My Natural Home Water Birth Story
I thought it would be encouraging to others if I shared my natural home birth story so other women contemplating the choice would have some information from a real person. I'm a real person. Natural home birth stories inspired me and kept my spirits high and my fears low during my pregnancy.
I decided to have a home birth because it fit our unique situation. I personally never thought I was going to have children again after the horrible experience with doctors and hospitals and our first son.
Finding out I was pregnant for again was very emotional at first because of how hard the last pregnancy was. Here is our home birth story...
All pictures are personally owned by me, all rights reserved.
What Made Me Choose Natural Home Child Birth?
My Last Pregnancy...
There were several factors that played a part in our choice to have a home birth with our second son. My last pregnancy was hard, Kaiser made the experience a horrific one. When I was 26 weeks along with our first son the doctors informed us that our son might have down syndrome and that we might want to consider terminating the pregnancy! They concluded this after seeing his ultrasound results. We chose to move forward with our birth.
A few weeks before his birth, they told us that our son would definitely require surgeries when he came out so to be prepared. You can imagine how absolutely emotionally stressed I was during the the last part of my pregnancy? The birth gave me even more fear and the thought of surgeries was almost unbearable.
Jeremy is 6 years old, happy, healthy and a perfect little boy. The entire experience though was so awful that it changed how I saw doctors and hospitals for the rest of my life.
Choosing a Natural Home Birth over a Hospital Birth
I'm Pregnant Again!
Finding out I was pregnant again was both exciting and a little nerve racking because all I ever knew of birth was hospitals and doctors. Horrible OB visits where you felt your privacy invaded in all sorts of areas. Besides the terrible experience of being told my child might have down syndrome and being asked to abort him, I also dealt with uncomfortable doctor visits every month. I'm not someone who enjoys "those kinds of visits", all women will know what I'm talking about when I say this.
I began investigating other options because I was not having this baby in a hospital and I was prolonging a doctor visit as long as I could. I remember a friend having a home water birth in a tub and I remember thinking how cool that would be. But could I do that? At the time my friend Lisa was also pregnant and she was having a home water birth too. In the back of my head I knew my husband would never go for that.
Still, inside I could feel the whispers of Something Greater than me telling me I would be safe, I could do it.
I began looking up information to present my husband with to support my case for wanting a home birth. I knew he would think it was dangerous because that seemed to be the main reaction I got from people when I mentioned it. "What if something goes wrong?" they would always say.
Still, inside I could feel the whispers of Something Greater than me telling me I would be safe, I could do it.
Talking to My Husband About Home Birth
My husband was against home birth in the beginning ...
My husband blew up the first time I mentioned my "home birth" idea to him. He told me to stop hanging out with 'naturalists' by that he meant my friend Heather who is a totally awesome herbalist. It actually was not her idea, it was mine. So what did I do to convince my husband? Here are the steps I took and God handled the rest:
I prayed. I asked God to help me turn my husband's heart if this was His will and not just mine.
I called a professional Doula and set up an appointment. I told her my husband needed to be told everything so he could make an informed choice on his own.
After the appointment with the Doula, my husband was feeling much better about this choice, partially due to the fact that it was much cheaper than a hospital birth. Health insurance for us at the time would be $700 a month which is the going rate in California for a family. The deductible was going to be $500 a day at the hospital. Co-pays were $35 each visit. I loved how the Doula not only gave him the health portion but first she took him through the cost of a home birth versus a hospital birth first. She knows men!
Then she explained how the baby arrives gently into the world in his mother or fathers arms rather than a stranger. No one rushes your baby off at home and baby stays with mom at all times. This was a huge relief after the experience at Kaiser. She assured him and me that a natural birth with no drugs was not only healthier for baby but also for mom. She explained to him that a midwife and Doula would work as his friend and partner to help give strength, encouragement and comfort throughout the entire pregnancy and birth.
Once he met with the professional, he felt a lot more at ease with my choice. I knew that God was on my side with this decision.
Next, we interviewed some midwives. We met with four different women and I made sure he was a part of this important choice. If he didn't like someone, she was no longer an option and vice versa. This way he felt like these were his choices too, not just mine. That's important for men.
We chose our midwife Coley because she was calm, kind and very knowledgeable. Something about her was so calm, there was nothing that could really shake up this woman in our opinion. That's the kind of energy we wanted at our birth. We needed someone calm and knowledgeable and she fit the bill. She welcomed us with hugs, tea and pictures of her previous home births. She wasn't pushy, in fact, she was very quiet, let us ask questions and told us everything that was included in her services. She has an incredible track record and her references were terrific.
Cost of Our Home Birth
Our Home Birth Cost in Southern California
Midwifery Services: $4,200
Includes all prenatal care visits, birth kit, birth tub rental and three post birth visits. Midwife available 24/7.
Blood work: $75
Medical Ultrasound: $99
Birth Tub Liner $20
The plastic that goes inside to protect the birth tub.
Hose Fitting & Hose $20
To fill up your birth tub with, you cannot use a standard hose, it has to be safe for drinking water. We bought a camping hose. The fitting is to attach to your shower or sink to fill up the tub.
Painters Tarp $15
To cover the floor under the birth tub with.
We put down $600 and made payments on the rest until it was paid off. It all had to be paid off by the time I was 36 weeks.
What about other areas in the United States?
To give you an idea, my personal friends in Idaho and Tennessee both paid $3,000 for their midwifery services, so it really does depend where you are from if you are trying to do a cost analysis. I believe that California is probably one of the highest states, most other states will not cost as much as my home birth did.
Ultrasounds for Home Birth Moms
Having a Natural Home Birth Midwife
Prenatal Care for Natural Home Birth with a Midwife
You never wait in a waiting room. When you have an appointment, you don't wait. You walk right in and your appointment begins and you have her undivided attention the whole time.
You get one full hour to ask her whatever you like and address all your concerns. No one is rushing you along or helping other patients. You are the only patient for the entire hour, no one else comes in.
No invasion of privacy. What do I mean by that? No one is checking you "downstairs" at all. Midwives believe in not interfering with what comes natural. Believe it or not, doctors do not need to be looking "there" at every appointment either. My midwife never saw "that area" until the birth of our child.
When I had the Strep B test, I swabbed myself in a private room. She told me how and I did it myself. She would have done for me if I wanted her too. If I needed to be checked in case of something (like spotting) then she would have but everything was normal so we never had need to have her "down there."
Fetal heartbeat is monitored at every visit and starting at around 20 weeks she starts taking your fundal height.
At every visit she will ask you about your diet, a healthy diet is very important when pregnant. Midwives believe in having a healthy diet rich in vegetables and proteins. You want to avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar and artificial ingredients. Taking whole food vitamins and supplements is also very important for the health of your baby.
Your midwife will take your weight at every visit. This is the hardest part for most women because no one likes to be placed on a scale. The difference with a doctor and a midwife is no one is going to shame your weight. There is no average she is looking for. Your healthy diet is more important to her than what the scale says. When you eat the food she recommends, you'll find that your weight just manages itself.
As someone who gained 80 pounds pregnant with her other children, I was always concerned with my weight. I never knew what a healthy diet was when pregnant, no one ever sat me down and explained it to me the way she did.
Best Prenatal Vitamins
Rainbow Light, Food-Based Calcium, 180 Count (Pack of 2)
Every pregnant woman should take calcium and magnesium supplements because babies are very draining on ones bones. Babies require a lot of calcium and pregnant moms should take some in addition to their prenatal vitamins. I took an additional 2,000 mg of calcium for my bone health and 1000 mg of magnesium everyday for my muscles. Remember, taking whole foods vitamins is important because they are made from real food and can be taken on an empty stomach. These are the vitamins I took.
New Chapter Activated C Food Complex, 180 Tablets
Taking additional vitamin C is good for the bodies natural defenses. You don't want to get sick while pregnant and even if you do, vitamin C will help get rid of quickly and help keep your body strong to fight off any sickness still in the body. These are whole foods vitamins, they can be taken on an empty stomach too.
New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin, 192 Tablets, Packaging May Vary
This is a prenatal whole foods vitamin. It's an organic vitamin made from whole foods. You take three of these vitamins a day. They can be taken on an empty stomach and they help relieve morning sickness symptoms.
Trader Joe's Super Acidophilus Complex, 60 Tablets, 10 Billion Organisms Per Tablet (At Time Of Manufacture)
Last but not least, you should take probitoics because they are a staple to good health. 80% of your immune system is in your gut, probiotics help keep you healthy as well work for digestion issues. You will not be constipated if you take whole foods vitamins and probiotics daily. I took the ones at Trader Joe's, they seem to work the best for me in terms of overall well-being.
My All Natural Home Birth Story
My contractions grew about 3 minutes apart so I went ahead and gave her a call. She started getting ready and I made myself a sandwich. Yes, a sandwich!
The beauty of having a home birth is that you can eat, drink and do whatever you want. No one straps you to a bed to monitor every darn little thing and I really enjoyed the freedom. They say on average home births go a lot quicker than hospital births because of the fact that a woman is left to labor her own way. She is not strapped down, she is not drugged, she is not on her back the whole time.
About 12:30 a.m. the midwife and her team arrived, she has two assistants and they set up their equipment and stuff to prepare for baby. They had a scale, an oxygen tank, and some other stuff to check out baby with. I was shocked she came so soon! The birth tub was already set up and my husband just needed to fill it. We had tested everything the week prior to make sure everything worked.
About 2:30 a.m. the contractions we getting much stronger and closer together, maybe about 2 minutes apart. Not painful or anything yet, just a little binding at times. My husband played video games in the living room with the kids while I labored with my midwife and her assistants. Our older children are 11 and 6 years old, so they needed supervision. No one was going to be able to sleep knowing that mom was having their baby.
About 3:30 a.m. my contractions were very strong and somewhat painful, especially in my back. My midwife's assistant Christine rubbed by back and helped me along while my husband filled the tub with hot water. My midwife told him that we were very close. Close? I thought I had hours left?! That actually made me a little nervous but I just focused in on the moment. Just focusing on the moment was very helpful. My midwife was very calming, stroking my hair and telling me what a great job I was doing.
By 4:00 a.m. I was in full blown labor and it was a real workout. Not so much painful as it was hard work. I was sweating a lot even though I was barely moving. The warm water of the birth tub was very soothing but I kept feeling like I had to pee so I had to keep getting out to go, but then I wouldn't go because I would have a contraction and feel like I was falling over. To be safe, I just got back in the tub.
4:25 a.m. I felt a HUGE surge down below, it was horrible pain but it lasted about 10 seconds before a bomb went off in the water. My water had just broke! All the sudden there was his head too!! That was fast!! I remember screaming because it hurt so bad and I couldn't keep my bottom down under water.
I remember my midwife asking me if I wanted to touch his head and I screamed "Nooooooooooooo, I want him to come out now!" and no sooner did I say that, that I felt one last final surge and it felt like a giant poop had been released (sorry, that's the best way I could describe it). My baby came floating out very slowly as I guided him to the top of the water. He was born at 4:29 a.m.
I caught my own baby!! I was shocked! We all stared at him as he gasped for his first breaths. As soon as he cried, my daughter let out this huge cry and hugged my husband so tight. She was very emotional and exhausted. She stayed up the whole time to see her brother being born.
A Positive Home Birth Story!
My 9 lb. Baby Boy Born at Home
After the Birth
What happened after the actual birth...
After he was born we moved us to my bed, which is awesome, there is nothing better than your own bed. The cord is still attached to my placenta and baby. Midwives do not cut the cord right away, they wait until it is done pulsating and the baby has drawn all the necessary fluids from it. When the cord is cut, no blood is coming out because it naturally constricts itself once all the blood has run through it. In the hospital it's mandate that the doctor cut the cord right away but in a home birth, the cord is left to finish it's work.
I had a little trouble getting my placenta out. The darn thing wouldn't come out. After 45 minutes the midwife is supposed to take you to the hospital if it won't come out but mine was patient and she let me give it one last try and with that one last try I pushed, I prayed, I pushed again and with an almighty yell I said "God help me!" and it came out. It took 54 minutes after my birth for the placenta to finally come out. What a relief that was!
The cord was cut an hour after he was born by his older sister. The cord was not bleeding because all the blood had finished traveling to the baby. Delayed cord cutting is healthier for baby because he able to draw the last of his nutrients from the placenta.
The Best Part About Having a Natual Home Birth
- Wonderful prenatal care
- A great option for the un-insured
- No waiting rooms
- No invasive procedures
- Healthy diet counseling
- Walking around in labor
- Eating and drinking in labor
- Sleeping in my own bed after labor
- Being home with my whole family during and after labor
- I can have as many visitors as I want