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  • Julie Erb

The Birth of Chase Walker

I am safe, supported and loved. My body and baby know what to do. I trust my motherly instincts.

These were a few of my favorite affirmations that I posted around my bedroom and read each day as I prepared to bring my second and third babies into the world. My first birth was a natural birth in a hospital, and it was hard and beautiful in a completely different way than the next two births that followed (that story for another time). All three births taught me and validated me in my belief that my body knows what to do and to trust my instincts. My midwife’s care showed the power of trust, love and support through pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I hope my home birth stories will validate, inspire, and ignite calm and safety to others.

Chase Walker

It was a cold and quiet February and it was the year everyone was home. My husband, Sean, was working from home and my toddler, Hudson, had just started going to school a few mornings a week. I woke up on my due date and it felt like any other day. Hudson came in to snuggle in our bed and then Sean took him down to make breakfast, giving me some extra time to sleep in, until around 8:15. Hudson and I spent the morning playing. He had spotted my big bowl of rice, which was out because I had washed my phone in the washing machine that past weekend. (Oh, pregnancy brain!) I was using the rice to try to dry it out. Of course, the toddler  wanted to play with the rice and began to sprinkle it all around the first floor of the house. We were sweeping and vacuuming until I just didn’t feel quite like I should be doing that anymore. I asked Sean if he would finish cleaning up while I took Hudson upstairs. 

It was around 10 am and I felt like I had a stomach ache. Hudson kept me company while I sat on the toilet for what seemed like maybe an hour. I told Sean that I thought “things” may be starting up and he said he would stop working. He came upstairs around 11:00 and took Hudson to play, have lunch, and spend time together. 

I was now having some contractions upstairs -- I tried laying down in between and getting in my bathtub, but both felt uncomfortable— I just ended up back on the toilet. I started communication with my birth team - my midwife, Hannah, and my friend who had been a long time doula, Heather. I figured it was very early, but good to give everyone the heads up. 

I told Heather I thought my contractions were about 8-10 min apart and not lasting longer than a minute. I remember her responding, “Great. Easing in!” and suggesting I take a walk. I told her that actually it felt too intense for a walk. So at around 12:30, she asked if I wanted her to come over, but I said I would check in a little bit when Hudson would be going to take a nap. 

Meanwhile, Sean had gotten out the birth pool and inflated it. The plan was to prepare our bedroom for the birth during Hudson’s nap time. I had told my mom to get ready to come then as well, to be on standby to be with him when he woke. Sean brought Hudson upstairs, he gave me a kiss, and they went to read books in his bed. 

Meanwhile, I remained in the bathroom as I felt some very intense waves. I honestly remember just feeling like I needed to poop… My mucus plug and bloody show came, and I told Heather I thought maybe she better come. Within minutes and the next push on the toilet, my water broke in a big burst. This all happened so quickly-- with Sean and Hudson in his room reading. I somehow texted Heather “water broke” at 12:47. I called Hannah a little more frantically. I said things were very intense and to please come now. This was around 12:50. She had her own baby in the car and had to drop off him off, but then assured me she would be on her way. 

Fortunately, Sean had overheard me on the phone, left Hudson, and came into the bathroom. He came in just at the right moment, as I stood up from the toilet and I said “it’s happening!” I felt my body push and the baby’s head was there! Sean caught him as he slid on out, handed him to me, and I put him up to my chest. It was 12:52 pm. I held him there, standing in the bathroom. He was pink, crying, and perfect. I was in awe of him, and us!

We called Hannah back and told her the baby was here. She was so calm and reminded us what to do --  rub his back, keep him warm, and I remember she told me that he sounded good. Sean went to get Hudson as he was still awake in his room, now hearing a baby cry.

It was too messy to leave the bathroom. Hudson was calm, but understandably did not want Sean put him down. So we stood there and held our babies. Heather arrived first, within just a few minutes. She helped us create a path and line the bed so I could lay down. Next my mom arrived and took Hudson to play downstairs. Hannah arrived quickly after, in time to help me deliver the placenta, which felt like a huge relief. I laid on my bed with my baby on my chest and my placenta in a big bowl next to me.

I kept my baby attached to me for a long time. Hannah checked him and stimulated him. He was crying and had good color, he wouldn’t open his eyes. We could tell he had some fluid—he hadn’t gotten that good squeeze babies need coming down to clear some of the fluid. He needed to “wake up” to the world. Together we rubbed him and talked to him, and Hannah gave him some pumps of oxygen to try to get a little more life into him. Hannah’s calm and confidence never wavered, and so neither did mine. My baby started nursing right away which was another big relief. We all got very excited to see his beautiful little eyes open. He sounded a little wet and gurgly but he was healthy. We named him Chase Walker.

When we were ready, Hannah coached Sean through cutting the cord and then she examined Chase and weighed and measured him. This all happened right in my bed. Chase never left my chest or side. He weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and measured 19.5 inches long. 

We snuggled and nursed and Hannah checked me and cared for me. She asked to check for tears-- there were none. She helped capture Chase’s footprints and we just enjoyed him.

Then big brother Hudson came in to meet his baby. It was a perfectly sweet moment.

And that was it. Once we were all cared for and doing well, Heather and Hannah said goodbye. Hannah would be back tomorrow to check on us again. My mom stayed for a bit with Hudson, but eventually she left too. And there we were, a family of four, cozy at home and very much in love with our Chase Walker! 

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