I received a huge positive response from sharing my birth story in different birth groups on social media, so I wanted to also share it with the readers that follow our website. It is important to feel empowered during your birth and I am overwhelmed by the love and support that people have expressed to me about my story!
The birth of my first daughter Evelyn was very traumatic for me and ended in an emergency cesarean section at 34 weeks. Ever since her birth it has been my passion and my mission to educate myself and others on the importance of personal choice, and knowing your legal and medical rights in regards to your pregnancy and birth. Her birth inspired me to become a doula and further my professional career in the field of midwifery.
When I became pregnant with my second child I was determined to make sure that I would have the birth that I wanted. With the support of my husband we pursued a home birth provider. We felt so comfortable with the midwife we chose and the fact that we would be in our own surroundings for the birth of our baby. Here is my birth story:
At about 12:30 am April 15th, I woke to fairly strong contractions. I got up to use the bathroom and when I stood I felt a gush of fluid run down my legs. My water had broken! It was streaked with meconium so I was worried at first. I called my midwife and she said it should be ok and to monitor the amount that came out and if my temperature rises.
At 3:30 am my contractions were about 5 minutes apart and fairly strong. I called the midwife
back and her apprentice showed up at around 4:00 am. My contractions stayed steady between 5-7 minutes apart for a few hours. She insisted I get some rest, so we all tried to sleep for awhile.
My contractions began to slow throughout the morning. I was beginning to doubt myself and that I could go through with my home birth. My midwives apprentice (who is also a good friend, and my doula partner) asked me what was wrong, what was holding me back? I finally let out my fears of not achieving my home birth. I was also in my head as my own doula and needed to relax and let go. I was also overwhelmed by the back pain during my contractions. Once I realized this was stalling my labor and had a
good cry, my body seemed to restart. We did a side lying release on my bed with the support of my midwives and my husband, and abdominal lifts to get contractions back on track. I lunged up my stairs and took walks with my husband in the yard throughout the day. It was a beautiful sunny day to be outside enjoying the fresh air awaiting the birth of our little one. My contractions kept varying from 5-8 minutes apart and it was getting really frustrating. Eventually we went back inside. I was tired from essentially being awake since 12:30 that morning, so we decided it would be best to get some sleep and go from there.
By evening, contractions were finally picking up closer together and much stronger, still in my low back. I was able to get into my birth pool which was amazing when the waves of the contractions came. The counter pressure of the water was so soothing and helped me relax as each wave came and went. I was in for about 40 minutes when my temperature was taken and it was quite elevated. My midwife explained to me that if my temperature did not go down on its own they may need to transport me to the hospital due to a possible infection. I was sad, but accepted it as a possibility. As much as I wanted my home birth I would not jeopardize the safety and well being of my baby and myself. We said a prayer and they monitored my temperature every 30 minutes for an hour and it came right back down. (Yay!) I was able to continue to labor in the pool and by that time was almost completely dilated, just one little part of the cervix had to thin and I would be ready to push!
1:00 am April 16th, the urge to push was so overwhelming, so I began to push. This was such a relief but such a feat of strength! I pushed in the labor pool but wasn't making much progress and was beginning to feel depleted and ready to just be done. My midwives and my husband were so amazingly supportive and kept my head on track. We moved to the toilet where things picked up and I made progress. After awhile, we went to the floor and I was in lunge position over the couch. I had never seen this position done before. At first it felt awkward but I could tell that it was aiding in opening my pelvis. From there I was placed in a supported squat. I pushed for over 3 hours and ended up giving birth to my daughter using a birth stool. It was a
Pushing was the most strenuous, and most difficult thing I have ever endured, but I cannot say that it really hurt; it was more relieving than anything. I just wanted to be done being pregnant! The only very painful part of pushing was the "ring of fire". When the baby's head began to crown and I knew this was coming my midwife realized that I was not exerting as much effort because I was trying to avoid the burning feeling. She locked eyes with me and told me to give her more. I finally realized, I had had enough! Get this baby out! I pushed with everything I had and finally the head came out with a little surprise; the left hand was underneath the chin, waving to the outside world as it entered. It was such an amazing feeling! I couldn't believe that I did it! She had a short umbilical cord so I couldn't raise her completely up to my chest right away. Her cord pulsed for over 20 minutes! Once we got over the initial high of seeing our baby enter the world we looked and saw that it was a girl!
Following her birth I bled quite a bit. My midwives acted quickly and were able to take care of me without needing me to be transported to the hospital. There was no way after everything that I had endured that I was going to be taken away. At my midwives suggestion I did something I never thought I would do- eat part of my placenta raw. It helped to halt the bleeding and deal with the blood loss. I figured what the hell by that point. I swallowed it and we waited. Everything calmed down not long after that, and my husband and I were finally able to enjoy our first moments with our new beautiful daughter.
Penny Rose was born at 4:04am at 40.6 weeks via HBAC on April 16th, weighing at 11.5 lbs and 23.75 inches long! I am so proud of myself for sticking to my plan and achieving the birth I dreamed of! It didn't go exactly as I had it planned in my mind. The experience that unfolded is worth to me so much more. I never knew I could endure that kind of intense sensation. I never knew my body could birth a baby that big with no major tearing. And I never knew I could be that strong. My home birth was incredibly healing. My body is not broken. I am living proof that the saying "Once a c-section always a c-section" and "Your baby is too big to birth naturally" can be completely false. I owe everything to the amazing team of midwives who attended my birth and to my husband who supported me every step of the way. With all of their support and love surrounding me I was truly able to birth without fear.
Photo credits to JP Birth Photography