Having a natural home birth was something I knew I wanted to do instantly as soon as I learned I was pregnant. It meant alot to me to have my child without all the microbiome destroying antibiotics, heavy medicines such as Pitocin & epidurals running through his small body, & controversial stares regarding my opinions on vitamin k, vaccines, & other needless medical intervention & testing (Watch The Business of Being Born an excellent documentary). I didn’t even have my first prenatal with my midwife until the start of the second trimester. I never had an ultrasound. During my prenatals my protein, glucose, & hydration was tested, blood pressure, my weight taken, tummy measured, baby felt & heart rate monitored, never an invasive internal exam. I ate healthy, took care of myself, stayed active as possible, & aside from heavy lifting continued my life as usual throughout pregnancy. I was blessed with few adverse symptoms aside from some tiredness during my first trimester & at the end of the third. Towards the end of my third trimester I did have bloodwork done to make sure everything was well with me for my upcoming due date. I had everything prepared long before then.
The due day approached & passed. Two more nerve-racking weeks went by. Going over your expected date is normal, due dates even when calculated by ultrasound are hardly ever on point. However, after being so well prepared & ready the day of, it was agonizing. My midwives & family were very supportive as I waited day by day staring at the clock and calendar; as if that would make things progress faster or soothe my mental anxiety (I was never nervous about giving birth, only eager to begin our new lives). Keeping myself busy was a must as I progressed into 43 weeks. Then finally at midnight after 43 weeks & two days my contractions began (following 4 days use of Blue & Black Cohosh Tincture, & a bodywork session from one of my midwives with acupressure to encourage labor 2 days beforehand). I labored 24 hours with no significant progress. Prior to this point I had not even lost my mucus plug or had the bloody show. Finally at 26 hours I lost my plug and I let the main midwife know to head over. The pain was great & was seriously an “interesting sensation that required all of my attention” as Ina May Gaskin, an author & midwife I enjoyed learning what to expect during pregnancy & birth would put it.
My midwives were wonderful; I cannot speak highly enough of them as they did an amazing job taking care of me in every way through the process. They made sure constantly that I was taking in enough food and water to sustain myself through the ordeal, massaged my back and legs during my contractions, & provided endless words of strength and encouragement as I pushed through some of the more difficult moments. They enabled me with information at every step of the way so that I could make educated decisions on what procedures I wanted or what I should do next. My husband was equally involved & acted as a pillar of strength when I felt all the energy drained from me. The midwives joked that he was the “Third Midwife” as he gave advice, encouragement, cleaned, did laundry, acted as a backrest & support as I labored, & kept me in a good mental state. I was overwhelmed by just how well he handled the situation & how much I could feel his loving presence as I worked through the challenges of labor. Progress was still slow, & at some point my contractions even stopped. When the contractions lessoned I rested & one of the midwives went to grab a birthing stool from her office nearby. Once she returned I spent three hours digging deep & really pushing with all my might in different positions, some much more intense than others, to get my little ones head to move through my pubic bone via my midwives guidance. Subsequently, an internal check showed minimal progress which was frustrating & exhausting news after having been up 38+ hours.
I was dosed with some contraction inducing herbs such as Dong Quai & the Cohoshes & told to take a break after there was some bleeding following some stand & squat as low as you can horribly painful pushes. I believe my labor would have gone faster had I been pushing out (as if to poop) instead of tightening (as if to hold my pee). Which seems obvious, but when you are in pain & it’s your first those types of things don’t occur to you. The midwives were able to tell during an earlier internal exam prior to my three hour push marathon that this was the case with me & they began working with me to encourage the right type of push/muscle movement. During the break I got in the bathtub to relieve some pain & relax, but all my efforts had resumed my contractions & I was thankful.
I was so exhausted; at times I considered the rational for my decision, understanding well why people choose the painkiller route. However, transferring (going to a hospital) was not an option for me unless there was a medical need or I just could not go on any further. I was so tired these last dozen or so hours I would fall asleep briefly fading in & out of consciousness as I went through contractions or as I stood. The moment my contractions returned in the tub I was determined to have progress & success before fatigue overtook me. I began pushing hard each contraction just as I had been practicing as a team with the midwives & my husband for the last few hours, but now enduring it all on my own. Somehow it came more easily, the pain felt less then, or more dulled, or drug to a deeper part of my mind by sheer will. I took advantage of every opportunity, pushing, forcing myself to change positions every two contractions to move in any way that might facilitate my goal, eventually moving from the bathtub back to the bedroom where I had found the best atmosphere & most comfort during my labor. Earlier the midwife had told me perhaps as “motivation” to put my hand down & feel inside myself to touch my baby’s head. At that time I attempted despite my disinterest to do so and it was painful. Now as I pushed I tried again, attempting to see if my efforts were creating progress. I thought I felt something, but it was intense & I was unsure. The midwives would check in on me periodically, making sure I didn’t need anything & coaching me through with praise as I bared down, sitting up & squatting on the bed hands clasped as if saying a prayer. I asked them to check what I had felt & as they checked & saw the amount of movement made, they offered to “help” baby move down by manipulating my pelvic bone & the baby’s head as I lay on my back. It was the worst moment of the labor, my screams made my husband rush from the living room into the bedroom in concern. But it was progress & well worth the effort, around an hour later my work was rewarded, my son was born (Compared to the struggles of the contractions the actual birth was the least painful aspect for me, however this could be because of the surge of horomones I was experiencing by then.).
Now, two weeks later, despite the early days of my healing & newborn care being rough (he cried day & night until his meconium passed 3 days after birth, which combined with my lack of sleep from labor & physical pain (1 good tear on my inner labia) was a challenge to say the least), my love, amazement & awe at life has never been stronger & has made overcoming the initial trials much easier. This account of my natural home birth is meant as something to relate to & gain reassurance from. I have always gathered courage from the fact that all women have the strength to manifest this miracle innately. I enjoyed reading Ina May Gaskins Spiritual Midwifery & its many accounts of different births. The stories some happy, some sad really provided me a grounding point to be prepared & relaxed as I could, gathering strength from the insurmountable number of sisters who have come before me to handle the same task. I hope my story can add to theirs & have the same effect for those soon to be moms who are considering this sacred path. It seems like something mythological that the efforts of lovers can create the spark that lights the fire of life to instigate the event of birth & bring forth existence, the essence of you both, yet still an independent soul. This experience has been mindshifting & I couldn’t be happier. Everyday is a blessed miracle that I am grateful for, I can’t wait to see what the future holds, our family is closer than ever.
Coming soon to our store a new line of herbal birth products for mommy & baby to aid labor & healing following your miracle.