Why did you choose to have your baby at home?Empowerment and Comfort
In a hospital, you are not in charge of your birth or your body.
Describe your labor and birth:In a nutshell – liberating.
My first pregnancy ended in the hospital with a dose of cytotec, an exhaustive twelve hours of non-stop, no-breaks contractions and four long, strenuous hours of “pushing” (not to mention hemorrhoids from another dimension).
My second pregnancy ended in bitter tears, four hours of “labor” (approximately half an hour in the car on my home from picking up my son and the final three hours dancing between the shower and the toilet). I birthed a precious angel no bigger than a grain of rice, and together with my family, we gave this child a proper burial.
My third pregnancy was completely different from the beginning. In my third trimester, I set a home birth plan into motion. Similar to my first pregnancy, I passed my due date and began the stressful journey of postdates AFI ultrasounds and NSTs to appease my OB. I began feeling discouraged, allowing my pessimistic mind to convince myself that my body didn’t know how to go into labor naturally.
My husband and I began pitifully attempting to jumpstart labor, sex thrice a day, spicy dinners, Homeopathic Black&Blue Cohosh, clary sage oil massaged onto the reflex points…
On Friday, October 14 at 2:30pm I met with my OB for a post dates examination (41 weeks, 2 days). My OB insisted she strip my membranes to “encourage labor so that I might indeed have the home birth I desired”. I began feeling a slight cramping with my Braxton Hicks contractions later that evening. Once our son was successfully down to sleep, we started our evening routine. One dose Cohosh, clary sage foot massage, sex! and sleep.
Approximately two hours later (12:30am) I woke with a slightly more uncomfortable cramping.
I decided to keep track of these crampy contractions, just to see if there was a pattern to them at all. They lasted anywhere from 20 seconds to 80 seconds and were anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes apart.
At 4am, I decided to contact my midwife and continued to rest between these uncomfortable “cervical pinches” (as I decided to describe them).
I was up and readying my son for the sitter to pick him up around 7:30am. Around 8am I messaged my midwife again with an inquiry “I took the evening dose of caulophyllum homeopathic at 8:30pm… with the pelvic contractions I’ve had since 12:30am should I take the Cimicifuga doses today? or let my body work things out?”
Because I hadn’t gotten a proper nights sleep, 15 minute stretches here and there, she suggested I skip the Cimicifuga and suggested I try getting more rest and/or eat a full breakfast. My husband prepared eggs and sausage for my son and me which I managed to eat easily between contractions.
At 10am I texted again, unable to get more rest due to increasing frequency of these pinches/cramps. I was able to talk through them so I didn’t consider them serious. I ended up calling my midwife who decided to head over based on the growing intensity of my contractions.
Because I was becoming less tolerant of them, I decided to jump in the shower. I stayed there until I heard my midwife arrive.
I put my robe on and began laboring on all fours in my living room, leaning on my exercise ball and the couch to relax my contractions. I danced between the living room and the spare bedroom (where I had a bed prepared for the small chance I would deliver my baby there) to avoid staying in one position and encourage the labor process.
Although my contractions were growing in intensity, I didn’t believe active labor had begun. You see, my first labor was immensely more strenuous and I was still able to breathe, relatively calmly, through these contractions. Feeling discouraged by my inability to get to that point of intensity I exclaimed aloud, “This is taking forever!!”
My midwife assured me that was not the case. I moved to a crouched position by the couch when I started to feel a sensation of needing to “bear down”. When I looked down between my thighs, I’d noticed my water had broke. (I had to confirm my theory with my midwife because in my first pregnancy, my water breaking felt a lot like a balloon popping inside *ping*, followed by a sudden gush of what bore semblance to gallons of dish soap spilling out between my thighs). My midwife recommended I try emptying my bladder before getting situated in the pool.
At approximately 1pm I got into the pool and felt almost instantaneous relief. The warmth of the water relaxed my tense, stressed muscles. Because I was feeling so unaccomplished, I requested to have a pelvic exam, 9cm!! In fact, I was practically a 10 with the exception of a small portion of cervix that was hindering my baby’s descent.
I lay back against the pool wall and let my hips shift from side to side slowly in the water. Occasionally, I would turn around and rest my chest against the pool wall.
When I began feeling pushy, I returned to laying back against the pool wall. After a few bearing down pushes, my midwife asked me if I wanted to feel my baby’s head. “No,” I replied. Seconds later, “Okay”. The head felt wrinkly, like a lubricated raisin. After a few more intense contractions with pushes I felt the “ring of fire” sensation of my baby’s head crowning. Two pushes later, the baby’s head was birthed. A tiny pluck indicated the chin had emerged. What felt like hours (because I was aware the baby’s head was under water) only took a minute for the next contraction to signify my body to push baby’s shoulders out. One final push and I had delivered my second son into the pool. Because his cord was not very long, I lifted him just above my navel to have that precious skin-to-skin moment. His back was covered in vernix, which I gently rubbed into his skin revealing quite a thick “fur” of body hair.
Aside from feeling slightly lightheaded I felt incredible! It was the perfect birth and I am so satisfied with the care my midwife and her assistant provided. Being home was astronomically more “gezzelig” than our first experience!
What was your favorite part of your baby’s birth?No one was telling my body what to do. My body was telling me what to do and I was free to listen!What, if anything, would you do differently if you had another baby?Let my body do all the talking and ignore the expectations developed by previous experience.
Each and every labor and birth is unique and beautiful and should be embraced as such an experience.