NOLA Birth Photographer » New Orleans birth photographer and certified doula. Celebrating the beauty of childbirth, motherhood, and real life moments.

Atticus Quinn – My Own New Orleans Home Birth Story

My baby turns one today. I can’t believe we’re here already. In many ways, I feel like I’m just beginning to feel normal again. We seem to finally be sleeping through the night (as of the past week), and Atticus is becoming such a little boy!

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So many of my clients have generously allowed me to share their personal moments here, and so it’s probably only fair that I share my own birth story  – crazy looking photos and all! You’ll see a combination of point and shoot cameras, images I took, and some from my photographer colleague and friend Jacqueline.

 

The Birth Story of Atticus Quinn

I like to be prepared. I’m a over-packer, note taker and a list maker. Although I’m not always great at it, I like to have things in order so that I’m mentally prepared for what’s ahead.

During the majority of my second pregnancy, I felt so incredibly unprepared! We were in what felt like a completely different season of life, just two years after Evangeline’s birth. Nick was working towards another masters degree and dealing with a stressful job, and I was busy with a toddler, business, and house repairs. We felt like we hardly had time to think about the fact that I was soon to have another baby!

A little over halfway through my pregnancy, I transferred my prenatal care to a local midwife, Emmy Trammell. If all went well, we would be having baby #2 in our home! I was happy with my birth experience in the hospital with my first, but the idea of having the comforts of home while giving birth was really appealing to me. On top of that, personal prenatal care with a natural focus made my life much easier this go round!

Just before Christmas I got the all clear from my doctor, Jennifer Lapeyrolerie to have a home birth!  Although we had all the basics we needed to have a baby, I was hoping to make it to January to have enough time to get a few more things knocked off my to-do list – like actually sit down with Nick and come up with some baby names! The baby was due on January 16th, and since everything else in the pregnancy had been right on track with my first, I guessed that I would give birth a few days before that. My mom was planning on being out of town the first few days of January, and forbid baby Missios from coming before Sunday, January 6th. Baby was low, engaged, and I had been having some uncomfortable contractions for a few weeks, but we just prayed I wouldn’t go into labor while my mom was gone! The plan was to have her around to fill the role of hostess, and care for Evangeline if I were to go into labor at night. My birth photographer was also unavailable for a few days that week.

Saturday, January 5th came. I went out and ran a few errands in the afternoon. One of which was to find this Love Your Labor oil that I had heard about. Supposedly it can help speed things up by helping you have more effective contractions. I chatted with the sales girl (she’s also a childbirth educator and doula) at my local baby boutique, saying that I felt like I was about to have a baby, but who knows how much longer my wait would be! My search was unsuccessful, but that was the last bigger thing on my list. The house was in decent shape so we cooked up a big roast and invited some friends over,  knowing that it would be a while before we could do this again! Of course I went to sleep that night sure that it wouldn’t be until later the coming week that this baby would arrive. I left the dirty dishes, didn’t do any of my usual nightly straightening, took a shower and went to bed.

I had 18 hours of intense active labor with Evangeline. She was in a posterior position (requiring rotation for delivery), and I pushed for 3 hours. The difficulty of her birth wasn’t going to deter me from having another natural birth, but I was just really hoping that this labor would be much easier and under 10 hours.

Nick stayed up late studying  that night and had just come to bed before midnight.  It was after midnight that the usual contractions came that had been waking me up occasionally over the last few weeks. This night was no different. I wasn’t sleeping well, so I got up, went to the bathroom, and then had another contraction that changed halfway through. This time there was some pressure along with the discomfort.

I grabbed my phone as I waited to see if another strong contraction would come so I could time them – just in case. At 12:55am another came, and I got out of bed. A few minutes later there was another. Then another. These were coming so close together, I didn’t really know what to think. The contractions also didn’t start off as strong as I remember them being with Evangeline. I walked around the house, changed a light bulb in the bathroom, and put away a few things. 30 minutes and 11 contractions later, each lasting over a minute, I called my midwife, Emmy. She listened to me through two contractions and suggested I eat or drink something. I grabbed some juice and then had a few more contractions that were so intense I was shaking through them. I called back Emmy at 1:48am. It’s baby time!

I called my mom and alerted her that Emmy was on her way, and she should come now. (My mom had just gotten back home from Alabama about 20 minutes before I called her.) Then I went to wake up Nick.

“Emmy is on her way, this is for real.”
“Are you sure?” 
“Yes, I’m sure. These contractions are coming really fast. I need your help.” 

Then began the frenzy of activity in the Missios home at nearly 2am. The contractions were coming so close that there was barely enough time to think and direct Nick on what he needed to do. First order of business – turn up the water heater. I went to call our photographer, who was still in Baton Rouge with her cousin’s wedding. 2 minutes into talking I had to throw the phone at Nick as I braced through another intense contraction.

2:08am:
In effort to slow things down, I lied down on my side. But a minute later as another wave hit, I realized there’s no way I could handle laboring on my side! Another call went out to Emmy.

“How do I slow things down?!”
“You need to get in the tub!”

Nick was already trying to set up the birth tub, so I hopped in the shower while the tub was inflating. I wasn’t in the shower for more than a couple of minutes before the intense urge to push kicked in with my contractions. I couldn’t stop my body from pushing as I knelt at the bottom of the shower with my knees together.

2:15am:
My water broke during a contraction. Nick and I were yelling back and forth between contractions. He called Emmy to inform her of the rupture of membranes, tried to get ahold of my local backup photographer, and was busy hunting for more batteries for the air pump needed to fill the tub. Of course the battery would have to die in the middle of this production!

Finally the tub was full of air and beginning to fill with water. I hopped in and my knees welcomed the relief of the inflated tub floor after being on the tile. I could feel baby’s head working down with each contraction, and soon I could feel hair as I braced myself against the strength of my body pushing baby out. This was happening! I knew I couldn’t hold back this baby for much longer. I needed to know how far away they were!

2:35am:
Nick called Emmy again. She was just a few minutes away. I was determined to hold on until she arrived!

2:41am:
I realized that the door was probably still locked, so Nick ran out to unlock it as Emmy was standing on our porch. Thankfully as she came in the door, baby backed off, and I had a moment to stretch out my legs in the warm water, and breathe.

2:42am:
Another contraction came, and then my mom walked in the door. Go time. Emmy was opening her bags trying to get her supplies as I leaned over the side of the tub and delivered my baby’s head.

2:43am:
I flipped over, leaning my back against the side of the tub so that Emmy could help catch baby’s body. It took a little bit of effort for me to actually tell my body to push for the first time! I pulled up my little one onto my chest as I just sat in shock over the craziness that had just transpired over the past hour. It was a strangely unemotional moment as I held this little one that had just decided to bolt his way into the world.

Oh my gosh. I just had a baby.”

I can’t even remember what else I said. We just sat in awe, rubbing down this little alert baby, waiting for a cry. Soon he started crying, as we continued to sit together for a few minutes.

Nick: “Boy or girl? I want to know what it is!”

It wasn’t until about 8 minutes after he was born that we actually took the time to find out if we had a boy or a girl! We moved the towel and flipped baby over… a BOY!

Of course! We were both thinking this baby was another girl, and had no boy names picked out.

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The two of us moved out of the tub and into bed where we got checked out. Our little man was perfect! I knew immediately when I held him that he was a decent bit bigger than Evangeline was, but we were all a little surprised when he weighed in at 7lbs, 7oz! I grabbed the camera and got a few pictures of his newborn exam. I wasn’t sure that I was getting exactly what I wanted, but that’s what you get when playing the role of mom and photographer just after giving birth!

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Thankfully, through all the craziness, Evangeline woke up at her normal time! Nick kept her out in the living room for a little bit until things were settled down more in our room, and Jackie came over to document their meeting.

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Family and a few close friends stopped by at different points during the day, and we took in the sweetness of our new little boy. Now to come up with a name! Nick spent the day with a few baby name books, and Quinn was one name that he threw out there. It just so happened to be one of the handful that I had jotted down! Quinn means one who provides counsel; an intelligent man. Atticus, a strong and unusual name best known from To Kill a Mockingbird means from Athens, which ties into Nick’s Greek heritage. The character from Harper Lee’s novel has become the etymology of the name for us, one who stands for justice.

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We are so blessed and thankful to have had our little Atticus Quinn at home! I know that if our plan had been to go to the hospital, that we probably would have had a baby in the car or the hospital parking lot instead! Although this wasn’t exactly the calm and quiet home birth that I had hoped for, it was exactly what God saw as best for our family. Our midwives provided expert care, and with their help my recovery was really quick.

Yes, I’d do it all over again. I although I certainly hope my next baby gives me at least three hours!

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