OK, these thoughts are scattered, but I'm getting this written!
Bridger is my 5th child, and this was my first home birth.
On the morning of Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009, I woke up around 6:30 a.m. with regular mild contractions. It was 6 days past the due date, so I was hoping this was the REAL THING! I got the kids off to school, and told them that maybe when they got home, I'd know if this was real labor. We had planned for the kids to watch the birth if they desired.
After a few hours, I decided to call the midwives to tell them what was happening. I was sure that my labor was going to go on all day, and that the baby wouldn't be born until about midnight. I thought I'd have a long labor, like with my other births. Rose said she'd send Ian over in a little while to check on me. My midwives are a husband/wife team. Ian and Rose Penwell from The Natural Alternative Midwifery Practice. They are awesome! So experienced and compassionate!
Around 10:45 a.m. Ian and an assistant Stacia arrived to check my vitals, and listen to the baby's heartbeat. My contractions were getting closer together and more intense, but still manageable, not painful. I welcomed each contraction, like a big hug from a friend. I visualized these sensations as helpful, having purpose, opening my cervix. I stayed very relaxed. I think all my reading and studying was paying off. Oh, and my prayers too, for a comfortable safe birth! I had read several good books, like Birth Stories, Spiritual Midwifery, Birthing from Within, and many others. I had studied and prepared for this, for about a year.
I also had listened to some of the Hypnobabies relaxation/visualization CD's during the last few days and weeks of pregnancy, and I think they really helped.
I had planned that if/when labor got really hard, I would try many different techniques to help me get through. Like taking a bath, lighting canclles, rocking on the exercise ball, listening to relaxing/inspirational music/ Hypnobabies birth CD, reading scriptures and praying, massage, watch a movie, take a walk...
So, Tyler was at work, because I thought I'd do well laboring quietly at home, and not need him around until later that afternoon, for support. I called him and told him the midwives were coming over to check on me, and that he might want to come home in about an hour. Luckily his assistant Cindy told him to come home right away, or he might have missed the birth!
So, when Tyler got home, Ian and Stacia were here too. I was laying on my left side on the couch to help my blood pressure come down a bit.
Then Ian went to the bedroom to set out the birth supplies and such. Stacia left to go get some supplies. My plan was to give birth somewhere in the bedroom or master bath. Maybe a water birth in the tub, or maybe sitting on the birthing stool.
After a few minutes Tyler and I went into the bedroom as well. We have a tall log bed, and when I'd have a contraction, I would lean forward on the bed (with my feet on the floor) and close my eyes. Ian showed Tyler how to apply counter pressure on my lower back, and that helped take the intensity of the contraction down about 50%. It was great! I was doing well.
With my other births, when I'd have a contraction, I'd say "Oh no, here comes another one. Oh, it hurts". This time, I'd say or think, "Oh yeah, here it comes, open, open". I was so relaxed and confident. My body was designed for this, and I was ready to let my body just do what it knew to do. I moved in accordance to what I felt. I trusted birth.
Between a couple of the contractions I rocked on the birthing ball. After just a few (maybe 5) contractions there in the bedroom, I decided it would feel good to lay in a warm bath. My contractions were getting more intense (but not painful, because I was so relaxed) so the tub seemed like a great idea to get more comfort. I could feel the baby starting to descend.
Ian said that we should check my dilation before I got into the tub. If I wasn't to a 5 yet, it could slow down my labor progress. I figured I'd be at 2 or 3 cm., and would have to wait longer for the tub. So, I climbed up onto the bed, to be checked. To our great surprise, Ian said he could feel the baby's head, and that I was at a 9! Whoa! No wonder I was wanting the comfort of a warm bath!
Ian walked into the bathroom and started the bath water running. Tyler held my hand to help me down off the bed. As soon as my feet touched the floor, "Splash!" My water broke right there on the light carpet! Then more splashes as blood and more water came out. (Tyler was wondering how he was going to get the carpet clean!) I was standing up, with Tyler supporting me. We were both shocked. This baby was coming NOW! We both said, "Ian, come back!" Ian came back into the bedroom to see what we wanted. I spotted the birthing stool, and told him to grab it, and said that the baby was coming right now! It was about 12:00 noon. 5 1/2 hours from my first contractions.
(Unknown to me, my mom arrived and got my kindergartner off the bus just in time!)
So I sat on the birthing stool, (kind of a standing squat) with Tyler supporting my arms and weight from behind. Ian reminded me to breathe. My body was doing the pushing for me, I didn't have to try to push. I just breathed. (Ian managed to grab a disposable mat or two, and put them under me).
Tyler said "Look! There's the head!" So I opened my eyes and saw the head! I guess I had been closing my eyes while concentrating on breathing. Then, realizing the cord was wrapped twice around the baby's neck, Ian gently unwound it, and the baby came right out!! Ian caught the baby. The whole time Tyler was so supportive and was telling me what a good job I was doing. My instincts had taken over. It was cool. The baby was healthy and looked good!
I was amazed and in awe. I exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, I just had a baby! That was so simple!"
I think being so relaxed, and in an upright position made a huge difference. No tearing, no stitches.
I continued to bleed a lot, so Ian and Tyler laid me on the floor. Ian delivered the placenta, and gave me oral medication to help stop the bleeding. Also, In the next little while Stacia and Rose arrived, and the 3 of them helped to get me cleaned up, to the bathroom, and stablized, and to my bed. I got an IV and oxygen too, to help recover from the blood loss. (I also bled when Grace my 3rd child, was born at the hospital and received 2 shots to stop the bleeding).
After I gave birth, and was laying on the floor, I had the baby on my belly, skin to skin, with a towel over him to keep him warm, as Ian worked to stop the bleeding. I admired the baby's face, and fingers, and toes. I tried nursing then too. I checked to be sure he was really a boy. I couldn't believe I had just given birth at home! It was wonderful and simple!
I was so thankful to have Tyler there for support and comfort, and to Ian for his encouragement and expertise. If I had planned a hospital birth, I don't think I would have made it to the hospital. I had no idea my labor would be so mild, or that it would progress so fast. I loved having a home birth, it was on my own turf, very empowering. And I believe, that had I not planned to have a home birth, I probably would have given birth at home anyway, but not had the help there that I needed. Tyler and I had prayed and studied a lot about our birth options, and felt led to choose a home birth. We also prayed about who to hire to help us, and we felt good about hiring Ian and Rose. They were so wonderful to work with!
While I recovered in the bed, Tyler got out his shop vac. Ian got out the Peroxide. Together they got the carpet clean! My mom went and picked up the kids from school, and picked up a pizza too. When the kids came home they all adored their new baby brother. They helped Rose with the newborn exam. Bridger weighed 8 lbs. 12 oz. As I looked around the room, and saw my family and midwives there, I was so thankful to the Lord for blessing me with such wonderful people to support me, and for a great birth, and healthy baby.
I feel so much more educated about the natural process of birth now. During each of my prenatal check-ups, I spent a good hour or more with the midwives, as I asked questions, and they answered. I loved what I learned about nutrition, labor and birth! After each of my previous 4 hospital births (where I laid on my back), I had lower back pain for months afterward. This time, there has been no pain!
Maybe some of you are wondering...
Why did we choose to have a home birth?
A few years ago, while camping with friends, we met a couple who had just had a home birth. They spoke so highly of their experience. Tyler and I listened, but were thinking they were crazy to have a baby at home! It sounded irresponsible and dangerous.
Then over the next few years we met a few more people who had wonderful home birth experiences. I have made a few friends (Dawn, Krissy, and Melody) who have taught me so much, and answered my questions, as I have done the research for myself, to find out the truth and facts about home birth. Is it Safe? I would never put my life or my baby's life in danger, just to be in the comfort of my home, or to save money.
I do not consider myself brave for choosing a home birth. Brave is when you do something risky, or dangerous. I chose to have a home birth because after doing SO much research, I believe that it is the safest, healthiest way for many women to have a baby ( low risk women). Tyler and I have done a "180" in our thinking about birth! We liked what we learned when watching the movies "Pregnant in America" and also "The Business of Being Born". (You should see if your local library has them, they are very informative.)
I like the philosophies of midwives. I love how they encourage a mother to eat and drink while in labor. They share their knowlege about labor and delivery positions that aide in the baby coming out more comfortably. The midwives are trained to know how to help with complications, (and wouldn't hesitate to transfer to the hospital if necessary). For example, with my excessive bleeding, and the baby's cord wrapped around his neck... they were handled quickly and easily. I am also glad that I didn't get cut this time and have stitches.
I am thankful that I am in good health and low risk. I know that not everyone can have a home birth. There are many birth options, and I'm glad I did the research and found what was right for me. Home birth is a wonderful option.
Here are some cool facts about home birth:
HOME BIRTH reduces: the risk of infection, unnecessary interventions, maternal morbidity rates from complications and interventions, risks from errors in hospitals.
If any of you want to learn more about the safety of home birth, Do the Research, or ask me about it, and we'll talk!
*used with permission, Rhonda, Tyler and her family live in Idaho.
If you would like her contact info, leave a comment.