A little history:
When my first daughter, Iris, was born, I was 20 years old. I was single and never thought twice about the birth I wanted. A birth was a birth. I had decided I wouldn’t have an epidural, but changed my mind as soon as I got to the hospital. I arrived at the hospital at around 10pm, my water broke at 1am and Iris was born at 7ish am. I was on my back the entire time, pushed when they told me and was given an epesiotomy without permission. For some reason they pulled my tiny baby out of me with forceps. When the placenta wasn’t delivered within 5 minutes, the OB just reached in and pulled it out. Iris was 5lbs 6oz and 20 inches long. She was taken away before I even got to hold her. Given the hep b vaccine and vitamin k drops, given a bath, then brought back to me an hour or so later. We started nursing right away, thank god I didn’t have any issues, because no help was offered!
Iris is now almost 9 years old. She is perfect and healthy besides all the “mistakes” I made during my pregnancy and the labor. I blame myself for not being more informed and educating myself.
Alex and I tried to get pregnant for almost one year before getting a positive test.
That’s me, in the black.
Me at 34 weeks, I gained 40lbs total.
Once pregnant I started googling questions once I thought of them. It had been 4 years since I had done this, after all. During my searches I came across www.mothering.com and I because obsessed.
These women actually told doctors no!
THEY decided how to have their babies.
THEY decided which medicines they would take.
THEY decided to have their child without pain medication and they actually followed through!
THEY EVEN HAD THEIR BABIES AT HOME!
I was instantly jealous and excited and curious. I jokingly mentioned to Alex that we should have our baby at home, and he agreed it sounded nice, but my insurance would not pay for it so we were just gonna stick it out at the hospital. I did end up doing a little more research and found a midwife that would take my medicaid and we went for our first appointment. I was expecting some crazy hippie (she did end up being a little off but she wasn’t wearing sandals), but besides not doing an ultrasound or vaginal exam at every visit, turns out she really was no different than an OB.
It only took a few appointments with her to feeling like I was headed toward the same birth experience I had with Iris, I did a little more research. After a little negotiation with Alex, I talked him into actually having the baby at home. That’s when I found Monique. She was a doula who had just moved to Houston, and I could afford her fees! I was going to have my baby at home! Now what?
When she met me for the first time, she could tell how scared and nervous I was. She really made me feel comfortable. I mean, yeah, women have been doing this natural birth thing for years, but not the women I knew! My family and Alex’s family thought we were crazy right up until Olivia was out, then they realized how awesome this was!
My mom and sister had arrived around the beginning of January and were patiently awaiting Olivia’s arrival. They were a big help during those last couple of weeks.
The last 3 weeks of my pregnancy, my blood pressure started rising so we started some natural induction methods, I wasn’t any closer to labor! The 13th was D day. That day we woke up feeling really scared. Monique told us that if we didn’t have Olivia that day, we could not have our home birth anymore, the risks were too high and we would have to go to the hospital for a pitocin induction. I was really really upset. I felt like I was rushing something that was not meant to be. I was scared that maybe little Olivia wasn’t ready. In the end we decided to take Monique’s advice and begin some induction method that were little stronger than the herbs and brisk walks we had been trying.
Angry about having to walk briskly…
Monique and her apprentice showed up at my apartment at around 2pm on January 13th, right after Alex left for work. Right away Monique made me some curry chicken since spicy foods can help stimulate labor. Nothing but some minor crampiness. I took some more herbal supplements. Nothing. I was ready to give up! She gave me two castor oil shots: 2oz oil, 2 oz vodka and 2 oz OJ. That was the worst thing I have ever tasted. Ugh. Still nothing except the obvious. An hour or so later my crampiness was getting a little more uncomfortable. They were changing from minor aches to actual contractions.
At 12am Alex got home from work and started filling the pool. His day was just beginning! The contractions started getting stronger but I wasn’t dilating very much. Monique had another client go into labor so she left for a few hours. I was having major contractions by the time she returned. I was having to vocalize through them. I had Alex rubbing my back, he was afraid of hurting me, and I really was sore the next morning. Back labor is no joke!
Yep, it hurt for most of the night.
I kept thinking to myself “don’t push”, I kept reading that you should make sure not to start pushing too soon.
The contractions starting getting really intense around 8am. I really though I might die. I begged for the hospital, I knew it was too late for an epidural, but I had been in labor for 10 hours already and awake for 19, I needed some relief! Monique would talk me down each time. Alex secretly hoped I would leave for the hospital, he was really tired. I finally took my only pain relief – a shot of whiskey. I lost my plug shortly after that, and moved to the pool. As I was stepping in, I felt a strange ‘pop’ in my pelvis. Monique checked me and told me it was time to push. My mom ran upstairs and brought Iris down for the birth of her new sister. I pushed 3 times and Olivia was born at 10am.
18 inches long
no vitamin k
no hep b vaccine
her grandmothers held her right away!
Then our little family of 4 went to sleep in our own bed.
Alex’s mother, Iris and Olivia.
My sister, Iris and Olivia
Having Olivia at home was the best decision I have ever made. I have an amazing sense of self confidence now and I know that despite all the scary statistics that some tried to get me to believe, a home birth is the only kind of birth I will ever have again.
UPDATE: It did happen again 2 years ago! Ben’s Birth Story coming soon!