Home Water Birth in Jackson Michigan - Midwife Celeste Groenenberg

Hanna was one of the first ‘birth'y’ friends that I met here in Michigan and she was planning a home water birth in Jackson, Michigan with midwife Celeste Groenenberg. Hanna is a doula and also spent time training as a midwife.

Hanna requested that her birth be mother-led, and she wanted to catch her own baby and asked that her team be there for support. It was incredible to watch her listen to her body during her home birth. She kept in touch with all of us throughout early labor, and she called us at the perfect time to come.

Read her home water birth story in her own words:

“Here is my quick note on birth before I share my story- all births are unique and different, not to compare is hard but each birth is unique as each baby born!

Saturday about 1 am I woke up with a contraction, downloaded an app to track them as they seemed to be frequent but I kept trying to sleep. From 1 am till 5am they were consistently spread out from 10-20 min apart. At 5 am I said okay if they stay like this and get stronger, which they felt like they were doing, I would call midwife and photographer. I woke up at 645 thinking weird they stopped and yes I got some sleep!

Home Birth in Jackson Michigan

Sunday I just felt off, like not a good mood, maybe I was getting sick?! I called my mom and told her not to go up north to visit her parents like she had planned. We stayed home and had a nice family day. I still had some random contractions throughout the day, some got close, 7 Min apart, but then would go back to 20 Mins.

My mom came out in the afternoon and helped gets kids to bed. Once kids were in bed I thought, things will pick up now! Still contractions were 8-15 min apart lasting a min, strong but didn’t get closer! I kept thinking I should wait till they get closer to call the midwife. Finally at 930 I called everyone to come, I don’t know why, it was just a gut feeling. By 1030 everyone was there, my wonderful midwife Celeste, Lisa who was a few births away from being a midwife, the birth photographer Jennifer( see my amazing maternity photos!!) we hung out and talked. At 1130 Chris went to sleep, I tried to sleep but they were just strong enough I couldn’t. At around 12, I think, I got in the tub. Things seemed to slow down even more, and I was relaxed so much I though great I’ve stalled labor! I thought about getting out, but it was so nice and contractions were super easy, when they did come still probably not closer then 10 Min apart. I was getting frustrated though, thinking why isn’t my body working?! Thinking okay either pick up or stop but this days of medium contractions all random times was making me mad. I had my mom go wake up my husband. He came out and reminded me “ your body does what it does all your labors have been different “ he has been by my side for all 4 births and never doubted me. Even when I told him I wanted to have my babies at home, in the water and catch them myself;) …..


Then, around 1am I felt a shift like he moved super low all of a sudden and I couldn’t sit his head was right there- you know that pressure, like you have to poop;). Then that sound you make, the low primal sound- you just can’t help it, the baby is coming. I heard myself make it and thought that’s weird no way am I ready to have him things haven’t pick up yet? I reached down in the water and could feel his head. What was happening?!I tried to hold him in and do deep breathes for a min as to not have him come to fast. I kept thinking 1) this is happening way to fast I haven’t had time to push or stretch 2) this is the worst feeling every and I can’t believe I am doing this again 3) it’s going to be over in a second, and theirs that scary once he is out he is out In the world, their is no putting him back and keeping him safe in my belly forever! I felt a pop and knew my water broke. Then just like that I felt his head slowly coming out, a few second later I grabbed his body and pulled him out of the water. I told the midiwfe his cords all over the place and they reached in to help me unwrap him from it. He was up on my chest and seconds later screaming away. So much relief & peace that he was here and joy that i finally got to meet him!!

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He has vernix! He’s my first baby to ever have any vernix, all of my babies have come at 41+.

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My mom went to get the big boys I was hoping they would get to see him get born but it happened so fast! We hung out for a bit in the tub, then got out to deliver placenta about 30 mins after he was born. He was 8lb 2oz,my smallest baby, born at 1:10am.

Then we had a bit of a scare with low blood pressure but after I ate and drank a little it came back up. I think I was just in shock that it happened so fast since i honestly was waiting for contractions to build and get closer and stronger!

The Doula part of me was thinking all birth is different but they follow a pattern, labor has to get stronger for baby to come out! That just didn’t happen though at all with me and no urge to push. By 3 am we were all tucked in bed and by 4 sleeping for the night! 730 the boys all crawled in bed with us and we’re all talking at once about how excited they were he was here, how happy they are we get to keep him forever!

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I know homebirth isn’t for everyone, but it’s been the best decision for us to have had all our kids at home. It’s where I feel safe and empowered, where my family can be part of it as they want. Where I know I am respected and taken care of. Where I am uninterrupted and able to make my choices freely without judgment or criticism.

I very highly recommend Celeste to anyone thinking of having a homebirth, she was amazing, exactly what I needed. Her presence gives a peace and confidence to any birth. Knowing I am respected and my choices are her number one priority was huge for me. Also knowing that I was safe and she was prepared for anything gave me ( and mostly my husband as safety is his thing) was huge for peace of mind. And once Lisa is out on her own people will be lucky to have such great quality care at home with her!!

Jennifer did my maternity photos so I was comfortable working with her, but honestly it would be hard not to be! She was really amazing and captured everything perfectly- not that birth is perfect or pregnancy or postpartum are perfect. But she captures all that raw emotion and the real-ness of life and I love it! The pictures from my births will be something I will treasure forever. They have been the greatest moments of my life, the most powerful, the strongest I have ever felt. A reminder when I am raising my kids and it’s hard that I can do hard things! When sleeplessness and anxiety, toddler days, teenage nights all come, I can remember those moments and know that I can do it.

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