My Homebirths

June 4, 2008 at 8:07 am (Uncategorized)

Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital, all those before him had been born at home. My son

 

I was talking to a new mom the other day at the McDonald’s Playland and the topic of homebirth came up. While we were talking I started thinking how weird it is that I have never blogged about my homebirth experiences.  Having my babies at home are some of my most treasured memories, so I guess it is time to share my experiences with others.

First off, I want to point out that having a baby at home is NOT as weird as you might be thinking!  Hospital birth is a relatively new thing!  For example I was a first generation hospital birth on my Mom’s side of the family and a second generation hospital birth on my dad’s side of the family.  (Meaning my mom was born at home and my dad was the first generation not to be born at home.  However, I am pretty sure most of my Dad’s older siblings were born at home.) Women were birthing babies long before hospitals were invented!

My first child was born in the hospital. It was 1994 and honestly I had never heard of homebirth.  I never considered any method of having a baby other than going to the hospital.  However, from the moment I conceived I dreaded that I was going to have to go to the hospital for the birth.  I am not a big fan of hospitals or western medicine. I associate hospitals with sickness and I in NO WAY think of giving birth as a sickness!  To me birth is a wonderful, beautiful things designed by God.  It is completely natural and a what my body is designed to know exactly how to do it.  So I lived in dread of the hospital.  When the time came to actually go to the hospital it was even worse than I expected!  Instead of being empowered to do what my body was designed for, I was powerless! I was seen as “the patient” and I was “dealt with”.  Procedures were "done on me" and I was not ever part of the decision making process. I am a very independent person and this was SO miserable for me!  I went into the whole thing thinking that I could and would have natural childbirth.  I quickly learned that my husband and I were the only ones there interested in my having this child naturally.  My husband and I were  intimidated and bullied until I submitted to a epidural.  Everything was out of my control and I was frightened and tramatized.  I had purposely picked a small practice with a low C-section rate.  But, little did I know that my doctor, nor his partner, nor the backup doctor would make it a priority to get to the hospital.  (Yep, my baby was delivered by a complete stranger! And it wasn’t because I it wasa fast delivery. I actually ended up in the hospital 5 days before the baby came and never once saw my doctor or the same doctor twice.) Once my child was born he was quickly whisked away from me.  I was not allowed to see or hold him for 24 hours!  He had a reaction to the medications that were forced upon me in the hospital and was having breathing difficulties. (What a horrible experience that was for me!  If it had not been for the compassionate Christan lady I shared a room with I cannot imagine how I would have made it through that first night!) Before we ever left the hospital I vowed to myself that if by some miracle we ever had another child I would NEVER come back to the hospital. I would never allow myself to be disrespected the way I was during my first child’s birth. I had no idea what other options I had, but I knew the next time had to be different.  Even to this day, almost 14 years later it is still painful for me to write about that time.  A time that should have been completely filled with joy is one of my most painful memories.

After my first child was born we moved from Los Angeles to Northern California.  Not long after we moved there was an article in the Sacramento newspaper about homebirth.  I wept as I read it!  I could not believe the difference between what I had been put through to what I was reading. The article talked about the beauty of the birthing process.  It talked about the husband and wife sharing the experience with as little interference as possible.  It focused on the power of the woman’s body and the joy of the experience!  I was immediately hooked!  As time passed I started meeting people who had their children at home. These were not wackos that didn’t know any better. These were intelligent women who trusted their bodies to do what it had been created to do.  I listened to their stories and knew that if I was ever blessed to give birth again I wanted to do it in the privacy of my own home.

Praise God!  In 2000 I found out that I was expecting again!  Right from the start I was excited about the actual birth process.  I contacted the Midwives that several of my friends had used and set up our first appointment.  At this point my husband was not completely committed to the home birth idea. He agreed that our hospital birth had been a fiasco, but, the idea of homebirth was a little scary to him.  After 10 minutes talking to the midwife we met with that day he was completely at ease. Honestly after talking with her we both believed that home was the safest place to have our baby!  She was confident and experienced (She had been assisting women in birth for over 25 years!)  She put us both completely at ease.  This was not a wacko thing to do!  And so began our journey into homebirth.

And what a journey it was! 

With homebirth the whole process starts from the time we contacted the midwives. It was not just about checking my health to see if I could have the baby safely.  It was about building a relationship with the wonderful women (There were 3 of them Tosi, Claudia and Rachel.) who would be there to assist in our birth.  From the beginning they made it clear that they were there to assist. The birth was ours and they were not there to “deliver” the baby.  They made it clear that as the mom, I was the only one with the power to deliver this baby into the world!  They brought the children and I books to read. They loaned us videos to watch.  We laughed at every appointment!  They would come to my house for at least an hour each month.  I had all 3 of their pager numbers!  They fell in love with my baby as it grew inside me!  They looked forward to the day the baby would be born just like we did! (And NO WAY would they miss it!)

The day that my daughter was born was filled with joy! I knew early on that I wanted a water birth.  So a few days before my daughter came along a birthing tub was delivered to my house. I woke up the morning of my daughters due date with contractions.  We called midwifes and let them know the day had arrived! From that point on it was all about our family being together.  I sat in the Jacuzzi with the jets massaging my back.  My 6 year old son sat in the empty birthing tub next to me reading the Hardy Boys!  LOL (It didn’t have water in it yet!) We laughed, we ate, we drank frozen lemonade, we listened to music, we walked outside!  My husband put a loaf of bread in the bread maker so we would have something to feed the midwives once the baby was born.  To this day when I smell fresh baked bread I fondly remember that day.  My oldest son was there to support me.  He was SO excited! He could not wait to finally be a big brother! ( We have some really funny video of him jumping on the bed while I was having a contraction.  I have no memory of it and laughed my head off when I saw the video!) He patted my hand rubbed my back and encouraged me all the way. (Yes, he was a bit nervous too.  He actually chose to be in the other room during the last few minutes I was pushing. We left the choice up to him. I wanted him to have as much choice in his part of the birth as I did.) The midwives were there the whole time, but they made themselves scarce.  This was our time.  They came in and out of the room checking the baby’s heartbeat and my blood pressure.  They brought me food and drinks. They answered the phone so we would not be disturbed.  They sat next to me holding my hand and rubbing my back as the time drew closer.  They truly proved that the word Midwife, which means “with women”, is the appropriate name for their calling!

Waiting in the birthing tub!

At about 8:00 in the evening on February 25th, 2001 our daughter entered the world.  There were no bright lights or loud sounding equipment to greet her, just a tub of warm water that both her parents were in.  Her big brother was called in from the other room to announce whether he had a brother or a sister.  (Everyone was put under strict orders not to “look” until he did so he would be the first to know and could make the announcement!) She was not whisked away from us!  She was SO alert and responsive since she was free of all drugs! I was gently moved to the bed while her father held her.  (And she tried to nurse from him!  LOL  That is a very funny memory I only knew about because one of the midwives grabbed the camera and got a picture! Is it any wonder this child nursed until she was 3 1/2?   LOL)

Got Milk?

Our family spent hours together cuddled up in the bed. There was no rush to do anything.  If any of the midwives had anything else on their minds that night we would have never known it.  When we were ready she was weighed and checked out.  A beautiful 9 pound 6 ounce baby girl!  While we cuddled and nursed the midwives prepared use a meal.  (Including that yummy loaf of bread which we all shared!)  They carried the dinner into the room with a candle lit on the tray, singing happy birthday to our new born baby.  Everything was exactly the way I wanted it to be.  The midwives cleaned everything up, tucked us all into bed and left around midnight.  The warm and wonderful feelings of that night follow me to this day.

Me and my girl!

In the following days we saw the midwives frequently.  They came to check on the baby and me for 6 weeks. What love and care they gave us! They are truly our friends and we think of them as family. (They have a potluck 4 times a year and we wish we could make it to California for more of them!  How fun it is to show off our growing children to them!)

Claudia and my son dressing his new sister.

In 2003 we were again blessed beyond belief to find that we were expecting our third child! This time we had no reservations. We knew we would have a homebirth!  I remember calling Tosi a few hours after I knew I was expecting and we celebrated together over the phone! I also have a precious memory of going to my sonogram appointment with Claudia.  (Yes, you can have all the test you want and still have a homebirth!)   I also have such sweet memories of time spent with Rachel.  She is such a sweet, calm, supportive person.  She taught me to have great confidence in myself to give birth!

My 3rd child’s birth was a lot more stressful due to circumstances in our lives.  About halfway through the pregnancy we learned we would be moving out to Las Vegas in few weeks after his birth.  I was stressed beyond belief!  However, the birth was as beautiful as his sisters had been.  This time we had 2 kids to share it with.  I had prayed that it would happen during the night while my 2 year old slept. And true to form God answered that prayer! My water broke while I was nursing my daughter to sleep that night.  She was moved to her bed and I labored through the night.  It was a MUCH harder labor and delivery.  Not only did my little man enter the world weighing 11 pounds 8 ounces, but he thought he should come out elbow first!  YIKES!  However, this posed no problem for the midwives.  Once they realized what position he was in they gave me a few directions on how to position myself and out he came! (Praise the Lord for gravity!  LOL)  On December 15, 2003 we welcomed the final member of our family! You have never seen a BIGGER newborn!  LOL  I have such wonderful memories of my oldest son being with me during his brothers birth.  This time he was cool as a cucumber! He was a seasoned homebirth veteran at 9 years old!  LOL  He was there for me every minute, but instead of worrying about me and whether he should be in the room, he spent most of the night laying in my bed watching cartoons!  LOL  What wonderful memories I have of sharing that time with my husband and son!  And then as the sun came up and my youngest son was born in walked my 2 year old!  I will never forget seeing her standing there in her blue paddy footed pajama’s and hearing her say “Hey guys whatcha doing?”  Before anyone else could respond my son said “Mom had the baby!  Come look, we have a brother!”  Only in God’s perfect timing could all of this played out to such perfection.  Again I was gently moved to the bed and this time we were more anxious to weigh the baby.  We knew  he was a record breaker! LOL The midwives were delighted with his weight!  (Midwives pride themselves in bringing BIG healthy babies into the world!)  Again the midwives took care of everything, prepared the meal and sang our child’s first song to him.  “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear baby happy birthday to you!”  Soon the midwives left for the day and there we were.  A family of FIVE all tucked into bed together!  We spent the day snoozing, laughing, celebrating and making phone calls.  There was no rush, no place to go, nothing that needed to be done. We were all finally home!  We spent time bonding and learning what it meant to be complete.  The joy of that day will be with us all forever.


Tosi and our BIG boy!
Rachel  loving on the baby.

As I look back over my birth experiences I praise God for every moment of it. My birth experiences were the most empowering things that have ever happened to me!  Even though my hospital birth was not what I wanted it to be, it grew me into knowing that I could take the power in my hands and create the birth experiences I wanted.  This is only  a brief sketch of all that we experienced.  A few weeks ago I was unpacking the kids baby books and I came across a letter our midwives sent to me along with our 3rd child’s birth records.  It read…


We hope Las Vegas is treating you well!  Remember that these pages are only a mere outline of the hard work, love and courage you poured into your child’s birth.  You were magnificent! Thank you once again for inviting us to be your midwives. We have truly enjoyed getting to be with your family at such an important time in the life of your family. We are so sorry to have lost you to another state, but we are your midwives forever!


Wow!  I don’t think anyone else has ever called me magnificent! And honestly that is how I felt after my homebirths!  I felt so empowered.  I felt a closeness to God like I had never know before. I literally rejoiced not just about the babies but about the amazing experience I had.  There are no words to express how grateful I am that I was given the opportunity to see the potential God built into my body be put to use.

Me and my BIG BOY!

I know there are many women who have wonderful memories of their hospital births.  It is not my intention in any way to disregard or disrespect those births.  One of the reasons I have probably not written this before is I would NEVER want my oldest son to think that his birth was any less joyful to me than that of his siblings.  I talked with him about this yesterday.  I wanted to make sure he was okay with me writing this post.  He assured me he completely understood how I felt. He also said he is grateful we had his siblings at home so he could be such a BIG part of it all!  I assured him that although the process of being hospitalized was less than joyful the end result was meeting him and NOTHING could have taken the joy out of that! However, my homebirth experiences were life changing over the top experiences! I doubt that is all my life anything will ever compare to them!

My precious kids!  Just moments after they met all met for the first time.

I told you I was outside the box!

If you would like to learn more about homebirth I highly recommend the book Homebirth by Sheila Kitzinger.  For kids I recommend the book Welcome With Love by Jenni Overend.

Click HERE to read my oldest sons story of the day his baby sister was born.


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16 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    What an amazing story! I'm so glad you shared this … I, too, had homebirths and they were both wonderful experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything! My story differs in that I didn't have midwives … here in the Chicagoland area, there's a practice called Homefirst that is staffed with doctors and nurses that totally believe in homebirth and letting the mother's body do what it does best. At each birth, I was blessed to have one of my favorite people present … a good friend I met through church when I was about 1 month along in my first pregnancy. We met through a couple's Bible study group, but it wasn't until later in the pregnancy when a mutual friend threw me a baby shower that I found out she was actually one of the nurses at Homefirst … I said, "Does that mean you might be at my birth?" and she said "If you want me to be!" She was definitely the biggest blessing to me, not only at that first birth, but at the second one as well … even now we see each other almost every week … her girls and mine play together and take dance together.

    I love to tell my girls that they were born right here in this house, in the playroom! That room was our bedroom until the youngest was about 2 and we did some room switching. They get the biggest kick out of that LOL!

    There is so much to my story that I just realized I need to put this in my journal! Don't know why I never thought to do this before … thanks LOL!

  2. Anonymous said,

    What an amazing story! I'm so glad you shared this … I, too, had homebirths and they were both wonderful experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything! My story differs in that I didn't have midwives … here in the Chicagoland area, there's a practice called Homefirst that is staffed with doctors and nurses that totally believe in homebirth and letting the mother's body do what it does best. At each birth, I was blessed to have one of my favorite people present … a good friend I met through church when I was about 1 month along in my first pregnancy. We met through a couple's Bible study group, but it wasn't until later in the pregnancy when a mutual friend threw me a baby shower that I found out she was actually one of the nurses at Homefirst … I said, "Does that mean you might be at my birth?" and she said "If you want me to be!" She was definitely the biggest blessing to me, not only at that first birth, but at the second one as well … even now we see each other almost every week … her girls and mine play together and take dance together.

    I love to tell my girls that they were born right here in this house, in the playroom! That room was our bedroom until the youngest was about 2 and we did some room switching. They get the biggest kick out of that LOL!

    There is so much to my story that I just realized I need to put this in my journal! Don't know why I never thought to do this before … thanks LOL!

    Jennifer
    http://house-hill.blogspot.com/

  3. Anonymous said,

    Oops, sorry about the double post … tried to cancel so I could go back and sign my post LOL!

    Jennifer

  4. Anonymous said,

    What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it! I had one of my six at home, and I truly treasure that memory! I'm thinking I need to write up that birth story one of these days soon…especially since that little one is now 6 years old!!!
    Laura
    http://adayinthelifeofamomofsix.blogspot.com/

  5. jewls2texas said,

    J – this is such a great story. Beautiful.
    I had such high-risk pregnancies and one of my babies was not breathing at birth. I am not sure it would've been an option for me – but I do hope my daughters will consider this.
    Nice pictures – you are so dang cute! Your kids are pretty easy on the eyes too!Edited by jaminacema on Jun. 4, 2008 at 10:11 AM

  6. Carrie said,

    Thanks for that. I had my first three children with midwives at birthing centers, and absolutely loved it. I ended up at the hospital for my fourth (and last) with a midwife, due to insurance requirements, but the midwife did her best to keep it all as natural as possible, and it ended up being an ok experience, although not my favorite. πŸ˜‰

    After reading all this and remembering my own childbirth experiences, I almost want to do it again…almost. lol

    Thanks for starting off my day fun. πŸ™‚

  7. Anonymous said,

    I had all three of my girls at the same hospital, and all three were "caught" by midwives (their word). I have been incrediblely blessed to have insurance that employs true midwives, not women aimed at pushing a medicated delivery as some others have experienced. For the first and third births I was able to pull my baby onto my chest on my own. What an amazing experience that was! To literally pull my child from my body! I didn't with the second because she was so big and I was that crazy lady yelling, "Just get her out!" Funny now, and the odd thing is I realized the humor as it was happening, just didn't feel like laughing about it. πŸ™‚ Each and every time the midwives made it clear that they were there to assist me, and would do as much or as little as I wanted. When I told the midwife that I wanted to pull my daughter out the last time she smiled and said, "Great! Less work for me!" I can't say enough about how wonderful these ladies were. They helped me with labor positioning, wrapped me in warm blankets and set me in a rocking chair, provided a labor ball and encouraged me to use the shower during some intense back labor, and always made it clear that they cared about me and my babies. And I nursed all three babies from the moment of delivery. They left the cord intact until it stopped pulsing, too. When the babies were taken to be weighed and given blood tests my husband went along and held them. Then they were promptly returned to me. πŸ™‚ I didn't have the money for a home birth, but I'm happy to say that my hospital deliveries were still wonderful and empowering. I am writing this to give hope and assurance to those women who find that they need to do a hospital delivery. Given the right hospital (Kaiser/Lakeview in my case) it can be a peaceful and beautiful experience. Thank you for your post. It brought back wonderful memories.

  8. Anonymous said,

    Dear Jamin,

    Last April, we contacted you about a writing contest for homeschooled kids–the Family Fun Story Contest. Thanks for helping us spread the word! We so enjoyed this look into the lives of homeschool kids and graduates just like us. Winners will be announced shortly.

    We wanted to let you know about our upcoming book, "Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled." We are homeschool graduates and the eldest children in two very large families. Drawing on some of our favourite memories, we've written a book that we hope will make others laugh, think, and thank God for family.

    Pre-orders for "Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled" begin June 14–in just two weeks! To give you a taste of "Tales," we've released Part 1–that's eleven full chapters!–as a free ebook. It can be picked up at http://www.LittleDozen.com/thhebook.html . There is no cost or obligation involved. We want to share some of our homeschooling journey with others who are just starting out, walking through the thick of things, or even looking back on the finish line.

    Please consider helping us spread the word about our free ebook and the upcoming release of Tales. Any portion of this email can be directly copied for a newsletter, blog, or other form of distribution.

    The free eleven-chapter ebook can be picked up at
    http://www.LittleDozen.com/thhebook.html . For more information about "Tales," including sneak peeks, original cover art, and author bios, visit http://www.LittleDozen.com/thh.html or sign up for our newsletter (a sign-up box can be found on the Web page).

    Blessings!

    Rachel Starr Thomson and Carolyn Joy Currey
    Authors, "Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled"
    Due out from Little Dozen Press July 1, 2008
    http://www.LittleDozen.com

  9. setfree said,

    Jamin,
    I too was blessed to have a home birth with my 5th child. I had previously worked in Labor and delivery and knew all the risks of home deliveries that the hospitals tell moms to scare them. I can say that I worked there. With baby #5 we finally decided to have a home birth. It was the most amazing experience. All my other children were sleeping when I woke up to my water breaking at 5 am. We watched tv in my room and drank orange juice. My midwife was wonderful. At 7:20 am I had a beautiful little girl. My husband barbecued for us all to celebrate.
    I could not wait to have another home birth with #6. Unfortunately this was not to be. I had had preterm labor with all my babies except #5 so when I started having contractions at 31 weeks I was not to worried. That evening after resting on and off all day I decided to go see my midwife to see what was up. She lives over an hour away. Their are not any closer. A few minutes from the house I asked my husband to go to the hospital instead so they could stop the labor. The hospital is also an hour away.
    When we got there my husband went to park the car. The ER nurse left me in the waiting room by myself. When my husband came in he had a fit. He had been downstairs praying thinking I was being taken care of. When I finally got to the back to be seen they discovered that the baby had his foot already in the birth canal. Everyone paniced(sp?) They said I needed an emergency c- section. They would not let my husband in and I remember being very scared without him. God is good and my Little Turtle was born on the OR table before they could cut me. He was a beautiful 4lb 12oz blessing from the Lord. He had to spend 27 days in the NICU . Now he is growing and healthy and almost a year old. These births were so very different. I am glad the hospital was there when I needed it but I was so sad to not be home with my family. I don't know why I wrote al of this except I felt the need to share hospitals are needed but they can't compare to home birth. If I am blessed with another baby it will definitly be planned as a home birth. Thanks for letting meshare.
    Katie

  10. Dana @ School For Us said,

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.
    Dana

  11. Anonymous said,

    I have had two hospital births, and one homebirth (last July). The homebirth was a tremendous blessing to me.
    Blessings,
    Christine
    http://www.christine-mary.blogspot.com

  12. Anonymous said,

    I, too, am not a big fan of "traditional medicine" and didn't know about homebirth until my third child. After 2 very miserable hospital births, I planned to have my third at home. I believed that the difficulties and problems in my first 2 births were due to too much medical intervention – they were both born with foreceps, etc. Anyway, I was sooo excited about my homebirth and selected a midwife who had only had 1 transport to the hospital in her career of a number of years. In short, I ended up being transported and delivering by c-section. The midwife, nurses, and doctors finally agreed that I had a skeletal deformity of some sort that simply would not allow the baby's passage naturally and there was no room for even foreceps this time because the baby was so big. I have had such a difficult time reconciling myself with this – it has been 9 months and I still have moments of great sadness and mourning over being hospitalized and having my beautiful birth "ruined" my overbearing medical professionals. Don't get me wrong – I love my baby and am so thankful that he is alive and healthy. In fact, I wish to have more children even knowing that they will be c-section babies unless they are very tiny, which I doubt will be the case! I am thankful that homebirth is an option, but I have never heard from or known of anyone who had an experience like mine. All the folks I know either were happy to have hospital births and wouldn't consider it at home or they had successful homebirths. I just thought I'd post this comment in case anyone else out there feels like I do and wants to know that they are not alone. My baby is healthy and happy and so are the other 2 older siblings and although I'd have preferred it to go differently I am very much thankful for all of them and for any to come in the future!

  13. thomasclan said,

    Jamin – this post brought tears to my eyes.. I have been reading your blogs off and on for 3 yrs… And truly enjoy your homeschool spot here!!!

    I had my last baby (9 mth old Gracie) at a hospital and i almost died giving birth.. It was the most awful experience that I have ever received at a hospital; and those Dr.'s not listening, and not caring about what we needed or knew about my body after 4 other normal births.. My 5th pregnancy and birth, would prove that God was bigger then all of these people – but that i would NEVER ever again feel safe in a Dr.'s hands while birthing my child.

    Thank you for the tears this A.M. and the encouragement to do it OUR way next time if we so choose – if we have a 6th child – we will most certainly be looking into homebirths w/the water tub you described!! ((((((((Hugs)))))))

  14. Tiffany (aka: Faerylandmom) said,

    I enjoyed reading this story so much! I haven't had any of my four kids in a hospital, and I'm so glad I'm a bit out of the box myself. πŸ™‚

  15. Anonymous said,

    That is wonderful! I remember my first birth, in a hospital. I was scared ,cold , and as you said bullied by ones who thought they knew what was best. They had my hands strapped down! The next 3 births were not much better. I am glad you got to be in a warm, safe place- with your family.

  16. Miranda said,

    I live in Georgia, I've been told they don't "allow" home births. I've given birth 3 times in a hospital. And you are right it was horrible. I must say though my last birthing experience was the best of all 3… except when I asked for no visitors everybody and then some came poking their head in. I was also bullied, I was forced to be induced (I had no clue), then my doctor hounded me until I got an epidural (didn't want one). You are very lucky.

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