Today I’m re-sharing Ben’s homebirth story as we celebrate his 11th birthday! Every year on each of my kids’ special day, I strive to re-read their story and relive the memories. Happy Birthday to my only son.
All four of my babies have been born at home. Home birth was so important to me that we paid thousands of dollars out of pocket the first two times around because our military Tricare insurance wouldn’t pay for them. I taught extra community college classes to cover the cost and we just bit the bullet and paid. Quiet, peaceful, intervention-free births – preferably in the water were always my goal. I wanted to be able to eat and drink as I saw fit. I wanted to labor, where and how I felt the need.
Homebirth is so amazing. No IVs, invasive monitors, pitocin, epidurals, or episiotomies performed without consent. No strangers dictating to me how to labor. Only a calm, capable, loving midwife of my choice to catch my children. That’s why we opted for home birth. My first two babies were caught by the most awesome midwife Colorado has ever had. I hope the women she works with now know what a blessing she is to the natural childbirth movement. Tracy, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
But I digress, here is Ben’s homebirth story!
Because of a difficult birth with baby #1, I had some pretty strong anxiety about birthing Baby #2. During my second pregnancy with Ben, I worked through exercises with my midwife Tracy to try to calm my anxiety, but when the time came to deliver, I was still pretty worked up about birth #1 and I think it really set the stage for my second birth.
Again, I hoped for a water birth. It hadn’t worked out with birth #1, and I hoped this time would be different. Dan got the birth tub ready and filled and we waited anxiously. All that first long night I had contractions about 10 minutes apart. Shawnette came over Friday but by then my contractions basically stopped. We went shopping and walked the neighborhood, but nothing much happened. Tracy the midwife was on stand-by, ready to come when we needed her, but I didn’t really progress with my labor. Friday night, I again had annoying contractions most of the night but they didn’t get much closer than 9-10 minutes apart.
The lack of progress upset me a great deal and Tracy finally came out in the middle of the night on Friday. She assessed me, but didn’t check me as inserting foreign objects in the vagina is what starts the clock ticking when the water has broken. The most important thing we monitored was my temperature. Since my water had broken slightly, we did need to be on the lookout for infection, but my vitals remained fine. Baby had healthy heart tones, and we weren’t worried. She told me I needed to relax my mind and let my body take over.
That was so much easier for her to say than for me to do. She gave some homeopathic relaxation treatments and told me to have a small drink to help me to relax. And then she packed up and left. Can I just express how hard it was for me to see my dear midwife head home in the middle of my labor? But she said I was the only one who could make that happen. :/ She promised to be back just as soon as I decided to get serious about birthing, and she did. I didn’t want to be pregnant forever…and the night drug on, one annoying contraction at a time.
On Saturday morning, my friend Shawnette was still there, and Dan was off work because it was Saturday. The three of us headed out to walk around a few stores and grab some lunch and all through lunch my contractions got stronger and closer together. Dan wouldn’t let me leave lunch, though. He didn’t want to break the momentum. He was tired of hearing me gripe about labor, I think. Finally, I convinced him it was getting more real and we left. Tracy came back around 2 pm and I got in the water birth tub shortly after. Just before 6 pm, I got out of the water. I pushed for about 20 minutes and Ben was born quickly at 6:22. I had pushed for over an hour and half the first time, so 20 minutes worth of pushing seemed heavenly. My mother actually arrived 30 minutes before Ben was born and got to see his birth!
We were thrilled to find a perfect, healthy baby boy. We have never known the sex of our babies ahead of time, and I was sure Ben would be a girl. Clearly, I was wrong. Ben weighed just exactly 9 lbs and was 20 1/2 inches long.
I was thrilled that my mom made it just in time for the birth. And since my dad was there and could watch Anna, Shawnette also got to watch his birth, too. I have never seen another woman give birth, but I can imagine what an amazing experience it must be.
But the most amazing thing about Ben’s birth was what we found out after he was born. Midwives always do a careful examination of the placenta and umbilical cord after a baby is born. I’m not sure what they’re looking for exactly, but we found out that Ben’s cord had split in three vessels and was inserted into my placenta in three different spots. Apparently, this is can be pretty dangerous.
Of course there is a medical term, and I used to know it, but I don’t remember anymore. Anyway, Tracy told us there is anecdotal evidence that when this condition is present, first stage labor is really slow to protect the baby as a ruptured umbilical cord can be devastating. I’m so glad we were home where my body did what it needed to do to keep my little guy safe. I shudder to think what would have happened had I gone to the hospital and had pitocin to speed up my labor.
Happy birthday to my baby boy! To this day, he does everything on his own schedule. And we love him for that.