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Roman James - {My Homebirth Story}

Roman James

August 31st, 2019

1:11 AM

8 lbs. 2 oz.

19 Inches Long

We knew even before we got pregnant that we wanted a home birth with our next baby and luckily there were already a few women that had chosen that type of birth here in Italy, so we knew it was possible! After around 23 weeks of being followed by the hospital, we switched to the home birth midwives. On August 30th I hit 41 Weeks 2 Days. Because I was at 41 weeks, the midwives wanted me to get a CTG and an ECO scan to make sure the baby was doing well! After the monitoring, everything looked good and we went home. I had gone to 41 weeks and 6 days with Edyn, so I expected to go past with this guy too, but I was definitely ready to have him!

{Photography by Lisa K. - Teeny Toes Photography}

August 30th 6:30PM

Started Early Labor

When we got home from the hospital I was definitely feeling contractions, but I wasn't really 100% sure that they were real contractions. I had pains like it a few nights before and I thought it was just from the way that Roman was sitting and where his head was. Now I know they were real contractions hahaha. I went upstairs around this time and just laid in bed trying to determine whether or not I was really in labor. The contractions were more than 10 minutes apart and they were pretty short, less than 30 seconds. I was pretty restless though and some of these contractions were ones I had to breathe through.

7:20 - Active Labor Started

At this point Elliott really noticed I was working through each contraction and knew active labor had begun. Around 7:40 I got in the shower. I was in there for about 10 minutes just letting the water hit my stomach and my lower back. I remember thinking while I was in the shower that I didn't want to do this hahaha I was scared and not ready. So when people say "I don't know how you did it", I don't either. I prayed when those feelings hit and I just asked God to give me the strength to get through the labor. I prayed that it would be quick and that everything would go smoothly. After the shower I went upstairs and laid in bed while Elliott put the girls to bed. I was trying to get as much rest in because I knew I would need my energy. The contractions were definitely a little bit more consistent now, but they were still only about 15-30 seconds long and at this point I didn't know when we should tell the midwives to come. I was really worried that it would either be too early OR that it would be too late because I wasn't sure how fast this labor was going to go. I kept comparing it a lot to Edyn's labor and hers was only 4 hours from start to finish. The midwives had a 1 hour and 20 minute drive so I definitely didn't want to wait too long. Elliott laid with me in bed for a little bit and then we decided to go downstairs and watch The Office. I wanted a distraction and I definitely couldn't sleep. We watched one episode while Elliott timed the contractions. The first one he actually wrote down was at 9:03 PM and they were lasting a minute, some even over a minute. After one episode we turned off the TV and just laid on the couch for a little bit; Elliott still timing and writing down each contraction. At some point I got up and turned on music. I had made a birth playlist filled with worship music (I'll post the songs I had in it at the end of the blog). I had never had a birth playlist before so this was new, and it was nice having that in the background. I put it on repeat so it played all the way until the midwives left our house.

Elliott's Perspective

One of the things I hate most about the birth process is how completely useless I feel. Taylor is going through this extremely strenuous time, and I am confined to "words of comfort." Although I know verbal support is really helpful, it doesn't make me feel any less pointless. So when there is anything that can be done, no matter how small it seems, I try to take some action. As Taylor started having regular contractions, I started timing them. It gave me a little bit of purpose, as well as helped us gauge how far along we might be.

Also, Taylor was very worried about calling the midwives in too early. I feel like she didn't want to inconvenience them and make them wait around to much. She is very sweet... thinking of others while she is starting LABOR. I, on the other hand, didn't care if they showed up a little too early. (I mean this is what we were paying for, am I right...) Regardless, I said we should call them, and they showed up pretty much right at the perfect time. Just sayin'

10:22PM - Texted Midwives and Photographer to Come

I was definitely moaning my way through contractions and things were building, so Elliott thought it was time to text the midwives. For most of this time I was on my knees on the couch, letting my arms hang over the back. This was the most comfortable position and it allowed me to rest my head when I got a break between the contractions. I also kept going to the bathroom and every time I did, the contractions got a lot more intense. Elliott stood in front of me and rubbed my lower back during the contractions which felt really nice to have have that counter pressure.

11:20PM - Melissa Picked Girls Up

Elliott felt more comfortable if the girls went to Melissa's because if they woke up he didn't want to have to leave me. I was worried about him leaving me too, I'm VERY dependent when I'm in labor. I need someone talking me through the contractions, someone holding me and touching me. So he messaged her and she came and got the girls. During this time I got back into the shower for about 10-15 minutes and again, let the water just hit my back and stomach. That felt really good for a bit and then I got out and went back to the couch to my previous position.

11:45 - Midwives Arrived

The midwives, Catarina and Ilaria, arrived and immediately started blowing up the pool. Catarina checked Roman's heart rate, very discreetly and gently in between contractions. When Ilaria was done blowing the pool up she immediately began comforting me and helping me work through each contraction with Elliott. I was still on the couch on my knees with my arms hanging over the back. Elliott was rubbing my back, Ilaria was holding my hands and helping me breathe and relax. Ilaria also massaged my shoulders and arms which felt really good as well. The mental part of birth, for me at least, is the hardest. If you are tense and your sounds are high pitched, you are not allowing your body to open and you are fighting what is happening. Over and over in my head I was thinking "open, open, open" and trying to just let my body do it's work, I guess in a way surrendering to the contractions. I knew the less I fought them, the faster it would be. Elliott and Ilaria really helped me stay calm and focused, I couldn't have done it without them. At one point, I was standing up and both Elliott and Ilaria were just holding me. It was so special being completely surrounded and loved on by them while I worked through some really intense waves.

Elliott's Perspective

I am glad that Taylor feels the need to have me close by during her active labor. I try to be as present with here as I possibly can. I focus on rubbing her shoulders and back, holding her hands and just trying to be encouraging. As cliche as it sounds, I try to be her rock. Maybe if I stay focused, solid, strong...maybe she can lean on me and she can do the same.

But I was also glad to have Ilaria there. I obviously have never experienced what Taylor was going through. Having someone there who has gone through the same things and experienced all the same experiences, I'm sure was very comforting for Taylor. And for me. She is a pro, and was really amazing!

12:45AM - Got in Birthing Pool

At this point in my labor I was hoping that soon someone would ask if I wanted to go in the pool because I figured that would mean they thought I was close to having him. I didn't want to get in the pool too soon and then be sick of it before I had him. I really wanted to have another water birth because of the experience I had with Edyn. I remember going to the bathroom and definitely was starting to feel urges to push. My sounds were also changing to my "pushing sounds", which I remembered from Edyn's birth. Elliott was right there with me in the bathroom helping me through the contractions I was having, they seemed a lot stronger whenever I went to the toilet. I actually felt to see if I could feel his head yet while I was in there that last time and couldn't feel anything so I was a little discouraged. When we came back out, Ilaria asked if I wanted to get in the pool and I was so relieved. I had to be close but I didn't want to get my hopes up if I wasn't. Elliott and Ilaria helped me into the pool and it felt amazing. The water was warm and the pool was very comfortable to be in. I got on my knees and laid my head on the side of the pool with my arms hanging over the side. Elliott and Ilaria were in front of me. I remember Ilaria squeezing my hands when a contraction would come. I also at some point was holding onto Elliott's shirt and just holding him as tight as I could. I was "roaring" at this point, not screaming, but I was definitely loud as he was coming down. I remember pleading to God, "please help him come soon", and God answered that prayer in the next few minutes.

Elliott's Perspective

And here we are at the very worst part of birth for me. A few hours have gone by now, and each successive contraction gets worse for Taylor and I can do precisely NOTHING about it. I wish I could trade places with her. I wish I could ease her pain some how. I pray to God to just let it be over. I wish I could do anything at all. And for a moment, I lose it. I'm not the rock I try to be. This moment has happened in all three of our births. And I think in all three instances, the thing that helps me get back to where I need to be for Taylor is the next contraction. The need to be strong for her shakes me back to reality.

1:11AM - Roman was born

Something I realized during this labor was that I was very in tune with what was happening. With Edyn's labor, it happened so fast and I had never experienced a natural labor so I feel like it was all a blur. But with this labor I knew where I was at, especially at the end and I was just very aware of everything, my surroundings included. I remember hearing my birth playlist playing in between really really intense contractions. I remember hearing the words in the songs and every time it had something to do with God's strength and how He gets us through. His love and grace and the hope we have because of His death on the cross. It was incredible to hear and encouraging to know that God was with me through my labor. I was not alone, I was made to do this and His strength would get me through the rest of the birth. From the time I got in the pool, it was 30 minutes before Roman made his entrance into the world. I felt his head with my hand and knew we were close now. I was going to meet my baby boy, have him in my arms in just a few minutes. It did feel like forever that he stayed there, and I definitely felt the ring of fire with this birth. But finally I said "His head is out!" and then the rest of him came and I caught him! It was an amazing feeling. No one else was touching me, no one was touching him, it was just me pulling him up out of the water. The chord was around his neck and the midwives slipped it right off and I was able to bring him to my chest. That moment was just incredible. Knowing that once again I had done an all natural water birth and this time in the comfort of my own home. Everything was so calm after this too.

{Roman's head was out here!}

{And then he came out the rest of the way}

1:21 Moved to the couch

Everyone helped Roman and I over to the couch and that's where we stayed for the next 3 hours. The placenta stayed attached for about 2.5 hours and Roman just slept. I had always heard that with every kid the afterbirth pains get a little worse. That statement is definitely true. I still felt a lot of pressure and was having contractions, not as bad as when Roman was still inside of me, but they were a lot more intense than I ever remember them being with Edyn's birth. I was so uncomfortable and just really wanted the placenta out. I had to go to the bathroom so the midwives both helped me up and went with me (I was still holding Roman) and I delivered the placenta in there (1:48AM). Again, it was a lot more intense than I remember, but I felt a million times better when it finally was out. We went back to the couch and I was able to enjoy skin to skin with my little man and eventually he woke up and had his first latch. The midwives left around 4AM and Elliott and I moved to our bedroom where we cuddled Roman and got a little bit of sleep before we had to pick the girls up from Melissa's house!

Elliott's Perspective

After the main event is over and all the excitement has ended, reality starts to settle in and the facts come to light. We just brought a life into the world. We have three children. I have a son, and I am holding him and looking at his face right now. It is truly a surreal feeling packed with a wide range of emotion...shock, amazement, responsibility, duty. The most potent emotion is easily guessed In an instant, unfathomable and all encompassing love dives into the deepest part of your heart and makes a home. It's there to stay. And all you can really do is thank God. Thank Him for this new awesome blessing, and thank Him for keeping your wife in the palm of His almighty hand.

{Photo by Elliott - First Latch}

I still can't believe I did it. I am so thankful that everything went so smoothly and that I was able to have the home birth that I had dreamed of. I know a lot of people think we are crazy for wanting this, but honestly it was the best, most rewarding experience.

Elliott's Perspective

Being pregnant is not a medical condition. Giving birth is not a doctor recommended procedure. Carrying and giving birth to a baby is a completely natural process that God created. And when He created woman, He made made her strong and capable of doing just that. Of course I believe there are times when it necessary to go to the hospital, but when a healthy woman is carrying a healthy baby in a normal pregnancy, a home birth offers a beautiful alternative to a standardized and systematized hospital birth. Taylor is a strong and capable woman, and her body did exactly what God designed it to do. I am so proud of her and I am so happy that we had a home birth. Being in our home, laying on our own couch and sleeping in our own bed just a few hours after Roman arrived was amazing and absolutely the best decision for us.

{Monday Sept. 2nd - Postpartum Visit with our Amazing Midwives}

Birth Playlist

All the Poor & Powerless - All Sons & Daughters

Shepherd - Amana Cook

The War is Over - Bethel Music

Closer - Bethel Music

Reckless Love - Cory Asbury

Living Hope - Bethel Music

Break Every Chain - The Digital Age

Hallelujah Here Below - Elevation Worship

O Come to the Altar - Elevation Worship

Resurrecting - Elevation Worship

Touch the Sky - Hillsong United

Oceans - Hillsong United

Who You Say I Am - Hillsong Worship

This is Living (Acoustic) - Hillsong Young & Free

Sinking Deep - Hillsong Young & Free

Here's My Heart - I Am They

For the Cross - Jenn Johnson, Brian Johnson

Sins Are Stones - John Mark McMillan

Let Your Glory Fall - Kari Jobe

Holy Spirit (feat. Cody Carnes) [Live] - Kari Jobe

Love Like This - Lauren Daigle

You Alone (Live) - Lauren Daigle

(73) The Nearness of You - Loud Harp

Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts) - Shane & Shane

Lighthouse - Joshua Labuda


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