I ate my breakfast and went on several walks with my husband, but only slight cramping occurred. I cleaned my bathroom to make sure my garden tub was ready for my baby to be born in. I had my home birth medical kit, all my extra towels and sheets ready, along with a freezer stocked full of delicious meals. My mom had flown in several days prior to spend Thanksgiving with us and my hope was to eat turkey and a piece of pumpkin pie and then push out a baby. My plans did not work out, but it was a blessing because my mom got really sick.
By dinner time I noticed my body purging itself of bodily waste and with my other two babies that was a sign my body was also preparing to purge itself of a baby. Around nine p.m. I went to bed, but I could not get comfortable. I tossed and turned while I listened to my husband snore loudly next to me. I barely dosed off to sleep when around midnight I awoke to a sharp pain and tightening of my lower abdomen and pubic area. It felt like a contraction, but I rolled over figuring it was only a fluke. Less than fifteen minutes later I felt another pain and tightening. This time I grabbed my pen and paper jotting down the first contraction and now this one. The contractions kept coming one at 12:34, 12:46, 12:57, 1:00 . . . I wondered if I should wake my husband, but decided to let him sleep. My daughter Keira was born super fast, less than seven hours from first contraction to the time I pushed her out. I was nervous my new baby would come sooner this time, and so I kept writing my times down as each contraction came.
By around 3:30 my contractions were about 5-7 minutes apart and I could no longer labor in my bed on my left side. I ran myself a warm bath and woke my husband up because the contractions were becoming increasingly more painful. Michael hurried around getting supplies ready and prepared coffee and breakfast food for the midwives.
At 4:00 my contractions were extremely painful, and now they were only 2-3 minutes apart. Michael dialed our midwife who was an hour away cleaning up after a baby who had been born only hours before. I worried they might not make it, but they said they would probably get their by 6 am.
My labor was in full swing or so I thought, but when 6 am rolled around and my midwives showed up my contractions had pretty much slowed to a halt. Discouraged and tired I wanted my baby out. My midwife did a quick check and told me I was in labor, but the early stages. I felt stupid for calling them and frustrated with my body. “This baby was supposed to come by now!” I told myself.
My midwives stayed and slept on my couch for a few hours, and by about 9 am my labor seemed to quit and they headed back home. Exhausted from no sleep and discouraged because I still had no baby. My midwife told me to take this time to rest and to call her anytime. I gave her a hug and said I would try to sleep. I was able to go back to sleep for a couple hours and then ate some lunch. My contractions were infrequent, so my husband and I went on another walk. The second half of the walk I had to stop with each contraction, but once I got home my body went quiet again.
As early afternoon approached I noticed my contractions become more regular and painful again. I labored in my garden bathtub, but by around 2:30 pm my contractions were 1-2 minutes apart. Michael insisted he call our midwives, but I was afraid my labor would quit again. As 3 o’clock rolled around Michael called our midwives and they asked a bunch of questions. I had a hard time talking to them and she said it sounded like I was getting close. At 3:30 my midwives showed up and checked me. I was at 6 centimeters and 90% effaced
Fatigue set in and I began to question internally my ability to have my baby girl at home. I could not bear the thought of going through another night with no sleep and being in this much pain. I struggled to keep focused, but knew I wanted to have my baby at home more than anything else. I knew I was over thinking and needed to let my body do the work. I needed to quit fighting it! As I labored in my garden bathtub I realized how lucky I was. I was in my home, no one was bothering me except to check the baby’s heart rate every once in a while. My children were happily playing and kept coming in to take baths with their mommy. I was in pain, but I focused on my goal to let my body do the work and my desire to have my baby at home.
After being in the tub for a couple of hours my body looked like a shriveled plum. I tried to labor on my workout ball, but it was excruciating. I leaned over my bed with my husband slow dancing and swaying my hips from side to side. The contractions were intense and I could feel my baby moving down. I labored like this for about twenty minutes when I could no longer take the pain. I hobbled to the bathtub, but before I could make it I started to throw up. Throwing up was a good sign because it meant my body was preparing to go through transition. As my body purged itself clean I was now back in my bath tub. Contractions were now less than a minute apart.
My husband asked if I wanted my mom and kids in to watch their sister be born. I snapped, “No!” I had wanted them in there, but I needed quietness too. I needed to be one with my body and I could not do that with my children in the bathroom. As I switched from my knees back to my hands and butt I had a very hard contraction and my water broke with such force it shot through the water like a torpedo. Caught off guard by the enormous pressure of my water breaking I screamed and said a few choice words. I caught my breath and I knew it as only a matter of time. When my water broke with Keira, she was out in four pushes.
When I was pregnant with my son Tristan, I was told some very good advice by an older mom. She said, “Only push when your body says it is time to push.” Her words resonated with me while in the tub because I now felt my body begin the urge to push. Instead of pushing with my body I quietly meditated and moaned through each contraction. My body would naturally flip my pelvis up and push for me. This was not easy to do, but sadly we are brainwashed in this country to believe our bodies are incapable of normal, uncomplicated birthing without interventions. My body had a rhythm, and like a beautiful melody, my contractions would crescendo and then fall. It was almost as if I was outside my body looking down watching the entire process.
The pain was intense as my baby’s head entered through the ring of fire and descended further. My midwife checked the baby’s heart rate and said, “Her head is there, are you ready to have this baby?” “Yes,” I moaned as I pushed back into my husband’s arms this time bearing down with my body. I screamed as the head shot out and all I wanted at this point was my baby out of my body. The midwife checked for the cord around the neck or shoulders, and finding none she gave me the go ahead to push my baby out with the next contraction. As the contraction hit I pushed as hard as I could feeling her shoulders pass and the rest of her body slither out into the body temperature warm bath water. My baby was between two worlds for only a second as the midwife scooped her up from under the water. My baby began to cry and she was laid onto my chest.
Ayla Chere Berecz – 7 pounds, 6 ounces – 21 inches long – perfectly shaped head, very strong and healthy baby girl was born!
My mother and older two children were in the room by now checking out their new baby sister. They both were very excited and I was happy to see my children at peace, not worried about their mom, and excited about their new sibling. Our family is blessed and even though I paid for the birth out of pocket, I would not do it any other way.
If you are interested in a home birth, but not sure where to turn or look, here are some good resources on finding a home birth midwife who serves your area.
Midwifery Today (The Birth Market)
Natural Pregnancy Mentor
If you live in an unfriendly home birth state like I do, finding a home birth midwife will be more difficult because they operate in the grey area of the law, and must do home birth under the radar of general public. Here is a list of people who can help you find or contact a home birth midwife:
- Local Doulas
- Birth Class Educators
- Local Cloth Diapering Owners
- Search out local birthing groups on Facebook to find a midwife who does home births.
Home birth is not for everyone, but not all births need be in a hospital either. Many factors must be considered for each individual case. Consult with a number of valid resources before making a decision.