Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lets Talk About: Home Birth Q&A

Cosmo magazine released an interview recently with three different women who chose home births. I figured I would take the questions they asked, as those are likely the most common questions about home birth in general, and answer them myself! 
While I already have our home water birth story written up, a direct Q&A of this style may help others out there considering choosing a home birth for themselves. 
Plus I love talking about and sharing my birth experience and putting a positive image of labor and birth out there for other women to be encouraged by! Too often we hear that labor and birth is "the worst thing" that could ever be experienced but it doesn't have to be that way! 
 It is every women's right to give birth where and how she deems is best for her and her baby!
So long as she is informed and knowledgeable of all risks and benefits and has no preexisting complications for her or baby. Evidence based birth shows how safe home birth can be and how healthy both mom and baby are under midwife supervised care.
**Photos from Birth by Sassafras PDX, nothing is visible in these photos but could make some readers uncomfortable**

-How old are you?

-How old were you when you had your first home birth?
I was 23 at the time my daughter was born.

-How many babies have you delivered?
Two. (and three miscarriages)

-What did you know about home birth before you became pregnant?
I had wanted a home or birth center birth with our son so I had researched and talked with other women who had chosen both those routes.

-Why did you ultimately decide to go the home birth route?
Our hospital experience during our sons birth. Long story short my body and wishes were not respected by the medical staff and I was not going to risk that again.
-Was your partner apprehensive about this decision?
Not one bit, after our hospital experience he was probably the first of the two of us to say that if we ever had more children we would do a home birth!

-Was anybody outright opposed to the idea?
Not that I had personal encounter with. It's not like it was their business how or where I chose to give birth. It was my business and so long as both the baby and myself were healthy and safe for what would be considered a normal hospital delivery we were just as good staying home.

-Did you have to buy any special supplies to prep for your home birth?
Yes. Our midwife team gave us a list and online supplier we could order through. It included things like gloves, gauze, cord tie/clamp, pads (those nice big ones with cooling gel), XL absorbent pads to sit on or stand over, etc. We also had to get extra towels and blankets, and would have either rented or bought a birthing pool, but were able to borrow one instead. Oh I also laid down a large tarp under the pool (and covered it with a sheet) incase there was a leak in the pool itself.

-Did you watch any videos or live home births to prepare for your home birth?
Yes, but I've always been a "birth junky" and especially enjoyed watching natural births. I also wanted to help prep my son for what he might experience incase he was awake during the birth, so he watch one or two with me. While I was very quiet during his birth I didn't know if I would be during hers so I wanted him to see and hear how mothers are in their birth time and not be scared by it unexpectedly (but he was asleep).

-Did you take any pain meds during labor/delivery?
Nope. I avoid most pain meds any other time and after a pain med free-pitocin induced labor with my son I felt confident I would be able to handle labor a second time.

-Did you have a midwife, doula, or OB assist in the birth?
I had a fantastic team (read about them here)! It consisted of 1 head midwife, 2 student midwives, 1 student doula, my husband, and a fantastic birth photographer!

-Did you perform any special rituals or therapies to help with labor?
I spent a lot of time on the birth ball, leaning over it, rotating my hips, etc to try and get baby engaged because her head was in my left hip and she was still mostly sunny side up. I also did some yoga to help open my hips but nothing crazy, and I didn't have my diffuser at the time to diffuse oils. While in labor I also used and leaned over my birth ball, being on my hands/knees seemed to be most comfortable when a contraction set on.

-How did your partner participate?
This is a copy and past I wrote about my husband after our daughter was born: "We often forget that our husbands also play a crucial role in our pregnancy and birth. They are supporters, cheerleaders, and coaches that can be leaned on whenever needed; there to encourage us and draw strength from when we feel like we are running low. My husband was and is my biggest supporter, I may be a "badass rock star" according to him but I couldn't have done it alone. The support I knew I had and the confidence I knew he had in me made a huge difference and gave me that much more confidence in myself. Our birth experiences have a profound impact on us as women and mothers and will remain with us for the rest of our lives; our partners are also impacted and changed from their experience in that moment. Birth matters."

-Where in your home was your baby actually born?
In the birth tub that I set up in our larger living room area.

-Were you at all worried about the "mess" of home birth?
No. I mean I didn't want blood stains on the carpet of our apartment but hey if that happened then that happened and we would take care of it at a later point.

-Were you worried about the pain?
Nope. As I said earlier I had a pitocin induced labor and birth with my son and I received no pain meds during or after birth with him so I was confident that I could handle it and confident in my body to just do what it needed to.
-What were your biggest concerns?
Honestly? Spontaneous stillbirth. I'm no stranger to loss in pregnancy having had three early term miscarriages. I have talked with women who lost their baby mid pushing with no warning. Nothing could be done, they had been in a hospital with all the state of the art equipment and it just happened. It's a sad fact that it can happen no matter where you give birth, and no matter who you are. That was my biggest concern but because fear is a chain I talked about it and let it go!

-Did you have a backup plan if there was an emergency?
Of course, when we first found out we had a baby on the way we didn't know any midwives in the area nor did we like the few we interviewed at the start so we talked about an unassisted home birth since the closest hospital is literally a 5 minute drive down the road.

-Where were you when you went into labor?
At home, in bed, trying to get my son to sleep.

-How did the contractions feel?
I didn't believe I was in labor. They were mildly uncomfortable, like cramps or bad gas/constipation but I could still walk and talk. I didn't believe I was in labor till I hit transition and got sick and even then I remember looking at my husband and doula and saying that I was going to feel bad if everything just stopped and I had gotten everybody up in the middle of the night to come over here for no reason. Pretty sure they laughed at me right then.

-What did you do at home during labor?
Walked around, cleaned, set up the birth pool. My labor was short though.

-How long was your labor?
3.5 hours start to finish with pushing, same amount of time as it was with my first born.
-What did it feel like to give birth in water?
I wasn't planning to actually give birth in the water. I hit that point in labor where your body just pushes on it's own, I had one maybe two of those then I got up and got back into the pool and 15 minutes later she was out!

-Was there ever a moment when you wanted to ditch the plan and go to a hospital?
Nope. The hospital was a last emergency resort.

-Did you experience any complications?
Nope. I was left alone to do what I needed to do, to let my body do what it needed to do, to have an easy birth.

-Did you tear?
Nope not at all. Had I my midwives would have been prepared to stitch me up as well as give a localized anesthetic.

-What did the pain feel like?
That's a loaded question isn't it? Pain is subjective, what's bad to me could be truly unbearable for you. I have experienced migraine headaches as well as fibromyalgia so not much gets to me. I also labored with my sons birth while on Pitocin and no pain killers. But as most say  contractions feel like menstrual cramps.

-How much blood was there?
Not much. There's not much blood till the placenta detaches so my birth tub water was clean, and after the placenta detached and the midwives took it I went and got a quick shower and dressed. There wasn't much clean up needed.

-How did you feel when it was over?
Exhausted! Haha, birth is hard work so firstly I was tired and ready to sleep (it didn't help that I hadn't gotten any sleep since the morning before), after feelings of tired, I was starving and exuberant and proud!
-Did you see a Dr for any follow-ups?
Nope, my midwives came over at one day post partum, three days post partum, a week, a month then six weeks we saw them at their office for the last time :(

-Do you face any criticism or judgement when you tell people you chose a home birth?
No, or at least none that they publicly vocalize.

-What was your favorite part of the experience?
Everything. I loved my midwives and everybody on my team. I loved giving birth at home and feeling relaxed and not having nurses all up in my business. I loved getting to just crawl back into my comfy bed right after and actually sleep peacefully. It was all amazing from start to finish!

-What part did you like the least?
Having to say good-bye to seeing our midwives regularly.

-Would you chose to have a home birth again?

-Do you have any regrets?
That my birth experience with my son, while profound and amazing in it's own way from what I learned, was not as magical or what I truly wanted the experience to be. I feel like he got jipped. Other wise with our home birth no!

If you have any questions about home/water birth, my personal experience, or want to talk birth in general please ask away and leave your email so I can respond!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The Rebel Princess is 1/4 of a year old! 
Seriously! She is 3 months old already! 
It feels like just last week we were welcoming her into our family and so long ago at the same time.
Time is just flying by, and since fall has arrived and holiday season is about to start it is going to go by much faster.
At 3 months the Rebel Princess weighs 15.5 pounds (that's a 6.5 pound gain since birth)! She is just under 26 inches long, and wearing mostly 6 month sized clothing! 
She is rolling over, and getting good at not getting stuck on her arm. Enjoys sitting up, but obviously still needs assistance. Her favorite food is still breast milk (no solids duh!) and is still nursing like a champ!
She's our  big, happy, healthy, beautiful, giggly, chunky monkey!
 She loves to talk with her daddy and stairs at him till he says hello to her when he gets home from work. She like singing in the shower with me, and adores her big brother and lights up squealing with excitement when he plays with her!
She is so greatly loves and I am excited for her first trip to the pumpkin patch, playing in leaves, Halloween and just making more awesome memories!