Theo's Birth Story

This post is waaaay over due. I'm so embarrassed. I literally had Sawyer's birth story written in less than a week. Calvin's was a little over a week, and Theo's took six months. You can probably tell how much a third child has rocked my world.

Aaron and I decided to have another home birth. We prayed very hard about it, because I feel that each woman and birth is unique. Calvin's was beautiful and "uneventful" as far as complications. But I didn't know if this one would be the same. If you don't know about my midwives, please read Calvin's birth story because it is worth learning more about Certified Nurse Midwives. When Sawyer had his head injury a couple years ago he was being stitched up by a doctor as the children's hospital when I mentioned my midwife. He looked at me and said "Did you have a homebirth?" I was nervous to answer because the medical community isn't known for being pro-homebirth. But I told him yes and he said "My wife had two of our three babies at home, we loved it!" Turned out they had the same midwives as I did. The doctor said he went through their qualifications and equipment lists and felt very good about it. Anyway, they're great. I also decided to try a water birth this time. Before Theo I thought that water births were gross. I didn't even consider it with my first two. But after hearing a friend's experience  (thanks, Julie!)  I was more open to it, and after doing some reading and research I was determined to do it!

My due date was on Labor Day (September 4, 2017). My mom came a couple days after my due date, and I was sure the baby would come. I had been having practice labor for weeks and I was SO READY. Turns out that practice labor is good and normal. There's nothing "false" about it; your body is actually in labor (contractions are pushing down and slowly opening the cervix preparing itself for a shorter, more efficient labor). The difference is that "practice labor" stops and gives your body a rest before starting again in a day or two.

The same friend that had a water birth (she is such a birth warrior, seriously!) said she wasn't worrying about her due date or stressing herself out trying to induce labor, she said with her last baby she just sat back and let her body do its thing. I loved that mentality, so I made my best effort to create that same mindset. I really didn't try things to induce labor until after I was a week overdue. Even then I would just try nipple stimulation (TMI anyone?) when I started having contractions to see if that would help strengthen the contractions I was already having. I also walked a lot and bounced on my exercise ball. But after being eight days overdue I scheduled a labor inducing massage and I just happened to have a midwife appointment right after.

The massage was 90 minutes of heaven, my whole body was so relaxed and prepped for birth. I was having mild contractions, but nothing more. At the appointment with my midwife, Vicki, she said that this baby needed a little push, so she stripped my membranes, gave me hug, and told me to walk A LOT when I got home. She said I was dilated to about 3cm and she was sure I would be having the baby that night. She said "Sherry is on call tonight, dang it! She got to catch your baby last time." Have I mentioned how much I love my midwives?

After having my membranes stripped the real deal started. I was having contractions every 3 minutes. I got home around 3:30, walked around the neighborhood, made dinner, called Aaron, my doula, and Sherry. Everyone got to our house around 7pm and then my contractions slowed down and then stopped (!!!!!).
I've mentioned before that I have used Hypnobabies for all my births, well it's a great program and it has a 30-minute track called "Come Out Baby!" so I decided it was time to tell my body that this baby is coming out. TONIGHT. I made everyone leave me alone, I dimmed the lights, made a nest of pillows, and listened to the track. In the track the author tells you to completely relax and tell yourself that you're ready to give birth, and you tell yourself over and over that you will start having contractions and then imagine your cervix opening. She also has you "talk" to your baby and tell him that he needs to come out, that you and daddy are excited to meet him, and if there is any reason he can't come now, to let mommy know. Maybe this sounds bizarre to most of you, but I totally felt this strong feeling, an assurance that baby was coming soon. Almost like my baby's spirit and my spirit knew what was coming and they were reassuring my mind (which was confused, doubtful, clueless) to stop freaking out and just relax. It was very spiritual for me, I don't have very many moments like that where its like hitting a spiritual brick wall, but that was one moment I won't forget. That's one major reason why I love Hypnobabies so much, I feel like my spirit, body, and mind are so connected. By the way, Hypnobabies is just serious meditation, not hypnosis (at least not in the way most people think of it).

As soon as I was done I hopped into the birthing tub and contractions started again with a vengeance. They were about 2 minutes apart and during each one I had to stop and completely focus on relaxing my body. The birth tub was like floating on a warm cloud. Like a big hug. If I could package and sell love, it would be in the form of a birth tub. The bottom is inflated like 5 inches (hence the cloud feeling) and the water is 2 1/2 feet deep, so the buoyancy helps your belly float and the contractions are more effective and way less painful. I decided to get out and asked my doula, Dannie, to do the Rebozo method during contractions to help move the baby down. So we did that for a few contractions, they were more intense, but if I focused on relaxing my body and mind (relaxing the mind is very important) they were very manageable. All of a sudden I felt the urge to push in the middle of a contraction. My body completely passed transition! WAHOO
I got back in the tub and my body would push and then rest for a few minutes. It was so relaxing and wonderful. I didn't really making any noises, except breathe. I felt the baby kicking and I noticed his feet were kicking out to my right side. It was funny to think of what he was experiencing at that moment. I felt totally at peace, and excited. I was in control.


It was indescribably painful. I remember screaming. The hardest part of birth (for me) is feeling the urge to push, and when you start pushing you feel massive pressure and pain, but you know there is only one way to get this baby out, so you buck up and push with all your might. And that's when the screaming part comes in. I felt like a soldier going into battle: You see the enemy, and you know you're going to get hurt, but you know you can't go back, so you yell and run headfirst into the pain. The screaming was fear leaving my body. It's the only way I could get the baby out.
So I pushed and after a few minutes baby boy was out at 11 pm. Oh my goodness, meeting my baby for the first time is the most amazing experience. It makes me tearful just thinking about the first moments with my babies. Holding them, looking into each others eyes. I could give birth hundreds of times just for that moment.

The amazing thing with birth is that you feel this immense pain, and as soon as the baby's out, its gone! And then you feel great (great is relative :)). The endorphins set in and you feel like you conquered the world. Your tummy is squishy, you can breathe again and you have a beautiful baby. Its the best feeling in the world. For me it is empowering.

After the baby and placenta were out Sawyer and my brother came downstairs and held the baby. Sawyer was so excited, he wanted to show the baby all his beloved toys and books. The midwives conducted all the tests, cleaned up, did the laundry, and then got a call that another woman was in labor, so like the superheroes they are they quietly left the house and drove into the night to help bring another life into the world.

After a couple days we decided to name the baby Theodore Porter Smith. We just like those names, there is no other significance besides I like the nickname Theo and Aaron likes the name Porter.

Overall, it was a wonderful birth. I'm so grateful that it was a healthy pregnancy and birth, and that no complications arose.
And for those that are interested, I'm going to include some more information on the choices I made and how I felt it made my labor and birth so peaceful.

Homebirth with Midwives

I've said this before and I'll say it again: Homebirth is not for everyone and not for every birth. The midwives are very cautious about who they will deliver at home. I was also very picky about who I picked to assist at the birth. I only wanted a Certified Nurse Midwife, and luckily mine are also Nurse Practitioners, so they are covered by insurance and can write prescriptions and provide newborn care up to 2 weeks. They are so passionate about what they do and I felt supported and loved. I think it's very important to give birth in a place where you feel safe, supported, and loved, whether that is at home, birth center, or hospital.

Water Tub

I wish I had used this with my other labors. Oh well! It was a unique experience for this birth and I'm grateful I experienced it at least once. My biggest reservations before were that it 1) was dirty and unsanitary 2) unnatural (I mean, how many people in history gave birth in water?).
Well, turns out you rent or borrow the tub, but you buy a brand new liner so that it is completely sanitary. You also use different hoses to fill up and empty the tub so it cannot contaminate the water. I wasn't planning on giving birth in the water, I just wanted to labor in it, but pushing felt so much better in the water it just ended up that way. I've read that a lot of women have the urge to get out when they start pushing. Whatever floats your boat, or belly ;)

For me, the water helped immensely during labor because I could squat or kneel and my knees didn't get sore from the hard ground. I didn't tear during birth and I felt like I hadn't even given birth to a baby the next day. Could just be that it was the third baby, but I think it was the magical water :)
One neat thing about a water tub is that hospitals are starting to use them, and even if the hospital you're giving birth at doesn't have you can always use one at home to labor in before going to the hospital. Just be careful you don't wait too long because they can really speed up labor!


I hired a doula with Calvin birth as well as Theodore's. I am a believer! Danielle (Dannie) was so amazing. She was always available to come help during pregnancy, and when I was in labor she brought me lots of my favorite drinks and foods, and her main job was to take care of me during labor, birth, and afterwards. When a woman gives birth she kind of gets overshadowed in the rush and excitement of the new baby. I felt so supported having one person there who's one job was my well-being. Husbands, Grandmothers, and Midwives (and yourself!) are so focused on the baby that its nice to have someone who is not emotionally invested in the baby, and is just there for you. A doula is not only emotionally support, but is so knowledgeable on positions and tricks for labor and breastfeeding. YOU NEED A DOULA!


I've already said so much about this program, so I won't go into detail. It works. For me it didn't provide a painless birth, but it did give me tools to help my body and mind through the unknown of labor and birth. There are other programs like Hypnobirthing, Gentle Birth, and many others. I believe it is indispensable for anyone giving birth. Maybe your're planning on an epidural, but what if you have to wait for it? What if it doesn't work? What if your labor is so fast you don't have time to get one? It's smart to learn how to have control over your body and mind during physically and mentally stressful experiences, and these programs do just that.


Kitchen Remodel

When we moved into the house, the kitchen had a double sliding door and a counter top that jutted out into the middle of the kitchen. this made the kitchen feel much smaller and the whole set up was very cramped, especially when the dishwasher door was open. The dishwasher's position made it impossible to open cabinet doors and to lean over to put dishes away in upper cabinets. It was really annoying! 
We had a professional kitchen designer come in and give us some ideas and quotes for what we could do. Our favorite design she came up with was our starting point for our current design, but if we hired the company to do everything it would have cost us over $22,000! And that was WAY out of our price range. Another hiccup was that there were safety warnings for how close the oven could be to the dishwasher and sink, so we had to go back to the drawing board and be creative.

So we made a plan to get the kitchen we wanted by hiring contractors for some of the work and we designed and installed the cabinets ourselves using IKEA's modular kitchen system. 

First, we hired a contractor to remove the sliding door and replace it with a normal glass door.
Then Aaron and his dad removed the cabinets and appliances and put down the laminate wood flooring (which Aaron found on sale for $.49 a square foot!). At first my ideas, e.g. replacing the door and installing an oven separate from the stove top were considered too expensive and labor-intensive, but they ended up the most sensible in the end because of cabinet sizes and safety regulations :)
Unfortunately, the hexagon tile backsplash (which I love!) was extremely labor-intensive and if I had known how difficult it would have been for Aaron I would have stayed with my original choice of subway tile. 

Another thing I'd like to mention is that we chose wood countertops because they were so dang cheap! The entire countertop cost us less than $200. It looks beautiful but stain like no ones business. The silver lining is that you just sand the top and it looks brand new. So in the end they aren't that bad. I originally wanted quartz countertops, but we got to the end of our budget and decided to use the wood until we save up for quartz.

A few details that I love about my kitchen are:

IKEA drawers for spices.

The modular cabinet/drawer that fits under stove top is SUPER spacious.

Garbage/recycling drawer is amazing!

I love my huge farmhouse sink. Now I just need twin babies to bathe :)

Aaron made these open shelves according to my strict instructions...

Besides the beautiful hexagon tiles, I love these shelves that Aaron made next to the stove.

Gas stove top! We had to hire a plumber to create and move a gas line across the kitchen,
but it was worth it.

I really wanted leather handles and drawer-pulls, so that meant Aaron had to brainstorm how
to attach them to the IKEA cabinets. Isn't he the best? They actually cost less than metal.
It has taken us over a year to finish the kitchen, but it has been well worth the time and effort to get it how we (let's be honest, it's all me) wanted it. With the cost of the flooring, cabinets, contractor work, plumbing, electrical, appliances and backsplash it has cost us less than half of what we were quoted from the professional designer.