Tag Archives: midwives

Birth Story: “I did it! I did it!” – Katie and Carter’s HBAC

by Katie Champ

My journey to Carter’s homebirth after cesarean (HBAC) began when my daughter Kaylee was born on September 1, 2011.  I was induced at 38 weeks for pre-eclampsia with cytotec, pitocin, and an epidural which led to a cesarean section under general anesthesia.  After her birth, I was determined to do things differently the next time.  I needed to be the first person to see and hold my baby.  I joined the Twin Cities chapter of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) and learned that I was not alone.  That other women had traumatic births as well, but they went on to have beautiful vaginal births after their cesarean.  This is when we decided that when we had another child, they would be born at home.

 

We spent a lot of time doing our research on natural birth, homebirth, birthing classes, midwives, and more!  On October 31st, 2012, we found out we were expecting our second child.  We went on the hunt for the perfect homebirth midwife, doula, and childbirth class.  We quickly found our midwives and decided to use Hypnobabies for this birth.  We couldn’t attend in person classes due to scheduling conflicts, but we were able to do the home study course.  We went back and forth on hiring a doula.  One thing I really regretted in my daughter’s birth was not hiring a doula.  Even though I had 2 wonderful midwives attending my birth, I didn’t want to have any regrets this time, so we went ahead with finding a doula and are beyond thankful we did.

 

I spent my pregnancy preparing myself for this birth.  I needed to make sure I did not get pre-eclampsia and I needed to stay healthy.  I completely changed my outlook on pregnancy and birth.  I ate healthy, stayed active, went to prenatal yoga, received chiropractic care, bodywork, and massage, did my daily spinning babies, listened to my Hypnobabies tracks and practiced my Hypnobabies techniques, read more birth books, attended ICAN meetings (and joined the board), met more homebirth families, and really took an active roll in preparing for this birth.  I wasn’t going to let anything get in my way of having a successful HBAC!

 

Fast forward to July 2013.  My guess date was July 13th, 2013.  This day came and went with no baby.  So did 41 weeks and 42 weeks!  I was growing impatient, but my husband kept reassuring me that I would not be pregnant forever and that babies come when they are ready.  Thankfully, my doula had gone to 43 weeks herself and assured me that I would go into labor.  At 42 weeks we started trying all to old wives tales to get labor started.  This little guy must not have been ready, because none of them worked!  At 42 weeks 4 days, we went in for a biophysical profile (BPP).  This showed low fluid, but nothing my back up OB said was urgent.  He encouraged us to keep trying to get labor moving and come back in 2 days for a follow up BPP and we would go from there.  He was pretty confident that labor would happen soon and was not concerned that I was nearing 43 weeks.  We were very lucky to have fabulous, supportive midwives, and a wonderful back up OB!

 

I cried lots of tears that day wondering when my baby was going to decide to make his appearance, but also accepted that he would come when he was truly ready.  Earlier in the week, we tried some herbs with our midwives, but that did not encourage labor to begin.  We decided to try them again that night and see what would happen.  That night, we had a wonderful dinner and put our daughter to bed before the midwives arrived.  I must have had a gut feeling something was going to happen.  We read extra books and had lots of extra snuggles, hugs, and kisses before bed that night.  I think deep down, I knew this would be our last bedtime as a family of three.

 

The midwives arrived around 8:00.  I spent the next hour bouncing on my yoga ball, hanging out with our midwives, and trying the herbs.  Around 9:00, I started getting a little crampy and a few waves here and there.  By 10:00, waves had begun to get regular.  I started listening to my Hypnobabies Birthing Day Affirmations while bouncing on my yoga ball. I texted my doula to let her know that labor had possibly begun.  I told her that we may have a baby the next day and that the midwives were still at our house.  I honestly thought I wasn’t in real labor.  I thought the midwives would go home to rest and come back in the morning.  Being almost 43 weeks, I was in complete denial that labor was actually going to happen!

 

Shortly after texting my doula, our midwives decided to time the waves.  They were already 2 minutes apart.  I kept moving on my yoga ball for awhile, then went to take a shower.  I went upstairs and by the time I got up there, I could barely move through a wave.  I asked my husband, Jon, to come help me.  I leaned on him during the waves while I was trying to move into the shower.  I listened to my Hypnobabies Deepening track and kept going between waves on the toilet and waves leaning on Jon.  I finally got in the shower.  The water felt great but standing was a challenge.  I got out and got on the toilet again.  I started getting vocal through the waves.  Deep moaning helped me make it through them.

 

I have no idea how far apart they were, but they felt very close.  I told Jon that I needed them to set the pool up because I needed to get in it now.  By this time, my midwives were setting everything up for the birth.  I texted my doula a little before 11:00 to come now.  She asked if the midwives were there and all I said was yes.  She asked if she should let the birth photographer know to come, and I said yes.  That was the last I looked at my phone.

 

My doula got to our house at about 11:45 and my photographer got there at about 12:00.  I was sitting on my yoga ball in our bedroom while everyone scrambled to get the birth pool set up.  My doula used the relax cue with her hand on my shoulder and said lots of wonderful, positive Hypnobabies birthing affirmations which kept me calm and relaxed.  The midwives and Jon were trying to get the pool filled fast.  The hose was not quick enough!  They brought up pots and pitchers of water from the kitchen to the nursery upstairs where we had the pool set up.  Shortly after, the pool was full and ready for me to get in. I climbed in the pool before another wave hit me.

 

The water felt amazing!  The only position I was comfortable in was kneeling and leaning over the edge of the pool.  Jon held my hand pretty much the entire time.  He was truly my rock through all of this.  My doula helped me with Hypnobabies affirmations, staying relaxed, and breathing my baby out.  My moaning got louder and deeper and the pressure waves more intense.  I can’t say it wasn’t painful, but I was able to keep my body relaxed and not tense up.  I thank Hypnobabies for being able to keep me calm and my body relaxed through this stage.  I spent awhile on my knees hanging over the edge letting my body push.  I never believed people when they said your body will start pushing when you are ready, but it is absolutely true!  As baby moved down, I needed to move to open my pelvis.  I alternated between one knee down and the other knee up in a lunge and then the same thing on the other side.  It was uncomfortable but its what baby and my body needed.  My midwives also wanted me to sit up so gravity would help bring baby down.  This was incredibly hard to do.  I certainly tried my best to stay upright, but I couldn’t do it every wave.

 

I said many times “this baby needs to come out!”  I was getting close to crowning when they brought my husband an elastic band with handles on it that he wrapped around his body and I held onto the handles to keep myself upright.  This is when the intense pushing began where I really gave it my all.  Shortly after, I remember saying it burned and they said that was good and to take it easy and his head was almost out.  A couple pushes later and his head was out.  His shoulder was a little sticky so my midwife helped loosen his shoulder and shortly after, the rest of his body slid out.  I remember hearing everyone tell me to reach down and pick up my baby.  I reached down and grabbed him into my arms and said “I did it!”.  I think a repeated “I did it” over and over again!  I was the first person to see and hold my baby!  Carter was born at 2:14 am.  He certainly waited until the last minute to be born, but once labor started, he was in a hurry!  His whole labor was about 4 hours long!  He was 9 pounds, 9 ounces and 22.5 inches long.

 

Carter’s birth was absolutely perfect and everything I dreamed of.  It was the healing birth I needed and it brought our beautiful baby boy into this world!

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Filed under Birth story, cesarean, HBAC, Homebirth, VBAC

Why Choose Home Birth? Part 9

Editor’s note: This is part 9 in a 10-part series asking families to tell us in their own words why they chose home birth. 

Photo Credit: Allison Kuznia Photography

Photo Credit: Allison Kuznia Photography

I chose home birth because in 1982 no one could guarantee that I wouldn’t get an episiotomy. Then I became a labor and birth nurse and knew I didn’t need the interventions and had another home birth in 2006. Then I became a CNM and had two more home births because I’m a freak about privacy.

Anonymous

We chose home birth because when Larry and I were doing our Bradley Class homework during our 2nd pregnancy we somehow never made it to the hospital in our version of the ideal birth plan…and so we naturally stayed home for that birth and our next two as well!

Eileen Ho & Larry An

“I vowed that my next birth would be on my own terms…”

I chose home birth because I needed providers who would listen and respect me. When I had my first son I was naïve. I though that my wishes and carefully written-out “birth plan” would be honored, and that I would be respected as a participant in my own labor. Instead, when I went into the hospital they denied my knowledge of my own body and insisted that I wasn’t really in labor. When I wouldn’t leave, they left me unassisted in a dark room and ignored my pleas until I was well into the “pushing” phase. After the birth, my son and I were often separated for reasons I didn’t understand as we were both poked and prodded and examined for possible “deficiencies”.

From that experience I learned that I was strong, and that my instincts were good. I vowed that my next birth would be on my own terms and that I would be supported by people who would put trust in me and who would encourage my strength. My second son was born at home and the difference for us was night and day. I treasured every day of that pregnancy and my child entered the world in a home filled with love and joy and trust. It felt so right for our family, and so normal and so peaceful.

Jennifer DeJonghe

“I had overwhelming indications that the hospital was not the place for me…”

I chose home birth for my second and third babies’ births because, defying my gut, I had gone to a hospital for my first birth, because it was the conventional thing to do, and the experience was unnecessarily traumatic. Even though I had overwhelming indications that the hospital was not the place for me, I still struggled against the status quo in my decision to have a home birth for my second. There are MANY other more positive reasons why I chose home birth, but I thought I’d address this a different way: Why didn’t I choose home birth from the start? Sadly, it was because I was swept up in the mainstream and I thought there was safety with the herd. At the hospital, I was treated like just that: one of the herd.

Lesa Brostune

“No one touches me or my baby except for those that deeply love us.” 

I chose to birth my third baby at home and am currently preparing to have my fourth at home for an infinite list of reasons! I love laboring and birthing in my own environment where only those I have carefully chosen are invited. Those women (and my partner) know me very deeply and trust and honor the work of my body and baby. I get to hear the sounds of my sons playing or one of my trusted birth attendants explain to them the work of birth when my sons come to kiss my head or rub my back. Hearing the gentle, knowledgeable voices of midwives as they give me guidance when I ask and providing the most exceptional “medical” care I have ever received in my life. Getting to cuddle in my own bed with my baby and partner from the very beginning as my mother and friends care for all of us during the first week. No one touches me or my baby except for those that deeply love us.

Erin Sutton

“I knew I could do it, and I wanted that personalized and special home birth experience”

I thought about home birth after reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth with my first baby, but neither myself nor my husband got completely comfortable with it. Thankfully I had a lovely, low-intervention hospital birth with midwives with my first son. For my second, birth was no longer unknown, I knew I could do it, and I wanted that personalized and special home birth experience I’d read so much about. Of course if I could go back and do it all over again, I’d definitely birth both at home, but this was my journey and I’m so happy to have had both experiences!

Anne Ferguson

“…a comfortable, trusting and loving environment for our VBAC”

Our family chose home birth because my wife said she wanted to do a home birth. Honestly, having a home birth never crossed my mind until Anna casually mentioned it in conversation when we were starting to try for our second baby.  I knew she struggled emotionally after giving birth to our first  baby via c-section. She had learned a lot about VBACs since .  It became really important to us that we would be in a comfortable, trusting and loving environment for our VBAC and, after reading up on home birth and the birthing community in the Twin Cities, I was totally on board!  When the time finally came, it was so great being in the comfort of our own home with the love and trust of everyone there. The experience is something I will never forget!

Ryan Siskind

 

I chose a home birth because, with the history of mental illness in my husbands family, it was important to me to make the psychological part of birth as optimal as possible. Being a nurse I knew I would not have a much control over that in a hospital.

Hospital L&D nurse

 

I chose home birth because I could have my birth provider friends as my team! So precious to see people you love and admire do their job.

Kristin Hiebert

 

My family chose home birth because my wife only gets to give birth a few times in her life, why not do it where she is comfortable?

Tom Crandall

“… it felt like a rite of passage and something that all the cool kids were doing, but not something I felt strongly called to do.”

I planned but did not have a home birth with my first child. I was GBS positive and 10 years ago had no option for treatment for GBS and stay home. It’s a bad place to be in, to be forced to choose abandoning your whole plan or foregoing treatment. If you want to decline treatment, that’s fine, but it shouldn’t be all or nothing; it should be an option. My labor was prolonged and progress stalled for 8 hours. We transported to the hospital and upon admission I was found to be running a fever, though we had been checking at home. I was diagnosed with chorioamniotis and got some pretty massive antibiotics. I wonder if chorioamnioitis could have been avoided if I had had treatment for GBS at home. In the end, we were both fine, I had a vaginal birth after a 4.75 hour pushing stage.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy after years of infertility; this baby had an unstable lie, and I was worried would have trouble with her cord–specifically, a prolapse. I labored fast at home, all was well, but when my water broke in transition her heart rate dropped into the 60s and lower and didn’t recover. I remember pushing with all my might, looking at the Ambu bag on the floor next to me and wondering if I had made a huge mistake, birthing away from options like a vacuum or emergent C/sec. My midwife cut an episiotomy (after I suggested it) because my perineum wasn’t budging and she was born quickly thereafter, and did very well, no resuscitation needed. Total time from my water breaking to birth was about 10 minutes.  It was great being home in labor and postpartum was dreamy.

Looking back on my experiences, I wonder why I chose home birth. In a way, it felt like a rite of passage and something that all the cool kids were doing, but not something I felt strongly called to do. It felt like something I was supposed to do, a political statement about the normalcy of birth. My mother had a home birth with my younger sister; my husband was born at home. Maybe I felt like I had something to prove. If I have another child, I honestly don’t know what I would choose.
Anonymous

“…we believed, and believe, birth is a normal, natural process.”

We chose home birth for our first baby for a lot of different reasons, including overwhelming statistics on poor hospital birth outcomes and the wonderful experiences of friends and family who had chosen home births — but the main reason was we believed, and believe, birth is a normal, natural process.  And we felt we’d have the best chances at that reality if we stayed home, trusting ourselves and our fantastic midwife team.  Christian also really felt like he would be empowered to play the central role we both wanted him to play as birth partner at home.

Our reality did include transferring to the hospital because after 36 hours of slow progressing labor at home, Ada had rotated to a posterior and asynclitic position where she just couldn’t descend the rest of the way through my pelvis. The decision to transfer was made with calm resolve.

I am now 36+ weeks pregnant with our second child and we have planned a home birth again. I know we’ll get it, but I also know whatever happens we will maintain our home birth attitude -that we are strong and capable, and we believe in birth as a natural, beautiful, intense, unifying, and amazing process.

I feel so lucky.

Alissa Light

“…it made the whole experience hers and she owned it!”

I’m so happy my daughter chose home birth because it made the whole experience hers and she owned it!   Hospital administration and medical personnel commandeer birth and make it about their goals and objectives, not the mother’s.  And it’s not just home birth, it’s care providers whom she trusted absolutely which allowed her to focus entirely on working with her body and baby without having to keep and eye out for anyone who might highjack her plan or undermine her confidence.

A Home Birth Grandma

“I wanted to be in charge of my birth.”

I chose home birth because as a second time mother, I wanted my birth experience to be unique to my wishes and needs. My first was a hospital birth and although the birth experience was beautiful it left me wanting more. I wanted a calm environment before, during, and especially after the birth of our wee little one. I wanted comfort and an uninterrupted labor. I most of all wanted to be surrounded by people who see natural birth the same way I do. I wanted to be in charge of my birth. I wanted to have the experience centered around my family and our precious new baby.

It turned out to be so much better than we could have asked for. The team of people we chose to have with us in our very special time were there to support us completely, lovingly, and knowledgeably without judgement. Although the delivery of our sweet Devin came so quickly, I felt like our birth team was able to help me to feel empowered and full of peace as I safely brought him into this world. We were allowed and encouraged to be together with him after the birth without the unnecessary interruptions and nobody was rushing to make anything happen.  We were tucked into bed and allowed to revel instead of the constant interruptions we experienced in the hospital. We loved our home birth and can’t wait to do it all again!

Lisa Glass

“I am a do-it-yourself kind of gal.”

I remember my girls’ births often and think of my midwives as spiritual mothers who spent so much time with my husband and I preparing for our babies.
For me, when I was pregnant with my first daughter there was something really appealing about home birthing because I am a do-it-yourself kind of gal.  At least that’s what drew me to home birth initially. I was skeptical of taking direction from doctors, who, in my experience, are busy and uninterested.   I didn’t want to be pressured to go along with unnecessary procedures that are required in hospitals.  Plus, I believed natural birth was possible and wanted to see if I could do it.
The reality of home birth for me was that when I was in the process, I needed to let go and rely on others, to lean on other people for help, to accept help from my midwives and husband during labor and from my postpartum doula after my daughter was born.  Birth was a transformative and revealing process for me, but it was so hard and painful until I could let go.  The vision I had of my birth is that I would pull off this empowering feat with instinct and trust in the process. The reality is that I needed to do the most difficult thing for me and that was trust in and rely on others.
Kristen Todd
Check back tomorrow for the final post in our series!

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Filed under Birth story, Homebirth, Midwifery

Why Choose Home Birth? Part 7

Photo Credit: Megan Crown Photography

Photo Credit: Megan Crown Photography

Editor’s Note: This is part 7 in a multi-part series asking families to tell us in their own words why they chose home births. 

“I wanted to know that I could relax, let my body do its job, and be surrounded by caregivers that wouldn’t step in unless they had to.”

When deciding which route to go for my birth, we looked into a couple options. The main ones that we investigated were birthing at either HCMC or St Joe’s with the midwives or doing a home birth with the same midwifes who had assisted my partner birth three years earlier. There were a number of reasons that we finally decided to choose a home birth, but the main one was my trust in the home birth model and the trust I had in my midwife team. I heard from a number of folks that had lovely hospital births, but they all mentioned that they were very strong in their convictions and “effectively advocated” for themselves during their birthing time. I didn’t want to go into my labor knowing that I was going to have to “advocate” for myself throughout the process; I wanted to know that I could relax, let my body do its job, and be surrounded by caregivers that wouldn’t step in unless they had to. I also wanted to trust that my caregivers’ advice/methods would default to something that I was comfortable with and that I wouldn’t have to be constantly questioning my care providers motives.

Other considerations that came into play for us were the model of prenatal and postpartum care. Including  our three year old son Arlo in every prenatal visit helped with him welcoming his new baby brother into our family. The postpartum care that we received was excellent. We knew it would be because we knew the level of care our team provides, home visits, immediate access to our team and quick acton for the unexpected.

All in all, I’d say that having a home birth was actually better than I had anticipated. The feelings that I have around Emil’s journey into this world are so peaceful and this experience has had a huge impact on my life. I couldn’t have imagined a better experience. It truly was amazing.

Stephanie Johnson

“…research assured me that choosing home birth would be a safe option for me and my baby.”

I chose home birth for my second and third babies.  My first birth, a hospital birth, went extremely fast, and I expected the next birth to be faster, with little to no time to get to the hospital.  I wanted to be sure I could use comfort measures to deal with the anticipated fast second birth, and my image of “comfort” included minimal disruption with driving or triaging at the hospital during late labor and maximum time using water as a comfort measure.  I figured the drive and intake process at the hospital would mean I would spend the most difficult part of my labor driving, in hospital triage, and waiting for a water birth tub to be ready.  As a result, I looked in to home birth, where I knew my birth team would come to me while I labored in the comfort of my own home with a birth tub ready for me.

I am also the kind of person who relies on objective data and make evidence-based decisions.  While I initially wondered whether home birth was indeed safe, my research assured me that choosing home birth would be a safe option for me and my baby.

That first home birth exceeded my expectations.  I appreciated the personal, in-depth care that I received from my midwife.  The birth was not as expected since it was longer than my first birth.  Turns out I would have had plenty of time to get to the hospital, through triage, and into a tub!  What I found, though, is that I really valued the comfort of my home during my birth with the security of having a good care provider looking out for my baby and me.  That experience drove me to choose a home birth for my third baby, as well.  With that next pregnancy and birth, I appreciated that my midwives educated me on options for care decisions that needed to be made along the way.  They informed me and helped me make choices, but left the decision to me rather than telling me what to do.  I again felt well cared for, safe, comfortable, and blissful giving birth with my husband and older children surrounding me in the comfort of my home.

One thing that I remember and describe to others is opening the windows during labor and feeling the sunshine, smelling the fresh air, and feeling a summer breeze on my skin. People comment on how lovely that sounds – so very different from a sterile, cold, isolated-from-the-world feeling at a hospital.  I got to have all that comfort while still receiving quality clinical care and monitoring from my midwives!

Rebecca Feyder

“I wanted to welcome my baby into the world in the calmest, most loving setting available.”

I chose home birth because I trust my body and nature; because I honor women’s traditional ways of knowing as exemplified by my wise and skillful midwives; and most of all because I wanted to welcome my baby into the world in the calmest, most loving setting available.

I had visions of our home birth taking place peacefully in the living room:  sunlight streaming through the windows, peaceful music playing in the background, close family and friends playing quiet games with my 3-year-old, and me being surrounded by love and affection as I moved in and out of the birthing tub.  The reality looked much different.  My water broke at 2:30 am, but I didn’t feel like I was in active labor until about 4:00 am.  My husband filled up the tub, making it very hot so it would be the right temperature by the time the baby was ready.  My midwife arrived at about 5:30 am and my daughter woke up at 6 am, scared and concerned about the noises I was making.  My husband took her outside to calm her down, and slowly started calling our birth team.  I was alone in our house with my midwife when I suddenly felt the baby crowning!  The tub was still too hot to get into and I was in shock that this baby was coming already.  I made it as far as the dining room, where I slowly pushed while friends and family streamed in.  My 3-year-old had rejoined us all by this time, somewhat happy to see the baby emerging.  My second daughter was born joyfully, albeit awkwardly on the dining room floor.  She had a bit of a delay at the shoulders, but came out smoothly with the help of the next contraction and some skilled maneuvering.

It took me awhile to grieve the loss of the peaceful home birth I had pictured.  I also felt sad that my older daughter didn’t enjoy the experience as I’d hoped.  But I still trust in woman’s natural design, and I am impressed now more than ever with the knowledge, skills, and resources of my midwives.

Laura Prakash

“Was the birth of my son how I imagined it would be?  No.  Do I have any regrets?  Not a single one.”

My husband and I chose home birth because we believed that my body was built to go through the birthing process on its own, without medical intervention and we wanted to be in the quiet, relaxing comfort of our own home when our baby arrived.  We interviewed many midwives and found the right fit and knew they we the perfect women to help us through this amazing process.

Things certainly did not go as planned. After laboring at home for 24 hours and not having slept in 38 hours, I made the decision to go to the hospital for an epidural and some sleep.  Our son, Waylon, finally arrived after 41 hours of labor!  Six hours after his arrival, our family packed up and headed home from the hospital. Was the birth of my son how I imagined it would be?  No.  Do I have any regrets?  Not a single one.  Was it all still an amazing, life-changing experience? YES!  Would I choose home birth again?  I so badly want to say YES but, in all honesty, 41 hours of labor continues to pop into my mind!!!  In the end, I think I will give it another chance because I still believe my body is built for giving birth.

Heidi Banks

“Phenomenal Care”

As a doula, my training and experience taught me that an undisturbed birth would be safest for me and my baby. That’s why I chose to birth at home. But I also got phenomenal care from my midwife throughout my childbearing year.

Kathryn Orr

“…the best way to facilitate the peaceful entry into the world for our baby.”

We initially chose to welcome our third child at home simply for practical reasons: our second child was in such a hurry to arrive that we barely made it to the hospital in time! However, as we thought about it more, we realized that birthing at home was the best way to facilitate the peaceful entry into the world for our baby that we had been seeking…and we didn’t need to write a “birth plan” with a long list of medical interventions that we hoped to avoid in a hospital setting. The simplicity and serenity of laboring and birthing in the comfort of my own bedroom turned out to be better than I ever dreamed possible, and the relationships we developed with the members of our care team were much deeper than we had during either of our prior pregnancies.

Emily J. Pike, M.D.

 

I chose home birth because I didn’t want any interventions. I wanted my body to do what it was designed to do on its own. I don’t see birth as a ‘medical procedure’

Linnea Wilhelm

 

I chose home birth because it was a pretty good guarantee we could get to have a vaginal birth after my two previous cesarean sections. I would argue it was the safest and most healing for me. Went from being told, “You can’t push your babies out. You just make them too big,” to doing just that naturally at home in 3 1/2 hours.

Nicole Suzzanne

 

I chose home birth because I was born at home and hearing my birth story was and still is my favorite story. I always wanted that experience for my babies and dreamed of the day I could tell them their birth stories.

Libby Rose Kline

Please check back tomorrow for part 8!

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Filed under Birth story, Homebirth, Midwifery

Why Choose Home Birth? Part 5

Editor’s Note: This is Part 5 in a multi-part series asking families why they chose home birth. Please check out the other posts in the series!

Photo Credit: Emily MacLaury

Photo Credit: Emily MacLaury

“I wanted to experience labor in a place where I felt most safe…”

A home birth always seemed like the right choice for me.  Before my son arrived, the only birth I ever attended was that of my little brother which took place in my childhood home, so a home birth seemed perfectly normal to me. I wanted to experience labor in a place where I felt most safe and at ease and with the team I had worked with throughout my pregnancy.  I knew my son would benefit from the feeling of calm my surroundings provided me.  The reality of my home birth closely resembled my dream because I had witnessed the labor of my mother and birth of my brother.

I believe my dream was fairly realistic.  The differences were purely superficial:  I never used the birth tub, I didn’t nap or scream.  I think these differences were a result of my fast labor.  Overall, I look at my home birth as a positive and beautiful experience. For anyone considering a home birth I highly recommend seeing one or two in their entirety video  so as to get a realistic picture of what a home birth can look like.

Jessica Hoffman

“…we were immediately supported and reassured.”

We starting considering a home birth because I had negative feelings about my hospital birth with Weston. Nothing major happened with it, but my memories from the hospital filled me with anxiety and concern. We tried unsuccessfully to find a hospital and hospital midwife team that made us feel like it could be different. By contrast, once we started exploring home births we were immediately supported and reassured. Following the excellent prenatal care I received, I was confident and excited going into my birthing time. The experience of being supported through the birth by experienced women at my home with my family present  exceeded my expectations. My memories of my home birth are filled with family, love, and support.

Kim Berggren

“…felt it was the safest way to bring my daughter and son into this world.”

My mom passed away just  one year before her first grandchild, my daughter, was born. I knew before getting pregnant that my mom supported natural childbirth and as I educated myself, I decided it was the right birth plan for me and my baby girl. I did a natural water birth in the hospital with her and felt very confident when I became pregnant again less than two years later that a water birth at home was what I wanted for my second baby. Birthing both of my children naturally was something that connected me not only with my mom, but all the women in my family who came before me. I also felt it was the safest way to bring my daughter and son into this world and for me, it absolutely was.

When I pictured my home birth before my son was born, I imagined having a very calming and comfortable environment during labor and birth. I felt that this would help both baby and me get through the challenges of childbirth. I also knew that it would be nice to sleep in my own bed the first few nights with my baby, not being woken at odd hours for ‘checkups’. When my son did come into this world, my labor and birth were everything I expected they would be. Things progressed faster than I thought they would, but my Midwives were fast and efficient in keeping pace with my son’s hasty arrival. What I didn’t expect this time around was how much easier it would be to establish breastfeeding. In the hospital with my daughter, she struggled with latching on and never completely got the hang of breastfeeding. Conversely, my son was very quickly able to latch on at home after birth. I truly believe that the environment was one that allowed him to focus on learning how to nurse. I would never change the birth of either of my children as they were both perfect, but doing a home birth the second time around was absolutely the right choice for me and my family.

Andrea Puckett

“There weren’t any reasons not to have the baby at home.” 

I chose home birth because midwives provide the best care during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Home birth midwives are able to spend time with their clients and get to know their bodies and stories in a way that ObGyns and hospital midwives are not. I wanted to know and feel comfortable with the health care providers who would be with me during the birth of my child. My pregnancy was very healthy and I knew that home would be the safest place for my baby to be born. There weren’t any reasons not to have the baby at home.

In terms of impact on my family, we all had a great experience. Everyone in my family was very supportive of me giving birth at home, even the ones who weren’t familiar with the idea. My mom had her babies at home and I had been to lots of home births before so I never really had to think twice about where I would have the baby.

My home birth was better than I had even hoped and dreamed it would be. It was really great and I felt safe and well attended.

Erin Wilkins

“Our midwifery team developed my confidence, sense of power, and ability as a woman and soon-to-be mother.”

Home birth was a clear, logical choice for me and my family. It offered the highest quality, most personal support throughout my pregnancy, labor, birth, and post-partum care. As a first time parent, I knew from the beginning that I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth. Reaching the end of my pregnancy and preparing for birth, I took stock of the relationship and sense of trust that had developed among myself, my husband, my sister (our doula), and our home birth midwives. Our midwifery team developed my confidence, sense of power, and ability as a woman and soon-to-be mother. They took the time to know me and my family, and provided a personal level of holistic care that left me with faith and trust in their judgment and expertise.

This faith and trust was called upon, as we ultimately transferred to a hospital where my daughter was born. Based on this established trust, I never questioned their decision to transfer. At the hospital, our midwives helped advocate for unmedicated, non-surgical interventions. These options would not have been known or offered to me without their prompting and facilitated my daughter’s natural, unmedicated birth. Seeing my home birth midwives acting within a hospital setting reinforced my belief that we had chosen the best possible care for our family. Home birth care allowed me to embrace this unknown journey from my familiar home, surrounded by familiar, trusted faces.

Sarah Aughenbaugh

Check back tomorrow for MORE! 

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Why Choose Home Birth? Part 3

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a multi-part series asking families to tell us in their own words why they chose home birth. (Read Part 1 and Part 2)

Photo credit: Megan Crown Photography

Photo credit: Megan Crown Photography

“So peaceful. So calm.”

We chose to have a home birth with our second daughter after birthing our first born in the hospital. In our hospital birth with our oldest we were still able to have her naturally, as we had hoped.  However, the hours after her birth and the following days led us to desire something different.  She was quite healthy and was doing just fine but they continued to do unnecessary evaluations that would wake us all up and disrupt our nursing pattern.

When we found out we were expecting again we decided to look into other options.  That is when we found our home-birth midwives and were thrilled with the possibility of doing this differently.  Our second baby came rather quickly on a cold December morning and by mid-afternoon, when all was said and done, we were tucked into our cozy bed snuggling with our new baby girl. I will never forget that first day. So peaceful. So calm.

Our dreams of a perfect birth were far surpassed with Audrey’s arrival and we couldn’t possibly imagine having a baby any other way.  Our son is due any day and we can’t wait to enjoy this experience again.  We feel this decision has been incredibly impactful not only for our immediate family but also for the people closest to us.  Their ideas of home births are changing now and we feel so glad to get to share it with others!

Emily and Dan

 

“My midwives brought care and tenderness to one of the peak events of my life. “

I had two top reasons for desiring a home birth. One, I didn’t want anyone I didn’t know at my birth. Birth is much more than a medical event. It’s personal, sacred, emotional, and powerful. I wanted my birth to be by invitation only!

Two, no unnecessary interventions–or at least greatly minimized. Can’t get out of unnecessary interventions at the hospital. Even in best cases where they’re minimal, they’re still there. I knew that with Trillium, I would trust that any interventions that took place were necessary. For example, the Pitocin shot after the placenta came. I trusted that the medicine was in my best interest. If I was given a Pit shot in the hospital, I would question its necessity just because of being in the hospital.

I chose home birth for the birth I hoped for, but ended up valuing the prenatals greatly. It was always a joy to spend time with our midwives Emme and Clare. Another amazing benefit that came to light was how this pregnancy and birth was a whole family affair. That wouldn’t have happened within other models of care. My boys were present for prenatals and the birth, and I believe their involvement helped them welcome Louisa with joy and love. They are so sweet with her.

I am blessed that the reality of my home birth was everything I hoped for. I was struck by how normal it all seemed– of course birth IS normal. But generally in our culture families who choose home birth are viewed as reckless or extraordinarily brave, and the birth itself rather wild or unfathomable. Well, I don’t view myself as reckless or brave. I’m just a woman who had a baby, and it was so normal and comfortable (not always physically comfortable, ha ha).

My midwives brought care and tenderness to one of the peak events of my life.

Lindsay

 

“…supposed to be about love and tranquility and family.”

In February 2009, just months after getting married, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. As I sat in the neurologist’s office and listened to him tell me to get used to the idea of living in a wheelchair and that I could continue drinking alcohol in mass quantity without any negative effects beyond what anyone who drinks too much would experience, something changed in me. I knew he had to be wrong. There had to be SOMETHING I could do besides daily injections, steroids, and frequent doctor visits. I left his office feeling unsettled and distrustful of his advice. I changed my life completely within 3 days – I read countless books on natural healing, scoured the internet for success stories, and became raw vegan and a non-drinker. I essentially healed my MS.

After my diagnosis but before a lot of my healing, I read horror stories of women with MS and how childbirth often triggers an attack. I told my mom that maybe I’d never be able to have kids. I cried a lot. About a year later, feeling great, healthy, and in the best physical shape of my life, I told my husband I wanted a baby. So we made one!

I had read about home birth on a raw vegan blog. It was a new idea for me, but it triggered a, “yes, yes, yes!” reaction in me as much as my neurologist’s advice has triggered a, “no, no, no!” one. It just made sense. Birth wasn’t supposed to be about fear and surgery and intervention – it was supposed to be about love and tranquility and family! And those are things that are at HOME. Luckily, I married a man who had always been suspicious of the American medical model and who was on board with a home birth.

We prepared ourselves as best we could with a Bradley class and discussions with other parents, always holding in the back of our minds that I might have an exacerbation of my MS symptoms postpartum. In October 2010, we had our first baby, at home, in our bed. In the best way possible, it was fairly uneventful. My sweet girl, Violet, came out forehead-first, a “star-gazer.” Only now, looking back and after many discussions with my wonderful midwives, is it really clear to me that had I been in a hospital I very possibly would’ve ended up with a c-section.

Although I have had some MS symptoms since Violet’s birth, they have been minor and few and far between. I know they will disappear once I can concentrate a lot of time on myself. I am so thankful, every day, for my dis-ease and the path down which it has lead me. I never would’ve known about home birth without it.

We welcomed our second daughter this past December, in a tub in our living room, on the birthday of one of our beloved midwives, with her older sister watching.

In many ways, my dream of my home births IS my reality – they were warm, happy, exciting events shrouded in a hormone-induced haze of forgetfulness. And, I have to admit, I love that my beautiful, incredibly healthy children are a walking “fuck you,” to everyone who told me that I was going to kill myself and/or my baby by choosing to have them at home.

Jess McNab

Check back tomorrow for part 4 in our series!

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Why choose home birth? Part 2

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a multi-part series asking families why they chose home birth. Today, we start with voices of the birthing mothers. Part 1 can be found here. 

Photo Credit: Megan Crown Photography

“Life was happening all around me…”

Why did we choose home birth?  The impetus for me was my OB telling me that she’d grudgingly allow me a trial of labor with my 2nd child, but didn’t feel that I’d be able to deliver since I couldn’t birth a 6 lb 6 oz baby vaginally.  After that I searched for a different way, I wanted a VBAC.  Hospital  just wasn’t an option in Nevada, and no hospital midwife could take me.  That left a clinic or home birth.  I started researching and ended up meeting with a midwife for an interview.  She allayed much of my fears.  I wanted to have a more natural birth for my child and for myself – one without doctors forcing drugs, inductions, interventions, monitors, c-sections.  I wanted it to be peaceful, I wanted my first child there.  I wanted to hold my baby right away, nurse her, not have her taken from me to be weighed and goop stuck in her eyes.  I wanted the option of what would happen with my placenta and the cord blood, the doctor cheated me of that in the hospital opting not to take cord blood even though we had made it clear we wanted it.  So many reasons to choose home birth, many more that I haven’t written.

My dream for my home births…..well, I didn’t have it all planned out in my head.  I didn’t want to. My plan was healthy baby delivered at home safely.  That was it really except that I did want a water birth, which never did happen!  I’d say that plan succeeded, all 3 times.  It was immensely better for us as a family – to be home, lower stress, be together, have the new baby fold gently into our lives, our children being right there the process not hidden from them.  I remember very distinctly during my first home birth, my oldest running around playing near me as I laid draped over the birth ball inching toward transition.  She ran giggling past me once and the soft breeze of her movement fanned my cheek and tousled my hair.  I don’t know why that moment sticks with me so much, but it does.  I was beautiful.  Life was happening all around me…our normal family life and our new baby’s birth folded in.

Kim

“…both positive and negative for my family.” 

I chose a home birth because I thought I would have more control over the circumstances of my son’s birth and the situation than if I were in a hospital.  I discovered that although I had more ability to make my own choices I couldn’t really control my labor and how it unfolded – it still turned out different than I envisioned.  In choosing to take more responsibility for the birthing process I found that it was a lot scarier than I thought when I was actually beginning labor.  I was deciding how I wanted to proceed rather than having someone tell me “you’ve been having contractions for days you need to go to the hospital,”or “you need to have a cesarean.”  While it was scary when I was in that in-between time between pregnancy and full labor, I also experienced the opposite end of the spectrum.  I felt all throughout my pregnancy that everything was as it should be, pregnancy and birth was a natural process that doesn’t need a lot of intervention (in most circumstances), and that I could have a relaxed experience as a pregnant woman.  I really enjoyed my pregnancy for the most part because of meeting with my midwives out of a clinic setting and developing a relationship with my caregivers.

The decision to have a home birth was both positive and negative for my family.  It was positive for my older son because he was able to be a little more involved in the pregnancy and also was not disrupted in his routine after the baby was born because we were all at home.  My husband was supportive about my decision to have a home birth but would have preferred a hospital birth.  Our home birth experience ended up having a few unexpected and not necessarily pleasant surprises and really caused my husband to wish we hadn’t had a home birth after the fact.  It all turned out fine though and in my mind I would have had the same issues in a hospital but I would have felt forced to take actions that I did not necessarily want to take.  It’s like anything in life that has an unexpected twist, you never know if you had made a different choice how different the outcome or process would have been.

Maureen

“I knew there was another way”

We chose a home birth because we researched it thoroughly and decided that it would be a safer option for us.  I visualized my birth experience to be fast, private and calm and in the middle of the night and that’s exactly how it happened!  We had candles lit during a dark February night.  I was in the warm birthing tub and it felt so cavelike and private which I felt really helped to keep me “open”. I attribute that to my very fast labor and birth.  My husband was my birth coach.  We felt like we welcomed our little one into our family as a team which is a great way to begin!

The support that the midwifery team gave us was exactly what we were looking for – they were genuinely warm, encouraging and caring which was the exact opposite of the experience I had for the first few months of my prenatal care at a big practice in downtown Minneapolis.  When I was with the large OB practice, I realized quickly that they lacked optimism and confidence in me and I began to internalize their frenzied doubt.  I knew there was another way so I stopped going and transitioned my care to home birth midwifery care – it was a great decision for me and my family!

Steph and Jon

Check back tomorrow for part 3!

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Why Choose Home Birth? Part 1 of 10

Editor’s Note: Due to the overwhelming response from families wanting to share in their own words about why they chose home birth, “Why Choose Home Birth” will be published in a 10-part series. Please explore the blog for the other posts where mothers, fathers, partners, and even a grandmother answer the question, “Why did you choose home birth for your family?”   Thank you to Emme Corbeil of Trillium Midwifery for posing this question to all the families she has served over the years. 

Part one written by Emme Corbeil, CPM, LM

Photo Credit: Alisa Blackwood

Photo Credit: Alisa Blackwood

When a woman and her partner enter the world of pregnancy and birth, the choices available to them are ever-expanding. Women birthing where I practice – in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota – are rich with choice. Not only are many area hospitals offering midwifery services, water birth, and other supportive options for normal physiologic birth, but there are now three freestanding out-of-hospital birth centers right here in the Twin Cities and several more in the greater Minnesota area.

With the choice of hospitals and birth centers, what drives a woman to choose to birth her baby at home? Why are an increasing number of mothers going against the current cultural norm and choosing home birth?

I have been attending home births for the past ten years, so I have a large client base to pose this question to: Why did you choose home birth?  It has been delightful and enlightening to read the responses that poured in. The reasons that mothers and their partners are choosing home birth fall in to several categories: safety, privacy, knowing the provider, taking personal responsibility, trusting the process, wanting to avoid unnecessary interventions, having family-centered care, and wanting supportive vaginal birth after cesarean birth (VBAC). The reasons are multi-faceted and deeply personal.

One mother who has birthed all three of her babies at home simply stated, “ I chose home birth because it just made sense to me.” Other moms went straight to the research and stated facts, “After an unnecessarily interventive hospital birth with my first child I started doing research into home birth at med school. I had free access to the Cochrane Database (best meta-analysis resource for well designed studies in prenatal/birth care) and I discovered that given these three things 1. Healthy mom 2. Healthy baby 3. Healthy pregnancy, birth,  out of hospital has as good or better outcomes than in-hospital birth throughout the world. I switched to home birth for my second and third births.”

One of the most profound responses I received was from a second time mother who started care with my team well into her second pregnancy. She knew she wanted something different from the hospital experience she had with her first baby. I honestly don’t remember the exact details of her first birth but it probably went something like this. Pregnancy went past due date, advised to plan an induction, anxious, scared, didn’t have labor support, wasn’t progressing fast enough, exhausted, pitocin offered, artificial rupture of membranes, couldn’t cope, couldn’t get into birth tub, chose epidural, more pitocin, baby wasn’t tolerating labor augmentation, blood pressure dropped, fetal distress, vacuum/ forceps/cesarean, mama baby separation, difficulties breastfeeding, postpartum depression. I am drawing very big generalizations here but versions of that story are what bring many mothers to home birth…..dissatisfaction with a hospital birth experience. What this mother wrote sent shivers down my spine and keeps me doing the work I love to do. “I chose to birth my baby at home because home birth gave me something I did not even realize had been taken away. A gift beyond imagining, as a woman, as a mother, as a human being. It is an awesome gift in every respect; to the whole family, mending one mother at a time all the losses humanity suffers. A deep healing connection in a culture bent on disconnecting us from our souls, ourselves and each other.”

It’s powerful stuff, this choosing!

I was surprised that from the dozens of responses I collected, only one of the families mentioned the financial aspect of birthing at home. Even though most families pay out of pocket for their home birth care and hope for insurance reimbursement many families we meet today have high deductible insurance plans and choosing home birth is a more economical choice than hospital birth with large deductibles, co-pays and 80%-20% splits.

For a healthy mother, having a normal pregnancy with a healthy baby, choosing to birth at home with a trained and experienced provider is a viable and wise choice and one that the mothers who responded to my question write about with so much love and passion. In the coming days, follow this blog to read in their own words what drives many families to birth in the safety of their own homes. You will hear from moms and partners, dads and even a grandma. Most of the respondents were overwhelmingly happy with their decision to birth at home but not everyone. There are a few partners who were scared during the unexpected and moms who still question why they chose home birth and aren’t sure they would choose it again. What it boils down to for me as both a woman and now as a provider is that women are given a choice.

Check back tomorrow for words from the families on why they chose home birth!

Emme Corbeil CPM, LM

EmmeEmme is a Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife practicing in the metro area with her sidekick Clare Welter, CNM. Emme has been attending home births since 2003. In 2006, Trillium Midwifery Care (www.trilliummidwives.com) was born. Emme and Clare help mothers and their partners birth safely in the comfort of their own homes. Emme is the mother of three big kids. She and her husband Paul live in Minneapolis with their nervous little dog Pinto.

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