Home Birth: Life Changing
When I searched “Home Birth” on google, things like: “Is it legal?,” “Is it safe?,” “How to..,” came up. Yes it is legal, super safe and very easy.. well sorta… Mind you I had wanted a home birth since I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I did not get my wish granted until my son came along.
When I was pregnant with Ely I did not have a partners support. I was a single parent and did not get support from my parents to have a home birth, they called me “crazy!” With Cami I was a full time Nursing student and part-time PCT at a dialysis clinic. I had zero time to look for or research on a home birth, and then…
My Lucky Charm
Rodrigo Ivan was born at 3:49AM, May 23, 2018, at home. Weighed 6lbs 11oz and measured 19 inches. His birth was a spontaneous vaginal delivery without complications. My water broke on it’s own and I did not require of any additional assistance during labor.
Rewind back a bit: When I found out I was pregnant with my son I was in total shock. Total shock does not even begin to describe my reaction, considering I had an IUD in place. Anyway, I immediately sought my boyfriend’s approval for a home birth; and as expected he agreed to meet with a Midwife to learn more about home birthing.
Gentle Birth Care
February of 2018, we met with Hilary, one of the midwives from this center. She explained many things in regards to electing a home birth and Stephanie, one of the Nurses, was extremely helpful in answering all our questions.
At the end of our appointment Hilary told us that she would give us time to talk it over and decide whether this was what we wanted. In my head this was all I ever wanted, so I proceeded to tell Hilary that we had nothing to discuss. I wanted a home birth and Rodrigo was on board with whatever my decision was.
Preparing for a Home Birth
There was lots to do, and considering I was already 5 months when I sought Gentle Birth Care, I had very little time to prepare.
Since our clinic was a small practice they did not accept any insurances other than PPOs. So if I wanted a home birth I needed to pay out of pocket. If I paid the full balance prior to my delivery date I would get a discounted price.
Home births are definitely not cheaper unless you have great insurance! I could have done more research and sought better estimates or prices but I was 5 months pregnant and I was running out of time. I did end up paying everything out of pocket and I did receive a discount for paying prior to my delivery date.
GBC made me feel so comfortable, that I did not want anyone else to help me with my pregnancy and delivery, I wanted them! Once everything was said and done it was all worth it including the out of pocket costs.
There are no epidurals given during a home birth so I researched ways to manage my labor pain. There were various ways such as: acupuncture, aromatherapy, meditation, water birth and then I came across the term “hypnobirthing.”
Hypno-birthing basically means that the laboring woman goes into a state of hypnosis during labor. Now this isn’t for everyone and I needed to do intense studying into this way of laboring in order to become good at it and for it to actually work!
As I did my research a lot of the blogs I read kept referring to a series of audiobooks that helped them prepare for a hypnosis birth. The author of these series was Kathryn Clark, “Hypnobirthing: Home Study Course.” I highly recommend these series. I was able to sleep better during my pregnancy because I would listen to the audiobooks and fall asleep, since they are helpful in getting into a relaxed state of mind. I listened to the audiobooks during my labor and they made all the difference to me. Without this I couldn’t have labored easily and with minimal pain.
Along with hypno-birthing I had decided that I would have a water birth. Warm water helps relax the pelvic muscles and ease labor pains. GBC provided the birthing pool set up and clean up. We purchased additional supplies to ensure the fill up of the pool could be done without issues.
This is not necessary, a woman can birth in the bath tube if preferred or a kiddy pool. But the comfort measure is very important as well and I definitely could not birth in my bath tube comfortably.
For my previous pregnancies my doctors told me that making a birth plan was unnecessary. They made it seem like plans can change and often times the birth plan is disregarded during labor.
GBC made it clear that they wanted a birth plan layout. They wanted to know exactly what I wanted to happen the day of my delivery. They wanted to know A-Z on the do’s and dont’s of my labor. I really appreciated this, for the first time I felt in control of my pregnancy and delivery.
I made a birth plan that was 3 pages long! I was a total labor DIVA. When I mentioned this to one of my nurses she burst into laughs. She assured me I was not a diva and that she was happy I had made a birth plan that was “just” 3 pages long.
Deciding Who Would Be Present
This was a tough decision. Tough because I wanted everyone present and at the same time I wanted it to be intimate. No one knew I was planning on a water birth only my boyfriend, my mother and sister. The reason my mother and sister knew was because at the time I lived with both. Eventually they would find out my plan was a home birth since I would be birthing in their house.
I am a huge believer of bad vibes and thoughts; that was a big reason why I kept everything to myself. GBC advised that I should inform people of my plan only if I wanted them there. When I told them my plan was just to have my boyfriend present they went on to explain that having an additional support person would be of an advantage in meeting my needs or the needs of the staff the day of.
Rodrigo and I decided that our sons godparents would be our sisters and therefore the decision to ask them to be a part of this experience was a way for them to be a part of Rodrigo Jr’s. life from the very beginning. But they would also play a huge role on my birthing plan.
Supplies and Prep Work
Getting the house ready for our home birth was a mission. Moving furniture, preparing baby’s room and ensuring we had more than plenty supplies, if needed, were part of the plan.
We received a supply list from GBC as well as other things I found would be handy to have such as: candles, extra towels, extra bed sheets, anything in regards to breastfeeding, a hospital bag just in case, etc.
Food was also something we prepared for such as having plenty of fluids available like water bottles and Gatorade. Snacks for during and post delivery. A meal for me after the delivery and plenty of coffee for the midwife and nurse.
My Wish Granted: Birthing Day
Let the Labor Begin
I woke up at about 1am feeling some discomfort. I went into the washroom and felt lots of fluid just expel as I sat on the toilet. I look down and it was bright red fluid. At that moment my heart skipped a beat. I was not sure I had it in me to labor at home. I asked myself if this is what I wanted and if I should just go to the hospital instead.
Then the reassuring words of Rodrigo told me, “we are not going anywhere, this is what you wanted and we will do this together.” I took a deep breath and remembered all the hard work that was put into making this dream a reality.
I called the on-call GBC phone number to let them know of my symptoms. My midwife told me to take a warm shower, walk around and stay hydrated. She told me to call her when I had stronger more frequent contractions. We made a few phone calls after that. Called my mom and told her I believed the baby would arrive soon, called my sister so that she could take my daughters to my moms and Rodrigo called his sister and told her, “Sol is in labor.”
I attempted to get in the shower and I could not get myself to turn on the shower head. I remembered that warm water helps relax the muscles which triggers dilation of the cervix, and honestly I was scared to go into active labor so fast. I got out and just decided to change.
Rodrigo started playing my hypnobirth playlist and served me a cup of Gatorade with lots of ice. My sister in law arrived and started on her tasks according to my birth plan. At that point my sister was on her way to drop off my daughters to my mom.
Ok It’s the Real Deal
After having a very strong contraction I told Rodrigo, “you need to call them, he’s coming and very soon.” This was at about 1:45am. I remembered feeling like time had stopped for a very long time. My contractions were not time-able anymore, I felt extremely tired and shaky.
I was asking, “are they here yet?” After every contraction and every minute felt like and hr. At about 2:45am my Midwife and her RN assistant arrived. I was on a yoga ball as they started setting up the birthing pool.
They proceeded to assess me and checked my vital signs as well as how my labor was going along. All she said was, “ok he’s coming, you are ready, 9cm dilated, 100% effaced at zero station.” She told me that whenever I wanted to start pushing I could. “What?! But how, it’s only been an hour.”
There’s A Problem
Nicole, my midwife, went to check how the birthing pool was coming along. “Ok, so there’s a problem. There’s no more hot water, do you want us to start boiling some water on the stove top?” I felt as if my world came pouring down. I told them to ask Dad. At that point all I wanted to focus was on my labor and nothing else.
I told my sister in law to call the midwife, the urge to bear down was coming in. She called the midwife and sure enough it was time, I began to push. At that point I was on my bed, I pushed about 5-7 times and nothing.
He Wanted to be Born in Water
Nicole came to the room to check me after taking a break from pushing. She stated, “the pool won’t be ready for a few more minutes, do you want to get in now or wait?” “I’ll wait,” was my response.
Again the urge to push came in and I decided to try again. I pushed and my water bag broke. This was the first time my water bag broke on its own. For my previous pregnancies my doctor would break it to “speed up” my labor.
I felt like at any point my son would be born and I could not help but feel intense happiness. Nicole asked me to make the decision of whether I wanted to push in my room or if I wanted to go in the water. Although the birthing pool was not full it had enough water to cover me from the waist down. I proceeded to walk towards the pool and into the water.
& the miracle of birth happened. I did not even have a chance to say, “he’s coming!!” I remember feeling a contraction come and I pushed as it happened. My baby was born after one good push at 3:49, a three hour labor! I grabbed him from underneath me and pulled him out the water into my chest! He wanted to be born in water.
Home Birth: The Difference
What is more comfortable than being in your own home? I was able to sleep in my bed that same night. I was able to eat anything I wanted. I was able to have all my kids with me the next day! My family did not have to wait for visiting hours or for awkward assessments by the doctors. My baby did not get taken away from me at any point. I was actually able to hold him and be present for his newborn assessment.
I did not have IVs on my arms. I did not have a different intern checking me every 5 minutes asking none sense questions about my family history. No one was telling me to stay in bed and lay still to monitor the baby’s heart beat. I did not have a doctor tell me I needed to “speed up” my labor with pitocin. My bag of waters broke on it’s own. I did not have a doctor pushing down on my stomach as I was having contractions. Ouch! Best of all I did not get stitches down there. My laceration was not even a first degree cut. For the first time I was in control!!
I was up and walking the next day without need of pain medicine. My bleeding stopped sooner than in my previous pregnancies. I was able to use the bathroom without a problem. My spirit was even more alive and strong!
Definitely my most memorable birthing experience. As I write this I feel like I am experiencing it all over again. If I could choose to have a home birth again I would. I wished my previous deliveries were at home.
Common Practices & Why I Excluded Them
A lot of blogs, videos and even birthing centers would recommend doulas. I would have considered having one, had this been my first birth, but it was my third and I had somewhat of an idea of what labor would be like. I recommend it for first time moms that need the coaching and the cheering. In my situation my support and cheerleaders were there all along; Rodrigo, my sister and sister in law.
I absolutely did not want to get recorded. I did not mind photos but I did not want a camera near me or to watch myself labor and deliver. My sister did get a video of me once the baby was already in my arms and while they assessed him. Who wants to watch themselves pushing or even having contractions? I cannot. I know there are videos out there like that but to each their own, no judgment.
I came upon a video where a mom had her whole family over. She had her sister on skype and her kids watching her. The guys were playing poker and the ladies were drinking coffee while mom labored in a birthing pool. Is there something wrong with this picture? Like I said no judgment. But I only wanted dad with me. In my opinion this is not the time for a family affair.
I would recommend a home birth to anyone! Best experience of my life and definitely a life changer. Things could have gone wrong but the professionals at GBC are trained for all situations and it reflects on their professional care.
Nothing went wrong, in contrary it went better than expected. No need for monitors and unnecessary interventions. Women were made to birth on their own at their own pace and have control from start to finish.
My wish came true and I am proud to say I had my baby at home!