We're delighted to announce the arrival of our daughter, Naomi Jane, and share her birth story with you. But before we get into that, here's a tip for expecting moms.
It’s pretty wild to me the things that people say out loud to women during pregnancy, especially after surpassing the due date. My advice: tell everyone a birth month rather than a due date 🙂
My surprise pregnancy with sweet Naomi Jane is one of God’s greatest gifts to my whole family. As I’m writing this, she is less than one day old, lying on her Daddy’s chest beside me in bed. She was born last night at 5:55 pm at 40 weeks 3 days, weighing 6 lbs 10 oz and measuring 20 ¾ inches long. She is perfect in every way and so incredibly calm and sweet. So far, she has only cried a few times for less than 30 seconds.
Here’s the first thing I will share about her birth. If you have a low-risk pregnancy and can find a wonderful midwife and have ever considered homebirth, DO IT! If I could start over again, I am 100% sure I would have chosen to birth all my babies at home.
Now to the birth story.
Naomi’s Birth Story from Mom’s Perspective:
I started having some minor contractions on Saturday morning while on my “shuffle.” (I walked every day of my pregnancy between 3 and 4 miles, and I’m so very glad I did.) The contractions weren’t strong but felt real. At that point, I was 40 weeks 2 days pregnant. The day went on, and my midwife came to visit. She verified the baby was doing great and told me she thought she would see me soon. The big Fall Festival at my boys’ school was Saturday evening, and I was grateful to go and help out and keep myself busy. I noticed more contractions during the event. Knowing things would happen soon, we took the boys home and put them to bed.
During a late dinner with my husband, my contractions seemed to pick up, and I began timing them. They were intensifying a bit and fairly close together. I alerted my midwife and doula but decided to lie down and try to go to sleep since I was exhausted. Gratefully, the contractions slowed down, and everyone got to have a restful night’s sleep.
On Sunday morning, the 22nd, I got up at about 7 as usual, drank coffee, completed my Bible study and one with the boys (we started a new study of the parables, loving it), and then went out for my “shuffle.” I didn’t notice many contractions, but I was feeling energized and wondering if it might be the day. I came home and ate my 4 fried eggs (my husband made me 4 fried eggs every day of my pregnancy), got ready for church, and left with the family. We are studying the life of David right now and happened to fall in 2 Samuel 7 about seeking God first and waiting on HIS timing. How appropriate!
We then went for lunch at Yamas, a local Mediterranean spot, where I enjoyed a big salad with protein and lots of veggies (perfect for pre-birth). We then headed home, and all the boys went outside to play, making the house very quiet. I quickly realized as I threw soup in the instant pot and switched out laundry that during the morning, my contractions had become more regular and intense, so I started timing. Over the course of 30 minutes, they definitely were moving closer together, coming in about 4 minutes apart and about 30 seconds in length. I let my midwife and doula know, who both asked some clarifying questions, and as I was texting with them, my water broke right at 3:30 pm!
I called my husband down (he was trying to nap) and went ahead and made my way upstairs as my contractions intensified quickly. He first ran a bath for me while I got changed and situated and timed my contractions. After we got a bit of water in the bathtub, he started filling up the birth pool (thankfully, we have had it set up for weeks since my labors tend to be speedy). We talked and smiled and shared our excitement while waiting for the birth team to arrive. After the pool was filled up enough, I switched over to it as the bath was cooling off, and contractions were quickly intensifying.
Shortly after I got in the pool, the first of our team arrived and checked Naomi’s heart rate. She was sounding great. We let the boys know they might want to come back from fishing since baby sister was on the way. It was so sweet to watch them pop in and out during labor with concern, excitement, and curiosity. I must say, I pray this experience allows them to be more supportive husbands someday, as I feel that normalizing birth for our culture in general, but especially men, is so incredibly important. We did lots of preparation discussing what labor would be like, and my pregnancy gave us many opportunities to talk about God’s perfect design for creation and the value of life. At one point, my husband felt the need to check on our 7-year-old Hutch. He found him in his room reading but sniffling and crying. He asked him what was wrong, and he replied, “Daddy, I’m just so happy!” HEART MELT!
The rest of my birth team arrived soon after, and the relief from the pool was wonderful, even as my contractions began to intensify. There was a little stool inside the pool that I sat on between contractions. The home birth setting is so drastically different in many ways. My midwives were watching from afar mostly but closely observing while my doula gently whispered encouragement and coached me through my contractions. The pool was set up near our big bay window in our bedroom so that I could enjoy the fall colors and even the leaves’ reflection off the water. No interventions, no shaming, no denying protocols, no fluorescent lights, no hustle and bustle.
Things began to progress very quickly, with contractions very close together and incredibly intense. My midwife does not do many cervical checks unless she feels they will be helpful for progress. She asked me if I would like her to check and see where we were as I was beginning to feel the desire to push. I thought it MUST be too soon and was stifling myself a bit, but her check confirmed that I was completely dilated, and she encouraged me to go ahead and listen to my body if I had the urge to bear down and push.
I obliged and felt so relieved and encouraged as I knew the final result was near and the intense contractions were effective. Just a few contractions later, I felt a vague “ring of fire” and knew she was on her way. My midwife encouraged me to reach down to feel her crown, which I quickly did, but I felt like I couldn’t anchor myself well enough to guide her out myself (I was using my husband, who was absolutely amazing, and the side of the pool as my leverage with both hands). With the next push, I knew she was coming. I’ve learned through my two previous births that it’s best in the long run to control those pushes, so I slowed myself down, and Naomi Jane gently slipped into the water.
As I pulled her up to my chest for the first time at 5:55 p.m., I felt like I was living an absolute dream. During my last few contractions, the song “Even So Come” was playing and truly helped me to breathe all the way through the contraction. It’s now my favorite song (I already really liked it) as it’s a perfect song to welcome a baby into a broken world that hopes only in Jesus and His return!
I never in a million years thought we would have a baby girl, much less in a room surrounded by worship and love, with my husband and 4 adoring boys standing by. The elation and euphoria are an unmatched gift from our perfect Heavenly Father. Naomi looked amazing right from the start and began to open her eyes just a few minutes after birth. Her serene and peaceful spirit continues through today, her first day of life, as we figure one another out.
After giving us lots of time to bond together as a family and cutting the cord, my midwives encouraged me to sit up to try to deliver the placenta. I didn’t feel much of anything, so we nudged a bit, and it uneventfully released. We then moved over to our bed, where Wiggy held Naomi skin-to-skin while the boys continued to ogle over her while they checked me. Everything was great! Very little blood loss, a tiny tear that required no stitches and so far has caused very little pain, and a quick contracting uterus. After the exam, my boys all began reading to their baby sister and kept running to her room to find more baby books. So sweet!
Later, they performed the placenta exam, and the big brothers all got to hold it and learn about its special functions, blood vessels, etc. Finally, they examined Naomi and found she is a tiny bundle of perfection! Finally, I enjoyed my favorite post-birth meal - a Cookout burger, onion rings, and an Oreo shake. So healthy, right?
On our first night together, I was unable to rest well as I just stared at her peacefully sleeping most of the night. She is latching well, exploring with strong wake periods, and overall just thriving in her gentle sweetness.
I am so overwhelmed by the most amazing blessing of baby Naomi Jane. Watching my husband become a daddy to a little girl, something I’ve always known would completely melt his heart, has been profound in the best of ways. The maturity of each of my sons throughout my pregnancy astounds me, and watching them settle into their new roles as big brothers to a baby sister at almost 11, 9,7, and 5 is delightful and only possible with God’s perfect design.
We are smitten, overjoyed, and continue to praise God as He deserves all the glory for this most precious gift! Birth is such an amazingly raw experience. It’s intense, euphoric, painful, tantalizing, and both spiritual and physical. I’m so glad for this finale and that I was able to experience it in this most precious manner.
Daddy’s Perspective on Naomi’s Birth Story:
It seemed for a while that Naomi would never come. I would go to work every day with my phone on and expecting a call to come home, but the call never came. I worked right up to the due date, and still, she had not been born. It was a bit of a strange feeling where I knew that she had to be born soon, but each day kept reminding me that my timing is not God’s timing.
I remember a couple of times Emily would say I can feel things changing and I got excited that this might be the day, but a couple of hours later, everything returned to normal. That started to change on Saturday (Oct 21st).
We went to the kids’ Fall Festival at school and went trunk to trunk collecting candy with the kids. Jacks was Rubble from Paw Patrol, Hutch was a military soldier, Bryce was 8 ball (I’m still not sure what that is, but I think it’s someone from Roblox), and Adler was Shy guy (I also don’t know who that is). Of course, they all looked adorable. My mom had also arrived by this time, and she was helping keep track of them. I would look over at Emily while she was helping with the registration and food, and she seemed okay, but she started to look more uncomfortable.
On the way home, she started having more consistent contractions, so we began to time them. We were all worn out from the busy day, and so we laid down to see what would happen. The contractions ceased, and we were all able to get a pretty good night's sleep.
On Sunday, it seemed like things were progressing, but we still went through our normal Sunday routine. Emily went for a run, I went for a walk, then came home and cooked pancakes (with Gigi’s help) for the kids. We went to church, and Brandon gave a sermon on how we should seek God first with our plans because His plans may not be the same as our plans. It was about how David wanted to do something good (build God’s temple), but that was not part of God’s plan for David. It was an interesting reminder that even good things are not necessarily God’s things.
After church, we went to our new favorite place, Yama’s, off of Hanes Mall Blvd. We sat outside and enjoyed a beautiful, warm, sunny October day. We stayed longer than we usually do because we were all enjoying the beautiful day.
When we got back home, all of the boys went outside to play, which is what they normally do to try to avoid taking a nap. Emily started having contractions again, but we weren’t sure if this was another false alarm, so I went up in the hopes of taking a nap. However, I was never able to relax, which might have been part intuition and part God saying stay alert. Right around 3:30, I could hear Emily calling my name, so I went downstairs and saw her leaning over our kitchen island and said, “My water just broke.” Now, things started to feel real. I thought that if this was anything like Hutch’s birth, then we don’t have that much time.
We got Emily upstairs and filled up the bathtub where she could rest with her contractions, which seemed like they were getting stronger and closer together. I said a quick prayer over her and our baby and then got into last-minute mode and started getting everything else set up for our home delivery. I stripped everything off the bed and shoved it in the closet (wanted the room to still look orderly), put on the plastic bed sheet, and put down another plastic sheet on the ground, while still trying to time her contractions. They were coming about every 4 minutes. The app on the phone kept saying, “You need to go to the hospital,” which was kind of annoying. We decided shortly after that it was time to call in the team.
I also started to fill up the birth pool, which we had placed in our sitting area in the master bedroom. It was a beautiful place to have a baby. We could see the fall leaves on the trees outside, and everything looked so peaceful. After the birthing pool was about ⅓ full, we moved Emily over to the pool.
I was feeling somewhat nervous but also surprisingly calm, given the fact that we were about to have a baby at home. At about 4:00, the first team member arrived. Emily’s contractions were consistent, but it had been so long since we had a baby that I didn’t have any idea how much time we actually had. I just sat next to her while she was having contractions. We had moved the Alexa upstairs and were listening to worship music which I think provided Emily some peace in between contractions. Shortly after that, the rest of the team arrived.
The team was awesome. They helped when they were needed, but other than that pretty much stayed out of the way and just let the natural process take place.
The boys had come back in by now and would come in to say Hi and to check on Mommy. They all came in at different times, some more than others. They were all very sweet, and all wanted to make sure Mommy was okay. Hutch was probably the one who checked on her the most. Sometimes, he would simply just pop in the room and then pop back out. One time though, it seemed different, so I went to check on him. I found him sitting on his chair in his room, crying. I was concerned that he was worried about Mommy, but when I asked him what was wrong, he simply said, “I’m so happy.” I asked him if he was nervous or worried, and he said no. I held him for a while until he was able to regulate his crying and then went back in to be with Mommy.
Shortly after that, her contractions seemed to get much more intense. It had been a long time since I saw her in labor, but I remember the change in tone and character of her contractions. It’s hard to describe, but she goes somewhere within herself, and I know that we must be getting close. I had been sitting next to her, and she was holding my right wrist with her right hand while I was holding her right forearm with my left hand. I was glad that I could be the solid anchor that could help her feel safe and secure.
With a couple more really strong contractions and some gentle coaching from her midwife and doula, it really seemed to me that it was about time to push. I think that Courtney (the midwife) felt the same, and so she offered to check Emily’s cervix. At that point, Naomi was ready to be born.
That was all of the encouragement that Emily needed, and so with each contraction, she started to push. She had such good control of her pushing that she made progress with each push but also didn’t force it. She took her time and took the pain. I was very proud of her. She was encouraged to change positions slightly to a runner’s lunge (right knee down and left foot planted on the ground). This also seemed to provide her with a little more leverage. A couple more pushes in that position, and Naomi Jane was welcomed into this world.
She was brought up out of the water and laid on Emily’s chest. Emily was crying, and I think I was in a bit of shock that she was actually here. Hutch was the first to come in and meet Naomi. He has such a kind, gentle heart that I know he’s going to be a great big brother. Then Adler and Bryce came in. They didn’t know that she was born yet, so when they heard her and saw her, their jaws hit the floor. They also seemed really excited to meet her. Jacks had actually been taking a nap this whole time, so I sent the older brother to go wake him up. He strolled in a couple of minutes later, still looking really sleepy but with a grin on his face that expressed joy and pride for now being an older brother.
We all huddled around Emily and kept talking and staring at Naomi. Eventually, I cut the cord and was given Naomi to give Emily a little time to deliver the placenta. Having her on my chest while she was quietly breathing is a moment I hope to never forget. I want to remember the desire to take care of her, to protect her, and to stand up for her. In that moment, I knew that I was her Daddy.
The rest of the boys were basically lying on me, too, and it was incredible to see how much they wanted to be involved. I pray that this will be a growth opportunity for all of them. I pray that they will step up to be the big brothers that she needs. I pray that they will teach her, protect her, and take care of her. I hope that this will make them better husbands and fathers someday. We are all so very grateful for this precious little gift of Naomi.