A Home Birth Story of a Boy Named Duke

It took me months, maybe even a full year to revisit pictures of Selah’s birth.  She was my firstborn.  My labor was different this time around with my second.  It was harder than I imagined, but without the trauma I felt after Selah’s birth.

I was much more relaxed in the beginning stages of labor.  Travis and I took walks around the neighborhood.  Hey I could do this all day!  This isn’t so bad!  Bring it on.


We put Selah down for her nap, while I labored unbeknownst to her.  In this picture I’m in labor (not having a contraction) and saying goodbye to Selah while she goes to stay with her grandparents for the night.  I got really emotional after she left.  I wondered how much her little life would change when she came back in the morning.  I wondered if she would still feel loved and cherished by me.



Travis was obviously very relaxed during the early stages of my labor!  There were many hours of this early labor stuff.


I’m getting Duke’s heart rate checked by my midwife.  For some reason I camped out on this chair.  I hardly ever sit here!



AAAnnnnd it’s not too long after this picture was taken that I went in the pool.   I’ve got my labor face on and it lasted for the next 9 hours or so.


My eyes were mostly closed the rest of the day.  I forgot how hard labor was.  And I got scared.  I remember thinking, Jessica what did you get yourself into?!  This was a dumb idea!  I will NEVER do this again.   As my labor continued into the night I began to doze off between intense contractions.  I started really regretting not working out during this pregnancy.  I began to feel like I lacked the stamina it would take to birth this boy.  Travis’ encouragement became less convincing.  I could tell he was scared too.  His confident, You got this babe you’re doing great, had dwindled to a mere, You’re doing okay. You’re okay.  I could tell he wasn’t so sure and neither was I.  During transition, doubt began to flood my mind and I had to get out of the pool because I was so exhausted I wanted to just lay down and sleep.


This  is the part where most women say, I can’t do this anymore.  Give me drugs.  And I assure you, I would have said the same thing, given the option.  I didn’t say those words outloud, but they raged loudly in my ears. Clearly exhausted, I laid down on the window seat and fell asleep.  I woke up to yet another  intense contraction but this time coupled with a feeling to PUSH.  Praise GOD!  I couldn’t believe it!  I knew the end was near and the adrenaline kicked in.  Back in the pool I went, this time carrying another set of fears.

I dreaded pushing.  Could I bring myself to push with the strength I knew it took to push this baby out?  Four contractions later, the answer was YES.   Yes I could. Duke was born in the caul, meaning he was born in his bag of waters.  He was also born with his cord wrapped around him about 4 times, including his neck.  My midwife quickly and calmly untangled him and placed him here on my chest.  Where he currently spends most of his days:)


My bond with his was so immediate and intense.  He’s my treasure, my prize after all that hard work.  Weighing in at almost 10lbs, everyone tells me how big he is.  But to me, he looks so small.  My little one whom I love dearly.

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17 replies on “A Home Birth Story of a Boy Named Duke

  • dani

    This is beautiful. As someone who is thinking of having children in the *semi* near future, both of your posts have been very inspirational. More than I fear giving birth, I have a PARALYZING fear of hospitals and their unpleasant, stark, sterile environment… I can’t imagine happily bringing a life into this world in that kind of setting. I hope someday soon I can be ready to begin this great endeavor.

    <3 dani

    • Jessica

      I can so relate to you, Dani. I’m glad my story was an encouragement to you, that makes me so happy!

  • Gretchen

    Awesome photos and you are wearing you heart during labor!!!!!!!! I’m so honored. Duke is so beautiful.

  • Heather

    So precious 🙂 I can totally understand that “what did I get myself into again?” feeling – but that little man is SO cute! Worth all of the pain 😉

  • Cara Howard

    Oh. my. gosh. you lived my DREAM! I DREAM of having a home birth with a doula – with prayers pouring over me, encouragement and truth being spoken, power being given by the Spirit, feeling like a hardcore rockstar. You are SUCH A STRONG WOMAN!!! Can I come over sometime? DYING to spend time with you Jess!!! And meet your beautiful daughter and amazing son!!!

    • Jessica

      Cara I just love your heart! YES! I know we definitely need to get together. You are so welcome to come over!

  • babycakes

    is Duke giving you “thumbs up” here already? I thank God He strengthened you to see it through to the blessed end. thank you for a real description of how it was.

  • Kendra

    Thank you so much for sharing this! What a beautiful story! And such an inspiration – I would love to have a home birth, but I don’t know if I have your courage and strength.

  • Meghan

    Absolutely amazing! I am always in awe of what our bodies can do naturally. It is completely surreal. So proud of you Momma. What a beautiful story. That moment of immediate bonding is THE best feeling and it makes the hard labor SOOOO worth while. 🙂

  • Natalia

    Jessica, I am so proud of you!!! This is such a beautiful story and Duke truly is your reward for all your hard work and labor…! I am so encouraged to do this 2nd birth natural again! Pray that I would be able to! I am just in awe of your story..and that he was born in his bag of waters with the cord wrapped around him 4 times? what a miracle??!! Amazing. text me more about this…!

  • Glad Mama

    Aren’t homebirths the best? Labor is such hard work, but I assure you sister, way better than a hospital birth! Thanks for sharing your story, through birthing we realize our strength.

  • Jeniece

    Finally had a moment to read. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story. You are so strong and Duke is beyond blessed to have you as his mama.

    Love you, friend.

  • Robin

    Wow….what an incredible story! Thank you for sharing. I’m so blessed that he is finally here. 🙂

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