Caryn's Home Birth | Tampa Bay Home Birth with Tampa Birth Photography

"Finding out that I was pregnant in September of 2015 was a great and welcomed surprise.  My husband and I were excited to enjoy (and complain) about all the joys of pregnancy and planning for our 3rd child over the next 8 months.  Unfortunately, the United States Military threw a huge wrench in our plans when they sent my husband to Afghanistan in late October.  So now I was off to deal with all that pregnancy entails while parenting a 2 and 5 year old - solo.  I’m not sure how I got through those first couple of months as I had very bad morning sickness which caused me to lose about 10 pounds.  The stress of pregnancy and raising 2 kids during an unexpected deployment was a lot on me.  I constantly worried about how the stress would be affecting my unborn child. 

Early December, I decided to go for a gender scan.  My plan was to wrap up a gender reveal box and send it to my husband for him to open with us on Facetime on Christmas.  No one knew what the gender was, besides the woman that did the ultrasound and a kind neighbor that peeked at the ultrasound picture to ensure that I sent the right box (pink or blue) to my husband.  Due to some situations over there, he ended up opening the box on Christmas Eve with myself and my daughters anxiously staring on the laptop, hoping that there wouldn’t be a glitch to delay the reveal.  This is when we learned that we’d be adding another little girl to our crazy family.

It was around March when I started having regular visits with the person who saved my life for the duration of my pregnancy - my chiropractor, Rachel Settles.  In February, it was getting harder and harder to walk, get dressed, get in and out of vehicle, drive, etc.  I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to function and being home alone with 2 littles, I NEEDED to function.  Those twice weekly adjustments were game changers and the rest of the pregnancy was pretty uneventful, aside from the worries about my husband getting home in time for the birth and normal parenting stress.

My official guess date was May 9th and my husband was due home around that time.  He did everything he could to try and get it bumped up by just a little, in hopes that I would not be without my doula for this birth.  Yes, I call him my doula because he was so amazing during the birth of our 2nd - I trained him well (hehehe).  I was terrified that he would miss it.  Luckily, he arrived home on the 25th of April, just in time for his birthday.  At this point, my impending birth started to become REAL.  I realized that I had kind of just been floating through the pregnancy, in denial that at the end I would be birthing a baby.  Looking back, I remember Charlie’s face when she would ask me about birth plans, birth supplies, etc., and I would respond with a nonchalant “Yes, I’ll get it together”.  I’m guessing I had her pretty worried as she gently reminded me to do x,y, and z.  I know she really wanted to put her foot up my ass.  Haha.

At this point in my pregnancy, my blood pressure started to go up and stay up.  Nothing seemed to go as planned and the unknown was pretty scary.  I usually enjoy pregnancy, keeping my baby all to myself, but at this point I was very ready for her to come.  My guess date came and went, which wasn’t a huge shocker.  My husband and I attended Jenn’s CBE class on May 15th when I was around 41 weeks.  I had been putting it off in hopes that he would be home to attend with me.  I was also hoping that going to the class would switch me into ‘birth mode’ to help this labor thing kick off.  It didn’t.  Charlie had been discussing postdates procedures with me but I kept pushing those thoughts to the back of my mind because I was in denial that I might actually need to go in for assessment.  Though I had my first in a hospital without any issues, I certainly didn’t want another hospital birth.  I didn’t want to be away from my daughters, I didn’t want to be on someone else’s clock, I didn’t want all the restrictions that came with hospital birth - I just didn’t want it.  So when she told me “look, this is the last day you can get in there” I thought to myself NOPE.  Time to evict this baby.  Also, my birthday was only a few short days away and I definitely wanted baby girl to have her own special day.  So I scheduled an acupuncture appointment with a woman who came highly recommended by Charlie, Gururas at Seminole Heights Community Acupuncture. 


The hour that I spent with those tiny tiny needles in my skin was the most relaxing hour of my life, even though I was having pretty noticeable contractions.  Once I was done there, she recommended that I go home and get some rest as I hadn’t been getting much over the past couple of days.  If nothing happened that night, she wanted me to come back the following day.  She told me that she never had to see a pregnant woman more than 2 or 3 days in a row before things got going.  So I went home that night and got in bed, contractions still coming.  I woke up from a little nap and everything had stopped.  I was pretty disappointed but still holding onto hope.  After a restless night with very little sleep, I returned to Seminole Heights for round 2.  During this session, contractions were pretty regular and I actually had to breathe my way through them.  I was getting excited and anxious all at the same time.  They made sure that I’d be able to make it home okay and I ensured them that I would.  And I did.  I was breathing through contractions the whole way home.  After a little time spent at home, things were still going but I could tell that they were spacing out a bit and starting to die down.  I called Rachel (the chiropractor) to update her on what had been going on.  She told me that she would be over shortly to help things along.  She got to the house shortly after 6pm and adjusted me, we chatted a bit, and she was on her way.  She stressed to me to call her at any time if I needed her (have I explained just how awesome she is?!).  Within 30 minutes, things were back to what they were during my acupuncture appointment and even a little bit more intense. 

The evening continued as usual - I cooked dinner, we ate, we put the girls to bed, and then I started doing some cat cow and other fun positions to try and help things along.  My husband was straightening up the house a bit and I was relaxing as much as possible in my room.  Around 8pm or so, my husband kept suggesting that I should call Charlie but I insisted that I had time.  At 10pm, after timing contractions for an hour, I finally said that maybe we should call.  I called Charlie and told her that contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, lasting for 1 minute each.  In the next 20 minutes, contractions got quite a bit stronger so my husband called Charlie back and she said that she’d be on her way.  At this point, I was in the shower because the hot water on my back felt amazing.  I stayed in the shower for about an hour before finally forcing myself out since I felt like I needed some assistance during contractions.  I was putting on a little makeup (don’t laugh) when Charlie peeked her head in my bathroom close to midnight.  She had been at the house for a while but was giving me some time to do my thing.  I guess it was around this time that my husband and the Barefoot Birth team were setting up the birth tub in our family room downstairs. 

I went downstairs shortly after midnight (it was now my birthday), just a few minutes after Patty arrived.  It was so nice to be surrounded by such an awesome team.  I knew I was in good hands all around!  I labored in the kitchen for a short while with my husband applying counter pressure during contractions.  Right around 12:30am, I felt like I wanted to puke so I decided to get in the tub.  Things were pretty intense and I was so very tired.  Again, I hadn’t gotten much sleep over the past couple of days and I started to feel like I couldn’t keep up with my body.  While being in the tub did help, I couldn’t help but feel like there was no comfortable position for me to be in.  Looking back, I believe it was because I was much further along than I wanted to admit to myself so yeah, not much was going to be comfortable.  It was a little less than an hour of contractions with lots of jokes and laughter in between them, and then I started feeling lots of pressure.   I believe I said “I feel like my ass is going to explode” at one point right after 1:30am.  Haha.  Besides having done this before and being a doula and seeing this scene and similar dozens of times, I knew what all of this meant but I was still doubting myself inside.  I felt like I just didn’t have the energy to finish out this journey.  I think I kept saying “I’m just so tired”.  But it was almost time, as I felt my water break a few minutes after the sudden feeling of tons of pressure.  I kept thinking to myself, I am so over this.  This child needs to come on out so I can get some rest.  I probably even said it out loud a time or 10 to which Charlie responded “well, push her out then.”  So I did.  I started pushing a few minutes before 2am and Lana Rayne was birthed into her fathers hands and placed in my arms at 2:05am - I wished her and myself a Happy Birthday."