Stories

Birth stories, healing stories, stories of joy, learning, loss, empowerment…these you will find here.  Please read with an open heart, and feel free to share your own story by sending it to WomynWise for posting here.  There are no limits on who may post; the stories have occurred in many places and ways–homebirth, hospital, unassisted or professsionally attended, families I have known and loved along with those I’ve never met.  On this page, comments on stories are not invited.  Read them, receive them, honor and celebrate these courageous tales of life, birth, love and journeying into wholeness; let them speak to you as they will, and as much as you are willing.

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My Homebirth Story

[note: this mama had planned a homebirth for her first, and was transferred to the hospital for ‘iffy signs’ that turned out to be no issue.  She gave birth as normally as the hospital would allow, and she and her baby came through safely.  This is the story of her 2nd birth, 3 years later]

The funniest thing about my second son’s birth was that I had been saying all week, I don’t mind if the baby comes soon, as long as he or she waits until after Friday! Fridays are my nights out with my husband, when our three year old goes to my parent’s house for the evening. I just wanted one more Friday before wandering into the world of having two kids. We went out to eat with friends. I got the spiciest thing I could find on the menu, not knowing it would backfire big time, but more on that later. I think I knew that things were underway on the way home that night, I was suddenly feeling very emotional.  I was thinking about how all of this was going to affect my son, wondering how it was going to work out.

We got home around 12:30, put our son to bed.  We tried the ole’ “have sex to get labor started” thing. Well, that really seemed to do the trick, as I noticed some bloody show about a half hour later. Contractions started, they were rather mild, and I was laughing about the fact that the baby had waited until after our Friday night, just barely! I tried to get some sleep, from about 3-4 am, but kept waking up with contractions, and was really starting to get excited. If I had known how long labor was going to be, I would have really tried to sleep longer! I timed the contractions for a while, and woke up my husband when they were steadily at 5 minutes apart, though they weren’t quite a minute long. We called our midwife around 5:30am, let her know things were happening, and told her we’d call back again in an hour. She has a 2.5 hour drive to get to us, but I didn’t want her coming too early. When 6:30 rolled around, we let her know she could come if she wanted to. Our son woke up around 7am, and we called my MIL to let her know that today was the day. She had offered to take him for the day, and it also happened to be her birthday, we joked that we couldn’t decide what to get her, so we thought the baby would be a good gift! She picked him up around 8am, which was a good thing, because I was starting to become pretty vocal by that point, and I could tell it was bothering him a little bit to see me like that.

I mostly tried leaning on the bed or the couch when contractions came, moaning and trying to remember to relaxed. I had a mantra, “oooooooooo-aaaaaaaaaaaah” I tried to remember to keep it slow and low, with my mouth open and loose. The midwife arrived around 9:30, and at that point things were starting to get harder for me. The contractions took up all of my concentration, and I remember hearing her on the phone with her apprentice, saying that she would definitely call this active labor. At this point, I was still expecting a faster labor, my son’s had been about 15 hours, and I knew the old wives’ tale that says second births are faster. I thought that we’d have a baby by lunch time, boy was I wrong!

The day light hours are kind of a blur for me at this point. I just got through contractions, one at a time. I had to lean on my husband during each one, sometimes standing, sometimes him sitting on the bed and me leaning over, resting my head on his shoulders. I remember my cats snuggling with me while we were trying to get some rest. They also stood guard at the door to the bedroom. I didn’t want to leave the bedroom, or the bathroom. I felt safe in that room, I thought about going to the kitchen or the living room but I never did. I think I could handle it, as long as I was in this one, safe place.

Around 5:30, after getting up from resting, I lost it. I started sobbing, which my midwife took note of, thinking that transition was here. Not so much. Sometime later I finally asked to be checked. I had wanted to do no cervical checks, but since I never got to feel my body pushing for me in my son’s birth, I was wasn’t sure if I felt “pushy” or not. I was 5cms, which wasn’t as disappointing as I thought it was going to be. Half way there, just keep going. I tried the bath, which was nice, and spent a lot of time on the toilet leaning forward on my husband during contractions. At this point, things were starting to space out, contractions were getting shorter and less intense. We tried standing, squatting, walking, to get things moving again.

Once I was fully dilated, which was probably around or after midnight, I reached up and tried to feel where his head was. I could feel it, not through my cervix yet, and I thought I was feeling the water bag over his head, it felt slippery and soft. My midwife checked me again, which was really painful, apparently I’m really sensitive when it comes to that, I feel bad, she had just finished saying she’s never gotten any complaints that it was painful for anyone. I was screaming for her to stop, so she didn’t get a good idea of how far down the baby was. She could tell I was at a 10, and she thought what I was feeling over his head was a caput, that basically his head was in a funky position. I pushed for a bit, but still wasn’t feeling that “my body is pushing for me” thing that I had heard about. She called another midwife for advice and we tried to rest again. His heartbeat was always great, it was just taking him a while to come down. I remember rocking back and forth, rubbing my belly and saying “come down baby. I really want to meet you baby, come down”. My husband said later that it was very sweet. At this point, he was starting to feel tired and out of it. We didn’t sleep the night before, and the effects of being there for me the whole time was wearing on him, I could hear it in his voice. He stepped outside and called his mom to get a hold of himself. He said he felt really out of it, and that the whole thing was just getting really heavy. It just felt like it was taking so long, longer than either of us thought it was going to.

At that point I tried the knees to chest position for a few contractions, which was hard, not really a good position for me to feel in control. I then switched to my right side (I had been laying on my left side the whole time I had been resting before, so we figured switching it up might help the baby get in a better position) and started blowing through the contractions. That was so difficult at first, but got easier. My midwife fed me honey on a spoon, and salt, it was gross but I did it anyway. She also gave me some homeopathic remedies. I should mention at this point that for the last hours, I was experiencing some horrible heartburn/reflux. After every contraction, the acid would creep up my throat, like lava.  I had to deep breathe through that, and then another contraction would start again. It was horrible, and would result in me being in pain for the next three days. I imagine my esophagus was actually burnt, at least that’s what it felt like. So yeah, be careful when eating spicy food to jump start labor….

So there I was, fully dilated, in my bed, it was totally dark. Husband was asleep next to me. Midwife and her apprentice were asleep on the couch. The blowing through contractions, which felt like trying to stop a train at first, was getting easier. I was quiet and really in labor land. I had fantasies of being knocked out. I was thinking “just knock me out, just call an ambulance and have them knock me out. I don’t care.” But I knew that wasn’t true, because I started thinking of the reality of that, and how much it would SUCK, but I needed to go there in my head to realize that I was going to have to do it. I never said any of this out loud, I had been saying “I can’t do this” but my midwife put a stop to that pretty quick. The contractions were becoming stronger, some of them had multiple peaks and lasted what seemed like forever, which was probably one or two minutes. After about an hour or two, I suddenly felt my body pushing, and a gush of fluid came out. (My water hadn’t broken yet.) It was unmistakable, the pushing, and I remember thinking “ah, there it is.” Unmistakable and incredibly powerful. Next contraction, it happened again. So I started going with it, quietly pushing at the peaks of contractions. I thought to myself “I won’t tell anyone I’m pushing.” since my midwife had told me not to push, but I knew that this was what I was supposed to be waiting for.

I guess her apprentice heard me, she woke her up and they both came in. No mistaking it now, this baby was coming! My husband woke up when they turned on the light, and was still out of it/asleep until the baby was crowning. I felt his head come down, and I pushed him out, on my side on the bed. I think someone grabbed my leg at a certain point. I held on to my perineum, where I tore with my older son, without even thinking about it. After his head came out, I was kind of out of it, and I yelled “Just pull him out!” My midwife laughed and said “You have to do it, he doesn’t have handles!” I was just feeling so DONE and wanted it to be over. I flipped on my hands and knees, and felt him slide the rest of the way out, and there he was! On the bed behind me, yelling and perfect. He actually tried to cry on his way out, this funny little sound I will never forget. Midwife gave him a 10 and 10 for apgars, he was looking great! I was so ecstatic, I kept saying “look at you!” He looked just like my older son as a newborn. Then I started saying “I did it! We’re still at home!” I bled very little, pushed the placenta out in the shower an hour later. My son nursed within a half hour, and was a total natural. He was 7lbs 8oz, almost a pound heavier than his brother, and…I didn’t tear!  I had a small tear with my older son, which took a long time to heal, so I was so happy about that.  Oh the amazing things the body can do when trusted!

I am so thankful for a midwife who trusts birth, who knew I could do it, even if it was hard. She said the whole thing reminded her of one of her births, how long it was, how much puking I did, (at least 5 times, and once on Brad I think, poor guy!) how it took him forever to come down. She pushed that baby out with his chin presenting, ouch! She told me all of this while we were in the midst of labor, trying to get some sleep.  It helped get me through the long and hard experience. The time when I was alone and waiting for the urge to push, was enough to allow him to be in the right position, to give me the energy to push him out. I feel so lucky, so blessed. If we had been in a hospital, I have no doubt it would have been very different.  I would have been marked “failure to progress” at a certain point, and no doubt pressured to have a c section. I have a feeling of wholeness, this experience totally heals the hurt and anger I had after transferring with my older son. I feel so powerful, and am in awe of what I did both with my body and my mind. My baby has completed our family, he is a joy to have in our lives!

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