All about how I gave birth to my ten pound baby at home

December 5 | Guest post by Dani Reid
Photo by Torsten Mangner, used under Creative Commons license.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I was huge. So big that no one believed I wasn't overdue or not carrying twins. My midwife and I were actually bullied by my backup OB over the baby's size, so I fired him and we found another OB. After all, ultrasounds are notoriously inaccurate this late in pregnancy. My first was supposed to be 10 pounds and was 7.5.

I sat down on the computer and was checking out Facebook just past midnight on Saturday the 14th (due date was the 10th), when I felt like I had suddenly peed myself. I stood up from my chair and more fluid trickled out. I was all "WTF was that?" for a second then realized "Oh hey, my water broke!" After waddling down the hall to get stuff to clean up myself and the carpet, I gave my midwife a call. She asked about my contractions (which I had been having fairly steadily for a couple of weeks — gotta love prodromal labor) but they were still 10 minutes apart or so.

I let my husband sleep a while and started nesting a bit, getting stuff ready for the baby. Contractions went to about every seven to eight minutes and my midwife recommended I call my doula. I called Nerissa and she came over a bit before 3am. The hubs got up and we changed the sheets on the bed and put plastic under them. He pulled out the birth pool our midwife Jeanne had lent us and started filling it. The air pump stopped working a few minutes in. He tried a bicycle hand pump, but ended up outside in the middle of the night with the air pump plugged into the car (only way it would work).

Baby girl was posterior and giving me wicked back labor. Massage worked for a bit, but Nerissa had a secret weapon: a TENS machine. I was nervous at first, but man, when the really bad back labor started it was a lifesaver.

When Jeanne and her assistant showed up contractions were still six minutes apart. They wanted me to lay on my left side for a bit to rest and to encourage baby girl to move, hoping to prevent her from coming out posterior. THAT sucked — the pains got so much worse. Since it seemed I was still going slowly, they decided to head out for a bit and come back in a couple hours or when I called them because things had changed. By 5:45, I wanted them back. Contractions very suddenly jumped from every six minutes to every two minutes and got incredibly intense. The TENS machine was no longer helping because the pain was no longer in my back and I think I rather frantically demanded Nerissa "Get it off, get it off NOW!"

My husband had been messing with the pool and also taking care of our three-year-old daughter. The pool was not quite fully inflated so he pulled out the bicycle pump again, desperate to get me in the water since the pain was a lot stronger and it felt like gravity was actually working against me. I couldn't find a comfortable position.

My midwife came back around 6:30 or so and pronounced me in "active labor." I was already feeling a little pushy here and there. They say the tub is inflated enough and people start frantically trying to fill it. I'm kneeling on the floor with Nerissa at my side, trying to help me through contractions. I think I'm spouting things like "I can't do this" and "Is it too late to go to the hospital and get the drugs?" Suddenly they're all helping me into the pool — I guess they realized stuff was really moving now.

There was a bunch of discussion about a flashlight for the pool because apparently the one I grabbed wasn't bright enough — I think my husband's brand new military issue $40 flashlight was sacrificed to the cause, wrapped in baggies, and sunk in the pool. At this point, baby is crowning. It's 7:44.

They were telling me to slow down and I'm like "I can't." I was trying to pant through because she was worried I was to going to tear and everyone looking started saying things like "Oh my, that's a big baby". I was thinking "No it isn't, she's gonna be like eight pounds. Whatever, let me push." So, they get my husband situated so that he can catch — he didn't get this chance the last time.

I started trying to push a bit slower, but the ring of fire was BAD and there was no way. Jeanne reached down to support my perineum and her head was OUT. My husband caught her then they both brought her up to my chest. Time of birth was 7:49. Jeanne is like "Oh yeah, that's a 10 pounder." I was cuddling my brand new baby girl as well as I can — very short cord — and shaking my head. "No, she's not."

We wait for the cord to stop pulsing and watch it start to go white and limp before cutting it so that I can get out of the pool more easily. I get on the bed — the placenta still hadn't delivered — and started to snuggle my daughter. I was holding this tiny, adorable little creature with chubby cheeks.

My daughter was brought in to meet her sister (son took a peek but went back to his DS). Everyone wanted to know the weight, so the midwife brings out the scale. I was still openly skeptical about her size. They placed her in the scale and midwife says "Oh my." I'm sitting there thinking, all smug-like, "Told you she's not 10 pounds." I don't say this, thankfully, because Jeanne turns the scale slightly so I can see it and also announces the weight out loud: 10 pounds 8 oz.

Holy guacamole, you have GOT to be kidding me. I did NOT just have a 10.5 pound baby. Apparently I did. Amber was also 22.75 inches long and got a 9 and a 10 on her Apgars. She's gorgeous and has the most adorable little crease across the top of her nose and chubby cheeks and legs and everything.

My birth was PERFECT… and I'm done now. No more babies. After pushing out a baby over 10 pounds, I have no more goals or regrets or "what ifs."

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  1. Aren't TENS machines totally awesome? I swear, if we hadn't already picked a name, I would have named my kid Dr. Ho.

  2. My baby sister was a 10 lb homebirth 25 years ago next week. ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations!
    Your baby girl is tall!

  3. I can't imagine a better way to spend your life either. I'll be helping to catch my own next month, so thanks so much for sharing. Beautiful birth stories get me pumped!

    1 agrees
  4. Go you! I was similarly huge at the end of my pregnancy and had a 9.8lb baby. Same deal with people stopping me on the street to try and convince me I was carrying twins, etc. I was kind of baffled by how freaked out some people were about big babies – we have a long family history on both sides of babies over 9lbs (and often 10lbs+), so I was expecting it, but I got all sorts of comments if I mentioned it. One woman in my prenatal yoga class pulled me aside to ask if I was going to try to have a vaginal birth, as if it was physically impossible or something.

    Fortunately our midwife was appropriately chill about the whole thing, even when I was measuring 41 weeks at 35 weeks. (Though we did have an extra ultrasound to rule out excessive amniotic fluid.) She reassured us that your body almost always makes a baby that it can support.

    And you know what? It was fine! I did finally get an epidural, but that was because I'd been in labor for 48 hours and was still 3cm, not because of his size. Virtually no tearing, super quick recovery. The human body is awesome!

    2 agree
  5. Awesome! Apparently, I have big babies–twins over 7# each, and my youngest was 10.0#, born so fast the midwife missed it. She was speeding to get to us, on the phone with my then-husband, telling him to tell me to quit pushing. I informed them that I *wasn't* pushing and the baby was JUST COMING OUT. Sort of like you said, at a certain point, there's no stopping. He was born all fine, with the midwife directing over the phone. I had such a completely different feeling about my body and what it was capable of after that night. Our bodies *rock*. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. You are amazing! My babies are now around 10-10.5 pounds and they are 3 months old, I can NOT imagine pushing a baby out that big! Again, amazing!!

    1 agrees
  7. You go girl! My first was 10.3 and the birth was slightly high-risk, in hospital, with forceps & 4th degree tear (namely, awful) – but when preg #2 was going well, my midwife agreed to a home birth and that one was just so easy – and she was 9.5 lbs. I'm gestating #3 now, and when I applied for a midwife none of the others in the practice would take my file – seems I'm notorious for my big babies – but the same wonderful woman has stepped up again, and we're planning to have this peanut at home, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    The biggest hurdle is the 37 week fetal assessment, where it's the midwifery policy that if baby measures at the 95th %ile, the birth will have to be in hospital… though I know there are ways around that, too.

  8. I'm so glad I found your post today. I'm 34 weeks along with baby #2 and have had my first minor freak outs about our upcoming homebirth in the last few days. Reading your story made me laugh and feel a bit more confident that it'll happen just the way its supposed to. Congratulations on your little (big) one ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Wow, I didn't realize this was in here yet! Thanks everyone for the congratulations. My baby girl is an 11 month old little monster now and awesome. Everything excites her and catches her attention and I still feel the same awe and love I felt when she was born.

    I really felt empowered by my first daughter's birth in a birthing center, and thought how terrific it was, especially since I had been present for my youngest sister's birth and had been very unhappy with the OB and the hospital. Once I birthed at home, though, with my awesome midwife and doula, I couldn't imagine ever birthing any other way if I ever did it again. Which I'm not.

      • *laughs* I just opened an Etsy shop–crocheted hats–and have been swamped with orders. I haven't seen my email in a week ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. What a story, this takes me back.. my little sister was a 10 pound 14 ounce baby born at home (20 years ago now!). Mum was a trooper to go back for more considering I was 10pounds 7oz five years earlier.

  11. Ya know, she didn't even mention some of the more offbeat points of our birth story.

    *Dani gave birth on a military base in on-base housing. While there is no law, instruction or rule against it, the CO of the region wrote a letter of authorization as a CYA for the midwife.

    *We paid for this out of pocket- the only TRICARE authorized midwifery clinic in Navy Region Southwest is at Best Start Birth Center in San Diego.

    *The air compressor for the tub broke early on- it was me with a bicycle pump racing against our Daughter to get that thing filled. I think I made it with maybe 20 minutes to spare.

    * She gave birth to a 10 pound baby without drugs, and only had a centimeter length tear down there- that healed quickly.

    *I was supposed to be deployed to Afghanistan. An administrative fight high in military bureaucracy sent me home a couple weeks before the birth. She was acting as a single parent for two months prior while I was in training in another state.

    My wife is an amazing woman. Amazing.

    2 agree

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