This is the birth story of Jasper Finley Spruill. While I was nursing my daughter London, my regular monthly cycle had not returned and as the months passed by, our dream of giving her a sibling around her 2nd birthday seemed unlikely. Around Christmas, we prayed for a baby but I resolved to stop stressing about becoming pregnant and to focus on my growing Beautycounter business for 2015. And just like that, on January 2nd, we found out we were expecting—it was a Happy New Year indeed! I had a really easy pregnancy once again just like I did with my daughter and it was not until the intense heat and humidity of late August in Texas that I started to feel uncomfortable. That is to be expected with 105+ feels like temperatures daily! Weekly chiropractic adjustments helped too.
It was definitely different this time around being pregnant while caring for a 2 year old, but it was also very sweet. London Sophia was absolutely elated about becoming a big sister soon and while I couldn’t determine if she understood that an actual baby would be coming to live with us soon, she loved hugging and kissing “Baby Jasper” ie my pregnant belly—she insisted on hugging and kissing and holding my bare belly so that was a perfect mixture of adorable and irritating as my belly got bigger and bigger. I carried Jasper very low but was also all belly once again and that generated a lot of comments from strangers. My due date was determined to be August 26th. With my first pregnancy, I went 6 days late so I was prepared that Jasper would arrive sometime in late August, but at the same time, once I hit 38 weeks, I knew that he could arrive any day. I would wake up and think, “Am I in labor? Will I be having a baby today?!” I was in no hurry this time around; with London, I was anxious and eager to have her, but with Jasper, I knew that there would be an adjustment and some exhaustion and while I was excited, I was also not wanting to rush it and I wanted to savor all of that special time with London Sophia as my only baby. I grew very emotional that last week of pregnancy and twice had near panic attacks thinking that I could potentially leave London motherless. I felt desperate to get as much done as possible with business and our home, but finally exhaustion set in and I allowed myself to rest and nap and just enjoy the last few days of pregnancy.
Sunday morning I was running a bit late but I decided that London and I would make it to church anyways. I knew it would be our last chance for a while since I was 39.5 weeks pregnant. On the way out the door, Pastor Jeff prayed over London and me, specifically for a complication-free birth and another healthy baby. I felt a great sense of peace and we enjoyed a nice dinner as a family. Devin grilled a feast and I prepared blondies and brownies for dessert. He built the storage shelves/cabinet for the office that I had been waiting on and I worked hard at unpacking and organizing that room until 3 am. That’s when I decided I had better get some rest since I could go into labor any day.
SO… about an hour later, around 4 am, I woke up needing to go to the bathroom. I noticed some mucous which is a sign that labor is starting and within 15 min or so I was woken up by contractions, which felt like intense menstrual cramps. Devin rubbed my back in his sleep but I’m not sure that he realized it was actually happening at first. At 5:09 am, I texted our midwife, Kellie and gave her the heads up—she has nearly a 2 hour drive and if rush hour started, on the very first day of school nonetheless, she probably wouldn’t have made it in time. Within 5 min, she determined she would head our way. I hated to think that she may be arriving way too early, but better safe than sorry. While she was on the way, I had no interest in timing any contractions, but they were every few minutes or so. She told me that sitting on the toilet could intensify contractions so I decided that laying on my left side in bed would be the way to go. That was the one position I swore I would NOT be employing, but Kellie told me that it could slow things down so I decided that was it. Since my sweet, dear, volunteer doula friend Debs was busy getting her 4 school kids back to school and she could not make it, and Devin was preparing the bed and the warm blankets and tending to the supplies, I had to be my own doula. In truth, I was a bit fearful to be having another home birth—my main fears were that I would hurt in ways that I just did not remember from the first birth, or that some complication would send me to the hospital, which would be a worst case scenario. So as the contractions started, I would tell myself, silently, “I was made to do this. I’m not afraid. God is with me. He did not give me a spirit of fear. I was made to do this. I’m not afraid. God is with me. He did not give me a spirit of fear.” I did not take a birthing class, and I did not intend to do affirmations, but in my head, I was chanting that to myself, and it got me through each contraction. Devin did apply pressure to my lower back and that helped, and I held his hand through several contractions. I really felt proud of myself even as it happened for just taking them as they came and getting inside of myself to get through each wave.
Kellie arrived just after 7 am. She spent a few minutes bringing in and setting up her supplies. Once that was done, she got the Doppler and monitored Jasper’s heartbeat throughout back to back contractions. They were close together. I remember telling them that I drifted off into a dream between them—it couldn’t have been 30-60 seconds, but she said it was good, that my body was taking care of me and letting me rest between contractions. I had been waiting to go to the bathroom until she arrived, so now I finally could. In the meantime, Devin started running the bathwater, which still surprised me that I was so close, so fast. I was afraid to tear, but I knew the water would help that. After using the bathroom, I had what Kellie called “a spontaneous urge to push.” With home births, my midwife does not do a vaginal exam, so there is no “you’re __ centimeters” –did you know that this is subjective by the way and that there is no ruler involved? Instead, it’s more about listening to the body, the primal sounds, and the urge to push. At this point, it was likely about 7:45 am and I was helped into the bathtub. Contractions seemed to slow down, which is natural because the water is relaxing. As a contraction came on, I could not avoid pushing even though I was a bit afraid of the crowning, ie the ring of fire. I felt that familiar burn, and I knew I had to welcome the very brief intensity to achieve the blissful result, so I spoke to Jasper and I pushed. Devin got ready to catch his son, and I heard them mention his hair. Seconds later, his head was visible, and for a few brief moments, there was no contraction forcing me to push out his body. I had to actually tell myself, “Push!” and out he came, into his Daddy and Kellie’s hands. He did have his cord wrapped around his neck, so Kellie quickly fixed that and he was laid on my chest. It was 7:58 am, just less than 4 hours after I went into labor.
And then silence. For about a minute, that to be honest felt like a lifetime, Jasper did not cry. Kellie quickly suctioned him with a DeLee suction, which is just a teeny tube that removes fluid from his lungs. Finally, he cried, and we could all breathe, and then there were happy tears. There was a brief second where it was almost out of body, where time stood still, but I did trust that God was in control and that Kellie was competent and Jasper was safe. Moments after he cried, he was rooting for the breast and latching on, which also helps to regulate his temperature and respirations. Before too long I was helped to our bed, with Jasper still attached to the placenta. The cord was cut after he had gotten a good long nursing session in, and after that he was weighed and measured—7 lbs 7 oz and 20.25” long. Amazingly enough, even after our momentary scare, he had perfect Apgar scores even immediately after. We did have one more scary moment where I was producing a lot of clots for some reason, and my lips apparently got a bit white. Kellie used various techniques to resolve this, and we were able to manage without a shot of Pitocin that would have helped my uterus to contract more quickly. I pleaded for no shot and both Kellie and my body obliged. As a precaution, I drank a lot of replenishment fluids and my vitals were good again shortly thereafter. He was born at 7:58 am, just over 3 hours after labor started, and just minutes before his sister woke to find that she was a Big Sister! “Oh, he’s here!” she squealed!
Devin and London and I are all just in love with sweet Jasper, as will his older brother Hunter be when he gets to meet him soon. He is a sweet, gentle baby thus far who is already a champion nurser and sweet sleeper. London is absolutely elated to be a big sister and she can barely keep her hands off of “Baby Jasper” as she calls him! We are blissfully enjoying life as a family of 5 and we both agree that we have never felt happier in our lives. I never dreamed of being a mom when I was young and single, but it is truly what I was designed to do and it’s the greatest joy I’ve ever known. There is a superhuman experience that goes along with natural birth, especially at home, that I wish every woman could experience. The only thing that comes close to the feeling for me is that when I jumped out of an airplane—when you face a fear that you don’t know if you can survive, the natural high is indescribable. That is what home birth is like for me—I’ve never felt so accomplished and whole and proud of myself, but also grateful for my God, my husband and our team of supporters.