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 home birth, hospital birth and the I-meant-to-have-a-hospital-birth-but-I had-my-baby-at-home-but-it-worked-out.
-Erin Oltmanns, Managing Editor
When I started having kids I never would’ve guessed I’d even consider doing a home birth, but the more I’ve learned about child birth the more my thoughts about it have changed or evolved. It’s actually amazing to me how little thought I gave it in the beginning.
When I got pregnant the first time I just knew I didn’t want to have pain, so I planned on having an epidural, and knew I’d use a doctor…because that’s what “everyone” does. My son came after a long labor and 3 1/2 hours of pushing. My baby was pretty out of it when he was born. He didn’t even want to try to nurse so they immediately got me using a nipple shield which I naively thought was great until my son was addicted and wouldn’t try to nurse with out it. Nursing became too stressful and I quit after 2 months.
Then I became friends with a girl who was doing Hypnobirth (a natural birth using self hypnosis techniques to relax your body- which helps significantly reduce labor pain) and she was using a midwife at a hospital. I didn’t even realize that midwives delivered in hospitals and that my insurance would cover one! I read Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan, which talks a lot about how natural the birthing process is and how our bodies are made for it if we just relax enough to let it do its job! That the more relaxed you are the less painful it is. This all made sense to me and really got me excited to try a natural birth. Looking back, I really felt like having an epidural complicated my first birthing experience. It makes it hard to feel what you’re doing when you push and my son seemed so out of it when he was born. I’m sure some of it had to do with the long labor but I feel strongly that the epidural played a part too. So I wanted to see what difference a natural birth would make.
Natural labor was not easy by any means. The nurses put on me on pitosin because my water broke early that morning and I wasn’t progressing fast enough. I was on pitosin with my first birth too but that didn’t phase me because I was numb from the epidural. Well pitosin with a natural birth is…intense! Very strong contractions with little rest in between. I was lucky to have a husband who helped me through it and a great midwife who was happy to be there with me through a lot of the labor and then the delivery. When my daughter was born she was much more alert than my son was and was a better, and willing, nurser from the start. It was an overall better experience, but even with a midwife there were still a lot of rules and regulations the hospital makes you follow. I know they’re trying to be cautious, but I wanted to have more flexibility and control over my experience and my baby’s.
I never would’ve considered home birth if hadn’t been for 3 women that I met that had done it and loved it. They made it sound like such a beautiful experience and got me thinking about trying it myself. I’ve had 2 very uncomplicated births so the odds that I’ll need to go to the hospital are low, and it’s comforting to know I’m not far from one if needed. I want to be able to try natural labor without the use of pitocin or other “interventions”. I love that I’ll be in my own home, doing things at my own pace, with out worrying about all the rules and regulations of a hospital. I won’t have to write a birth plan because I’ll be in charge with the guidance of my midwife. I don’t know what to expect, but it’s been that way with every birth because each has been so different. I’m just hoping that not having to use pitocin this time will help me get through the contractions with less pain and that being in our home will help me relax better. Every birth has been an experiment in finding what works best for me. I think each time I’ve gotten closer to figuring it out. I’m looking forward to this birth and I’m hopeful that it will be my best one yet!
Laura will be sharing the second part of her home birthing story with us in March. In the meantime, you can keep up with her by visiting her blog, My Sweet and Simple Life.