When Francesco and I decided we were ready to start a family, we both always felt that having a baby is the most natural thing in the world. So when we got pregnant, we were so excited and we began to seek out a midwife to help us have a natural homebirth. We were elated when we found Beth Overton in Corpus Christi and even more so when we met her and felt her incredibly warm and comforting energy. We knew immediately that she was the answer to our prayers.
And so we began our monthly prenatal visits. Beth, Jessica (her daughter, and now a midwife as well) and Mercy (her apprentice) were always so full of information and comfort and support. I looked forward to every visit with them. I’ll never forget the first time we heard our baby’s heartbeat, we all were so excited! Beth just always made me feel informed and in control and at peace with my pregnancy. I don’t know if I can ever express to her completely how important that was to me. She was always so available and open to my questions and always so full of tips and information.
When time came close to delivery, we were going every week to see Beth. It was so comforting knowing that when the time came, she was just a phone call away.
We were due on December 27 th, and when that day came and went, we were becoming more anxious and ready to meet our first child. I felt so big, and could feel the baby in position…it was just a matter of time…Beth was always so calm and reassuring to us, which helped keep me to be calm too. She gave me exercises to do and I had been studying to have a Hpynobirth and I was as ready as one can be to give birth. We had our birth pool ready to be set up, our birth kit and the house stocked with labor supplies and of course snacks for us and our birth team. The baby’s room was ready and so were we…we were just waiting for the baby to be ready to come into this world.
At our last visit before our birth, Beth swept my membranes to maybe help get things going. I had daily
Braxton-Hicks contractions and just kept focusing on my baby and the process the baby was experiencing getting ready for delivery.
New Year’s Eve arrived and we had a delicious dinner and celebration at home with my parents, and some dear friends…my back was hurting and I was feeling slow and heavy. We slept well that night, and the next day my parents came over for New Year’s Day lunch. It was a gorgeous sunny cool day, and we decided to go for a walk after lunch. My back was really hurting, but I didn’t think I was in labor. I thought it was just the weight of the baby pulling on my back.
But as the day progressed my back was getting worse. Late that afternoon, after my parents went home, we were resting and I started having contractions…and they were definitely different than the Braxton-Hicks I’d been experiencing! They started hard and fast, and after about 15 minutes I told Francesco maybe he should start timing them to see how far apart they were and how long they were lasting. Sure enough, they were lasting about a minute long and were about 5 minutes apart. We decided to call Beth and see what she thought, since we were 5 days past our due date. She talked to me through one of my contractions and said that she and Jessica would be on their way over. Beth also said that she’d have Mercy (her apprentice) come over, since she also lives in Rockport.
When we realized this was really it, we were going to have our baby soon, Francesco got so excited. There I was sitting in my chair laboring, watching my husband literally running back and forth setting up the birth pool, and changing the sheets on our bed and checking on me in between…I had to tell him to calm down, he was making me nervous…he was so cute!
By the time Mercy arrived, the contractions were really coming close together; some of them back-to-back, with no rest in between. It was about 7pm, I think. I was so excited to finally be in labor that I was smiling in between contractions and just feeling so thankful that I would soon be meeting my baby face to face! Mercy measured my cervix and we were definitely in labor…my water broke not long after that. I remember sitting in my comfy chair laboring when Beth and Jessica arrived. I was right in the middle of a contraction, but was so happy to see them. Now my birth team was in place and I felt safe and calm and ready to birth my baby.
The details in between are fuzzy. I was so focused inward on my baby that I just remember climbing in the birth pool and feeling the warm water relax my body. The contractions were hard, working contractions, and the labor was moving along smoothly. But after about 4 hours in the birth pool, Beth suggested getting on the birth stool to move things along. Mercy helped by giving me resistance on my lower back, which helped during the contractions. Everyone was so supportive and they all had the calmest and most loving energy.
Well, the birth stool wasn’t the right position either, so Beth moved us onto our bed, and we tried a few positions before finding the right one. Our baby was just not coming out, though…he was stuck. Beth used arnica oil and tried to help our baby out with massages, but he wasn’t budging. He had crowned and Beth had me reach down and rub his head. It was amazing…feeling my babies head before he was born! His heart tones were always strong, but after almost 3 hours of being in the pushing stage, his heart tones began to dip a little, and Beth made the decision to do her first episiotomy.
With all 3 of my birth attendants praying out loud, me pushing, and grunting and moaning, trying to stay focused through this haze of pain and delirious excitement, Beth talking me through it all, praising me and encouraging me, giving me strength to push one more time, this was it. This was the biggest push of my life, and then this rush of electricity almost, this passage from one world into this world, this indescribable moment happened…our son was born! This split second that I cannot put into words, when Francesco and Beth both caught him, and laid him gently onto my chest into my arms and I looked down at this beautiful little baby and then peaked to see that it was a boy! (We didn’t know what we were having, we waited until his birth.)
Francesco was literally bouncing up and down on the bed with excitement. We both cried and laughed and kissed him…he was perfect. Francesco counted all his fingers and toes, and he was pink and awake and cooing. Beth and Jessica and Mercy were so strong and steady during the labor and delivery, checking his heart tones, supporting me with praise and encouragement, silently allowing us to have the gentle loving homebirth we had dreamed of.
After the delivery, it took awhile for me to deliver the placenta, but after it finally came, then Beth stitched me up and they prepared our herb bath, filling my bathroom with candles, allowing me and my son Alessandro to bond quietly in a warm bath together. We had both worked hard that night and it was great to relax together…Alessandro just went limp and slept while we were in the bath, my parents and Francesco and I all in the bathroom just amazed at how peaceful he was in the water. Alessandro was born on January 2, 2006 at 2:54 am, weighing 9 lbs. 13 oz., and 20 inches long!
The prenatal and postnatal care that we received with Beth, Jessica and Mercy was more than I could have ever asked for. They were always thorough and professional and yet loving and supportive. What more could a mother-to-be ask for? I tell everyone about what an amazing homebirth experience we had and that if we decide to ever have another child, Beth will be the first person we’ll call!
We call her Aunt Beth and we thank her and Jessica and Mercy from the bottom of our hearts for delivering our son to us. What a precious gift they gave us! They are all Angels and a blessing to all their clients. Francesco, Alessandro and I will always have grateful hearts for the love and care they gave to all three of us! We truly gave Alessandro a “Gentle Beginning” and he is the happiest baby!
– Susan, wife of Francesco, mother of Alessandro