My home birth story actually starts with my last birth, my second child. My first birth was the normal US birth. A hospital, epidural, Pitocin birth. It went as expected. I had an episiotomy. It was what I wanted.
With my second child, I wanted all the same things. I was hoping for epidural and no Pitocin though. However, everything happened the same way, except how I was treated. I was treated like I was unimportant, to be got to when they felt like it. I was not in control and I was made aware of it.
I came away knowing that if I ever gave birth again, it would not be like that.
The Next time I wanted something different
Skip ahead, 2 years and I found out I was pregnant again. I knew I did not want to go through the same bad experience as I had last time, however I was not certain about unmedicated. I was taught to believe why go unmedicated, when you can have meds.
However while I began to research different things, I still was on the path to hospital epidural etc. Then our circumstances changed. We moved to Texas where I knew there was a large unmedicated/home birth network. Somehow that move made me want an unmedicated home birth.
I was told about a birth class that I should take, Birth Boot Camp. I took the class online. It was amazing and informative on so many levels. I even began to realize that the class I had taken with my first had geared me for a medicated intervention full birth. As I watched each video, I became more certain and more aware that I could do this and I did do it.
My labor story starts weeks before I had my baby girl. I was one of those women that contract for weeks before actually going to into labor. I even had a false start the week before, where the birth team was called in and I labored for nearly 24 hours and STOPPED.
I continued to contract daily. However, nothing firmed up. Then nesting hit. My desire to clean my house top to bottom was overwhelming. I HAD to do it. I did do it. Everyone kept telling me that I needed rest. I was going to need it. I knew they were right but I could not stop cleaning, arranged etc.
The next day I felt awful. I was exhausted, grumpy and nauseous all day long. I was so weak, I could barely function. I contracted on and off all day on top of all that. However, they were on and off, some intense and some just there.
The Day of the birth
I went to bed earlier than usual because I was so tired. I was woken up around 3am with contractions. I will call them unfriendly. I knew this was it but I was afraid to really KNOW that given how many days and weeks and one false start I had had. So I labored alone for about an hour. I finally woke my husband around 4am. I also started timing them around the same time.
Around 4:45 I called my sister who was my coach along with my husband. I asked her to come over. My youngest child kept waking up and I needed someone to take care of her and someone to be with me, because the contractions had gotten bad enough that I needed assistance to get through them.
I also called in my birth team at this point, because upon reviewing my contraction list, they were 3-4 minutes apart and becoming increasing painful and hard to handle.
While I waited for everyone to get here, I decided to take a warm bath to help with the contractions. My neck was hurting really bad and I was hoping that the water would help that as well. It did. I stayed in there until everyone arrived. Around that time, I did not want to be in the tub anymore and I wanted my swimsuit on and to labor with help and the birth ball.
I spent some time laying over the ball, and holding my husband’s hands. I began to get really nauseous. Each contraction seem to make the nausea worse. My back also started hurting at this point. It was not too bad though, most of the pain was in my neck and lower uterus.
I finally decided that the ball was at fault for my continuing worsening nausea. I stopped using it and labored on my hands and knees for a few contractions. I was becoming pretty tired at this point and the nausea had not gone away. Finally I threw up. Oh man, I felt better.
I wanted to lay down then. I laid down and labored on my side and wanted my sister to lay with me. She helped me through contractions and I rested in between. They seemed like they were a little further apart, though a little harder to handle laying down but I was so tired.
Then my midwife, Mercy, wanted me sit up, because I am sure they were spacing out. I did not want to, but I was ready for this baby, so I sat up. I don’t remember exactly what happened after this.
I know at some point, I began to get real back labor. It was awful, it was so painful and then it got worse. I needed support on my lower uterus and pressure on my back. The pain became so much, that I could not longer make any sound. I had to internalize. I became quieter and quieter. It felt like the pain was unbearable and there was very little break in between contractions. I wanted to stand during contractions but felt I had no ability. My sister or my husband mainly but others also would hold me up during a contraction and sway. When I said “Hold me up”, they literally did. My amazing doula, Megan was also using the rebozo scarf to pull in on my uterus and my back as well.
I was not holding myself at all. I wanted them to hold me up and sway with me. I was saying nothing. I was only breathing, and I think moaning every now and again. I had a chant going on in my head. “God made my body to do this” and ” I can do this” I chanted each contraction silently.
What everyone thought was labor slowing down, was actually transition labor. I was so quiet that no one realized when I was really having a contraction and how bad they were.
At some point, I believe my midwife wanted me to sit on the toilet to have a few contractions. I did this. I did not want to but I did it. I was a couple of contractions in and I began to feel the desire/need to push. I tried it a couple of times before I even mentioned it to anyone.
I then told my husband I was ready to push, it was time to get the birth tub ready. I stayed on the toilet while they got it ready. It did not seem long. I got in the tub. It felt amazing. However, my back labor had gotten so bad, that I began to verbalize on it at this point.
I pushed a few times in the tub alone. However, my back was hurting so bad with each contraction I could barely focus on pushing. I asked my husband to get in behind me to give me support on my back. ( I probably did not ask but you know) He got in and that helped a lot. I began to get louder and louder with each push.
Then my midwife told me I had cervical lip and I needed to get on my hands and knees for a few contractions and not to push. I did not want to do this either, but I did it. When I finally got back into position with my husband behind me, I had almost no cervical lip.
I began to push in earnest at this point. I started off by holding on to the handles in the tub, but then holding my doula Megan’s hand and the student midwife’s Stephanie’s hand. I would pull against them with each contraction and each push.
I was not aware of much except getting this baby out. I was ready for this to be over. However, I could hear my oldest child giggling. It was an amazing little thing that spurred me on. And, with each push I got louder and louder. I was using the power in my voice to give power to my body.
The ring of fire hit. Oh my gosh. I knew though that this meant I was close to meeting my precious child. It gave me more strength to continue. I began to really bear down to push, using my voice and my body with everything I had. Her head came out, and one more push and she was out.
I had given birth to my beautiful unexpected baby girl. I was so happy. I felt so empowered that I had done it at home and unmedicated.
After the birth
It was not over for me though. I still had to deliver the placenta. That was another 3 hours. It would not detach. I took various herbs to try to make it. No, nothing worked. My midwife began to mention pitocin shot. Oh, heck no. I had done the reading on that shot, I did not want that.
I actually began to get truly frustrated and losing my focus entirely at this point. I began to cry. My sister came over and told me to focus, repeatedly and it worked. I settled back down.
Then it was decided to go ahead and put me into a herbal bath with the baby. I was still struggling with the horrible back pain though, and the baby could not stay in long with me. I was in the bath a good while, and still no placenta. My midwife told me we were going to have to take the pitocin and if that did not work, go to the hospital.
I did not want either of those. At this point, I prayed. I asked God to intervene and not with pitocin. I almost immediately began to contract pretty intensely. I beared down with all my might, and gave birth to a 3 hour placenta.
I did it. I had an amazing home birth. I did it all without meds. I also recovered faster than any of my other births. I can say I loved my experience. I understand why women do this. I have never felt so empowered, so strong.