My Home Birthing Experience
First let me start with the obvious here – why I chose to home birth. I hospital birthed my first child and it was not a “bad” experience. It was, however, not totally what I wanted. I wanted to be able birth naturally but because I was “not progressing fast enough” I was given the option of pitocin or epidural. I went with an epidural because I knew that pitocin would most likely just lead to an epidural anyways. I very much wanted to avoid that this time and let my body do what it was meant to do. I also liked the idea of being in the comfort of my own home. I would be able to sleep in my home with my baby that first night rather than stuck in a hospital room, most likely without my husband as he would be tending to our eldest child. Speaking of our oldest daughter, I wanted her to be there. I wanted her to experience it, to meet her sibling and start the bonding process immediately. I very much trusted our midwife and I knew that I would be sent to the hospital if there was an issue. The hospital was only about a 5 minute drive so I was quite comfortable with that. So, that is what swayed me in the decision to birth at home. I very much wanted a water birth! We were also team green (did not find out the gender of the baby prior to birth) for both our kids. I would highly recommend that, nothing like it! Home birthing is certainly not for everyone…but if you are thinking about it, I say go for it!
So here is my birth story:
The night before I went into labor I was really antsy. I just felt that labor was coming and tried to get as much rest as possible. I woke up several times in the night having to pee and with mild cramping/contractions. Around 5:00am I woke up to pee again and had several hard(er) contractions within 15 mins. I woke up my husband and told him I did not think he would be going to work that day. He laughed but then asked if I was serious when he saw my face. I told him I was going to go try to eat something so I would have strength as I labored. I went downstairs to let him rest and ate a Luna protein bar. We were not timing contractions yet but I was counting and had about 15 in the first hour. By 7:00am they had gotten stronger and I just knew this was it. We paged the midwife just to let her know what was going on but also that we could go unassisted for some time still as it didn’t seem like it was going to be a quick labor. She said she would call around 9:00am and check in. I tried to do some things to distract me like play video games and mess around on Facebook but contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and getting harder so I decided to just walk around the house.
My husband started to fill up the birthing tub and it was ready around 9:00am just in time for Priscilla (midwife on call) to call back. My husband let her know that I was going to get in the tub soon to help with the pain but that we probably still had time as contractions were increasing but were not “there” yet. We called my doula to update her and she came over right away to help with our oldest daughter. I got in the tub around 10:00am and the hot water felt AMAZING. There is no other way to describe it. I had an idea it would slow labor down but it was so worth it. It really made everything much more tolerable. Priscilla came around 11:00am. Every time I got out of the water to pee I would try to lay on the couch or squat and have a few contractions that way. They were MUCH harder out of the water than in the water due to gravity but that moved the labor along quicker. As much as I wanted to stay out for labor’s sake, I was rarely out of the water longer than 15 mins. I asked my husband to get in the water with me to rub my back and he did. As I contracted, he would push in on my hips to counteract the pain and it really helped (a tip from my doula!).
Around 2:30pm I was starting to feel discouraged. I was in a lot of pain and honestly was rethinking why I was at home instead of at the hospital with an epidural feeling nothing. Looking at my oldest and holding her hand really helped a lot as I knew she would be unable to be with me at the hospital. I asked my midwife to please check me so I could see how far dilated I was. I knew I needed that encouragement. I got out of the water, went to the bathroom, and then she checked me. She told me that baby’s head was very low and that I was around 7cm dilated. She suggested sitting backwards on the toilet and letting gravity help during contractions. WOW! That sucked! It was the worst pain I have ever felt. Even when I was not contracting the pressure was incredible. I told my husband I needed to get back in the water after 4 of those contractions so he helped me back to the tub. This was around 3:15pm.
At this point contractions were coming harder and faster but in my head, I was thinking I just cannot do this another 12 hours (thinking about my labor with my oldest which was 24 hours). I finally voiced my opinion and said “I don’t think I can do this” and almost started to cry. I should mention that I had been getting very verbal during contractions since getting back in the tub but honestly was not thinking the baby was that close to coming. My midwife and husband said “You are doing it!” The next contraction I had this urge to push. There is no other way to describe it except that I HAD to push. So I pushed and oh my, the ring of fire…that was horrible! I screamed “it burns!” as I was pushing and both my husband and Priscilla said “that’s good!!”. My older daughter started crying because I was screaming so loud so my doula took her outside. Only 3-4 more pushes and I felt baby’s head pop out. I reached down and it was absolutely the most incredible thing I ever felt. I leaned back (I was hanging over my husband in the tub before this) and pushed once more (a total of 9 minutes pushing) and out popped baby! We pulled her up and put her on my chest. My husband looked and said “It’s Lorie!” and started bawling. I was so exhausted but also so happy. I was on cloud 9.
In the end I got the labor and birth I wanted. Man was it tough but I would never change a thing. To be in the comfort of my own home was amazing. To be able to cuddle my new baby with my older daughter and to birth with no interventions at all was so empowering. I am woman, hear me roar!