william’s HOMEbirth

Birthing at home: ahhhhh.

Honestly, once the ball started rolling, I was not really even aware of the “strangeness” of what we were doing. It was so completely easy and natural. It was wonderful. I honestly don’t know how I could ever go to a hospital again. Really. The thought makes me want to cry, and I swear it’s not just the hormones.

As labor progressed, not having the decision of when to go to the hospital looming over me was such a relief. There was no pressure at any point to feel like I had to know. It was all so fluid, so go-with-the-flow, just waiting for nature to take its course. Emotionally, being able to just settle back into my couch and not have another thought for what the next moment would, could, or should hold was amazing.

In early labor, when I could still crack jokes between contractions, and when Ryan could still dare to ask things like, “So, does it hurt?,” my mom quietly was lighting candles, making pretty arrangements in the bathroom, on the dresser in my bedroom, in the living room. I suppose you might not actually take note of such things when in the throes of childbirth, but I did. The first time I walked into the bathroom and saw the tea lights reflecting off of crystal, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was. It was my home, the place I work so hard to make lovely. There were no dimmed hospital lights (with a spotlight ready for when the pushing began), no plastic beds and metal bedrails, no clammy tile floors that scream “Industrial!” Small things, yes, things that didn’t faze me last time around, yes — but still. If you could have one or the other?…

It was my home. Ronnie, the midwife, was clearly in charge of managing the birth — but it was my birth. I felt the whole time like I could tell her what I wanted, and that would be that. I could say, “No, I don’t want to be checked, I want to wait until I can’t stand it,” and that was fine. That’s what we did. Granted, it was my second time around, so I was a little less of a rookie, but I felt so much more confident during the second stage of labor than I did with Jameson. Again, just no pressure. Awesome.

When things got intense, guess what? No one was there to strap monitors on me, insist that I change my clothes (what are they thinking???), or ask me to sign paperwork. Need I say more?

And when it was time to push, the midwife suggested what she considers the ideal position for such things, a position that would be impossible at the hospital where Jameson was born. And I have to say, it would seem that she was right. For such an uncomfortable moment in a mother’s life, it was the most comfortable I can imagine. :)

But best, best, best of all was that when little William was at last delivered and set into my arms, and we were helped onto my bed and made comfortable in a nest of my pillows, I was home. That was that!

The care that Ronnie gave me after the birth was stellar. Obviously I can’t vouch for this as an across-the-board homebirth feature, but having one person spend hours with me during lengthy, chatty prenatal visits also attend my birth, doing her best to help me succeed at what she knew my goals were AND care for me for the next hours of recovery was just grand. When Jameson was born, I had very sweet and kind nurses, but, well, I was just another patient who they had to get through their mandated procedures. That meant getting up when their chart said I should, whether or not I almost passed out from sudden loss of blood. (NOT PLEASANT memories.) Ronnie and her assistant were amazingly sensitive to my needs and ready to get as creative as possible in order for me to be comfortable. When they slipped out my front door 7 hours after William was born, I was showered and refreshed and fast asleep on clean sheets in my bed. ahhhh.

William would also like to say that his arrival into this strange, new world was as easy as he could possibly imagine. There were no goopy eye drops, no bizarre hearing tests involving electronic sensors taped to his head, and NO heel pricks that would simply be ruled invalid, anyway. In fact, William probably would say that The World is all peaches and cream, except that he was circumcised this morning. That sort of blew that idyllic illusion. Poor boy.

So, off the top of my head, those are my homebirth thoughts. Do you have any questions, things you wonder, musings to add?

25 Comments william’s HOMEbirth

  1. Angela S.

    Yeah, I’m getting annoying now… but, the carpet!!!!!

    And yeah, you described homebirth in ways I didn’t quite understand… and you’re right about it all! It’s definitely better than a hospital. And the only way women really find out about that is by experiencing both worlds and assessing the difference.

  2. Angela Agans

    You don’t know me (although Ryan might remember me as we worked in the same department at Clarkson), but I read your sites often and really enjoy

    I was thinking it must be nice to not have nurses coming in for “vitals” just when you fall asleep! Although I do appreciate that hospitals now allow you to keep the baby in your room all night.

    How lovely….good for you(and William)! Congratulations Ryan!

  3. Sarah

    I was just wondering why you decided to circumcise. We did it with our first son (who was a homebirth, btw) but after research (nocirc.org, among others) did not with our second (who was a hospital birth!) Thanks! :)

  4. Heather

    This is just so cool. I’m so happy that you were able to experience William’s birth this way. So… MY big question… what is Ryan’s take on all this? Since I would LOVE to have a homebirth, and R.Jay is not really as excited as I, I’d like to hear what Ryan would say to him. :) Not that I’m pushing the issue or anything. ;)

  5. Jen Trelease

    Wonderful, wonderful! I’m so happy for you guys.
    My question is this – did your midwife give you anything to stop the bleeding afterwards? Before Eleora’s birth, I had lengthy discussions with our doctor and finally got him to agree not to give me the ROUTINE doses of pitocin and misoprostal after the birth. However, about 15 min. after Eleora’s birth, our doctor said my bleeding wasn’t stopping. He said to me in an annoyed tone, “THIS is why we give those doses to you.” I was kinda scared! Had Eric and I made the wrong choice? He then gave me just the misoprostal and I did stop bleeding. (This was and is routinely given anally by the way – not pretty – but everything is kinda numb down there by then anyways).
    So, I think you mentioned before that you had lots of bleeding with your first birth? Any medicines for it with this second birth? Also, if you had any tearing, did your midwife stitch you up for that?

  6. Danica

    @Sarah: I wondered if someone would bring up the circumcision issue!

    With Jameson, I received all of my care from a midwife, and she had a group care method. NO ONE in my group was planning to circumcise, for sure. I heard lots against circumcision during my months of pregnancy. I wasn’t for or against, really. Just curious. But at some point, we had to make a decision.

    We’ve decided to circumcise for this simple reason: it’s in the Old Testament, and so far, science has eventually come to confirm everything God asked of the Israelites in the Law. It seems like there’s wisdom in everything, even if we’re not bound by it anymore. Since the medical world has gone back and forth on the issue, we felt like the wisest thing we could do was just say, “Hey. For whatever reason, God had the Israelites do it. Maybe it’s unnecessary, and if so, well, it’s not life or death. But maybe it’s wisdom, and we’re gonna go with that.”

    So, there ya have it! Our totally unscientific reason for circumcising! :)

  7. brietta

    I have a question: would you have had a homebirth even if you couldn’t have had a trained midwife (or even a retired nurse like Mom had) present? That has been my biggest hesitation since the closest practice I’ve heard of that will deliver at home is in Utica, but perhaps that person doesn’t make such a big difference in your opinion? (I guess I kind of freak out at the idea of a UC, especially post-cesarean…)

  8. Angela S.

    Mind if I chime in on the discussion?
    @ Jen T: I had a cesarean for my first birth after hours of pitocin, and I ended up needing Methergine to stop the bleeding due to “uterine atony.” In other words, a tired out uterus that wasn’t clamping down. My VBAC got the routine pit after delivery, so I don’t know what would have happened. My following two homebirths bled on the “heavier side of normal” and stopped with no intervention. With my most recent homebirth my uterus wasn’t clamping down, so my midwife administered a shot of pitocin. It didn’t help, so she shooed everyone out of the room but her assistant, and with a nervous tone said, “Angela, we HAVE to get you to stop bleeding. This is way too much!” Lots of uterin massage and a shot of Methergine later everything clamped down and I was fine after that.

    @ Brietta: I know you weren’t asking me, but I’ll answer anyway- nope, I wouldn’t have a homebirth without a trained midwife. (although my fourth came unassisted by accident, and I survived. ;-) )

  9. Danica

    @Jen: I talked with my midwife prior to the birth about my desire to lose as little blood as possible, since it took over two weeks for me to be able to stand up without getting faint after Jameson was born. (BTW, immediately after he was born, it was determined that I was losing a bit too much blood, and I got a quick jab of pitocin.) This time around, Ronnie promised to be on the lookout for blood loss — and sure enough, she ended up giving me three Cytotec (misoprostol) orally, and then two more rectally when it didn’t stop fast enough for her liking. And it WORKED!! Within six hours of delivery, I was able (with lots of help!) to take a short shower without fainting!

    Had I torn enough to need stitches, Ronnie would have done that.

  10. Danica

    @Bri: Probably not! I think a scenario I’d be comfortable with is if I had one person with some medical training (nurse) and someone else who’d been through as much prep as Dad when he delivered Mom’s babies. Actually, I was thinking that you have the perfect temperament and aptitude for such training. You could then attend any sisters who insist on homebirths! :)

  11. brietta

    @Danica: ha ha! Yeah right! Remember me? The one who has to make Daniel take the kids’ band-aids off in case it’s too gross for me to look at?

    Yeah… the one time my midwife practically *made* me look in a mirror when I was pushing I almost threw up because it made me so squeamish to actually see what was going on!!!!

  12. Jackie

    I love this post. How awesome, Danica! I could never do a home birth. And I know Josh would not be up for it. But its great to read about how different things work for different people. Praise God that your blood loss was brought under control quickly!

  13. LisaC.

    YES! If Brietta does the training you suggested, then she and your mom could attend my “home birth”.
    (Now the rumors are really gonna fly!- you know, like Brietta’s now a mid-wife and I’m pregnant again!) ha!

  14. sarah o.

    Circumcision is certainly a very personal decision, and I am not at all trying to change people’s minds on it, but I would love to share some of the stuff I found about Old Testament circumcision compared to the way it is done today if you were interested. And also, the fact that circumcision wasn’t part of the Levitical law. (Or at least not that I could find.) Interesting things to me. But certainly not a life and death issue, like you said, or even a eternal issue.

    I love your homebirth story. I am hoping to have a homebirth someday. Although, I would never do it unassisted or without a trained midwife. I know someone who died doing that.

    I also highly recommend Red Raspberry leaf to help tone the uterus. I drank the tea a lot in my last month with James, and everyone commented on how well my uterus clamped down. And 5W is also wonderful for the end of pregnancy.

    Hmm. I just really love birth. I have to stop now or I will end up sharing my whole story right in my comment….

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  16. Beth

    I am curious about homebirthing with twins. Do you know if Ronnie does homebirths with twins? Does she consider that too risky or recommend someone better skilled to homebirth twins? I’m really interested to know what a midwife would do if you were expecting twins, because homebirthing is SO much better/safer, etc. than hospital births. Thanks.


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