My third child was born at home in early January 1990. We had originally planned to give birth at the Maternity Center in Bethesda, MD., but when I realized my due date was in January, (and given how unpredictable Maryland weather can be in the winter!), my husband and I decided to have a homebirth, which ended up being a very good choice!
I had 16 days of on-again, off-again labor -- nothing difficult, just enough that each day I thought, "This is it!" -- and then it would stop again. It was very frustrating. The night my daughter was born, we had been out getting haircuts for the entire family. It had been a terrible day, weather-wise -- rain, then snow, then sleet on top of that. We put the other kids to bed, and went to bed ourselves, just thankful to be in the house and out of that horrible weather.
I awoke around 1:00 a.m. with contractions again, and my first thought was that I was going to lose yet another night of sleep from these stupid contractions. I sat in bed, watched the clock for an hour, and wondered if I would ever sleep through the night again. My husband woke up around 2:00 a.m., asked if I was OK, and when I told him I was having contractions, his reply was, "Again?" Then he fell back asleep!
Around 3:00, he woke up again, started timing contractions for me, and we just sat in bed and talked. At 4:00, he decided that since he was up anyway, he might as well go get a shower, since his neck was still itchy from the haircut. As soon as he got in the shower, and couldn't hear me, my contractions immediately sped up from 12 minutes apart, to about 2 1/2 minutes apart. When he got out of the shower, I was calling for him to call the midwife, call the birth assistant, call our friends to come take care of the kids, call EVERYBODY!
He called the midwife, and got the answering service. While we waited for the return call, we were busily trying to get the waterproof sheet on the bed. The midwife called back about 15-20 minutes later, and she and my husband were calmly chatting on the phone, trying to decide where I was at in labor. I was saying, "Tell her to get off the phone and get over here!", but nobody was taking me too seriously. As they were talking, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, and so headed off by myself. While sitting on the toilet, I passed a huge amount of mucous and bloody show with the first contraction, the second contraction my water broke (right there in the toilet -- very convenient!), and then I stood up to come back into the bedroom. With the next contraction, I grabbed the edge of the sink and the window ledge, leaned over, and the baby's head started emerging, just that quick! My husband dropped the phone, ran into the bathroom, somehow managed to help me down onto the floor, and caught the baby right there on the bathroom floor! She was all wrapped up in the cord -- around her neck, over and around her arm and armpit, and then around her leg -- but the cord was VERY long and loose, causing no problems. She started crying almost immediately, and it was amazing to watch her whole body take on that pink color as she began breathing on her own.
At some point, my husband helped me get into bed. The birth assistant, Gail, arrived first (nearly 45 minutes after the birth, due to the horrible road conditions). She helped deliver the placenta, and just kept an eye on things until the midwife arrived. The midwife arrived shortly thereafter to do baby assessment, after-birth checks on everyone, and do a few minor repairs.
I'm SO glad we decided to have her at home; if we hadn't, she probably would've been born in the car in that awful weather. It was an awesome experience, definitely not as we planned it, but incredibly exciting. Twenty-five years later, catching that baby continues to be one of my husband's fondest memories!