Today, October 7th, Baby Jacson turns one month old. And I figure, I should recount my home birth, before I forget it all. (Yeah right, how could I forget that?). I want to share my experience with home birth because a. There are a lot of misconceptions about home birth that I didn’t even know myself until I began the process 9 months ago. And b. I think a lot of people have a general interest or at least intrigue surrounding the topic. With all that in mind, this is just my experience. I am in no way saying it is the right choice for everyone, and I am also not a medical professional. Just a girl who had a baby in her bedroom…
First off, I had 9 months of very thorough prenatal care. My midwife came to my home for each appointment. She did all the blood tests, glucose tests, etc that an OB does in a doctors office. I had a 20 week ultrasound with options to do more. In fact I had lots of options. Every test was presented to me with such detail that I actually felt I had a choice and the information to make an informed decision. In the last couple months, we made lots of plans with the midwife. Plans for emergency transport if needed, plans for what we would do if I went post term, plans for delivery, getting the house ready, collecting supplies… We were prepared! In fact I felt much more prepared for this birth than for either of my daughters’ births in the hospital. It was also fun picking out the supplies. I ordered a fancy birthing gown, picked out cute receiving blankets and beanies for baby. I bought new sheets for my bed and towels and feminine care products for myself post delivery as well. I prepared the room (a couple weeks too early as it turned out). I made my bed for delivery with a set of new sheets on bottom, then a big plastic mattress bag over top, and lastly a set of sheets that I didn’t mind getting messy and throwing out after labor. We ended up sleeping on that plastic bag for awhile. Hearing the crinkle of plastic every night was entertaining. Ironically, I didn’t even have the baby on the bed. Sheets saved!
Now, let me go back a couple weeks before Jacson was actually born. My due date was August 30th and I was 90% convinced that baby would arrive at least a week early. My family took a little weekend vacation to Lake Chelan when I was 37 weeks pregnant, and the day we got home, I started to really feel like labor would be eminent. Some of my new symptoms included swelling, some pinkish mucus discharge, and a baby that had dropped so low in my pelvis that I had to
walk waddle with my legs apart. Sadly these symptoms did not progress into the start of labor. Right around when I hit 38-39 weeks of pregnancy, I started having contractions. Not braxton hicks contractions, but something much more comparable to labor contractions. I would time them and they would be consistent for several hours. Only they wouldn’t change or progress. This is apparently called false labor – something I can assure you I did not believe existed. I mean, how could someone not know if they are actually in labor?! Apparently me. I had 2 false alarms where I actually called my midwife to warn her my labor was starting and then fell asleep to wake up in the morning with no baby. This false labor thing went on for WEEKS!!! Like 3 weeks to be exact. It was exhausting physically but way more exhausting mentally. By then end I can honestly say I thought my baby was going to live inside forever and that I would never go into real labor. The other thing that happened somewhere between 38-40 weeks was I thought my water broke. It sounds kinda crazy to once again, NOT KNOW for sure if something like this actually happened. But, what I experienced, was a trickle of water. And no, I did not pee myself. Yet, my midwife checked my amniotic fluid levels and ruled out the possibility of my membranes being broken. Confusing. Yes. VERY! blah blah blah… no one trust my predictions on the start of labor as I clearly couldn’t figure it out. Once I hit my due date on August 30th, I had basically given up all hope of ever birthing my baby. I went from totally prepared for my home birth to less and less prepared as the days went on. My excitement and anticipation to have my baby turned once again to fear and dread. The more time I had to mull over the situation and possible outcomes of having a home birth and NO EPIDURAL, the more scared I became!! I had epidurals with both of my other births, but believed I could handle all the pain of child birth because I had labored all the way through transition without an epidural with my first baby.
40 weeks slowly became 41 weeks, while I fought phone calls and questions of, “When are you going to have this baby?!?!” and the worst of all, “When are you going to be induced..?”
How about, “I have no clue.” “Stop asking me…” and “Never.” “I am NOT GOING TO BE INDUCED!!!!” The questions about induction were the most frustrating because I felt like I was fighting against our Americanized, cultural belief that a baby must be induced if a woman goes over the 40 weeks gestation. When in fact, avoiding induction was my biggest goal and one of the reasons I chose a home birth. I naively opted for an induction with my second pregnancy when I was 40 weeks pregnant. Hadley was induced at 40 weeks and 4 days and had a shoulder distotia, meaning she got stuck on her way out. It is my opinion that she got stuck because she wasn’t ready to come out and wasn’t in the right position. I have regretted being induced ever since for that reason and more.
In the early evening on September 6th, we were on our way to an evening church service. I started having contractions in the car. Real contractions or false labor..? I was still unsure. I began timing the uncomfortable contractions during the sermon and concluded this must be the real thing. Since I had several false alarms before, I was still hesitant to declare “I am in labor” to our friends and family. Instead I casually told my mother in law that I was having contractions and we would keep her in the loop. On our way home we called my parents to come and pick up our girls which my husband thought was a bad idea. “But what if you don’t actually have a baby tonight?!” he said. He too didn’t believe that I could tell the difference between real labor and false labor. It actually took him up until about 30 minutes before baby arrived to believe that I was indeed in LABOR! HELLOWW!!
We were home around 8:00 pm and spent an hour or so cleaning up the house with the help of my parents. They left a little after 9:00 pm and I decided to give my midwife a call. “Hi, it’s Lexie. So, I think I really am in labor. I have been having contractions since 5:00pm, every 3-5 minutes and they are getting a little stronger. I am not sure when you want to come…. but I think this is the real thing..?…!”
My midwives arrived about an hour later at 10:00pm and I was still walking around, talking through contractions and feeling like I could totally handle this. They got all set up with their equipment in my bedroom, as I planned to deliver on my bed. And then she checked my heart rate and baby’s through some contractions. They quickly deduced that my contractions were “coupling”, meaning I would have a couple contractions back to back and then a longer rest between the next couple. She said this was common with babies that are posterior. We had assumed that Jacson may have been posterior based on the uterine palpitations in my last couple prenatal appointments. My first daughter Tylyn was posterior, but we didn’t know it until she was delivered and the doctor declared, “She is sunny side up!” Babies that are born this way, head up, are a little harder to deliver and it has been described as more painful than if they are face down.
A little while later my midwife decided to check my cervix and found I was only dilated to 4cm. At this point it was 11:30pm and my husband texted his mom to let her know, “Lexie is only dilated to 4cm. This could be awhile. I will let you know when things progress.” He was wrong.
I decided to try rolling around on my birthing ball and my body decided to kick into action right when I got down onto the floor. My contractions quadrupled in pain almost instantly. And Tyson decided he needed a bathroom break. I could tell that things were changing and told him it better be quick! Right after he left to the bathroom I started throwing up through contractions.
This is the exact scenario that led to my epidural with Tylyn. I had hit transition quickly after being checked at 3cm. But this was my first baby and I trusted my doctor and nurse when they said it would be about 1 cm per hour before she was born. I thought I would be on the floor puking for 7 more hours and would surely die. Little did I know I was actually fully dilated, and they did not check me a second time before administering the epidural. Surely had I not had the epidural I would have been ready to push and would have been holding my first child in my hands. Instead, both Tylyn and my heart rates plummeted and they prepped me for a C-section. Luckily we stabilized and I was able to deliver vaginally, and relatively pain free.
Once active labor with Jacson began, it was like a flashback to when I hit transition during my labor with Tylyn. I was on all 4’s mooing and groaning like a cow and needing Tyson to press on my low back with all of his body weight to take off some of the pressure and make it a tiny bit more bearable. One midwife asked if I wanted to move back onto my bed, but I felt paralyzed and couldn’t possibly move an inch. They did managed to tuck a pillow under my knees. Then suddenly I felt the urge to push. (internal thoughts below in italics)
Still on my knees, and PUSH!!! “AAAGGGGHHHHH!!!!!” That was terrible. I can’t do that again. I am going to die.
PUSH 2!!!!”AAAAAAAGGGGGRRRHHHH!!!!!!!!!” My water exploded all over the place (don’t worry. there was a plastic tarp on the floor). That was terrible. But I feel a little relieved. Please don’t make me push again.
PPUUUSSSSHHHHHH 3!!!!!!!!!!!!! His head is out. (Screaming Bloody Murder) I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I am crazy. Why am I doing this? What am I thinking. I am going to die. I am going to die. I am going to die. and my poor neighbor…
PPPPUUUUUSSSSHHHHH 4!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Screaming Bloody Murder) What happened? Is it over? Is he out??? He’s not out??? Is he Stuck? What’s going on…? I can’t do this again. I need to get him OUT!!!!!
PPPPPUUUUUUUSSSSSSHHHHH 5!!!!!!! (Screaming more Bloody Murder) He is out! Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! I can’t believe I just did that. Oh my gosh. I’m alive. Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!!
Jacson Abel was born at 12:47 am on September 7th, 2015.
They handed Jacson through my legs to me. And we very slowly and carefully stood up and moved to the bed to lay down. He laid on my chest and we fell in love. But that wasn’t the end.
I had to deliver the placenta. And this was very unpleasant. In the hospital I never even noticed the placenta coming out. I think the difference is 2 fold. 1. I had epidurals in the hospital and they just pulled it out. 2. They cut the cord right after the baby was born.
But not this time. Jacson laid on my chest with his cord attached to the placenta inside my body for a LONG time. I’m not sure how long. But I would guess at least 30 minutes of painful contractions while the umbilical cord continued to pulse and send nutrients to the baby in my arms. It was very hard to focus on my sweet, adorable little baby while the placenta was still inside. I was so uncomfortable and couldn’t think of anything except, “Can we get this out of me?! PLEASE!?!?!”
After what I felt was demanding to get it out, my midwives FINALLY cut the cord and handed Jacson to Tyson. I then delivered the placenta and found peace. Haha! I held my new baby in bliss and shock over the labor that just took place.
If you would have asked me then, I would have been certain that I could absolutely NEVER EVER do that again. NEVER. EVER. I figured Tyson had already won the battle about not having a 4th baby in a couple years. Because let’s face it, an epidural is A LOT LESS PAINFUL!!!! Like a lot. Seriously people. A LOT! And now that I had a home birth I can’t go back to the whole hospital thing for 4th baby…
But here we are now, a month out, and my outlook on the birth and natural labor is already completely different. Like I LOVED it! I LOVED IT PEOPLE! I absolutely LOVED IT. Haha. I know it sounds funny and crazy. Who could love being in pain so bad they thought they would surely die? Um ME!!! It must be God! He works in mysterious ways. Having a baby is really miraculous. And although painful the gift far outweighs the difficulties. There is something about working, LABORING through the entire process that makes the gift just that much greater! A LABOR OF LOVE. And I am speaking from experience. I am not condemning anyone else’s choice to have an epidural. I have done it both ways. I love all my kids equally. But delivering Jacson… pushing him out with each excruciating push, was so so sooo so worth it! I guess I can’t explain what you haven’t experienced yourself.
And that’s basically it. We had a healthy baby boy. He is growing like a champ and weighed 11lbs 2 oz at his last appointment on Sunday. He is just the sweetest baby and I am head over heels in love with him. There is absolutely something special about having a boy this time. I want him to love me forever! HAHAHAH! It is going to take some serious prayer for me not to turn into a crazy mother in law for his future wife. I had an absolutely perfect home birth and I loved the entire experience. If you have any questions I am happy to answer. But please keep it positive! I know home birth may not be for everyone, but it worked out for us!
Sorry this was so long winded. Every birth has a story, and they deserve to be told! (even if no one reads it 😉 hehe).