I consider myself to be very fortunate that after my first traumatic birth experience in hospital, I was able to empower myself and have the healing home birth that my mother-soul craved.
Since Ghanima’s incredible home birth experience in 2012, I have given birth again.
My daughter Harmony was born in the Royal Alexandra Hospital, on March 24, 2014. This hospital birth experience was a world of difference when compared to Levi’s birth. It is possible to have the hospital birth that you desire…
Here is my experience with midwife led hospital birth:
Sometimes, your well laid out birth “plan” does not go the way that you envision it. That does not mean that it has to be any less of an uplifting experience. I was terrified to give birth in the hospital, and in a lot of ways, I am grateful for the opportunity to lay that fear to rest.
At the end of my pregnancy with Harmony, my midwife voiced some concerns about the size of my baby, (I have already given birth to 2 very large babies at this point, Levi being 10lbs. 8 oz. at birth, Ghanima being 10lbs. 12 oz., and this one seemed like she might be even bigger.) I hadn’t had any ultrasounds during this pregnancy, but I had gained A LOT of weight. As usual, my belly was HUGE!! With only 8 months between giving birth to Ghanima and getting pregnant again, it was a hard pregnancy. I felt like my body had hardly healed from my last birth.
At one of my final prenatal appointments, I was given a CHOICE (yay! I get to choose!) between trying again for the home birth we had planned, and leaning on the side of caution at the hospital. After weighing all of the risks, and consulting my deep seeded fear of hospital birth, I chose to try for my second home birth. My midwife supported my decision.
So the day I went in to labour, (just past 41 weeks gestation) we prepared our home in the same way we had for Ghanima’s birth. I had a big pot of homemade miso and quinoa soup on the stove (my favourite post birth snack) and my young daughter was whisked off to Grandmas house so that we could focus on the task at hand. My husband prepared the birth tub, I called my beloved midwife, and things were going pretty smoothly…
I laboured in the tub all day long, I repeated birth affirmations, I moaned and rocked, and screamed and cried…
24 hours later, things were not moving along so smoothly. In the last weeks of pregnancy, I had been using evening primrose capsules to soften the cervix. My cervix was thin and dilated, surges were intense and definitely effective, but my baby was just not moving down. With her head still high, and the waters still in tact, my midwife had one concern. If the bag of waters broke, the umbilical chord could slip down before the baby’s head, and get compressed. Which can be very dangerous for the baby.
We tried everything we could to bring the baby’s head down… rebozo, squatting, etc… nothing worked. My big baby just was not budging. And I was getting tired.
My midwife sat me down next to my husband and levelled with me… no bullshit.
She thinks that we should call it, and go to the hospital. After many tears, and eventually a fear release exercise, I reluctantly agree to go. My husband packed a bag for me and the baby, and we headed for the hospital.
I was terrified that when I got there, some strange doctor that I had never met before would barge in and take over. I had already been in active labour for a whole day, I was exhausted, and I was worried that they would tell me I couldn’t do it on my own…
But that wasn’t the case. When we got there, the charge nurse showed us in to a room at the end of the L&D ward. My midwife and her team (her back up had met us there, as well as her student), they took care of the paperwork. The nurse who saw us in assured me that we would be left alone unless we needed extra support. My midwife was able to break my bag of waters and be confident that because we were in the hospital, if an emergency situation arose (such as the baby’s head compressing the chord) that we were close enough to the resources we would need in order to get the baby out quickly.
When she broke the membrane, I could feel the baby begin to descend, although she got stuck on my tailbone. Luckily, her umbilical chord did not descend through the birth canal before her head came through. We tried the rebozo again, I used the sink in the bathroom to squat as low to ground as I could, and tried with all of my might to push the baby over my tailbone. Eventually, I felt a shift and she began to move down!!! I got back on the bed on my hands and knees, I pushed and panted until her head emerged!!
…And that’s where things started to get blurry. Her shoulders were still stuck. I turned over carefully on to my back, and two midwives reached in (eeeeeeep) and were trying to tug her out. My husband got scared and started to run squirrely all over the room. It took a few minutes to get her body out after her head emerged, and he was worried. I started to scream, I started to lose my mind a bit… the student midwife who had been supporting me face to face looked at me with a look of fear and pity… and I thought that I was going to die. I gave one final big push and FINALLY my big baby slipped out. I pulled her up on to my chest and collapsed with relief! She was ok! She cried and snuggled in to me.
Everyone cheered, and the nurse poked her head in to witness the moment of victory! I was so happy! We were all rushing from the endorphins…
I bled a lot after she came out, and I am glad that I was in the hospital and my midwives were properly equipped to deal with an emergency situation. (I will point out that at the hands of my skilled midwives I DID NOT TEAR!) After an hour or so of skin to skin contact with my babe, they took her for assessment and I got in to the tub to get cleaned up. When they weighed my baby girl, she was 13lbs. Again I will say… NO TEARING!
I am so grateful for my midwives, my husband, and for my strong and capable body…
I am also grateful to have had a hospital birth that honoured my birthing preferences. I can say today that I am no longer terrified of giving birth in a hospital, and releasing fears is oh so good for the soul.
Harmony’s first nursie!!