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Embracing the Power Within: My Transformative Home Birth Journey

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

The Beginning...

My journey to home birth didn't start until I was pregnant with my fifth child. Up until then I had had 4 hospital births. My first was over 24 hours of active labor, fighting my body, tension, and unable to relax. I was given morphine to relax me, and once I was relaxed, labor progressed quickly and intensely. My second, labor began at 37 weeks when my OB doctor "stripped my membranes" without my consent. She checked my cervix very roughly, and I didn't even make it to the parking lot before I had my first contraction. My baby was born 2 days later. My third and fourth children, I was induced with pitocin and ended up with an epidural. Why was I induced? I was told my babies were going to be too big to birth vaginally if we didn't induce early, both induce 3 days before my due date. Both babies were a little over 8 lbs. each.

Why didn't I ask questions? Why didn't I search for more options? The truth of the matter, I didn't know I had options, I didn't know I could refuse interventions, and I just did not know that birth could be different than what I was culturally exposed to, read that as what television/movies/Hollywood portrays birth to be like, or even in my own family, my mother when to the hospital, my sister birthed in the hospital. It was all I knew.

I knew next time, if there was a next time, I wanted something different, something without interventions, without being "told" what I needed, if all was safe concerning my health and baby's health. So I began my search for what "else" was out there....

Joshua Aaron, what his birth taught me was so immensely healing. Healing my soul, my spirit, my recognition of what birth could look like if one is informed and guided by education, support, and personal growth. His birth gave me all that and more.

Now I share my raw experience of his birth with you. I wrote this a few days after I birthed him, and reveling in my birth "high" baby moon.

Transformative Home Birth Day!

The following is the birth story of my fifth child, Joshua Aaron, born on November 10, 1998.

To begin this story I need to tell what was happening the weeks prior to the birth of my son. I had been having contractions off and on for 2 weeks before labor actually began. This was all new to me. My first two babies I didn't start having contractions until I went into labor. My subsequent babies were induced, due to my lack of information and knowledge back then. So during the weeks prior to birth I began to lose my mucus plug in bits and pieces, along with the off and on again contractions. I was feeling very tired but excited at the same time, I knew my baby would be born soon. I was also planning my first home birth with this baby, my fifth baby, who would also be my first unmedicated birth.

I thought labor had begun on a Saturday afternoon, which just happened to be the baby's due date. The contractions were coming regularly, about 3 minutes apart, and lasting 60 seconds or longer. I had to breathe through them, they were pretty strong. That evening I called my midwife just to put her on alert and also called my doula to come over. I really thought it would be a long night. My prior labors were long and tedious, over 24 hours each. I don't count my induced labors, which were 8 and 2 hours but were induced with pitocin.

I had prepared myself mentally and emotionally for a long labor, so when labor kicked in I was more than ready. I continued to contract throughout the night. My husband even set up the kiddie pool for me to labor in, which by the way was wonderful. The warm water really helped to reduce the intensity of the contractions. Labor seemed well established and I thought I was on my way to have a baby. Well, about 3 a.m. the contractions began to slow down! This isn't what I was expecting at all. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I was really exhausted. Labor just shut down. By dawn I had no signs of labor, so I told my doula she should just go home and get some rest. I told her that I would call should something start back up.

As morning arrived I had a few contractions but nothing to get my attention. My husband and I went walking to see if they would pick up. We even had some “sexy time” in hopes of kick starting labor again. Nothing, my body just wasn't ready to get things rolling again.

The next day I had contractions off and on all throughout the day. Of course my entire family were calling to see if I've had the baby yet! This can be so annoying and frustrating sometimes!

Early Tuesday morning, around 3:00 a.m. I awoke to really strong menstrual type cramps. I couldn't sleep so I got out of bed and went into the family room to watch some television. I put the heating pad behind my back to help with the cramps. Around 5:00 a.m. I decided to go back to bed and tried to sleep. I figured this was just the same old thing of on and off again contractions and the cramps would go away.

I woke up a little after 8 a.m. and noticed a few close strong contractions, but still I was in denial that "this could be it". I got up and showered like usual. Had a few good contractions while in the shower, but I still had some doubts. I went about my morning, I put a load of laundry in the wash and started to get breakfast for the kids. Then it hit! I was trying to unload the dishwasher and grab the cereal bowls for the kids, when I bent down to pick up the bowls a really good contraction hit me. I had to really focus and breathe through it! By the time I arose I had to grab the counter as another hit me. Then another one came on and soon after another one. The contractions were really close together, I was not prepared for this type of labor!

I had my oldest get cereal for the rest of the kids. My hands started to shake with each contraction. The contractions were so close and strong, I knew it was time to call my husband home. I remember looking at the clock, 8:58 a.m. , just before I called him. I tried to time the contractions after I talked with him but I couldn't. I just wanted to be moving around not sitting, waiting, watching a clock. I decided to get into the bath and wait for my husband to get home. By the time he arrived, the contractions were much stronger and closer together, I was having to moan and vocalize through them. He asked if we should call someone. I said yeah, call everyone! After I had called him I couldn't even think to call my midwife or doula. I just wanted to be in the tub.

He called my doula and couldn't reach her. Next, he called the primary midwife, Kathleen, and left a message on her answering machine. Then he paged her. He came back to the bath and told me that he couldn't get a hold of anyone. I remember hearing the panic in his voice and he started to pace back and forth. I asked if he called Shauna, the secondary midwife, he said no, he couldn't find her number. I tried to tell him where her number was located, posted on a paper by the phone. He couldn't find it, perhaps the kids did something with it?

At this point, I had to get out of the bath to help find Shauna's number. Oh the agony of having to try to think of where it was, and deal with contractions at the same time! Of course when I did find it, it was exactly where I told him it would be. I gave him the number and he started to dial the number. I remember standing there wrapped in a towel having a really strong contraction, while he was talking to Shauna. I couldn't stop shaking while the contraction was happening. I told him to tell her things were moving fast. She said she was on her way. I immediately went back to the tub. I didn't like being out of the tub while having a contraction. The intensity was 10 times worse. The warm water really relaxed me and was a great comfort.

As I labored in the tub by myself, my husband was trying to settle the kids. They were so excited. He called both of my sisters, who were to watch the children, but couldn't get a hold of either of them. So that plan went out the window! My husband put on a movie for the kids to watch and settled them in the family room. He would walk back and forth from the bathroom with me and then check on the kids. I could tell this bothered him and that he wanted to be with me.

Shauna finally arrived, I remember asking her what time it was, I really had no concept of time at all. She said it was about 10:30 a.m. She helped me through a few contractions and then checked the baby's heart rate. It was good. I decided to get out of the tub for a while and walk around. Shauna asked me, when I felt like it, she would like to check for dilation. I told her I wanted her to check now. I was at 7 cm, stretchy to an 8. AHHHHHHHH! I was getting there.

I got up from the bed and headed back to the tub. I don't remember how much longer I labored there, but Kathleen appeared and Shauna disappeared, she was getting the birth supplies ready. My husband would come in off and on to check on me, he would pop his head in the bathroom and ask how I was doing. I just remember having my eyes closed, opening them and seeing him there. Then closing my eyes again only to open them and he was gone. I continued to labor with deep vocalizations through each contraction. Then it happened, I started to feel kinda pushy. I was at 9 cm with an anterior lip left of the cervix. Kathleen told me not to push yet. It was so hard not to push. It's all I wanted to do. So Kathleen worked with me to breathe through the pushing. A little while went by, 9 1/2 cm with a lip still, but really stretchy. Kathleen said it was ok to start pushing. The lip would move out of the way as I pushed. AHHHHHHH! It felt so good to bear down with each contraction.

After a few pushes, I couldn't really get comfortable inside the little bathroom tub. I wanted to get out and try the bedroom. So we all went to the bedroom. I remember walking around trying to find what "felt right", a good position to push in. I squatted while holding on to the bed for a while. I switched to hands and knees and pushed that way for a while. I stood up and pushed too. I can't believe how my instincts just took over and I went with it.

Finally I laid on the bed, on my right side and got down to some serious pushing. My husband finally came into the room and he held up my left leg while I pushed. Shauna supported my perineum while I pushed with each contraction, but this was the most annoying thing. I just remember trying to push her hand away. I didn't want anyone to touch my perineum just then. I started to feel the baby moving down. I pushed some more, it burns, it burns, the baby crowning. I reached down to touch his head, it was all squishy feeling. It was so cool! I pushed again and out came his head, but instead of relief I still felt so much pain, the burning sensation didn't stop. Kathleen moved over really fast by Shauna. The next thing I know is they both have their hands down in my vagina. It hurt sooooooo bad. I yelled at them,"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" , then let out a huge vocalization and pushed. My baby was out!

It was 12:35 p.m. when my baby entered this world, Joshua Aaron. My baby boy was laid on my belly immediately. Kathleen did a quick assessment of him while he was on my belly. Everything was ok. I just laid back looking at my precious new baby and he just looked back at me. Kathleen then cut his cord, while my husband finally got out the video camera. I began to nurse him and he took to it like a champ! Kathleen then explained what had happened. Joshua's shoulders were coming out transverse. They had to rotate him around to come out. Explains why I still felt the burning sensation!

It was time to weigh my boy, Shauna and Kathleen had commented that he was a big boy when he was first born. When they weighed him, he was 10 lbs. 15 oz. I couldn't believe it! He was 21 inches and 15 inch head circumference. This big boy came out of me! I was so amazed! My last four babies we're never so big. Oh and a big plus was I didn't have any tears at all! My perineum was intact!

All this happened in 4 hours and 20 minutes. I can't believe how fast it all went. So much for my laboring in the kiddy pool. My husband couldn't get it filled up in time and we also didn't get to videotape the birth either, only just after the birth.

Nothing went as expected. I thought I'd be in labor forever like my others but it didn't work out that way. I really feel that all the reading and preparing for labor, easing my fears, learning relaxation really paid off this time! What was different for me though is that the pain of the contractions were tolerable this time, they didn't seem to last a long time and I didn't dread the "next one" like with my prior births. They felt like really intense menstrual cramps. Had I known I had the option of homebirth with my first, I would have had all my babies this way!

This birth was my transformative home birth!

Birth & Postpartum Doula Fort Collins Colorado


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