I'm excited to share a guest post today from a close friend. She is an amazing momma who chose to deliver her second child at home, rather than in a hospital. As more and more mothers choose this option, we thought her story would be helpful to share. She and her husband were prepared for a midwife-assisted birth, but what happens if the midwife doesn't make it to your home? Enjoy reading her story.
Kira and her baby boy, Norrin
My Unique Home Birth Story
by Kira Perez
I have what are known as precipitous labors. This means I have very fast labors. My first was 2 hours 45 minutes from the first contraction until they laid her on my chest. Before you think to yourself how lucky I am, and you wish you could have such an “easy” labor, keep reading. I wanted a natural birth, which was good, because by the time I got to the hospital I was ready to push, and there was no time for an epidural. The experience wasn’t awful, but was very intense since my body had to undergo all of the changes necessary to give birth in such a short amount of time.
With my second child I decided I wanted a home birth. I discussed with my midwife how fast my first birth was, and it was decided that I should call them right when I went into labor. In the back of my mind I was afraid they might not make it, but I tried to dismiss this as one of those silly things pregnant women worry about that would never happen. Turns out it wasn’t so silly after all.
It all started around 10:45pm on March 5 when I was 38 weeks pregnant. After laying there for about half an hour trying every possible position without being able to get comfortable, I suddenly had my first “holy cow, I’m in labor!” contraction. This was exactly how it started with my first. 15 minutes later, I had another one, so I got out of bed and went into the bathroom because I knew I would not be sleeping that night. When I got to the bathroom, my water started leaking. I called my midwife right away so she could start getting ready.
The next few contractions were five minutes apart, then quickly progressed to 3 minutes apart. I had only been in the bathroom maybe 30 minutes when the pain became unbearable, so I woke up my husband, Lewis. He put plastic sheets and another set of sheets on the bed in case I decided to give birth there.
As soon as he finished, I asked him to go downstairs to get me a glass of water and an orange, because I was thirsty and starving! Thirty seconds after he left I hit the “please kill me now” phase. I didn’t think I had been in labor long enough to be at that point yet, and I immediately felt like a failure. When most women get to this stage of labor, they have a husband, nurse, midwife, or doctor - someone there to support and encourage them. I was completely alone, experiencing the most excruciating pain of my life.
At this point the contractions were coming so fast that the last one had not stopped completely before a new one started. This seemed to last an eternity; I have no idea how much time actually passed.
And then all of a sudden, through the pain, my body started pushing.
I had absolutely no control over it.
The midwife was not here yet. Lewis was still downstairs.
I was alone in my bathroom and the baby was coming.
I have never been so scared in my life. Shock set in.
I kept thinking to myself “this CANNOT be happening!”
My body pushed without my permission a few more times and then right before my baby started crowning Lewis walked in with my orange and water. I yelled something to the effect of the baby is coming right now,
get over here and catch him!
My husband Lewis is like a rock and doesn’t react to much of anything. He just stood there for a second, put my water and peeled orange down, and walked over to me. His eyes were quite a bit wider than normal as he watched me deliver the head. He helped me catch the body, and we held our breath until my baby let out a little cry. We wrapped our new baby boy in a towel and called the midwife to inform her that I had just delivered and to ask what we should do next.
Just in case this ever happens to any of you, as long as both Mom and baby are okay, here is what you have to do: absolutely nothing. (This is, as long as you have someone on their way to you already.) The cord does not have to be cut immediately, and you do not have to push the placenta out right away. Just keep the baby warm.
We sat in shock for 15 minutes staring at our baby boy, who was born in our bathroom with no doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist or even my midwife - just Lewis and I. We realized we had no idea exactly what time my baby was born because looking at the clock never occurred to me while I was pushing him out. We kind of guessed the time of birth was at 12:32 a.m. on March 6th.
Almost exactly one hour and fifteen minutes after my first contraction.
Once my midwives arrived the atmosphere completely changed, and it was absolutely amazing.
They knew what they were doing, and I could relax.
The midwives filled the bathtub with water for me to relax in, and I held Norrin while they gave him his first bath. I could have given him a bath myself if I had wanted to, but I was too physically and emotionally drained by that point to do anything but sit and hold my baby boy.
After the bath I was able to take a shower, and the midwives helped me to bed.
There was no rush like in the hospital, so I got to hold him as much as I wanted. I had the power now, instead of being told what was going to happen next I was asked what I would like to do.
When I was ready to let go of my baby the midwives did his checkup right next to me on my bed.
My almost three-year-old daughter woke up to a baby crying and stumbled into the room looking confused. She got to meet her new baby brother at home the night he was born. It took her a few minutes to really wake up, but once she did she was in awe. We had been talking about her baby brother for what seemed like forever (to me as well as her), and now he was finally here!
After my midwives finished taking care of Norrin, they made sure I was okay, and they cleaned our bathroom. They even put a load of laundry in the washing machine. When they were sure there was nothing else we needed, they quietly let themselves out while we got ready to go to sleep. I was comfortable in my own bed at home, not a hospital bed with nurses barging in every few hours. I think it was around 2:30 a.m. at this point. Everyone went right to sleep, except for me. I laid there for several hours because the adrenaline and shock of the whole experience had not even begun to wear off yet.
It took days for the reality of it to really set in. My physical recovery took almost 6 weeks.
Without being too graphic, let me just say there is a reason labor is usually much longer. It takes hours for your body to prepare to give birth. When your body doesn’t have that time, more damage is done. Because Norrin passed through the birth canal so quickly it affected him as well. His poor little face was bruised, and he burst several blood vessels in his eyes, which took weeks to fade.
I love my baby boy, and I am so glad he is here. I am also grateful that God was watching over us that night, because there are so many things that could have gone wrong that didn’t happen.
For my next baby (if I am brave enough to try for another one), I have some interesting things to consider.
I absolutely loved my midwives. Even though they missed the actual birth, the pre- and post-natal care was fantastic. The care at my home was amazing. But there is a very good chance they would miss the birth again, and my husband for that matter. It takes him an hour to get home from work. So I might have to start training my three-year-old to deliver a baby. Do you think midwives take apprentices that young? And I imagine I will be too scared to leave the house in my last month of pregnancy. I go into labor somewhere else I would have the baby wherever I happen to be or in the car if I tried to make it home or to a hospital.
In conclusion, I say to those who wish they could have a short and “easy” labor,
a word of caution: be careful what you wish for!
Labels: Guest Postings, Parenting