The Waterbirth of a Bouncing Baby Boy

Hello, Friends! I’m excited to introduce you to a set of clients this week, Lexee and Mike Halsmith, and their two little people, Reece and Brooks!

I’ve so enjoyed serving and coming to love this refreshing family since we met almost two years ago, and I suspect I’ve learned as much from them as they have from me, so diligent are they to research and share about the issues that matter to them. They way they are with one another every day I’ve been with them is the way they were the day they birthed their chubby, bubbly son into a pool of water on their bedroom floor – low-key, sweet, and absolutely together. The Halsmith family has melted my heart and found a home of their own within it that I’m sure will span our lifetimes ♥

Lexee Halsmith

Hi! I’m Lexee, married to Mike, with two kids – our daughter, Reece (almost 4 years old), and our son, Brooks (15 months old). We live in Colorado Springs and discovered Kim through the recommendation of a friend, and feel so incredibly blessed to know her and have her as our midwife! We tell everyone about her and can’t speak highly enough about her wisdom, care, and expertise. We wish everyone could receive care like she gives! Thank you, Kim, for all that you are, and for the chance to share the story of the homebirth of our son, Brooks.

It was the morning of September 17th, 2015 (the day before my “due date”). I stood up after getting out of bed, but immediately bent over with a cramp. I felt “different” but wasn’t quite sure it would be the day I would go into labor.

I went downstairs and told my husband, Mike, as he was making breakfast and getting ready to leave for work. He asked if he needed to stay home but I assured him that he was fine to go to a scheduled meeting and promised to keep him updated. As I went about making eggs for breakfast, I had a couple more episodes of tightening. They weren’t painful, but did make me pause what I was doing. I started a batch of sourdough english muffins that were ready to be cooked – I wanted to get them done in case this was the real deal!

Mike left for work and almost as soon as he did, things picked up a little and I then found myself needing to lean over with my forearms on the kitchen counter and sway through contractions. From the kitchen table, our two-and-a-half year old daughter, Reece, was curious about what I was doing and asked about my well-being. I assured her that mama was fine and continued cooking the rest of the english muffins.

I sent Kim a text to let her know that I was feeling “different” that day with an achy low back and needing to lean on the counter during the waves of tightening.

I also texted my family in Texas to let them know that I might be in early labor, but that I had no idea if our son would come that day. My mom, who had a flight booked for the next day in hopes of being here for the birth, immediately called the airline in an attempt get her flight changed. Of course, that day would be the day that their entire website crashed – preventing anyone from being able to book or change flights. We talked on the phone twice more as she tried to determine if I felt like this was truly labor and make a decision about what to do. Also during this time, Mike was texting regularly to check in and kept offering to come home. I reaffirmed that he should stay at work and finish his meeting.

I had a chiropractic appointment scheduled late that morning and texted Kim to make sure that I should still go. She encouraged me to, and I let Mike know that I was still feeling good but might want him to drive me to the appointment. (I was so glad he did!) He finished up his meeting and came home to help. Reece and I got dressed and ready to go, and hurried around the house tidying up in case the midwives would be over later. I felt cautiously excited that it might be the day our son was born! Mike got a few things setup and we snapped a last picture before getting in the car.

We were tremendously late to my chiropractic appointment (although my pregnancy brain didn’t even realize it until we were paying after the appointment was over!), but they managed to fit me in. Things ramped up quite a bit once there, and I had to get off the adjustment table two or three times to lean over and sway through contractions, which had become a little more intense. We finished up our appointment and got back in the car to head home. I called Kim on the way and it wasn’t long into our conversation that I asked her to hold on because I needed to breathe through a contraction. When I was able to talk again, Kim commented that I was gone for more than just a few seconds and asked if we wanted to come by her house for her to check me. By this point, our daughter, Reece, was hungry and tired, and we knew we better get her home and settled. Kim told us to keep her posted and guessed that my body might relax and settle into steady labor once we got home.

And that’s exactly what happened! Once home, Mike quickly began getting things set up and ready to go for the birth, while also getting lunch ready for Reece. I went upstairs to our bedroom and sat and rocked on an exercise ball while Mike moved furniture, laid out a tarp, and got the birthing tub filled with air. He kept checking in to see how I was doing and offered to rub my back, but to my surprise, I didn’t feel like I needed (nor did I want) that this time around. (I had all back labor with Reece and felt like I couldn’t survive a single contraction without Mike giving counter pressure on my low back.) It was 12:12 p.m. when I told Mike I thought we should call Kim. My contractions were coming in waves at this point – a stronger, longer one and then a break, then a medium one with a shorter reprieve, and then a last quick one before the cycle would start over again. Kim said she would be over soon. Mike also called his mom, Debra, who lives with us, to come home and help with Reece. It was such a blessing to have her there to put Reece down for a nap and tend to her needs while I labored!

Kim and her assistant, Carmen, arrived and got things prepped in our bedroom. I got in the birthing tub and immediately loved the warm water. Kim allowed Mike and me to continue to work through labor together and just let us be, telling us that they would be across the hallway in our guest room listening and taking notes, and to call them if I needed anything. Carmen quietly came to check the baby’s heart rate with the doppler. I remember how caring she was – moving around to reach under the water so that I didn’t have to change positions and sometimes waiting or backing off if another contraction came rolling in. I rested my arms on the side of the birthing tub and wanted to be on my knees (never my back) the entire time. Labor progressed and Kim and Carmen moved from the guest room to the hallway and eventually into the bedroom. Mike was right beside me through every moment, putting warm washcloths on my back and feeding me bites of plain yogurt and butternut squash soup to help keep me strong and energized. We focused on “breathing the baby out” instead of pushing because I’d had significant tearing during my first birth. Kim was so encouraging and trusted my body to know what position was working best. She gently guided me in pulsed breathing (“ohh-ohh-ohh-ohh”) through contractions when I felt the urge to push instead of me bearing down to push quickly and strongly. We worked on being gentle. We knew Mike wanted to catch the baby, so Kim allowed him to be the one there, ready and coaching me. Reece woke up from her nap around this time and wandered into the room to see how we were doing. She saw Mike kneeling at the edge of the birthing tub with his hands in the water, ready to help, and she came right up next to him and did the exact same thing. She put her little hands out on the edge of the tub, ready to offer her help, too. What a sweet moment! She was a great big sister even before her brother was born.

When Brooks was crowning, I felt like I needed a hand on my bottom as reassurance, but couldn’t keep mine there because I was using both arms to hold onto the side of the tub during contractions. While many men would never consider doing such a thing, Mike didn’t think twice about it and graciously gave me the support I needed in that moment. Kim and Mike encouraged me as they saw progress and I felt relieved and excited that we were getting so close to the arrival of our son! Finally, his head appeared! But instead of turning so his shoulders would slip out one at a time, he stayed face up under the water. Kim helped maneuver them a little bit and then let Mike get back in place and ready to catch. But this baby boy didn’t just slip out after his shoulders came – his torso was thick and it required another contraction to push the rest of his body out! And out he came at 5:04 p.m. – Kim helped Mike to catch him under the water and place him in my arms. What a moment of such relief and great joy! Instant love. Complete overwhelm at the goodness of God. Our first son – Brooks Holster Halsmith (middle name in honor of my late Paw-Paw).

He was a little purple upon his arrival into this world, but after a little oxygen, he pinked right up. We transferred from the birthing tub to the bed with the help of the whole team and got ready to deliver the placenta. Little did I know that this wouldn’t be an easy task! (I was given a shot of pitocin because of bleeding after my first birth, so the placenta expelled immediately.) I wasn’t feeling any cramping or contractions, but when Kim felt my belly and said I was having one, I had almost no strength to push! I ended up having to get on my hands and knees to get that placenta out. After that, Mike and I spent time marveling over our new babe as I nursed. Big sister Reece doted on him as well. She loves babies and was so excited he arrived. While we recovered, Kim and Carmen went to work cleaning up and had everything back in its place in record time. A load of laundry was started, trash was taken out, supplies were put away – it was all so quick! We felt so taken care of.

As we rested, we also called, texted, and sent pictures to friends and family to announce Brooks’ arrival. My mom, dad, and MeMe had hopped in the car and started driving from Texas when they heard I was in labor. They had hoped to make the birth, but arrived a few hours after. We were overjoyed to have my family here to meet Brooks. A few hours after delivery, Kim and Carmen were on their way back home. We are forever grateful for the care they provided – prenatally, during labor and delivery, and postpartum. We feel so blessed to know them and can’t imagine a more perfect story for our first homebirth. Lord willing, it will not be our last ♥

by Lexee Halsmith

Photographs provided by the Halsmith family

Thank you so much for the gift of your time!

If you enjoyed this article, let’s stay connected! And if you’d like to see my memoir of similar stories published and in your hands, then subscribe to my blog, and join in the conversation by commenting below!

And be sure to poke around here a bit, as there are lots more stories awaiting you.

Kim Woodard Osterholzer, Colorado Springs Homebirth Midwife and Author

Books by Kim:

Homebirth: Safe & Sacred

Homebirth: Commonly Asked Questions

A Midwife in Amish Country: Celebrating God’s Gift of Life

Nourish + Thrive: Happy, Healthy Childbearing

One Little Life at a Time: Recommendations + Record Keeping for Aspiring Homebirth Midwives

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