Bethanie’s Unassisted Home Birth

I started researching about home births when I was 6 weeks pregnant.

I read everything I possibly could about birth complications, what to do about them and when I should go to the hospital if I felt something was wrong. I researched all of the hospitals in the area and found at that the lowest c-section rate was 46%, which pretty much finalized my decision to have my baby at home.

When I thought about giving birth in a hospital I would go into a panic and just worry worry worry, but I was particularly peaceful when I envisioned giving birth in my own home.

I tried to find a midwife up until the end of my pregnancy but the only ones that accepted my insurance were unavailable, but I was more comfortable going it alone than at a hospital. I trust in birth and believe that it’s safe, and it was for me.

I put a lot of thought into this decision, not to mention countless hours of research.

At 40 weeks and 4 days I was starting to feel a little desperate for labor to start so I could meet my baby and end the late pregnancy discomforts.

PK and I went on a search for black and blue oshosh tincture to try to get labor started, to no avail. We found a store that probably sold them, but they closed about 10 minutes before we got there. When we got home I got online and looked for more stores that sold herbs and things like that, at about 6:20 I went to the bathroom. Bloody show! I nearly jumped out of my skin. I was so excited! This meant that things were really happening and I was probably going to go into labor soon.

Contractions started immediately and were anywhere from 4-7 minutes apart and totally manageable. I was very excited and just hung out online and bounced around on my ball to pass the time until things started picking up. My friend YK offered to come out and help, which I was happy about. She had to drive in from Tampa and stop at the store before leaving. Contractions were getting closer together so around 9:00 I had PK start filling up the pool. I don’t really have much concept of time from this point forward.

After the tub was about 1/2 way filled the hot water ran out.

I’m glad I had him start filling it a bit early! At 10:00 he started filling it again, once the hot water had returned. I got in as soon as it was done filling, it was such a relief. Things had gotten a little painful at that point and being in water took the contractions back down a notch so they didn’t really hurt anymore. They were still coming about every 3-5 minutes now though.

A few minutes after I got in the pool YK showed up, good timing! She brought lots of good things for me to drink and munch on during labor, though I didn’t manage to do much munching. I’m not really sure in what order everything happened, but throughout the rest of labor YK made me some great herbal tea, massaged my temples, soaked baby washcloths in hot tea and put them on my shoulders between contractions, fed me sesame sticks, etc. She was totally wonderful.

When she wasn’t actively attending to me she sat in the corner and breathed deeply in a very nice pattern, it helped to remind me to try to breathe effectively through contractions. PK paced around a lot and when I hit transition he let me know! Haha. He told me I could do it, I didn’t believe him though. It was very, very painful. There really isn’t any preparing for the pain of labor.

Most of labor wasn’t that bad, not too hard.

I would guess it was the last two hours that were really bad. I wanted to transfer to the hospital to get an epidural, but I knew that to do that I would have to get out of the water and there was no way I could get out of the water. I had been out of the water a few times to use the bathroom, and every time I got out it felt worse. The last time it was completely awful and I just wanted to scream and I was shaking. I jumped back into the pool and sunk as far into it as I could without going under.

I got really shaky and I cried. I felt like I was losing consciousness at some points, once I kinda fell into the water a little and YK had me lean back against the pool wall so I wouldn’t drown. I got very vocal during transition, I mostly just screamed, trying to keep the tones low to help the baby down. In the beginning of the contractions I just repeated, “no no no no no no!” over and over, trying not to sob.

It really was downright awful. If I had been in a hospital there is no question that I would have gotten an epidural. If I hadn’t had the pool there is no way I could have handled it, if it weren’t for that wonderful soothing hot water I would have transferred.

I noticed that my body had started pushing on it’s own a little towards the end of each contraction.

I didn’t try to actively push, but I could feel her head just a couple knuckles in, which was really crazy. I knew that I didn’t want to actively push, to avoid tearing and let my body do it’s primal birthing thing. Then with each contraction I really bore down with it, completely without any conscious effort on my part. It really did feel like throwing up but in reverse and way more intense. There was no stopping the pushing.

Pushing was the greatest relief – it felt wonderful.

I thought that pushing would be the worst, most painful part but it was really the best. I had no control over it and I had to really surrender myself to the experience. The noises I made then weren’t even close to the painful-contraction-screaming. I wasn’t really in pain, it was kind of like really crazy battle cries. I had to scream, there was no stopping it, similar to the way there was no stopping the pushing. I had the “ring of fire” but it wasn’t nearly as drastic or awful as I was expecting.

It took about 15 minutes of this crazy pushing for her head to come out.

As she was crowning I could feel her hair and soft squishy scalp – by far the BethanyandBabycraziest thing I’ve ever felt. Then her head was out! It was such a huge relief. I waited for the next contraction, which came a quick 30 seconds later. One of her arms popped out, then the other and then the rest of her just slid out. I reached into the water and picked her up and brought her to my chest. I can’t remember what I said, but I repeated some words of awe over and over again. PK and YK took pictures, which are some of the greatest pictures ever. After a few minutes the placenta came out, mostly. It was attached by membranes and so just kind of dangled there.

We waited for the cord to go white and limp and stop pulsing, then OK clamped it and cut it. He took the baby to dress her while I sat in the pool and waited for the placenta to come the rest of the way out. After about 20 minutes of waiting I was getting really anxious to get out and hold my baby so I decided to just get out and hold the placenta until I got to some scissors and then cut the attached membranes, but as soon as i stood up it detached itself, so we just put it in a bowl. I wrapped up in a towel and then sat on the chair that PK put the chux pad on, and he handed her to me.

I just stared at her and tried nursing. She didn’t take to it right then, so I just stared at her and YK took pictures. We ate really delicious pasta that YK was kind enough to prepare, making necessary phone calls and nursing/staring at the baby. We went to bed around 6:30, but I didn’t sleep at all, I just stared at her til we got up around noon.

PKs parents came over around 4:00 and brought us boston market and some delicious looking home cooked food for the next few days.

We just ate the chicken and rice! they took turns holding her, took some pictures. They left around 6 or so. YK left after awhile. I’m so glad that she came out and helped, I don’t know that we could have gotten through it all without her, she was really great. I really can’t put into words how grateful I am for her.

We tried to go to bed around 9:30 but aisy wouldn’t sleep, she was having lots of trouble latching on and she was hungry, poor thing. Then Andrea Marie Noe showed up around 11:00ish, out of nowhere. She didn’t even know that I had the baby yet, she just had some trouble at home so her and her boyfriend drove here hoping to find a place to sleep for the night. At that point I couldn’t go back to bed, and baby wouldn’t sleep anyway so I sat out here and talked to them for awhile. Arthur called and wanted to come say hi.

Then we had a whole house full of people!

Not only did Arthur come over, there was also Jeff, Jasen, Chris, and two girls that I didn’t know and can’t remember the name of. It was great to be surrounded by nice people that were totally in awe of what just happened.

I was exhausted. It was nice to see everyone, but I hadn’t slept since giving birth so I was happy when everyone left, and then I went to bed as did Mikal and Andrea. Baby didn’t want to sleep. Last night was really pretty difficult. We got it all figured out after a few hours of trying various things. Hopefully tonight will go smoother because I am soooo sleepy. I’m considering going to bed and it’s only 9:30.

We took her to the pediatrician today, he called us brave people for having her at home without “help.” I guess we are brave people. I don’t know, I feel like now that I’ve done this, I can absolutely do anything. I’m a super strong person and I totally deserve respect. I’ve never felt like this before. Mr. Pediatrician says that Aislyn is just perfect and completely healthy! Our scale was off, as was our tape measure! Haha. I know she’s probably lost some weight since being born, but not a full pound! Today she was 6 lbs 1 oz and 19 1/2 inches long, 13 inch head circumference. Crazy. I’m completely in awe of her. She’s the most amazing little thing I’ve ever seen. I’m going to go cuddle with her now :]


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