Holding baby after a natural home birth experience.

My Positive Natural Home Birth Experience With Second Baby

Why I Wanted a Natural Home Birth

My first natural home birth experience I felt prepared, but at the same time I had no clue how it would go. I constantly wondered “what if baby came before my midwife made it” or “what if something was wrong with baby”. It was constant what ifs, but when we carry our babies that’s just what moms do – worry. However, it was well worth the anticipation and unknowns to experience the most natural, unexpected home birth with my second child.

With my first pregnancy we lived in an apartment and were only minutes from the hospital. Being my first pregnancy and not knowing what to expect with birth, we opted for a natural hospital birth. Giving birth unmedicated is one of the hardest, yet most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. But this gave me the confidence that I could do this at home!

I had a good hospital experience, but I wasn’t fond of all the protocols that we had to follow. We educated ourselves beforehand and knew what we could turn down, but I wanted to feel like I had more control over my birth experience. This is why I knew for my second I wanted to go natural in the comfort of my own home.

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Leading up to My Natural Home Birth Experience

I began my search for a midwife. There weren’t any that were close to me, but I was lucky enough to have a friend recommend a woman she used. This midwife was located about an hour away, which made me a little nervous. However, after meeting with her and knowing that she had been a part of delivering over 3500 babies at home reassured me she could respond quickly to “baby time”.

The prenatal process went very smooth and much more in depth than I expected. Each appointment consisted of a urine sample, weight check, measuring fundal height, and listening to baby’s heart. She would also go over the important nutrient requirements for the stage of pregnancy I was in and stressed the importance of being consistent with protein and water intake and movement.

Signs and Symptoms Birth is Coming

As I reached the last few weeks of my second pregnancy I really started noticing the Braxton hicks contractions. Around 37 weeks I remember going into extreme nesting mode cleaning out my car, scrubbing bathroom floors, and washing every window inside and out. Haha don’t ask my why we do this, it’s not like baby will mind how squeaky clean our house is. However, this sent me into some consistent cramping and I thought this is it! After resting they went away, but I was still on guard thinking it would be soon.

At 39 weeks I lost my mucous plug. I thought for sure this would mean labor in 24 hours. Throughout the day I lost more, but nothing. Two days later I woke up with horrible acid reflux, sulfur burps, and diarrhea. My body was upset and preparing for something. The day before my due date came and I decided to get out of the house incase it was the last time for awhile. I felt pretty good and had no other signs pop up of imminent birth.

My Estimated Due Date

My estimated due date finally arrived, November 3rd. That morning I woke up at 4am with on and off contractions. After a couple strong ones I rolled out of bed and started timing. I pulled out my exercise birth ball and turned on the tv. I just bounced and did hip circles.

Contraction timer during home birth

When they went from 15 minutes to about 8 minutes consistently I stopped bouncing on my exercise ball and started getting ready for the day. They seemed like they were getting closer together and they sure weren’t stopping! So at 6:30am I messaged my mom who lived an hour away that I had been contracting a while and I think it’s time. She had a bagged already packed and was at my house by 8am.

Bouncing on birthing ball during contractions during home birth experience

As soon as she arrived, I had some contractions that were now 20 minutes a part and it felt almost like they were fading away. I started becoming so discouraged, but kept bouncing on my ball because in my head today was baby day!

I was exhausted, I had been up for awhile and we decided if baby was going to come we all needed to rest. At this point my contractions were every 8 minutes, 20 minutes, 8 minutes, 20 minutes and not really changing in intensity. So I laid on my couch around 1pm and just prayed that things would start moving along.

It’s Happening!

3pm – Slowly I started to drift off, when all of a sudden I felt a big contraction with a lot of pressure and POP! It was like a rubber band had snapped and my eyes immediately shot open. I was sitting in a pool of water on my leather couch and scared to move to make a mess, but also filled with adrenaline. My heart was racing so fast and I was shaking out of excitement. My mom helped me clean up and I jumped in the shower. I now had a pad on and I was shocked how much fluid was still coming out from my water breaking. 

I called my midwife thinking she would rush over, but she nonchalantly said, “Ok we still have a few hours. Call me when contractions are strong”. The hardest part for me was knowing when to make that call. I didn’t want to be too late, but also hated to be the one that called it too early. At about 4:30pm, my contractions started picking up and were about 3-5 minutes a part.

5:47pm came and I was laboring on the toilet and the pain was a lot so I called my midwife to come. Thank goodness I did! They were now 2-3 minutes a part and I moved to laboring on my knees alternating with my upper body draped over the ball or the couch. I rocked back and forth and squeezed my comb to distract myself from the pain. I tried to play soothing music on the tv, but was having trouble relaxing through the pain. 

Working through contraction using a comb during home birth experience.

It was now 6:30pm and the pain was intense! My husband was putting counter pressure on my low back and contractions were now less than a minute a part. He had to run to drop our son off at our friends’ house so I just prayed my midwife would be showing soon. He made it back promptly and my midwife walked in around 7pm and it was a sigh of relief!

She immediately got me into the bathroom to labor on the toilet again. This made my contractions even more intense, but I knew I needed to get uncomfortable to get things opening! From this position she looked to see if baby was low. I sat on the toilet for about 30 minutes with my feet on a stool and grasping the sink counter with every contraction. At this point I didn’t think contractions could get any worse so I asked if she could check me for dilation for the first time.

The Transition

My mom got the bed made with a shower curtain on bottom, then a cozy cotton sheet on top. All the supplies were laid out on the night stand. I waddled to the bedroom and laid down on the bed to get checked around 7:30pm. Getting checked can either be motivating or completely disheartening. In my case, it shattered me. She told me I was at five centimeters. A five!  After all day of contractions and the worst ones I’ve ever experienced these last three hours. I thought the second birth was supposed to be a lot faster.

My midwife saw the let down in my eyes and reassured me that we were close. Only 45 minutes or so left of contractions to get me there and it would be time to push. When she said this my heart sunk again because 45 minutes feels like an eternity when contractions were so close at this point. I didn’t have more than seconds between each one it felt.

Another hard contraction hit and I grabbed the bed headboard and unintentionally held my breath. I was so tense. My midwife kept reminding me to RELAX. I was so discouraged and in pain at this point and just wanted it to end.

I knew I needed to relax my face, jaw, and whole body to help this baby move down and for the cervix to fully open. The second big contraction came and I grabbed the headboard and squeezed. I tried to let the rest of my body go. Then all of a sudden I felt my body start pushing like never before. I let it. I then felt an intense, but painless bulge down in my rectum. The push felt like it lasted a minute and when it was over I felt so much relief.

The Delivery

My midwife called for my mom who had just walked out to update family that it may be another 45 minutes. She announced “I need a timer” and then quickly started prepping for delivery. She then instructed me to feel my baby’s head. I was shocked, but at this moment I knew I could do it. They handed me a mirror and I got to see the head. I felt very calm and at ease. Time was 7:51pm.

Quickly after another contraction came the pressure didn’t feel as long or intense, the head came out. My midwife quickly unwrapped the cord from baby’s neck, twice. She adjusted my feet so they were on her shoulders. I was still at peace not making noise besides just calm breathing. Then as the next one came she told me to push and bear down. I waited until I felt that urge again and let my body lead.

When I felt the wave coming I pushed a little harder than the first time and baby’s body slipped out. My husband and I both reached down to grab our baby. We had not known the gender, so as we pulled our baby out my husband exclaimed, “it’s a girl!” and we both broke down into tears of joy and we rejoiced again, “it’s a girl!”.  

After Birth

Only ten minutes or less of pushing, our baby girl was born at 7:57pm. I just looked at my midwife in awe and said “I can’t believe how fast that was”. What really amazed me was how once I was able to relax and let go my body was then able to take over and do what it needed to. It was the most amazing natural home birth experience and one I’ll never forget.

Holding baby after home birth experience.

I held my baby girl as the cord was clamped and my husband cut it after it stopped pulsing. She was wiped off and I immediately started breastfeeding. I then had to deliver the placenta, which was so weird to do voluntarily since I was letting my body do the pushing before.

After she finished up the baby check up, she helped me into the bathroom so I could pee for the first time. I felt pretty great considering what my body just did. I didn’t tear this time and just felt weak standing and moving. My mom remade our bed as I took a quick shower and my husband picked up our son.

All the excitement was over and my midwife had left and it was just my husband, me, my son and our baby girl. We had a snack and we all cuddled in bed in awe of the newest member of our family, Cordelia Rose.

My Natural Home Birth Experience and Advice

Every birth is different and special in its own way. I loved my first home birth experience with my second baby because it was our own! My favorite thing was that we never had to leave home. Everything we needed was right there and it was way more peaceful and comforting. The best part was getting to relax in our own bed with our new baby after a long day of contractions.

Prepare Mentally and Physically

My advice to someone who is considering a home birth is to prepare yourself mentally and physcially, especially if this is your first birth. I had a good idea of what the pain would feel like because I had a natural birth with my first. However, I still prepared myself as I did with my first. I read the book Hypnobirthing: A Natural Approach to A Safe, Easier, More Comfortable Birthing.

The past two pregnancies I started this book at the beginning of my third trimester. It really helped me prepare my mind and gave me tactics I could use during contractions. I actually have this as an audiobook and I would listen while I went on my walks.

You can also prepare your body for birth beforehand. I did a lot of exercises and stretches on the exercise ball, worked on relaxing my pelvic floor, and opening up the pelvis.

Prepare Your Home for a Home Birth

After you prepare your mind and body, you will want to make sure your home is prepared. Your midwife will give you a list of items to purchase for the birth. Some other nice things to consider is if you want a certain ambiance. This could be lighting or music you want to play. Then keep on hand snacks or meals you want for during or after birth.

Choose Your Support System

You will also want to make sure you choose a midwife you are comfortable with. You may need to meet with a few before you find the one that’s the best fit. What I’ve noticed with a midwife versus a medical doctor is that they spend much more time with you throughout your pregnancy. The prenatal appointments were longer and much more in depth. This is nice because you can become comfortable with your midwife. They can help you work through any worries you might have so your natural home birth experience is much more enjoyable.

Stay Positive!

My last piece of advice is to read and listen to positive natural home birth experiences. Having a natural home birth can be a scary experience because it’s new to you. However, going into it prepared and confident that your body knows what it is doing is key!

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