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  • Writer's pictureAlisha Roth

Mabel's Birth Story

I’ve had babies that have come up to two weeks early and as late as a week past due date, so with this baby’s due date being February 20, I knew she could come anytime in February. Caleb guessed in January that she would come on Valentine’s Day (though he was still cheering for February 29). My midwife had told me that it was common to go into labor at the New Moon (more so than the full moon, surprisingly!), so I was guessing February 9.

On Friday, February 9, I lost my mucus plug. I sent a text to my midwives at 7 that night that said, “I had contractions for a few hours last night but nothing that became consistent. I just had bloody show and I’ve always had my babies within 24 hours after I have that, so I’m guessing I’ll be having a baby this weekend! Just thought I’d send a heads up, but for now I’m feeling good and am not having anything going on.” I went to bed, and at 12:45am woke to go to the bathroom. I crawled back in bed and had a contraction after a few minutes of being back in bed. At 2am, I got out of bed as the contractions continued to come, though mostly just uncomfortable and not painful. They were coming every 4-5 minutes but were very short in length. At 2:45, I was cold so decided to lay back down, and I was able to fall asleep and the contractions fizzled out.


It turns out that I didn’t have a baby over the weekend as I suspected! The rest of the weekend was calm with no more signs of labor. It did encourage me to make sure I had everything ready for my homebirth though! On Tuesday, February 13, I had an appointment with my midwife. She had her check to see if I was dilated—I was only 2cm dilated, but baby was very low and my cervix was soft. That afternoon I began having some contractions that were painful, though they were very spread out. At 11 that night, after trying to go to bed, my contractions gained some consistency, coming every 5 minutes apart. They were too painful to stay in bed, so I walked around timing them, though I was hesitant to believe it was the real thing after the weekend. The contractions stayed consistently close and began to get longer in length.

I sent a text to my sister at midnight to come over, because I felt confident enough that this was the real thing (she was taking photos). I was so thankful to have her there with me during the night—she also made a fresh loaf of sourdough to enjoy afterwards! At 12:30am on February 14, I sent a text to my midwives with the notes I had been keeping on my contractions and told them they should probably come. They said they were on their way! My contractions continued to pick up speed, and my midwife Lauren and her two assistants, Kristen and Laura, arrived around 1:30am. At this point, my younger three daughters were also awoken as they wanted to be there for the birth—I’m so glad they could be there!


At this point, I was starting to feel a small urge to push, and my contractions were longer and more painful, so I was eager to get in the birthing tub. Caleb had filled the tub, but the water was too hot, so he worked with the assistants to add ice cubes and cool it down. Around 2am, it was ready for me to get in, and I was glad! I expected everything to proceed quickly here—with my previous two births, I pushed for less than 10 minutes.

Pushing took longer than I expected, though! My contractions began getting further apart, and while I had a slight urge to push, my body wasn’t bearing down as it had with my previous few births. There were several times where I felt like a first-time mom again and wondered if I remembered how to birth a baby! I tried switching the position a few times in the tub, but nothing seemed to help me progress much. I did puke at one point. After being in the birthing tub for an hour and a half with my progress, my midwife had me get out of the tub to try to switch things up. I went to the bathroom and then she suggested I go to the bed and lay on my side with a peanut ball. I trusted my midwife so took her suggestion. Being out of the tub definitely made my contractions feels more intense and painful!

With the help of Caleb, I walked to the bedroom, laid on my side on the bed, and the peanut ball was placed between my legs. It was so painful, I said a swear word! My midwife told me she just wanted me to lay for a few contractions in there to see if it helped me progress, and she said she would step out for a few minutes, leaving just me and Caleb in the room. At the end of the second set of contractions, my water broke with a loud pop and a gush of water. Caleb and I both exclaimed loudly. (Me, out of relief! He said he was worried the baby might just fly out with the gush of water!) The midwife came rushing in and said I could move back to the tub now if I wanted. I did, but when I tried to roll off the bed, I had a contraction and couldn’t imagine moving with how much pain I was in. Once the contraction ended, my midwife told me if I wanted to have the baby in the tub, now was the time to go. Even though I was in a lot of pain and didn’t want to move, I knew I wanted to deliver in the tub. So Caleb and Lauren helped me walk back to the tub.


As soon as I was in, I started pushing, and I could physically feel the baby moving down this time. While I did have more of an urge to push, my body wasn’t bearing down uncontrollably, so I had to work hard with each contraction and push as hard as I could. It was painful and hard work, but I could feel the progress, and finally her head came out! At this point, I knew I only had her shoulders which felt like a relief, but when the next contraction came, I had to push harder than I expected to get her shoulders out—but they came out, and with that the rest of her body! After 11 minutes of pushing once back in the tub, she was officially born at 3:56am! She was placed on my chest—so much relief and joy in that moment! Caleb cried and I had a huge smile on my face as we embraced our baby girl—Mabel Winona.

She was born on Valentine’s Day, as Caleb predicted! Picking a name had been difficult, and we had just decided on her name a few weeks before she was born. Mabel means “lovable” which felt fitting since she was born on Valentine’s Day! I like middle names to have significance, so we chose Winona after Winona Lake where Caleb and I met. We also realized after we named her that Mabel is a family name on both sides and love that she is carrying on the name.

She weighed 7lb 6 oz and was 20.5 inches long.

I'm so thankful for my midwife Lauren and her assistants, Laura and Kristen, and for my sister, Nikki!

We're in love with our little love-baby!

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