Home Birth: I Gave Birth On My Bed, In My Home
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December of 2017 my new husband of one year and I found out we were pregnant with our first baby together. I had previously had 3 children and he had 2. This baby would make a total of 6 kids. There was a good chance this was our first and last baby together.
I specifically remember hearing about home birth stories 5 or so years ago and I thought they were unsafe and honestly. . . just weird. I’ve clearly changed my opinion about that because my last baby was born at home and If I wanted 12 kids I would do it 6 more times easy. I’ll also say that I’ve never been, and still never have been anti-hospital, anti-doctor, or really anti-anything
I think it’s amazing that our bodies can give birth in so many ways and that with education we have the option to choose what is best for us and our baby. I’ve been a Registered Nurse for 10 years. I know that hospital births in their many forms can also be an amazing experience for mom and baby.
Flashback to 8 years ago when I was pregnant with my first baby. I took the hospital birth classes, got tons of advice, heard how painful it would be to have a baby but knew I had options to help with the pain. I also didn’t know that my options for giving birth were way beyond those things. I didn’t fully understand the possible risks or even benefits of hospital interventions.
I didn’t know that in the hospital I could have my own voice and make choices that maybe wasn’t hospital protocol. I especially didn’t know that in most cases (there are exceptions) that my body knew exactly what to do to give birth already.
I was induced with my first baby because my water broke with no contractions. I was going to “try” to go natural because I can handle pain. Well, turns out I couldn’t handle it so I chose an epidural. It took the pain away, baby was doing good.
However, the epidural made me feel claustrophobic not being able to move or feel my lower body. Also, the epidural kept wearing-off. I would go back and forth with no pain but very uncomfortable, to all of a sudden feeling the contractions and the pressure of the baby coming down. So, I would get a bolus of medication and then I would feel so sick and nauseous again.
I was fortunate to have a relatively short labor of 6 hours and a healthy baby. After that delivery I felt like everything was fine but wondering if I should have just gone natural because I feel like I felt almost everything anyway, and if I wasn’t having pain then I was super sick and uncomfortable.
Long story short, baby number 2 basically went the exact same way. . .
Baby number 3, By now I was feeling like epidurals just didn’t work for me in a way that I thought was really worth it. I started exploring the idea of unmedicated birth. I took hypnobirthing classes, talked with other moms who have done it, read tons of book, and watched lots of births on You Tube. This all literally got me excited to give birth unmedicated.
By this time, I was actually very interested in home birth, but it was still something that I wasn’t fully prepared for and I didn’t want the judgment I thought might come from it. I was nervous, but for me being educated on all my many options and to decide what type of birth would be best for me I felt empowered that I could actually do this. I had an unmedicated birth in the hospital. It had its moments when I thought this is so hard, but at the end it was worth it. I felt like wonder woman and I wanted to tell the whole world about my experience.
So now while I was pregnant with my 4th baby and possibly my last I had no doubt that I wanted to give birth unmedicated if possible. I had planned to deliver in the hospital again. I took more hypnobirthing classes and saw more home birth videos. For some reason watching others’ videos (not the scary ones) got me so excited to give birth at home.
I loved the idea of just labor starting when my baby was ready, laboring at home with my husband, being in my own bed, moving around as I pleased, eating drinking, having my kids with me, taking a shower or bath all while feeling safe! Since I thought this might be my last chance, around 20 weeks along I found a mid-wife team that I loved. I have always loved my OB, but at every appointment I had with our midwife I felt like our baby and I were so well cared for. I felt like we were in such good hands, and felt so safe to have them be there to support us in giving birth at home.
With hospital birth you pack your hospital bag. With my home birth my midwife gave me a list of things to have ready. I had a table in my room organized with snacks and drinks, clean towels and washcloths, crockpot to put keep warm towels in, shower curtain to cover my bed and more.
I have never gone before my due date before, so by my 4th baby I finally just assumed it would be that way. On July 2 as my husband and I were lying in bed watching TV I felt unusually anxious. It was late but I wasn’t tired at all. The Braxton hicks I had been having regularly for a few weeks seemed to become stronger and stronger. I had never gone into labor on my own, without the help of Pitocin or (cough cough) castor oil.
I wasn’t really sure what going into labor on my own would be like. I asked my husband start timing, and they seemed pretty frequent and regular. I don’t think he or I really believed I was in true labor. So, my husband and I tried to get things going and 5 minutes later the contractions started to get more intense. Now I knew this was it, I hopped in the shower while my husband called the midwife at 1am.
I could hear her sleepy voice saying that she is on her way. I was a little worried because she was 45 minutes away and what if she didn’t get here in time!? My husband kept reassuring me that we would be fine, and worst worst case we could call 911 if things were getting really close.
While I was preparing for my birth I had decided that I only wanted my husband and midwife with me. I wanted to have as calm environment as possible and didn’t want the whole world seeing the primal version of myself. Being since it was now late in the night and I had 3 kids in bed I needed someone there in case they woke up.
So . . . I called my mom who brought my sister in law to come hangout downstairs while I was about to give birth. About 45 minutes after calling her my midwife walked in my bedroom and along with 3 assistants. They brought in bags, suitcases and all sorts of containers with equipment.
This made me feel better because I also didn’t realize they would have all those things to keep me and my baby safe. They had an infant warmer, antibiotics, IV’S, Pitocin, and more. She checked my baby and I and things seemed to be going great. They excused themselves to go hangout downstairs and told us to let them know if we needed them.
I labored just my me and my husband. Our hypnobirthing class we took together included a part on daddy doula training. My husband was so amazing and knew the do’s and don’ts on how to support me during labor. He would run the bath for me, adjust the music we were listening to, make sure I was drinking liquids, keep me motivated, apply counter pressure while I was having contractions, and so so so much more.
I decided to try laboring in my bathtub. He was able to just lean over the edge and just be there, going through it with me. The midwife would come in and peek at how we were doing and would check on the baby. The privacy to labor on my own let me do what my body needed to do without feeling any pressure to have it go any certain way.
For the most part, I felt very in control with each contraction, sometimes I would get in my head and say, “I actually CHOSE to do this?! “ I also knew when I was feeling that way, we were getting closer to meet our baby and it gave me the motivation I needed to power through.
I was familiar with what to expect as things were getting close, and after about 4 hours of labor I could tell, and the whole house could hear that things were getting close.
My midwife and her 3 assistants were all in the bathroom with me, just quietly supporting me and telling me how amazing we were doing. I wanted someone to take pictures. . . so I said, okay, go get my mom and sister-in-law. I now had 2 more people in the bathroom with me. I didn’t even care at that moment and was just focused on my baby.
I felt like it was getting time to push and wanted to be on my bed. So on my next break I went on my bed. I had my husband on my side and the room with people just quietly taking the space. They were there if I needed them. My mom woke my oldest daughter up to come be in the room with us.
At this point the pressure and desire to push became so strong that my body just took control and started pushing for me with each contraction. I was on my hands and knees and could literally feel my baby coming down.
For me, pushing is hard, there was a point when I thought, “I can’t do this”. . . then I would think “well, you don’t have any choice but to do it.” The desire to meet my baby gave me the strength I needed to do what my body was made to do. After about 15 minutes of slow and controlled pushing, my baby was born and my midwife brought our baby up between my legs and I saw him for the first time.
I had no tearing at all. I had never experienced that with my 3 previous births. I was in so much shock that I did it, that my midwife had to tell me it was okay for me to pick him up. My husband and I just stared at him in awe of what a beautiful baby he was.
This was such an amazing gift to have our first baby together. Our family felt instantly whole. I picked up my baby boy for the first time. I was so happy he was here and I was so proud that I had the home birth I hoped for. While he was lying on my chest my midwife was checking my baby, never taking him away from me.
Others were checking my bleeding, which was a little on the heavy side so they gave me a shot of Pitocin to be safe. All while I was holding him, my baby and I were cleaned up, and our bed and room was cleaned up.
They let me nurse him right away and he latched right on. We then woke up my other kids and my husband and kids got to hold our sweet boy. We had an hour of this precious time with our brand new baby uninterrupted in our bedroom.
Our midwife asked if she could then check the baby. She weighed him and did a full assessment on him. We were both doing great, so they “tucked us into bed” (new sheets and all). Our Midwife hung out downstairs for a couple hours letting us have time to bond with our baby. After she did her final check on us it was just me, my husband and our new baby. We got to enjoy this new baby in our home, literally in the spot he was born. Not a day goes by that we don’t think, “can you believe he was born right here?”.