Unusual looks and concerned comments was what I got when telling my friends and family that Matt, my husband, and I had decided to have our new coming baby in our home. "You are crazy!" I do think was the most popular response, but our minds were already set.
I didn't blindly jump into this decision, and I have to say my husband needed some convincing. So after books, blogs, and birth stories like this one he trusted me enough to jump on board. I know now better than ever that even though I wish more people would consider having their baby in their home it is NOT for everyone.
My journey started with finding a Midwife. Not the easiest task for someone who lives in southern Minnesota. Trust me, the pickin's are slim. Luckily I found the most amazing woman to accompany me on my "journey" as my Midwife. She lived an hour and a half away, which was not the most convenient for travel over the Minnesota winter months, but she took me on without a doubt. We developed a relationship over the course of my pregnancy incomparable to any other. Our visits consisted of discussing not just "pregnancy symptoms" and blood pressure checks, but true compassionate conversations about what was going on in my life. About myself, my family, feelings, physical, emotional, the gauntlet... She truly cared, and it wasn't uncommon that our visits would last and hour and a half. And I never had to wait for her, she was always ready for me when I arrived with her door open and a hug. We truly became friends.
So the pregnancy dragged on, like it does for the majority of women I think, and EVENTUALLY I did go into labor. Twice. Yup you read it. I went into labor one Tuesday evening in my 38th week for 12 hours and then went to bed at 6:30 in the morning without a baby... It happens! And to think that if I had been in a hospital they probably would have broken my water, hooked me up with pitocin, and I would have had my sweet little baby. It really didn't sound too bad at the time, but I knew that it wasn't how I wanted to bring my little girl in to this world. Sooooo, one week and two days later I went into labor again! It was business this time. I waited well into my contractions to call my Midwife,L.A, wanting to avoid another false call. I believe they were somewhere around 3 minutes apart, and EXCRUCIATING! So I thought at the time. I was wrong.
L.A, my midwife, showed up somewhere around 9pm. I was well into my contractions like I mentioned before, but was still coherent and verbal at that point. Just trying to breathe though each one as it came, grew, and then subsided. My husband, mother, and sister were there along with L.A. and her assistant. The exercise ball was my first comfort. Being able to fully open my pelvis and rest my weight on a chair was such a relief of the pressure that was slowly building. After that grew tiresome I believe I went on a walk outside with my husband. When L.A. recommended this I was not excited in the least. Despite it being the 3rd day in April it was bitterly cold outside! But being hearty Minnesotans we bundled up and slugged along the deserted, dimly lit streets in my neighborhood in the blistering wind trying to avoid icy patches on the street. After about 20 minutes we returned home. It was so nice to be warm again. My contractions were still growing closer together, L.A. said I could take a rest for a while, which felt so nice. I cuddled up in MY OWN BED with my husband and was able to relax for about an hour. ( when I say relax i mean totally focus on each contraction as if it were the only one I was ever going to have and I had to remember what it was like for the rest of my life, relax) Any who, things really picked up pain wise while I was in bed "relaxing". I wanted so bad at this point to just go to sleep to escape what I was, and going to, go through over the course of what was now very early morning hours.
I was starting to lose...something. I'm not even sure what you would call it in this situation, "spark" for lack of a better term. And L.A saw it, she told my husband to find something in our home to bring to me to give me inspiration to go on. He found a picture of us and one of our son all smiling and put them up on a chair in front of me. It was exactly what I needed. I would never have thought to try and “find inspiration" like that. But I tell you, looking at my sons gleaming face and my husband standing by my side pulled me through what I would say was the beginning of my transition period (a.k.a not a fun time!)
Some time passed and L.A. told me I had to get out of bed. Not just get out of bed, walk up and down my full flight of stairs for "oh about 20 minutes or so". I thought she was crazy! I thought she was there with me, knowing where I was, and what I was feeling! How could she make a request like that at this time during my labor?!!? I did as I was instructed and stumbled up and down for what felt like forever! The next suggestion was go for another walk outside. Bundled up again I think we made it about 5-10 minutes before I started dry heaving and told my husband "I just want to go home" So we walked back, he took of my coat, hat, mittens, boots, as I was not capable at this time and I walked through my home feeling a bit confused and lost. I had been in a lot of pain for quite some time and was not sure where I "stood" on the labor track. So with all my might (talking was not really an option at this point) I asked L.A. "now what?" She told me "back on the stairs, sideways this time" I wanted to hit her, "how long?", "try another 20 minutes" I wanted to hit her harder. BUT I DID IT! Down the stairs, throw up, up the stairs, throw up. This proceeded for 20 minutes as she instructed. When I was done she held me and said "okay, now you can get in the tub" if I had had the energy I would have burst into tears at these few words. I slugged through my home into our children's room where the "birth room" was set up. My husband undressed me and I got in. Oh it was so warm, and I could float, it was glorious to say the least.
I would like to break away at this time to say a few things about my husband. Matt's story if you will. (in a nut shell) Matt had been by my side the entire time, as you may have already put together. He was watching me go though quite possibly the most pain I will ever endure and helping me though every moment. It is not an easy job! And I just want to make sure that not only Matt but all the other labor/ birth supports get the credit they deserve. Women are designed to go through labor, we go to what L.A. calls "labor land" This is natural and we have the endurance, hormones, strength, and emotional capability to support it. Men, not so much. This takes a HUGE emotional tole on them, or anyone who hasn't or couldn't experience the pains of natural labor. Matt was up with me for 24 hours, he was tired, hungry, and an emotional wreck. But he held it together and carried us through like never before. He was truly amazing!
Okay, back to it. The tub! I was in the tub for about an hour. Resting through contractions that were now about one minute apart. Dry heaving when I had the time it seemed. The throwing up eventually pushed its way into the contractions so that they ended up on the same pattern. (again, not a fun time) I tried to rest in the few seconds in between as did Matt, but it seemed useless. Just as I took a free breath the next contraction started and I could feel a new pressure building...
The FINALLY! When you are in the hospital the nurse and or Doctor will tell you when you can or can't push. It's stupid. When your body is ready to push its like breathing, trying to resist only causes distress. L.A. didn't say anything, I was kind of expecting her to. Instead my body told me when I was ready and it was as natural as waking up in the morning. I just did it and I heard L.A. note the time to her assistant "started pushing". I was positioned on my back in the tub at this point, I was so exhausted! After a few attempts I knew I was not making the progress I needed. L.A. was so awesome and encouraging. Telling me how good I was doing and, just keep pushing when you can, breathe! I needed her and she was there for me, my friend. She then told me to try squatting. I just didn't feel like I had the ground I needed in the position I was in. I felt too suspended by the water. So I got into a squat position and Matt supported under my arms, poor guy, and I gave it a go. It was ON! I felt progress with every push and when L.A. told me to reach down I could feel my little girls head. It was amazing! Just the "push" I needed. It had been a hard labor and the light was finally there. The pressure at this point is SO intense, I can't even describe it. It is scary. We all have heard it ladies "the ring of fire" here it was knocking at my door. I had to tell myself "don't be scared, you are almost there, SHE is almost here, now PUSH!" Out came her head, it was an amazing feeling. Then L.A. said stop. After the birth she told me she doesn't usually put her hands down to feel the baby, but for some reason she felt the need. Good thing, my baby's umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck two times. I had no idea what was going on, I didn't know why she wanted me to wait. L.A. was perfectly calm, she put her hand on baby's head and said okay, go ahead. I pushed with all I had and baby flipped out. I say flipped because what L.A. was doing, the genius she is, was holding baby's head against the inside of my thigh. So yes, she did actually flip out. I took her and brought her the the surface and in that few seconds L.A. took the cord that was around her neck and pulled it over the back of her head. I brought her to my body and I could feel her warmth and I knew she was okay. My mother, sister, and husband, after catching their breath burst into tears at what they had just seen. I was in such shock and I just held her and kissed her head and face.
She was here, June had finally arrived at 7:24 am on April 4th, 2013. I handed her to my husband and climbed out of the tub to be examined. Matt and I crawled into bed , I limped more or less, and we snuggled with our new baby girl. With in just a couple minutes she was latched on and nursing away.
I had lost a little more blood than most and was feeling very lethargic and dizzy so I had a little O2 and a few shots of a cinnamon tincture to slow down the bleeding and bring me back. After that I had some pretty bad cramping which caused me to dry heave again. I took some "after ease" herbal tincture to help with that and continued to use it for the next few days while nursing to help with the cramping. I think I only took some ibuprofen once after birth. The herbal remedies really helped me a lot. And what can I say, I'm pretty tough ;)
Over all it was an amazing experience. The only time during my labor that a hospital occurred to me was when I thought to myself, on the stairs, "the only thing that could make this worse would be being confined in a hospital surrounded by a bunch of strangers". Don't get me wrong, I have respect for what hospitals, doctors, and nurses provide. I just believe that women were designed to have babies, we are not (in most cases) in danger. It hurts like hell, but you would be surprised at what your body is capable of doing if you gave it the chance.
I had my first child in a hospital where the experience was less than ideal. I chose to have a home birth with my second based on many factors both personal and factual. I would choose a home birth again. When enduring what is more than likely the most traumatic and amazing experience in your life where do you want to be? Who do you want to be there? That is what it came down to with me and I couldn't be happier with the outcome.
Welcome to WomanCare
WomanCare is an independent midwifery practice providing health care for women of all ages
WomanCare provides prenatal care, homebirth and postpartum care
WomanCare also provides health care for women who are not pregnant: annual exams, birth control, Pap smears, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, bladder infections and vaginal infections...and more
LeAnn van den Bosch is a midwife who will be there for you and with you. She has more than 30 years of experience in women's health care: welcoming more than 700 babies, providing innumerable exams, diagnoses, prescriptions and hours spent guiding you and listening to your needs.
WomanCare's office is located in Winona, MN
Please don't hesitate to call or email for more information
phone: 507 450 3422
Please don't hesitate to call or email for more information
phone: 507 450 3422