Birth Stories

Educating Herself About The Physiological Process Of Spontaneous Childbirth Helped Erin During Her Home Birth

  • When did you realize you were really in labor?

    I had several hours of pre-labor the wee morning hours the day I gave birth. They didn't have a distinct pattern and eventually tapered off, allowing me to go back to bed. When I woke up a few hours later to start the day, they started back up again but were quite spaced out and not intense at all. Looking back, this was likely the very early stages of labor, however, at the time, I still wasn't sure if it was just more pre-labor. By 2pm when I was out at brunch with my husband and daughter, the contractions had gotten closer together (about every 15 minutes) and were more uncomfortable. That's when I was sure they were the real thing.

  • What was the most challenging thing about going natural?

    We had planned on a non-medicated, physiological birth with a doula through a group of midwives in a large teaching hospital. When my water broke about 3.5 hours after I realized I was in labor (while I was home, alone), the physical sensations were the most intense I had ever experienced. Not only did my water break, but my son began to immediately crown as I getting ready to do some final meditations before calling my husband to head home (with my daughter en tow) to head to the hospital. It was the moment where you wished you had a "get-out-of-jail-free" card, but you knew it was too late for that. But, by that point, there was no way out. Getting myself calmed and collected and mentally prepared to deliver my own baby was the new challenge.

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  • What was the most helpful thing you did to prepare for childbirth?

    Educating myself about the physiological process of spontaneous childbirth by really understanding the internal mechanisms by which my baby and body triggers and advances through labor helped with recognizing all of the normal sensations I was feeling. Equally as important was reading and watching all types of drug-free birth/VBAC stories - from home births, to hospital birthand birth center births. Listening to the podcast (Birthful and The Birth Hour) were also hugely helpful. Although I didn't plan on an unassisted home VBAC, I felt as though I had prepared myself mentally, emotionally, and physically for any type of scenario(even a cesarean section) and I believe this is what gave me the clarity and calm to catch my own baby.

  • What surprised you about your birth?

    The intuition I had when it came to assuming a position to birth in and how to "push". My body felt the most comfortable in a side lying position and there was no way of convincing me to birth any other position. It took just enough edge off of the intensity and likely helped protect my perineum (I did have a first degree tear). Also, it was amazing to experience my body pushing the baby out for me - I felt like I had no control to stop it. In just 2-3 spontanous pushes my baby popped right out. The female body is seriously amazing!

  • Educate yourself! Find the evidence-based research and let that guide you through your decision making process (along with your personal preferences, wishes, and goals). Don't take one-off anecdotes or advice from strangers as the end-all-be-all of your decision making process, and don't depend on or assume anyone else has your interests/baby's interests more at heart than you and your partner. Every one of us has the instinct and ability to birth undisturbed and without drugs as the generations of women before us.
  • What pain relief strategies worked best?

    Moving! Especially squatting and leaning against objects/structures. I spent part of the time laboring in a park with my daughter and husband and found myself intuitively leaning on different play sets and structures.

  • What position did you end up delivering in?

    Sidelying (right side, propped up on my right arm).

  • How did it feel to hold your baby for the first time?

    It was awesome. My thinking brain had shut down and my instinctual brain turned on; as soon as my baby flew out I scooped him up without hesitation and yelled, "I got you! I got you!". It was incredibly empowering to know I was the first one to put my hands on and hold my baby.

  • What advice can you give to other mamas who want to go natural?

    Educate yourself! Find the evidence-based research and let that guide you through your decision making process (along with your personal preferences, wishes, and goals). Don't take one-off anecdotes or advice from strangers as the end-all-be-all of your decision making process, and don't depend on or assume anyone else has your interests/baby's interests more at heart than you and your partner. Every one of us has the instinct and ability to birth undisturbed and without drugs as the generations of women before us.

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