Our son was born on a Friday evening in the living room of our 1870s farmhouse. Fast and intimate, it was the healing birth I needed. And the dream home birth I didn’t realize I needed.
We weren’t planning a home birth originally. I delivered my daughter in a hospital, and while we knew we wanted this labor and birth to be different, we hadn’t given home birth much thought. When news of COVID-19 came out around week 32 of my pregnancy, I started to think about our options. I began to worry about the hospital environment and its policies changing and didn’t want to compromise the labor and birth I was preparing for. I wanted to know my support team could be with me, and that I could labor how I wanted to. We hired a doula about halfway through my pregnancy and she had told us about some great homebirth midwives. In a way, it felt like fate had intervened. Homebirth became the best option for us, and we just needed a little nudge in that direction.
Educating Myself and Finding My Birth Team
I began to read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth as soon as our pregnancy test showed positive. A friend also lent Baby Designed by God to me, which I found in tune with a lot of my values and beliefs. Both are centered around our body’s ability to birth naturally and contain a lot of home birth stories. I had already read so much about home birth that when we decided to go that route, I felt very confident in our decision. I recommend both whether you are preparing for a natural birth at home, in a birthing center, or a hospital.
A natural and unmedicated birth was important to me, and I wanted to be armed with knowledge and fully supported. I had attempted an unmedicated birth with my daughter but didn’t go into it as prepared as I thought. My husband tried his best to help me labor naturally, but I ended up caving and going through the cascade of interventions. Wishing I had done so the first time, I decided to use a doula for this pregnancy. We interviewed a few and decided to go with Kate Hayfield. And out of the homebirth midwives Kate recommended, we decided to go with Toledo Midwives.
Preparing My Mind and Body
I chose positive affirmations to prepare my mind for the natural birth process and read them out loud. Most I found online or in some birth Facebook groups, but Kate also provided us with some. I printed my favorites and hung them up in our living room, where I planned to labor and deliver our baby.
Throughout my entire pregnancy, I practiced Spinning Babies exercises. These prepare your body for labor and birth and help the baby move into a proper position. I’m also a huge advocate of chiropractic care, and in the second and third trimesters, I went about every other week.
My labor was just short of three hours. I had my first contraction around 4 PM, and said to my husband, “I think something is happening.” After timing them for a half-hour, we made the first call to one of our midwives, who suggested we start tracking the contractions on an app on my phone. After doing that for a while, it became clear things were moving pretty quickly.
Our 2-year-old daughter was at home with us because we wanted her to meet her brother right away. And even though my husband somehow managed to set up and fill the birth pool with her by his side, we decided she needed to leave the house as things got more intense. Thank goodness for our parents!
At this point, we had been on the phone with our birth team several times, and around 6 PM they made their way to our house. I stripped off clothes throughout the house as my contractions got stronger, and ended up in the bathroom. When my water broke at 6:36, I told my husband it was time to get into the pool because no way was I having that baby in our tiny bathroom. I crawled on my hands and knees through our kitchen and entryway, and into the living room. I had to pause for three contractions on the way there but was determined to make it.
At 6:52, one of our midwives came running in through the door, and at 6:58 our son was born. Six minutes to spare! My husband got to deliver our baby, watch him exhale underwater, and then place him on my chest. I’m still in awe of how calmly he handled everything on his own up until those last six minutes.
My husband cut the cord once it was done pulsing, then stripped his shirt off to do skin to skin with our baby boy while I was helped out of the pool. With my cushy bathrobe and what felt like a million towels layered on me to help with the chill, my son latched for the first time on our couch. The rest of our team arrived shortly after the birth, and everyone got to work taking care of us while we bonded with this new little person.
Our parents showed up a little later with our daughter, and she ran into the living room to meet her brother. She just knew something big had happened while she was away! A few minutes later she jumped off the couch, ran to her basket of toys, and grabbed a blue block to give to her new sibling.
After our birth team helped us to our bedroom where baby was weighed and measured, and I got a shower, we all crawled into bed around 10:30.
An Experience We Will Never Forget
The miracle of life truly came full circle in our home that Friday evening. The experience was everything I had hoped it to be. Empowering, beautiful, and challenging. I trusted my body, even when things got difficult and the pain felt like it was too much.
I will always cherish that my husband and I got to labor in the comfort of our home. The birth of our son was one of the most beautiful moments of our lives. Not to leave out the birth of our daughter of course – because we’ll never forget either of the moments that our children came into this world.