Having a home birth wasn’t the first thing to come to mind when I found out I was pregnant the second time. I had given birth to my first daughter at a birth center and loved the experience. This time, however, I knew I wanted something different.
It took quite a long time to come to the conclusion to have a home birth. My husband was more excited about the idea than I was at first and somehow he managed to convince me to go ahead with it. After interviewing three midwives, I had found the perfect person. You really need to search deep and mesh well with the midwife since you two will get very intimate. She will do things for you that you wouldn’t normally want anyone to do or witness.
My midwife came over every month (just as one would go to a doctor’s office). She would check my blood pressure, measure my belly, listen to the baby, and test my urine. Just having someone come to you instead of having to travel pregnant, with a toddler in tow, was amazing! At 37 weeks I went to see a midwife at MUSC to get the “go ahead” to have a home birth. The baby was already head down and measuring perfect, so I was very excited.
40 weeks came and went and the waiting game continued. My first daughter was almost two weeks late (and I had to drink castor oil to get her out). I hoped and prayed this time wouldn’t go so long. I had been seeing my midwife weekly and everything was progressing well. She fully understood the frustration I had, but assured me the baby would come when ready. This didn’t stop me from buying the castor oil though. I bought it and just stared at the bottle hoping the baby would somehow know I was ready to meet her. Thankfully I didn’t have to drink it!
I went into labor on Super Bowl Sunday (only five days “late”). It was around three in the afternoon that I informed my midwife that things were changing and felt different. We continued on with the day and went to my parents to watch the super bowl. We left during half time because my contractions were about seven minutes apart and my anxiety of having a home birth and not being home started to set in. I was very nervous, but knew my body was capable of this and it was only my mind that needed to relax.
We got home around 8:30, and my husband put our toddler to bed (thank goodness he fell asleep with her, falling asleep with her because I needed him to be alert and ready for an all nighter). I labored downstairs for a few hours, constantly texting my midwife. I woke my husband up around 11:30, and my midwife arrived shortly after that. The birthing tub was blown up and ready to be filled with water. I had been in the bathtub most of that time to help with the pain of the contractions. They continued every two and five minutes. Sadly, every time I got into the birthing tub, my contractions would slow and I’d have to get out of the water for things to progress. The tub was definitely not my friend, although the water felt amazing during contractions.
I asked my midwife to check me around two or three am, to which I was surprised to hear that I was at eight centimeters. I didn’t feel like things were changing that much and it worried me. The entire time I labored, my husband was right there squeezing my hips together to help alleviate the pain. This was amazing, as I swore so many times that my thighs were going to break off from my body. (Oh the pain you feel). The contractions were getting more and more intense, and my husband constantly tried to get me to drink coconut water and eat something, but I couldn’t. I began to throw up from the pain (which I did with my first as well) and surprisingly that made me feel so much better. Hey, no one said labor was pretty…in fact, it only gets worse before getting better.
Rowen wasn’t dropping and my water hadn’t broken so we felt sort of in limbo. My midwife suggested that I sit on the toilet in order to let gravity bring the baby down. She also had me “spin the baby”. This was the hardest part, as I had to sit rear facing on the toilet and with each contraction, I tucked in my belly and squeezed and pushed the baby in my stomach. I did this about three or four times. Suddenly, my water broke and I felt so much relief! I’m so thankful that my midwife had just taken a spinning babies class and knew what to do!
Once my water had broken, I walked back to the bed (with assistance of course) and got on all fours to start pushing. This was not very comfortable for me so I stood up and squatted to push. My husband was holding me on one side, the birth assistant on the other side, and my midwife down below to catch the baby. Pushing this baby out was much harder than my first (probably because she was almost 1.5 pounds bigger). And it’s definitely not pretty pushing out babies, as most moms know. Crap happens, literally! It didn’t happen with my first, but did this time around. Thankfully my midwife was quick to clean things up.
I pushed and pushed, and finally her head came out. I remember barely being able to hold myself up and looking down seeing her head just sticking out. It was crazy! A few more pushes and she slipped out! My midwife caught her and had to remove the umbilical cord that was wrapped over her shoulder and around a leg (the cord happened to be holding her in place in me, which is why she wasn’t descending like we wanted). Rowen was born at 5:41 am and she was perfect. Labor ended up being much longer than I had anticipated, but thankfully my toddler slept through everything. She woke up and came into the room just after I gave birth. As in minutes after. It was perfect timing, although she did see a bit of a mess. We were lying on the floor, blood everywhere and just exhausted, but my midwife hurried to clean up a bit so Emma wouldn’t freak out. She was quite shocked though.
After an hour or two, the shock for our toddler wore off and we were a family of four, all cuddled up in bed. It was so magical to be in our bed together right after. Before I knew it, my midwife and the assistant had everything cleaned up and were getting ready to leave. They had done all their exams on me and the baby (she was a perfect 7 pounds, 8 ounces) and had latched within minutes of being born.
Looking back on our home birth
Now, I sit here writing this and staring at my beautiful little baby, I can’t believe my own strength. I am so thankful my home birth went as amazing as it did. Yes, I had horrible anxiety about it at first and was terrified something could have gone wrong, but it didn’t. I trusted myself, my husband, and my midwife and knew it would all be okay. I truly believe in hospitals and doctors and know that medical intervention is definitely needed in some cases. I also wish women could have the experience of a home birth and not fear birth, as it is beautiful and such an amazing thing we get to do as women!
If you are interested in a home birth and have questions, or just need reassurance, I urge you to talk to moms who have a had home births. I guarantee you that we can put your mind at ease.