Friday, October 14, 2011

Our Fifth Birth - Silas

17 weeks
31 weeks

After a very busy pregnancy with my husband's career change, a major move, many blog and facebook posts, and much prayer, the time finally came for Silas to come out and join us. . .

On Wednesday, September 21st, I started to feel like "I really want to have this baby soon!!!"  My sporadic contractions had been picking up in frequency and intensity that week.  The day before (20th), I had really begun nesting, and on the 21st I was insanely energetic.  There was crazy hyper nesting going on, and the house was looking great!!  I hit 39 weeks on the 22nd.  That weekend, I started feeling like "This baby is never going to come!  I will be pregnant forever!!"  That is significant because I always feel that way a couple of days before the baby is born. 
Grandma "Kat" helping with bedtime
Isaiah beginning to record
my contractions

Sunday night, the 25th, my contractions were getting stronger, thanks to some alone time with my husband and nursing our toddler.  In the morning, I had some bloody show and more mucus plug, but my contractions were weaker.  I was really discouraged!  I told my husband, "I feel like a car in the winter time that you keep trying to start again and again, but the engine just won't turn over!"  He sweetly and firmly replied, "No, that is not a good comparison.  When a car does that, there is something wrong with the car.  There is nothing wrong with you.  Your body is doing exactly what it's supposed to do.  Don't be discouraged.  You are making progress, and getting ready to have this baby."  Well, that put me right at ease.  I love him.

Birth pool filling up next to Isaiah's bed
Matt went off to work that day ready to come home in an instant if needed.  I kept him updated throughout the day.  When we were on the porch waving to him, our oldest, Isaiah (7yrs) said, "Don't worry, Mom.  If Silas comes, I'm here."  My contractions started getting stronger that afternoon, but were 20 minutes apart.  As the day went on, they got more frequent.  Isaiah started tracking them on a paper.  That evening, I called my mother in law, and asked if she could help me with bedtime.  She came over and was a big help.  My contractions were between 5 and 8 minutes apart.  I was putting sheets on a couple of the kids beds while my mother in law fed them and got them ready for bed including reading books to them.  I would've gone crazy if she hadn't helped me through that evening!

Laboring in my bed with my phone
(I was keeping my fb crowd updated)
Matt came home as quickly as he could after he got off at 10:00, and our midwife arrived soon after that. Or maybe she got there first. . . I can't remember.  She brought her 2 children with her, and right away, her kids and ours were piled on Isaiah's bed playing with Isaiah's game boy!  She got her kids to bed quickly, and Matt got ours back to bed.  Then, I tried to get some sleep. 

Malakai came in to check on me
My contractions were getting more intense.  We decided to at least fill the pool halfway, but I was getting such strong contractions, I ended up telling him to just fill it up all the way because I wanted to get in!  However, when I got in the pool, my contractions slowed down a lot.  We called our doula at 11:30.  She got there when I was lying in Isaiah's bed next to the pool.  I was so tired!
Back in my own bed, I tried to sleep, but lying on my side brought on great contractions.  I just focused on relaxing, knowing that those more difficult ones were the ones that were helping Silas get to my arms faster.  When they were extra hard and I just wanted to survive through it, I would totally surrender my body to the contraction and remove my mind and emotions from the pain.  I would think about my baby, and how the contraction was opening my body for him.  It really helped.

Back in the pool
Whenever I got back into the pool, my contractions slowed down.  This was a very weird labor for me.  My midwife and Matt made sure I was eating and drinking well throughout my labor which helped my energy and endurance level a lot.  My midwife gave me some Valerian herb in tincture form to help me rest.  I did rest, and continued to contract all night.  Our doula had to leave to get back to her baby at home around 8:00am.  She said to call her if things picked up.

Silas, right when I brought
him out of the water

One of the times that I got back in the pool during the early morning hours, Eli walked in the room.  His first words were, "See, told ya I would wake up myself!"  I had told him that someone would wake him up if Silas was coming during the night.  He was very excited that the pool was filled.  Then he said, "So. . . is your belly gonna crack open like an egg?"  I proceeded to give him a basic understanding of where babies come from and the special way that God made mommies to birth them.  He was satisfied enough.  We chatted for a while.  It was so nice to have one of our children in the room.  It made me feel so comfortable, and the atmosphere felt more normal.
Instant Joy after lots of hard work!

While Indian style on the bed, my contractions came every 5 minutes and their severity was very good.  Then, during one contraction around 11:30, I felt Silas move down.  It was pretty cool!  When my legs got tired of that position, I tried the birthing ball.  While I was lunging on the birthing ball, Matt said, "I feel like it's Christmas, and we're trying to squeeze Santa down the chimney." It was really funny, and we both laughed!

After the birth ball, I got down on the floor.  There was a short time (just a few minutes) that I was alone.  I tried to sing "Edelweiss" to Silas, rocking and rubbing my belly.  I couldn't.  I was so overcome with emotion on the lines, "bloom and grow" and "you look happy to meet me", I could not sing!

I was eating and drinking during this whole time. Silas's heart rate was very good.  My midwife suggested that I start walking around.  That was very effective.  My contractions' intensity increased noticeably.  They were more difficult to get through, but I stayed on top of them.  My midwife told me to get in the pool, walk around in the water, then squat down for contractions to ease the pain.  That plan worked very well, and that time ended up being the sweetest and most personal part of my labor.
Our younger 4. Isaiah was busy playing with the midwife's son!
He did peek in from the hallway though.

Matt came in the room with me.  We closed the door for privacy.  Sunlight was pouring in the windows, and our birth play list was playing softly in the background.  I felt so silly walking around in the pool with Matt sitting there watching.  So, I asked him if he'd like to walk with me.  He held my hand, and walked with me around the pool (he was outside).  When I felt a contraction coming, I would squat down, and relax.  Then, I got back up to walk.  Well, our walk became a dance, like a tango or something silly like that.  We laughed so much!  Matt said, "OK, we are not supposed to be having this much fun during a birth!!"  It was such a sweet, funny, and romantic time between the two of us.  

When my contractions were well established, still 5 minutes apart, I stayed down in the water.  Apparently, some were 3 minutes apart because that is what is written in my Labor Record for 1:15pm.

At 1:28, I checked myself, and felt my sweet baby's head!  He was 2 knuckles in, and I felt the molding of his head.

Beautiful pic of Silas and Daddy
(Stacey Rainer Photography)

Gradually, my contractions changed to pushing contractions.  It was NOT easy like Malakai's birth because he had never tucked his chin! So, I did push with my body.

I had asked my midwife to call the children in when I started pushing.  When the children were coming, I pushed his head out.  His bag of waters were still intact until his head came out!  Remember, in Malakai's birth, when I softly stated, "Yes, the head is out." Not so this time!  I exclaimed with exhaustion "HIS HEAD'S OUT!"  After that, there was a brief rest period before the next contraction.  I was caressing his little head.  My midwife came around behind me.  She said his color was good, and said she would check for a cord.  "There is a cord." I told her.  It was loosely around his neck once.  Then, at 1:50pm while Chris Tomlin's "Indescribable" was playing on Matt's iTouch, Silas slowly came out with the next contraction.  I was carefully getting him unwrapped from the cord.  Matt told me to bring him up.  So, I started moving faster.  My midwife said, "Wait, let's get it off his shoulder."  I did with her help, and brought him up.  My midwife stripped Malakai's clothes off and put him right in the pool.  He loved Silas immensely right from the start.  It was so sweet!  Eli told her, "I do not want to get in the pool!"

After our happy relaxed time rejoicing over our newborn and phone calls to our moms and our doula (My labor was so weird that we never knew when to call her until it was too late!), it was time to think about that cord blood.  I carefully got out of the pool, and sat on the birth stool.  Almost immediately, Silas's placenta was born into the bowl below me.  Then, our midwife drew the cord blood.  Silas was still attached to his placenta.  So, she wrapped it in a chuck pad, and put it in a plastic bag.  We chose to do physiological cord clamping for Silas.  We researched the risks and benefits, and decided to let him receive all of his own precious blood and stem cells.  It would take a whole separate post to express all the protection and benefits that newborns receive when they are allowed to get all their own blood and stem cells!  Our midwife was able to get plenty of blood without cutting the cord.  His cord was not clamped or cut for 4 hours.  We did learn that the physiological cord clamping doesn't work the same with a hemophiliac.  First, his cord was cut very long, and didn't need any clamping at all.  However, later that night, when we cut it shorter with no clamps, it did seep a bit, and we had to clamp it.  Next time, we will wait a full 24 hours before cutting the cord short.  With help, I walked to my bed to lie down with Silas.  Matt was soon out the door to run the cord blood to the hospital.

When Matt got back, it was time for our herb bath.  That's always a nice time, and we got lots of beautiful pictures of Silas in the bath.  I think I might make a whole post full of herb bath pics!

A few hours later, we got the call from our hematologist about the blood test results, and learned that Silas does have hemophilia.  I will write more about that later since this post is already so long!

Silas taught me that just because a baby is small, it doesn't mean that the birth is easy.  Silas was only 6# at birth, and his birth was one of my most intense (and I've had a 10#14oz baby!).  I really had to work for him!!  No, size is not the issue, it's all about position.  Silas did not tuck his chin probably because his cord was right there and it was uncomfortable for him.  He came out in an anterior brow position.  However, it was another amazing and beautiful birth, and it was so nice to be back home and share the experience with our children.  Welcome, Silas Martin Reeves!!


  1. Love your birth story

  2. This is awesome Sarah :)

  3. Congratulations!!!! I saw your post on facebook and had to come check out your story. How incredible! You wrote it out so well. I had my first home birth this last April and when the topic comes up it seems so does your name. Isn't that funny? You have a home birthing reputation and fan club. :) And I've joined it. Beautiful. Truly Beautiful. Love that your kids were there too. Many Continued Blessings and God's Peace!

  4. Aw, thanks so much, Janice! Congratulations to you!! I'd love to hear about your birth some time!

  5. hello, i've just been directed to your blog by someone, as i'm trying to find out more about options with cord bloods with haemophiliac babies. I have a friend who is a haemophilia carrier (low factor 8). She has had an amniocentesis and so knows that her son has haemophilia. I'm really curious and would like to understand more about how they took the cord blood without clamping with Silas (which seems to be the only option offered - and the medics don't seem to want baby to get any of the placenta blood :( - not even a couple of mins before clamping ....) so how did they do this with you... i'd love to know.

  6. Guess what, i'm just back from the birth! Baby boy was born in an hour, B4 midwives or even doula arrived, so he got all his cord blood B4 the cord was cut, and midwives managed to get cord blood sample anyway. I love your blog, and will direct my friend here. Maybe she'll want to share her Hemo home birth story too! Let her baby-moon first though!!

  7. Annabel!! How exciting! I really hope to read her birth story. It sounds like a fast one! I am so glad to hear about everything with the cord blood working out so well in every way. :o) Thank you so much for visiting my blog and your encouraging words. Tell your friend I'd love to share her story if she's interested!

    1. Hi Sarah, well sorry it has taken so long! My son Rumi is now 7 weeks. He has mild haemophilia; i am a low level carrier. He is my second baby. I had to go against official recommendations to get my home birth, but it was so worth it, and so the right decision! My labour was 1 hour and 7 mins, most of which was very gentle, no one arrived until after he was born , my partner delivered him! He was born in the caul, his waters came out as a bulge before his head, and broke as his body was born. I am just amazed that he seemed to know the safest way to be born; quite literally bubble wrapped!!! Please check out my birth story on ( i also teach baby and toddler yoga!)

    2. Jessica, your birth story is amazing!! I posted a link to it on BWB's Facebook page. My 4th was born in the caul too. Such a cool experience. I totally wish I could do yoga with you and take my children to your class! Thanks so much for sharing. <3

    3. Wow thanks Sarah! I love your site. Will try and connect on FB too. If youre ever in the UK come along! xx


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