Our Home Birth

Our story actually starts in April 2006, when I traveled to the Philippines to meet and get to know Jelim Gabonada. We had met "on the net" at http://www.filipinaheart.com/ and we been talking for several months when I decided to travel to her place. I proposed to her in my second week here. Then we began to plan to spend the rest of our life together. The biggest hurdle will be getting a Fiancée Visa so that Jelim and her Daughter Mity can come here. After almost a year and a half of waiting, we got a notice from the USCIS that on July 20, 2007, Jelim would have to go to Manila for her final meeting at the US Embassy. I flew to the Philippines a week before that meeting. Everything went well at the US Embassy and a week after that, we all flew back to the US together.

This story for our home birth actually starts 9 months earlier, (don't they all!) On this day, September 1, 2007, is the day of our Marriage. My calculations indicate that this is also the day that Jelim conceived our first child. In the photo above, we have just walked down the isle to make it known to the world, that we are ready to spend the rest of our lives together. This photo was taken by a professional photographer in the Riverside Church of Christ.

In this photo taken on 2/13/08, we are celebrating the 3rd. birthday of Jelim's daughter "Mity" . Jelim is almost 6 months pregnant here. We are standing in the kitchen area of my 19 foot trailer. It was plenty roomy when just I lived in it, but it's pretty full now, and when the baby comes, I know that I will have to get something bigger.

This photo was taken on the 5th. day of our April 2008 Vacation. I knew that it would be a long time before we got the chance to take another vacation with the baby coming, so we decided to go in late April before the birth AND the crowds! So even though Jelim is 8 months here, she is feeling fine and not having any problems with her pregnancy. We were on the road for about 21 days, traveled through 7 states and I drove our old 89 Chevy Celebrity about 5000 miles. This photo was taken in a hotel room somewhere south of Yellowstone National Park. We are most likely in the southeastern corner of Idaho at this moment.

The next morning, we enter Yellowstone National Park. Pictures cannot do this place any justice (at least mine anyway!) You have to see and FEEL the power of this place to really appreciate it. And when you understand that you are standing on the thin dome of a HUGE volcano, with dangerously hot Magma not far below where you are standing, then you have even more appreciation for this awesome place on our planet.

We spent many hours in Yellowstone National Park, and I have over 375 photos of this trip, but this story is about Jelim's pregnancy, so I will move on. A couple of days later, here we are in Arches National park in Utah. A different kind of Beauty here, Utah has tens of thousands of acres of beautiful sculptured sandstone, in all conceivable forms. I really loved Utah, and we spent 2 days here.

This is Chama, New Mexico. I'm always fascinated with old stuff, railroads especially. Unfortunately, this still running railroad is still closed for the winter, opening in mid June because of the 8000+ elevation here. Go to Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad to see more about this place. Next Stop, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.

Because of Jelim's pregnancy, we took the Elevator to this level, rather then walk through the cave as most people do. Although we are only 900' below the entrance to the Carlsbad Caverns, it's over a ½ mile walk to get to this point. Words cannot describe this place, you MUST see it. We are in the "Big Room". It's 1,800 feet long and 250 feet wide, where most of the impressive formations are found. It takes over an hour to walk though the "Big Room". There are many web sites about Carlsbad Caverns National Park, but I think this one has more to offer then most. Go to Carlsbad Caverns National park After our tour here, we are almost out of money, so it is time to head for home.

Here is Jelim, at 8 AM, 5/24/08 standing just outside the gate where we live in Perris. This is going to be the day, but neither of us know that yet. I calculated that her due date is 5/25/08, so we know that this could be the day. Although she is having no contractions yet, she started leaking water when she got up on this day. We decided to go to a nearby swap meet, as I thought that walking for awhile would make her labor kick in. No luck! Later in the day, when we returned from the swap meet, Jelim was still not having any contractions, although she continued to leak a little water throughout this day. We went out again about 5 PM, to do a little shopping and get some dinner. We returned at 7 PM, and as Jelim got out of the car, she said, "It's starting". By the time she got into our trailer, she was having hard, continuous painful contractions. I checked her then, and she was then 3½ cm. dilated and well effaced. I told her, "Tonight is the night for our baby". Jelim continued to have hard, painful, close together contractions. For the next hour, Jelim stood by the sofa, while she endured her constant, unrelenting painful contractions, while I watch her. At about 8:45 PM, I told her to go and lie on the bed, because I wanted to check her and see if she was making any progress. When I checked her, OMG, I thought, she is 8+ cm dilated, 100% effaced and the baby's head is now well molded and down very low. I knew then that she probably had less then 30 minutes to go. I told her that we had to get the plastic on the bed NOW, as the baby would soon be here. Jelim did not want to get up, so I grabbed her arms and pulled her up. She was kind of in a daze at this point, so it took several minutes for her to remember where the plastic was. Finally we got the plastic on the bed, and then Jelim laid back down on our bed.

Right after we got the plastic on the bed, I took this photo. My camera says it is 8:58 PM. With the next contraction, she said that she felt like pushing. Things are moving very fast now.

I'm struggling with my camera, as it will not auto focus at this moment. Very soon, I must set it down so that I can assist with the birth. My camera says that it is 9:03 PM. Jelim is pushing now, so this will be the last photo for a few moments.

Here is the moment of truth. Both my watch and the file time stamp on this photo say 9:06 PM. One more contraction and our daughter will be born.

I'm still having trouble with my camera, as it doesn't want to auto focus when the light is low. The time stamp on this photo is 9:14 PM. Jelim is resting here, but as you can see, she is still having a lot of pain, after pains as they are called. Her uterus is clamping down hard now, preparing to birth the placenta, and to be prepared to stop the bleeding when the placenta is released. The cord has not yet been cut. I would judge that we have about 4-7 minutes before the placenta will be born. Our daughter is breathing well at this point, as I remember that she took her first breath right after her shoulders were born. I weigh her after the placenta was out, 6 Lbs, 3 oz. this is a VERY BIG baby for Jelim, who normally weighs 72-74 Lbs. After I do the cleanup, I notice that Jelim has a moderate tear in the bottom of her vagina. This usually happens when the shoulders are born, but Jelim said that she felt a pop and felt pain in the bottom of her vagina when the baby's head was born. I don't have any supplies to do a repair, so the next morning, I call a local midwife. She came over early the next morning and sutured the tear closed.

I didn't remember when I took this photo, but the photo file time stamp says 9:58 PM, so our daughter is 52 minutes old in this photo. Jelim has had a chance to regain her composure, and our daughter has already latched on, and tasted her mother's milk. Looking back, it was a great birth, just very fast at the last part. Many, many women would like to have a 2 hour labor!

Jerry, Jelim, Mity, and now, Verona Jean Whiting