The birth of Tuesday Lee

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She is absolutely amazing—being a mother is everything I hoped for and more. I have so much to say about this first week with my lovely daughter (expect much more regular posts now that I have this out). But first I am very excited and proud to share our birth story. It's long and wordy and very sentimental, but I'm writing it as much for Tuesday Lee and her doting parents, as for everyone out there. So here it is—the birth of Tuesday Lee:

I have to start back in the spring when we became pregnant (after six months of trying—thanks fertility awareness method!). Through blogs and books I had become exposed to wonderful out-of-hospital birth experiences. Soule Mama was a blog that I really connected with, and I was amazed by her daughter's birth story. I'd also read about water birth and the gentle nature of midwifery care. All the "what to expect" books tell you to interview for a practitioner. I quickly found out no OB/GYN in our area did this—so I had to pick one blind (more like get assigned one by the clinic). And despite cramping so severely it woke me up at night, an initial office visit takes weeks to get. This didn't do a lot for my confidence in the hospital route. I started researching local midwifes and looked into alternatives to the birth center at the hospital, which I was hearing unfavorable things about: high C-section rates, induction happy docs, short trials of labor, and an unsupportive environment for drug free births. One of the midwifes I called got back to me the next day and I said, "My husband and I would love to meet with you." She was more than willing to be interviewed (a relief) and told me where her office was. "Wait," I said, "do you live on the other side of Tracy and Eric?" She did! Literally two houses down from ours, a midwife?! After meeting with Pamela Bj immediately told me to cancel the other interviews—we knew she was the one. All our fears about a home birth were put to rest. We learned that midwifes bring much of the "modern" equipment and all necessary emergency supplies to the birth. We learned that for Pamela a healthy baby is the goal (ours too!) and we would go to the hospital (2 miles away) if we needed to. Through her lending library we learned so much more. We watched videos, read, read, read and became educated about childbirth in America.

I kept that OB appointment, but on the advice of Pamela switched doctors. My new doctor was supportive of home births (on the down low) and with Pamela I felt like I couldn't have had better prenatal care. Our midwife appointments lasted an hour and every question was answered. I started prenatal yoga at about 14 weeks. Bj went with me to the first class—and was amazing! As labor approached I grew more confident with my choice. My super supportive husband helped, as did our Bradley classes. (Bradley isn't aimed at home birth, but rather natural birth—with Bj by my side—it's also called "husband coached childbirth.")

After the jump I have pictures of labor, nothing too risque, but my breasts are exposed, please don't continue if this offends you in any way.

The birth-1

The birth-4

On Friday evening, at 41 weeks exactly, I was down to the last thing on my to do list: make a cover for the heating pad. I finished that with scraps from baby projects and crawled into bed at 1 am with dull cramps (so I used the heating pad). I woke up at 4 a.m. to heavier crampy/back things (ah… contractions). I put the heating pad on high and Bj got out his iPhone to use the app. he just downloaded "labor mate." The contractions (rushes) were 4-5 minutes apart. From our Bradley classes we knew we had to establish if it was real or false labor. At 4:45 I had a plate of spaghetti to try Step One: eating. Still they came. So I showered, calling out to Bj when they started and stopped. By this time we knew it was labor. I had a sort of labor "hammock" set up (a baby carrier wrap called a Hoppediz) and clung to it during these contractions while Bj rubbed my lower back. At six we called the midwife and Sciarrino (our back up labor person). Sciarrino arrived at 6:30 and Pamela soon after. Bj set up the birth tub in the nook of our new bedroom. I got in around 7:30 with great relief. The warm water (and lack of gravity) was so wonderful. In fact, I only got out twice after I got in. "How do women do this on land?" I thought. I continued to breath through contractions and focused on my husband who was so calm and wonderful. He took a rest around ten, so Sciarrino helped me for awhile. I had my long awaited Diet Coke (10 months! Pamela didn't recommend consuming fake sugar during pregnancy) and Bj came back over to me into transition.
The birth-8

True to what I had read, this was the toughest part for me and low moans and flapping lips gave way to a few higher pitched yelps. I definitely remember saying I didn't like it. Bj knew it was transition from his Bradley training and encouraged me by telling me that I could do, was doing it, and the worst was almost over. He was right! I got a nice little break and soon after, and around eleven I felt "pushy." I was never "checked" so I didn't know how dilated I was. It seems weird to me now that anyone would need to be told they were "complete." It's not like I could help but push—the urge was overwhelming. For each of these contractions I had a few bursts of pushing. Whatever felt right—I let my body lead. I forgot to mention Pamela would regularly monitor the baby (yes, it can be done under water) while her assistant, Emily, took notes and prepped for the baby's arrival. But I didn't pay any attention to that, except to hear how Cliff (our nickname for the baby in utero) was doing.
The birth-9

(during a contraction)
The birth-10

(between contractions)
The birth-11

(pushing, while Pamela checks on baby)
Pushing was really interesting. It was painful, but a more empowering "I'm doing something" feeling. The contractions were much less severe than transition ones. I even breathed through one to take a break from pushing. When I reached down at one point I couldn't feel her head yet, just a weird bulge. This was my bag-of-waters that hadn't broken. Towards the end of pushing they broke with a pop. I thought it was loud so I asked if anyone heard it, of course they didn't :). The whole pushing time I was on my knees during the contractions, leaning on Bj (and clinging to him as you can see). In between I really felt good, and just floated around, chatted and rested. Pamela suggested I squat and a few pushes later I yelled, "ring of fire." Then her head was out and very quickly her body. I had just told everyone, "remember Bj gets to see if it's a boy or girl." He grabbed the baby at 1:04 p.m. (who was a bit tangled in the cord), but the second I saw it was a girl I snatched her up and yelled out, "IT"S A GIRL?!!!" Bj was trying to spin her around and get the cord out of the way, but I was too enamored to help. She was fine, it's a common misconception that the cord around the neck is life threatening, that's rarely the case, as the baby doesn't bungee jump out. So Pamela untangled her and I cuddled her to my chest (after checking her girl bits one more time). Looking at the pictures Sciarrino took (that I didn't even notice her taking, but so glad she did) in a matter a of a few minutes I wondered how Bj got back to the head of the tub to cuddle with his girls. Sciarrino said he practically leapt over the side of the birth tub. I love that. You can see how in love with her he is in the pictures. He was the first person to ever touch her, and it just amazes me.
The birth-13

(her first breath)
The birth-14

(a girl!)
The birth-15

(ah Bj is smitten!)
The birth-17

(the placenta and bag of waters. looks like lots of blood because it's diluted in the water. I put this picture in because I always wondered what this was like before I saw it and knew others would be curious)
After her birth I wanted to get the placenta out and it came easily with a couple of pushes after putting Tuesday to the breast. Pamela floated it in a bowl because I wanted all of the blood from the cord to go back to the little girl instead of cutting it right away. Plus I really wanted to inspect the placenta and see what she had snuggled up against all those months. It was very interesting, and so was the bag of water. I'm glad I looked at it. Pamela and her assistant helped me and the baby to the bed where Bj cut the cord (long, they trimmed it later). I snuggled with her and she pooped all over me, not that I cared (we had pads down and everything). They took Tuesday and did all of the newborn tests, Bj went over and comforted her. They weighed her, seven pounds four ounces, a perfect little bundle. They rubbed in the vernix to make her skin buttery soft. Then Emily helped me breast feed the first time. Tuesday stayed awake and alert for four hours after the birth, not crying just taking everything in. Bj put her first little cloth diaper on, but besides that I didn't dress her for awhile, just wanted to cuddle her to my skin with a blanket wrapped around us both.
The birth-18

(Bj cut the cord while I snuggled)
The birth-19

(being weighed)
The birth-20

(the first latch)
Pamela and Emily stayed for a while to make sure everything was great with us and Sciarrino stayed and did laundry and cleaned things up, she was amazing throughout the whole thing. I had told her ahead of time that she might not even get to hold the baby for awhile and she didn't care at all, just helped with whatever we needed. Around three Bj started calling people. I didn't want anyone to know we were in labor so I didn't feel stressed to have her "in time." No one noticed because labor was only nine hours (but my mom said she knew I was in labor). Hearing Bj tell everyone the news was so great, he just sounded so proud. We cuddled the rest of the day away in pure baby bliss.
The birth-21

(our first family photo. thanks to Sciarrino for all the photos, we love them so!)
I can't say enough good things about my birth experience. I'm all for doing whatever works for you. We don't have any friends or relatives that have had home births, so we've definitely gone on our own path. I'd love to answer any questions, and will do so in the comments section. We do get a lot: "weren't you scared to have her at home?" After touring the hospital where the perky clerk told us to stop in the hall and look how close the C-section suite was, no I wasn't scared. I knew we'd have a better chance of giving our baby the best start this way. And no, we didn't do it to save money (the other commonly asked question). Home birth is legal in Oregon, and even covered by state insurance. Our insurance also covers it (midwifery care). I feel that Bj and I did as much research as anyone could do. We decided that our baby's birth was as important to research as a new car (statistically most people spend more time researching that than their birth choices). I feel so powerful having done this naturally. I feel so amazed at Tuesday, how alert she was from the beginning with no drugs in her system. How well she is breast feeding. Most of all I know that without the wonderful support it wouldn't have been possible. Bj never let me doubt I could do it. Sciarrino watched many videos with me, and also became educated so I had someone else to talk to about everything. My family, especially my mother (two natural, but hospital births), asked questions, but never told us we shouldn't do it.
Our girl-1

And we have the best little girl ever!

46 Replies to “The birth of Tuesday Lee”

  1. What a lovely birth story. Our daughter was breech and didn’t want to turn so this type of birth was not a possibility. I don’t think I would have been “brave” enough to do it if it had been. I am amazed by you. Congratulations to you both. You have a beautiful baby.

  2. What a beautiful story. I had my son in the hospital and all went well. I’ve always been curious about home births and can’t thank you enough for being so open and honest and willing to share this with all of us. It was so beautiful to see. The moments of you with your baby first born, just so natural and beautiful. Thank you Amber. You are amazing.

  3. Amber this was a great post, and Sciarrino, you did an awesome job capturing this, it must have been so exciting to be there!
    I’m so happy everything went smoothly and that Tuesday is healthy and beautiful.

  4. wow…amazing story…thanks for sharing all the details and the fantastic pictures.
    im so thrilled that everything worked perfect and Tuesday is a beautiful healthy girl!!!

  5. So beautiful and amazing. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet you guys and be present during such an incredible homebirth :). Thanks for letting me a part of your experience.

  6. What a wonderful moment, something that will stay with you for so long. Bringing your baby into the world in a way that empowered you like this will make you such a strong mama. Congrats!

  7. Thank you for sharing that with us Amber!! What a beautiful story to share with Tuesday some day.

  8. What an encouraging story! I thank you for your honesty and openness. I’m not at the having kids stage yet, but I hope to be there in a few years and I love the idea of a home birth. I recently spoke to a relative of mine who is a nurse in the maternity ward in the local hospital. I brought up birth plans and she said that they just ignored the plans and noted that the mother was “difficult” for bringing her own birth plan to the hospital. Ugh! That, along with your post here, has left me thinking that a home birth would be the best. All the best to you and your family.

  9. Congratulations, again, Amber.
    Kudos to you for deciding exactly how you wanted to welcome your little person into the world and finding ways to make it a reality.

  10. Dear Amber!
    Thank you for sharing this story with all of us!
    It was again a story taking some of my fears for a future birth of mine from me… (;
    CONGRATULATIONS to you for your sweetie! (;
    Lovely greetings from over the ocean!
    Katharina from the BlackForestRegion/Germany (;

  11. What a wonderful, touching story – thank you so much for sharing it. I’m glad Tuesday is off to such a wonderful start – take care!

  12. What a beautiful memory to share and an inspiration to others. Tuesday is fortunate to have two wonderful parents. Love to you both!

  13. Wow Amber. Thank you so much for sharing this, I sat riveted reading the whole thing. How lucky you are also that you have such BEAUTIFUL birthing photos. She did such a great job. Thank you so much for sharing this story, you’ll be so happy you wrote it down! Congrats on your BEAUTIFUL baby girl!

  14. It’s so nice of you to share everything with us. I really appreciate it. You are an inspiration!

  15. What an amazing birth story! Thank you for sharing it. I don’t even know you and I’m so proud of you. I think it’s the female connection. You go girl!!!

  16. Nancy Peacock says: Reply

    Amber, I loved your birth story and especially the pictures. They really are like “a thousand words”. They show your setting, your emotion, and the beauty of your baby coming into the world. Very moving.
    I have one question… How do you keep the water warm in the “pool” if you are in it for a number of hours? Does it have a heater? I love the water idea, but it would have to be warmer than body temperature, wouldn’t it?

  17. Thank you for sharing this incredible story .. the pictures are so powerful. Congratulations!

  18. Amazing and beautiful – thank you for sharing!

  19. beautiful amber! thanks for sharing tuesdays arrival with us!
    and katie – excellent job capturing the emotions and such of the day! those photos are wonderful!

  20. Tuesday is stunning and both of you are amazing. Great job Katie – on the pictures. Can’t wait to see all of you!

  21. Amber, Congratulations to you & your husband. Tuesday is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing your birth story, it was absolutely fascinating. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant right now and are also researching our birth options, so this information was extremely helpful.

  22. What a great birth story and a beautiful baby girl! I used hypnobirthing to do two natural (but in hospital) births. I loved the experience as well. A water birth at home seems so nice too. I’m so glad it was such a great thing for you and your family.

  23. Thank you for sharing, your story and the photos. All wonderful. I am so glad that your first pregnancy and birth went so well. (I’m a smidge jealous of your relaxed home birth! My first labor ended up being an emergency C-section – and I had been doing so good drug free calmly knitting until they said that – I so lost my cool zen state :P) Congratulations to you all.
    (And you can never take too many pictures, nor back them up in too many forms *grin*)

  24. Thanks for sharing! I am 13 weeks pregnant and we are just starting the whole “what do we do for the birth?” journey. Like you I also found Soulemama some years ago and was inspired and fascinated by her birth of Adelaide. I do not know if I will be able to make a homebirth happen but I love that you shared and have given me more insight into how it works. Your daughter is beautiful and your family looks so healthy and happy.
    Best wishes.

  25. congrats – she is so sweet and gorgeous!

  26. Wow that is amazing. I bet water was so much better!
    I always found that funny that they tell you when to push. With my first, I almost died during pregnancy. When it came time for labor, they had to break my water & my dr was awesome & stayed in the room.
    With my 2nd though, they also had to break my water. I told the dr to stay because it would go quick & he said no, that no labor is the same (which I never said). Of course I needed to push right away & the nurse told me that I was wrong. Like how would she know if I needed to push, lol. I told her to excuse me while I used the bathroom so that I could push. You can’t stop that urge to push, what a kooky nurse.
    Anyways, I’m so glad you had such a great experience!!!

  27. To answer the question “how did we keep the water warm”: We didn’t end up having to drain any to put in warmer water because I started out with the pool only about half full (but we did have a brand new aquarium pump for this just in case). Because of my tankless water heater we had unlimited hot water (so I guess it’s good that set our remodel way over budget :). So everytime I got cool we added a little more. Because you’re working so hard in there you really don’t want it to warm anyway (plus too hot is not good for the baby).

  28. I freakin LOVE the photo of you at the top! Tuesday will cherish that one forever. A very incredible journey—I have vivid memories of it all, but still can’t believe it’s reality.
    Thank God for women like Pamela!

  29. CONGRATULATIONS!! What a BEAUTIFUL story. If I had had my way, I would have opted for a home birth too, however, I live on a little island and it’s illegal for a midwife to perform a home birth this far from a hospital. I did have my little sweetheart in the hospital with a midwife and tried to make it as ‘homely’ as possible.
    Your photos are WONDERFUL and yes I did wonder what the pool looked like after a birth…not as bad as I thought 😉
    Take care of yourself!

  30. De-lurking to say congratulations on little Tuesday Lee and thank you for sharing so much about her birth story. It sounds like you chose a wonderful alternative to the traditional hospital birth, and you’ve definitely given me something to think about for when it comes time for us to have little ones!
    BTW, I love all of your gorgeous little knitted hats! 🙂

  31. Congrats to you – what a wonderful birth story. Welcome Tuesday!

  32. Oh, what a blissful and beautiful birth to such and amazing little girl. I hope you are proud of yourself! You should be, giving birth in any situation is difficult and it sounds like you were quite the trooper. I love the name by the way. I always tell my friends to put the name after Grandma to see if it sounds good as a grownup. Grandma Tuesday, how perfect is that.
    Congrats again and thank you so much for sharing your photos and your beautiful story.
    Kiss to Tuesday,
    Shaun Paddock

  33. Wow I think its amazing you shared the story of your birth. I think the pictures were in good taste, I don’t think I would have even noticed your breast exposed had you not put the disclaimer. Tuesday is absolutely beautiful!

  34. This was a really moving insight into your birth experience and the photos are beautiful and tell a wonderful story.
    I think you’re very brave and I admire you.
    And as with everything, you make it all look, not easy exactly, but easily within coping parameters.
    x

  35. awesome – what a wonderful tale. I’m so pleased your experience was as magical as it could be. And thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures!

  36. That is a great story. She is beautiful and it’s great that your labor was so short. How long did you push for? I’m 10 weeks pregnant and scared that I’ll be pushing for 2 hours. Yuck! My insurance won’t cover a HB so I’m having a hospital birth but I have a low intervention doc who has the lowest c/s rate in the city so I’m hopeful for a story like yours when I’m done.

  37. What a wonderful and moving story. Thanks so much for sharing it with all of us.

  38. Oh Amber – I love the details!!! I knew I could count on you – can’t wait to see you and Tuesday. So happy for you all!

  39. Amber…you have no idea how jealous I am of you and B.J.
    You were able to have the birth you wanted. I wish my husband and I had been a bit more courageous,more educated and less persuaded. You are a true champion, and you surely should feel empowered! Best of luck to you, B.J., and baby Tuesday. I look forward to your stories of new motherhood. Welcome to the club!

  40. WOnderful!!! Love the name too by the way! We just had another beautiful homebirth with our son eight weeks ago. We named him after Thursday (Jove) btw!

  41. Wow Amber, that is one of the most amazing stories ever!
    Congrats to you and BJ and a big welcome to the world to Tuesday!!

  42. Oh Amber! Just now getting to read this and am just feeling so happy for the two of you. Don’t know if you knew, but Oliver was born at home too! Reading your story brought back many happy memories of bringing Ollie into the world. Congrats and congrats on your lovely baby girl.

  43. Thanks for writing your birth story. I am newly pregnant and all people seem to want to do is tell me their birth ‘horror’ stories. It’s reasuring to hear that it doesn’t have to be traumatic.

  44. such a beautiful and moving story! Kudos to you for getting it all written down so soon before the memories get fuzzy. Great pictures too, you can see such joy and awe in your faces.

  45. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m planning on a homebirth with a midwife, and while I’m very excited about it and my family is very supportive, my mother-in-law especially is not. I’m at their house this weekend and reading your story gives me inspiration to put up with all her doubts and lack of confidence in our ability to make good choices. Thanks again!

  46. Found this story through the Ravelry Homebirthin’ Mamas group.
    This story is so beautiful. The picture of the weighing is so amazing, with her little foot showing. I’m sitting here crying I’m so touched (I’ve been doing that lately…) Congrats on your little one!

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