A Home Birth Story


We recently celebrated our daughter’s second birthday. I am amazed at how quickly those two years have passed! It is true what they say… time really flies the older we get, and especially once we have kiddos. As my husband and I prepared for her birthday party, I gathered pictures of her from throughout the years and reminisced about her birth….

It was on New Year’s Eve 2010 that I realized my period was late. Back at work after a quick lunch-break run to Walgreens, I slipped into the bathroom and ripped open the just-purchased two-pack of pregnancy tests.

As I peed on the stick, my heart raced in anticipation that our family may be growing. Less than 30 seconds later, my gut instinct was confirmed as I saw a plus sign appear on the stick in front of me. I took the second test, just to make sure. Earlier that year, on Mother’s Day, we had miscarried; and I had been hesitant and scared to try again.

Later that day, my husband and I began talking about some goals and projections for the next year, mostly business-related. Shortly into the conversation I asked him, “Are you ready to add to the craziness next fall?” He instantly knew what I was referring to and a large smile took over his face.

We shared our news with our parents and best friends that night. As I started to project the estimated due date, early September, I began to think about how great it would be to have our baby on 9-10-11. But our son had been born a week early, so I assumed that this baby would be born in August.

Aside from the extreme nausea through 18 weeks, our pregnancy went well. Around 28 weeks, I started to have some contractions. Our midwife was adamant that I start to reduce my patient hours and to decrease my stress levels. We took her advice to heart: I cut my hours, started to concentrate on resting, and began getting acupuncture and massage regularly. Now I was certain that we were going to meet our baby in August.

August came and went, but I was still certain that our baby would be born early. Soon the first week of September had passed, and the Iowa vs. Iowa State game on 9-10-11 was approaching. On 9-9-11, my husband and I went on a date, and then I went to bed early and got a full night’s rest. He had told me all week that any time was a great time to have a baby EXCEPT game day. Saturday morning came. Our son woke me up, and as I laid a blanket over him while he watched PBS, my water broke. It was 7:01 a.m.

My husband was taking a shower when I walked in giggling and told him, “Honey, it’s game day, and we’re having a baby today.” He made breakfast; I showered and then did some light cleaning and played with our son. This was bittersweet for me, knowing that we would meet our baby that day and that our first-born’s world was going to be rocked.

Tammy Laboring at HomeAs labor picked up some in the next hour, I called my mom and asked her to come over and help out with our son. When she arrived, I was bouncing on the ball; and in between contractions, which were about 9-10 minutes apart, our son wanted his turn on the ball. We played when we could, stuffing a ball under his shirt so he could have a baby in his belly like mommy; and around 10:00 a.m., I was having to concentrate on breathing during contractions that were 7-8 minutes apart.

We decided that my mom would take our son and go get some items for the BIRTHday party we had promised him we would have once baby was born: some pink and blue balloons (we didn’t know if we were having a boy or a girl), plus one red one since the Huskers were playing that night!

As the Iowa vs. Iowa State game played in the background and my husband kept busy in the kitchen and preparing for the birth, I began to move into an all-fours position over the birth ball in the living room. By 12:30 p.m. contractions had been 2-3 minutes apart for about 20 minutes, and I asked Zac to call the midwives to let them know how things were going. Though I felt like I was still very much in control, we knew that because baby was very low things could go fast. Our midwife said she was going to head our way; and minutes later we called our doula/dear friend and my mom to let them know.

At approximately 1:00 p.m., our midwife and doula showed up, soon followed by my mom and the other midwife. We had hired a birth photographer, and she would be there any moment, too. I had been in the rented birth tub for about half an hour, and the pressure that I was experiencing was indescribable.

Tammy's Water Birth at HomeWhen I reached the point that I was certain my pelvis was going to explode, I reached down to give some counter pressure as I was squatting and felt a head CROWNING! I remember saying out loud, “I can feel the baby’s head,” and no one said a word (Later my husband told me he looked around thinking, “She just said she could feel baby’s head and no one is doing anything?!”). I had not had an urge to push, but knowing baby was so close, I gave all of my strength – and more than I knew I had in me – and pushed her out with the next contraction.

That moment was incredible. I had just delivered my baby, caught her with my own hands, and guided her to the top of the water and into our home and hearts! It was a girl, and she was perfect and pink and had chubby cheeks and rolls all over. Our son came in from coloring in his room to meet his sister and to give me a kiss, at which point he told me my face was dirty and sweaty.

Surrounded by my husband, son, mother, dear friend, and amazing birth team, nothing else in the world seemed to matter. Time stood still, and the miracle of birth and life consumed me. Two minutes later our birth photographer arrived and captured some of the most amazing images we possess, allowing me to relive those moments over and over.

photo by: Libby Crimmings, Crimmings Photography
photo by: Libby Crimmings, Crimmings Photography



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