Friday, May 20, 2011

Amelia's Birth Story

I've had many requests to tell Amelia's birth story. Her story actually starts almost 7 years ago when Olivia was born. Each of our babies were born under very different circumstances, but each had left a bad taste in our mouth. Because of that we really felt like we wanted to try something else that might work better for us. I looked into getting a midwife, but didn't think that we'd be able to do a homebirth due to the breathing issues that three out of four of our kids had. We set up an appointment with Birthworks. I had several connections with Birthworks, and knew they had a good reputation in the area. Our plan was to meet with them and either go ahead with a midwife or hire a dula to be part of the hospital birthing process. After meeting with them for the first time Scotty and I were sure that we had picked the right place. The midwife and her apprentice took their time to talk through our history and get to know us. They assured us that they thought they could help us make it through a 40 week pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby at home. After praying through it we decided to go ahead with the homebirth and we hired Mary Alexander as our midwife.
The entire experience was fantastic. Each prenatal visit (which were at Birthworks) was spent talking about my total health and nutrition. The kids and Scotty were welcome to come to the appointments and Mary even let Olivia help find Amelia's heartbeat! We got to hear the baby's heartbeat each time we were there, and Mary checked my BP, and measurements. Birthworks didn't have an ultrasound machine, but we were able to set up an appointment with Shea at Baby Views and found out baby #5 was a GIRL! We did all the normal tests that you'd get with any OB including glucose and strepB. It was actually much like going to an OB, just a lot better.=) Each time I was given as much time to talk out anything I needed to, and I was given Mary's full attention for as long as I was there. I was also given Mary's phone numbers so that I could call her directly any time I had any problems or questions. I had Mary, and an apprentice, and for the labor/delivery I also had the other midwife, Kim. Let me tell you, they were such a great team since they were so used to working together. So, now that you know more about the whole process I'll share a little on how my sweet Amelia Joy joined our family.
When I was about 36.5 weeks I started having regular contractions while I was working at Rhea Lana's. While 36 weeks is pretty far along, with my history of early deliveries and breathing problems for the baby, I was scared and wanted to try and get to 40 weeks. SO, I loaded up and came home and rested. The contractions finally stopped, but started back the next afternoon, so I called Mary to let her know and she gave me several suggestions to help stop them, but she said the best thing would be for me to stay in bed and rest. SO, that's what I did. My mom came and got the girls and I got in bed and stayed there for the next few days. I made it to my 37 week appointment, where Mary said that I needed to decide that everything was going to be OK and be at peace with whatever happened. She said that the baby would most likely be fine and that me being scared was just going to make things worse. So before I left there I decided that I was going to be fine and Amelia was going to be fine and that God was going to take care of both of us. I didn't have any regular contractions after that until May 3rd, when I was TWO days shy of being 40 weeks! God is good!
I woke up on May 3rd feeling terrible. I kept thinking maybe I had a stomach virus or something because I was queasy all day. I was pretty sure the "end was near," but went ahead with my day and took Olivia to school, ran my errands, and cooked dinner, gave the kids a bath, and got them in bed. Scotty had a softball game that evening, so after the kids were in bed he went to that. I fell asleep waiting on him to get home. The next thing I knew it was a little after 3AM and I had a contraction that woke me up. They were strong and about 5 minutes apart. I got up and walked around a little because I was more comfortable moving around instead of being in bed. The contractions got harder, so at about 4AM I called Mary so that she could get things together and call everyone to come. By 5:30 everyone was here and everything was set up and ready. I had ordered Mary's birthing kit and had all the supplies she had suggested. Mary and Kim brought in the oxygen tank in case of any emergencies for me or Amelia. They also brought a birthing stool in for me to use. You can also use a pool as an option, but I decided I wasn't interested in that.
I was still doing great and able to manage my pain just fine. Holly(the apprentice) was wonderful about helping me to get in positions that allowed me to be in less pain. At about 6 my water broke on its own! This is the first time my water broke on it's own. Yay!!=) Anyway, after my water broke my contractions were much stronger, but still manageable. I moved around a lot and stayed pretty comfortable. This was the first time I'd labored with time gaps between contractions and my water breaking and the baby being born. It was nice to be able to catch my breath and be ready to push. At about 6:50 I moved to the birthing stool and at 7:03 Amelia Joy Smittle was born. In our bathroom.=) Once I had been cleaned up I moved over to the bed and nursed a very hungry 8lb 8oz (21 3/4 in)HEALTHY pink baby!  At 7:30, when the kids alarm clock went off, they came downstairs and into our bedroom and got to meet their new baby sister. That moment, when our whole family was in our king size bed snuggling our new baby, was one that I will never ever forget. It was beautiful, goose bump inducing, magical, wonderful, God given.
The midwifes stayed a little longer to be sure everything was OK, then they put all of the linens in the washing machine and left. I spent the rest of the day resting in bed with my baby. Mary came back to check on me the next day, then Holly came a few days later. They have called to check on things several times since then. It's been so nice to have them to talk to whenever I need them. What a blessing.
So, there you have it. I know your next question is will I do it again. The answer is YOU BET. As long as it's left up to me I'll be at home with any other pregnancies that we may have.


  1. this is such an awesome story! whenever i hear these stories it increases my desire to use a midwife when and if God decides it's time for me to become pregnant. the thought of going through labor in my own home and going at the pace my body sets is infinitely more appealing than being hooked up to machines at a hospital and having all sorts of meds pushed on me to hurry things along at the doctor's pace. i'm so happy you got to have this experience and congrats on your new baby!

  2. Beautiful!!!!!!!
    So happy for you.

  3. very cool. I love that God let you have a new experience with Amelia. She is so beautiful!

    On a lighter note, decided to let me keep her yet?

  4. I'm crying tears of joy as I read this. I'm so glad you had such an awesome experience at home. It sounds so much like my experience with Zach in Mississippi. I will never forget that moment when Syd woke up and joined us in welcoming Zach.