Now that the series has come to a close, this week is a blog hop for the community. Considering this week is Big's 8th birthday, I thought it was the perfect moment to join in. I'm going to answer the questions asked during the series to tie in with the conversation.
I'd always dreamed of having an unmedicated home birth. Although I was "knowledgable" about the birth experience and had even thought of being a midwife at various points of my life, I'd never actually been at a birth. For my first birth, I was told to expect to be in labour for a long time. I figured I'd probably be pretty typical: labour at home for a while and then when the contractions settled into a 5 minute rhythm that we'd call the midwives and go from there.
What factors influenced the decisions you made concerning your delivery?
I will always remember the amazing feeling that I experienced when I was a kid and one of my mom's friends had a baby at home. We got to go and visit shortly after he was born and it felt so ... warm, loving, relaxed. Nothing like the cold, sterile environment you see on TV. This was, I believe the moment I decided I'd birth at home when I had kids. But, my DH's family was nervous of that because of a very traumatic family birth experience a few years before. I respected all of them and decided to go with a midwife at a hospital setting - hoping to be in and out as fast as possible and get home to my own bed in a few hours.
I wanted my labour to be epidural free - because, frankly, I'm terrified of getting a needle in my back! The whole thought of side effects made me so upset that I was determined to make it happen.
Tell me a bit about your actual birth experience...
With Big, I just waited and waited. Patiently content. I think everyone else was getting antsy, but I was fine. I know I said the obligatory "Get Out Baby" complaints, but deep down, I was happy enough.
When labour hit, it was fast and furious. So much for the "first baby=long labour" theory. I projectile vomited all over the bathroom, and lay on the floor of the bathroom with my pillow, trying desperately to time contractions. I never could figure out how - it was more like one constant contraction that never, ever stopped. No one believed me. They all thought I was doing the typical overreaction of a new to birth mom. But I knew it. After about 2 hours of it being unbearable and wondering how in the world I'd survive many many hours of this level of pain, someone finally listened and came to check me. Things went into action mode then. I went to the hospital and met up with our casually moving midwife. Imagine her shock when she found out I was 8cm dilated already! I had to wait in the hallway while they found me a room. And I started pushing IN THE HALLWAY. My SIL took action and forced them to get me a room right away.
The rest of the birth was very surreal to me. I completely had an internal experience - I remember the midwife whispering that I was in a trance. I remember my SILs eyes piercing into me and telling me I was doing great. I remember them telling me to try different positions. I remember the hectic, frantic bustle of the midwife and hospital staff trying to get ready - as my second midwife wasn't there yet and they weren't ready yet. I remember J standing beside me, holding my hand. But it was like watching it all through a bubble. I was inside myself, locked in, and watching, feeling.
4 hours from the first start of the contractions that never ended I pushed out the baby. It was easy, natural, fast, painful. And then it was over.
He must have done pirouettes before he was born as the cord was wrapped around his belly many times. Other than that, he was perfect. Me - not so much. The trauma of the breakneck birth speed left me with severe clotting and hemorrhaging, which led to a lot of painful interventions and a disappointing need to stay in the hospital overnight.
How did that experience shape any future births/birth plans you may have had?
Because I'd hemmorraged so badly with Big, I wasn't allowed my home birth with Middle. The midwives said that they were all more comfortable at the hospital. So, I willingly agreed, even though I really wanted to be at home. [If you read his story - you'll see how God was listening to my wishes. lol] But, it made me have faith in my body - I knew I could do it drug-free. It was possible. Everyone kept telling me that I was MADE to give birth, and that really empowered me to do it.
Have you ever felt judged for the way you gave birth?
For Big - really the only comments I get are exclamations about it being so fast and how unfair that was. But it's the comments I get over the 1 hour of CRAZY fast labour with Middle that set people's tongues a-waggin'. "That crazy lady who gave birth in her front hallway." A lot of people don't understand how I could birth at home (intentional like I did with Little or unintentionally like I did with Middle). They can't understand why I'd want to do it naturally, or why I'd choose a midwife. But honestly, it doesn't bug me. It cracks me up to hear the stories from people. I love to see their eyes widen in shock and horror. :)
If you'd like to read their birth stories, I wrote these posts about them:
Big and Middle
Thanks for letting me share!