Posted in Parenting

Write for me Wednesday – Chelsea’s Homebirth Experience

Soon after posting that I was looking for different childbirth stories, I received an email from Chelsea who was kind enough to share her wonderful homebirth experience.  This is the story of her son’s birth.

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I always knew that I wanted to have my child at home. I wanted the quiet peaceful atmosphere that a hospital just can’t achieve.

My husband was agreeable with this choice mostly for the cost difference. After doing some research we discovered that paying for a home birth with a midwife out of pocket is the same as the insurance deductible for the hospital delivery (not including the charge for the newborn stay after delivery). That same cost with the midwives also included all prenatal and post natal visits, so it was definitely more cost efficient.

We took some birthing classes as well. I decided on the Bradley Method which teaches husband coached childbirth. There were very insightful things that we learned in the classes and some things that we have decided after the birth were not as necessary as the teacher made us think.  I loved having my husband actively involved in the birth and that made the biggest difference to me.

So when the big day came we were very calm. I had started some contractions the night before but they came and went and I was able to sleep through the night. The next day started our sporadic as well but by the afternoon they were getting closer together. We went shopping and then out to lunch. By now the contractions were getting strong but we started timing them and they would be anywhere from 30 seconds to 4 minutes apart and 30 seconds to 2 minutes long. They just weren’t regular like we were taught to watch for as the beginning of hard labor. So we decided to go see a movie.

During the movie my husband timed the contractions on his phone by using the stopwatch feature every time I squeezed his hand. Still, the contractions didn’t regulate.
After the movie, we went home and by then the intensity had kicked up a bit.

We did some walking around the house until I got to the point where I could not stand up during the contractions anymore. At this point, I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position when they hit, so Kirk called the midwife and my mother and they were all on the way.

When the midwife arrived she checked me and I was already dilated to an 8 so we started to get things set up. They got the water tub ready for me and I climbed in. I really enjoyed the warm water but when the pain hit all I could pay attention to was my husband’s hand in mine until it was over. I got really tired and then I started pushing and a few minutes of that made my water break.

I started out timid with the pushing because I didn’t want to poop in front of people but now I realize that I would have had a shorter labor if I just pushed with all my might from the beginning and not cared about that. I pushed for a long time and during that time I moved around a lot. I got out of the water and pushed while squatting and then assisted squatting and finally in a 45 degree sit with my knees pushed to my chest.

The midwife told me that she thought I would need an episiotomy and I really didn’t want one so she let me try one more push and that last one did the trick. My little boy’s head was free and he came right out.

They put him right onto my chest and I held him. He had a short umbilical cord so they had me cough and the placenta delivered. I didn’t even have to push for that. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut the cord. They moved me into my bed, wrapped my son up and handed him right back to me so I could get him to nurse. He did latch on after a few minutes but didn’t nurse much until later.

The midwives gave us about 45 minutes alone (me, my husband and our son) to bond as a family. During this time they cleaned up everything, even took out the garbage. Then they came in and weighed and measured the baby and did the newborn exam.

I was so happy to be at home in my own bed. My husband holding my hand the whole time. It was a great birthing experience and we plan on keeping with the same plan with our next child.

Chelsea
Age 34, mother of one little boy. Born 7 lbs 3 oz after 2 hours and 45 minutes of pushing. 😊

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Thank you so much for sharing your birth story with us, Chelsea!

Anyone else up to sharing?

Posted in Parenting

To Doula Or Not To Doula?

It’s a question that I’ve been asking myself for a little while now.  In fact, I started wondering about this shortly after giving birth to Charles.

You see, though his birth went well, there are a few things that bugged me about the whole process and now that I’m pregnant again, I would like for Peanut’s birth to be different in some regards.  I know I don’t have control over everything that goes on, but I would like to keep what control I do have when I’m going to go into labour.

For instance, with Charles, I had initially thought of going for a home water birth with a midwife.  After discussing this option with my partner though, we ended up deciding upon a hospital birth.  Since this was our first experience with birth and so had no idea what to expect exactly, we ended up concluding that we’d be safer in a hospital environment in case anything went awry.

I had also filled out a birth plan in which I had decided that I wanted the least amount of interventions.  I was gunning for a med-free birth.  However, when my water broke during the night at 40 weeks, I followed hospital procedure, gave the labour and delivery wing a call and we made our way there at 3am.  I started to have very weak contractions for the first time in my pregnancy (no Braxton Hicks for me, it seems) on the way there.  Upon arrival, I was checked (I was 1/2 a cm dilated!), strapped to monitors and told to try to get some sleep until 8am when the first ob/gyn would start their shift.

I listened to the nurse and managed to squeeze in a few more hours of shut-eye that night.  Then, at 8am, when the nurse realized that my contractions had become weaker and more spaced out, I was started on the hell that is Pitocin.

Had I known that I’d be leaving the comfort of my bed to go to a hospital bed, I probably would have stayed home.  In fact, had I known that moving about was likely to get my contractions going naturally, I probably would have stayed away from my bed and done just that: move (cleaning the house or even going out for a walk).

I pretty much stayed strapped to my hospital bed during labour as I tried to work through the pain of the contractions.  By 1pm, I was going into shock from the pain and was given an epidural (poor anesthetist who had to get his job done through my uncontrollable back muscle spasms).  After that, it was pretty much smooth sailing until I delivered at 6:26pm.

Now this time around, I can’t have a midwife.  You see, out here in Quebec, there are only 15 midwifes that graduate annually.   Here is a great article about the reality of natural birth with a midwife here.

Anyway, that got me thinking about having a doula this time around.  A doula, or labour coach, can be hired to help a mother/family before, during and after delivery.  Befor labour, they can help with a birth plan and preparing older children to the arrival or a new sibling.  During labour, they can provide physical assistance by the means of massage or just suggesting different birthing positions and emotional support.

I’ve actually started researching doulas and have found a few that have experience, references, a doula certification and other types of training (massage, rebozo…).  Now, I just have to call to see how much a doula costs.

I still haven’t made up my mind yet though, because I *did* enjoy having just my partner (and medical staff that kept popping in and out) with me during my son’s birth.

Did you consider a doula for one of your births?  Did you ever consider hiring one?