A home birth story
As bad as it may sound to some, my pregnancy was not planned. Initially, I was quite scared and didn't know what it would mean for me to be a mother. Although, right off the bat, I was pretty set on natural birth. I also knew I wanted to raise a natural child and what that meant to some degree. However, there was still so much to learn! I spent nearly every single day researching facts and myths about child birth. Even early on I knew I wanted a midwife and began searching around my area for an appropriate fit. We are a vegan family and I knew my pregnancy and baby would be raised vegan.
Our first choice of midwife just so happened to be the one we ended up with. She had a ton of experience and a great group of women assisting her. Her views were much in line with mine, but her main concern was the babies safety and never pushed me into any choices. Luckily, I had it pretty easy during my entire pregnancy with no major complications.
I only had one ultrasound, done free at a local college, by an instructor as part of her teaching. This was just to make sure everything was progressing properly with mother/baby and to determine sex. The baby was growing great, active, and in good position, so there was no reason for any more ultrasounds besides listening with a doppler to check the babies heartbeat.
Other than that, I had a minor issue with leukocytes that was cleared up naturally with D-Mannose. Not really any morning sickness, and just a little heartburn toward the end. My first trimester had some emotional moments but I was able to enjoy most of my pregnancy. I even traveled the country and attended quite a few concerts. I reached full term and began pre labor three days before my due date. All systems were go for a natural home birth!
Labor began pretty mildly with period like cramps on Wednesday around 8:30am. My partner, Dave, prepared the living room with the birth pool and hung my positive affirmations on the wall. He also made sure to get any last minute supplies we needed (nuts, smoothies, yogurt, gum, water). I was still able to sleep that night so I tried going about my day, resting and conserving energy. Basically, I was just trying to ignore the pain as much as I could!
On Thursday, contractions really picked up after 8 pm. I could not eat or sleep whatsoever. Anxiety started to creep up VERY quickly, so I ate CBD isolate to take the edge off. While it didn't take pain away, it completely calmed me of panic within minutes. At this point, my midwife was thinking a urinary tract infection because I was "too calm to be in labor."
A little bit after midnight, contractions were arriving 5 to 6 minutes apart, which is considered active labor. This was one day before my original due date. I rode the storm for as long as I could, but around 3 am, they were so intense I could no longer time them on my contraction app. This was it!
The primal, jungle sounding noises started coming from me! Dave called our midwife around 4:30am, as I was unable. He then filled up my birth pool while we waited for her 5:30 am arrival. I walked around my house and relied on my yoga ball for comfort. I got in the birth pool, feeling pretty good and relaxed at first, until my midwife's assistant misinformed me about my dilation progress.
Thinking I was 10 cm, I was instructed it was time to push. I tried pushing but my body was telling me it was not quite time. The pool was also a little too warm for my unneeded exertion and I start sweating; becoming overheated and very dehydrated. They checked my pulse and while 80-90 bpm is my normal, mine had spiked 140!
I got out of the pool quickly and my midwife starts talking hospital transfer. I immediately disagreed, as did her assistant, realising I was just in need of fluids. I was given a time limit of one hour to slam water and electrolytes to bring down my pulse. I drank as much as I could without making myself sick and was able to regulate my pulse down to 120. This was good enough to continue the process at home.
That was one of the scariest parts of my whole pregnancy and when it was over, around 8:30 am, I was only 6 cm dilated. Another hour goes by and I'm 8cm dilated. It feels super close but I realized my water never broke. I lost parts of my mucus plug 9 times! The whole process was progressing, but very slowly. When 10:30 am comes I'm finally 10cm, still with an intact water sac. Listening to my body this time, I started pushing around 11 am.
I got on my day bed and laid on my side, with Dave behind me. My water sac broke completely as I began pushing. Primal noises and instincts really come out now! Thoughts of how in the hell am I going to continue this? How am I not going to die right now? Then I started getting very, very intense deja vu, reminding me I was in the right place, at the right time!
I continue pushing for around a half hour, our son Ace, finally comes out halfway. He was already screaming with his legs still inside me. I reached down and felt him for the first time. This empowered me to breathe my baby out and push as much as I could, knowing the pain was going to be over soon! The midwife did a great job with the delivery itself and the assistant redeemed herself from her earlier blunder. A near trip to hospital turned into a perfect home birth!
Finally, at 11:52am, he came out with his middle fingers in the air. Space by the Grateful Dead played on the radio and the sun shown brightly through the window. He was immediately placed on my chest with an attached cord and latched on right away. This big nine pound baby was ready to eat!
My placenta came with barely any effort around noon. I left Ace attached to it until the cord was totally white. It was then encapsulated for me to eat so we can both enjoy nature's way of supporting our immunity. We have a blog on the benefits of ingesting the placenta if you would like to know more.
Ace continues to be healthy and is growing/developing at an astounding rate. He had some mild jaundice at birth that was treated with sunlight and breast milk. The initial fear of becoming a mother, has been replaced with confidence.
My home birth experience was truly everything I wanted. It was very empowering, beautiful and reassuring that our bodies provide us what we need. I did not "need" medication, even in the hardest moments, only motivation, my awesome partner and birth team provided me the encouragement I needed. It truly took a village! I'm extremely grateful for the love and support I've had the entire pregnancy!
P.S. It turns out that I have a very healthy and responsive heart. My pulse fluctuated dramatically during pregnancy when I inhaled compared to exhaled. This was a sign of an extra healthy heart. The issues I experienced with my pulse during labor went away within minutes of giving birth. I listened to my body and knew when I was fine and when something was wrong.
Amazing words and pictures by lovely mama @rainbowqueenonthesewingmachine