Owen's Birth Story

I've always wanted to have a home birth. I don't know why - I'd never known anyone who delivered their baby at home. Yet it seemed the most natural thing in the  world to me. So, when my husband Jimmy and I were expecting our first child, I naturally started looking for a midwife.

But first, I had to convince my husband that a home birth was best for us. It was  something he would have never considered on his own. I had done a lot of research and told him everything I knew about a home birth versus a hospital  birth; but he still wasn't totally convinced. He agreed to interview a midwife, and came prepared with a long list of questions for her. She answered them all to his satisfaction, but he still wasn't completely excited about the idea. I figured he just needed time to let it sink in. He was sold enough to let me do it, but still had reservations about the whole idea. I think one of his biggest fears, along with how to handle emergencies, was how I would handle the pain of childbirth. As Jimmy can attest to, when it comes to pain, I am a 100 percent bona fide wimp!!

Although I liked the midwife we interviewed, I didn't have a peace about choosing her. I continued to call around and search the Internet for midwives in the area and got the name of a local midwife named Cathy Rude. I called her up  and set up an appointment to interview her. Within ten minutes of meeting Cathy, I knew she was the one. She was extremely warm and kind, had an obvious love for what she did, and, most importantly, she was a born again Christian. I was so excited to have found her, I cried tears of joy most of the way home and thanked God for leading me to her.

During the pregnancy, people often asked me if I loved the experience. I didn't really love or hate being pregnant - I just looked at it as something I would go through in order to have a child. I was amazed at what a miracle it is to "grow" a child within me and couldn't wait to see what he or she looked  like.

One thing that caused us great concern during my otherwise uneventful pregnancy was my testing positive for Group Strep B (GSB). GSB can lead to very serious consequences to a newborn, including death. Being faced with the threat of GSB showed Jimmy and I that no matter how well I ate or how much exercise I got, the health of our baby was truly in God's hands. This was very humbling! After much  prayer and research, Cathy, Jimmy, and I decided that the best thing to do would be for me to go on an IV antibiotic every four hours during labor. This would significantly reduce the chance of our child being infected during birth.

Our baby was due April 4, but it came and went without any signs. Jimmy had graduate school final exams scheduled for April 13-15, and we were praying the baby would come nice and early, giving Jimmy plenty of time to recoup before exams. But, God had His perfect plan. Jimmy was able to take his exams before the baby came, and returned from Austin at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 15. Sunday, April 16 we  spent the day relaxing and enjoying each other. We went out to eat for breakfast  and went to Rice University in the afternoon. He played tennis while I walked 3 miles around the campus. After relaxing that night, I went to bed around midnight and fell asleep around 2:30 a.m.

At 3:00  a.m. I woke up to use the rest room and noticed a drop of amniotic fluid on the  bed. I called Cathy, and she said she would arrive around 5:30 a.m. or so. The  big day was finally here! I woke Jimmy to let him know, and we both tried to go back to sleep until Cathy arrived. But, we couldn't. We were so excited!

At 5:30  a.m. Cathy arrived along with Tammy, the nurse who would administer my IV. To keep myself busy, I made a coffee cake for breakfast and Jimmy made a run to the store to stock up on fruit for me to eat during labor. We started my first IV at 6:00 a.m. and, surprisingly, it only took 15 minutes to administer the first dose.

Through the morning my labor was very mild - only slight pain during contractions. I spent the morning chatting, eating, and walking around outside with Jimmy.

Around noon the pain was getting a little tough, so I decided to hop in the bath tub. I was having back labor, so with each contraction Jimmy would apply pressure on my lower back while I poured warm water on my stomach. It was a great help in easing the pain. I didn't want to leave the tub, but around 1:30 p.m. Cathy said I should get out because I was getting too hot and flushed.

At 2:00  p.m. I moved to the bed where we administered another dose of antibiotics. After  a long, painful hour, Cathy decided it was time to push! I was really surprised - I was expecting to be in hard labor for a few more hours before being ready to push.

At this point I started to become fearful - I didn't know what to expect. I believe the fear made the pain seem more unbearable at this point, and I lost my concentration to relax through the contractions. Jimmy was incredible during this time. He was laying behind me on on the bed, spooned up against me, and remained stalwart and calm. He stroked my head and face, kissed me, and told me  what a great job I was doing. At one point Cathy said, "Jimmy, come look at his head - look how much hair."

I said,  "Noooo! don't look!" I didn't want him to move.

All the  while, the baby was descending. I couldn't really feel it, but Cathy kept telling me "good job" after each push, so I knew we were making  progress.

I did manage to keep some semblance of my sense of humor during this phase. I told Jimmy we were going to adopt the rest of our children! And at one point, I even  asked Cathy if she was pushing the baby back in. She had been massaging my perineum with olive oil and applying pressure while I pushed (so I wouldn't  tear), so it felt like every time I'd push, she was pushing the baby back in!

After what seemed like 2 hours of pushing (it was actually only 35 minutes), James  Owen Clyde left the comforts of my womb and entered the world, weighing 7 Ibs, 13 ounces and crying mightily. The Lord answered our prayers - he was healthy as could be. He was born with the thickest head of black hair and was the most  perfect, beautiful baby I had ever seen (if I do say so  myself)!

After spending a little time on my chest, Cathy weighed and measured him, checked his  vital signs, and did his Apgar test. Owen and I then took an herbal bath together.

It was so amazing to finally hold him and think of how the Lord formed him in my womb!  "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I  praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are  wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:13-14)

By and large, friends and family alike thought I was absolutely out of my mind to have a home birth. (One friend even said I was stupid!) But, it was the most  wonderful, amazing, beautiful experience in my whole life; and I plan to have all my children at home.