On June 28th, 2019, I was 10 days past my due date. Up until today, I had no signs of labor coming soon, except for some Braxton Hicks contractions. I was a little nervous that my body wasn’t going to go into labor naturally before 42 weeks; however, today was different. I started having light contractions every 30 minutes in the morning, then every 10 minutes by the afternoon. By the evening, the contractions were 5 minutes apart and became very intense, where I would go on my hands & knees. Around 11pm, we called our midwife and doula, since I was pretty sure I was in active labor.
Once our midwife, birth assistants, and doula arrived, the night becomes a ‘blur,’ because my pain was so intense. Throughout the night, I labored in several positions in my bed, in the bathtub, on the toilet, and on the floor. By 8:30am, I was 9cm dilated and started to feel the urge to push. The first several pushes felt like I wasn’t making any progress. I couldn’t wrap my head around how my baby girl would come out of me, but I trusted my body knew what to do. I started pushing in the bathtub, and then my midwife suggested I continue to push out of the water. I was able to most effectively push while lying in bed, on my side, holding one of my legs up, with my husband behind me. I ended up pushing for two hours before our little girl arrived! I’ve never felt such sudden relief and overwhelming joy as the moment she came out, and was placed right on my chest. She immediately opened her eyes and began to cry, and we all started crying as well – my husband & I, and both sets of her grandparents. It was the most intimate and special experience I’ve ever had.
The idea of giving birth at home can be frightening to most people, because of the ingrained fear we have of childbirth – the pain, and the medical problems that could arise. There are many practitioners who believe homebirth is a wonderful and safe option for women with low-risk pregnancies, and who feel comfortable with the idea. Birth is a natural process our bodies know how to carry out; therefore, I believe birth should be medically supervised, but not intervened with, unless necessary. I see a lot of unnecessary interventions in conventional obstetrical care, during the time of labor and delivery. The interventions that exist can be life-saving, but they also can be hindering and/or complicating to a woman who doesn’t need them. I was proactive in having a healthy pregnancy – exercising regularly throughout my entire pregnancy, eating whole and nutrient-dense foods, completely avoiding processed foods, sugary foods, etc., taking a high-quality daily prenatal multivitamin as well as other supplements, and using herbs, acupuncture, homeopathic remedies, exercise and movement techniques during the last few weeks to prepare my body for labor. I felt confident that my body was prepared to handle the birth of our daughter!
The best part about having a homebirth is the postpartum period. After our birth team left, we were already at home, snuggling with our little girl in our own bed. Our midwives came back to our house to check on all of us in the days following. It was so wonderful to be able to stay put, rest, and recover in the comfort of our home.
The thought of a homebirth is often followed by the thought of having no pain medication. I think us women can be made to believe that childbirth is something that we are unable to handle without some sort of pain relief intervention. This is certainly not true. I have to say, giving birth was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the pain is temporary, and it is ‘do-able.’ Being at home made my goal of not having any unnecessary interventions easier to accomplish. I’d think that women who desire natural births, but are in a hospital setting, have a harder time refusing epidural anesthesia. For me, having an epidural was never really something I considered. Having an unmedicated birth, at home, was an extremely empowering experience.
Midwife vs. Obstetrician
An obstetrician (OB) is a conventional medical doctor (MD), who specializes in treating pregnant women, assisting them during childbirth, and the postpartum period. A midwife (CNM – certified nurse midwife) is a nurse with a master’s degree, whose training specializes in prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum. Women can choose to see an OB or a midwife while they are pregnant, and to attend their birth. Midwives can attend hospital births, and also attend homebirths. It’s important for pregnant women to find a provider who have a philosophy on health and childbirth that they are comfortable with.
Are you pregnant, or desiring to become pregnant?
Dr. Alex can help you have the healthiest pregnancy for you and your little one, and educate you on all your options for birth.
Schedule your Complimentary 10-Minute Phone Consult with Dr. Alex here!