I know for many people home birth may seem a little weird, rare, dangerous....maybe even stupid!!! But for us it was nothing short of amazing.
We chose a homebirth for many reasons. When we got pregnant with Jonah, Dave and I decided we wanted to go as natural as possible with all aspects of the pregnancy and birth, we wanted no interventions, we educated our selves. We still gave birth in a hospital, had my water broken and an epidural. Yeah that didn't go as planned.
With Ellie we got a natural birth, she had a slight shoulder dystocia, still weren't totally thrilled with the delivery but happier than with Jonah.
Gracia was the same, slight shoulder dystocia, we were less than thrilled with the hospital. I won't go into too many details but, we didn't know the doctors who delivered Gracia, didn't like their orders or bedside manner and just were not pleased with the experience.
With this baby we wanted something different.
I have heard some many wonderful things and read so many wonderful experiences with midwives and homebirths it had been something I had want to try but never really had the nerve or comfort level to do. Then when Gracia's labor only lasted 2 hours and we barely made it to the hospital, we re-thought the homebirth idea. The idea of us delivering a baby on the side of the road was a real fear of mine. The idea of having people come to us while we labored and prepared sounded heavenly and it turned out it was.
Here's our story::
Labor usually starts with the loss of a plug for me, so that was what I was waiting for. When I started having some contractions at church around 6:30pm, I truely didn't think it was "it". I just thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions and thought I had about a week until the baby would come.
About 7:30 I just didn't feel right. I had an urge to get home and get in my bath tub, though I still didn't think I was in labor. But Dave was awesome at listening to me and getting us in the car and home by 8pm. I got in the tub immediatly and could hear Dave downstairs getting stuff ready, even though I hadn't officially told him this was it. Around 9:20pm I gave the midwife a call. I told her I didn't want her to come out if it wasn't real labor, there still wasn't any plug, but contractions were coming closer together and getting more intense. She said she could hear it in my voice and that she was coming.
So from 8pm till 10pm I just hung out in our tub upstairs. During that time I was going through a wide range of emotions. A big part of me didn't believe I was in labor, another part of me didn't want to be in labor yet! I know it sound so weird, but we wanted Dave's sister to be here, we weren't quite ready with what we had wanted to get down from the attic, etc.....you know the list didn't have everything crossed off of it! So for a while I feel like I was mentally fighting my own labor. Dave would come in and check on me and I would share my fears or concerns with him and he is so wonderful. It's so nice to have someone that I can be totally honest with and just talk to and know that he won't think I am crazy. He's there with me and is present and knows exactly what to say to get me into the right frame of mind.
Around 10pm I went downstairs to get into the birthing tub, Dave had everything set up and ready. The tub wasn't full but the water was deep enough to still be relaxing. I started feeling the urge to push the baby down and after a few pushes my water broke, nice and clear fluid. The midwife arrived shortly after that and the real work began.
Poor Dave was running around bringing in bags and getting everything in order. Finally the doula (who had arrived right after I got in the tub) asked Dave to get in the tub with me. That helped so much. He was behind me, making it more comfortable and encouraging me.
It was almost like I was pushing and going through transition at the same time. I could feel the baby filling up the birth canal and I thought and verbalized that I was not going to be able to get the baby out! She felt huge, and I didn't feel like I was going to be able to push her anywhere! I felt like pushing was really not doing anything! Though I know it was, mentally it felt like nothing was happening. It was incredibly painful, more than the other births. But everone was so encouraging. Then all of a sudden her head was there, I reached down and could feel it there! That was really amazing. Everything slowed down and Miriam told me to just breath, and I breathed her head out gently without tearing. That was one thing I wanted so badly....all my other births seemed so chaotic and quick.
Then it happened, she was stuck....like the other 2 girls! I changed positions after a few intense tries of pushing without anything happening. This one though was stuck because she was trying to get out with both hands above her head! A few pushes in a new position wasn't working, so Miriam suggested getting out of the pool, well as soon as I stood up out she came! I remember saying something like "Here she comes someone catch her!" and the term "Babycatcher" came to life. Both Dave and Miriam caught her and she was born. She was handed to me and we stood there meeting for the first time face to face. I was so thankful it was all over! So thankful she was safe and breathing and that I had just given birth to a 10 pound little healthy chunky baby, in my own home, with my husband and midwife and doula....and everything incredible.
Honestly I was in a blissful shock for the next few hours. I really truly had a hard time grasping the fact that the baby was here! That we were okay, the midwife had made it in record time and just in time for the baby! Even though the delivery had been hard, pushing had been difficult and painful, I had done it! We had the experience and the location we wanted. The doula helped clean everything up and tucked me into bed with my new amazing little miracle. This soft, plushy chubby little thing that I couldn't stop staring at....and still can't. I wouldn't have changed a thing about the birth, though it was the hardest of all the babies (besides Jonah's 3 hour push-a-thon). The biggest of all my babies, but being here at home.....well there is nothing like it. Really. Nothing like it. Even Dave was thrilled and he had to do most of the work of setting up and cleaning up!
If we do this again.....cause really we don't feel like we are in total control of that, though we've tried unsuccessfully, we will have another homebirth as long as the conditions are right and we are healthy. It was the greatest gift, and the best thing to wake up to a new baby in my own bed and introduce the rest of the kids to their newest addition......there is more to tell at another day and time about our exerience.
We are still deciding on the perfect name....so a name and photos will be coming very soon!