Thorsten’s Home Birth

Thorsten Kiefer’s Birth – August 26th, 2016

Due to Kathi leaving for vacation on the morning of the 26th, I was more than a bit nervous and bound and determined to have this baby before she left town. I woke early without an alarm on Thursday the 25th of August. I started my day with a 6:30am Yoga class at Yen Yoga, followed by an acupuncture appointment at 10:00am. I went straight to Kathi’s office after and had her check my cervix, still 3cm dilated with baby’s head in position but chin slightly tucked. Kathi told me to eat lunch and go home to practice the “Miles Circuit.” I spent the afternoon doing as much preparation and nesting as possible, I ate eggplant for dinner, and drank red raspberry leaf tea to induce contractions. Then, I took my boys,Rafe (age 7) and Silas (age 4), for a walk around the neighborhood while my husband, Don, went to finish up some last minute things at a jobsite not too far from home. I was finally getting kids to bed, just before 9:00pm, when Don returned home. Beginning to feel the pressure of “Time,” I decided to try castor oil as a last resort. The first dose at 9:15pm and the second at 10:15pm…. 

I thought I’d pass the time by finishing up my pregnancy scrapbook because who really wants to do it after the baby is born, right?? I sat on the bed finishing up the last few pages and making notes, when I felt a little wetness. I told Donnie I thought I may have either lost a bit more mucus plug or peed myself because of the moisture. After going to the bathroom, I said “I can’t be sure, but I think my water may have broken.” He smiled and laughed, saying “you’d think by now, after three times, you would know if your water broke.” It was a few minutes after 11:00pm. Donnie quickly helped me put the scrapbook materials away and started making Labor Lemonade. I told him to quit with the lemonade and fill the birthing tub. By 11:25pm I had my first contraction. 5-10 minutes later, another and another. He texted Kathi to let her know, even though I wasn’t sure of exact timing between. I just knew they were very strong and steady. I had no idea how fast this labor was progressing, considering my last two labors were not nearly as fast. They each took about 4-5 hours from start to finish and I had time in between contractions to breathe… not so with this one!!! Kathi immediately called back and said she was on her way, as she knew better than I that this baby was coming, and fast. 

Donnie called his mother Deb, our friend and birth photographer Colleen Losse, and our friend Chelsea at around 11:50pm. Chelsea was the first to arrive around midnight and assisted with pushing on my lower back while Don got the tub blown up and filled with water. It felt like an eternity waiting for it to fill! I started feeling incredibly nauseated at that point and remember squeezing the cool stainless steelbowl with each contraction. 

Deb was the next to come in with a cool wet cloth for my head and neck. I remember telling her to “be quiet, be quiet, be quiet!”, as I squeezed the life out of her hand. I felt bad later and was thankful she didn’t take it personal. 

Kathi came very soon after and her presence made me feel at ease, peaceful, and mindfully relaxed. She asked me a few times if I needed to go to the bathroom. I didn’t, but definitely feel the urge to push and have been a little through each contraction. At that point, her student midwife, Kristen, was trying to listen for baby’s heartbeat and I recall being annoyed with not only the sound of it but how painful the contractions were and having to sit still. I also started hearing the “clicks” of Colleen’s camera, but quickly tuned them out. (Both Colleen and student midwife, Connie, got there around 12:30ish) 

During the freight train of craziness and contractions, I asked Donnie to apply some black pepper essential oil to my lower back. I didn’t care for the smell, but was thankful for the pain relief! At that point I started pushing harder and my water was gushing. I heard Kathi say “Get her pants off!”, and remember thinking “crap, I forgot about those!” It took the whole team to remove them. Kathi asked if I had to go to the bathroom again, and I was concerned that I would have the baby in the toilet. She promised she wouldn’t let that happen but did need to check me. As she did so, she said she could see baby’s head and that I was going to have this baby right here on the bed, unless we moved to the tub right then. I rolled to my left side and quickly realized baby’s head was crowning and this was happening NOW. “I have to make it to the TUB!” I was unable to get up out of bed on my own. I started pushing again with my water spraying everywhere. I had been squeezing and even biting Donnie’s arm during the last few contractions, but through it all he, the midwives, and Angels were able to Olympic leap me out of bed, sprint across the bedroom and into the nursery birthing pool. 

Once in the tub, I had some relief upon submerging into the warm water. I grasped the outer handles, let my legs float apart, and began to bear down and push. I moaned and groaned heavily and had to be reminded to stop pushing and breathe. While doing so, Kathi applied a great deal of pressure to my perineum and held baby’s head in to allow stretching. I was thankful for this in the end because I had no tearing! 

Donnie sent Deb to go wake the boys, as they were very adamant prior to bed that they wanted to be there for baby’s birth. I heard Deb say “your baby brother or sister will be here soon,” as I lifted my face from resting on the poolside and saw the three of them standing in the nursery doorway. The boys were quiet but had looks of shock on their face and I hoped they weren’t scared to see Mommy in pain. We had many talks of what they might see or hear during birth. 

Feeling the burning “Ring of Fire,” and incredible pressure, I kept wondering how much longer and when will I be done?!? As quick as those thoughts popped up, I feel relief and hear Kathi say “Baby’s head is out.” I cried out more tears of relief and joy than anything, but everyone said “No, it’s OK, you’re almost done!” I felt so happy in that moment knowing the hardest work, and worse pain was over. “One more push, Colleen,” said Kathi. Giving another easy push and sigh of relief, Kathi caught baby and passed under water to Donnie who had been applying back pressure during labor. As he passed baby to me between my legs, I just looked at him in amazement, hearing Kathi say, “It’s a boy.” 

Smiling at him, was so happy in that moment to have another boy, so perfect, beautiful, and precious! He was a bit stunned but had good color. I told him how much I loved him and how perfect he was. “take a breath and cry for Mama.” It took a moment for him to cry, but when he did, he didn’t stop. I realized as I tried to nurse him and have skin to skin contact, I never even had time to take off my sports bra! 

Brothers, Rafe and Silas, were so excited and all smiles. Silas ran over, “can I touch the baby?!?” 

I noticed the tub water was much clearer and not tinged red as with my previous birth. The “Reduced Bleeding Blend” of essential oils (25 drops each of ylang ylang, helichrysum, cypress, white fir, geranium, and clary sage- applied to ankles and lower back daily the last week of pregnancy) must have helped a lot. 

When it was time to birth the placenta, just another few pushes was all it took an still not much bleeding. Silas was helped to cut new Baby’s cord, passing down the tradition of Rafe cutting Silas’s cord. The boys had been planning that throughout the pregnancy. We plan on planting the placenta with a tree in the backyard, with faith that our children will always come HOME to us. 

We’re all on cloud nine, relieved, and overwhelmingly excited to meet our newest member of our family AND he’s perfect and healthy! 

Quite the fast and furious labor and delivery. Born at 1:05am on August 26th, 2016. 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 ¼ inches long. Deb helped put the boys back to bed, reading them a story. The midwives left around 4:00am. Donnie and I found it hard to sleep we were so excited… The boys woke around 8:00am, Silas running in the room saying “Rafe, it wasn’t a dream! We have a cute new baby!…. Mom can you have another baby??… Because this one is so cute, but he’s going to grow up so we need another.” 

Brock’s Home Birth

Brock’s birth 5/1/17 

I thoroughly enjoyed having the dance of life team assisting us with the birth of our first baby.  Connie was great with keeping me calm and fed, and Kathi helped me with different positions to speed things up when I wasn’t progressing.  The laboring tub was like a drug, I felt so comfortable birthing our baby at home. I honestly can’t wait to do it again with these ladies for my next baby!   

Josie’s Home Birth

Our Daughter Is Born 

The home birth story of Josie Ellen Kunisch 

I was awoken at 5 am on the morning of Thursday, May 2nd 2019. It was a familiar and long awaitedcramping, that I knew was the start of our birth journey together. You see, our first was born just over 5 weeks early. And although he was a planned homebirth this had to quickly change as a preterm baby. But that’s another story. However, this made our window of anticipation for our new arrival even greater. With a due date of April 24th (same as our first), we were a week overdue. Having anappointment, the day before in which Kathi swept my membrane, we knew it would be soon (they do eventually come out, right?). My body was very responsive to this going from 1cm to 3cm by the end of the somewhat uncomfortable process. I knew the work ahead of us and it was early yet, so I went back to bed. As I tried to get some rest I was consistently being woken up and heading to the bathroom during each cramp. By the time 6:30am rolled around, my husband Charlie and I were both up trying to gauge what needed to be done to prepare the day we had been waiting for. Now Carl, our 2 year old, usually wakes up at the faint sound of someone else being awake, this morning of all mornings we were so grateful for him still being in bed. At 6:55am I started to time my contractions as best I could. I texted my mother in law Ellen (she was going to watch Carl) and sister in law Kim (part of our birth team) to let them know things were happening but felt no need in rushing over. The surges were still just my back and not a squeezing sensation throughout my stomach. The next wave came at 7:02am, 7:06, 7:10, 7:18, 7:23 and at 7:28. I decided to shower to try to relax and buy some time before I called Kathi. I didn’t want to call her too early but wanted to give her enough time to reschedule her day. During this point from 7:28am to 7:37am I had 3 strong contractions in the shower. I was trying to wait until 8am to call but things were not slowing down. I got out of the shower and as quietly and quickly as I could, found my comfortable “labor” clothes. By now Carl was awake. Charlie was getting his breakfast and bags ready to spend his day with Grandma and his cousins. My shower did anything but slow things down. I began to walk aimlessly around trying to find my phone. After calling Kathi, she decided she would start heading my way with how I was progressing. I continually paced trying to figure out my next move, persistently calling to Charlie for his assistance as I rode each wave. I vividly remember having an out of body experience as I watched my husband care for Carl, made our necessary phone calls, prepped the birth tub and get our birth supplies in order. Words cannot express my gratitude for not only his focus and presence with me at each contraction, but also his support in the background getting done what was needed and allowing me to focus on our birth. All I could find myself able to do was continue to walk around and call to him each time a wave began. I decided I would try to sit down in hopes to slow it down and enjoy a moment with my son. He brought a couple of books to our big blue chaise lounge chair, often called our hound dog, Ragnar’s chair. As I tried so hard to sit comfortably and focus on my son to enjoy one of our favorite activities together, contraction after contraction I could not get through reading even one page. I remember feeling so sad to not share in this moment with him, but I needed to maintain my focus. He was such a trooper and was being well cared for, so I shouldn’t worry. I couldn’t worry. From 7:45am to 9am, everything sped up so fast. Charlie called Ellen to be sure she was on her way, since a 15 minute drive felt like forever in that moment. Silly me said no rush and baby had other plans. But in no time at all, Carl was off for a day at Grandma’s excited to play with cousins. Shortly after Kathi arrived. Then Kim. Then Katie and Johanna. Our team was all here. Check. Now I awaited the birth tub to be ready in our room. For this is what I had imagined my home birth to be like, laboring peacefully in the comforts of my bedroom. Nonetheless for whatever reason, I navigated toward this big blue chair while I awaited the tub. I remember trying to not get my hopes up for the birth tub to fit in our room and to be ok with laboring in the openness of our living room. I was so excited when we found out it would fit. Now here we were, everything was coming together. Walking around it wasn’t long 

before I found myself on my knees leaning over that blue chair again. This was my labor position. The tub wasn’t ready, but labor wasn’t slowing. 

Kathi said it was time to remove my clothes and gently said, we’re having this baby here. It was here I started to work against myself. I had a couple of break downs. Even though I was so excited for this moment, so passionate about labor and so ready to meet our baby. I was scared labor was moving too fast and my body wouldn’t be ready. I was scared to physically labor a full term baby. And mentally I was waiting for that tub. I needed a moment. And at this moment I’ll never forget Kathi’s embrace. Her faith in me and reminding me to have faith in the process. My body is ready. But my mind was not. The contractions continued and we worked together as a team, but labor slowed down. We moved to my bed, setting up in a similar position as I was on the blue chair. Contractions came and went but nothing like earlier. Alas the tub was ready. Check mate. The soreness in my hips was very evident and I could not wait to soak in that tub. It was like I could feel the weight lift off of my hips instantaneously as I submerged. This was it. I’m ready. In my mind this is where I needed to be. As I mentally tried to be in labor, the tub was not the place my body needed. It was soothing and relaxing to regain my strength, but it only slowed me down. From here everything is a blur. Labor had really stalled. I recall trying to squat on a workout ball, birthing stool, walk, trying to eat or climb the stairs. Rushes came here and there but no consistency. We joked about Ragnar staring ever so patiently at us through the front window. Avoiding to see a clock, I continued to move around while my team waited patiently. Never once telling me what I should be doing, just going with the flow of where I felt I should be. I began to get frustrated. Everything was here and in place, yet labor seemed to have taken a break. As much as I wanted to appreciate the rest, I wanted to meet our baby. At some point, Kathi sensed my frustration and came to check in with me. We decided I would try to sit on the toilet and push when a rush came to try to really get our momentum back. I just remember at some point my mentality switched and I had no more room for fear. I knew I was holding myself back. And I needed to refocus myself. I went back in the tub to relieve some hip pressure and as I got out again, I had a strong rush. It was here my water broke. I was asked where I wanted to go and for some reason that dang blue chair was my place. So back we all headed. Everyone quietly and peacefully shifting our supplies. And here we were again. This time, I was all in. Exhausted and mentally trying to get through the pain of transition, I leaned on my husband while Kim kept laying cool wash cloths on me. I remember squeezing both their hands. Trying to keep my breathing controlled and low. I could feel baby coming and had a strong burning sensation with each push. Everyone was so encouraging despite my exhaustion and discomfort. We truly were a team. As my baby began to do the “dance of life”, Kathi reminded me to not get discouraged that they were stretching my body. Let it happen. Suddenly, there was a very unmistakable and strong burning following a long hard push. This was the one I’ll never forget because following Kathi finally exclaimed the head is out! Just one more push and your baby will be born! The excitement, relief, empowerment and love all wrapped into one moment. One moment that truly stops time as you feel your baby enter into this world. Overwhelming euphoria. Gently and smoothly I was repositioned, and my baby was passed to me between my legs (I labored on all fours). Alas our baby was in my arms. At 4:07pm on May 2nd, 2019 our new little addition was finally here. Time continued to stand still as we all lived in this moment together. It’s difficult to find the right words to describe this. I recall looking to see the gender and just so overwhelmed with emotion I couldn’t speak. Someone exclaimed, it’s a girl! She just snuggled up against me, trying to look around. Not making much of a sound. I remember asking if she was ok? She was so quiet, much different from our son. I was just expecting they all “come out crying”. But not our Josie. She was here and happy and just enjoying her moment with us. We were all enjoying her first moments with us. The peace in her eyes as she looked around. The love and gratitude in the atmosphere as my husband and I welcomed our new family member. 

Now the placenta. I was able to have my son naturally, despite the hospitals wishes for me to be induced or possibly move towards a C-section. But when it came time to my placenta, I remember the doctor trying to tug on the cord to help “encourage” it to come out. I remember evening telling her she was hurting me, but she said that I could hemorrhage if it didn’t come out. Needless to say, I pushed it out fine after a brief moment relaxing. Fast forward to Josie’s placenta, I had some hesitation in passing it with this memory. But there was no rush and soon with a little push it came out very easily. Then off to bed we all went. Charlie, Josie and I all snuggled quietly in our bedroom, alone with an occasional check in. Such peace and thanks be to God! Kim was off making some of my favorites, pancakes and eggs. Kathi, Katie and Johanna quietly doing what was necessary with such respect and amity. After about an hour, Kathi quietly went through our 7 lb 2oz and 20 ½” long girl’s newborn exam on my bed. Including us as she completed her physical. Appreciating and enjoying all of our little one’s characteristics. 

A woman never forgets the work and endurance needed for labor, but she also never forgets the ecstatic feelings of strength and empowerment. She never forgets how she was treated, cared for and every little detail of dedication by her birth team. So much pride and love for God’s greatest gift.

Evie’s Home Birth

Evie James Moore, weighing 9.4 pounds 

My name is Kate Moore.  We had a home birth with Kathi a little over a year ago now.   I went into labor on Sunday night (Nov 18th) and was able to labor throughout the night sleeping on and off until about 430am.  I woke my husband up and he started helping me with hip compressions.  We labored for another 2 hours and it was pretty clear I was in active labor, so we called Kathi.  She arrived shortly after that and was so comforting and helpful.  She checked me and I was at an 8 and I got into the tub.  I labored for a while in there, but it just didn’t feel right to me, so we started to move into my bedroom and my water broke everywhere.  I’m pretty sure it got all over Kathi ha ha.   Then I started pushing on all fours in my bed, and Kathi was amazing!  She did counter pressure and oil the whole time and helped guide my breathing.  I didn’t have a single tear.   My daughter was born after about an hour of pushing.  She had the cord wrapped around her neck, but Kathi got her breathing and made sure that she was okay.  She also was so reassuring the entire time she was working on her.  My husband and I were not concerned at all.  The newborn exam was so gentle.  They made us some food and made sure that I was doing well physically as well as baby.  I cannot say enough about our home birth experience, as well as Dance of Life. 

Alex’s Home Birth

Alex James Coleman – March 16, 2010 

Contractions started around 12:58 am on Tuesday March 16th. The contractions were 7 minutes apart for about an hour and then they went to 5 minutes apart till about 3am. Then the hard stuff, 3 minutes apart. I passed the time by watching tv and bouncing on my exercise ball and walking around the kitchen. I was so thirsty; I think I drank a gallon of water that morning. Then I was asking myself when is the right time to call the midwife. So, after the great debate in my head I decided to call her around 4 am. I told her not to rush because Rory took 30 hrs for labor. So, I thought we had a long time for this baby to come out. But the midwife knew better, she had me go wake Chad up and get the pool ready. I was hesitant to wake Chad up; I just didn’t want to rush anyone or have him miss out on some more rest. I was totally in the mindset that this baby was coming but not for hours or days! I took Kathi’s advice and went and got Chad up, but I wasn’t in a hurry. I waited at least 30 minutes to tell him to set up the pool. But he jumped up with enthusiasm and was ready for our new little one to come. Kathi showed up around 5 am. She was ready to go, she brought in all her bags and started to set up for the “show.” I was checked at 5:30 am and I was at a 6 cm dilated! I was shocked, I keep saying this is too easy so far. I was so proud that this was happening so fast. Time to call in my support team! We called Miriam and Kim to get over asap! The gals put on a rush to get to our house with cameras in hand. They did an awesome job capturing this birth. I jumped into the nice warm pool to help relieve the back pressure, not sure if it really helped. I just felt confined in the pool, my knees kept falling asleep and I wasn’t comfortable, so Chad helped me out. From the time I woke up Chad was right there helping me; he would press on my back to help with the back labor. He didn’t leave my side the whole time and, in every picture, he was smiling, I couldn’t ask for a better partner and coach! Kathi watched me as the contractions come and go. She saw the last contraction I had before birth and was like I think it’s time for you to sit down on the potty and have a contraction. So, I was hesitant to listen, but I was done so I just went with what she said. I sat down and she just knew. My water broke and I was ready to push. I was asked where I wanted to labor, and I was out of it. So, she reacted quick and grabbed my exercise ball and I hunched over and pushed this baby out. It took 15 minutes to push our little one out. Rory was so cute for the labor she played in her rice. Then when the baby was coming out, she came over and was looking at this baby coming out. When the baby was out, she keeps pointing and saying “baby, baby.” I asked Chad to look and see what we had, and I was shocked to hear we had a little boy! Words couldn’t describe our joy at that moment. He was born at 9:01 am, March 16th. Chad got to cut the cord and hold our little one. Then the little bit of complications came. I was losing a lot of blood. I got two shoots of Pitocin in the leg to help stop the bleeding and a few other things to help. After an hour or so I was in the good, not to much bleeding any more (I lost about 6 cups). So, I wasn’t going anywhere, I was planted on the floor for the rest of the day. Chad sat with me as we decided the name of our new little guy. Alex James was what his name is. He was such a big boy, we were excited to find out how much he weighed. I knew he was at least 10 lbs, but come to fine out he was 10 lb 14 oz! He looked so good and healthy and chubby. Instant love… 

Alex 2010

Alex 2020