ivy yorke's home birth story

(hey! so i finally wrote this up for my journal. i wasn't sure if i was going to post it here, but then i read through the instagram comments and decided i like you all a whole lot and it was nice to read that you wanted to hear the story. thanks for the love, y'all.  hope you enjoy the edited-for-blog version!)

Just a little history for reference.

E was 10 days overdue. Labor was 11 hours + 3 pushes. In a hospital. Epidural.

A.Soleil was 5 days overdue. Labor was 14 hours + 2 pushes. In a hospital. No drugs.


The due date of May 25th came and went. My focus was on so many other things that I was too busy to be miserable. I mean, I was miserable, but going overdue didn't send me into hysteria like it had with my other pregnancies. We just kept going with packing and cleaning and celebrating.

On May 29th, Karen (midwife) came over for a visit (the beauty of homebirth: my midwives came to my apartment for every visit. It was amazing.). She checked to see how things were going and I was “almost maybe a 2.” We chatted about baby’s position – kinda posterior (facing my side, not my back). We both hoped baby would turn before I gave birth. She left at 11:45am and I relaxed.

At 2pm. I started having contraction. They weren’t bad at all, but they were regular. I took a nap, waking up with contractions, but I was able to sleep pretty well until 3:30. F picked E up from school, then took the kids to the park. I stayed home and rested while the contractions got stronger. The crew came home at 5:30. As soon as I saw/heard the kids, I knew I needed them out of there. There was no way I could deal with contractions and listen to them play/whine/yell/etc. So F took them up to our (best ever) neighbors.

I hypno-relaxed as the contractions got closer together and stronger. We watched Arrested Development while I chilled on the exercise ball. Around 9:45pm we decided we should call Karen. She got here at 10:45. Things were pretty chill. I was feeling good on the birth ball. The rest of my Birth Team arrived. At 11:30-ish I got in the shower. Contractions were getting serious.

At 1am I got out of the shower and got in bed. I noticed contractions spreading out. They were still really hard, but I was dozing off in between. Not good. Karen asked if she could check me. Yes! I wanted someone to do something since we were all just sitting around. She checked me at 2am.

I was a…4. A FOUR!!! A freaking only FOUR! I wanted to jump out my window! Gaaah!!! I'd been in labor for 12 hours!!! I looked at Karen and started tearing up. She reassured me. “Yes, this isn’t going like your other births, but it’s okay. Things are happening.” Karen suggested that everyone leave so I could get some sleep. Ha! Sleep? Funny. So my Birth Team left.

GHgjigohfjklajklhadih!!! I was so pissed. I was exhausted. I wanted this freaking kid out of me and I was only a four. I started bawling to F. How could this be happening?! I thought my body knew how to do this! The contractions were still so strong and relaxation wasn’t working anymore. I told F to get some sleep while I dealt with the stupid freaking contractions on my own.

After F fell asleep, I prayed and felt a bit of peace. My confidence in my body came back and I got back into my hypno-relaxation as each hard contraction came. I stayed in bed as long as I could. But things started picking up again and I couldn’t be in bed anymore. I woke up F at 5am and told him he needed to come with me while I got in the shower. In the shower I day-dreamed about walking next-door to the hospital to get an epidural. They couldn't turn me away, could they? I mean, I was in crazy hard labor. They would give me one, right? I was so exhausted and so desperate and getting crazy, so I told F to call Karen. He called. She came back. It was 6am and things were back on. I got out of the shower and went back to the bed.

And that’s when I started screaming.

Karen suggested lying down to see if I could get some rest between contractions. Ha! Rest?! Funny. I did that for a while, but I wanted to die if I was lying down during a contraction. So I sat up in bed, semi reclined. And screamed and screamed. I guess I should say "vocalized" because that's what the hippie homebirthers say, but I was pretty much screaming.

After every contraction I would look into Karen's kind eyes (they became my focal point) and ask her to “DO SOMETHING! PLEASE?!” She was so very nice in her response, “I can’t, Abbie, you're the only one who can do this.” I asked her to check me. She said she didn't need to, she could tell things were moving along by how I was acting (ie: screaming/vocalizing). At 7:15 I started bearing down with each contraction because it felt good. I wasn’t completely dilated, but it was the only way I could deal with the contractions. This was about the time Karen asked me to use my screaming energy to push. So I did. At 7:50 my water broke...more like burst everywhere. That's when I really started pushing and screaming louder. I could feel a head coming down and I wanted this to be OVER! At 7:55 Karen and F could see a little bit of head. And I could feel it! AHHH! It hurt! So so so bad. But I was so ready to be done so I pushed harder. At 7:59 Karen told me to get this baby born, so I pushed like a champ!

8:00am on May 30th and the baby was out!!! I looked down and I saw HER! I saw her little body and her big head (ouch!) and I loved her. Triple-heart-to-the-moon-and-back loved her...because she was OUT and I was DONE! Karen put her on my chest and I repeated over and over, “You’re out! I did it! You’re out! I did it!” I was so happy it was over and she was here. And HOLY WOW she was cute. So very cute and tiny. All my happy hormones were kicking in and I was so in love. Labor was so hard and I did it! At home! I can't explain how amazing that moment was.

After I delivered her placenta, Kaci brought E&A into our bedroom. They were so excited!! They came over to meet her, I told them she’s a girl. A.Soleil was so happy. E left the room pouting. Kaci followed him to comfort him and he eventually came back in. When he saw she had a widow’s peak just like him, he fell in love. We were all in love with this little girl.

A few hours later we named her 
Ivy Yorke

And we all lived happily ever after… (ha!)

photos by kaci! blogger won't let me upload the big ones. these are beautiful, but the big ones are beautiful x a million.

obviously i didn't dive into why we chose home birth. if you'd like to know why we did and why we loved it, feel free to email me.

It's been interesting processing her birth. After A's birth, I felt so empowered, I felt like Superwoman. It hasn't been the same this time around. Moving, graduation, and dealing with other crazy stuff kinda hampered the cozy loveliness I had envisioned for my home birth. I've also struggled with a bit of PPD (a first for me and it's no wonder - I moved away from my support system 2 weeks after she was born and F's schedule is insane and this was my hardest birth and THREE KIDS. Oy!). But I'm trying to own all of it. This is Ivy's birth story and it was beautiful in its own unique way. Plus, she's a bundle of sweetness. Adjusting to 3 kids has been tricky, but just look at the 3 kids I've been given. My heart is a big ole love factory for these kids!


  1. Ok, Abbie. So I was scrolling through your instagram pics tonight (just minutes ago) thinking to myself, "I wish I knew Abbie White better so I could ask her about her home birth story." And here it is! But I'm still curious about your reasons for choosing home birth and why you loved it and I hope you don't mind my asking since I'm pretty much just a person-you-might-kinda-remember-from-Wymount-7-years-ago. I just had a baby at home a few months ago as well, and I guess I am still enamored by the whole thing. (I've actually wanted to ask you for months!) I don't see your e-mail address anywhere on this blog, so here I am asking in the comments. :)
    Vicky Duersch (ilovepaulduersch@gmail.com)

  2. I love that birth story. I fell in love with your blog exactly 3 years ago after having a very difficult unplanned c-section when having my daughter. (I planned an all natural birth, she planned to never come out.) It was all so disappointing and being on bed rest was hard with a newborn. Somehow searching on the internet I found your blog, read about your family and your "I can do hard things" motto that has always stayed with me. In the past 3 years you have done many hard things and in the process I'm sure you have inspired more than just me. I know you don't write regularly anymore so thank you so much for sharing your birth story it is beautiful. I hope life continues to be beautiful for you guys.

  3. Abbie, I wish I could've been there. I miss you and am so proud of you. What a beautiful story!!!

  4. Thank you for sharing! I just eat this stuff up. I have to live vicariously through other people while I wait for my own birth story to happen. Someday.... :) Thanks Abbie, I really enjoyed this. You're a rock star.

  5. you are a super women. That Sh** is not easy! You did it though and you rocked it.

  6. Wow. This sounded like a rough one! Great work. ivy is adorable and your family is super cute. Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. That is a hard, but wonderful labor and delivery! I've done both of mine with no epidural and it's no walk in the park. But they were also shorter labors. So, you should be very proud. I also know some about PPD. I had it with my first. I was terrified of having another because I didn't want to feel the same way after birth. Hang in there! It gets better. (I'm sure you know!) You are a amazing.

  8. FINALLY back from vacation and had a few minutes to read this!! Abbie, you are amazing!!! And soooo brave! I love you!!!

    PS I need to talk to you like SOON about this natural birth stuff...

  9. Back to re-read. You are an inspiration!!!

    PS why do "they" say birth doesn't have to involve pain? I mean, why can't they just admit it hurts like heck but is totally, totally worth it? You powered through and had the birth you wanted, and that shows your amazing strength. I'm counting on my own body to have that strength too.