by Beth B., Midlothian, TX

Mother of Katie Beth (07/14/99), Abbie (05/23/02), Anna (09/30/03), Jenna (08/22/07), and Bryce (08/23/09

We had our first four children in hospitals, but with our fifth we decided to hire a midwife, in the beginning because we didn’t have insurance and the cost difference was so great. But the more I learned about midwifery and home birth, the more I knew it was the way that I wanted to go. In the hospitals, I had always felt completely out of control, with someone telling me how I should lay and that I have to lay and telling me what I should be doing whether I felt like I should be doing it or not. I wanted to have the experience I wanted to have.

My husband’s coworker had recommended the homebirth experience with a midwife friend of Ginger’s. We interviewed a few different midwives in this area, and all of them were really nice, but I liked Ginger’s mothering nature.

After four daughters, I had decided that I wasn’t meant to have a boy and had already started looking at girl clothes, but my husband hadn’t given up hope. When we had a 3D-4D ultrasound, I thought the technician was kidding at first but he was very clearly a boy.

Around 9:30 p.m. on the night of our daughter’s second birthday when I was at 38 weeks, I went into labor. This was actually only the second time of our five that I went into labor by myself – the first three were induced and the last my water broke but by the time I got to the hospital, they felt they had to restart my labor. We had invited people over for dinner to have a little birthday party, and I had spent the whole day cooking and cleaning. The baby waited until everything was over, and everyone was gone, and as soon as I laid down, I knew he was coming.

Contractions gradually got stronger, and I didn’t call Ginger until midnight. Both sets of grandparents came out in the middle of the night, because they weren’t going to miss it. It took a lot longer than I had imagined it would, about 12 hours, everybody was awake but the kids, they did get woken up eventually b/c it was loud.

I labored some in the tub and some in the shower and some in the bed; it depended on how I was feeling at the time. I really enjoyed it. It hurt a lot more than my four daughters’ births in the hospital, there weren’t any drugs, but I did enjoy it more and I remember more of it, because I was awake for it. I had epidurals with a ll the other ones, and once you have the epidural they encourage you to sleep so you’re rested when it comes time to deliver.

Ginger was there but she wasn’t always right there, and she wasn’t checking me every 30 minutes or 45 minutes or even every hour; she just kind of let me do it. I knew pretty much what to expect, but she did explain some things to me that I hadn’t experienced before – like when it came time to push, what to expect it to feel like. Her care wasn’t intrusive, she just fit it in wherever she could, not jumping in in the middle of contractions. She was good about making suggestions of what might be better or more comfortable or would help it along, getting me to stand up, which was one of the last things I wanted to do, but it got things moving along a little better.

We had the bed all made up, but we delivered on the floor. Bryce, our first boy, was born at 9:38 in the morning, and my husband actually caught the baby in the floor with Ginger. Then our oldest got to cut the umbilical cord and put on his first diaper. My mother and my husband’s mother got to be there, and our kids got to come in right after the birth.

One of the things I liked the most was who you wanted to be there was who was there. In the hospital you’re limited to one or two people. This was really special for my mother-in-law, because she had all boys and this was the first time she was able to be in the room for the birth of a grandchild.

I would do it again in a heartbeat and I wish I had done it the times previously at home. It was hard, especially considering the day I had before with the cooking, cleaning, and party guests. After we weighed Bryce and he nursed a little bit, I was done, I was probably half asleep there. But at the same time I was proud of myself. I didn’t think I was going to make it, and there were times I was almost ready to call it off. I was ready to get up and go to the hospital. But at the end of it, I was proud of myself. It was probably the single most rewarding experience of my life, knowing that I did it and did it with the people I wanted to share it with. And Ginger, I can’t imagine having done it with anybody else.

This is only the second time in the entire time I’ve known my husband that I’ve ever seen him cry – not only did he finally get a boy, but he even got to catch him! He is loving every minute of it.