by Jennifer, USA
My mother and I are homebirth midwives in Tennessee who have been attending homebirths together as a team for about 12 years. So for my first pregnancy I planned a homebirth naturally, but after a host of challenges, I ended up delivering a in a hospital after my water broke prematurely at 35 weeks and 5 days. I had pitocin to induce after 12 hours of broken water and no contractions or dilation. I did succeed in not getting pain meds, but I felt so robbed by having to deliver in a hospital. Thankfully I had a healthy baby boy and everything turned out well.
When I found out I was expecting my second baby just a few short months later I was a bit nervous but very determined to get my homebirth this time. I had the same due date as my first pregnancy exactly 12 months later. Again my pregnancy had some challenges of preterm labor and many contractions beginning at only 16 weeks. Thankfully I never dilated past 1cm until about 34 weeks.
My goal was to make it past my son's birthday so the babies would be at least 1 year apart and to make it to 36 weeks, this is when we are able to do a homebirth. My labor woke me up at 4am April 28th, this was my son's birthday. I was again 35 weeks and 5 days. I called my mom to come over and check me, we decided after almost 2 weeks of herbal supplements trying to stop contractions that we would just let it go and see what happened.
She arrived around 6am and I was dilated to 4cm. My husband and I talked and decided let things progress and we would just stay home and have the baby. I had contractions most of the day and dilated to 6cm but by the evening the contractions had fizzled to almost nothing. So mom went back home and we all went to bed. My mother-in-law had come to help with Josiah (my 1 year old) so she stayed the night incase things kicked in again.
The next morning things began again but slowly. Mom returned and I was still 6cm. I also called my sister, my best friend, and my other friend who is a doula to come over. We decided to try some natural things to help things progress since I was contracting regularly and I was dilated to 6cm. I took castor oil… this was terrible! We had used this hundreds of time to help other women and it works wonders most of the time… however it was not good for me. Instead of the usual 1 to 3 trips to the bathroom to clean the system out, I was on the potty every 20 to 30 minutes for the next 12 hours! My bottom hurt so bad!
The result was that my contractions did get somewhat stronger and by 10pm I was dilated to 8cm. Yea! I was progressing, but very slowly. My contractions up to this point were mostly regular but not very strong, to me they seemed very mild compared to what I remembered of the pitocin contractions just a year earlier. By this time everyone was tired so we all laid down to rest, I slept lightly on and off for a few hours and about 3am I got up and asked mom to check again… still 8cm!
I was so frustrated, why was it taking so long? I tried to lay back down and within a few minutes things just turned the corner and changed dramatically. By 4am I was standing and swaying and moaning with each contraction. Everyone got up and the house was buzzing with excitement. At 5:30 I wanted mom to check again, only a small anterior lip, hallelujah! It was finally almost time to see this new life come into the world. It was April 30th, the morning I turned 36 weeks, I made it to my goal!
Just before 6am my body began to heave with the peak of a contraction, what a familiar feeling. I squatted at the foot of my bed with the next contraction and my body just took over and pushed uncontrollably with all my strength. With the peak of the push my water exploded with a loud pop, everyone jumped, it was funny! But I didn't have time to laugh about it then, instinctively I stood and sat on the birth stool that was next to me. I couldn't stop pushing… The pressure and intensity of the baby's head moving through my pelvis was overwhelming. I asked if the head was out and Mom who was in front of me said “not quite yet.” With one more push the head was out, the intensity only got more as now the baby's body was within my pelvis, I said loudly “get it out!” As my mom guided the shoulders out I reached down and put my hands on my baby and helped lift as the rest of the baby slid out. I lifted the baby and held my child to my chest as the beautiful sound of a loud healthy cry echoed though the house.
My husband who was behind me leaned around and looked so he could announce the gender… it was another boy! Isaiah Samuel was born at 6:10am and weighed 7lbs 15 oz (yes even 4 weeks early, almost 8 lbs!) Everyone in the room crying and smiling, I had done it! I had a beautiful, peaceful homebirth! Praise the Lord! In the next few minutes we delivered the placenta and cleaned me and the baby up and then I was resting in my own bed having breakfast surrounded by my family and closest friends. What a wonderful experience! I wouldn't trade my perfect homebirth for anything in the world, I loved every minute of it! I wish everyone could have such a great experience.