There’s so much to say about this hot topic that I don’t know where to begin. So I’ll start way back at the beginning before I even knew “home birthing” was a thing.
From the time that I was a little girl I knew that I wanted to be a mom. I’ve always loved babies and I just knew that motherhood was in my future. I even wrote “be a mom” on my first grade ‘What I Want to be When I Grow Up’ paper.
When I was a teenager, there was a cable tv show about labor & delivery. I was OBSESSED. I watched it every day after school. This show was about your traditional hospital birth stories.
I see now that the goal was to normalize hospital birthing methods.
It was successful for sure because I thought that’s exactly what birth looked like and how it’s always been done. I thought that women delivering before they got to the hospital was a crazy experience.
Birth was made out to be some kind of medical emergency that needed constant monitoring and the assistance of 3-4 people in order to bring your baby earth side.
So when I got pregnant with my first baby, of course the first thing I did was start seeing a doctor regularly.
The appointments were exciting to me because it was something new.
I was so excited about the little life growing inside and I wanted to do everything the “right” way. I didn’t question anything.
I received pelvic exams, I took prescriptions to try and control my constant puking, I did the glucose test, I had blood drawn, I received shots they said I needed, I went to every appointment to make sure my blood pressure and weight was “ok”.
As delivery got closer and closer, I was tired. I was swollen. I was uncomfortable. I dreaded going to my weekly appointments and getting a pelvic exam to see if I was dilated any.
At 39 weeks exactly my doctor decided that was the day to send me over to the hospital to deliver my baby. I trusted this doctor because he had actually delivered me 18 years earlier. He’s been around the block and knows what he’s doing. I had seen him a few times for Pap smears and birth control, as well as my mom and grandmother. So I should be comfortable and trust him.
I did what I was told. I headed to the hospital on an empty stomach because they told me “be sure not to eat.” I got in the room, undressed completely, and put on the annoying gown so that I could lay down and begin getting strapped in with monitors and an IV.
I was checked in and hooked up by 9pm. But they told me they wouldn’t be back until 5am to start my first round of cytotec to induce labor.
So, I spent the night uncomfortably trying to sleep.
At 5am, they began trying to make my body go into labor. At 9am, they administered an epidural and completely numbed the bottom half of my body. At 1pm the doctor came in and told me it was time to push.
I began pushing only for the doctor to say I wasn’t doing it right. Well how the hell was I supposed to know? I couldn’t feel anything except pressure at my vagina. So I just kept trying as hard as I could every 10 seconds while holding my breath.
The doctor shortly told he needed to preform an episiotomy to help me. I looked at my mom like, “wtf does that mean?” She shook her head yes so I agreed because doctor & mom knows best right?
Luckily, it only took about 15 minutes of pushing once I got it down.
Once my baby boy was earth side, they immediately told dad to cut the cord and then they swooped baby away. They took him to a bassinet 5 feet away from me to start “cleaning” him up, putting hospital bracelets on him, poking his feet, pulling his arms up to test scores, get his weight, put medicine goop on his eyes, and then finally wrapped him up tightly head to toe and bring him back to me.
While they did this the doctor forced my placenta out by pushing on my stomach and coaching me to push. Then he stitched up what he had cut open.
Everything felt very unnatural and awkward
Finally, they brought my baby back to me. It had felt like an eternity. This was my baby yet I felt I had no control over him. Everyone around me was controlling my birth experience. I couldn’t even see if he had all his toes. I couldn’t feel his tiny hands or rub his bare back. I didn’t even know he was covered in tiny, dark, super soft peach fuzz from his shoulders to his back.
There were so many things I didn’t know because he had been immediately taken away and dressed.
As soon as the doctor was done, they forcefully moved me around to change the bedding underneath me. It was extremely uncomfortable. Especially because I was still numb from the waist down. As soon as my epidural had worn off and I could put weight on my legs, they moved me to a wheelchair and into another room.
The baby spent majority of our hospital stay in the nursery. For what reason? I really couldn’t tell you. They made me feel like it had to be that way. They kept him for “everything they needed to do” and brought him to me every two hours for feeding.
They also came in quite often to check my vitals, poke around on my belly, and peek at my vagina to “check” my stitches and bleeding. Close family and friends were constantly popping up to say hello and see the baby…in our very small space of a room. I should also note that dad only had a chair to sleep in when he could. I actually remember him laying down with me in the hospital bed at one point to try to get a deeper 5 minutes in.
To say it was the longest 48 hours of our lives is putting it lightly.
Once I got home the pain was intense. I had been numb for majority of the delivery so all of this pain was new. I was unprepared. After birth pains mean business.
Now don’t get me wrong about this experience. I’m extremely grateful that my baby was born with no complications. Im glad that my body took everything ok. I’m happy that there were people there to assist me.
But I’m not happy with how uninformed and uneducated I was as a first time mom.
By the time I was on my second pregnancy, I was a little more informed and just getting into a more crunchy lifestyle.
Simple things like babywearing and delayed cord clamping were on my mind. I also knew I didn’t want another induction.
I chose to see a nurse-midwife instead of an OB/GYN because I was hoping to see someone who understood my more “crunchy” requests. She definitely wasn’t crunchy, but overall it was a much better experience. She did my prenatal care and then the delivery doctor on call the night I went into labor assisted me.
Mia (my second born) must’ve also heard me say I refused an induction so she decided to come 4 days past her estimated due date lol. Fashionably late as usual I used to joke.
But she wasn’t late. She was perfect. She came exactly as she and my body were ready.
Contractions woke me up at 4am, I waited an hour before heading off to the hospital, and she was born at 8:52am.
I remember being in pain while driving to the hospital. I was also in pain during the long check in process at the ER even though I had registered my information beforehand. By the time they got me up to a room I was 6cm dilated.
Looking back I see that the majority of my pain and discomfort came from all the busing around. If I had been in a space to just sit and labor, in the comfort of my home while focusing on my breathing, instead of rushing to this “procedure”, it would’ve been a much more peaceful experience.
My third labor was completely different.
I was 37 weeks exactly and woke up around 1am to use the restroom. When I went, I didn’t feel like I had actually peed, it just felt weird. I laid back down in bed only to need to pee again maybe 5 minutes later.
The same thing happened again and by this time I was like, ok maybe this is my water breaking?
I put on a pad and sure enough it started to fill. I had no pain whatsoever. I was completely calm but in total shock because I had never experienced my water breaking before. I also had never had a baby so early lol.
By the time we left for the hospital, it was 3am. We had to drop the older kids off first and then I calmly walked into the ER and said “Um, I think my water broke?”
I felt so silly because I was literally so calm. I was sure the girl was internally rolling her eyes and thinking here we go again, another mom thinking she’s in labor only not to be.
Well by 8am that morning Isaac had arrived. Quickly, and with mostly tolerable pain.
I remember being so annoyed because I NEEDED to lay on my side during labor. Like I literally knew that was what was best for my body in the moment. I knew I needed to relieve the right side of my lower back to get comfortable – back labor is a bitch.
But the nurses all kept telling me I needed to lay flat on my back because the doctor was coming in and I was messing with the baby monitors on my belly. They literally kept telling me over and over again to lay flat.
Now that I’m more educated I know that this was during my transitional phase of labor. I was pissed and in pain. I couldn’t vocalize my choices completely. I remember cussing at them to leave me alone but I just kept hearing the same shit over and over so I finally laid down and started to push without instruction.
I was taking some of my power back
Even though the hospital professionals were coaching me, trying to tell me what position to be in and when to or not to push, I tried to ignore the constant instruction and follow my body.
It was the toughest place to be in because talking out loud during those final stages of labor is damn near impossible.
There are so many things I learned during that last delivery, as well as the two before it. Each was a different experience but they all showed me one thing, I want to give birth at home.
But what that birth taught me is that I can do it. I don’t need anyone telling me how to birth. I don’t need some funky ass hospital room and bed to deliver my baby. I don’t need an epidural. I don’t need to be completely numb and not feel anything. I need to be in the experience of birth and feel everything I was meant to.
I actually decided right after delivering Isaac that if I had another one, I would be birthing at home. No if’s ands or buts about it.
I had seen quite a few of my friends over the years choose home birth. I knew that if they could do it, so could I. After seeing their births I started to dive more into the topic. I wasn’t doing too much research, but I was reading stories and looking at pictures.
It looked so natural. A woman giving birth the way God intended for her to. With her own power. Her body making all the choices.
Our bodies were created for this. They were literally made for this. We’ve been brought up to believe that we need assistance. In some cases, yes assistance is required. But did you know that the majority of problems at birth are caused by medical interventions?
Did you know that my episiotomy was forced and most likely happened because we were forcing my baby out of my body before time said it was right?
Did you know most forced inductions end in C-section? And that’s why so many moms have c-sections?
Yes I know there are real life emergencies that require medical help. I know that things can go wrong.
But why, from the very beginning, are we putting that on ourselves? Why are we anticipating the worst?
Why can we not prepare for a safe, normal delivery and then request assistance or help if needed?
Why are we looking at the birth of a child as a medical emergency that requires you to immediately get to a hospital?
These are questions we should all be asking ourselves. I’m not going to give you the research or the numbers, but I hope this post encourages you to do your own reading. And not just recommendations from the CDC, google, and your paid doctor.
Go out into the world (aka Instagram & Facebook), read real life stories from moms who are doing this. Read stories about hospital births. Dive into it all.
And make your own, informed decision. Do what is best for you and your baby. Do what you are comfortable with. But know that you have choices. You have options when it comes to delivering your baby and your prenatal care.
You do not have to do everything the textbook way. I personally hate textbooks and have always been sketchy of them, if that tells you anything lol.
I’m choosing a home birth because I want to take my power back. I want to bring my child into this world the way I see is best. I want to be surrounded by only the people I love and trust the most.
I don’t want foreign, strange hands near my vagina and birthing canal. I don’t want uncomfortable monitors strapped to my belly during contractions.
I don’t want to send my older three children off while I lay in a hospital bed. I don’t want to be alone at the hospital so dad can stay with them. I don’t want my baby being taken to a nursery to be cared for by someone else.
I don’t want to feel like I’m in a prison after pushing out a human.
What I want is to feel comfortable
I want contractions to begin on their own. I want to sway in my kitchen as I welcome these waves to bring my baby earth side. I want to sit in a candle lit bath and relax my body during active & transitional labor.
I want to let my body tell me when it’s time to push together. I want my baby to be born in the water and brought up with my own arms to lay directly on my chest.
I don’t want anyone to interfere or separate my baby and I before my placenta has been delivered. Once my placenta is out and in a bowl near my baby, we’ll transition from the bath or wherever we may be, to my clean, warm bed with daddy and all my big kids surrounding us. Our comfortable space.
This is the type of birth I now envision for myself. That is why I’m choosing to plan for an unassisted home birth.
Because this is my body and my right to choose how it’s done and how I see fit.
Home birth can look many different ways.
Like I said before I hope this story encourages you to be curious. I want to open your mind up to see the other side of the birthing world. Learn the many ways that women are giving birth everyday.
Educate yourself, be informed, and be open to learning something new.
I’ll be back in just a few shorts month with a brand new birth story.
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[…] recently shared my story of 3 hospital births and why I’ve chosen a home delivery for my fourth. I’ve never felt completely empowered before giving birth. I was more fearful than anything. […]