Bryan and I started our homebirthing journey 7 years ago when we found out we were expecting our first (and only) baby girl. Ever since then, the research has been ongoing and the experiences something that we will always cherish.
This experience, like the others, is definitely one for the books.
A Quick Recap
Just as any mom will tell you, each pregnancy, labor, delivery, and even postpartum experience is different. My first pregnancy was amazing and exercised-filled (I was a gymnastics teacher at the time). The labor and delivery were traumatizing and life-threatening (to say the least) and ended in a fully sedated emergency c-section.
My second pregnancy and birth, but first homebirth was with a midwife and doula team and I had the works. The birthing pool, music, and my first experience at natural childbirth was in the works. Delivery time came and things went a tad bit sideways with me hemorrhaging and needing to transport. However, all was well with me and baby girl.
The third pregnancy and second homebirth was the start of what would be a new journey. This was another pregnancy where I was a bit more fit. Prodromal labor was something new I experienced but it led to a 30 minute birthing experience with my husband delivering our baby boy because the midwife didn’t make it in time.
Because of our previous birthing experience, I wanted to have a go at going completely unassisted for this pregnancy and delivery. Again, I did what I could to maintain a healthy status and all went well. Labor to delivery was only 4 hours long and another baby boy was born perfectly into daddy’s hands with absolutely no interventions needed.
The Fifth (and Final)
I had a different feeling about this pregnancy. I still can’t put my finger on it, but I just felt different from the beginning. A lot of transitional things seemed to happen during this pregnancy too – job changes, moving, the COVID plandemic, etc. So perhaps looking back, these could have been contributing factors??
Not totally sure, but another thing was my lack of being health-conscious. As my husband jokingly puts it, “I was more snacky and relaxed.” We laughed about putting it on a t-shirt, but looking back on it, I believe this was one of the major causes as to why the labor and delivery didn’t go quite as planned…
Labor of Love
I spent my fair share of end-of-the journey complaining about wanting to have the baby… ready to have my body back… and questioning, “How long have I been pregnant again? Oh, just 2 years (it seems)!” LOL! But the day finally came, at 40+2. My contractions were finally sticking at what I call “with the birds,” meaning real labor started somewhere between 5:30-6:00am.
By 7am-ish labor had progressed to another level that I had never experienced before. Disclaimer: If you have a weak stomach, you may want to skim down some… I began feeling extreme rectal pressure and had to do the bare down in a super pushy way. Little did I know it would result in me beginning to poop! (Talk again embarrassing!)
This sensation never let up and seemed to get worse with every contraction. And at this point I began to lose it both psychologically and emotionally. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and why I couldn’t get a handle on what was happening.
Another contraction came while sitting on the toilet and that’s when my water broke. This is something I’ve never experienced because with previous deliveries, it wasn’t until they crowned when it broke and one was born in the sac. Anyways, I checked myself and it didn’t seemed I was “open enough” to be doing the kind of pushing my body was doing.
I also noticed (normal) blood but what also seemed like a meconium type of substance. This sent me into an even deeper concern and again, losing my resolve a bit more. I told Bryan to call the ambulance because I felt like something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t do it.
Determined to Deliver
With each contraction, I was growing more and more crazy (to say the least). I was up on my tip toes like a flat-toe ballerina, pleading to God for relief. When the paramedics arrived (about 5 minutes later), I immediately asked for something for the pain. They couldn’t give it to me, but what they did try to shove on my face was a mask.
Side note: my husband is behind me telling them “She doesn’t have to wear that!” I’m telling the lady I can’t breathe, but to be compliant I just put it up to my nose and started walking to the ambulance.
As soon as I got into the ambulance, another contraction came. I looked up, saw a bar and instantly grabbed it. I seriously wish it could’ve been recorded because I probably looked like a stripper dangling from the pole, but I didn’t care! I grabbed that pole and began to push with everything in me. Yes, still pooping all over the place… one of the paramedics lifted my skirt and said, “She’s crowning!”
Another looked and said, “The baby is coming FEET FIRST!” At this point they are trying to get me to lay down and I couldn’t. I had to push again. Again the lady said, “Ma’am you have to lay down, the baby is coming out.” At the point I did and I saw my baby’s feet, legs, and up to his waist area.
For the life of me, I couldn’t get a grip on what was actually happening and felt myself losing it again. One of the guys (there were 2 women and 2 men), grabbed my hand, did the focus two finger thing, and said, “Look at me. You can do this. You need to push.”
After about 3 more good pushes, our son was born. In front of our home. In an ambulance. He was healthy, alert, and perfect. I was still shocked, emotional, and instantly refusing every extra thing they wanted to do. I just wanted to get rolled back in my house to finish what we started (deliver the placenta, shower, and rest).
While everything described above was going on… there is a backstory.
There is Bryan’s point of view.
Bryan was not allowed into the ambulance with me. He was standing outside and described what sounded like banging and clanging noises. In his mind they were trying to hold me down or force me to do things I didn’t want to do.
He said he could hear a little what was going on, but couldn’t make out any words. Finally, he went to peak in the window to see, and he said he could see the baby a little bit. (I did see him peak in.) One of the paramedics opened the door and told him it was a boy, but then shut the door again.
They kept asking if I wanted to transport, but I kept saying no because I didn’t need it. Finally, after all the transport turn-downs and signing the things we needed to sign, they wheeled us into our home.
Our other children were sitting so nicely in the living room, anxiously waiting to meet their new baby brother. I have yet to get their point of view, but plan on it.
The end to the back story is this… Bryan wasn’t able to deliver our baby. He didn’t even get to see him be born. It was emotional and traumatic for him and it’s going to take some deep processing and overcoming.
The same for both of us.
Broken but Blessed
This labor and delivery was nowhere near what we had planned. I couldn’t have anticipated that it was going to go as far as it did, but I am thankful. You see, there are little things that happened that I call “God-sends”. One of them was through one of the female paramedics.
The one who actually delivered our baby was from a family of 9 in which her mom homebirthed, and she helped deliver some of her siblings! I thought how awesome is that, and no wonder she was so calm.
Another was one of the guy paramedics that helped me focus through my last few pushes. He was a dad of two and knew I needed a certain kind of help to get to the end.
Although Bryan and I have a lot to process from this experience, there is blessings behind it. For each of us individually and for us together, this experience has already grown us so much. We’ve seen the mercy hand of God in a new way and are making every effort to use it for growth.
Although this experience broke me… physically, mentally, and emotionally – I still advocate for the freedom to birth your way. I believe women are capable of having awesome, amazing, unassisted, assisted, homebirths, waterbirths, birthing center births – whatever kind of birth you want. They key is to not beat yourself up for the results.
We are good at that.
Things didn’t go as planned and I instantly started blaming myself for what I didn’t do. How I couldn’t handle it. How I lost focus. How I never really was ready. And so on.
But the truth is this…. I did do it. I had a healthy boy. I had him naturally. And we are both okay.
The Reality of Brokenness
When it comes to being broken, we have one of two choices. We can choose to let it shatter us, or we can pick up the pieces and become whole again. As I’ve mentioned before, Bryan and I have some things to process… but we choose to become whole again.
If you have experienced any kind of pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum trauma, please don’t hold it in. Talk about it. Get it out. Trust me. It is part of the healing process.
Intentional Baby: Pregnancy-Tracking Journal
Michelle first created this resource for herself because she couldn’t quite find what she was looking for in a pregnancy journal. She wanted to journal, track different aspects of pregnancy, make notes, and have space to jot down anything extra that came up.