My Home Birth Story
It has taken me quite a while to write down the story of my youngest sons home birth, he turned one in June. I want to write the story down so that one day my little one can read about the day he was born. During my pregnancy, reading and hearing about other women’s positive experiences helped me feel that I could have the birth that I wanted. I will say, that I am not writing to encourage or discourage anyone from home birth. Like everything else in life everyone must do their own research and find the birth plan that works best for them. We had and unassisted home birth but received our prenatal care with a midwife practice.
I want to begin by saying that although I always wanted an unmedicated birthing experience I didn’t mind having my baby in a hospital if I could labor in my own way. My previous two births were in a hospital setting and they left me feeling a little cheated and unsupported. I did not feel listened to and I worried that having my baby in a hospital would also be like those births. I started off my pregnancy visits with my OBGYN but, through research and interviews found a midwife practice that we felt comfortable with.
From the moment I knew that I was pregnant with my 3rd baby I knew that this pregnancy and delivery would be different. I wanted to be cared for by someone who actually listened to what I wanted to do. I did want to be somewhere I felt comfortable and I wanted to be able to labor on my own as much as possible. It was somewhere mid pregnancy that I decided that a home birth was something I really wanted.
I read a lot about laboring without medication and how to prepare yourself to deal with the pain of childbirth. I practiced meditation, hypnobirthing techniques, using a birthing ball, exercise, aroma therapy and massage. I did do a great deal of reading about how other cultures deal with labor and delivery and what mothers did to help themselves during labor. It was after I read many of these books that I thought why can’t I have my baby at home? I began to have a completely different outlook on this delivery. I felt that I was in control of how I would labor and how my baby would come into this world. My husband on the other hand was not as convinced. Looking back I can see that his worry was for me and the baby. If something were to go wrong he was not sure that he could do anything to help me and the baby.
I started having false labor contractions 3 days before I actually went into labor. I had contractions while at the midwives appointments and I even had a non stress test to make sure the baby was fine. I was going on 41 weeks of pregnancy and even my midwives did not want me to go over 42 weeks because of risks for the baby. I was scheduled to come in on Monday to help speed things up. I didn’t want to be induced and luckily for me my baby didn’t want to either. On Friday June 20th, 2014 my labor finally started to kick in.
It was about 6 in the evening and my husband and I were the only ones home. We watched Netflix while I used an exercise ball to help me ease the discomfort of the contractions. When the contractions got stronger I decided that I would try soaking in the tub for a bit. Before I went into labor I was sure that I would spend the majority of my labor in the bathtub just like all those wonderful birthing videos I had seen. Sadly, this was not the case for me.
They only thing that really helped me make it though the contractions was moving and walking. I had read Ina Mays guide to childbirth and in it I had seen an image of a woman who had a sheet wrapped around her belly and two women were pulling on it while she was having contractions. I don’t know why that image came to me at that moment but I decided we had to try it. With a large beach towel wrapped around my belly my husband held the ends and twisted them tightly when I got a contraction. The pain was not eliminated but I helped me soo much. For the next few hours my husband held on to the towel, walked around with me, and twisted the towel during contractions and helped me keep my focus. His hands were pretty tired in the end because he says I wanted the towel wrapped around me very tightly during the contractions.
In the beginning, I wanted to labor as long as possible at home and then head to the hospital. We even had our hospital bags packed and by the door. As my labor progressed I started feeling more pain and more comfort in staying at home. I had not been able to sit down for more than just a few seconds since about 7 pm and it nearing 11 pm. I started to feel like maybe this baby wasn’t going to come anytime soon and I began to get a bit emotional. It was incredible for me to experience the clarity my mind had between contractions. I felt like more normal self and even laughed and joked with my husband. When a contraction was happening it was a completely different story. I would cry, get mad or just want to give up and my husband would remind me that I wanted to have my baby at home and that this would all be over soon. Even with all the research, practice and help I had to prepare for laboring naturally I was still struggling to keep my composure. I cried, I yelled, I got angry and laughed during the final stage of my labor. My poor husband never showed any signs of concern, worry or anything but love and support. I don’t think even I would have been so nice If the roles were reversed.
Around 2 am my little guy was preparing himself to make his grand entrance and as I entered the bathroom my water broke and seconds later he was crowning. I don’t know about anybody else but the crowning did not feel as bad as the contractions. When I realized he was crowning I began to worry because I knew this was it, there was no turning back. I dropped down on all fours and looked for some towels to make sure the baby had somewhere soft to land. My husband was talking to me and telling me he could see the baby’s face and that he was beautiful. I was more concerned about how I was going to get the baby out. All the facts about how births are supposed to go are floating in my head and all the while I am trying to deal with the pain of some very strong contractions. I waited for the urge to push to come like it had in my other deliveries but I never got the urge to push. I told myself as soon as you feel the next contraction you will squat down and push this baby out. I yelled something at my husband that I honestly don’t remember now and I waited. The next contraction came and I did what I said I would, I pushed with all my strength and let out a scream that I cannot to this day believe came out of my mouth. With that one push my son was out of my womb and into the arms of my husband. I sat down and held him and words cannot describe the happiness that I felt at that moment. It was as if the pain I experienced just seconds earlier never existed and all that mattered was holding that little guy in my arms. My husband, our baby and I sat on the floor of our bathroom in awe of what just occurred. It was not exactly as we planned but it was incredible. To this day I can not believe how lucky we were to experience that and to not have had any kind of complications. I did not require any sort of medical care afterwards and the baby got a clean bill of health.
Somethings I would do differently would be to have someone there for my husband. He followed me from room to room around our house during my labor and he did not have much time for anything else. It would have been nice to have someone make sure that we were both doing alright and someone to take pictures of the birth. Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing because it was the best birth I could have hoped for and exactly what I envisioned.
I would not consider myself a “crunchy” mom but I really did love this book. It had so many positive birthing stories that really helped me cope with my previous deliveries. I would recommend this book to anyone who is planning to have a baby. Those stories are what inspired me to tell my own birth story. Every mom should feel respected, supported and loved no matter what way they choose to give birth.