Surrounded by my husband, my daughter, my mother and a dear sweet friend we welcomed our last puzzle piece into our home. Born at the home his mother grew up in, the home he was made in and the place where we will let love grow for the rest of our lives. Jasper was born in our very own bathroom back here in North Carolina. It was right for us and I would’t have it any other way. Go figure, my body’s not a lemon.
I became pregnant with my seventh baby at the age of 44 — after my husband, Michael, had undergone cancer treatment for Stage 3 colorectal cancer two years prior. To say that this pregnancy was a surprise would be quite an understatement; my age alone made it seem somewhat unlikely, and we were under the impression that his cancer treatment had left him sterile. Our family felt complete with six kids, and we were thankful that Michael’s cancer was in remission, so the idea that we would have no more children was fine with us.
When my call got answered, it turned out there were no rooms available at my nearby hospital other than the intake rooms (smaller, no gas and air on tap, uncomfortable beds). The midwife offered to ring around the other hospitals in Stockholm (which would later turn out to also be full), but in the end thinking that there was a good few hours left to go I said I’d stay home, take a bath and call back later.
Monday, December 3rd was a normal day. I was 38 weeks and completely over being pregnant. I was really excited because I was going to get a much needed pedicure. It was amazing. She spent about 20 min massaging each leg and it was heavenly. I came home, my partner Mark and I had dinner and did our normal routine and went to bed. I remember asking him, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that pedicure put me into labor?”
My due date of April 2nd came and went with little fanfare. I’d somehow gotten it stuck in my head that my due date was the 4th, so little surprise that I woke up at seven that morning with period-like cramps. I called my husband and told him what was going on so far, prefacing the conversation with, “Don’t freak out.” I told him to finish up his day at work as my contractions weren’t that painful.. yet.
I always knew my baby would be “late.” I disagreed with the due date predicted by my three month scan and thought my actual “forty week mark” was about twelve days later. When I declined induction, I was referred to a consultant who was surprisingly supportive and said that twenty years ago I wouldn’t have been induced, so it was my decision. I was constantly aware of every kick in the womb, which was more reassuring to me than any scan could be.
Olivia’s home birth was absolutely something I wanted to do in my life — part of my bucket list, if you will. I never imagined I’d deliver in my bed, but now I realize that this was Olivia’s birth — in the end I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.
Hazel is our third child and very likely (according to our plan, anyway) our last. We’d decided long before her conception that we were going to plan a home birth if we were ever blessed with another child. We didn’t have absolutely horrible hospital birth experiences, to be clear — but there was a lot to process, especially on my end, after the births of our sons.