Beth's Homebirth Story
Before I got pregnant, I wanted have my
baby in the hospital with all the drugs and intervention medical science
could provide. My husband, Cole,was always totally against this and
tried to convince me to go for a natural home birth. I said, "No
way! Give me drugs! Why suffer?" But
the minute I found out I was pregnant (after 13 agonizing months
ofinfertility treatment) I knew I wanted to have my baby at home with no
medical intervention. It was a complete turnaround.
I found a wonderful midwife on the internet. Her home/office was
just a few miles from our house which turned out to be a big blessing since
she had to get here in a hurry. Since I had health insurance through
my work we had been going to an obstetrician and we continued that while
having concurrent visits with Louana, our midwife (which, by the way, was
not covered on the insurance, we paid her out of pocket).
The difference between the two
disciplines was amazing. At the OB's office we had to pay for parking
($1.20 for every 20 minutes!) and then
they'd make us WAIT! When we finally did get to see the doctor, he or
she would dash in, do the minimum and dash out. Cole joked that they
wore running shoes so they could get in and out fast. By contrast,
Louana's home office was in a quiet residential neighborhood with free parking on the street. She NEVER kept us waiting. She always
welcomed us and took the time to chat with us. At each visit she took
at least 20 minutes with us, making suggestions and answering questions. It wasn't
until about the fifth visit that one of the OB's asked if we had any
We kept on going to the OB until I was eight months pregnant. It took
us that long to see all the doctors in the practice. We had been
advised to see them all at least once because we wouldn't know in advance
who would be on call when our baby arrived. Needless to say, that
didn't sit well with me at all. The most important day of my life and
I wouldn't know who would be there for me? I don't think so!
When they suggested we
come back at 36 weeks for what we felt was a needless ultrasound, we stopped
going. Louana was going to deliver the baby so we decided she was the
one we needed to see. Although I never told the OB's office that
we were planning a home birth, when we stopped going there they never even
called to see what happened to me.
Five days before my due date Cole and I were talking as we went to bed. I
told him that it was the last day of Capricorn and that the next day was
Aquarius. I said that maybe the baby was waiting for Aquarius to be
born. Cole said, "Oh, well, you know the baby will be born
Although he'd never said that before, I didn't take him seriously.
Then at 2:30am I was awakened by a powerful contraction.
I had always wondered how I would know when I was in labor, everyone said,
"You'll know." and they were right, I knew!! I looked at the
and told myself to go back to sleep figuring it would be another 20 minutes
or so before the next one. Two minutes later I was rocked by
another one and I woke Cole in a panic.
Was I mistaken? How could they be
so close together? He was sound asleep and muttered something to me
about a motorcycle and told me to go back to sleep. I finally got him
up and he was fiddling with the stopwatch when my water broke. That
was our cue to call Louana so Cole got the phone while I tried to cope with
intensity of the contractions. I was walking around trying to find a
comfortable position when Cole said Louana told him to put me in the tub.
Well, poor Cole was running around like a madman. Since it was five
days before I was due we were sort of unprepared. Cole had to scrub
the tub, give the bathroom a quick clean, change the sheets on the bed and
put the plastic dropcloth on. We figured I'd give birth either in the bed or
in the bathroom so he concentrated his efforts there. Of course I
ended up in neither place! He ran the bath for me and I got in but it was too
confining and although the water was tepid it felt too hot to me. I
didn't like it. I swished around through several contractions until I
saw some bloody mucus in the water. I told Cole I thought it was my
mucus plug (I thought that was supposed to come BEFORE the water broke!)
and he told Louana on the phone. She said she'd be right over and I
was never more relieved to hear anything. I was trying not to freak
out at the intensity of the contractions and wondering how I was going to
cope with them for another twelve hours or so, the length of a typical
I got out of the tub and went into the living room and got on our big exercise ball. It was so soothing to rock around on it. Pretty
though I could no longer stay upright and I knelt on my nursing footstool and put my arms and head on the ball. I was in this position, sucking
on an ice cube (I was so HOT!) and rocking around when Louana arrived.
Immediately, seeing that I was naked which she took as a good sign of my progress, she did an internal to see how dilated I was. As she sat up
and pulled off her gloves she said, "Well, we're having this baby RIGHT
NOW! I had only been in labor for an hour an a half!
Louana called her assistant, Chris, and told her to get here quickly if she wanted to be present for the birth and then she went to boil water.
Somehow Cole had gotten behind me on the rocking chair and was using
pressure on my ribcage to ease the contractions for me, a move we had learned in yoga class, and it was really helping me cope. I was in a
fog at that point, there was nothing else in the world but my contracting uterus and the ice cube which I was busily sucking on and rubbing on my
face. The assistant arrived and they got on the floor in front of me, took my beloved ball away and told me to start pushing. I never felt
the urge to push like they say you do. Pushing turned out to be very difficult, it seemed like just when I got the hang of it I'd have to stop
to breathe. It was frustrating. What really helped was that
Louana had put a finger in my vagina and kept telling me to push her finger out.
I guess it was when the baby started to crown that she told me to stop pushing for a few seconds to let my perineum stretch. Louana knew that
had been very worried about tearing my perineum because of a childhood injury. Later on I when I was healing from a small superficial tear I
was glad she let me stretch, but those few seconds were agony because the baby felt like a bowling ball that was jammed in my pelvis. I wanted
that bowling ball OUT!
I think it was at this point that Cole, Louana and Chris started laughing about something. They were so casual, having a fine time and I was
FURIOUS!! How could they be laughing at a time like this???!!! I
have time or energy to say anything at the time but I remember very clearly feeling that fury. I think it gave me the adrenalin rush to
Louana told me to reach down and feel the baby's head. I did and it
amazing. My baby was finally coming! A couple more pushes and I
felt the baby swoosh out. It was 5:25am, less than three hours since the
first contraction! Later on Cole told me that the baby had come out so
fast (I guess I was pushing pretty well!) that Louana had dropped the
baby and he had watched the baby slide past him, thinking,
"Whoa!?" She retrieved the baby from beside the rocking chair and motioned to Cole not
to tell me that she had dropped the baby. Later he did of course and we're still teasing Louana about it.
Louana handed me the slippery
baby and I looked at the little face looking up at me for the first time. I
was crying and saying, "Oh my god!" in amazement. I almost
forgot to look to see if it was a boy or a girl. Louana said, "What have
there?" and I looked to see that the baby I had always been so sure was
boy, was in fact, a girl! Wow!
I could not take my eyes off my baby girl and I missed the cord cutting.
I heard the scissors snip as Cole cut the cord. I remember feeling the
placenta slide out, I think I had to give a little push, it's mostly a
blur. I was so ecstatic, I had my baby in my arms! Cole held our
Lucy while Louana and Chris helped me into the bedroom. Louana
up my little tear and then I got my incredibly beautiful baby back in my
arms. Cole somehow had the presence of mind then to grab the camera, I
was too enraptured with our baby. We had planned to have the birth
videotaped but our friend had his phone turned off for the night when
Cole called him at 3am. When he got up and got the message he didn't
hurry, he had videotaped his sister-in-law's birth and figured it would
be evening before our baby arrived. He came over about 7am as we were
celebrating Lucy's arrival. He was so surprised! So were we!
Later we laughed about her being born in the living room. Cole was
sitting in the rocker holding me from behind and we joked about the
rocker. It was a used rocker and we'd been thinking about getting rid
it. "Not now, we can't get rid of it," said Cole, "It's
where she was
born!" Then I realized that it wasn't the rocker exactly but the
footstool which I was sitting on when she was born that was the real
piece of furniture where she was born. And it was a stool that Cole
made me for a nursing footstool. I thought that was so appropriate
she chose to be born on the one piece of furniture that her daddy had
lovingly handmade for us. Of course she had to be born in the living
So that's our story, I know it got a little long! I would love for my
story to convince someone to have a home birth. It was such a great
experience for us.
Off the Line
& Raspberry Leaves
-a new video compiled by Catherine and Amanda Young
of The Compleat Mother
for more information on the video!