I can’t believe I am sharing Rex’s birth story! My little boy is here and he is the sweetest addition to make us a family of five. Holy cow, it’s crazy even saying we are a fam of five now! I love that you all have enjoyed my previous birth stories of Temple and Bobbie. While this one was similar in many ways, it was also very different because it was my first HOME BIRTH! The girls were both born naturally at Origins Birth Center. Before I dive in, I encourage you to read Temple’s birth story on the “why” I personally chose to have unmedicated births.
Warning- this is a long, personal post. It’s challenging to put the feelings and experiences of birth into words. But, I want to always remember this day. I am so proud of my natural births and what my body was capable of from pregnancy to postpartum. I mostly wrote this for myself so I can always return to this day – the day I brought Rex Michael Lavey into the world.
Also, it’s so important to me that you understand that I believe every birth is beautiful and unique – this is truly a judgment-free zone. So please return the favor and respect and honor my story – it takes a lot to openly share such a personal experience!
I am just now posting my story because I wanted to wait for my birth video to be edited. It’s much more special to share the video alongside the story. I recommend reading my birth story then watching the video at the bottom of the post so that you better understand the timeline, etc. I also want to remind y’all that you can find the things I was doing during my third trimester to prepare my body and mind for birth in this blog post!
I promise to get to the actual labor and birth soon but I do want to share why we chose a home birth this time and not to use the birth center. I fully intended to have another birth center birth at Origins Dallas but around 35 weeks pregnant we changed our birth plan. Long story short, my favorite midwife at Origins, Amy, announced she was starting her own practice and she’d be leaving Origins Dallas. She so kindly let me know because we are close and I immediately told my husband, Caleb, that I felt this might be a sign for us to consider a home birth. I had told him throughout this pregnancy that I really wanted to do a home birth, but Origins was my provider for the girl’s births, so I was hesitant to change up what had worked so well previously. Plus, we live in Celina now which is a bit further from a hospital (about a 15-minute drive) if God forbid we did need to transfer. When Amy announced her plan to start her own practice, it felt like a sign for me to reach out to her about a possible home birth together. I felt more comfortable having a home birth if I knew she would be my midwife on-call vs just whoever happened to be on-call at Origins when I went into labor.
I want to make it clear that I love Origins Dallas and would still recommend them! I used them for my full pregnancy, the only difference was we worked out a plan with Origins/Amy to where I called her as my midwife directly when in labor vs the on-call number! I was really itching for a home birth and now we were doing it! This is my third birth and quite honestly, I feel like a birth pro at this point haha. So having a birth in the comfort of my own home felt right! I will share a post soon on how we prepared our home for a home birth.
Real quick let me touch on the things I did the week leading up to labor. Remember, my third-trimester post has all the things I did but that last week things were more specific. I believe these extra things are what helped my labor kickstart. At 38 weeks, I was doing long walks/curb walking daily, I had a chiropractic adjustment that week at Grounded Wellness with Dr. Nicole, I had an induction massage at Lilies Healing Hands with Melissa on 10/14 (this was a big one that I feel helped move things along), and lastly, I was pumping daily for 30 minutes.
Now onto the good stuff – my birth story…
It was the night of Saturday, October 16th and I woke every 15 minutes or so with contractions through the night. Each surge would wake me up but none were consistent in timing or intensity to where I felt the need to track them. That morning (Sunday 17th), I texted my doula, Cheryl (who was the doula I used for Bobbie’s birth too) and my midwife, Amy, to let them know I felt I was in early labor and thought it could be any day now and I would keep them in the loop. As the morning began, I felt fine and would have a contraction randomly, but they were very sporadic and not trackable. My sister and her fam were already planning to come up to bring me freezer meals (best gift ever!!!) for postpartum, so we had a full day of plans with my family. Before we left to meet my family for lunch, we went on a long walk where I did a little curb walking then I came home and pumped for 30 minutes. I had been pumping daily since 38 weeks (I was now 39.0 weeks pregnant) and knew this could help move along labor and cause contractions to come on a bit more. It is also great to collect a little colostrum for freezing!
We met the fam at a local spot in Celina around noon. I had contractions throughout lunch but again… they were random times and not very intense at all. After lunch, we went back to our house, and my sis, girls, and her hubby came to hang for a few hours. While they were here, my contractions began to get closer together. I didn’t think much of it, but my sister told me I should start timing them because they seemed to be getting closer together. I got my contraction app out when they left, which was around 3pm. My midwife, Amy, must have had a feeling I was going to have Rex soon-ish because she was texting me throughout the day checking in. She and my doula both live in Dallas so they were worried about the hour drive to Celina and getting here in plenty of time. By 4pm, the contractions were coming around every 4-6 minutes consistently – it’s wild how things progressed so quickly that day. I was still able to talk through them easily and they were not intense. But remember, this is my third unmedicated birth, so I think my pain tolerance for contractions is high at this point. Amy wanted to get to Celina when I was at 5-1-1 which means my contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute long for 1 hour straight.
I was in contact with both Cheryl (doula) and Amy (midwife) and sent Amy a screenshot of my contraction app. She told me she felt she should head that way, but I was very hesitant and explained how they were not intense contractions and I felt we had plenty of time. I personally did not think my birth team needed to come to Celina yet. My doula called me, and we chatted and she decided to head to Celina around 6pm. Amy would follow shortly after and planned to arrive around 7pm.
Once I knew this was really happening and I was in fact in labor, I had Caleb take the girls to my parent’s house who live 3 minutes down the road. I personally did not want the girls here while in labor. I had a home birth labor checklist so I began to get things ready before my birth team arrived. This was also a great distraction from contractions. A few things I did was double make our bed, change into clothes I wanted to labor in, fix my makeup a bit, got diffusers going, tidied house, put the labor playlist on, got snacks + gifts for the birth team out, and Caleb set up our rented birth tub. I also took my labor soup aka the soup I would eat after having the baby out of the freezer. I used The Defined Dish cookbook “healing chicken soup” recipe. I knew my birth team would heat this soup up for me once Rex arrived. After that, Caleb and I did a little walk in town together to get labor progressing.
Above image is of the gifts for the birth team, snacks for all of us, and a note for them which included our address (for if they needed to call 911 in case of transfer), our parent’s cell numbers, and wifi information. Then this note, “There is a refrigerator in the garage with drinks and our kitchen sink water is filtered! Snacks are out but literally help yourself to anything. Any food in the fridge or the pantry!”
I also called my bestie/chiropractor, Nicole, to see if she could come adjust me. Early adjustments can help speed along your labor + make sure my body and baby are in optimal position. While I waited on the birth team + my chiro, I set on my birth ball and watched football with Caleb. It was Sunday football and the Dallas Cowboys were playing! Nicole and Cheryl arrived around the same time (6pm) this is when it really hit me that this baby was coming!!! I was still super comfortable and could chat through contractions. After my adjustment, Nicole left, and we waited for my midwife + her two birth assistants to arrive. I then let my birth videographer, Birth Unscripted, know that it looked like baby would be coming tonight. She planned to arrive around 8pm or so.
It was pretty cool because one of my midwives’ birth assistants was Meghan who delivered Bobbie! It was such a special group of ladies to help bring Rex earthside. Once Amy arrived (around 7pm) I had her check my cervix on our bed. I was 6cm dilated and 60% effaced. This is considered active labor but you have to get to 10cm before it is time to push. Amy also put in the antibiotic drip because I was GBS positive (I was GBS + with Bobbie too.) When it comes to me and labor I am a MOVER! I cannot sit still, or I feel like my contractions slow and I get in my head. That being said, it was time to start our marathon haha. We live in town so it’s the perfect area to walk. It was a beautiful afternoon as the sun was just beginning to set and the air was crisp but you only needed a light jacket. Caleb, my doula, and I did a long walk with lots of curb walking for about an hour. Based on my previous labors, I knew I would likely progress quickly and that curb walking could help speed things along. I was still able to chat and walk through contractions.
After an hour or so of walking, we came back inside where I tried to sip on a little bone broth and apple sauce. There wasn’t much more I could stomach but I did get a little of that down. Caleb had his younger brother go pick up some Mexican food for the birth team (Doula, midwife, 2 birth assistants, and birth photographer) since none of them had eaten dinner yet. The Mexican food was a no for me haha. When you are in labor, it can be very hard to stomach much of anything.
It was now about 10pm, and I had done most of my labor the past two hours walking around the neighborhood. This is when things went into major active labor and my contractions intensified. I wish y’all could have seen us walking around the neighborhood – Caleb had a flashlight so we could see well and then…I became nauseous. When your body goes through transition, becoming nauseous and throwing up is common. I threw up with both Temple and Bobbie during labor so this was normal for me. So there we are in the middle of the street with flashlights and I begin to throw up everywhere… which then causes me to pee my pants. Yep, just a mama in labor vomiting and peeing in the streets of Celina. I know this is odd, but I welcome throwing up in labor. I remember when I was in labor with Temple, and the midwife told me throwing up counts as like 4 contractions! After throwing up (and peeing), my doula felt we needed to get back to the house. She could tell this baby was coming sooner than later and she wanted us close to home.
A wonderful thing about being in my own home was that I was able to hop in the bath and rinse off the pee and put on fresh clothes. I love these two pics. Caleb snapped one of me and the other is from our birth photographer. This was in the bath after my peeing incident. We knew Rex would be here soon and it was a special moment. After my bath, I had Amy check me again and I was now dilated 8cm and almost completely effaced. From this point, labor progressed even more quickly!
We went into our backyard and Caleb turned on football and I did some bouncing on my ball. I was now really having to breathe through contractions and they were intensifying. I loved when my doula would apply pressure to my low back during each contraction – it felt amazing! The pressure helps relieve some of that low back pain that can accompany labor. Cheryl was so great about making me do different movements during labor to keep me out of my head. She also helped by guiding Caleb on things he could do to help me mentally and physically – such as giving sips of water, applying pressure to my back, standing as I leaned on his shoulders, holding my hands tight, etc. I cannot recommend hiring a doula enough – they are the best support during labor IMO.
As labor intensified, I reminded myself that this is a good thing and each contraction brings me closer to meeting my baby boy. This is the point when I am really breathing through each contraction, no longer talking, or smiling through them, and often audibly making noises/moaning. This is common when push time is getting close in my experience. I was in major “labor land” and it was getting close to game time! I knew that I would soon be pushing and meeting my boy. This is often the point in labor when the mind tries to tell us we can’t do this. You are physically exhausted, and boy was I tired! I began repeating my affirmations I had created around 37 weeks pregnant and would say often when on walks and praying before bed.
I will breathe through every contraction
Let go, trust my body
Caleb said we probably walked 4 miles total that night and I never stopped moving. My midwife knew baby was close, so she recommended I sit backwards on the toilet. This is a common labor position in natural births and the pressure + the opening of your hips really helps guide baby down. I personally do not love laboring this way because frankly, it hurts! But I was ready to meet Rex and knew this would help. I told myself to make it through 3 contractions on the toilet and I did it! After that, I leaned over the edge of my bed for a few contractions, and then BAM, my body told me it was time to push.
It’s so wild when you have a natural birth how our bodies innately know when it’s time to push. I announced to my birth team I was ready to push but then suddenly I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. My doula yelled out to my midwife to make sure the bath was ready because this baby was coming. Cheryl told me after the fact that she thought Rex was going to come out right there in the bathroom. I practically ran to the birth tub which we had set up off our kitchen/playroom.
My water still hadn’t broken on its own. Typical! This was the same for my births with the girls. Once I got into the bath the contractions were next-level intense and I was ready for her to break my water. The pressure of the water still being intact was super uncomfortable. I had an instant sense of physical relief and was ready to push now. I remember Caleb saying a prayer for a safe delivery and strength. My midwife told me to try and breathe through a few more contractions, but I could push whenever I really felt the urge. I tried to breathe through one contraction in the tub, but my body naturally wanted to push. I told my midwife that this next contraction I needed to push and that’s exactly what I did! In one contraction of pushing HE WAS HERE! It happened so fast! I gave every bit of energy and strength and this boy was ready to be earthside! I was in absolute shock that he came on my first push. Caleb caught Rex as he came out and then laid him on my chest. This moment is called “The Birth Pause” – the moment when baby is born and the mother transitions from an intense focus on labor to the beautiful realization that baby is here. He was here, my son, and he was perfect in every way. It’s that moment that makes all the hard work during labor worth it. The moment of finally holding my baby boy. The emotions you have are overwhelming – you are on a high of love, exhaustion, shock, and its pure MAGIC. God is so good. I instantly cried as I held Rex and I’m pretty sure I commented on how much vernix he had! My girls never had vernix like this, so I was in shock at how much he had. I sat in the water for about five minutes just staring at Rex in awe.
Rex Michael Lavey was born October 18th, 2021 at 12:13am, 7 lbs 14oz, and 21 inches long
I dried off and got in my bed. It’s truly the best feeling to have your baby in the comfort of your own home then to slide into your bed. They cut Rex’s cord (about 30 minutes after he was born.) I didn’t tear (yay) so my midwife then weighed him, did her newborn exam, and helped me get him latched and nursing. It was about 1am and time for my herbal bath. Since it was the middle of the night, we didn’t have any family visit or have the girls come home. I was exhausted and wanted to get some rest and knew the girls would come in the morning to meet their little brother. After a few hours, the birth team did all their exams and saw that mama and baby were both doing great so it was time for them to pack up and head out. It was now about 3am. Caleb had planned to make us all margaritas when baby was born but since it was 3am, we decided that wasn’t a good idea haha. I hugged and thanked my birth team and then they were gone, and it was Rex, Caleb, and I tucked cozy in our bed. It was so nice to not have to put Rex in a car seat and drive him home.
Rex’s labor and birth was simply perfect in every way. I loved having the experience of a home birth and I’m so glad we made the decision late in pregnancy to have our boy here. Just like Temple and Bobbie’s births, it was a spiritual experience that I will always treasure. I am so dang proud of myself and what my body could do from pregnancy to birth. Below is the video of our labor and birth of Rex. Thank you Birth Unscripted for capturing each of our children’s birth so perfectly. I will cherish these videos forever.