Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hannah's Birth

Hannah & Mommy

Hannah & Daddy
Crystal, Yolanda & Hannah

For those of you interested, I've finally finished writing Hannah's birth story. I've tried to be as accurate and detailed as possible, so please, if you're not interested in reading the details of birth, then pass on reading this post! :)

Please feel free to read or reread Steven's birth story before reading on, as Hannah's birth will make the most sense if you're familiar with Steven's birth as well.

Hannah's Birth Story:
How exciting! We found out we were pregnant with our second child! We conceived when Steven was six months old. Our estimated due date was Thursday, June 18, 2009. We were looking forward to being surprised as to the gender when our child was born. We were pleased to be able to have our same midwife as we had with Steven, Yolanda Visser, attend our birth at home. We planned on having both my mom and my husband’s mom present, as well as our friend Heidi. (My mom and Heidi were also present for Steven’s birth.)

Our first child’s birth was a long process, just under 57 hours counting from the first contraction to the end, with 1 hour and 45 minutes of it being pushing. I had high hopes that the second time around would be a lot faster. I also anticipated going into labor a little early, as typically your second child comes a little earlier than your first (our first was born just 3 ½ hours late).

Both my mom and my husband’s mom arrived in town on Monday, June 15th. They would hopefully be there for the birth of their next grandchild, as well as tend to our first child, Steven Jr. We had a nice time visiting with our moms and seeing Steven get to know his grandmas. I wasn’t at all disappointed when my due date came and went and still no sign of baby. I knew the baby would come when it was time.

My first contraction came on Friday, June 19th at about 3pm. The contractions were light and not painful, coming maybe every 15-20 minutes. I laid down and napped until 5pm, sleeping through them. That night I went to bed and the contractions continued through the night, but I was able to sleep through them until around about 3am when the contractions started to get painful. At this point I was able to sleep between them, waking slightly for each contraction.

I was up around 7:30am Saturday morning, feeling a little antsy and having contractions 5-9 minutes apart, lasting around 40-45 seconds long. I ate breakfast and got ready for my day, hoping to have a baby before nightfall.

To help speed up labor, I planned on getting active right away in labor before I was too uncomfortable to do so, and stay active as long as possible. Around 9:30am I went for a walk outside. By 11am I was feeling drowsy, so I took a nap until noon, with stronger contractions now, coming every 10-12 minutes and lasting 1 min. 15 sec. each. I was able to sleep between contractions.

2pm. Our moms took Steven out and my husband and I were home alone for the afternoon. My contractions were now lasting right around 1 minute long and were coming every 3 ½-8 ½ minutes. We were hopeful that we’d have a baby soon.

I kept as active as I could. I vacuumed between contractions, I rearranged my sewing shelf between contractions, I washed dishes between contractions, etc., etc. We were hopeful that we’d have a baby before the day’s end.

5pm. I could only whisper, which made me think I was dilated around 4-5cm. But, I felt very giggly, which seemed odd.

Steve and I tried to watch a movie, but I wasn’t finding it very funny and was feeling nauseous, so I laid down for a little bit. I hadn’t felt nauseous during labor with Steven until towards the end, so I thought I was moving along nicely.

Our moms came home with Steven about now. I moved to my bedroom to labor, as my contractions seemed pretty intense, I felt nauseous, wanted quiet and was very fatigued from all my activity that day. I didn’t seem to have the adrenaline I had with Steven’s birth. I was so tired, but felt that I was probably a little over half way dilated by now and the baby’s birth would be soon. Steve was with me and thought I was dilated to around 5 cm.

7:15pm. Our midwife arrived, along with our friend Heidi. Yolanda checked me and I was only dilated to 3 cm. I was so disappointed. Yolanda decided to go home and get dinner and asked us to call her at 9:30pm or sooner if anything changed. It was 8pm. I stayed in my bedroom, laying down. Steve went to the livingroom and visited with our guests. I was so discouraged about being only at 3 cm. I felt extremely exhausted, was nauseous and had thought I was having hard contractions. I had a good cry. I prayed, asking God for strength. During my one-person pity party, I thought to myself, “how can I do this? I am already so exhausted! I’m already feeling nauseous and not interested in eating! I thought these contractions were hard, but these are nothing yet! I better buck up! Because this is only the beginning!” I could hear some of the others talking, saying I should get up and try to move things along. Steve asked me if I wanted to get up. I said I was going to take a nap. He left me alone to do that. I felt so alone. I felt like no one understood that I had been active all day, only to amount to 3 cm! AND, on top of that, I was exhausted. I was depressed. I didn’t want to face them. I felt embarrassed that I had thought I was so much farther than I was. I whispered a prayer and slept as best as I could between contractions.

8:30pm. Steve put Steven to bed. He was fussy and having trouble falling asleep. He was used to me putting him to bed, so perhaps he missed me; however, his room was also warm, so he perhaps was just uncomfortable. He finally fell asleep around 9:30pm, which is when I decided to get up. Feeling mentally better, I prayed for strength, and with new resolve, I got up ready to get this “show on the road”. My nausea was gone and I felt like I was ready to “buck up”.

9:30pm. Yolanda had asked us to call around 9:30pm. I felt like I needed to call her and not ask someone else to, as if I was in such hard labor I couldn’t handle a phone call, I was, after all, ready to face this and - being over my embarrassment of not being very far along – ready to face everyone there, as well. I knew I didn’t need her to come back yet, so she said to call her again when I wanted her to come over. She was going to lie down for awhile. (She actually didn’t go to bed until 1am, anticipating my call at any time.)

10:00pm. Steve and I went for a walk. The bugs were out like crazy. I was either going to let Steve support me, (facing each other with my arms around his neck, letting him hold my body weight) during a contraction, or he had a stool with for me to sit on, incase I preferred that. During one of the first contractions I had, a bug flew and hit Steve on the head. It instantly reminded him of a bug encounter he had previously which he had an allergic reaction to and he panicked slightly, swinging the bug away. My breath was caught away and the contraction hit me hard, as I had nothing to support me. Steve recovered from the bug and I recovered from the contraction. For most of the contractions, I ended up sitting on the stool, as it was most comfortable for me and easiest on Steve. There seemed to be a lot of people out walking that night and we were both a little self-conscience, as we felt it was obvious I was in labor. Still, I wanted to move things along and so we persevered through the bugs for about 20 minutes total. We came in all itchy and bit up.

10:22pm. I was so tired, and now a little more miserable due to the bug bites. My contractions were moving more into my abdomen and not in my back, so I was a little more comfortable. I laid back down to get more rest. I felt good mentally and emotionally. Physically, I felt wiped out. I knew I needed to rest. Again, I felt that the others thought that I should be up and active, but I knew I couldn’t right now. However, I didn’t feel embarrassed or down about it, I just did what I had to do – rest.

11:20pm. Heidi walked past the bedroom and saw that I looked “pretty intense”, figuring I must have been having a pretty good contraction. My mom and mom-in-law decided to rest for a bit so they would be able to take care of Steven the next day.

12:00pm. I came out of the bedroom and sat at the table with Heidi and Steve. I was ready for some company and we visited in between contractions. I didn’t voice this, but I wasn’t sure where I was at and was contemplating when to call Yolanda, as it was getting late, yet I didn’t want to call her until I was far enough along to really need her. Heidi, without sharing it, was observing me to try to guess where I was. She observed that my contractions were not overly close together and they lasted about a minute long. Some were intense, but most of them were fairly easy to relax through. I really wanted this labor to be much quicker than my last one and was overly hopeful that it would be. In my mind, I convinced myself that the contractions were harder than they really were and I convinced myself that I was farther along than I really was. I was wondering if maybe I was around 7 cm now.

1:00am. I finally lost my mucus plug. We all thought it strange that I didn’t lose it before now (I had lost it with Steven about 8 or 9 hours before my labor started). (Yolanda told us later that it wasn’t the plug, but just mucus created by my cervix that resembled the plug.)

1:15am. We were still sitting around the kitchen table. I was very tired and was dozing between contractions. Heidi silently observed that she didn’t think I was in active labor yet. Heidi suggested I take a shower to maybe help things along, although silently she thought that maybe I wasn’t far enough along for this to help (you should be dilated to at least 4 or 5 cm before getting into water, otherwise it’ll slow labor down). While I was considering moving to the shower, Heidi was thinking more and more that I wasn’t in active labor, and knowing how discouraging it can be to think you’re farther along than you are, she gently told me that she thought I was still at about a 3. I decided to trust that she was probably right and was thankful for her sharing that with me, then after a pause, I asked her what I should do. She recommended the shower, since I had been having difficulty with the contractions while laying down on the bed. We decided the shower would speed things up if I was far enough along, or it would slow things down if I wasn’t, in which case we would all try to get some sleep. In either case, a shower sounded good.

I asked Heidi to prepare the shower for me. She put a stool in the tub with a plastic bag over it and a towel over that. Around the time I got into the shower, Steven woke up, needing to go potty. My mom tended to him and he went back down, and seemed to be settling nicely, but then fussed some. I had anticipated that hearing him cry would be an aggravation to me and that I wanted our moms to do all they could to keep him from crying or take him elsewhere (during the daytime). However, I found that his crying didn’t bother me one bit, as I knew he was being well-tended to.

Steve helped me into the shower and stayed in the bathroom with me incase I needed his assistance. The shower felt good, but it did slow down my contractions, a confirmation to me that I was probably still only dilated to 3cm. I decided I would enjoy the shower and then try to get some sleep. I prayed that, please, the contractions would stop enough for me to get some decent rest – I was so exhausted.

1:50am. Steven woke up again. I was still in the shower, perhaps the noise was bothering him, or perhaps he was teething, he had been pulling on his ears quite a bit. My mom tended to him.

1:55am. I got out of the shower and told Heidi that the shower felt good, but my contractions slowed while in there, so we should all get some sleep. My mom-in-law asked Heidi what was happening, she gave her the update and they went to bed.

I tried to rest laying on my side, but it was difficult to deal with the contractions in that position. My contractions were back to what they had been before the shower; unfortunately they were here to stay. I propped myself sitting up and was able to sleep fairly well, waking slightly during contractions. Steve slept on the bed next to me, lying down.

3:00am. My contractions were now too intense to sleep very deeply between them. I rested as best as possible between contractions, but it required my full attention during them to stay relaxed and work through them. I let Steve and everyone else get some much needed rest.

I could hear Steven wake many times through the night and someone go in to tend to him. It really didn’t bother me hearing him cry at all: I knew he was well-tended to, and to be honest, I was very self-occupied. I guess Heidi had to keep waking my poor mom, who wasn’t hearing him cry so that she could tend to him. For what turned out to be his last night awakening, my mom-in-law offered to take him and stayed with him for awhile as he fell back asleep and slept until morning.

My husband, Steve, periodically awoke, asking how I was doing. I let him know things were intense. I was wanting to wait until it was a little later before calling Yolanda, as I wanted her to sleep as long as possible.

5:15am. Steve called Yolanda.

6:15am. Yolanda arrived. She checked me and agreed that I was in active labor now. I was dilated to 7cm. I was very encouraged. I was glad it wasn’t only 5 cm – or less. The baby was very high in the bag of water, not yet engaged. My contractions felt intense, but they were only 30 seconds long. Yolanda said we needed to work on lengthening the contractions.

7:00am. After gaining my permission, Yolanda sent my mom-in-law to get an enema. Yolanda thought that it might give the baby a little more room and ease my back pain. I was having back labor during some of my contractions. Yolanda told Steve and I that we were going to get this baby out before Steven woke up for the day. Personally, I knew she didn’t mean it, but I was still encouraged, thinking that at least we would be having a baby before noon. Steve took her at her word and seemed very encouraged by it. He told Heidi. Heidi silently doubted that as well. Yolanda made me some ‘labor enhancing’ tea and had me change laboring positions every 15-20 minutes.

7:30am. Yolanda administered the enema.

I was utterly exhausted. As I said earlier, I just didn’t have the adrenaline I had when I was in labor with Steven. I was determined to do all in my power to have this baby soon, as I was scared about how much longer I could keep going. I faithfully moved around in between contractions and went through my contractions in various positions. Squatting was the most uncomfortable, so I determined to do those, as I figured they must be working the best.

8:00am or so. So exhausted. Sleeping between contractions. At one point, I sat on the birthing stool, with my bed supporting my back and my feet on Steve’s knees. In this position, I was fairly comfortable during contractions and was able to handle them with less effort. Steve lay on the floor in front of me and was able to rest a good while, even during my contractions, as his legs were my support. I was able to sleep fairly well in between contractions, waking only slightly during them. We both needed the rest.

9:30am. Steven was awake by now; however, I was very oblivious to any noise he was making, as it was taking all my energy to keep going. Yolanda told me that my mom and mom-in-law were going to take Steven to church so he wouldn’t be in the way and I wouldn’t have to worry about him. I agreed, even though I really didn’t mind him there, but in the middle of hard labor I really didn’t have it in me to reason about this.

9:50am. My mom, mom-in-law and Steven were ready and leaving to go to church. They said they would go to a friend’s house after church. On one hand, I agreed to all this, and said “good”, thinking it made sense; but on the other hand, I was wondering why they were going, as they might miss the birth. I asked Steve if they knew they might miss the birth, but he just shrugged – he was as tired and focused as I. That was that, I didn’t have it in me to think about it anymore.

Looking back, I had wanted our moms to witness the baby’s birth, and be around incase Steven needed tending to. However, this isn’t what I had communicated to Yolanda. I had told her that they were there to take care of Steven. I had also communicated to everyone that I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to hear him cry. What I should’ve told Yolanda is that they were there to take care of Steven and if at all possible, I wanted them to see the birth. Yolanda naturally figured that if I was aware of Steven being there that it would slow my labor down, and seeing that our moms’ job, as far as Yolanda had been told, was to take care of Steven, Yolanda sent them away. I am still grieved to this day that I didn’t communicate properly and our mom’s missed this birth. I know it was no one’s fault but mine that they weren’t there. However, I do trust God’s providence, knowing that he ordained how everything should play out, for which I am thankful.

I was so exhausted. Yolanda had said she would check me after our moms and Steven left, but had been putting me off. This told me that I wasn’t as far along as she would’ve liked, yet I still wanted to know where I was at, so I kept asking to be checked. I was so tired, I kept asking God for strength. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep going, I was just completely exhausted. I convinced myself that I was feeling pressure, as I knew that’s what Yolanda was looking for. I convinced myself that I must be feeling the fullness that Yolanda was asking about.

10:10am. Yolanda decided she couldn’t put me off anymore, she checked me. I was still at 7 cm. For the past 4 hours I hadn’t progressed any! I wondered silently about whether or not breaking my water would help things along. Yolanda let us know what was happening: I have a lot of water. The baby can move all over. The baby is not engaged, so the baby’s head isn’t pushing on my cervix, only the bag of waters, making little change. The baby is doing great and would be fine. We could continue to do things as we were, but it could be another day before the baby is born. The baby would be fine, but she was concerned about whether I’d have the strength to do it. I quickly told her no, I wouldn’t. Because she respects the human body and the way we were designed, she’s not eager to intervene, but she suggested that we consider that she just puncture the water bag. She said she’d check to make sure the cord was out of the way, then she’d puncture the water bag a little during a contraction and guide the baby’s head onto the cervix. She was a little hesitant to suggest this, as she is not ‘intervention-happy’, and made it clear that it’s our decision. You didn’t have to ask me twice! I told her I was wondering about that anyways, and yes, let’s do it – I don’t know how much longer I can go.

10:30am. During a contraction, Yolanda scratched my bag of waters, puncturing them. At the end of the contraction I had gone from 7cm to almost 9cm. Hallelujah! That was very encouraging! Almost there…

10:40am. I was sent to labor backwards on the toilet (my favorite laboring position with Steven) now that my waters were leaking. I gladly went. I just wanted this to be done. Yolanda and Heidi set up our bedroom for the birth. I wanted to birth on the stool again. I was so ready to have this baby out.

Puncturing my water was very encouraging in that it moved things along and the end was in sight. On the other hand, now I was having hard contractions. I had forgotten, now I quickly remembered, aw yes, this was how it was for a very good part of my laboring with Steven. I started making noises with the contractions in order to handle them well and try to stay relaxed. Steve pushed on my back to help counter the back labor. Laboring backwards on the toilet proved to be very uncomfortable. I decided sitting on it facing out was better. I wanted this to be done now!

The contractions weren’t overwhelming me, in that I wasn’t freaking out with them; however, I wasn’t staying completely relaxed either – I was just “making it through” each one, asking “Can I push now?” immediately after the contraction passed. Yolanda put up with me wonderfully and kept giving me little goals – “Just a few more…”

Steve was amazing, even though he was very tired as well, he kept giving me kind and encouraging words; however, at this point, no words encouraged me – the only thing that would encourage me would be holding my baby and being done – I was so very exhausted.

11:10am. I convinced myself that I was feeling like pushing. Yolanda put me off a few contractions more. I continued to ask her “When can I push?” She told me that I would know when and I would tell her when I feel like pushing. I wanted so badly to push, I convinced myself that I must be feeling like pushing.

11:30am. We moved to the bedroom, the baby was still up high and slightly posterior. Yolanda had me labor through 3 contractions squatting, then 1 or 2 on the birthing stool. She was going to have me labor a couple more contractions while laying on my side, to help position the baby, but I was so ready to push, was so utterly uncomfortable and kept asking to if I could push. I was not enjoying these strong contractions one bit, I was completely exhausted and I wanted this baby to be out!

We got ready to deliver. I got on the stool with Yolanda in front of me. Steve was on my left and Heidi got on my right. Yolanda let me know that the baby was still 4 inches higher than she would’ve ideally preferred and so this was going to be a lot of work. During my whole pregnancy, I clung (too tightly) to the thought that my labor would be shorter and my pushing would be, too. All I wanted was to have this baby out now. I quickly instructed Steve and Heidi as to what I wanted when the contraction came – I would breath in deeply, exhale, breath in, exhale, breath in, then they would bring my legs up to me and I’d push (this is what had worked wonderfully with Steven’s delivery). Yolanda put her fingers in me as a guide at the point she wanted me to work the baby towards.

11:50am. The first contraction. I gave it all I had and more – I wanted to be done now – I can’t stress how exhausted I was. Even though everyone was cheering me on, nothing mattered to me except how quickly this would be over. At the end of the push, I exhaled very loudly, as I had put everything I had into it. Yolanda seemed surprised at how far I had pushed the baby – the baby had moved 4 inches and was now where Yolanda had ideally wanted the baby to be before starting to push. To sense that she seemed surprised was a huge encouragement to me. She also told me to slow down. She let me know the baby was fine, we’re going to take our time doing this so I don’t tear. She wanted me to pace myself. My initial thought was to ignore that instruction, as I just wanted to be done. But, quite quickly I realized that she was right. I indeed did not want to tear and I trusted her very much. Yolanda then described the next goal, the turn in the pelvic area.

I fell asleep before the next contraction came – so tired.

The second contraction. I paced myself and pushed hard without overdoing it. I pushed the baby down past the curve. At the end of the push the baby settled in the curve. Again, I could tell that Yolanda was impressed with how far the baby moved. And again, I was encouraged that this would be done soon. Heidi tried to encourage me by saying, “Just think, in a little bit, you’ll be holding your little baby.” To be honest, this comment would’ve encouraged me during Steven’s labor, but it didn’t now. I wanted to be holding my baby now. Not in a little bit. I just focused on getting this done as quickly as possible. I was tired.

The third contraction. The baby crowned. My whole baby was trying to expel the baby completely out, but I had to use every effort in my body to stop there. Yolanda told me to stop pushing and I responded desperately with, “I’m trying!” I think my bottom was off the birthing stool and Steve and Heidi were supporting my legs as I fought my body’s desire to push. Finally, I gained enough control to relax a little. I saw my baby’s head in a mirror held up for me, but I didn’t reach down and feel the baby’s head, as it took all my concentration to keep from pushing.

Yolanda was massaging olive oil in to me between contractions in order to prevent tearing.

The fourth contraction. The baby’s head was out. They held a mirror for me to see. I reached down and felt my baby. How beautiful my baby looked! Such chubby cheeks! Eyes closed! So peaceful! My first thought was, “Is it a boy, or girl?”, but of course you can’t tell by the head.

Yolanda told me that on the next push I would push my baby out. I nodded.

The fifth contraction. I don’t know if I didn’t get a very strong contraction, or if I just didn’t give it very much gusto, knowing it was almost done, but I pushed and then stopped, figuring I’d wait until the next contraction. Yolanda looked at me and firmly said, “Push!” I just looked back at her blankly (I must’ve been too tired to process at that moment). Then Steve, Heidi and Yolanda all looked at me and shouted, “PUSH!” For some reason I had thought this was optional! I took a quick deep breath and pushed as hard as I could. I ended up pushing some after the contraction, due to my delay in following through, so this push was harder than the rest. At last, the baby came out! The time was 12:05pm.

My first thought when I was handed my baby was, “It’s over!”

I held my precious baby and checked – a girl! We were thrilled! Hannah Grace. She cried right away. I started nursing her, she knew just what to do.

12:18pm. Steve cut the cord.

12:25pm. Delivered the placenta. I did not tear, praise the Lord!

Time from first contraction to end of delivery: 45 hours. Including pushing of 15 minutes.

Comparing deliveries:
Steven’s delivery was longer and harder, but much more enjoyable. His labor and delivery is full of wonderful memories and an overall good time. I’m the kind of person that, when put into a situation with the unknown I take it as it comes, no big deal. However, with pregnancy number two, I knew what to expect and had hoped to my downfall for something much shorter and quicker. I hoped that to the extent that I convinced myself all along that I was farther than I really was, which set me up for disappointment along the way. Also, I had exhausted myself with activity, hoping to speed up the labor, which it did not. I did not have the adrenaline help as I had with my first labor.

Pushing with Steven lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes, but in a way it felt like only 20 minutes. I was exhausted but had adrenaline to keep me going and was enjoying all the verbal encouragement given to me. It was a lot of work, but it wasn’t painful. The only part of the pushing that was painful was when he crowned and I felt the “ring of fire”. With Hannah, however, pushing was painful. It was quick, though, lasting 15 minutes – only five contractions. I was able to better enjoy seeing her head, for with Steven, I could barely open my eyes at that point, much less reach down to greet him and fully enjoy the moment. The pushing is the part of the labor that I will savor with Hannah’s birth.

After Steven’s birth, my first thought was, “I can do this again!” The next night I was day-dreaming about the next time I would get to give birth, looking forward to it. After Hannah’s birth, I was just grateful to be done and couldn’t imagine going through it again. It took me a day or two to come to the point in my thoughts of, “Next time I’ll do this differently…”, actually acknowledging there will be a next time.

With Steven, I had a small tear, requiring no stitches. The tear, although small, was the last part of me to heal and the most painful and bothersome. With Hannah, I had no tears (Yolanda said I had a “skid mark”, but it didn’t give me any pain), and my recovery was much quicker.

I feel amazingly blessed to have had Yolanda serve as our midwife for our two deliveries. Both labors were unique and Yolanda handled them as such. She is an amazing and caring midwife – I highly recommend her.

Steve, as always, was a wonderful help and blessing to me. He was there, laboring with me, helping support me as I varied my laboring positions. He worked hard to encourage me and love me. I love seeing him holding his newest baby – he’s wonderful.

Our moms prayed for us, hoped for us, cried for us, rejoiced for us. I’m so glad they were close by and regret they weren’t there. Lord willing, they will be able to witness many births of their future grandchildren.

Heidi is a great friend. I’m so thankful for her experience in birthing (she’s a mom of 5 and has attended other births) and her ability to rightly guess where I was at when I needed to be set right. She jumped right in there when she was needed and I’m so glad to have shared our first two births with her.

Now, I do look forward to my next labor (no, I’m not expecting yet), hoping to do much better than this last time, as I’m also sort of a perfectionist and like to compete and achieve. Anticipating another long labor, I plan on resting as much as possible right away, as I had with Steven, to conserve energy. I hope to better differentiate between the various stages of labor, being honest with myself and not convincing myself that I’m farther along than I really am. I’m also considering a water birth, if that’s a feasible option for us. I hope to share many more birth stories with you as the Lord sees fit to bless us.


Jill said...

Crystal! I'm so glad you posted Hannah's birth story - I've been anxious to read it. You're a good storyteller I think ... while I was reading it, I was feeling exhaustion with you, frustration with you ... I have to admit, it made me nervous to try future births with no pain meds! =) Hope everything is going splendidly in MN!

Crystal Carr said...

Thanks Jill! Reread Steven's story - then you'll be excited for a home birth :) It's going good here - miss you!

Laura said...

Thanks for posting your birth story. I can't imagine how exausted you were. What a blessing that you were able to have your children at home! In the hospital, there would have been a very high chance of them giving you a c-section with such a long labor. At the very least, you would have been filled with pitocin. (Of course, right now I am so ready to have this baby, even some pitocin doesn't sound too bad.)
I have always wanted a home birth. Eric isn't too keen on it though, as we don't have enough money to pay a midwife, and then a hospital if I needed to go. (Because of the hematoma I got with my first, it is a higher possibility than normal.)
Anyway, this isn't about me.

You are a very strong and faithful woman, and even though it was a hard birth, what an empowering feeling it must be that you made it through! *hugs*

Anonymous said...

According to your birth account for Steven he was born gray and didn't breathe for several minutes. It seems to me that birth epic is the perfect example of why home births are dangerous for babies. Or is mom's birth 'experience' more important than the health of her baby?

Kyle and Rachel said...

Thanks for posting this Crystal; I've been looking forward to reading it! I can't even imagine how exhausted you must have been. Praise the Lord that he gave you the grace you needed to persevere through that difficult labor. Hannah is beautiful! I loved seeing more recent photos of her. We miss you guys and think of you often!

Crystal Carr said...

That seems to me quite an ignorant things to say, as if all children born in hospitals are born without complications or dangers. 1-2% of births worldwide REQUIRE somekind of intervention, that includes C-section, pain meds, pitocin, etc, etc. It seems to me, that for a hospital in the US to have a C-section rate of 15% is actually on the low end for our country. 30% is a common percent that I've heard reported. Realizing this, it appears to me that hospitals may be the dangerous birthing place for our children, as there are unnecessary interventions being used, and no intervention comes without risks to both mom and baby and possibly even future children. Often, one intervention leads to another, so there are often multiple unnecessary interventions per hospital birth, all with their own unique risks. If I would've birthed Steven in the hospital either the same thing would've happened, or he would've been born via c-section, which involves serious dangers to both baby, mom and future children. In the hospital, if Steven would've been born without a c-section, perhaps he would've been born with some other intervention, such as suctioning him out, etc. to speed the birth. Such interventions are not without risk to mom or baby, either. If Steven would've been born in the hospital without any interventions, he would've come out the same way he had at home. The DISadvantage of him being born that way at the hospital instead of at home is that they would've wisked him away, put him under bright lights, and who knows how many people with masks would've been working on him, taking turns administering oxygen, doing mouth to mouth and stimulating his body to encourage him to breath. Talk about a tramatic experience for him! Instead, being in the comforts of our home, my baby had the blessing of being held by his mom and dad and hearing our voices, encouraging him to hang on. He could've gone either way, and in the hospital, without us being able to encourage him, only God knows if he would've hung on. Nothing in life, including pregnancy and birth, is ever guaranteed - neither at the hospital nor at home. No, I praise the Lord we were in the safety of our home with an experienced midwife who took excellent care of our child. And, quite the contrary to what you believe, I think Steven's birth story is a perfect example of a successful home birth.

Crystal Carr said...

Just to clarify, Steven was breathing from the start, but not breathing enough. He was what they call a "slow-starter".

Crystal Carr said...

Dear Anonymous: I've posted my birth stories to be an encouragement to other women and to share realistic birth experiences. Please, if you'd like to debate the pros and cons of hospital births versus home births, send me your email address and we can do that.

I don't appreciate being personally attacked.

I've chosen to have my babies at home, as long as the Lord wills, in the best interest of not only me, but also my children. I'm thankful we live in a free country where we can make our own choices.

I do not go around harassing mothers who choose to birth in hospitals, accusing them of foolishly and selfishly doing it at the expense of their children's safety, even though an argument could be make for both sides of the issue.

If you'd like to debate, send me your email and we can, however you are not welcome to leave such negative and harassing comments on this blog.

Thank you.

The Overbeeks said...

Thank you, Crystal, for your open and honest account of Hannah's birth. It makes me thankful that my laboring was much shorter for all of my girls. If we have another child, I am hoping to try a midwife. Here in Canada, a midwife gives much more personal care and is completely paid for by the Health Care system. Although I still don't think I'm ready to try a home birth, I do like spending as little time in the hospital as possible! After my experience last time with having a post-partum hemmorrage, I can say that having a baby in the hospital is definitely no guarantee that all will go well. The Lord is good in all His ways, though. We learn that even the "easiest" birth can so easily go wrong if we rely on our own strength to see us through.

Steven Carr said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'm Crystal's husband, and the father of Steven and Hannah. Crystal deleted your comment, but, since I get the comments emailed to me, I had the pleasure of reading your most wise and enlightening thoughts. When I read them, I was convicted and convinced that you are the champion of all that is right in the world, and that you are the epigone of Christian character and (self?)righteousness. Who better to lead us poor, blind, narcissistic fools in the cause of truth, justice, and the sanctity of life?

What? There are better ways to begin a family than the way we have chosen? Oh save us from ourselves, oh thou that knowest well and better than we know ourselves. We have fallen victim to the blind and impudent teachings of midwives around the world who imprudently teach that the various studies that have been done actually show that homebirths attended by a well-trained midwife are at no higher risk than hospitals and that the intervention rate is lower.

Teach us, thou that knowest the ways of the wise, for we have been persuaded by the doctrines of those false prophets of the World Health Organization who have also concluded that homebirths attended by a well-trained midwife, such as the one we had, are in no greater danger than hospital births.

We beseech thee to forgive us for thinking that it is better for our children to have them born in an environment where we have more control over what is being done to them, where there is less possibility of unwanted and unnecessary intervention, and where they are going to be placed in the comfort of their mother's arms from the very start instead of being kept from her by who knows who.

Forgive us, also, our grave tresspass of heeding the directions of that wicked Jezebel, our midwife, who said that we needed to be screened ahead of time to see whether we were at risk for giving birth at home, to attend many prenatal visits in her filthy and adulterous lair, and to attend her birthing class.

Please have mercy on us, oh thou wise and all-knowing Anonymous. Thou who art unknown, make known to us the way of truth and righteousness. We are not worthy.

Mea Culpa
Anonymous, eleison
Mea Culpa
Anonymous, eleison

Crystal Carr said...

Laura, thank you for reading and commenting! I am praying for you with this new little one soon to arrive (when are you due again?) It's been so busy! I would like to meet up with you! Depending upon when you're due, we should schedule a date. I don't mind coming over to your place as that's probably easier for you. Praying for you and your health - isn't God so gracious in the midst of struggle?

Rachel, thank you for reading! I'm praying for you and this new little one - I'm so excited for you! How fun to have your group all expecting! Do you know what you're having? Are you willing to give cloth diapers a try? If so, I'd like to send you one as a baby gift. When is your due date, by the way? We miss you guys, too. Sven and I often try to plot how we can move the whole lot of you out here. :)

Hi Jodi, thank you for reading and commenting! I'm glad sharing my story has made you thankful for yours :) Yes, I've appreciated the one-on-one attention received with a good midwife. I'm glad that's an option for you. And yes, it seems there's so much room for the unexpected in childbirth. I am so thankful we have an omnipotent and sovereign Lord who has it all in his control and promises to work all things together for our good. How awful and scary childbirth would be without such a good God. Birthing is a time for us to really work out our faith and reliance on him.

Sven, honey, I love you. :)

Crystal Carr said...

Seriously, said "Publius", you seem to have some serious issues to work through. Perhaps you should use your own blog to rant and rave about them.

Please don't bother leaving any more harassing and unchristian comments here, as they are just not welcome and I will continue to delete them.

Kyle Borg said...

Sven: 1 Anonymous: 0

Anonymous said...


It is hard to take you seriously when you leave a bold post without even attaching your name to it. If you really believe what you say, say it plainly without hiding behind the cowardice of anonymity.


Anonymous said...

We all know that scheduled c-sections are the only way to please God and get back to work by Monday.

Lyd said...

Thanks Crystal for sharing your experience and encouraging moms to think and do what they believe is best for them and the baby. I love hearing these stories!

PS-- It is funny that an anonymous person confronted an anonymous person about being anonymous.....