “baby time!” Afterall, I still had a week left until my EDD, so I dropped DH off at work and went about my day.

Nothing exciting really happened as I was able to do regular things so I got DH that night and went to visit a friend after the kids were in bed. We chatted it up until about 1am and then home I came. I got a few things situated “just in case” although I still had 8 days before I was “expecting” the arrival of our babe. I said goodnight to DH and propped myself in bed like my usual set up was (pillow under belly, between legs, and behind my back – laying on my left side and slightly elevated). I had to sleep exactly this way each night to avoid an aching back and hips in the morning from the SPD and to avoid the torture of heartburn. hahaI got woken up to a few contractions so I finally looked at my phone. It was 2:50am. So I started using my contraction app to time them. I would feel it, push the button, get through it, and go back to sleep. What felt like hours later, I looked at the app to see how far apart they were and realized it was only an hour later and they were 10 mins apart! I messaged a couple close friends online, had DH get the bed ready, and talked to another friend who was awake online until about 4:30am. I decided then that it was time to get some more sleep. I messaged another friend to let her know this might be it so she could pray me through it and to sleep I went.I was able to get broken sleep in between contractions for the next couple hours. At about 6:30, the bed was more and more uncomfortable. I tried to sit on my birthing ball but the pressure on my bum during contractions made it undesirable so I went to sit on the toilet. Contractions were still 10 minutes apart but were quite intense, yet I was completely lucid in between. I tried the birthing ball and bed again but I just couldn’t find relief. I put down the plastic in the bathroom as this was the only place I could get into a comfortable position during contractions. I sat back on the toilet and waited. The ten minute break in between left me twiddling my thumbs! haha Then a good and painful contraction came and I began to panic a little because I didn’t know if DH would hear me if I called for him (he was asleep so that he would be ready when I needed him). I calmed myself down and told myself it could still be a while. It was only a brief moment of panic but as soon as I was relaxed, my water broke.I called for DH and I asked for him to come. He came to my side, ready to be my hero.  With each contraction, he provided counter pressure. I began to feel like something wasn’t right and I had to process what to do while husband was near my side, waiting for my lead to take action. I felt intense pressure with each contraction on my bottom as if I had to have a bowel movement but when I reached down, I could feel the baby’s head pushing against the rectum wall. I was really concerned and knew that I needed to be doing something different.

Thankful to be so clear headed, I called a UC friend of mine who I felt would have some wisdom to offer. We worked together in between contractions that were still 10ish mins apart and came to the conclusion that the baby was posterior so it was going to hurt like heck but that I had to keep pushing. So, concerned I would tear, I put a glove on and proceeded to provide a barrier with my hand against the baby’s head from my bottom to encourage it to come through the birth canal while pushing with my body and also massaging my perineum. I’m not really sure how I did it… so don’t ask. haha But because of the angle and my inability to explain what was happening to my DH, I awkwardly did this myself while he provided me the support so I didn’t fall over.

I pushed hard with each contraction and my friend was right… it really did hurt like heck. haha

It didn’t feel like the head was able to move in the right direction so I regained my footing and then finally, during a contraction and pushing, DH and I heard a funny noise and I felt the baby’s head shift forward and I could feel the babe coming through the birth canal. I pushed with the contraction and the head came out. As soon as it did, we heard crying! Baby was face up with body still inside and CRYING! haha! I exclaimed, “What?! The baby is crying!?” In that same moment, I processed that I needed to get babe’s body out quickly and pushed only slightly and the body slid through. We did it! DH looked to see and that’s when we saw she was a GIRL!

DH called back our friend who had helped us in between contractions to let her know the news. It really happened quite quickly considering she was posterior. It was about 30-45 minutes from my water breaking! I also didn’t tear!!

Once a couple people were informed, DH went to get the kids who were just waking up and a couple were at first disappointed to learn that it was a girl but as soon as they saw her, DS was ooey gooey over her and DD1 cried happy tears. DD3’s face was priceless when she realized I had a baby in my arms – she immediately wanted to lay on her and DD2 said “YOU HAVE FOUR DAUGHTERS!!!

We all got ourselves into my bedroom where DH helped me to the bed while I waited to deliver the placenta and the kids all watched a show on my computer. I nursed my new baby and rested while my body continued to work. About 30 minutes later, I delivered the placenta and we cut the cord about 40 minutes after that. DH cleaned up the mess, which was easy because of the plastic shower curtains we had laid down. He just rolled it up and threw it away. I climbed back into bed with new baby and slept off and on all day.

It was perfect timing as DH had just begun his two weeks of vacation and since I was quite sore from all the pressure on my bum, he was able to pamper me for a week while I rested and took things slow and caring for the kids. We were also extremely blessed by the abundance of love from our church community and friends who cleaned our home, brought us meals, clothes, and groceries, and spent time visiting with us and loving on us. It was absolutely overwhelming to receive such blessings!!

Our favorite part was getting to enjoy sweet baby girl for and extra 8 days more than we expected!!

<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#3>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#4>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#5>>
<<Kristi’s Freebirth Story of Baby#6>>