I had two natural births. My first was in the hospital and my last one at home. Frankly, I much prefer a home birth. A lot of people have looked at me like I’m crazy or tell me how extremely brave I am for going natural. I have to be honest; it isn’t about bravery or even intelligence. As a woman, the body is designed a certain way. It is designed with hips, breast, a uterus, and instincts. (I will do a post soon going more into the decision process and information that I took to make my choice.) For now, this is my story.
My labor started out like Braxton Hicks, those early contractions that help your body get ready for labor. Around seven p.m. my midwife came over for me to meet another midwife who would like to attend the birth. I was hesitant having more people then needed and planned on politely declining another person; our apartment is small and I didn’t want distractions. During the meeting the contractions began to get closer and closer together. I mentioned this to them but tried not to think more about it since I had Braxton Hicks frequently. If it was labor the last thing I wanted to do was psyche myself out.
After they left I relaxed and went about my evening until bedtime. Eowyn was in her crib asleep. I had Emanuel, my husband, turn off the lamp, light a candle, and put on my Hypno Birthing CD. We also covered the TV with a towel so the light wasn’t shining. The ladies droning voice soothingly instructed me to breath and go inside my own head to that peaceful place. It was so calming in comparison to my first hospital birth. I just relaxed and labored alone without being monitored and checked. If I wanted to walk around, shower, or eat I was able to without anyone telling me otherwise.
Emanuel fell asleep and I continued to labor peacefully in the quiet room as the waves got closer and longer. Around midnight I called my mother to inform her that I was probably in labor, but I was fine and she could start driving in an hour if it still persisted. After a while I had her head over then called my midwife to tell her I was in labor but she could wait a little longer.
When my mother arrived we moved to the living room. We sat on the couch, me on a towel just in case my water released, chatting quietly as Eowyn’s soft breathing filled the background. We whispered until I couldn’t anymore. My waves started to be more intense as we moved toward transition, the most intense and thankfully shortest part of labor. During a contraction I would often nod my head letting it roll around until it ceased.
We called the midwife and she headed over, not being able to get a hold of her assistant we actually called the other midwife that was interviewed just hours before! Which was a real blessing.
My midwife arrived alert in her T-shirt and comfy shorts carrying her birth bag. We went in the bedroom and awoke Emanuel. After my midwife took my vitals I sat in my nightgown on the bed and Emanuel sleepily sat next to me. When the other midwife, in scrubs and with her own bag, arrived I was deeper into labor and was now grabbing a hand and making it quite white before releasing. The back labor, that I gratefully didn’t have with my first, was a knife like pain in my lower back.
I knew it should be over soon, but something wasn’t quite right with the baby’s position. My midwife informed me the baby was posterior, meaning the head was on my backbone, verses anterior where the face is toward your backbone. It isn’t a “bad” position it just can create some very intense back labor.
I flopped around on the bed like a cat chasing its tale, at this point stark naked and taking each contraction as it came. None of the positions felt comfortable. I could see the window was getting much lighter and the morning sun was awake. Ready to be done, I began praying in tongues, telling my body through clenched teeth to line up with the word of God and for the waves to cease.
Though I felt the desire to push I couldn’t knowing the baby was not down far enough. Finally, the second midwife asked me to get on my hands and knees for two contractions to try to move the baby down. Shakily I got on my hands and knees, it didn’t make the contractions easier, but I noticed a difference in the positioning. I asked to be moved to the bathroom subconsciously knowing something had shifted.
Between contractions we moved toward the small bathroom until I was sitting on the toilet, actually the best place to labor. Your body immediately knows in the bathroom that this is a place for release and will loosen up enough for this to happen. When a contraction began I would push into my hand (when a woman feels for the head with her hand it prevents tearing!) Once a contraction would cease I stood up and used my arms to push against the wall. After only a couple of these pushes something exciting happened!
I stood up and pushed against the wall leaning slightly forward, evoking the fetal ejection response. The baby slid out in a woosh of water, crying and full of life. I was shocked, as I didn’t know the gender to see that he was a he! Hands reached to grab him but he was so slippery my husband barely was able to catch him before he hit the floor. “It’s a boy!” he said. Relieved and smiling I was handed my baby boy and shuffled to the bed.
At this point I began to lose a fair amount of blood. They clamped his cord (originally I asked for delayed clamping since the cord blood is very good for the baby,) and the second midwife began massaging my belly and it hurt. More blood began coming out as my uterus didn’t clamp down. The placenta had detached tearing some of the wall inside.
I remained calm and fully aware talking to make sure they would notice if there were any major changes. The second midwife gave me a series of herbs- Mistletoe, Angelica root, and Shepherd’s Purse. They were the bitterest things I had ever tasted and burned as I held them in my mouth before swallowing. Thankfully, the bleeding finally stopped, but we had to continue to massage the uterus so that it could shrink and go back into place. I drank a lot of chlorophyll, which is almost as good as a blood transfusion. Though it was serious I never felt scared or worried. If I had to be transferred to a hospital the last thing that would do any good was to be scared.
This took most of the morning, but after plenty of fluids I was able to get a shower in and nurse my baby! In the comfort and privacy of my own bed with my own family. It was such an energized and amazing birth. Though it was tough, the experience is one I reflect on with great joy and love.
For my midwife’s facebook page on her services and general awesome birth thoughts go here!