Before I met my husband, I thought that having babies at home was what was done in the more uncivilized parts of the world. My husband (who was raised in civilization), comes from a family where his mother is a midwife and all of the women have given birth at home. As a college student I had decided to prove to my then fiancé that it was not safe to have a baby out of a hospital. As I began writing a paper to disprove the safety of home birth, my research convinced me that my husband-to-be was right and that having our babies at home was exactly how I did want to give birth.
We got married and graduated college and moved to Texas. I became pregnant, and had a great pregnancy. I was healthy, happy and round! I woke up at 4:30 am about 5 days ahead of my ‘due’ date. After numerous trips to the bathroom, I realized that this morning I was not going back to sleep, I was unsure about waking my sleeping husband, not really sure what I was feeling. I was excited, and did not understand how much those extra couple of hours would have meant to me later. When Josh finally woke up he decided to stay home from work and help get the house ready. I was still not sure I was in labor.
I let our midwives know around 10:00 am and because this was our first baby, they did not think they would hear from us again for a day or two, and as how this was Thanksgiving, I’m sure they were hoping they wouldn’t! I cleaned my bathroom, she up our house with Christmas decorations, cleaned the kitchen, made stuffing for the turkey and put the turkey in the oven to roast. Throughout the whole process I never questioned what I was feeling. My mind somehow knew that what my body was experiencing was natural, normal, and there to help me give life to another human being. I look back now and marvel that I never felt scared or worried, especially as the contractions got closer and my mind stopped thinking clearly.
As is usually the case, my labor picked up in the late afternoon. Our midwives arrived at 7:00 pm and I asked to be checked. I was 7 centimeters dilated and was able to get in to the birth tub that my husband had set up for me in the dining room of our apartment. Labor progressed quickly after entering the tub. My contractions were becoming more useful helping the baby move down into the birth canal. I reached inside and felt his head. This got me so excited. He had so much hair! It was the first time that I was able to touch this new life that I had been creating the past 9 months. Soon, I felt his water bag bulging inside me and then it released! The release of that pressure felt so good, and then the next contraction began with gusto. I used my own hands to guide his head out while kneeling which felt the most comfortable. Within a few moments, out slid his head with his little hand on the side of his cheek. I took a couple of deep breathes, gathered my strength, and his whole body slipped into his father’s hands. I turned quickly around and heard the sweet sound of his cry. He came into this world looking around, swimming to the surface of the tub and was vigorous and pink. I couldn’t believe that I had done this. I kept saying “WOW”.
Over the next weeks and months I would learn what it would mean to completely give yourself to your children. My dear son was never able to breastfeed properly. I tried for so long with him and it seemed to never work. So I gave up on that sweet opportunity and knew that I could give him my milk through bottles and still make the experience just as sweet for both of us. I am so glad that I gave my baby boy the grand start to life that I know he needed. I call upon the strength I gained through that experience almost everyday of my life. I can’t wait to do it again…
P.S. Yes, we did eat turkey that night (around midnight) and it was delicious! Since that time, three more baby boys have blessed our lives, all born perfectly at home.
Grateful mother of now 4 handsome boys, all born at home.