SWEET VALLEY – At 8 pounds 14 ounces and 21 inches long, Sydney Campbell made her entrance into the world on June 28, 2012 – at home with her proud parents, Samantha Lupinski-Campbell and Brandon Campbell and a midwife.
Samantha didn't go into labor and deliver at home because they couldn't make it to the hospital.
The Sweet Valley couple never planned on going there.
They are one of dozens choosing to give birth at home as opposed to delivering baby in a hospital setting.
"I always thought it would be cool to be able to (give birth at home)," 24-year-old Samantha said. "When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to do it."
Samantha, a massage therapist, said she was never a fan of hospitals and doctors and knew a few friends who had given birth at home.
"If you're healthy enough, I didn't see an issue with trying. If something came up (and there was an emergency) I would have no problem going to the hospital," Samantha said. "But I had no complications during my pregnancy. It was a personal preference."
Samantha's husband, Brandon, wasn't as easily convinced to jump on board with the at-home birth plan.
"Over time, I changed my mind. I had to make sure I was comfortable with the midwife and then it didn't take me too long to get used to the idea," Brandon said.
Samantha and Brandon had an initial consultation with Jen McFarland, a midwife with a practice located in Tobyhanna.
Samantha said McFarland did her first set of blood work and conducted monthly visits, just like they would do at a hospital.
McFarland, a mother of five, began her career as a medical assistant and emergency room medical technician before going the route of midwifery.
In a year, McFarland says she attends between 30 and 40 home births.
"There are about four other midwives in the area, and we all do about the same amount," McFarland said, noting the at-home birth has become more popular over the last few years.
Samantha said she chose to have now-three-month-old Sydney at home for several reasons, including insurance costs and out-of-pocket costs, as well as for the experience itself.
McFarland recommended to Samantha and Brandon they purchase a birthing kit for Sydney's arrival, which included gauze, umbilical cord ties, rubber gloves, iodine, and everything else that may be needed to deliver a baby.
Samantha said McFarland brought very little with her when it was time to welcome Sydney, but that she did have an intravenous bag for Samantha if she became dehydrated and medicine to stop bleeding if it became excessive.
"Every single one of my friends called me crazy (for wanting to do a home birth)," Samantha said. "My co-workers would say, ‘You don't know what you're getting into.'"
The day before Sydney was born Samantha visited McFarland's office because she was 40 weeks and three days pregnant – over her due date.
Samantha had previously had some contractions in the days leading up to Sydney's birth and some fluid lost, but nothing that made her think she was in labor.
McFarland used a technique to induce labor and Samantha began to have sporadic contractions.
Early the next morning, Samantha's water broke and contractions began to happen more frequently later that evening.
When contractions were five minutes apart, each lasting longer than the last, Samantha and Brandon called McFarland – it was time.
"(McFarland) got here…and she was born an hour and a half later," Samantha said.
A few pushes later with the help of Brandon, Sydney was born at 10:04 p.m. Sydney entered the world into a bathtub of shallow water and her father's hands.
Brandon said when all was said and done, he was glad they decided on home birth.
"It's one memory no one can take away from me," Brandon said. "It's more relaxing…there's less stress on (Samantha) which meant less stress on daddy. It was a completely different experience."
Brandon said he was nervous during Samantha's labor that something could go wrong but was reassured by McFarland.
"It was the best decision," Samantha said of the home birth. "And the second time around, we're definitely doing it."