Let Me Be Clear.
I had a deep desire to labor and birth our third child in our home before I ever imagined having a fourth. Home Birth was in my heart before I remarried. It wasn’t something that I chose as a RESULT of a terrible experience in the hospital. Women and couples decide to have a home birth in a plethora of ways. Could it be an option for you now or in the future? Let’s explore…
My home birth was all that I hoped it would be.
Both of my midwives, Brandi and Mindy, scheduled an in-home visit with my “birth party” once I reached 36 weeks; the magic number when baby should safely be born at home. My birth party (people present during labor and birth) was probably larger than most. My husband and children were all present, my mom, sister, In-loves, a dear friend, and doula were all present during the exciting part of my labor and birth.
I say exciting part of my labor, because my water broke and I labored nearly 40 hours before MJ was born. Sounds awful doesn’t it? It wasn’t. The most frustrating part of laboring that long was coming to the realization that yes, my water broke at 7ish in the morning, but I wouldn’t meet my baby that same day. My contractions continued, so I thought they were making progress. So far, the contractions weren’t unbearable- I could walk, sway, bounce, color, and talk to my mom while she baked cinnamon rolls in our kitchen.
I should’ve known, with those signs that my labor would last a while longer.
After about 12 hours of laboring, I called Mindy to come check me out.It turned out that my cervix was only about 2 centimeters dilated. I felt so mad! At this point, I realized that I couldn’t inconvenience anyone who’d arrived as a willing part of this experience. Keep your party smaller, so you won’t have any of those feeling if you happen to have a longer than average labor.
Mindy was so gracious and sweet to me. She wasn’t the least bit annoyed that she’d come all that way only to return home with me still pregnant. She advised me to eat, drink a glass of wine and get some sleep. My mother-in-love was so sweet and volunteered to make the wine run two nights in a row because Saturday and Sunday were much of the same. Our family took shifts in and out to check on us and make sure we ate. I ate better while labored than I did the entire pregnancy!
By Sunday, I was going stir-crazy
I felt so annoyed at my still-pregnant state. Brent and I ended up padding the passenger’s seat of the car that night and taking a drive. Everyone left, and I had cabin fever. However, the time allowed us to talk and enjoy the view of the stars.
I woke up Monday morning to a big gush of fluid and substantial contractions. IT WAS ON.
Finally, we put out the call and woke up the family members that were already at house waiting. I remember using the restroom just after my midwife arrived, and sitting there fussing my husband out. It angered me- I was in labor and having a BM. The need disgusted me. Like, who does that?! I knew that this happened all the time, but it was the strangest feeling to me. I kept telling him it was all his fault. Haha!
We decided to check my cervix after I got cleaned up and I had progressed to four. We still knew there was a way to go, but knew we would meet MJ soon.
Once again, I misjudged my daughter.
She was out and on my chest in 41 minutes!!!! That might be the only thing that I would change. With contractions coming so close together, and then suddenly boom baby– it was hard for me to mentally and physical keep up with. I barely made it into the birthing tub. As soon as I sat down, by body began pushing.
My husband and I decided to leave her placenta attached for a few hours after birth. So MJ and I dried off and climbed back into bed to nurse while Mindy looked us over. Meanwhile, someone fed me and gave me water. I remember feeling so incredibly thankful to give birth at home, in my space.
There was no hurrying around going on just joy and excitement. After a few hours passed Mindy prepared a nice herbal bath for me and MJ to get cleaned up and then helped us get back in bed and comfy again. Seriously the best immediate postpartum period that I could have asked for.
I know you have some curiosities…
Throughout the pregnancy and labor, my husband and received lots of questions. I also like to open myself up to answer questions from others who are curious about home birth. Here are few that we’ve come across:
What would you do if the baby stopped breathing?
If baby stops breathing or isn’t breathing at birth, the midwife takes resuscitation measures, just the same as the hospital. My midwives came equipped with rescue bags and it was our responsibility to provide a metal cookie sheet to serve as a hard surface in the event baby needed CPR. Do make sure the midwives you choose are trained in neonatal resuscitation.
How often do you check heartbeat?
Baby’s has his heartbeat checked aproximately every twenty minutes during active labor, but less often in early labor and during pushing.
Do you prepare emergency plans?
Yes, we prepare emergency back up plans. I registered with my back-up hospital ahead of time, in the event I needed transported.
Can I eat/drink what I want the entire time?
I ate and drank EVERYTHING I wanted. I was SO hungry!
Is it true that it’s unsanitary to give birth in the water that you are sitting in?
This is not true unless the water somehow becomes contaminated. If you have a bowel movement while pushing, you should of course get out of the water. This is the same procedure you would follow if you were pushing on the bed, and the soiled linen would be removed before baby is born.
What do you do to provide mom comfort immediately after placenta delivers?
It’s a great option to have warm blankets or heating pads arranged. The parents or someone in the birth party can provide them. The entire experience is customized to fit the needs of mom/dad/family. However keep in mind that requests shouldn’t keep the midwives from ensuring the safety of Mom and baby.
Does mom still go to the hospital afterwards? What preparations need to made beforehand as far as materials, sanitation, space, etc…?
No need for Mom to go to the hospital if delivery was uneventful. Your home should be just as clean as it normally is. There is a list of supplies that we needed available for the birth. For instance, we had a water birth, so we had to get a water hose, plastic to go under the tub to protect our carpet and a bunch of extra towels on hand.
Weren’t you concerned about infection with your water being broken so long?
I wasn’t. Being at home with ruptured membranes is much different from being at the hospital with all those germs. I trusted my midwives and I follow their instructions closely. They told me to practice good hygiene, clean the toilet seat before each use, nothing in my vagina, to stay hydrated, and watch for signs of fever. I wasn’t gushing fluid at all. There was a slow leak until the morning MJ was born.
Hospitals are a great option, but they are not the ONLY option. Explore all of them and be fearless in making the best choice for you and your family. Are you interested in your own home birth? What are some of your question about the process? Let’s keep the conversation going! We would love to hear some of your home birth experiences.
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