Two Hospital Births, A Cancer Diagnosis, & Healing Homebirth Stories

water birth home birth story - Two Hospital Births, A Cancer Diagnosis, & Healing Homebirth Stories

After preparing for an unmedicated hospital birth, Annie and Eric were taken by surprise when Annie’s water broke and labor didn’t start on its own. They ended up with quite a few interventions they were hoping to avoid but eventually, 43 hours after her water breaking, Annie gave birth to their first son, Alexander (“Lex”). Postpartum was challenging and just as things started settling down, Annie and Eric were faced with Eric being diagnosed with leukemia and the roller coaster that sent them on. The 2+ years of treatment that followed were really difficult but thankfully Eric did really well with it all. Knowing they wanted to grow their family, they preserved their options by banking sperm before Eric’s treatment began.

Once Eric was doing well and out of the most intense treatment stages, they went through 2 rounds of IUIs and then a round of IVF to conceive their second baby. The second birth was a totally different experience than the first, beginning with a long early labor at home and a very fast active labor at the hospital where Annie went from 2cm to pushing in just over 2 hours and they welcomed their second son, Theodore (“Theo”). Even though it was a whirlwind birth, it was the unmedicated birth they had wanted and was redeeming in a lot of ways after the difficulty of their first birth.

homebirth after hospital births

When they began thinking of having a third, they debated going back to IVF but decided to try on their own first and were surprised to conceive right away. For this pregnancy they began pursuing a home birth with a midwife practice, something Annie had always wanted but which hadn’t been an option until now. Sadly, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at almost 11 weeks. After processing and recovering from the loss and experiencing a chemical pregnancy a few months later, they decided to go back to the fertility clinic to explore doing a frozen embryo transfer cycle. The day before their appointment to move forward with the cycle, they got a positive pregnancy test. They were cautiously optimistic that this would be their rainbow baby and began planning again for a home birth. The pregnancy went smoothly, everything was very normal, and it was a surprise when the night before 38 weeks Annie rolled over in bed and felt her water break. Despite fears that this birth might go similarly to their first, labor kicked in (with the help of a few suggestions from the midwives) and the next evening Annie gave birth to their third son, Finnian (“Finn”), in the water at home after another whirlwind active labor (the midwives only arrived about an hour and a half before Finn was born).

They decided to try for one more baby and on their wedding anniversary, March 3, they found out they were pregnant again. Although this pregnancy was challenging, it was bittersweet for Annie knowing it would likely be her last. They again planned for a home waterbirth with a nurse midwife but things didn’t go quite according to plan. After more than a week of on and off contractions Annie second guessed whether it was the real thing when contractions started on the night of her due date. Not wanting to wake anyone up in the middle of the night, she labored mostly alone and was surprised by a swift labor which resulted in the midwives arriving only minutes before baby (another boy) was born.

Annie Kerwin Bio

Annie lives in southern New Hampshire with her husband, Eric, and their 4 children – Alexander (Lex), Theodore (Theo), Finnian (Finn), and Oliver (Ollie).

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