My name is Sarah Hock. I was born and raised by the beautiful beaches of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. I’m happily married to my childhood best friend since 2004. We have three amazing children from ages 5 to our new one month old.
I was very uneducated for my first birth. I knew I wanted a natural birth but didn’t know my facts–I ended up with a c-section with her as she was breeched. Right after having her I knew I wanted a vbac (vaginal birth after cesarean), and automatically began to research and educate myself. I looked into homebirths and midwives and found we had one local midwife who attended homebirths. We were overjoyed to find that I was pregnant again almost two years later. We had our second, a son, peacefully at home.
As healing and amazing as his birth was, my husband and I knew that it still could be much better. I had a long labor and pushing stage as I never quite felt that urge to push. I was also very weak and tired after his birth. We both did more research and learned quite a lot. We had discussed doing an unassisted birth for our next child before I was even expecting. Then when we found that I was pregnant again, we prayed about it and knew that it was the best thing for us to do. I could name several reasons why we felt that way or what lead us to that decision but ultimately our main reason was we knew I needed to not depend on anything or anyone but our God, who we allow to lead us, and the intuition that He has given me. I had our third at home with just my husband and sister present. The experience was so peaceful, freeing, natural and exhilarating, what I believe birth is suppose to be no matter where it occurs.
Birth Story of Harper Joy💖
April 24th. My husband, Kyle, set up a babysitter last minute for us to go out on a dinner date. We decided to go to Target first to pick up a few things we needed. While walking around I had a very mild contraction followed by another at check out. I didn’t say anything to Kyle until we got to our restaurant as other signs were appearing. I didn’t want to get too excited as contractions were very mild and sporadic. I also figured there could still be a few days or another week until baby is born. I did contact my two sisters who were my birth support team just to keep them updated. We talked names for the baby just about the entire dinner as we were waiting to find out gender at birth and still didn’t have a name.
When we arrived back home my sister came over so I could show her where all the birth supplies were just in case things went quickly. However, things slowed down tremendously once I went to bed. I had consistent contractions for one hour in the middle of the night that even woke me up, but those too slowed down.
Monday morning came and I was no longer comfortable lying down. I got up and went walking around outside in my backyard. I began to pray for me, the baby, and the birth. It was so peaceful. Just the early sound of the birds and feeling so close to God.
We went on with our day like normal. My good friend, Ali, came over to hang out. She was going to be our birth photographer and I told her about the night before, explaining that it could still be another week give or take. I had a few mild contractions while she was over and would even have to stop talking to breathe through them. I even tried to just ignore a few. As the day went on they did become more intense. I had to get in the bath mid-afternoon to help with them. I then took a nap with my older two. Once we were up I had a little burst of energy; I went on to prep meals that I wanted to have on hand for after birth (though I technically didn’t get to finish said meals) and make dinner. Again, would have to breathe and dance through each contraction when they came.
The kids and I were outside when Kyle arrived home from work. I was outside rocking on the patio chair while kids were playing. I told him about how my day was, explaining the rushes (contractions) I would have but adding that this could go on for a while. As the night went on I had to get in the bath again to help relieve the pressure from the contractions. I also tried to do some stretches and exercises to help relieve some of the pain. I shed a few tears by this point and prayed that this please not go on for a week or so.
By 10:30 pm I was exhausted and was ready for bed. I thankfully was able to fall asleep and get some rest for a few hours.
12:30 am in mid-sleep I jumped out of bed because I had such an intense contraction. I leaned over the wall swaying and breathing through it. Once it passed I laid back down and fell back to sleep until the next contraction came. This happened three times until I decided I would go get in the bath. When I went in to get ready for the bath I realized that my water had perhaps started leaking. I woke Kyle up to inform him. He joined me in the bathroom while I sat in the tub. He wanted to start timing the contractions and I was fine with that. I know it helped him to feel like he was doing something. I also needed him to rub my back during the contractions, which were roughly 10 minutes apart. After a while we decided to go ahead and inform the birth support team which included my two sisters, mom, and my good friend, Ali, who would be taking pictures. Because my last birth with my son was so long we figured this one could be too and told everyone not to rush over. We would let them know when it really started. Thankfully one of my sisters, Kristen, decided to come on over. When she arrived the contractions were already getting closer and I was getting more vocal with them. I was ready to get out of the tub as it was getting really uncomfortable but the water was helping so much. I told Kyle to go ahead and prepare the birth pool. I remember thinking that I hoped I didn’t regret requesting the pool just yet in case everything stopped and it wasn’t time for the baby yet. I was clearly still in denial.
Once the birth pool was ready and I got in I felt so much better. The contractions were still coming, even closer and intensifying. That’s when I accepted and knew we would be meeting our baby very soon.
It also was here when fear tried creeping in. All the “what ifs” started filling my thoughts. What if something is wrong? What if baby gets stuck? What if I can’t do this? Right then Kyle turned on some worship music. It’s exactly what I wanted and needed. It was like he was able to read my mind. The song “It is well with my soul” was playing. I began to sing along and then pray, remembering the promises God had spoken over me during my pregnancy in regards to this birth. Kyle then began praying over me, the baby and the birth. Words can’t describe the amount of peace that came over me.
I told Kyle to go ahead and contact Ali, our photographer. A few more contractions after requesting that, my body began to bear down. I didn’t say anything but just followed my body’s lead until I felt serious urges to push. I then vocalized that my body was pushing. Kristen encouraged me to listen to my body.
I pushed with the first real urge and the head came out. Two more pushes and Harper Joy was born into daddy’s hands at 2:11 am on April 26th. He announced it was a girl. I knew she was a girl. My dreams and intuition were right.
I turned around and my husband placed her in my arms. Harper gave a little cry and then peacefully just rested on me. She was so serene.
My eldest daughter, Anna, and son, Nolan, woke up soon after. They came into our room and saw me in the birth pool holding their new baby sister. My friend and other sister arrived shortly after as well. We all couldn’t believe how fast she came.
Kyle made me some eggs and cut up some cantaloupe. My friend snapped some photos and my sisters and Kyle cleaned up the birth space. We all were just talking and laughing. I couldn’t stop talking about how shocked I was that she came so fast and how everything went so smooth. I couldn’t believe how great I felt.
It was the birth of my dreams. Of my prayers.
I was able to take a shower as Kyle did some skin on skin time with Harper.
By 5:30 am we were all back in bed and resting. Now as a family of five.
Featured image by: Lior Pattel