Hi Yehudit! Thank you for sharing your homebirth story.
What made you first decide to have a homebirth?
I actually didn’t initially know that such a thing existed as in my family everyone had a hospital birth, but I’m not a fan of hospitals because I know that people usually go to hospitals when they’re sick and I don’t feel that birth is a sickness.
Birth is a happy occasion that should be spent in a happy, calm place. It’s a celebration of life.
Where were you when labor began?
I was in my home.
When did your midwife come over?
With my first birth my midwife came over the day after labor started as my labor was 35 hours so it was a really long time. She came back and forth as she was only 5 minutes away.
With my second labor, it started at night and by 8 in the morning she came by.
Did you have anyone else with you during your labor?
With my first, I had Ruthie who was there with me during my first 2 births. My third birth I didn’t know anyone as I had recently moved so my midwife brought someone with her to help with labor support.
What surprised you most about a homebirth?
That transfers happen and unfortunately they aren’t talked about much beforehand.
I think it is something that every midwife should prepare a woman for, especially for her first labor. I don’t think I was prepared for that.
Why did you have to be transferred?
After 20+ hours of active labor I received an IV at home as I had gotten dehydrated.
Then my daughter’s heart rate was really going up with the contractions so my midwife suggested we go in to the hospital.
At that point I had been at 4cm for about 15 hours with no end in sight, so I agreed.
How did you cope with the contractions for so long?
I didn’t find myself coping. I was kind of existing and not having a choice but to cope with it. Every method I learned, including hypnobirthing, helped for a period of time, but after 20 hours of being sleep deprived and in pain, none of the methods were working anymore.
With homebirth, if I could change something, I would tell a mother a transfer is possible, and there should be a just-in-case hospital bag packed with some clothes and toiletries.
I had to go the hospital with not much warning and I didn’t have much with me in the hospital. It would have made a difficult situation easier if I would have been prepared for it.
Once I got to the hospital I agreed to receive pitocin as it was that or a c-section.
The contractions while on pitocin were unbearable, so I asked for an epidural and after that I was able to sleep- it was the first time I slept in a day and a half.
The midwives and doula got to sleep too so it was good for all of us.
Then when I woke up I was feeling the contractions more and more. The epidural was wearing off and I wasn’t even 9cm yet but I decided it was time to push because I couldn’t do this anymore. At least that way I was in control of something.
Did your subsequent home births go better?
My second homebirth was absolutely amazing. It was one of these births where I can’t even say I felt pain. There was some discomfort at times, but no pain.
I was singing throughout labor, and during transition I was able to fall asleep.
I was dosing on and off and I was able to calm myself down so much.
I got in the birthing pool for not even 3 minutes but I didn’t like it so I came out.
AfterI found a position I liked I gave one push and then he came out with no problem and he was my chubbiest baby so far!
Why didn’t you like the birthing tub?
I didn’t find it relieving any pressure and I couldn’t be in the position I wanted to be in. Positions are limited in the bath. I felt like I needed to lay down on my side but I couldn’t lay down in the pool or I would’ve drowned myself. The positions are either hands and knees or leaning just on your knees. I just couldn’t squat and push, it felt impossible.
What do you wish other women would know about a homebirth?
Don’t go into it expecting anything.
You can read all the books out there that describe orgasmic birth and you go into it expecting period cramps but you can’t do that.
There is no woman that can expect anything because each body and each birth is different.
Even the same woman can have different experiences with each birth.
Depending on your emotional state going into labor and into birth expecting to feel what your bestfriend felt is the most wrong thing.
A woman should be open and able to accept the pain and accept whatever is going to come her way.
You can’t fight it. Your body can’t fight it, and emotionally you can’t fight it so just be ready to accept it.
What was the most comforting to you when you were in labor?
The most comforting thing to me was the people around me.
Another thing that helped me are the techniques I learned to be able to calm myself down. Not just hypnobirthing techniques, but also techniques I learned when i was having panic attacks during my teenage years.
Those breathing techniques and soothing calming techniques calmed me down.
Anything else you want to add?
Well I’m due in a few weeks. I can’t do a homebirth this time as insurance here in Philadelphia doesn’t cover a homebirth and this is something I will have to get over but I found a birthing center nearby and I will have to make it as homey as I can. It’s got a nice jacuzzi, a cute little bed and fireplace and God willing it’ll work out.