Here is my story having a home birth while active duty Army. I wanted nothing more than to avoid the Army hospital and have a home birth, and thankfully, I was able to!
When I found out I was pregnant in June of 2013, the first thing I had to do was attend a bunch of briefings at the hospital on post and fill out mountains of paperwork. Such is the Military. I was somewhat fearful because my biggest concern was I'd be forced to have my baby at the hospital. I'd heard horror stories of pregnant soldiers being "escorted" to the hospital because not doing something that is considered "safe" would be misuse or abuse of government property (because essentially that's what I am).
To make matters worse, the first brief I had consisted of a nurse telling us that birth was not a natural thing to go through, that it puts a strain on our bodies and has a high level of risk to it. This made my blood boil, but I managed to stay calm and not confront the ridiculous statement of a so called educated individual.
|20 weeks pregnant, bathroom selfie!|
I did tell my provider that I wanted to find a midwife. Generally if you tell them this, they won't ask as many questions and will not be as suspicious when you refuse certain care or when you insist on waiting for your baby and body's time to deliver when you're past your due date. I did consistent prenatal care, several ultrasounds and everything came back healthy and progressing normally throughout my pregnancy.
It was about 7pm when I felt the urge to move. I got up and went into the bathroom, laying down the pads and sheets in there instead. I was standing up going through contractions that were roughly 5 minutes apart and needed my 100% focus. I could not talk during them. I had to make low moaning sounds to help every part of me relax and let the contraction do it's work. I did not sit and stare at a watch during contractions. I really didn't want to focus on time, but instead focus on my body and being in tune with everything.
I looked down and saw a couple spots of blood on a towel beneath me. I was wearing a wife beater. I don't really remember when I decided it was time to take off my sweats. I felt excitment at the blood. It was a very small amount, nothing to worry about. Just a sign that my cervix was stretching and opening to prepare. My boyfriend freaked out a little because of the blood and the fact I couldn't talk during contractions and they lasted quite awhile, so he called a good friend of ours who had offered to be there for the birth. She had had 3 babies, all hospital births, but was willing to be there to encourage.
I'm really not sure about time from this point on. I had my radio set up in the bathroom playing the Christian music station on low. This really helped keep me calm and focused. Our friend Crystal showed up and talked to me in between contractions. It was really nice to have a female there. I was ready to go it alone, but I didn't realize how nice it was just to have the support and kinship of a positive feminine influence.
Shortly after she arrived, I decided to get into the tub so we filled it halfway. From here on out, I don't know time at all. I just stayed focused on breathing in through my nose, out through my mouth, low moaning (this relaxes the uterus and makes every contraction way more productive). I felt when my water popped inside me. It was a sensation and noise that I heard. I let Crystal know. This was a good sign! I knew I was close.
The discomfort/pain increased as well as the pressure. I knew exactly where his head was and how far down he was, all this instinctively! I was telling Crystal and my boyfriend everything that was happening in between the close-together contractions. I told them when I was crowning. It hurt yes, but nothing like my other 2 babies. I never panicked, and I never raised my voice. Just low moaning and staying as relaxed as possible. His head came out. I reached down and touched his soft, silky head...I couldn't wait to be done! However, I DID NOT PUSH until the next contraction came. This prevents tearing and putting stress on the baby. I only had to wait a little while, then I gently pushed with my body and his shoulders came out. Another contraction, back to back, and he came out completely into my arms.
We wiped his face and suctioned his nose, checked his color, looked at the tub water to see if there were any signs of meconium, which there were not; He was just then taking his first poo! He wasn't crying, just looking up at me blinking his big eyes, breathing was good but a bit raspy like he needed to clear his throat. He did have white vernix on his skin, but it was creamy, not dried or scaly. Nothing was blue about him. He was born 10:18 pm on January 31st, exactly 2 weeks past due.
I pulled him to my chest and Crystal helped me get a towel around him and take my tank top off to nurse. He latched on right away. Nursing helps stimulate the uterus to pass the placenta as well as help prevent hemorrhaging. I waited 30 minutes, but the placenta still hadn't come. Another friend, Brenda, showed up at this point and I asked her to make me a very strong cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea. She put 4 teabags in and I drank it. It was still 45 minutes after my baby was born that I finally started contractions again. I passed everything about an hour after. Longest time yet, but I didn't force anything, just waited on my body. Forcing the placenta out is dangerous.
I waited until the cord turned white before we cut it using a pair of scissors and shoelace I'd previously sterilized.
I didn't bath him either, just gently wiped him clean and wrapped him in a warm blanket. I showered and wrapped my stomach, then climbed into sweats. I felt amazing! Not only was I high on the accomplishment of doing this, but also physically I felt fine. Just tired and hungry. I took 3 Tylenol and chilled on the couch with my brand new baby boy.
|2 hours after delivery|
|6 hours old!|
Fit N Fancy for Life,