Guest Writers, Home Birth Advocacy

I Wish I’d Stayed Home to Give Birth the First Time

13 Comments 02 November 2010

a guest post by Shae

Willow was born after 8 hours of easy labor in my home.

We were blessed with an orgasmic and ecstatic birth that was such an amazing experience.

The contractions built slowly and were not very painful. The hit of hormones I received as a reward after each one was better than any drug. In transition I was overcome with love and gratitude and excitement.

Willow was born gently into the water, surrounded by people we knew, as the sun rose on a Friday morning. My midwife passed her into my hands and I sat in the birth pool staring at my newborn while I waited for the placenta to arrive. It arrived with no drama and we cut the cord when Willow was about an hour old.

She nuzzled at my breast until she attached herself as we cuddled on the big recliner while my husband and older daughter looked on in wonder.

Birthing Willow made me feel strong, empowered, and safe and like I could do anything.

So why was I sitting 24 hours later crying like my heart would break?

Her older sister’s birth had been so different and all the bliss and elation I was experiencing had bought back all the trauma and defeat-because I knew it could have been so different.

Tannah was born after 4 hours of hard labor in a hospital after an unnecessary induction.

It was violent, terrifying and incredibly painful.

The contractions were hard and fast and excruciating. The pethadine I was talked into taking made me feel out of control and pass out. Transition made me panic.

Tannah was dragged screaming out of my vagina by her scalp in a brightly lit room surrounded by strangers. Her cord was cut before her body was born. She was taken away to be poked, prodded, rubbed and wrapped.

When she was given to me no one told me about the missing part of her scalp that the ventouse took away, they hid the wound inside her wrap. She was not interested in the breast as she was drowsy from the drugs. My husband didn’t know what to do.

Birthing Tannah made me feel afraid, useless, traumatized and like I’d failed my baby.

I have said before that we were cheated of so much more than just the birth.

It created such a ripple effect on our little family.

And it pissed me off that having such a beautiful birth would reawaken the trauma with such vengeance. That it invaded my blissful babymoon.

I looked at my big girl asleep in the family bed that night and I cuddled her and did something I’d done a hundred times before. I whispered “I’m sorry” in her ear as I rearranged the blankets. I shed some tears.

And then my new baby stirred in the hammock. I picked her up and lay her down in the family bed and fed her back to sleep. I smelled her and snuggled her into me and felt grateful for her amazing birth.

And wished I’d stayed home the first time.


I’m Shae. A homebirthing, homeschooling, home-cooking stay-at home Mama to 3 amazing girls. After having a traumatic hospital birth first time around I chose to birth my next 2 children at home and now I’m passionate about homebirth being a real choice for women and babies.
You can find me at my blog, Yay For Home

Your Comments

13 Comments so far

  1. Jenn says:

    I’m so sorry that you had that experience as your first birth. I just got done writing my own note on my FB page about my son’s first birth that left me damaged, terrified, and with postpartum depression. I just had a homebirth with my second son 6 months ago, and that was so amazing. I too wish I would have stayed home with my first. The birth of my second son brought out a lot of emotion because of the first birth, and the first birth expereince seems to over power my thoughts, even when I try to think of my second birth. But my son’s birth came with a new awakening. It made me become an informed choice advocate, and through him I am helping other women. I hope you can find your peace :)

    ~ Jenn

  2. Kalah says:

    Wow, I could have written this. My first daughter, Willow, was born after an unneeded induction in the hospital. I was torn badly. Both of us were in terrible shape by the end of it. Everything that went wrong, did so because we were at the hospital. Breastfeeding was a disaster because neither of us had the strength. It was a week before she latched on.

    My second daughter was born at home, with peace and joy. The labor was easy and we were both healthy and happy afterward. She breastfed strongly as soon as we tried.

    I apologize to Willow for the difficulty of her birth…

  3. MIchelle says:

    Great story! My son’s name is Shae and spelled the same way!

  4. Nichole says:

    I can relate to your story and I too feel and felt the same way. While the birth of my son was not necessarily “tramatic” the hospital took him away from me and kept him for 5 hours despite him being healthy. He also had some hair ripped out from their lead they attached to his head. And among other things told me that he wouldn’t feel anything if he was circ’d which I did do and all of it I regret so much. It took 3 days to get him to latch on and it was such a difficult time.

    I feared another hospital birth after having him and was ecstatic when my friend from church shared her experience of home birthing her second child. I learned as much as I could from her then from research online and went from the decision to have a midwife to UC.

    Since my son’s birth I’ve birthed two beautiful healthy girls at home in the company of my husband, mother, son and later daughter #1. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  5. Ashley Blaylock says:

    I cried so hard when I read this my son was born in the hospital by a crash cesarean following many mistakes made by the doctors I was so scared it was the WORST day of my life and it will be for a long time. I was brutalized my baby was taken from me transferred to another hospital and I was left in a room by myself to recover not knowing if my son was going to survive through the night due to his complications… when I gave birth to my daughter I was still in a hospital but i told my midwife I wanted it to be as close to a home birth as possible and it was I walked got in the tub and gave birth on the bed which is probably what I would have done at home and it was beautiful no drugs just a happy little baby and I feel so guilty! Her birth was so lovely it makes me feel like i let my son down because I couldn’t give that to him. I will have my children at home from now on because I know I have the ability to do so Congratulations on both your children and you are a wonderful mother and there are things in life we can’t un-do so its best to just shower your little ones with love and move on the best we can

  6. Kimrose says:

    Ah…I unfortunately KNOW all about the trauma as my first birth went from all natural labor/pushing to emergency cesarean when they saw my sons little butt crowning instead of a head :( I lived the dissapointment and trauma over and over SO many times – though it NEVER affected my bonding with my son – I think I simply WOULDN’T LET IT – so much had already been taken from us. But the 5 years that have passed never dulled the pain when I think of “meeting” him after so many others had already – of missing his transition from my body to the outside world…I also have said “I’m sorry” to him as you have…
    I’m pregnant now and am planning a homebirth – hoping that all will go well and that my son being present at a joyful birth will heal my heart a bit. I understand completely what you went through after your second birth/reliving the first. I’m hoping I’ve done enough reliving that it might not happen for me – but I know there’s no way to know – or even to know how the birth will go of course ;) I will try not to feel too bad if it does happen for me – I already know I will “grieve” my first birth even when I’m an old woman – so I know that door never closes completely.
    SO GLAD in the end you got to experience the joyful parts ♥

  7. S987 says:

    My hospital birth put me at a huge disadvantage bonding-wise with my first daughter. I was so glad for my UC the second time around, and my babymoon was so much nicer.

  8. Christa says:

    Ah, that hurt to read and brought me to tears. I’m sorry for your pain and your guilt. May you find peace with your precious Tannah’s birth one day. Love and light. <3

  9. Andra says:

    I was lucky enough to plan a home birth for my first child. After 3 days of prodromal labor and 12 hours of active labor, we discovered my son’s head had turned transverse and that my cervix was swelling due to the uncontrollable urge to push I began to experience at 7cm. We transferred to the hospital where I ended up with a c section due to me having a high fever and the baby’s heart rate dropping.

    Turns out I had an infection called chorioamnionitis in my bag of waters, which spread to my placenta. The c section caused the infection to spread to my body, giving me sepsis. I nearly died. After a week in the hospital we were both released in good health, but I was very much traumatized and had terrible PPD.

    Sometimes we do the best we can but things don’t always go the way we plan.

  10. Heather says:

    I just wanted to say how much I appreciate and identify with your story. I, too, have whispered tearful apologies to my 1st born in quiet moments of sorrow over my choice to birth in the hospital. While her birth was via unnecessary cesarean, it was violent as well. My heart still aches when I see the video of her being scrubbed and poked and alienated from the one person she knew from the moment of conception. That special bonding opportunity was ripped away by a careless decision made by an indifferent OB. I had my HBAC 2 years later and found it to be a healing experience, but not without grief and pain at the realization that my firstborn missed out on a fundamental right, her own peaceful, normal birth. Stories like ours need to be shared, so women can know they have a choice. Thank you so much for speaking out. I know you will touch and inspire many.

  11. Free says:

    Thankyou for sharing. My hospital births weren’t so traumatic in that sense but I still wish I had given birth at home.

  12. Noel says:

    I had a horrific hospital birth with my first son. I felt like I failed him, myself, my fellow woman. It was a really painful experience that I still haven’t fully recovered from.

    My son is 7.

    Since his birth, I’ve had 2 home births. One with Midwife assistance which was lovely and my other was unassisted. Just me and my daughter as my birth partner didn’t show up in time. It was primal, and energizing. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

    Someday I’ll write about my first son’s birth and all the wrong I did, and how bad I feel about bringing him into the world that way. I have apologized to him a few time.

    People have told me to ‘get over it’ but I doubt I will. I’ll come to terms with it. I’ll write it all out and be more at peace with it, but I’ll never get over it.

    I thank you for being honest with your feelings and sharing with us. I know that you have helped open some eyes, and hearts.

    Much love.

  13. Tasha says:

    You have my love and sympathies.

    One of the hardest things I have done this pregnancy is to come to terms with the birth of my son by CS after an unnecessary induction.

    I had started doing hypnobirthing and it brought up a huge amount of emotion I didn’t know was there. I feel like I’ve missed out on a few months of this pregnancy as a result but I’m glad I did that rather than have the horror invade my babymoon as you have suffered.

    I wish you peace and acceptance of what has passed. It may seem like it is too late to look at things like counselling and hypnobirthing but I would seriously recommend them because I know now I can move forward, and it is amazing to be able to out that burden down.

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