I have been wanting to post something about the birth of my son Ewan for a little bit now. ( Ewan, pronounced You-win, not EE-won. Gosh People!!). Well, I have to be honest- looking through the photographs my dear friend Svetlana took of his birth were real. Like a little too real, still a little too fresh in my memory. The emotions were still to real until this past weekend. So I grabbed my box of tissues, and opened up the file on my desktop and braced myself for some flashbacks.
Its quite a beautiful story.
Contrary to what society told me a home birth would be.
"Don't you know you can die?"
"What if your baby dies?"
"Why wouldn't you want to get an epidural?"
"Your a fool who obviously doesn't care about your health or your babies!"
"There's reasons why people don't have babies at home anymore!"
"What if something happens and you have to be rushed to the ER?"
"Did you have a home birth on purpose?"
I know a few close friends who had shared with me some super beautiful stories of their home births. I actually was so excited to birth at home. I didn't tell many people that we were planning on a home birth, because of the comments like the ones above. Kinda the same hornets nest that gets stirred up when someone finds out we home school and/or that our kids aren't vaxed. Or that our family lives in one room, no walls (except for the bathroom), "What?, ya'll are crazy!" they say.
But with a family full of nurses, (including my mom) the 'risks' they shared should've scared me into another hospital birth. See, I have experienced a scheduled c-section (my daughter Ruslana was breached, head up, feet to ankles, ouch!), and a non medicated 20 hours long hospital delivery (longest thing ever, thanks Killian!). I went into Ewan's pregnancy knowing I could indeed birth a baby with no drugs. But the hospital experiences left a pretty stale taste in my mouth that I wasn't interested in having again. See, I felt like just a number, a patient name on a clip board, holding someone up from getting off the clock. No eye contact. Phrases like, "yeah, you say you don't want any drugs, but you will, you will fall in love with our Anesthesiologist." Or, "We saw that you have been on our dry erase board with no PIT for around 20 hours, and we need your bed."
I wasn't having that again. Bringing Ewan into the world should be on his time. Supporting me to get the most out of my labor, supporting me. But I get it, I watched both "The business of being born" movies, I know hospitals are a business, and they need to get as many woman in those beds and out as possible in a day and have them 'use' all aspects of the hospital, OR's, Anesthesiologists etc. as possible. When I asked the OBGYN, who seemed to be as younger than me, whats the percent of babies she assisted being born, without meds, her reply stunned me. "None really. I'm not trained to help babies out naturally, I am trained to cut them out." Well if that answer didn't make my cervix shrink up and hide, I am not sure what else would.
So I embarked on a midwife/home birth pregnancy and delivery.
My prenatal visits were so beautiful. Having my kids there to help find the heart beat next to my Midwife, Mary- was so peaceful. Sipping tea by the wood stove was amazing as we chatted about medical history and what I wanted out of my birth. Mary. Oh my sweet Mary. She was a perfect creature of love and respect for me and my baby Ewan. It was all about me, and letting me work out this thing called home birth however it indeed would play out.
I was around 2 weeks late (according my charting, and when i know we got pregnant) Mary was in no rush, no hurry, no worry, just patiently waited.
Around 7pm, my husband got home and took one look at me and asked if i was in labor. I had been having braxton hicks contraction for weeks and weeks, but this felt different.
I immediately got out my iPhone and started tracking my contractions. They were around 13 minutes apart. And so i hopped in the tub, and relaxed. My kids were in bed and there they stayed for the next 5 hours. My doula/home birthing mama extraordinaire friend Mallory came, and when i saw her, it was like, Holy Shit balls, this is for real now.
Rusty and her helped me breathe and labor through some contracts, which were around 11 minutes apart at 10pm. We called Mary and she told me to call her when they were more like 5 or 8 minutes apart. So I hung out, breathed and and enjoyed labor. It sounds silly, but i am too stubborn to waste a perfectly good contraction, so squatting down and really allowing my body to open up was it. I was focused and anxious to see my baby boy.
Mary showed up, along with Midwife Jen. Shortly after my mom and Svetlana came. They all stayed so quiet and still and just watched. (OK. My mom didn't do any of those things, she was trying to distract me from my contractions so i could forget about the pain.) I don't quite get her theory. She had two kids, , in a hospital, no meds, she understands labor pain. She was worried for me I guess, being at home where its dangerous and all--note the sarcasm. Anyways... So I told her what any other self respecting home birthing mama would do to someone who was acting-a-fool would do: I told her to Shut it. duh! But my moms a big girl, so she just laughed and stayed quiet.
And I was quiet. But I wasn't sure if I would stay quiet through transition so we called our Lindsey ( yep our Lindsey, shes ours, back off) and she came, around midnight and rescued our kids in the cover of night.
Shortly after she left, Jen asked if i wanted to be checked. To see if I was progressing, since i hadn't been checked yet, I reluctantly laid on my couch and said a prayer that I would be at least 5cm.
She smiled at me and said, yep, your totally dilated. And if I wanted to push during my next contraction, I could try.
At this point, my contractions weren't closer than 5 minutes apart. So i walked on over to my birth pool, which was only halfway full and said, I guess i should get in here to have him.
As i stood in the pool, The Flaming Lips song, "Do you realize?" came on my birth play list, and I told Rusty it would be great if i had him during that song. Everyone chuckled and I knelt down and felt the rising wave of another contraction come my way.
I silently gave a strong steady steady push and felt Ewan's head make its way out. I looked up and said, 'His heads out', which everyone gave a resounding, "What?!"
The next contraction came shortly after and I gave it all i had quietly and he just floated on out. Into the warm water, where Jen grabbed him and handed him to me. Everyone was astounded, including myself. 6 hours later at 1 am-ish here we were. Ewan Mathias Fuller had entered this world in the most peaceful way possible.
The wonderful peace of heaven was there that night. You could feel it. Tangible. (Sometimes i can still feel it, when i hold Him. )
He was seriously so peaceful and calm, and alert. Looking around and turning to Rusty when he called Ewan's name sweetly from beside the birth pool.
I had done it. I was on the 'I just had a baby, at home, no drugs' high.
I didn't rip, or tear. Hallelujah. Can i get an Amen?!...... Anyone?
I hung out on my sofa holding him quietly. Our own home. Our blankets, pillows, clothes, smells, food. It was great. Mary and crew cleaned up everything, and we climbed into our bed that Mary helped dress with Rusty while i was relaxing with Ewan. Jen assessed him. He was Perfect.
Just heavenly. So restful and beautiful.
Mary came back in 2 days with Jen. Then again in a week, and in 4 weeks. Then at 6 weeks. She called multiple times in between visits. Just to say hi, and check on me. When the midwives came to visit, they held Ewan like he was family, doting on him and snuggling him. It was so nice. The post natal care for me was just as important as the care for Ewan. Something that I felt i seriously missed with my past hospital experiences.
He is almost 5 months old now. Sweeter than ever. My most calm, and easy child so far. I firmly believe the way he entered this world has a great deal to do with his demeanor now.
I have absolutely no regrets. He is perfect and I loved having him at home.
So there it is. And in the end, my super smart, modern medicine believing mom, who doubted the whole Home birth thing from the beginning, is a supporter. She is officially on the record saying she wished she had home births. She thought it was one of the best experiences shes ever had the joy to whiteness.
My home birth.
(I know each mother has her own story. No way to bring a child into this world is right, or wrong. None are better than others, but this is my story.)