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He Will Give Us What We Need: Theresa's Home Water Birth of Third Baby Trenton

Theresa shared with us her first birth story here. Today we're excited to share her most recent birth, her third son born at home!

I always know when birth is impending, not only because my “due date” is nearing, but I start to get weepy and extra sentimental especially around bed time not knowing if these are the last few moments of our family the way it is, knowing potentially by the time the children wake up there could be another child! (I have now gone into labor all three times at night!) My husband Nick and I were having another "pre-baby at home date night" of watching funny comedians or finding a new sitcom (our favorite type of 3rd trimester date night). He ran out to grab some of my favorite food at around 10 p.m. and while he was gone I thought I had two contractions but wasn’t quite sure. He came back and I had another, and then another, and then I told him maybeeeee this was labor or maybeeee this was just prodromal, since I hadn’t really had any other signs of labor that day.

We decided it would be best to go to bed, just in case it really did turn into actual labor in the next few hours. “We” went to sleep, me timing my contractions that were coming every 5-8 minutes, Nick actually sleeping and snoring away the whole night. I wanted so badly to wake him up (or whack him to stop snoring) but I controlled myself because I wanted to be sure he was rested to take care of the boys the next day or to help me labor. My contractions were consistent and were increasing in intensity the whole night. I laid in the Bradley method relaxation pose and tried to relax and rest in-between contractions. I listened to Christian Hypnobirthing and audio Rosaries all night and ran through all of our prayer intentions in my head. With each contraction I would visualize baby descending down and I would breathe baby down, feeling every single core muscle and my entire uterus tightening around baby. During this pregnancy I became so attuned with my body and my breathing. Almost every afternoon in the third trimester I would rest in bed or in the bath and listen to birthing tracks and practice breathing. I practiced feeling which muscles moved and relaxed with each breath - feeling it in action now was completely wild but amazing. With every contraction I could feel baby moving and my muscles pushing baby lower and lower.

At around 6:30 a.m. it was starting to get more intense and I was starting to get worried at how tired I was becoming. I woke Nick up and told him everything that was going on and he helped me flip to my other side and get as comfortable as possible and he told me to stop timing and just try as hard as possible to sleep for an hour or two. I slept for two hours and woke up to zero contractions, just achy/sore light cramps. We decided to just try to go about the day as normal as possible and see what happens. I figured I just had a night of prodromal labor and could possibly be pregnant for days or weeks more.

We went about our day, but we stayed home just in case anything progressed. A few hours into the morning, contractions came back but this time randomly & the timing was super spaced out. I tried to lay down, rest, and take cat naps but couldn’t get comfortable anywhere. By dinner time the contractions were back consistently but not as intense as the night before. Our 20 month-old was getting extra clingy in a sweet way and kept trying to comfort me by cuddling and hugging me. For about 30 minutes I paced our downstairs hallway with our toddler resting on my bump, pushing baby down even more while I was having contractions.

My husband made steak and potatoes for everyone for dinner, and my tailbone and back were so achy that I had to eat it lying on the floor. I texted the midwife an update to keep her in the loop. I told her I could be in early labor but nothing crazy was happening yet so it could fizzle back out and just be prodromal. We rushed the kiddos through night time routine and got them to bed. As soon as they were in bed the contractions got very consistent and around 7-8 mins apart. We updated our midwife before she went to bed and she told us it could be hours, days, or weeks still and she suggested we try to get rest. I felt pretty defeated because I knew that if I had a similar night to the one before, that the next few days would be very hard, as I would be beyond tired. I didn’t want to go into labor drained.

Around this time, our four year old woke up and knocked on our door. “Just checking to see if the baby is here?”, he said in a squeaky and sleepy voice. We explained to him that the baby was probably not coming tonight, but if by chance it does happen, that we would wake him up right after. He was highly anticipating the new baby, especially since he held the important job of getting to cut the cord. Every night he would remind us, “you said you will wake me up! Don’t forget to wake me up!”. We got him back to bed ,and we tried to lay down for about an hour, but I was too uncomfortable and there was so much pressure that I had to keep going to the bathroom every few minutes. Nick got out our laptop and we looked through all of our previous birth photos while I sat and circled on a birth ball in between contractions. 5 minutes in between quickly turned into four, then three, and then two and a half. A lot of my contractions were in my back, and during them Nick would press my rice heat pack firmly on my back.

It was just past midnight and I was texting back and forth with my best friend giving her labor updates, and she and Nick convinced me that it was time to call the midwife. However, before we could… Kade woke up again and peeked in through the door with one eye ball...“I thought maybe I heard a baby...” To which we responded, “No baby, bud, go back to bed”. Nick got me in bed to lay down and then went to lay Kade back down and promised once again that we would wake him up when it was his time to shine. My contractions spaced back out to nearly 7 minutes when I was lying down in the relaxation position. I started doubting myself again and thinking maybe this wasn’t really labor and baby day. I got back up to go to the bathroom and had two HARD contractions back-to-back as soon as gravity was helping.

I convinced Nick to wait until I had a consistent pattern of contractions again before calling the midwife. I got back on the ball and went through an hour of contractions every three mins. Now with unquestionable consistency, Nick went to call the midwife and our birth photographer. As soon as he called everyone I started worrying that maybe it was still too soon to call and I didn’t want people waiting around on me for hours. My contractions started to space out again to five or more minutes while I waited for everyone to show up.

They all arrived a little after 3 a.m. and guess who woke up? “Is the baby here?!?!” “No bud, not yet.” Nick convinced him to get back in bed. The midwife, her assistants, and everyone were so encouraging when they got there. Baby sounded great and our birth assistant and a midwife in training gave Nick and I the speaker so we could hear baby and be reassured that everything was going perfect. (Side note: I’m not sure what they do differently but when they would check baby's heart rate it never hurt. They never dug it into my belly like previous midwives and nurses had done in past births which was one of the most difficult parts of my previous labors.)

Everyone got their medical “just in case” things out, set up, and put in their places to just watch me labor. Quickly after that, my contractions started coming every minute again! I labored on the birth ball, squatting, swaying in the bathroom as long as possible.

Around 4 a.m. I got in the birth tub. It felt so good to rest in the buoyancy, but honestly it was too good and my body was getting so relaxed that my contractions started spacing out again. I kept asking Nick to pray in between contractions for another contraction to come quickly because I knew the spacing out, although comfortable, wasn’t going to be productive for getting baby out. Contractions kept coming but with multiple minutes in between and I looked at Nick and started to cry saying that I felt like I just wasn’t using the contractions fully.

It was like I felt everything on such a heightened level in my body but I was getting so distracted during contractions and I was trying to breathe baby down and tell my body what to do, and it wasn’t listening. He looked at me and said “No one in this room is doubting you or your body at all.” I didn’t even realize that was what I was doing, and that those words were what I needed to hear until he said it. In my past labors (although overall good experiences) I had midwives doubting that I was too tired to continue labor or doubting how far along I was. They pressured me to get cervical checks multiple times as a report on how labor was going and wanted to break my waters at every check to speed up labor. But now, I looked up and he was right. Everyone was just patiently watching me and only asking if I needed anything in between contractions.

I labored and rested in the tub for around an hour and not to our surprise, during this time Kade woke up again to check on me and baby. Nick got him back to bed, but during him being gone I had a contraction without him and realized that we really needed to get someone here to watch the kids as the morning was quickly approaching. We also wondered if worrying about the children and trying to get baby out before the children woke up was potentially another mental block that I was having. So Nick texted one of my friends down the road to come over as soon as she could in case the baby wasn’t here before morning. I was to the point of relaxation that I started cracking jokes about how people say labor is like a marathon. Funny enough, just that morning, my suggested news article was about a man who ran a marathon and wouldn't stop to use the restroom. So he pooped his pants just before the finish line... essentially like birth. It was very funny in the moment, or at least my birth team pretended it was to appease me.

My birth team suggested we try to get out and move around to see if gravity and some different positions would help contractions pick up again and help baby descend. We went to the dilation station first to make sure my bladder wasn’t full and because that’s the magical place where the most effective contractions would happen. I had a few contractions back-to-back-to-back...ALL in my back, and the midwife in training quickly stepped in with counter pressure and other magical midwife pressure points and techniques. There was a point where I had no idea what she was doing but every time she touched me, jiggled my legs or pushed on a pressure point it made something feel better and I told her she must be half angel. I quickly tried to check myself to see if I could feel the baby (because I knew I didn’t want to have a toilet baby if I could help it). I could feel my bag of waters right there and bulging.

I explained to her what I was feeling and she suggested doing a few different positions to help baby descend and get the pressure off my back. We did a few standing lunges - me holding onto Nick, and a leg up on a five gallon bucket switching from side to side for a few contractions. I told her I could definitely feel baby much much lower. She said the next position she would suggest would be a side lying release. “It will be intense but very very productive in getting baby to descend.” So I waddled to the bed stopping to squat for a contraction and half chuckled saying, "Wow this labor is humbling..." and then I joked about it being so long because I had accepted so many intentions to offer it up for.

We did the side lying release for two contractions on the one side and I went to switch to the other when all of a sudden my contractions started to feel very different. I had one contraction on my other side and when it stopped I looked at her and said, "It feels like if I separate my legs the baby will for sure come out of me". She hollered for the other assistant to go get the midwife. I looked at Nick and said, "You have to help me get to the tub as quickly as possible in between the next contraction...I can’t walk or open my legs." I had never experienced that feeling in my life and I hadn’t realized that until now in my other labors a midwife would break my waters (at 8 cm and 10 cm) check me to make sure I was “complete” and then tell me I could start pushing. But this was different, I wasn’t pushing at all, my body was naturally ejecting the baby with the contractions.

They successfully got me back into the tub. As soon as I hit the water I went into a squat and once I was in that position I couldn’t move. My body was literally ejecting the baby and I had barely seconds of breaks in between. I looked up and my midwife was just sitting on our bed watching me labor and praying. The midwife assistant was behind me in the birth pool just watching from the other side. Nick was in front of me letting me use his one arm as support like a squat bar. I felt so much pressure and felt down to see if it was baby's head and it wasn’t. It was inches and inches of my bulging waters. It felt like I had a huge water balloon sticking out of me. I told the midwife and she excitedly said “Baby may be born encaul! We will have to wait and see!”

The contractions kept coming, one on top of the other, and the pressure kept increasing to the point of almost being unbearable. I was very audible for a moment, until pop my water popped and the assistant behind me said “head!” Everything slowed way down and started getting much less intense. I looked up at my main midwife who was still in front of me with my husband praying, and I remember just looking at her so shocked and with my mouth wide open and I said “this feels so weird!” And she said “Oh, is the baby turning!? Isn’t that so cool! Your body is naturally doing that!” It felt like the baby made multiple 360s in me (again another feeling I have never experienced!) slowly turning its shoulders to come out. Then another very brief pressure and baby was completely out and covered in the sac! I grabbed baby and pulled the sack off and my husband and the assistant helped me sit down.

The cord was too short to pull baby up much further than the water so the baby was half out of the water and half in the water. My husband with one hand on me and one hand on the baby while lowering me down said “I think I feel...I think it's a boy!” “Don’t say it till we are sure!! but I think I feel them too!” I said.

We had the birth assistant go run and wake up the boys and she went in and rubbed Kade's back and said he could wake up. He eagerly popped up and said, “Oh, I wasn’t sleeping! I was just pretending!!” The boys ran into our bedroom excited and we double checked baby’s gender and told them it was a BOY!

Our photographer was taking pictures and blew out the candles by my pool and Kade excitedly said “Oh! Now it smells like a birthday party!!!” We sent the boys downstairs to start eating breakfast so that I could birth the placenta and have the baby try to start nursing.

After it came out we called Kade back up and he finally got to do the job that he had been waiting nearly 10 months to do. He cut the cord and then ran back downstairs to finish breakfast.

Everyone helped me get into bed and baby got situated on me. While the clean up started around me, I was cuddling baby in complete bliss and I didn’t even notice that the baby kept pooping all over me and all the blankets on top of us. Meconium was everywhere. My photographer and Nick helped clean it all up while the midwives were busy cleaning everything else up.

After about an hour in bed we quickly did baby stats, had me use the restroom, and check me for tearing (0 tearing for the third time!).

Nick made everyone espressos after the long night, and my friend who was helping with the boys made me a plate of leftover steak and eggs.

Then everyone disappeared. Our bedroom and bathroom were clean and I didn't have to hop in a car to go home. Baby and I got all snuggled up and finally slept.

This was not the labor I prepared for. I thought this labor would be half the time of my last. I thought all my preparation would make this birth even more ~chill~ . This labor wasn’t what I thought but it was the labor I needed. Trent’s labor has been a great reminder that God loves us more than we can ever comprehend and He will give us what we need--even if it doesn't appear to be exactly what we asked for. And yes, once again minutes after he was born I said I was ready for another baby and even though his labor was long and hard, I would experience it 100x again if I could.

The next six days I only got out of bed to use the restroom and for one herbal bath a few days postpartum. On day six, we baptized baby and I sofa surfed while our friends were in town for the baptism. After the baptism weekend I returned to bed for another two days. The rest of the second week, I was either in bed or on the couch but only going up or down the stairs once a day. Weeks three and four were VERY gentle with lots of rest and very slowly getting back to "normal" life, but other than the baptism and one midwife appointment I did not leave our home for the whole first month.

At my six week postpartum check my midwife asked me how I was feeling and I told her that I felt six months postpartum and not at all like I just had a baby. I was nervous about this postpartum knowing it was my third child, after a huge move in my third trimester and trying to quickly set up a new home, living in a completely new area, and trying to build community as fast as possible pre-baby. But this was absolutely my easiest postpartum yet. Nick and I went over expectations and made a game plan on how postpartum would go to prioritize my rest and healing and allow me to solely focus on baby the first few weeks. My freezer stash of food and new church friends bringing us meals the first few weeks was such a blessing. The transition to being a family of five was nearly seamless and I was able to jump back full force into mom life with no overwhelm. I definitely think the initial investment of rest and healing in the immediate weeks postpartum set me up for that.

Midwives: Natural Birth KC

Birth Photography: Heritage Photography KC

Theresa Thomas is wife to Nick and mother to Kadian, Paxton, Trenton, and two saints in Heaven, Fran and Mari. She and her husband live on their homestead just outside Kansas City and have a strong devotion to the Holy Family. She loves all things Laura Ingalls and is passionate about homemaking and living out the vocation of wife and mother. You can find her at Holy Family Homestead and on Instagram @holyfamilyhomestead.


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