My Home Birth Story
I gave birth to him and just like that, he is five months old. To celebrate him and myself I want to share my homebirth story with you. I want to share my story not because I think I know what the best way to give birth is, but because I think every woman deserves the right to more information and more options regarding how we give birth. My hope is that my story will inspire you to search for ways to improve your experience if you are planning or expecting a child.
When I was pregnant with my first child, all I wanted was to survive childbirth and to have a healthy happy baby. I didn’t realize what a life changing, positive and empowering experience childbirth could be. The first time around, I went down the mainstream path, birthing at the hospital with the support of a private, male doctor. Although I was relatively happy with my experience, with my second pregnancy, I decided to satisfy my curiosity and explore my options for a more holistic, woman-centric birthing experience.
Childbirth is arguably one of the most significant social events a woman will experience in her lifetime, unfortunately for most women it is shrouded in mystery, fear and sometimes trauma. Most first time mothers are crippled with fear before they even have the experience because of the negative picture painted by media and the traumatic stories we mothers tell each other
When I gave birth to Hero, I had three men involved in my birth, (Other. Than my husband) one was the doctor who saw me throughout my pregnancy for all my prenatal checkups and then travelled two weeks before I gave birth, one was the doctor that picked up where the other left off, rushed me along and made me feel uncomfortable about his motives for doing so and finally the third was a doctor who I had never laid eyes on until the delivery room where I delivered my daughter.
I say I delivered her, because I feel it is important to remember that it is us the women, who deliver the child and I sometimes wonder if we’ve forgotten to embrace our intuition, wisdom, power and confidence when it comes to childbirth. Perhaps this comes from decades of being told that childbirth is a medical emergency and a frightening, traumatic event. After having my first child I felt that such a visceral, powerful experience should be treated with more reverence and that I needed to find a way to take back my power as a woman. This inspired me to search out a service that would make me feel more connected to my experience.
My determination to create a beautiful memory and leave behind a positive birth story prompted me to do my research and start to look at options, this led me to a wonderful midwife, Melanie, who I felt was capable of providing me with the compassionate and loving care that I felt I deserved. I initially didn’t go under her care wanting a home birth, but it soon became clear that if I truly wanted to give birth in my way, instinctually and completely naturally that this would be the best option for me. After speaking to several mothers who had their own homebirth experience, I began to entertain the idea and at six months pregnant my husband and I decided to prepare for a home birth.
From that moment on. I fully immersed myself in the preparations for my homebirth experience. I read books, listened to hypno-birthing meditations, practiced positive visualizations, set intentions and prepared for the conscious, powerful birth I wished for. I wished to free myself from the belief that many women carry, that childbirth is fundamentally an unsafe and frightening experience and that a woman’s body cannot function properly without medical intervention.
Not only can the preparation of the mind around birth change your perspective on the experience, but it is also proven to affect the hormones that are associated with the progress and outcome of labor.
(Disclaimer:) All this being said, if you have given birth with the need for medical intervention and if the hospital and doctors helped to save your life or the life of your baby, I honor you. This is my personal perspective and my personal truth. I only hope my positive birth story helps you find your positive birth story, no matter the circumstances in which it happens and no matter the way you get to meet your baby.
My Home Birth Story
It’s taken me quite long to write down some words or an account or collect my thoughts on my home birth because it wasn’t easy and in some ways it wasn’t what I expected. There is no perfect birth or maybe there is no imperfect one. I went into labor at 9pm on Monday evening exactly two weeks before my due date. I was filled with excitement and peace at the thought of staying home in my nest, where the energy of my husband and I was at our strongest and most secure. After putting Hero down for the night, Alex and I lay in bed counting my contractions and trying to let the thought that we would meet our son soon sink in.
We called our midwife Melanie, assisted by Marea and my mother who arrived to be at our side and later my sister.
For the next 8 hours I labored exactly the way I wanted to, in control of my movements, my environment and my body. I felt connected to each surge that moved me closer to holding my baby. I felt that the contractions were happening because of my power, not that I was a victim of them. I instinctually knew what to do to handle the pain just as I had envisioned, even what noises would help me release the discomfort. As transition brought me to my limit, I went into the birthing-pool. This provided me with a massive sense of relief, as the weightlessness of the water lifted me up on wings. I was overcome with emotion as I felt the warm water on my skin and I began to explore the new fluid ways the water allowed me to move.
Shortly after, we discovered I was nearly 10cm dilated but my water had not broken. After breaking the membrane, I returned to the birthing pool and waited for the strong pushing contractions to begin instead I felt an eerie stillness and the continuing ache of long and unproductive contractions. Although my cervix had dilated fully, the baby’s head had not descended completely because it was not in an optimal position to properly enter the birth canal, causing my labor to stall.
This is where we began to rely on Melanie’s wealth of wisdom, patience and expertise. She coached me into different positions that would give my baby a chance to move his head. This required lots of strength and flexibility on my part at a time when I felt confused by the direction my labor was taking. As I began to fatigue due to the length of my labor, I never once worried about my baby as we consistently monitored heartbeat throughout the process. Melanie used language that gave me strength and positivity, reassuring me on the power and wisdom of my body and my baby. That being said, I did start to feel the need to summon the strength to give birth to him, with or without the pushing contractions that I expected. Melanie reassured me that she could help to reposition the baby’s head using her hand as forceps and that we could push this baby out together using my strength alone.
As my baby’s head came into a better position and began to descend, my body began the magical work of opening up and providing me with the contractions to birth my baby. After many pushes and some cold coffee my mom poured down my throat (seriously) I gave birth to my son in a more present and intentional way then I could ever have even imagined. At 7:05AM my husband, Melanie and I all assisted in his exit. As I pulled him onto my chest I felt my power and as my head fell back into the pillow I felt the relief and satisfaction that comes with such an accomplishment. I knew I had tapped into the rawest form of power and that I had (just as I intended) birthed in harmony with nature and with the strength of every mother that came before me. I saw for myself that these words are not a cliché, but the birthright of every woman. We have the right to birth in a loving and sensitive environment, under the care of women-centric professionals where our individual needs are heard and our natural processes are honored. Ares latched onto my breast immediately with his cord still attached and I personally cut the cord marking our separation. As the poignant moment faded, we started to excitedly talk amongst ourselves about our beautiful baby, his perfect cord and the triumphant experience. After all the checks were done and we were all cleaned up, the three of us were left alone in our bed, the bed my husband and I shared for the last seven years and we fell asleep…where we belong.
As I re-live these moments month’s later, I am more grateful than ever that I chose to give birth at home and I’m more convinced than ever of the power of a positive attitude and intentional mental preparation for birth. It is also clear to me that loving and supportive birth partners and a relaxing environment had a positive effect on my childbirth. I wish every woman the freedom to make empowered decisions that result in a safe and beautiful birthing experience.
I’ll include a few key resources below:
My spectacular midwife: https://instagram.com/diaryofamidwife?igshid=1qv5v7kbtuu3
Hypnobirthing and Positive Birth Coaching : https://www.hypnobirthingkenya.com/
A must-see documentary for all mothers and mothers-to-be : https://youtu.be/TMHnGtl7R_Q