The most unpredictable predictable birth

*Today's birth story was written by Mary, mom of Olivia, Leah, Will and Jacob. Shout out to her husband Dean for catching baby, to doula Tara for her unwavering support, and most importantly to Mary for what proved to be amazing strength throughout a challenging prodromal labor and unpredictable birth. Mary said all along that she and Dean just "knew" that he would be catching their babe. Read on for her full account of their baby girl's homebirth adventure.

"I think I’ve experienced it all. Baby 1, emergency C Section. Baby 2, unmedicated hospital VBAC. Baby 3 HBAC. Baby 4 unassisted (sort of) HBAC.

Here is Olivia’s birth story:

Monday from about 1 am to 5 am I was mildly laboring on my own in my room waking for a contraction every 7-12 min, but easily resting and falling asleep between each one. By morning the contractions mostly stopped. I was 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

Monday afternoon I was starting to think when things settled down in the evening and the three big kids are in bed I’ll probably go into active labor based on how I had been feeling all day. And Dean and I had a hunch this whole time that whenever active labor begun we would have little time, so we alerted our birth team. But they all reminded us to just wait and see what happened because I might actually get some rest after how tired I was from the contractions that were waking me in the wee early morning.

Based on my discomfort between contractions that evening I had my Doula, Tara, come over with the mission to help me progress things. It was obvious by the timing and intensity I wasn’t in active labor, yet I was still pretty miserable and did not want another sleepless night with no baby as the end result. We took a walk, did spinning babies techniques, and then things kind of fizzled out. If the baby was ready things should have been ramping up but instead I was in bed sleeping between contractions so Tara headed home.

Before Tara was even out of our neighborhood though I woke up to an intense contraction and told my Mom and Dean I think things are ramping up! There was a pattern where it seemed to me every time I slept I progressed. So after a few hours of feeling the intensity increase and once again not finding rest between contractions we called Kristin our midwife to come, and Tara to come back a second time. It wasn’t ideal how spread out my contractions were but the intensity was where I thought it should be just hours before delivering. I think they all arrived around 1:00 am Tues morning. From 1:00 to 4:30 I was feeling extreme guilt as it seemed all intensity and consistency was lost. I couldn’t handle the anxiety of so many people being there for me to be in active labor and suddenly it was obvious to us all that I was not progressing. Contractions were losing intensity and spreading out despite Tara’s best efforts to get me to do everything possible to progress! I could tell the baby’s head was stuck above my public bone (even after lots of Chiro visits) and was starting to wonder if that was the hold up. Tara and I did lots of lift and tucks along with other techniques to get her to move her head behind the bone to engage. I got so tired though I requested I rest in bed between contractions and because at that point I was convinced that was the way my body progressed labor these past two days.

Mikkel, the student midwife, kept taking my vitals and checking the baby’s heart rate frequently. The last time she came in my bedroom I knew we were all thinking the same thing. She asked about the intensity and I admitted these were much more tolerable contractions than from before everyone got here. Kristin, my midwife, checked my cervix, and gave me the most shocking news: my cervix was closed. This was such a disappointment and so confusing. Dean and my Mom were asleep and woke 3 hours later to a shockingly empty house, no birth team, no baby.

I cannot even explain the disappointment I had in the mistiming of this. 5 people drove great distances in the night to help a baby be born, and I just found out I’m not really in labor.

Once again when everyone left I was still awake, alone, feeling labor pains. It was so confusing. If I wasn’t really in active labor why wouldn’t these contractions stop coming?! Tuesday morning after catching up Dean and my Mom on the diagnosis I was still unable to rest. Trying my mightiest to sleep and stop these contractions so I can just have a break until “real labor” was going to start in a a day or two...or a week! I just kept complaining to Dean and my Mom of the shockingly intense “false labor” I was having, and how insanely tired I was of it all. All morning after the kids went to school we were trying to figure out why contractions wouldn’t calm down. Did I have a stomach bug, what