Right now I am featuring a collection of real birth stories on the blog as I prepare for my own upcoming delivery.  To submit a birth story, please email me at cassmillerphoto (at) gmail (dot) com. **All birth stories are welcome in this series – it is not limited to natural or home births.  I am hoping to showcase all types of births and experiences.** 

Back with another beautiful birth story today.  Wish it was mine, but alas, I will use this story as inspiration and hopefully, hopefully, I’ll be experiencing my own birth story this week!

Randi was so sweet for letting me feature her incredible home birth experience.  She is a blogger as well, and wrote about her journey to discovering home birth HERE if you’d like to hope over to read that first.  I always love hearing about how people stumble onto different birth choices, and I especially love hearing when that journey leads them to a great birth.  So excited to be featuring this especially sweet story today….

{Penny’s Birth Story}

Towards the end of my pregnancy, Trenton and I took a hypnobabies class. I wanted to equip myself mentally to be able to withstand the pain of labor. Hypnobabies was so much more than just teaching me to fight pain.. it was a marriage strengthening, confidence building, mind strengthening, knowledge building experience. I love how hypnobabies provided me with tracks to listen to daily – particularly the positive affirmations track that was filled with positive words that calmed me. Hypnobabies was extremely helpful to me in preparing me mentally to believe in my ability to fulfill my calling as a woman. Just as a note, Hypnobabies uses a different language: Contractions are called pressure waves, labor is called birthing time, and transition is called transformation.

The day after my due date, (January 28th) I had my midwife check me to find that I was not dilated or thinning hardly at all. I was quite discouraged because I was feeling Braxton hicks and lots of pressure in my cervix. I had my midwife sweep me but we weren’t confident it would do much. Also baby hadn’t grown since the previous week so I was a bit worried. I used the fear clearing track that night to calm myself along with prayer.

Friday, January 29th, I woke up after having a good cry the night before. I was worried about everything Thursday – worried about baby’s growth, about going over my due date and having to go to the hospital, worried about complications arising, etc. Friday morning however, I felt peace. I had taken all my worries and placed them in front of me – gave them a good look then tossed them out. I no longer felt worry – just determination to do all that I needed to do to get baby here. I hung out on the birthing ball all day and if i wasn’t bouncing on the ball, i was doing exercises and stretches. Mid morning that day I lost my mucus plug. I was excited to see something happen that meant progress but I had seen this before with my second pregnancy and still got induced days later. I started getting sporadic “birthing waves” (contractions) but didn’t think much about that either.

Saturday morning (January 30th) I woke at 4:30am to contractions that were 30 seconds long and about 10 minutes apart. I waited til 6:00am to text my midwife. My midwife then told me to track the contractions for another hour then and by 8am they were stronger and closer together. We called my parents and asked them to come pick up the boys – not really knowing if we would have a baby that day. We sat down as a family of four on our bed and Trenton said a family prayer. Trenton also gave me a blessing right after the prayer. His prayer and blessing were beautiful and the spirit was strongly present. As contractions got stronger I was pausing to focus and Maxwell was concerned – asking me if I was sad. I told him I was very happy but that I had a stomach ache. hehe. Jude was just really bouncy and didn’t notice what was even going on. I was glad at that moment to have my parents coming to get them.

I got in my bathtub (as my midwife suggested to me) and listened to my birthing day affirmations and started channelling my hypno-anesthesia with each wave. (Hypno-anesthesia is a visualization technique that helps eliminate pain.) I found myself turning my switch to center and saying in my head “pressure not pain” as I visualized the anesthesia attacking the pain in my body. I was doing quite good at eliminating pain or at least dulling it. I felt really calm and in control of my contractions.

My midwife Cyndi arrived around 9:00am. When she had told me she was coming over but wasn’t going to rush I thought “Oh I guess she’s just coming as support… that’s so nice!” I still wasn’t sure if I was having a baby that day or not. haha! Anyway, when my midwife saw me in my bath she asked if it was helping and if I wanted to use her birthing pool… I hadn’t planned to use it but opted to try it because the water was nice but my tub was not comfortable. The birthing assistant April brought the pool and we filled it up while I got out of the bath and used my hypnosis through each birthing wave – while sitting on the birthing ball. We decided to put the birthing pool in Penny’s room simply because it fit best there. I didn’t know if I’d delver there and thought maybe I’d just use the water for comfort but thought it would be fun to deliver in Penny’s room if it worked out that way.

By about 11:30 the pool was full and I got in. The water was an amazing comfort and I hadn’t even thought until then about how my special safe place is in water and how right for me a water birth could be.  (A special safe place is a place the very first hypnobabies track tells you to visualize. It’s really sweet! The track tells you to imagine somewhere relaxing and happy. I imagined a pool in a white room with big windows with me floating in the water and my boys around me. The track also tells you to imagine yourself holding your baby and to talk to your baby.. it’s pretty much the sweetest thing to visualize and moved me to tears a few times.) The playlist my dad made for me for my birthing time was playing and as one of my favorite songs came on (homeward bound) I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of peace and joy. I could feel the warmth of the spirit so strongly and I was moved to tears. This feeling was something I had looked forward to – something I knew was more likely to happen in my home than the hospital.

Birthing waves quickly became more and more intense at that point and my husband was doing a great job at saying “relax” and “peace” (both words to signal hypnosis) to calm me. But ultimately, I had to remove myself from the real world and search within myself for strength and peace. I would immerse my entire body except my face and hands (which were holding my husband’s hands) under the water and either pray or say peace to myself. The anesthesia became harder for me to channel and then I became really loud. haha! I remember thinking I sounded like a cow and I think I freaked my husband out a little! hehe!

As I got more vocal, the midwife and birthing assistant started to seem excited and were telling me I was doing great. I kept asking my midwife when I should push and she said I need to trust myself and push when I feel the urge. It was so strange for me to not be told when to push but soon enough I was able to listen to my body. By then it was happening so fast and I lost all control, I did not know how to channel hypnosis anymore. I was scared and I was making a lot of noise. I remember praying to my heavenly father to give me the strength I knew I did not have without his help. I knew what I needed to do but I did not want to do it. I told my midwife I was scared and she then said “Randi, give me your hand.” She put my hand on baby’s crowning head and this incredible peace came over me. All pain left me – I saw my special safe place, my body relaxed and I let out a big sigh. (Trenton also tells me I said “I love her!” but I don’t remember that.) I knew I was about to meet my baby.

Three pushes later and my sweet Penny was on my chest and in my arms. It took some loud noises and pain to get her out but all pain left me instantly once she was in my arms. Our sweet 7 pound, 2 ounce and 21 inches long Penny Belle Gardner was born on January 30th, 2016 at 1:19pm. She was born on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in her bedroom, in our home – just as we had hoped.

After Penny was born, my midwife wanted me to walk to my bedroom to deliver the placenta. I’m still cracking up about how I was holding my baby – umbilical cord still attached – while climbing out of the pool, and walking through the hall to my bed. It’s amazing to me that I could just get up and walk instantly! I felt amazing! I delivered the placenta and Trenton cut the cord after it stopped pulsating. (If you don’t know about delayed cord clamping, look it up! I was shocked to find out that there are many nutrients still remaining in the placenta even after the baby is delivered… it is so beneficial to wait and let the placenta and cord drain before cutting it off from baby.) I didn’t need any stitching – I had a very minor tear. I didn’t need any medicine, or oxygen. Everything was so completely uncomplicated and wonderful.I was able to have skin to skin time with Penny and let Trenton hold her too for a long time while my midwife and birthing assistant cleaned up, did paperwork etc. They then helped me shower while they changed my bed sheets and made my room comfortable! They even fed me! hehe! The care from Cyndi and April was absolutely wonderful. I felt sad when they finally left – like they were my best friends now and I didn’t want to say goodbye. I am so thankful for them and highly recommend them!

It is incredible to have two strong women guiding you but not telling you what to do – reassuring you that YOU have the strength to know how to give birth to a baby. Giving birth naturally is the single most character building experience of my life. I feel like I am this transformed woman walking around in this seemingly normal looking body. Yes I appear to be simply a 27-year old average looking woman.. but inside I am powerful, strong, and immovable. I am daughter of God with the ability to channel his godly power. I have a divine role as a wife to Trenton, a favored son of God and worthy priesthood holder. And as a mother to Jude, Maxwell, Penny and the other sweet spirits waiting for us in heaven. I am not what I appear to be on the outside, I am so much more. And giving birth naturally has made this truth so much more clear to me.

This experience was all that I wanted it to be. It is an incredible experience to do something you never thought you could do. It is amazing to have to rely on the Lord so strongly, to pray harder than ever before, to rely on your husband so strongly and feel that incredible bond of husband and wife bringing life to the earth together.


 View Randi’s full post with pictures HERE.