Wow…it's been a while since my last post but I've been busy…busy enjoying my babe! I can't believe she is 4 months. Time goes by even faster when you have a baby! These last 4 months have been full of so much emotion and SO much love. I remember people telling me about the love you have for your child and how it's so different, but I feel you truly can't experience it until you've had your own. It's this crazy love and it just grows everyday.
So, I could go on and on about my little girl, but what I really want to share with you is my home birth experience. Before I even say another word, I want to make it clear that I am in no way putting down conventional medicine, hospitals, epidurals or Cesarean sections. Every woman is so different and what works for one may not work for another. I have friends that have had babies every which way and no way is better or worse. Any way you get a healthy baby is fine by me. I simply want to share my experience, which happens to be home birth.
First, I want to share how I decided on a home birth. It was largely due to my sister-in-law. She has two children and her most recent, she had at home. Her experience was so positive and after weighing my options, I chose a home birth. I also had several friends who had birthed at home too and loved it. I felt so at peace with my decision. For me, it was so nice to think I wouldn't have to go anywhere, I could sleep in my own bed afterwards, take a shower in my shower and basically have full control on where and how I labored. Plus, I've never been a fan of any needle and so an epidural wasn't an option, and definitely not an option once I chose a home birth. It was interesting how many people upon hearing of my choice stated how they would be afraid since it was my first and how I was brave. It never even crossed my mind how it might be weird to have my first at home. It all seemed so natural. I know to some, it may sound crazy, but it just seemed right. Also, keep in mind my mother had five children naturally and with no complications with any of us…yes she is a rockstar!
My actual due date came and went. Finally, I went into labor 10 days past my due date. I was so ready to have her when the time came! I was getting so uncomfortable and just felt large. I remember waking up Monday morning and just lying in bed, I was awake but didn't want to move. Unfortunately, I had to because I had to use the bathroom…can I get an amen from all the pregnant ladies?! I feel like all I did was pee towards the end. Anyways, as I'm about to get up, I feel this gush of liquid come out of me! I'm thinking oh my gosh…did I pee myself… then it dawned on me it must be my water breaking. I layed there a little longer and then finally got up. Yep, it was definitely my water! I was so excited! I remember thinking I'm having this baby today! I called my family and everyone was so excited. I was a little discouraged throughout the day however, because nothing was happening…I wanted to feel contractions and I felt nothing. My midwife kept reassuring me its common for your water to break and not feel anything for a while.
Finally, at around 6 PM I started to have contractions. They lasted for about 30 seconds to a minute and were 8-10 minutes apart. The contractions felt like mild cramps. I was still walking around, eating and bouncing on an exercise ball. I would stop what I was doing when they came on. They didn't start getting that intense until a little after 9 PM. We had called my midwife around then and she ended up getting to my house a little before 10 PM. When she got there I had just started having back labor and take my word for it…it's not fun! I would bend over my couch while my sister-in-law and husband would take turns basically pushing my back with their fists as hard as they could. I may have had some bruises, but it helped the pain so much. I ended up getting into the birthing tub. I had rented one from my midwife that can be blown up. It was heavenly…so heavenly. My sister-in-law got in with me and continued pushing on my back when I had a contraction, while my husband would coach me through it. Have I mentioned how awesome my sister-in-law was?! She was my doula throughout the whole thing and she was amazing! I don't think I could have done it without her. My husband and her were a good team. A detail I forgot to mention…my sister-in- law is a Naturopathic Doctor, a huge perk. Not only does she know so much about the body and what is taking place, but she had just been through the experience 5 months earlier, and is just so knowledgeable when it comes to all things baby. I highly recommend a doula or someone that can help coach you through your birth.
Anyways, you can't stay in the tub forever, as to not raise the temperature of the baby, so when I got out I would sit on the toilet backwards, and for some crazy reason it helped. Also, my sister-in-law would have me put all my weight on her and just hang over her as I sat on the toilet face foreword. That helped so much! It got to a point where I didn't want to move anymore. I just stayed by my couch and would get on all fours, there wasn't a position that felt good. The contractions were coming so quick one after another and I just remember telling myself this will end, it has to. My mom had given me that piece of advice before. She said you know it's eventually going to end and there is a reason you're in pain…have I mentioned she is so wise? Backing up a bit, when my midwife had arrived at around 10, I was dilated at a 7. I can honestly say up until that point, the pain level was very tolerable…I remember thinking this isn't so bad…haha so naive! After 7 cm, it definitely was way more challenging. Although, there wasn't a comfortable position to be in, there were definitely positions that were better than others. I did not want to lay on my back…unfortunately to check me, my midwife needed me to. As I was laying on my back, I started vomiting. To be honest, it didn't phase me much. Throughout my entire pregnancy I threw up, even up until 2 weeks. My body knew what to do. I had tried eating something because my midwife had wanted me to and I just threw it up. I had no concept of time, I just knew I was getting close to having this baby. My midwife said I was basically there, but had a little more cervix that needed to move out of the way. She had me push a little and she could see the top of her head, but it was like she was stuck in there. The midwife said she needed to tuck her chin, which is what most babies do when they go through, but she wasn't. She did a couple different techniques on me to get her to move and it seemed to work. I tried pushing again, but was feeling weak and looking back now, I didn't understand the concept of pushing. I needed to push with everything within me and I was giving wimpy pushes. Finally, the midwife had me lay on my back on the floor and told me to push like I had never before. They had put oxygen on me because the baby's heart rate had dropped a little. I gathered my strength and gave the hardest and longest pushes I could muster and out came my baby girl Finley! (I'm teary eyed just writing this)! It was literally the best feeling in the world to be done and to see my little girl. I remember saying, “I did it, I did it!” I felt like I had just run a marathon. I had entered into a world where so many women had gone before me and now I was a mother.
I ended up having her at 3:39 AM on June 10th. My labor was a little over 9 hours from start to finish. It's true how women say they forget the pain of labor. I know it was painful, but I don't associate pain with my experience. It was such a positive experience. I asked my midwives after my birth if my labor was hard or complicated and they said no, it was easy. It was hard to hear because to me, it seemed like forever at the time, even though I know for a first baby it really wasn't.
I want to encourage you if you've thought about having a home birth, but don't know where to start, to research midwives in your area, interview them and only do what you have peace about. At the end of the day, it's your baby, your body and your experience. Make the most of it!