The Little Sister Baby Story!

Jul 7, 2012 | Home Birth Stories | 32 comments

Obligatory disclaimer-
Yes, I have permission to write about this.
Yes, it’s from MY point of view, my memories from that day.
Yes, it’s a LONG post.

First of all…
This is me swearing 8*&*&^%^%
because I MISSED my 1,000th post!
It was my most recent post and I didn’t even realize it!
Blogging since October 2005.
How could I miss that?
I had big plans!
Forget 1,000th posts…
I FINALLY got to be a Doula!
Macaron Maker…
You remember the bizarre story about my little sister and the loss of her baby… (SEE HERE)
Well, when the good news came thru she asked me to be her Doula and OF COURSE I said YES! You know me: the birth junkie. The wannabe know-it-all about all things “down there” and newborn related.
Ovulation, conception, natural birth, how to prepare (and look great afterwards)… I’m a born (again) preacher and once you ask me a question you create a monster cause I’ll give 
you every bit of advice I have.

My poor sister.
But last Wednesday night I could NOT sleep, which is TOTALLY abnormal for me (especially on account of these KILLER workouts I’ve been doing that I can’t wait to tell you about). Tossing and turning… I wanted to punch the wall I was so mad. In my delirium I thought I heard the phone ring, but I laid there and told myself I was crazy. I waited for it to ring again, or for Joel’s cell phone over on the dresser and… nothing.

Hours passed.

The baby JuJu woke up really early and Joel brought him in for me to nurse, just as he does every morning. We got all snuggled together when I heard Joel say, “Oh crap!” as he looked
 at his phone to check the time.

6 missed calls.

One of them from my (and my sister’s) midwife!
We were in business!
Now mind you, this was a good two weeks early so my bag was not packed yet! (I had planned to get everything ready that Saturday).
It was 5:30 a.m.
By 6:15 I was pulling out of the driveway.

Camera – check
Video camera – check
My lemonade requested by Chelsea – check
Change of clothes – check
Gas in the tank – check
Cheerleader uniform – check. Okay no, not really.
But I was ready to support girlfriend for the next 24 hours if need be.
By 6:50 I was knocking on her door (28 miles away).
Chels was doing good, making conversation, she was really jazzed about her home birth…
“Oh this isn’t so bad.”
“I don’t know, everyone doesn’t do this.”
I just smiled.
By 10 a.m. she was a bit more uncomfortable and already to 6 centimeters. But she was already telling me how tired she was which I thought was a bit odd, again I kept quite, but suggested a nice shower.
“Wash your hair, shave your legs, put on your favorite lotion, a fresh nightgown.”
She did and was glad for it.
Things seemed to be really progressing by watching her and listening, but she was still around 6 centimeters (her labor had started at 11:30 pm the night before) so the Midwife offered to break her water. After that things seemed to really kick in for Chels. In fact, I was pretty sure we couldn’t have more than a couple more hours to go but then, she kept saying how tired she was. It was (is) VERY hot out, and so we were giving her lots of fluids and little gummy things that marathon runners use – but she wasn’t really into it. We suggested a tepid bath which slowed things down a bit and she actually drifted in and out of sleep. Hours passed… Derek and I found a moment to talk and he shared with me that she had been out in the sun for five hours the day before (100+ degrees). NO WONDER she seemed so tired. She probably went INTO labor dehydrated.

She and Derek were doing SO good. They were a team. He held her any way she wanted, she breathed, she relaxed through the contractions. You could see her relief to be in her own home. And that is my main excitement over home birth. I mean come on, what do you feel upon just VISITING someone at the hospital? You know, when you leave, you are just so happy to be “out of there.” Well, it’s the same for laboring mommas.

Our bodies respond to that stress – especially first time Moms. Did you know that 26% of first time mommas will have a C-section at the hospital in America (I think the worldwide average is 4%!). Don’t get me started…

Anyways – Chels wasn’t getting anywhere. She was still at 6 centimeters and saying how tired she was so we came up with a plan. For hours we had been talking her out of the sleep she wanted to badly. It seemed to us that laying down would be such a waste (since she wouldn’t be able to “use” her contractions to their utmost effectiveness). We were concerned that she would wake up just as tired.


In true midwife fashion, Debbie allowed Chels to listen to her own body! She gave me the go ahead to go talk to
 her and I presented two options –

 It’s 4:30. They’ll give you an IV so you can get some more fluids in you. Your lips look dry – we are worried that you are dehydrated. If you actually think you can sleep between contractions then you should do that. At 7:30 we’ll wake you up and if you feel just as tired as before, we’ll transfer to the hospital – not for a C-section, but for more fluids and maybe an epidural so you can get some more rest. When it’s time to push we’ll have them turn it down because we know you want to be fully engaged.
When you wake up, if you feel refreshed and ready to rock it, then we are gonna rock it, Chels. (From one Alias fan to another) 
Sydney Bristow style!

Deb hung that IV from a hook on Chelsea’s window, and true to her word – she was OUT!  
This gave me a chance to run over to my Mom’s (who had come to my house to get my kids) and nurse a VERY pissed off little baby Julien.
As I was grabbing my keys to head back (a 12 minute drive) Deb texted me 
“8 centimeters and slight desire to push”



When I came running up the stairs to their apartment Chels was rocking’ the “on all fours” position with her head down on the mattress. Now let me tell you this – I have had four babies “au natural” — the first one took 28 hours and those a–holes (pardon me, but I am still mad about it) transferred me to the hospital. It is a PHENOMENAL thing to be in the same room as someone whose body is wracked with pain and you can just get up, and go pee or get a fresh glass of water.
It’s like you are in the same room but WORLDS apart
 – it blew my mind.

I knew where she was.
She was delirious with pain.
Frantic at the idea of this taking 2, 4, 6 more hours.

But I could hear the slight grunt and the end of those moaning breaths and I told her confidently, “Chels… we’re looking at less than an hour here. You can do this.”

To quote me & Chels’s favorite workout instructor

See, my sister, God bless her, is always worried about everyone else. It is, frankly, a bad habit.
She’d be walking down the hall and she glance into the kitchen where the midwife and nurse were hanging out and she’d say, 
“You girls O.K.?”

Us women KNEW that she hadn’t hit that stride yet – that place in labor where you don’t give a rats you-know-what about anyone else. That place where your world is so small, so focused…
 so primal.

We were waiting for that to happen for Chels.
For her to let go and let labor – 
and she finally was.

Desperate to get comfortable, she was on her knees, then standing, then her knees, til’ she told Derek to sit behind her as he had often been throughout the day.
Pushing time had come.

Now – let me pause here, and tell you
 about my brother-in-law Derek.
I’ll try to keep it brief, but you know how I feel about men (See all my “Where Have all the Cowboys Gone” posts that thrill or upset so many people). But – if there were more 24 year olds like DEREK in American the world would be a better place. Can you think of a 24 year old man who would support his wife wanting to have a natural, at-home birth… LET ALONE have a wife AT ALL!???
On D’s side of the bed are all sorts of books:

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters.
Wild at Heart.
The Kid Who Climbed Everest.
Federal Husband.

On his mirror are Bible verses and notes to his wife.
He’s got them on a budget.
He’s leaving’ and cleavin’ the way more men should
(sorry, that’s a Christian joke that may be lost on some of ya’ll)

Now let’s push.

Like me the first time, Chels wanted to be told how to push, 
It’s so weird, your instinct is there, but there is something actually comforting, after so many hours of being out of control, to be given an assignment.

She rocked it.

I could see Derek behind her and could only imagine how numb his legs were… Chels would make eye contact with me (kneeling next to the Midwife) as if to say “This is it right? This is happening?”
I encouraged her as best I could. She was working so hard!
And then…
And the killer “don’t push” moment to keep 
you from blowing a gasket!
And then, head.
Then a shoulder… and
She was OUT!

Screaming like a little 5.5 pound banshee!

When Aidan was born everyone yelled, 
“He’s so big!”
When Ivy June was born,
Everyone exclaimed, “She’s so little!”

Chels looked at me like, 
“I did it?”


She beat the odds.
First time Mom.
At home.

All the normal things they would consider an “emergency”

-6 centimers for 6+ hours
-baby showed signs of meconium early in the labor
-mom very fatigued

You did it Chels.
And not matter how it 
would have turned out – You did it!
21 hours.

You have that baby in your arms.
Now you are a Momma Lion.
Now you will fight for someone like never before.
Now you love someone like never before.

Like I told Nic when Sofia was born –


Auntie Ang and Baby Ivy!



  1. Vickie

    Great job, Chels! Beautiful little Ivy – congratulations to all (and to you, too, Doula Ang!)

  2. Ivy Clad

    Oh my goodness. I have tears in my eyes. Hats off to your sister and her sweet husband. Hats off to you for being supportive.

    I read every word of this, top to bottom, and I wish I could tell you the emotion that it touched and how it brought back so many memories, but instead I will just say this: my last baby (now 3) was born at home, naturally, on purpose. My husband was there doing just what you described Derek doing– holding, rocking, talking in my ear. But I have to stop, because tears are going to run all over.

    God bless baby Ivy.


  3. helen tilston

    Congratulations to Chels and her husband. Bravo. Thank you for sharing this personal story.


  4. Priscilla

    Yes, this does bring back memories. 45 years ago and again 34 years ago things were somewhat different, but the experience of birth is still the same now, then, or 2000 years ago. A most wonderful miracle.

  5. Noël

    What a wonderful post! I love watching babies be born…so amazing. I have had my first two babies with a midwife and am 3 weeks away from having my 3rd. I love my homebirth experiences and always pity those who have such miserable hospital births. Thanks for the narrative and your new neice is beautiful. Truly a blessing from the Lord!!!

  6. mellmo

    YEAH!!!! And congrats to all of you!!! 🙂

  7. Alabaster Rose Designs

    What an awesome and absolutely beautiful story!!!~
    Congrats to your sister!
    And I am sooo with you on the whole hospital and birth thing!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend.

  8. Chris

    Ya’all should write a birthing book…Congrats and blessings all around! Beautiful baby, Ivy.
    xoxo, Chris

  9. celkalee

    Beautiful story. Brings back memories from 34 and 40 years ago, though neither were home births. totally frowned upon in those days. thank you for sharing such a heart warming story.

  10. victoriantailor

    Congrats to all, amazing story, I have 4 children also, was stay at home mom, can so relate!

  11. susan

    from a childless 56 yr old Ang,i cried and cried it amazes me this family of yours i read and read and still just can’t imagine the bonds you all share…. susan from Alabama

  12. janzi

    Amazing tale, so well we were in the midst of it with you and your sister.. Happy Birthday to little Ivy and a great big hug to all of you especially her loving parents.. hugs from across the pond…

  13. DREAMS ON 34th STREET ~ French Bread & Family

    Ivy June was born on (our very first grandchild), Holland Grace’s “first” birthday!

    This is another little connection to the sweetness and passion of your amazing family!

    (“Now, I know…” were first words I said to my Mom after the arrival of our first born, Chrislyn.)

    Welcome beautiful little Ivy June!
    Congratulations to Chels, Derek, and all!


  14. savvycityfarmer

    she is a precious thing to behold … thank you so much for all of your efforts and knowledge!!
    I’m so proud of all three of you!!
    It is a phenomenon!!

    after witnessing your first birth, I’d say now YOU know

    love to you dear Angela

    gram to six

  15. Stephanie

    That is so amazing! She is the most beautiful baby, truly she is.

  16. Katie Rose

    Beautiful. I’m halfway through my third pregnancy that will end with my third home (water) birth (with one of my MOTHER’S midwives no less!) and I love to read about other women experiencing the power of it for the first time. Take care of her and when she’s all rest up and better (like a year from now 😉 , THEN you can yell at her for not keeping her pregnant self hydrated!! lol! Many more blessings for you and your family.

  17. Farmgirl Cyn

    Been waitin’ and waitin’ to hear this story! You are blessed to have each other….

  18. miss flibbertigibbet

    Wonderful wonderful story! I had my first all alone in the hospital at 17. She is so lucky to have a loving family and a great husband (I had one too, but was still alone in those days)to be with her! I know ALL of you are SO happy right now! God Bless….

  19. A Cozy Cottage in the City

    Oh I quite enjoyed this post! Good job Chelsea & great job to you for being so supportive! Congrats to the new parents – little Ivy is sooo adorable!!! 😉


  20. Sandi~A Cottage Muse

    How wonderful to have you share Ivy’s arrival! Big congrats to Chels and to you!

  21. Di

    So wonderful, my two girls had home births and I was a nervous wreak but they were awesome. Now one of them is having another baby, I am so excited for her. Such a great experience you had and thank you for sharing with us. Di

  22. It's me

    Owww she is so so so sweet…you must be a proud auntie… love Ria….xxx..

  23. Lady Courtney

    That was wonderful!!! Thanks so much for sharing, congratulations to all!!! donna 🙂

  24. Miranda @ Pressing On

    Beautiful!! What a wonderful sister you are. My sister and I are like that with one another.

    She’s had 3 home births, I’ve had 4. We attended one another’s births (9 total), except for the last 2. You see, our babies were born 1 week apart and I live in Alaska while she’s in Washington. So we attended the births via Skype. No back labor support, but lots of emotional support. Gotta love technology.

    Happy Birthday to sweet Ivy June!

  25. Rosemary@villabarnes

    Way to go Chels, and lets give Derek a high five too. I had both my boys natural, but not at home, and my husband was there every step of the way. I know what you mean about good men. Ivy is adorable. Another addition to your beautiful family.

  26. Alicia

    Thank you for this honest story about your sister’s home birth – meconium, dehydration and slow progress were all things that happened to me in the hospital and seemed to cause panic in the dr/nurses. I’m (hopefully!) less than 7 weeks away from my 3rd baby, first home birth, and I alternate from total panic to “I can do this”. Congratulations to your family!!

  27. cestMoi Sandy

    Oh Darn Gal! You have this gift of making me cry!
    This Birth adventure gave me the chills, giggles, laughs and back and forth all over again! And my own birth memories back in mind! I am just like you… DON’T THERE TO TAKE THIS MOMMA TO THE HOSPITAL! I WILL BE THE FIRST MOM IN LABOR TO KICK SOMEONE AND END UP DELIVERING IN A POLICE CAR!

    What an awesome moment that you shared with us! And congrats to you being a Doula and Auntie for Ivy!

    P.s. I even offered my mid-wife drinks and such while in labor!

    Us woman are just too much!
    Gotta love it!


    By the way – I guess I am lucky to be married to one of those “cowboys” only he is not 24 anymore!

  28. Corrina

    Wow felt like I was there- big well done to Chels and congrats on baby Ivy (what a cute name) I can feel your pride Ang. Brought back memories of my births. xxCorrina.

  29. Ashley

    So so soooo great! You KNOW how much I dig mamas and babies. 🙂 Nurse midwifery is my life’s dream and I’m workin’ my booty off to get there.
    Well done, Doula-lady. 😉 Here’s to many more babycatchin’ moments.


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