Saturday, June 29, 2013

Choosing home birth

“There is no other organ quite like the uterus. If men had such an organ they would brag about it. So should we” 
― Ina May Gaskin

I was a big advocate for home births before I had one.  Things is, it's hard to be taken seriously as a cheerleader for something you haven't experienced first hand.  Boy, am I glad that I did!

Without going into too much detail, I wanted to share our family's experience.  Honestly, deciding to do a home birth is terrifying.  You'll second guess yourself a few times, but I have found that reading about positive experiences helped ease that panic.  I want to recommend the book "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" by Ina May Gaskin.  I'll warn you now, the book has photos and at some points was a bit too Hippie even for me, but the information and reassurance it provided was exceptional!  The first part of the book is experiences from woman who had home births, birthed in a birthing center, or had a midwife assisted hospital birth.  The book is pretty well rounded on all those fronts and it provides a wealth of info on lots of other things when it comes to having your baby.  Both my husband and I whole heartedly recommend that you watch a documentary called "The Business of Being Born".  You can catch it on Netflix and they have bits and pieces on Youtube, but it's such an eye opening movie.  Ben and I both watched it and both really enjoyed it.

When I found out we were expecting the first thing I did was tell my husband that I wanted to push for a home birth.  I didn't have to give my guy one explanation.  He was on board!  I later found out that he was having a lot of concerns about doing a hospital birth too.  I had used my midwife for the delivery of our first daughter Jade.  She also happened to be one of my best friends mom.  I've known Ashley since we were 16 and having Diane deliver my baby again just felt right.

Let it begin!!!

My contractions had been pretty inconsistent for about a week or so.  Mostly Braxton Hicks but with a few doozies packed in.  So, Monday night I was surprised to see the *gag* bloody show.  I got giddy because I knew that meant that my delivery day was fast approaching.  I was already 2 days late at this point and if baby 3 kept up with tradition I figured he would arrive by the end of the week.  Both my girls were 4 and 6 days late.  Anywhoo, I texted my hubby that without going into too much detail that I was certain that baby would be on his way soon.  That night, I was restless!  I kept getting contractions that were keeping me from falling into a deep sleep.  They were pretty disruptive.  By the time it was 4 a.m on that Tuesday morning, my contractions had jumped from every 12 minutes to every 3.  TIME TO CALL THE MIDWIFE!  Hubby called Diane and left a message and she called back in less than 10 minutes.  I talked her through what had been happening and she said it sounded like I was (FINALLY) in labor.  HOORAY!  Hubby, was immediately a ball of nerves.  He stripped the bed and made it to the midwifes specs (basically our set of sheets was to go under a shower curtain/plastic table cover with a fresh set of sheets on top).  I started a crock pot full of ginger that would act as a warm press when it came time to push, and we buzzed around the house.  Our girls woke up and we told them that today would be the day that baby would arrive.  We had went over what we expected of them a few days before, so we touched base on how they were to be quiet and respectful, about where to find snacks and lunch and drinks that we made in advance, and what they could expect from mommy as the day went on and their brother got closer to being born.  My dear friend Ashley arrived (she was to act as sort of a tag team partner to Hubby should things get to be a bit much for him and as a comfort person for the girls).  She immediately got me up and out for a brisk walk to keep my contractions from stalling.

Our Home birth kit!  Everything you need to have baby at home :)

Midwife Diane, and her assistants Michaela and Shannon all showed up and I felt like things were about to pop off.  They didn't.  In fact, things kind of bounced around.  One minute they are strong and consistent and then another there would be a huge gap or they would lose some of their intensity.  While my contractions came and went, Hubby and I joked and kissed and smiled.  We  got sent on another 20 minute walk and my contractions got so strong I had to stop and breathe through them.  Hubby was awesome at reminding me to take deep breaths.  Sometimes I would cry, other times I would throw my arms around Hubby's neck and rock my hips.  We came home and things stayed pretty strong for a while, but then they would slow down, we would get sent on another walk and so on.  Ashley commented on how impressed she was that I was still able to laugh and joke even with my contractions picking up and getting closer together.  Diane agreed.  I felt  that I was only able to stay myself because I was home.  Home with people I knew I could trust.  Home with my baby girls coloring and writing notes for their long awaited brother.

It felt sooo right to be home.  Even as my contractions became unbearable, I never once wanted to leave.  I joked with Hubby about how I was a FOOL for deciding to do it at home, and he laughed and kissed me and told me he agreed.  He was a great source of strength, and even when I couldn't laugh anymore, he kept the jokes coming because he knew that deep down it helped me to see him being him.  I was so worried about him.  Despite this being our 3rd child together, this was the first time he would be there for a birth.  He was on deployment for Jade's birth and because of family silliness he missed a bulk of my labor and showed up just in the nick of time for Sonnie's c-section.  He had expressed his nervousness (but said he had no doubts about the home birth or our choices leading up to it).  He just didn't know what to expect and that scared the living crap out of him.

Some many hours later, I hit my wall.  I broke down.  I cried and said how tired I was.  I knew that I didn't want to move to a hospital.  But I was just so damned exhausted.  I just wanted to sleep.  I felt like I had given every single ounce of myself.  I kept digging and searching for that last well of power and I couldn't find it.  Thank God for Ashley and Ben.  Ashley kept telling me that I was so close to pushing and meeting my baby.  She was sure to drive me forward, to make sure I didn't give in to my fears and I don't think I would have pushed on with out her <3  Ben would whisper that I was so strong, and that he knew I could do it.  So, despite having no where to pull from, I gathered my balls and kept going.  Before I knew it, I was given the okay to push.  And push I did.  It took me maybe a good 5 or 6 pushes and I before I knew it...there he was.  Beautiful and silent, blinking big gray eyes at me.  Ashley (who caught the baby because Ben had said he didn't have the stomach to see all of the birthing) was crying and later she joked about wanting to raise him up to the light courtesy of The Lion King haha.  I looked at Ashley, with tears in her eyes and then looked at Ben who was beaming with love and pride and excitement and I knew that baby had been born into a room that was filled to the absolute brim with love.  So, I cried and held my very slimy little boy to my chest and just let every feeling wash over me.  I felt relief because I was so glad that the hard part was over.  I felt loved because Ben leaned over and kissed me as I cried from utter joy and I felt my faith in God renew.  I had prayed endless hours that our son would be born safely and peacefully and sure enough, he had been.  Everything I had asked God for when it came to our son, I got.  It was hard for me not to feel God's love at that moment.  My faith had been shaky and in the brief moment when my son and I locked eyes, it stopped feeling so rattled.

Nixon Cash Boutwell, born June 11th at 11:56 p.m.
SOOO in love!!

The girls had been sent to bed and I was thrilled at the idea of the waking up to find a new family member.  It was like Christmas, but better.  When the girls laid their eyes on him, they both cried.  Which made me cry.  They were moved to tears by love.  They are so young and love and excitement moved them to tears.  It was all very special.

That's why I had our baby at home.  This will be our family's last baby.  Ben and I are done having children and doesn't that deserve something memorable?  We felt his birth should be something that was binding and help really solidify the love between us all and the importance of family.

Here's the kicker.  Being home provided such an underrated comfort.  Our girls were awesome, even though Sonnie was a bit nervous for mommy and baby, I feel that worked out so well because they were in what they know to be a safe, comfortable bubble.  The things that make them feel at ease, like Jade's favorite teddy bear or Sonnie's snuggle shirts (long story) were readily available to them.  They watched Netflix and their favorite movies, colored and played in their room.  None of that would have been possible at a hospital.

Ben had the benefit of being at home too.  When labor first kicked off, he popped in his favorite movie and I saw him calm down a bit.  We snuggled on the couch and laughed.  He made me breakfast, so I could keep my energy up.  We wouldn't have been able to do that at a hospital.  When labor got rough, we got to lay in our bed, in our room.  He got to play on his PSP without feeling judged (hey, he had 16 hours to burn!) and when baby was finally born, he got to take a warm shower, eat a warm meal and CRASH!  He didn't have to do what we both agreed was one of the most heart breaking things...leave his new baby and his darling wife to go home and do those things.  How unnatural is that??  As a man, you've just been introduced to this person that you and the person you love have made and waited eagerly for and then BAM, you have to leave.  More like tear yourself away :(

I can't put into words the euphoria a felt afterwards.  From successfully having my dear boy, to having him at home, to doing what I was scared I couldn't muster up the strength to do.  ALL of it.  Laying down that night he was born, in our bed beside my husband and with baby curled up between us (yes, we co-sleep) moved me to tears.  I cried because I was happy.  How awesome is that??

Long story short, don't let fear hold you back from something that could be seriously moving!  I was a VBAC and I heard PLENTY about how unsafe it would be.  If you have your have your heart set on being home for baby,  then press on!  DO the research, find a midwife you trust, and follow your gut!

Just a few hours old :)

I can't end this post without praising to the heavens about how awesome my midwife and her staff were.  They were a such a valued source of comfort and encouragement.  Diane has this amazing gentle presence that, when you're mentally hanging on by a string, can pull you back in.  Micheala and Shannon are both so incredibly knowledgeable.  They also have a great presence.  While in labor, I never once worried about my or baby's safety.  I never had a moment of second guessing them.  If they told me I needed to do something, or try something, I had full confidence that it was the right next step!  When Nixon was born, I could feel their happiness for us and that is such a wonderful thing.  You want the people helping you through something so special to be happy too!!

If your'e interested in home birthing and live in the Orlando area, I wanted to include the link to my midwife's website.  She really is just AMAZING and her team is top notch!

Until Later chickadees (I do have a new baby at home and it has taken me 2 weeks to write this lol!)

All my love,

1 comment:

  1. You really have me thinking about my options...Just wanted you to know :)