Why We Chose a Home Birth:
Around the same time we had Landon, some good friends of ours also had a baby… at home. I remember thinking how scary that would be, not to mention painful, and how I didn’t think I could ever do something like that.
Never say never, right?
In a nutshell, these are our reasons for going the home birth route:
Past Experience: Our hospital experience with Landon was not ideal. My OB was out of town, so I had some on call doctor who gave me an awful episiotomy after only one push and without first obtaining my consent. (Months of painful recovery!) In addition, I went into labor on a Sunday which meant the cafeteria was closed, so Scott was starving all day. Scott was also not thrilled about sleeping on the uncomfortable couch in our little room during the two days following the birth. (And honestly, it’s not like the hospital beds are much better!)
Insurance: Or lack thereof, because I had none. A midwife is much cheaper out of pocket that an OB, not to mention I would get to skip all the unpleasant blood work and tests along the way.
Knowledge: We watched the Business of Being Born, which was a great eye-opening documentary; highly recommend it. We also started learning about home birth and came to realize how safe it is, and how much better it is for mom and baby. To anyone giving birth, even if you are set on an epidural in the hospital, I would still recommend learning about the benefits of a natural birth.
Our Home Birth Experience:
Preparation: I’m sure many of you have the same reaction when you hear "home birth" as I once did. But, I assure you; it’s quite a different story when you spend nine months preparing for it. We went with the same midwife, Sherri Price, that our friends did, and absolutely love her. Her experience, care, and knowledge are unmatched. (She is pictured below in one of the photos with Tom and me.) Each month she holds forums at her home for all the moms to be, giving information on a variety of topics: comfort measures during pregnancy and birth, massage, birthing positions, exercise, nutrition, stages of labor, etc… You also get to hear mothers share their birth stories. In addition we took a HypnoBabies class, which is the main “pain management” technique used in many home births.
Prenatals: Many people have asked me what prenatals are like with a home birth so I thought I’d include this little blurb too. The prenatal appointments were held at Sherri's home. (Landon loved to go with because of all the fun toys and cars there.) She would measure the baby, listen to the heart, do a urine analysis, and check my weight. No internal exam, as they are not necessary and just provide an opportunity for bacteria to enter that sterile area. Then we would talk about how things are going, how I was doing with exercise and nutrition, and go over any questions I might have.
The Birth: During this pregnancy I had a very strong feeling that he would come early, and fast. I was only in labor with Landon for 12 hours, so we were thinking it might be 6 or so the second time around. On March 15, I woke up at 5:30am, 8 days before my due date. (Thank you for sleeping in Landon!) I went to the bathroom, definitely was leaking fluid, had bloody show, and knew the contractions were real this time.
Of course it figures, I had been keeping the house spotless every day with the exception of the night before I went into labor. So, in my head I started listing off what had to be done ASAP:
- Wash bedding (Scott had been sleeping in the extra bed downstairs because he had a severe bronchitis infection and didn’t want to get me sick. However, we were planning on using that bed during labor so we wanted to get all those sheets clean.)
- Shower! (Maybe I’ll even curl my hair for the sake of pictures. Haha, yes I did think this would be possible.)
After getting up, I quickly realized that the contractions were a lot stronger and closer together than I was anticipating they would be at the start of labor. I woke Scott up, called Sherri, showered, (didn’t even get around to combing or drying my hair) and then started listening to one of my HypnoBabies tracks while I cleaned up. Scott called our good friends to come take Landon as well.
Sherri arrived at 7:00am. She checked where I was at: only 5cm, but 100% effaced and baby was at +2 station, meaning his head was already halfway down the birth canal. (0 means he hasn’t entered the canal, +5 is crowning.) Sherri ran downstairs to get the birthing tub set up and call the other midwife and apprentice. She only got the tub half full before we ran out of hot water. (Had we known things were going to go this fast, we wouldn’t have all showered and done laundry first!) I was still able to get in the tub for a few contractions but then started to feel pushy (in my head I was thinking, already?!?!) and I ended up moving to the bed because the water was getting too cold. After pushing for only 30 minutes, he was out! Not gonna lie, it was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. (There are HypnoBabies tracks to listen to when in labor, and pushing but everything went so fast, there just wasn’t time to think about getting them.)
All in all, it was the most amazing and empowering experience I’ve ever had and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Thomas Vincent Winn was born at 9:10am, after just 3.5 hours of labor. He was 21 inches long, and 9 lbs, 5 oz. (A full inch and pound bigger than Landon, and born a week earlier.) No tearing whatsoever!!
While Scott and I rested with Tom, the midwives cleaned everything up and set up all the things we needed in our room upstairs. We moved up there and stayed in bed all day, sleeping and enjoying our new little bundle in the comfort of our own home.
Recovery: I absolutely loved my home birth experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. The recovery has been night and day different from my hospital birth experience. After five days I felt amazing. I knew my body still needed to rest, but it was hard to stay in bed and take it easy because I felt like I was already back to my old self again!
Thomas: After a couple of days, it was very evident that something was wrong with Thomas and causing him to nurse incorrectly, leaving blood blisters on both my nipples. (Which were so painful, that I couldn’t decide if pushing baby out or nursing him hurt more.) Sherri recommended a pediatric dentist who specializes in lip and tongue ties. Turns out Tom had both, making it so he couldn’t lift his tongue and upper lip enough to nurse properly. The dentist preformed a ten-minute procedure in which the ties are literally removed with a laser. It took some time for Tom to figure out how to nurse better but by that point, my milk supply was already down because he wasn’t properly getting milk out. As the lactation consultant put it, it was too hard for him to get milk so he would go to sleep and be content to starve. (Although he was/is definitely not starving, just not getting enough either.) Not to mention he has severe reflux (just like Landon did) and spits up most of everything he gets down. Consequently, I’ve been pumping after every feeding and power pumping for an hour at night in addition to taking Fenugreek to try to increase my supply. He has to eat at least every two hours, but usually he's ready after an hour and a half, so this essentially leaves an hour of time between each feeding session. He is still fairly fussy, but hopefully with more milk and acid reflux meds, that will continue to improve. In addition, he has a Staph infection and his big toe nails are both ingrown. Good grief, little one.
Landon: Landon has been adjusting fairly well. He absolutely loves having a little brother and always wants to give him hugs, kisses, and tickles. Of course Landon doesn’t get the attention he is used to, and has started doing things he has never done before, like painting the carpet and coloring on chairs. Not to mention he has become extremely defiant. And, my all time favorite is when Tom’s crying and Landon starts crying and screaming too. “Two babies, Mom!” Oh boy. Thankfully we’ve had family come and go consistently since Tom’s birth so Landon has had fun hanging out with everyone.