Assisted Homebirth Stories!
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October 18th, 2006, 11:44 PM
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Alberta, Canada
Well, I had always wanted a homebirth (I was trained as a doula and also volunteered with midwives in Ghana, so I already had rejected the idea that birth had to be a medical event). BUT, we had no midwives in our city and so my first two births were in the hospital where I worked. I can't say they were horrible experiences - I was able to birth naturally both times, but it was still far too "orchestrated" for my liking. I knew birth could be a more beautiful experience than being poked, prodded, and bossed around by total strangers in a sterile environment. I really hated being told what to do and how/when to do it. I also really hated having to fight for my preferences in the middle of labour, when I should have been focused on relaxation! The staff accomodated me and I was able to avoid interventions, but you could tell they regarded me as a bit of a nuisance because I didn't just meekly do whatever I was told to do. I was fortunate to be able to labour in a jacuzzi there, but when it came time to push - they make you get out. That completely SUCKED!
So when #3 was on the way I started to get really anxious thinking about the birth. I would just break down in tears even THINKING about going back to the hospital. I wanted to be able to labour and birth peacefully, just letting my body do what it needed to do and not being pestered by anyone! We considered using the nearest midwives and their birth center 3 hours away - but weren't sure just how we would go about pulling it off. Do we hit the road when I go into labour and hope the 3 hours in the car isn't too unbearable? Do I camp out in the city, starting a few weeks before my due date? It just didn't seem very practical. Then my friend told me about a midwife from Montana (Alberta) who willingly commutes to our area to attend homebirths! Dh had noticed my increasing anxiety about the hospital, and even though he was scared of the idea to homebirth - he said we could look into it because it was so important to me.
We met the midwife and both felt very comfortable with her! I was sold, but DH wasn't quite sure yet. I made him watch "Gentle Birth Choices" with me, and that's what helped him understand why I wanted a different experience so badly. He agreed and we booked our midwife for the birth!
Because the midwife lives 3 hours away, we decided it would just be easier if I did all my prenatal care with my family physician/OB (who had delivered the first two). I was upfront with him about our plans, and while he explained that he couldn't encourage me to do such a thing - he was respectful of our choice. Our midwife is semi-retired, so she only does one birth a month - that means she would be available to come to us whenever I felt I needed her.
A week before my due date, I was getting really grouchy. I'd been cramping and contracting for weeks already, and was just feeling miserable. From the tone of my emails, my midwife felt it was time for her to be near. She arrived on Monday and found baby to be in the posterior position - the reason I'd been so uncomfortable. I was almost completley effaced and 3cm dilated. She performed a technique called Diaphramic Release and flipped baby around. I felt immediate relief! I still continued to cramp a fair bit, but we waited. On Wednesday, the cramping intensified - so we tried to assist things along with castor oil and using the breast pump to stimulate contractions. She tried stripping my membranes. I contracted off and on for about 21 hours thinking it would finally happen - but eventually things died down. I was still just 3cms. I spent most of the time relaxing in the birth pool - we were planning a waterbirth.
The midwife had booked a scrapbooking retreat in a nearby town several months before, so on Friday she went to that. Of course, she kept her cell phone on at all times and was ready at any moment to come back if we needed her. She joked that it was Midwive's Luck; her prediction was that I would give birth over the weekend and interrupt her scrapbooking.
Sure enough, Saturday night after we went to bed, I had an especially painful contraction followed by a big POP that I both felt and heard! Contractions intensified immediately! I went straight to the bathtub while DH tried to contact our midwife and prepared to fill the birthpool with warm water. He wasn't getting an answer on her cell phone! He proceeded to call the Bed and Breakfast to ask the owners to track her down for us. The owners were not thrilled with a phone call at 1am, but transferred his call to the scrapbooking room anyway. No answer there. DH came to check on me and said he would just keep trying the cell phone. I was like, "My water is broken, this could go REALLY fast! Call them again! Make them go find her!" So he called the owners again, who were quite ticked off this time - but he explained that she was our midwife and I was in labour, we needed her NOW. They didn't realize they had a midwife staying with them and went to find her! Moments later she called us from her cell - she said it was the only time it hadn't been on because she was charging it in her truck! She was on her way!
She asked to speak to me, because she wanted to hear if I could talk my way through the contractions - they were coming really hard, and I was moaning a fair bit. She told me the water would relax me too much and I needed to get out of the bathtub in the hopes that I wouldn't give birth before she arrived! I had to lay on our bed on my side. It was so awful to have to get out of the water! I was in a lot of pain - looking back now, it was transition! Dh finished filling the birth pool and our midwife kept calling back while she drove to check in with us. About 45 minutes later she finally arrived and I couldn't get into that birthpool fast enough! She didn't pester me at all - she just supported me. Told me to push when I felt like pushing, to move however I needed to. 20 minutes later DH caught Kiara as she was born under water. She cried just enough to let us know that she could breathe, and then went to sleep in my arms. Our midwife stayed quiet and let us discover that she was a little girl. I held her for a long time, until I delivered the placenta - and then Daddy got his turn! The midwife didn't bother with weighing or checking her until after I was cleaned up and had breastfed her for a long time. I was really touched by that - our bonding was more important than the midwife being in a hurray.
Everything was so quiet and peaceful. It was perfect! It was so different than my hospital births! I bled less. I didn't need stitches for the first time (she was my biggest baby, 9lbs 12oz). Breastfeeding went so much better than it had with the other two. Overall, Kiara has been my least fussy baby! I think her quiet birth is totally responsible! I wasn't even swollen the next day, didn't touch a single ice pack.
My absolute favorite part was when it was all over with. DH and I crawled into our own bed to get to know our new daughter together. I hate that hospital beds don't have room for Daddy's! He was able to hold us both the way he had been doing for the entire pregnancy, and we all fell asleep together.
Let's just say I can't wait to do it again!
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