My Home Birth Story

I’m now a mother & New Year’s Eve will never be the same!

The depth of this love is indescribable and transformative. I was fortunate to have the birth I wanted, and in the comfort of my home. We planned on a home birth with San Diego Midwifes.  Jamin and LaShel are amazing, but as pregnancy has taught me you are never in control and unforesceen things can happen. So I’m really thrilled to say we got to have the perfect home birth and didn’t have to deal with any change of our birth plans.

On December 24th about 2 1/2 weeks before I was due (January 14th, 2016) I lost my mucus plug and got very excited, but nothing happened. Then on the 28th around 9pm, four days later pre-labor began. I would have small random contractions that, let me tell you, could take my breath away! I actually was very scared that if they were more intense then this I might not be able to have my baby at home. One of my husbands patients said that they don’t get stronger, just longer so with that piece of knowledge I was able to accept them and invite them on. Some were easier than others. The hardest part is they were random and made it very hard for me to do much of anything. Even watching a movie was difficult. I just could not get comfortable and it was very frustrating.

The pre-labor lasted for about 3 days and on the 31st at 5:40am I thought I woke up to my water broken. My midwife came over with a PH strip to test if I had actually broke my water and I didn’t. Apparently you can have a lot of liquid discharge at the end of pregnancy, that confuses a lot of mothers as water being broken. So I tried to go back to watching a movie and relaxing. The most important thing for me to do over that 3 days of pre-labor was eat and rest as the marathon of birth could happen at anytime. It’s hard to not want to clean, organize or get some work done, but I listened to the midwifes & my husband and did my best to just chill out.

Around 4pm that day I had another gush of liquid and my husband tested it with the left over PH strips and sure enough my water had broken this time. Within a half an hour my contractions became more consistent in time and in pattern. My husband and I labored alone for about 2 hours until one of the midwifes came to assist. When she arrived, she recommend I  get in the shower to help with the intensity of the contractions. Let me tell you, for however long I was in the shower, it was the only subtle reprieve I could get. It was glorious! Warm water is your friend in birth. We had a birthing tub, but after the shower it was so intense and the contractions kept rolling on to me that I couldn’t do much but ride it out.

The pain of labor is a “pain” you can’t explain it. It’s a feeling like no other pain or feeling I’ve experienced before. It takes away your breath, makes you lose track of time and space; times even feeling like you are outside of your body looking down at it. I was unaware of the space and people around me at times and then hyper sensitive to them at others. There was time I couldn’t hear myself think. Then times were I could logically talk to myself and reassure myself that I was okay and that this is labor. The sounds that came out of me I never knew I could make and it was 100% animal. You go to a very raw animalistic state in labor. Now I believe some of the crazy movie scenes I used to make fun of. The intensity is what is unreal and what at times makes you feel like you just can’t take anymore or do it any longer. I understand why if given the option for an epidural most, if not all, women would take it. I’m sure if my midwifes would have offered it I would have taken it. BUT here is the best part of that story. When I started to really hit the wall of “pain” or a better word is “discomfort” I looked at my husband and asked him to hold me.  We cried together for a moment and embraced the best embrace of our life in that space. It was the best pick me up of comfort and security I could have asked for. This was my second moment of a subtle reprieve from the intensity of the day. At this point I was about 3 hours into my labor.

For most of this labor I went from sitting on the toilet to hands and knees on the rug by my sink. I went between the two areas, back and forth, the whole time. Rotating between the two locations. Laboring on the toilet was the most comfortable and ideal position for me and what my body wanted. I had my yoga blocks and would rest my feet on them to help be able to have my knees in a more optimal position to release tension.  At other times holding the sink and squatting down to the floor also helped relieve the pressure in my lower back and help baby descend. While I would do this my husband would apply pressure to my lower back or would help open my hips with a gentle counter pulls. Both felt amazing! Thank god he is a chiropractor and understands the human anatomy. He also would constantly give me water almost after ever contraction. I really can’t tell you how crucial it is to have a team-mate in this process. If you don’t have an active & attentive partner  PLEASE  hire a doula to facilitate this because it is so so important to have that loving support during labor.

Then around hour 3 of labor I was on hands and knees on my bath rug by the sink and there was a huge gush of water again. This was a clear moment that the baby’s head was in the birth canal. Later I was told it’s like a plug and when it moves or descends the plug opens up and allows more liquid to release.  I started crying because it was beyond over whelming at this point and I had this intense feeling of needing to push.  At this time, 3.5 hours in to labor, the second midwife arrived and decided to check my cervix for the first time.

Up until this point, the dilation of my cervix was not checked. Looking back this was so smart. I had no clue how far or how long I had been in this state of labor. I was not caught up in how much or how little I was dilated. I just knew I had to be at the end because I had enough. If she would have been checking me the whole time I would have gotten caught up in how long the process was taking. Instead at around 8:15pm she checked me and told me in 30 minutes I could start pushing on the bed. That seemed like 10 minutes and next thing I knew I was on the floor by the bed squatting some more then up in my bed. Once I got in my bed, my husband helped hold my legs and with three pushes baby’s head crowned and she was born. The head as it was passing through the “ring of fire” as they call it was not as intense as the contractions, but a total different feeling. At this point you forget about contractions and I just focused on my midwife telling me when to push and when to stop.  She asked if I wanted to feel the head and I just couldn’t. I was in shock and at the moment and with a huge rush of energy was back in myself, realizing this baby was being born within minutes and I HAD DONE IT! I was in shock.  At 9:13pm about 4 hours of labor my baby girl was born on New Years Eve.

As she came out in one perfect push and up on my chest I couldn’t even move. I was in shock and at a total loss of words. I just did this and she is now here on my chest, my baby! It was insane. I thought I would never get there at times in labor; that this moment was never coming and it was here! She came out alert, moving, eyes opened, crying and ready to eat. I’ve never seen anything like her. Within the hour of coming out she had pooped, pee’d and breastfeed. It was amazing how different a non-drugged baby is. My experience, natural birth was so worth it for her.

After the umbilical cord stopped pulsating my husband cut it and within minutes I delivered the placenta. That is an incredible organ and really special for what it does. We had one of the midwifes incapsulate it for us so I could take it over the next couple weeks to help with postpartum and it works, but that’s a whole other article.

I did tear with childbirth, but the midwifes quickly stitched me up and that was that. I will tell you that after birth, the soreness, swelling and tenderness of your undercarriage is real. That area just worked really hard and did an unbelievable task. Be gentle and don’t do anything you don’t have to, stay in bed as long as you can.

Within an hour and half after giving birth we were all in bed resting. My husband and I just stared at this little angel. It was a magical moment, so much so that we forgot it was New Years and totally missed it. We were just drunk on our daughter and what just happened. It was unreal!

I wouldn’t change a thing, the pre-labor was so important to helping my cervix open up that when labor started I’m sure I was already pretty open. To have a 4 hour labor at home was so special and I feel so fortunate. My midwifes said my body responded like a second time mom. The funny thing is I really can’t wait to do it again. The experience despite the intensity at moments, is so worth it. To see my baby over the last week so happy, healthy and content is worth any discomfort. Natural childbirth was so worth it. If I could have my baby at home, every woman can. I really believe this.

It’s been 8 days since the birth and I really haven’t left the master bedroom. I have no reason to. I’m not letting the world in yet and I highly recommend you allow yourself this time as well. It goes by fast and right now the only priority and place I need to be is with her, here in our bubble.

I feel great and my body is shockingly coming back to it’s non-pregnant state fast. My vagina is the the only area that needs more time and TLC, but that is to be expected and normal. I again attribute my fast recovery, no baby blues, breastfeeding ease to a natural child birth and being in the comforts of my home which includes a bunch of healthy supplements to promote healing & recovery. During this last week my husband took off work and we have been able to work at being new parents together, figuring out what works for us and what works for her. It’s been a very special time and I really don’t want him to go back to work next week, but life moves on. I’m just so appreciative we could be together through it all. I know some women who don’t get this with their partner and I cherish it with mine.

If you are in San Diego I highly recommend using San Diego Midwifes as your partners in your birth process. The care we have received prior to baby and after baby is unmatched. I have been able to call and be in constant contact this whole time with any questions or concerns. Also the visits after in the home to reassure us and make sure baby is thriving have been incredible. I can’t image any other experience or having a baby in a hospital with out this post labor support. That too is another huge reason to think about a more personal experience with your birth and the professional you hire. At a hospital you would not get that care, you would get a 800 number.

I’m so happy that we had the lovely experience we had and was able to have a natural home birth. It’s my hope all mothers have a similar and loving experience.

Best home birth wishes,

-XO

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