Many of you know I am expecting my third babe – the actual due date is August 16th.

So the waiting game, for me (us), has officially begun.

However, now this waiting game has begun amongst some major changes in our birth plan.

You see, we went from seeing my OB/GYN the first 37 weeks – to changing over to a midwife.

Not only do I have a midwife now, but we are also going to birth this baby in the comfort of our home.

Come to find out birthing plans – can get people into a heated debate.
I used to think that midwifery care was for hippie – granola – non-urban – deep humming women.
I was totally judging a book by its’ cover. Which is so stupid.
Well, I am a fairly urban-metropolitan gal, who never would have thought I would opt for this option.
BUT… I did and I am really excited!

(I have noticed a trend in my life: Anything I thought I would NEVER DO or NEVER HAPPEN, always DOES!)

Let me give a brief history on my two births.
I was admitted to the hospital one Sunday evening to be administered cervadil to begin the dilation process.
The goal was to get me going and in the morning they would administer pictocin – for the laboring to begin.
Well, unfortunately for me I was one of the ‘low percentage’ of women who reacted with hard core contractions from this medication. My dilation was slow, but the pain intense!
I had to have an epidural that evening, was administered pitocin in the early morning on Monday and by 3:45pm, when I finally was a 10cm – the baby had not descended.
This meant my only option after all of the induction procedures, was to have a cesarean section.
Not what I wanted to hear, but after nearly 24 hours in labor and the epidural wearing off – I was ready for this to be over.
Unfortunately, their anesthesia for the cesarean didn’t work – I could feel my nurse poking my stomach.
Another yucky moment… NOW, I had to be put under during the cesrean.
I first saw my son, my first born – while waking up from anesthiesia.
If you have every been put under, you know the first thirty minutes or so can be loopy – BAD loopy.
Everyone else had held my son, but Mommy. I was sad, irritated and while trying to nurse – I was slipping in and out of conscoiusness.
I was so saddened by the birth events, but so thankful for a beautiful and healthy baby boy.

Parker was a different story. I was very lucky to have a very supportive doctor of my desires. He knew I longed for a vaginal birth, a normal labor – you know the kind you think YOU will have.
He was on my team and we were going to go for a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). After baby was 5 days late, he suggested we induce with a low dose of pitocin (1/3 of normal labor doses).
I was apprehensive and really desired the ‘going into labor’ moment, but also trusted my doctor.

My nurse was proactive, getting me into positions so that this baby would indeed descend for us!:)
The pain was getting intense and it was suggested to be administered demoral – agreeing of course, but sorry in the end. Demoral made me loopy, but still in pain.

My labor and delivery friend Maury came to visit and I was in an out and could barely talk to her.
I remember she sat down and chatted with Paul – as I tried to focus on the labor – but couldn’t.

Not long after I opted for an epidural because now I was having the same amount of intense pain, but I felt wasted… it was not cool.
We had sent my family home as I was progressing slowly (only at a 3cm and my family lived about 10 minutes away).

Well, about an hour and a half later I had reached a 9cm! It was time to push…

You see she was going to help route me on and photograph the birth.

We held off the pushing for a bit, but when the nurse said, ‘We cannot wait any longer.’ My sister busted through the door.
It was time, I would finally be able to push! I was excited and had NO IDEA what I was doing.

After thirty minutes or less baby Parx arrived – and it was such a wonderful moment.
I had a ‘real labor’ complete with pushing and getting that sweet baby out – all by myself (+ Miss Epidural)!:)
We were out of the hospital in 24 hours (I was in Sun-Thurs with Pierson).

I tell you, my doc made me so happy and from what I hear MANY doctors refuse to even attempt VBACs… so major KUDOS to him.
He knew my desire and supported it. He wasn’t being unsafe, he was being an advocate for his patient.

So where in the heck did this idea of midwifery and home birth come from anyway?

It all started with the two births I photographed of my friends:
Heather and Shawna.
Heather was first. She had a midwife – birth center birth last November and I photographed it.
That girl, had a ROUGH labor – her baby was big (9lbs) and baby’s face slightly turned, making the pushing process harder and more painful than a typical birth.
Once Heather pushed sweet Harper out, baby was placed right on her chest – to hold and love on immediately – skin to skin contact.
Not to mention it was her first baby… so she had never done this before!
Heather rocked it out! I was tearing up as baby Harper entered this world. That little babe’s mommy devoted 24 hours of labor, pain, prayer and faith – just for her.
It was simply beautiful!

(I wasn’t pregnant yet, so I was not as connected to this idea of ‘midwifery’)

Next was Shawna’s birth in March. Baby girl number two – and a home birth.
I arrived at her home at 1:15 am, to find Shawna in her tub. Chatting away and relaxing during contractions.
Her midwife team was there, guiding her along. Things were going a little slower and so I rested on the couch.
Next thing I knew, I heard a more intense sound from Shawna and knew this contraction was the REAL DEAL… baby was coming!
As I grabbed my camera I photographed… a few, what seemed to be fairly easy, pushes in the water and badabingbadaboom – baby Natalie graced us with her presence.
Straight from the water into Mommy’s arms. She was clean from the water and as calm as ever.

I came home that early morning, 5 months pregnant, telling Paul, “Honey, I really want to have a home birth!”
At first he responded with ‘hospital will be safer,’ but after seeing the photos of Shawna’s birth and her daughter who was alert and content… he truly considered it.
I really connected with Shawna’s midwife, Donnelynn.  She was calming, cool and very much like a mother.

I am a bit less emotional, a tad tough, very jokey and need someone who can ease me with their gentleness and get me to the right place for focus.

I chickened out. I didn’t want to disappoint my doctor – who I really LOVE!
We don’t have insurance, but the rate for my doctor and midwife was very close.
As I did nothing proactive to really thinking about swapping… it just slipped out of my mind, even though it was really a deep desire for me.

Well, fast forward to 36 weeks pregnant. I finally pre-registered for my hospital visit.
The lovely financial department contacted me… ‘Since you are private pay, you owe us money to have the baby here. This must be paid prior to your arrival and the fee is $4300.’
I started freaking out – we had already spent thousands on my doctor services and labs. Then throw in bassinets, double strollers, car seats, etc. Money was adding up!
Plus I know if I were in a hospital I would opt for an epidural – another $1k+. So this baby had a $10k price tag on it’s little bod, while it was not even done incubating!

Money is not the ‘REASON’ we are doing this, it was kind of the icing on the cake. If my doctor isn’t on call, he most likely won’t deliver my baby… so why was I insistant on staying with him?

Afterall, you are with the nurse(s) for 99% of the labor anyway?  I would also not be able to move during labor – just lie down in a bed and wait.

Another big thing for me?  Being able to hold my baby right after he/she is born.

Seems like I am always one of the last people to greet my baby, which seems opposite of how it should be.

So… my mind wandered.

I started to weigh all of my options. I really had no idea I would have to pay my hospital an entirely different fee from my doc office – as they are connected and I always had maternity coverage before; so I was ignorant to all of this.
Partially my fault for not figuring all of this out until the LAST MINUTE (typical me).
Next thing I knew, my mind was back on my ‘dream birth.’ Birthing my precious baby at home, in water, with sweet Donnelynn assisting me.
Could I really swap over this late in the game? I was now 37+ weeks… and could literally pop at any moment.
Well after doing some math, really being prayerful and talking with Paul – we decided to GO FOR IT!

After a yucky cesrean – while being out like a light and a successful VBAC, I figure there is no where to go, but UP – in our birth stories!
My vision for the birth is pretty simple:

  • It will take place in the comfort of our home.
  • I can get up, move around, snack, drink, do anything that makes labor feel more at ease.
  • Paul can take care of me – anyway he desires. Wrapping around me, massaging me, holding me, lying next to me, etc.
  • My children can be very involved in the process, or not much depending on our needs. Pierson will ADORE this process!
  • My family can be around to witness the days’ progression. (My mom has never been around during the actual birthing of the baby because of the hospital’s rules of how many people can be in a room).
  • I will be in WATER!!! Oh how content water makes me. Our plan is for the birth to take place in the tub.
  • Candles, music, our bed, will all be available to make this labor as relaxing and as ‘US’ as possible. Watch out Pandora! 😉
  • Having baby go straight from my womb into my arms – one of the BIGGEST desires. Most hospitals take the baby straight to the nurses for assessment, weighing, measuring, etc., before Mama is able to hold them.
  • Crawling into our bed together, as a family, in comfort and love – after baby Jenks has arrived! Cuddling, loving, adoring and breathing a sigh of relief… that the hard work has really paid off.
This may sound crazy, but I am looking forward to feeling labor – true labor that begins naturally. I have always wanted that ‘IT’S TIME’ moment. I’ve never had it before.
I know it won’t be as ‘blissful’ as a movie, but feeling the progression of labor, will only lead me down a path of prayer and excitement. Each hard PAINFUL contraction, will lead me one step closer to meeting our sweet child.
Already, I have grown closer to God. Putting my body, heart, and faith in Him. Praying and praying and praying – for his guidance, assistance, his hand on my womb, my child, gifting me with persreaverance, stamina and peace.
I pray for Paul and I to really grow closer through this. He will be my absolute rock, my love, my supporter, my ‘don’t give up’ leader!
I feel as though this experience will be the best one yet. We will all grow together – through hard work, suffering, empowerment and love.


So, that is my story. Why WE chose to birth at home with a wonderful and supportive team.

I know many Mamas who choose midwifery, can be criticized for their choice.
For me it’s not about home birth being BETTER than a hospital birth… it’s about something that felt ‘right.’
I respect everyone in the medical and midwifery industry. I know their are two sides to these beliefs – seems like there are ALWAYS TWO SIDES… in anything.
Every mother – has a desire. Nurses, doctors, midwives, and assistants all help these women – make their desires come true.

Here is some research that I have found, which helped me make my decision.

Many people will simply tell their friends and family, “It IS NOT safe!” Without having heard or read one iota of information.
The proof can be in the puddin’.:)
From my experiences – where I was there – it was such a beautiful story.
I am in deep prayer for all to go well – for my body, labor, the baby, the team, my family… God is good and he will provide.

(Most of this research is based on “LOW RISK” pregnancies – meaning a normal, healthy, expectant Mama – without med complications along the way)

A large study of planned home births in the United States and Canada, published in 2005 in The British Medical Journal, looked at 5,418 women who were attended to by professional midwives in 2000. It found substantially lower rates of medical intervention compared with low-risk hospital births (high-risk pregnancies rarely, if ever, culminate with a home birth) and a similar rate of infant mortality. No mothers died. About 12 percent were transferred to the hospital. The midwives considered the transfer urgent in 3.4 percent of all intended home births.

"In The five European countries with the lowest infant mortality rates, midwives preside at more than 70 percent of all births. More than half of all Dutch babies are born at home with midwives in attendance, and Holland's maternal and infant mortality rates are far lower than in the United States..."

Cervical dilatation was more efficient- 2.5 centimeters per hour compared with 1.25 centimeters per hour for mothers who did not take advantage of water during their labors.

Medical intervention rates for planned home births were lower than for planned low risk hospital births.

In some cases, midwives may have more experience with childbirth than a general doctor. In fact, a midwife may have helped deliver more babies than a doctor. General practitioners’ will have their attention divided among patient problems that are not related to pregnancy.

p.s. If Hottie Gisele can rock out an at home water birth, so can I! 😉

Now some photos I took last November of Heather Essian’s BIRTH!

If you would like to pray for my family – for a safe labor and birth, a healthy baby and a healthy mama – please do!:)



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by Arden Prucha

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Elizabeth I think you will be very pleased with the home birth experience. I have done it all ( hospital, home and birth center) and I have attended many (home/birth center) births as an unofficial doula for friends. I found that when I speak with people about out of hospital childbirth, I explain that for an uncomplicated pregnancy, a midwife attended birth is SAFER than being in the hospital. A midwife is there the whole time and if there are complications they catch them much sooner than if you were in the hospital on a monitor being checked on by a nurse who is busy and has other patients she must attend to. I also have personal experience with being transferred for something crazy happening in labor and can speak to the safety issue.

Oh and I wanted to add that if you did have any complications, your midwife’s back up OB is the best in the metroplex 😉 I’ve had my last two little guys with him and he let me attempt a vbac that no one else would. He is an amazingly competent Doctor who respects a mother’s ability to birth her baby. If you are not a candidate for home birth or if you must be transferred to the hospital, he’s the Doctor you want. I live in Fort Worth but have my babies in Denton. It is definitely worth the drive

Good luck with your home birth!August 16, 2011 – 1:23 am

mary oh. am in tears. i LOVE this decision. my friend, with her 4th pregnancy, had doctor’s care until her 37th week as well. when she & her husband toured the hospital, she realized she just needed to give birth at home, and quickly found the support she needed, even with a medical condition! she had all 4 babies at home. i had hospital births for all of mine, but really wanted to do a home birth at some point; it just wasn’t in the cards for us but our birthing room births were awesome. i praying my heart out for you, for an awesome experience and so much love in holding that little baby immediately and coherently! i photographed a home birth last year, and it changed me forever. what a miraculous thing. much love to you, arden and the WHOLE FAM – all FIVE of you! :)August 13, 2011 – 5:04 pm

Karin Although all 10 of my kids are adopted and I have never had the experience of birthing any of them, I totally ‘get’ why you want to have this birth at home. I just prayed for you–that your baby will come into the world just as you have dreamed and that God’s peace will rest on all of you. If I had ever given birth, I would have loved for my parents, sister and husband to all be there during the process. :)August 13, 2011 – 8:44 am

Nicole Long You are such an inspiration and light for a lot of people. I’ve enjoyed reading your experience of this pregnancy over the past several months. I can’t wait to read your story of your home water birth.

I’m prego here in England and getting to experience their health system. It’s completely different from the States in that you only see a doctor if you have complications. The midwives are the ones who provide your prenatal care and deliver a normal birth.

Rock it momma…you will be awesome!August 13, 2011 – 7:03 am

Nicole Long You are such an inspiration and light for a lot of people. I’ve enjoyed reading your experience of this pregnancy over the past several months. I can’t wait to read your story of your home water birth.

I’m prego here in England and getting to experience their health system. It’s completely different from the States in that you only see a doctor if you have complications. The midwives are the ones who provide your prenatal care and deliver a normal birth.

Rock it momma…you will be awesome!August 13, 2011 – 6:58 am

Yvonne Beautiful :)August 13, 2011 – 4:22 am

Erica Hotchkiss You said it all!!! Your research is factual and right on. I had the same experience in the hospital but experience, maturity and knowledge have really put the whole thing into perspective. The hospitals put a time frame on your birth which is a problem because every woman is different. If you don’t progress within those time restraints you are costing them money. The pictocin throws you into unnecessarily hard an extreme labor. What follows is the epidural to relieve you. The only problem is that the counter act on another. This along with keeping you tied to a bed which doesn’t allow gravity to help is totally unnatural. Pure and simple, our bodies are designed to birth our own children completely unassisted. Our bodies have been doing it since the beginning of time and they are still perfectly equipped to continue. Sending prayers your way!August 12, 2011 – 10:55 pm

Heather Essian Whew! These photos take me back to THE most life changing moment to date. I’m so glad you got to be there with me sweet friend! And even more thankful I have these photos reminding me of the AMAZING love and support I had that special day!

I’m so excited for you guys, and praying my little tush off for the Jenks fam :-). I’m so glad you included links to the statistics. It is such a sensitive topic and it’s so great for us to see all of the information out there. We are blessed to have options and to have the freedom as women to choose what we feel is best for us on an individual basis. :-) Yay yay!August 12, 2011 – 10:03 pm

Jennifer Zunker Simko I’m so excited for you. I PROMISE you that you will think of yourself in a whole new light when this is over. You will realize you really can achieve anything. One thing that will help is that when medicine isn’t an option it makes the whole process that much more possible. Good luck and keep us posted!August 12, 2011 – 9:44 pm

Melissa :) It makes me so very sad you weren’t the first to hold your new baby(ies). There’s just something so wrong about that. :( I have another internet friend who had a midwife & her experience was awesome! She is now almost due again & using the same midwife. :) Breathtaking photos, as usual, & I’ll be praying for you!August 12, 2011 – 9:09 pm

Adrienne Praying for a smooth delivery and a beautiful birth story. Your images of Heather’s birth experience evoke such emotion–what a treasure you gave them!August 12, 2011 – 7:43 pm

Tiffani Oh Arden! I am SOOO excited for you! This will be something that you will think about EVERY. SINGLE. DAY as your little one grows up. I’m very proud of you for making the decision so late in the game. So many would have been too nervous. You do truly only get one shot at having a birth the way you want it and I can’t wait to hear how it goes for you 😀
I did hypnobirthing (www.hypnobabies.com) and would call my homebirth painless. It can totally happen! And mine was a HBA2C. The best part is having the siblings there, too. And being able to go right back to sleep after the midwives leave. I sure hope you have a photographer 😉August 12, 2011 – 7:04 pm

Kylie Taylor Your story was really moving and I want to thank you for sharing it. The photos are also very inspiring and empowering to women, giving them the strength to seek out birthing options that are right for them and their families. Best of luck with your up coming birth. I look forward to seeing your photos of baby #3 very soon.August 12, 2011 – 6:56 pm

Life with Kaishon I have been praying. So excited for you Arden. I hope it is a very beautiful experience and everything goes smoothly.August 12, 2011 – 6:51 pm

Dawniele Castellanos While I didn’t have a home birth, I did birth naturally and these photos took me back…

Good luck to you Arden. You will do great! Can’t wait to see the little nut 😀August 12, 2011 – 6:31 pm

Shannon I am so glad to hear that you are opting for a midwife/natural home birth. I wanted to with my first but let the people talking in my ear dissuade me. I will totally be doing so for my second (whenever that time should come)!
Congrats on such a beautiful decision…a great read for anyone who feels hospital births are safe/better than home births is PUSHED by Jennifer Block. http://www.pushedbirth.com/

Congrats again!August 12, 2011 – 6:21 pm

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