Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Home Birth Story

For my entire life I have wanted nothing so badly as to be a mother.  It took my husband and I all of about two months before I was pregnant, and for two months I didn't have a period and had all the early
symptoms of pregnancy. Sore boobs, a little bit of cramping on and off, fatigue, and all that
fun stuff. We took a total of about 5 pregnancy tests and they kept coming out negative, so
of course I kept telling my husband that I was not pregnant but merely about to start my
period. On the fifth test he stood in the bathroom while I peed on the stick and instructed
me that I needed to "point the test down while you pee!!" My husband took the test and
watched it as I cleaned up, and then with the biggest smile told me I was pregnant!

I decided that a home birth was the way to go and my husband supported me 100%. We found
our wonderful midwife Paula, an absolutely amazing woman. She is so caring and gentle and
loves her job so much. She has also attended over 2000 home births in the last 30+ years, so
I felt completely safe in her care. At the first appointment we found out I was 10 weeks along and got to hear our baby's heartbeat for the first time. It took everything I had not to start bawling when I heard that precious beat of life.

(ultrasound picture at 16weeks)

 My due date was December 26th, 2009. My mother drove down to Arizona from Oregon on Christmas for the birth, and was supposed to leave around January 5th or 6th. For nearly two weeks after my due date we waited, and waited, and waited. Every day my mother would say to me, "Aren't you going to have that
baby already? I have to leave soon, I'm never going to get to see my grandson!" and things
similar in nature. I also had people from my husband's side calling and texting daily
asking if I had had the baby yet and asking why I was still pregnant. My mother in law was
wanting daily updates, even though there were no new updates, and texted us at 4:30am one day saying she was worried cause she hadn't heard from us (even though she knew my mom, mom’s fiance, and my sister were staying with us) and that if we didn't call her she was going to send someone over to check on us. WHAT?!?! We found out the next day she had meant for us to find the text in the morning when we woke up, not at 4:30am. So due to all the pressure from family and the deadline for my mom's departure quickly approaching I felt like I needed to do whatever I could naturally to make the baby come.

After talking to my midwife about natural induction (something I wont be doing again with any future pregnancies now that I am more educated and hopefully wont be so impatient like many first time moms are) I went into her office after hours on January 3, 2010 at 41+2 so she could strip my membranes (which she wont even consider until after 41 weeks). It was incredibly painful, but I didn’t expect anything less. She then talked to me and my husband and gave us a paper of instructions about inducing labor naturally, and said that it doesn't always work but that there was a good chance it would. At 3am January 4th My husband made me a castor oil shake with 2oz castor oil and vanilla chocolate chip ice cream. For the record, vanilla chocolate chip is by no means a strong enough flavor to even come close to disguising castor oil! Within an hour the dreadful stuff started working. Needless to say, I only got about four hours of sleep on and off. At 8am my husband made me another shake with 2oz more of castor oil. For the rest of the day every hour on the hour I drank 1 dropper of both blue and black cohosh in grape juice, followed by a hot shower, followed by nipple stimulation by my partner.. All the while having diarrhea about every 10-20 minutes, and attempting to go for walks whenever it wasn't too bad. I was exhausted, a part of me was hoping this wouldn’t work because I was afraid of having a long labor and I was already worn out. At the same time though, I did NOT want to go through all of this and have it not result in a baby. By the evening I was having somewhat regular contractions, so Paula came to my house to check me. Nothing! NO change! All that work, all that diarrhea for nothing! All it got me was false labor, exhaustion, and 14 hours of the runs!! She told me to stop doing everything, take a warm bath, and relax for the rest of the night.

The next day I went to my midwife appointment which had been scheduled the week before.
I was 10 days past my due date. I asked Paula what would happen if I went 2 weeks past my due date. She said that I needed to get the baby out in about 5 days or else I would have to fire her and go to the hospital. Something about Arizona laws and midwives not being able to care for a patient who goes 2 weeks over the due date. She also said if I hadn’t had the baby by Friday (it was Tuesday) we would try castor oil again over the weekend and that she was nearly positive it would work this time around! I went home feeling worried and a bit depressed. I so so so did not want to birth in the hospital, but it was looking more and more like that was where I was headed.

I woke at 9 am on January 6th when my husband got up for work, and I felt weird. I cannot
explain it. There were no contractions. I didn't feel anything different physically.
Just..weirdness. I had this strange feeling that I would be spotting when I went to the
bathroom and sure enough I was. I had also passed the mucous plug during the whole castor
oil fiasco. Since I wasn't having any contractions I decided to go back to sleep, but told
my husband to be prepared to come home early from work. I woke up again a little before
11:30am and went downstairs to make some chocolate milk.

As I was drinking my chocolate milk and talking to my sister in the kitchen it came on all
of a sudden. Strong painful contractions, nothing like the Braxton hicks I had been
experiencing for the last 2 months. My sister and I went for a walk while my mom was out
doing laundry since we didn‘t have a washer and dryer at the time. After the walk I decided to time the contractions and attempt to play mahjong on the laptop. In the birthing classes my husband and I took they talked about having a “labor project” at the beginning of labor to take you mind off of it while you can. I figured mahjong would be mine, but I couldn’t even get through one level because of the pain! Contractions were about between 4 and 6 minutes apart and I was only able to time them for about 40 minutes before it was too hard to concentrate. I called Paula's office and talked to her assistant Deborah since they were having appointments that day. I explained the situation and she asked if I would be able to come in to their office as they were having appointments that day. I went to the bathroom and there was
more blood than just a little spotting. Was this normal, should I be bleeding this much? Was I dying? I started to panic a little and called my mom and told her to come pick me up NOW and take me to Paula's office.

We got to the office at 2:30, 3 hours after the contractions began. Paula checked me during
one of the contractions and told me, "It looks like we are gonna be canceling the rest of
our appointments and heading over to your place to have a baby! You are a generous 7."
After only 3 hours of labor I was already at 7 almost 8 centimeters dilated!! My little sister
Called my husband and told him the news and to get home ASAP! When we got home my husband was already there and heating huge stew pots of water and toping off the birthing pool with a little more air,..using his mouth no less since we didn’t have a pump for it! Paula and Deborah arrived at our house within half an hour and started helping my husband get everything ready for the pool. I was calm, lost within myself as I breathed through the contractions. My mom helped rub my back and held the bowl as I puked a few times (3 total and my husband also held the bowl at least one of these times) during some particularly painful contractions. Let me tell you, grape juice with chunks of salad floating about is really quite nasty, and as I was throwing up my mom told me to just shut my eyes and not look at it! I remember after a particularly painful contraction looking at my mom and informing her that this wasn't so bad, I could handle a lot more! Much better than I had thought it would be! As soon as my mom, who is an E.R. nurse, found out about the home birth plan she started telling me horror stories about her natural birth with me and how unbearably painful it was, and that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into not having an epidural. She says having me was so painful, to the point of her passing out between contractions. She was 16 when she had me, and had a pretty traumatic birth experience.

Finally, finally the pool was ready! I got in and it felt so warm and nice. So relaxing,
almost sleepy. After about 30 or so minutes of laboring in the warm confines of the pool with my husband helping me through contractions, I tell Paula I feel like I need to go to the bathroom. I am helped out and she tells me not to worry, she will wait there by the bathroom and make sure everything is ok while I push through a few contractions and try to poop. It wasn’t happening. I tell her I feel like I have to but I just can't! She asks if she may check me. "You are a 9 and the baby's head is just right here, that is what you are feeling," she tells me. I get back in the warm
peaceful bliss and continue to labor as my husband comforts me and breathes with me. Not long
after returning to the pool I start having a strong urge to push. I tell Paula and she says
that that is wonderful and to just listen to my body, and I do! The pain of contractions was
completely gone! Instead of pain during the contractions there was merely an urge to push! It was such a nice break! I pushed! I pushed as slow as I wanted. As hard as I wanted. Whenever I wanted. I listened to my body, and did what it commanded me to do. My water broke naturally in the middle of the pushing. There was no chanting of "push push push." Just total silence as my husband, mom, Paula, and Deborah watched the miracle of a woman listening to her body and giving birth in peace as nature intended. It was WONDERFUL!

Once it was starting to get close to the baby's arrival Paula stood behind me and gently
massaged my perineum while Deborah started listening to the baby's heart rate with a small
hand held, waterproof, fetal heart rate monitor. I was on my knees in the pool with my upper body resting on the edge of the pool and one hand bracing myself on the bottom of the pool. With every push Paula would tell me that I was doing a beautiful job, and how amazing I was doing. All the while Paula kept asking Deborah what the baby's heart rate was.

"wonderful, right where it should be"
All the while massaging.
"Alright Elizabeth, stop pushing and take a few deep breaths for your baby so he can get enough
"back up to 125"
With the next contraction and pushing
"keep monitoring and lets see if it goes back up after the contraction"

At this point I knew something was wrong as did everyone in the room, but everyone was very calm, quiet, and encouraging. My midwife was awesome and very professional.

Thank you, thank you!!
"Lets put her on some oxygen, the baby isn't getting enough, and it should help."
Someone put the oxygen mask on me, I am not sure who.

All I know is I was holding my husbands hand and pushing, but backing off every time I felt the burn. I was scared. I could feel that I was going to tear. (which I did, a small tear on the inside of each labia minor, but not bad enough to need stitches.) I didn't want his head to come out! BUT, I wanted to see my baby so badly, so I kept going. With the next couple contractions:


Suddenly Paula tells me that it is time to get the baby out (I was scared of his head coming out as I could feel I was going to tear, so I would stop pushing every time I would start to feel the burning) For two contractions she tells me, "Push Elizabeth, give it everything you have. Keep going, keep going! You can do it!!!" She also tells my husband to come back there and help catch his son.

I wanted to jump out of the pool, jump away from the pain as my son's head came out. With
the next contraction the rest of my son slid out into my husband's hands. The room went completely deathly silent as everyone but me looked at my son. I could not see him since he was behind me. Paula told me in the calmest, almost cheerful voice, "Everything is okay Elizabeth, the cord is just wrapped around his neck a little bit. Let me just unwrap that and you can turn around and I'll hand your baby to you." They help me turn around and I was handed my baby.

He was completely blue and purple, but the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. He was so soft. The softest thing I have ever felt. I had never imagined how soft he would be fresh from the womb, and I was amazed! It took him a minute, but he finally started to cry. Once he started breathing and crying it didn’t take him long to pink up. He was fine, we did it! Paula talked to him soothingly as my husband and I stared at him in disbelief. This tiny, beautiful, perfect being came out of ME! I held my baby for about 10 or 15 minutes in the water with my husband right beside me outside the pool, umbilical cord still connected. Then my husband cut the cord. Paula gently took my son, wrapped him up, and gave him to his Dad to hold for the first time while I deliver the placenta.

I am so thankful for my midwife's knowledge and experience in seeing the signs that our son was distressed and knowing what to do (and also what NOT to do ie: cutting the cord immediately after birth). When my son was born the cord was wrapped tightly around his neck FOUR times! In all her years of experience and many, many births (over 2000), Paula had never seen a cord around the neck more than three times. He had a 48 inch long cord and every time I would push during a contraction it would compress the cord and make his heart rate drop. (I always wonder with such a long cord what would have happened if it HADN'T been wrapped around his neck: ie what would his chances of something more serious happening like a cord prolapse have been?) My midwife knew what was going on, and knew the cord was around his neck when his heart rate started dropping. He was very distressed and ended up passing meconium while he was being born. My midwife told me later that he probably lost about 4 ounces in meconium during the birth.

Tyler Philip Hoskins was born at 5:20pm on Wednesday January 6th, 2010 after only 6 hours of labor including 30 minutes of pushing. 11 days after my due date. His apgars were 9/9 and he was 7lbs 6oz and 20 3/4 inches long. A 48in cord wrapped around his neck four times and a heart shaped placenta!

(Tyler at 2 months old)

I am so lucky. I have the most precious, beautiful gift in the entire world. I am a mother.


  1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to write all of this. What an inspiring story! I love the photos too! I cannot believe your poor son had the cord wrapped around his neck FOUR times! Unreal! I'm so happy he's happy and healthy, and that crisis was averted. You KNOW that if you were in a hospital they would have C-sectioned you ): Thanks to great midwives, too!

  2. Beautiful! Well done!!! Thanks for sharing! xoxoxo

  3. Thank you for sharing. I am glad it was very detailed because I am in need to know details since I am due for the 23 Dec. We are the 21 of Dec and i am frightend.


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