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My First Home Birth: Everyone Finds Out

Updated: Jan 18, 2023

Pregnancy with my first born, Xander, was 9 months of my life in which I experienced more trials, adversity, and life changes than I have during any other comparable amount of time. Here is our story.

Finding Out

In July of 2020 I was nearing the end of my clinical work as a student midwife. I attended a birth which required us to perform complete newborn resuscitation. This meant that we were not only providing ventilation for the baby, but also performing chest compressions. Emergency services were called and the baby was transferred to the care of a local hospital. Life support was required for multiple days yet, in spite of a network of medical professionals best efforts, the baby passed away. Out of respect for the baby's family I am leaving out any details regarding the mother's pregnancy and birth. This was the most rattling experience I had been through as a student. It shook me to my core. As a student of home birth I have a deep faith in physiological birth and in women's bodies and for the first time that faith, as well as my education, was called into question.

Later that day when I went to the bathroom I was spotting. I have always kept track of my cycles and anything out of the ordinary using the help of an app, and when I checked my app it was nowhere near time for my period to start. In fact, I was in the perfect place in my cycle for implantation bleeding to be present. I told my partner, Rob, what was going on and that implantation bleeding can be an early indication of pregnancy. The only other thing that could cause spotting at this point in my cycle would be extreme stress, and I could confidently say that that day met, if not exceeded, that description. While it was too early for a pregnancy test, we bought a box with two tests anyway and waited to take it.

It was about a week and a half before I would be far enough along to test positive and, in that time, I had convinced myself that I was not pregnant. I sold myself on the idea that it was the stress of the day that produced a physiological response. When it came time to take the test, I spent the night at Rob's house (we were each living with our parents at the time). I took a test at night but hardly glanced at it; I knew that it would be more accurate in the morning due to higher hCG levels. We got up early and the first thing I did was go to the bathroom. When I picked up the box that housed the tests, I saw the diagram on the front that showed two lines would mean positive, one would mean negative. My stomach filled with heavy butterflies as the image of the test from the night before with those two pink lines were clear in my head. It hadn't even registered the previous evening in my brain... I was pregnant. I told Rob that the test from the night before was positive but I proceeded to pull the second test out as though I didn't already know. Even though I had finally understood what I saw on the test, I still wasn't comprehending it. Rob was hugging me as I was sitting on the toilet, still attempting to pee on a second stick as if it were necessary.

As my brain was processing the information, it felt like there were thoughts flying around at a million miles a minute. At the same time I felt numb. I couldn't think. My mind was filled with diverging thoughts and feelings.

Rob had left his car at the dealership overnight to get a wheel bearing replaced which meant I had to drive him to his car so he could get to work but first... I had to tell my parents and I wasn't doing it alone.

Telling everyone

My parents had never been the, "If you get pregnant I'll kill you" type. None-the-less telling them that I was pregnant was not something I was prepared to do. I was not married, neither my education nor my clinical work were complete, on top of a laundry list of other things I was coming up with as reasons why I was NOT ready for this. On top of my own I'm-not-ready-list, I had been in a relationship with Rob for a mere 7 months. Rob also happened to have 4 daughters from his previous marriage. The bottom line was that telling my parents I was expecting my first baby wasn't something I had put much thought into thus far in life, but these were definitely not the ideal circumstances.

I may not have given my poor mom the best presentation of the information. I took Rob to my parent's house before I brought him to his car. When we arrived we found that my dad had left for work already, but my brother had not. I think when I picture my mom, dad, and brother, my brother was the scariest one I had to relay the message to. I don't have a reason it's just the way it was in my mind. I was crying when we walked into the house at the unexpected hour of six o'clock in the morning. The combination of time and my emotional state explained mom and Richard's confusion right off the bat. I was walking in circles and crying and giggling all at the same time so I can only imagine where their minds were as they watched me in amusement and concern with the occasional glance at each other to be sure the other person was seeing what they were seeing. When I finally sat on one of the stools in my parents' breakfast nook I believe my exact words were, "I'm pregnant, okay? And I have to take Rob to get his car so he can go to work." followed by me promptly walking out the door. Between my presentation and abrupt departure, I didn't give my mom or my brother an opportunity to react whatsoever.

On my way home from dropping Rob off with his car, I stopped at Rite Aid and bought some cheesy card to tell dad he was going to be a grandpa. I don't think I wrote anything in it, and I know I didn't write anything on it because when I handed it to dad when he got home that evening, he refused to open the envelope because it didn't have his name on it. So I grabbed the pen off the grocery list on the counter and wrote a sloppy, "dad" on the envelope so that he would open the card. I handed it back to him and plopped myself on the counter while I watched him open and read it, which seemed to take hours. By the time he was done, I was crying even though no one had said anything to me. He looked up and asked me if it was a joke. I shook my head no, terrified of his response. He giggled (which is a funny image if you know what my dad looks like, bald head, big ol goatee, and a giggle) and hugged me and asked why I was crying because he was so excited. A few days later he came down to the basement where I was sitting and *lovingly* threw an amazon package at me and told me to open it. Inside was an orange onesie that read "Grandpa's s little slugger". He informed me that it was orange so that it would work for a boy or a girl. He bought it because he wanted to be sure he was the first person to buy a gift for the baby. Xander has had my dad wrapped around his pinky since before his heart even started beating.

Fast forward a few days and the last person in the house to tell was Grammy. I have always wanted to make Grammy proud and knew that as her granddaughter I was unconditionally loved regardless of what I did in life. She was always one of the first people I called whenever I reached a goal, passed a test, or needed someone to vent to, I knew I could rely on her. She loved to be the informant so we got her a shirt that read, "World's Best Great-Grammy" that she would later use to tell my aunts and uncles the news. I tossed the shirt in her lap in a gift bag I found buried in a cupboard somewhere. She read what it said and looked at me as if to see if I was messing with her. As she processed what those words meant she brought the shirt up to her face while her eyes swelled with tears of abundant joy. She asked if I was actually pregnant and before I could complete one nod she told me how great it was through a tearful laugh. Her pure glee at the announcement of my pregnancy was profoundly reassuring and infectious. She carried the responsibility of spreading the news proudly, as we anticipated. Grammy wore that shirt as a badge of honor when she got the chance to show it to my Aunt Michelle in person and my Uncle Larry and Aunt Tammy via FaceTime.

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