This mother had a calm birth, a happy birth. This was her 2nd homebirth and her 6th child. She was elated and proud of herself. She should be! This birth was a victory for her. I’m sure she feels like a rock star, and she should. I’m proud of her too and celebrate with her. It’s beautiful. She makes birth look easy! 🙂 It’s going to be encouraging to a lot of women. Birth can be done, and it doesn’t have to be horrible, and it can be done at home!
Since this is a blog (and page, and book) which specializes in educating women in how to have the best birth possible, it is my duty and responsibility to keep others reading informed. I saved that for the end, though. You have the option of reading only Charlene’s birth story. For more information and education relating to some of the things heard and seen here, read all the way to the end. This is provided so that mothers-to-be and others can know more about common birth practices and make their own informed choices when the time comes.
I get up the next morning (Monday March 4th) after sleeping a few mins here a few mins there with cramps in my stomach (which I’m assuming is still the stomach bug) around 7am, I get my 2 oldest kids off to school with the help of my lovely mom (who stayed over the night before to help out my husband with the kiddos) and just kind of relax…. 8 am they are off and out the door! I kept feeling slight aches and cramps and tried to disregard them because of the stomach flu. By 9am I told my mom “I think something isn’t right” and BOOM it hit me like a ton of bricks… She calls my midwife and tells her “I think Charlene is in labor” she could hear me moaning in the backround and tells her “SHES ON THE WAY!” (My last birth which was a home-birth was only 4 hours from my first contraction until she was born) So my midwife was a little on edge for this one JUST IN CASE! lol.
Mind you through all of this my poor husband is scared to death but VERY supportive of a home-birth all he could picture was blood and guts lol. He stumbled around making last minute preparations, tidying up, chatting & getting a quick bite to eat. Checking on me making sure I was ok, he was SOOO excited to finally meet the little person he had been talking to, singing to and loving for the past 9 months!
9:30 my midwife shows up and decides she better call her attending midwife incase like I said my last home-birth was fairly quick! She calls back and informs me that there is a student midwife who is supposed to be coming in today and was wondering if she could come with, and after double checking with hubby we agreed it would be fine I was all for letting her get some more experiance (we didn’t find out until after that we were her FIRST home-birth! *4) They arrive around 10:00 or so, greetings were had and they briefed each other about me, my previous births, etc… my husband and I went outside to get some air and make some phone calls to our photographer and close friends to let them know what was going on (my poor husband couldn’t make his phone work he was so nervous)
My contractions STARTED off at about 3 mins apart and were managable but still painful but I could cope, so here we sit in my living room in the middle of my floor folding baby clothes that I was going to give to my midwife to bring to a family who needed it. This was around 11:00, laughing, joking, chatting and having a wonderful time…. The contractions were spacing out and lessening in pain so I started to apologize and tell my midwifes I was sorry, I don’t think today is “THE DAY” None the less she said NO NO we’ll stick around JUST incase (she knew, they all knew but I was in denial)
After my contractions became a little more painful around 12:00 or so she suggested I go lay down in my room and relax which I reluctently did because I felt GREAT in between them but I agreed…. So we were sitting in my room, chatting, laughing etc and they became alot more intense and frequent…. I looked at my midwife around 12:30 and said today is going to be the day isn’t it, she nods her head and tells me YUP, I TOLD YOU!!! My mom had JUST head off to her work to check on things and said she would be back in an hour or so and figured we had lots of time) After she checked me and felt the baby I had asked her how dialated I was and suprisingly I was 6-7 cm (I was NOT expecting that at ALL) I asked her how big do you think she is (just out of curious nature) She says OH ABOUT 8lbs 6ozs… I kind of giggled and said she was crazy (my last was 8 11 and she guessed 8 10) I said I am NOT having another 8lb baby!!! *5
My contractions became noticeably stronger so my attending midwife took my 4 year old out to the table and colored, drew pictures, etc… My neighbour from downstairs popped in and I asked her if she could please take her down to play as we would be soon having the baby and I didn’t want to scare her, so off she went!
I had asked to be checked again at about 1:30 after laboring and feeling VERY intense and she REALLY didn’t want to but she did, and I was still at 6-7 with a HUGE bag of water (my water has NEVER broken on it’s own) *6 So I looked at her, she looked at me and I nodded… she knew to break the bag *7 ….(this was about 1:45) As soon as she broke the bag I had a contraction they were coming pretty fast and becoming very intense by then and I started feeling “pushy” (I thought I had bad gas lol) After watching me bare down for about 15 mins she decided to check me and when she did she could feel that I was dialated to 9 1/2 but there was a TINY lip that just wouldn’t melt away so with the next contraction she pushed the lip back *8 … This was at approx 2:07 I remember grabbing her and looking at her so intensely that she was all I could see at the moment…*9 I layed back and looked at my AMAZING husband who hadn’t left my side for a second and said your daughter is about to be here… he just looked at me, at 2:10 I hear my front door open and my mom say WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYONE!? And she came back into our room I looked at my husband and just pushed, at exactly 2:11 I yelled out SHE’S COMING IT’S BURNING and at 2:12 our beautiful daughter Araceli was born, she was VERY purple and had her cord wrapped around her neck, the plan was for my HUSBAND to catch her but our student midwife (being her first home-birth panicked and grabbed her to unwrap the cord) the cord was NOT tight but it still frightened her… She was given directly to my husband (the look on his face is udder amazement & awe) *10
He had held her akwardly in amazment for a few moments and she was then placed on my chest where the 3 of us just snuggled and cuddled. We layed there for a good 20 mins until we clamped the cord and my husband cut it. The midwifes layed her back on my chest so she could snuggle some more and try to breast feed (she did with success) I then delivered a beautiful placenta *11that we ooohhh’d and awwwwee’d at (it is NOT as gross as people think!) by then it was about 3pm and my kiddos were getting home from school!! (way to go to school and come home to a new sister!!!!) and after about an hour with new sibling meetings, nanny meetings, people dropping in the midwives weighed her, checked her over etc… she came in at (you guessed it) 8 lbs 6 ozs and was perfect! She was born at 39 weeks 3 days (and was ASSESSED AT OVER 40 WEEKS!! LOOKS LIKE I WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG!)
This was my 2nd home-birth (my husbands first) and my 6th baby! It was AMAZING!!! It was so calm, relaxed, serene and wonderful! There is NOTHING like giving birth and laying in your own bed afterwards to bond, snuggle and get to meet your new little one!!!!!! ❤
1. Ultrasound is often incorrect at properly assessing gestation. Women seem to have the most luck when going by their own cycles and known conception dates. Health care professionals frequently disregard the woman’s knowledge and wisdom, however, in favor of the flawed ultrasound technique.
2. Remember, cervical checks don’t tell us a whole lot. Some women don’t dilate all the way to 10, others dilate well beyond 10 when they are finally ready to have their baby. If a woman is feeling tense or nervous about progress being graded, this can affect dilation negatively. Also, it provides a new opportunity to introduce bacteria into the vagina (and the womb!). For most situations, it’s simply better to pay attention to other cues when trying to assess the closeness or progress of labor.
3. Membrane sweeps are uncomfortable, often causing cramping and spotting. They are not proven to really “start” labor, either. They are another way of introducing bacteria into the vagina and womb, though.
4. Having people at the birth– especially strangers– can cause issues. Your logical mind may be for it, but your primal birth mind desires to protect you and will sometimes try to shut down or stall the birthing process. This can cause pain and tension in labor, and causes a variety of complications. Medical professionals, including students, and photographers can inadvertently disturb births.
5. The 8 lbs. range is a really normal, average, healthy birth weight. The average birth weight for a “full term” (37-40 weeks, and EDD determined often incorrectly by professionals) baby is about 7 lbs. 3 oz. It is not uncommon for women allowing themselves to gestate longer (true natural being 41-42 honest weeks) and having a natural homebirth to have 8, 9, 10 pound babies. It also doesn’t determine how painful the birth will be or how hard pushing will be. Head circumference (and not weight of the baby) determines how much of a stretch mom has to make during delivery. Even then, true physiological childbirth where a mother is allowed to follow her instincts yields far fewer injuries. Women have birthed 11 pound/big-head babies unassisted with no tears, for example.
6. The bag doesn’t always break on its own! Those babies are born in the caul (when undisturbed).
7. Breaking the bag during labor will not be necessary. It has become routine for a lot of health care professionals. I would suggest that, unless you have a strong urge or instinct to do so yourself, that you leave the bag of water alone.
8. Cervical lips aren’t really problematic, and pushing on one (only if the mother feels the urge to push) is not dangerous. Manually adjusting the cervix can add pain and complication to the birth. Let the mother move instinctively and she will get in whatever position is needed to resolve many issues, if required. Birth is a dance between mother and baby.
9. The hormones flowing in the room and the tunnel vision of labor-land woman creates an intense bonding opportunity and chemical exchange with whomever is the trusted individual in the room/tending to the woman.
10. The student midwife obviously meant well. I would praise her for her quick-thinking and showing initiative. However, this was not an emergency, and she kept the dad from being able to have his moment.
11. The placenta appears to be being pulled out in the picture– ouch! Manual traction (pulling on the cord) to expel the placenta is typically not a good idea and can lead to postpartum hemorrhage. It can be uncomfortable, too. Letting the mom have a physiologic third stage is ideal to prevent trauma. For some women, their placenta is not birthed til hours later.