Editor’s Note: At TodaysMama, we believe that every mother has the right to choose her birth experiences and that every experience is different. One experience we’d like to forego is the tradition of only sharing birthing horror stories…because, really, how is that helpful? We’ll continue to share stories of homebirth, hospital birth and the occasional I-meant-to-have-a-hospital-birth-but-I had-my-baby-at-home-but-it-worked-out story.
-Erin Oltmanns, Managing Editor
By Kendra Johnson
Our first child was born in a hospital with a wonderful midwife. After moving away, when our daughter was only three months old, we were surprised to find we were expecting again! A due date was difficult to calculate, so at around 20 weeks gestation, an ultrasound was done and the date predicted was March 18th.
On March 24th, we went to see our midwife. She suspected the baby would come by the weekend. The weekend came, and went, no baby! Each day I awoke thinking, “When is this baby going to come?” And each night I would go to bed wondering, “Will it be tonight?”
The baby was doing well and I was healthy and getting the rest I would need, so we felt no need to rush the arrival of our baby.
The night of March 30, 2004 we were about ready to go to bed. I thought I felt a contraction, but didn’t want to say too much since I had been thinking the baby was coming for weeks now. As I was walking down the hallway toward our bedroom I felt a definite contraction. I got ready for bed and climbed in. I didn’t sleep, but rested for a while. Before too long, I needed to stand up to walk around and deal with the contractions. I awoke my husband a few hours later, when I was ready for him to help me work through the contractions. Around 2:00 am we called our midwife to come to our home. Then I got into the tub to relax and for a change of scene. Almost immediately I started to shake. I recognized this from my first labor – I was in the final stages. I got out of the tub and dressed in a comfy nightgown. Then we went out to the front room and I stood by the kitchen table, leaning on the back of a chair, swaying back and forth through each contraction. Suddenly I felt like I could start pushing. It wasn’t the overwhelming urge quite yet, but I could tell that was right around the corner. It was exciting to be so close to the arrival of our new baby.
The next thing I knew there was a knock on the door. It was our midwife. She had me lay down on the couch while she checked the baby and checked me. She said I was dilated to 8 centimeters. I was excited and feeling great. I was feeling ready to push and our midwife suggested I get on my knees in front of the couch. I laid my upper body across a pillow on the couch. Right away the baby was descending fast and I could feel the pressure.
After the first push or two my water had still not broken. I started delivering the bag of waters! I had never heard of that before. Still wearing my nightgown, the midwife would check on the progress of the baby’s head crowning and eventually she counter-pressured the baby’s head to help slow the birth. As the baby’s head emerged our midwife simply swept a finger across the baby’s face, breaking the bag of waters and clearing it away from the baby’s face. I pushed once more and out came the baby! It was so fast I could not believe it was already here. It had only been 5 hours since my first contraction. Our midwife gently cradled the baby as it came out and placed the baby between my legs as I sat back on my heels and picked HER up. A girl! I turned around and sat down and looked at this baby – this baby that had been so unexpected. Our new baby girl was 9 pounds even. I was just in awe. It had been the best labor and delivery ever.
We had a great experience when we had our first daughter in the hospital, but now I could not even compare the two experiences. I could not have thought of a more natural and calm environment. Our first child, one year and four days old, slept soundly in the room right next to us. And I felt amazing. I was brought food of my choice from my very own kitchen. I was able to nurse right away. I could not have been better taken care of. We knew home birth was the way for us. My husband and I loved it. We have since had two boys born at home, and our three home births have been accompanied with confidence, security, and peace.