Editor’s note: We believe that all birth stories and all birth experiences matter. This post is part of an ongoing series of birth stories submitted by readers and fellow bloggers, featuring a diverse range of women and their birth experiences. Carolina of Mama Instincts has kindly agreed to repost her unplanned home birth story here. If you would like to share your own birth story, please visit this post to learn how. ~Olivia
It was Saturday, one of my favorite days because my husband is home and I get to sleep in. However this Saturday I was woken up at 6:30am with a contraction. I didn’t think much of it since I’ve been having contractions that led to nothing for weeks. I went back to sleep but about 10 minutes later another contraction woke me up. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant and I’d been having prodomal labor for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case this wasn’t the real deal.
For those of you that don’t know, prodomal labor is just like real labor. It starts with contractions you can time and that can dilate you but after a few hours it stops. In my case I had been having this every night for the last 3 weeks and this is why I was already dilated to 5cm and in +1 station before I went into actual labor.
After having those first contractions that kept waking me up I got out of bed and decided that I would go on about my day and try to ignore the contractions until I couldn’t ignore them anymore. After all, I still wasn’t sure if it was the real deal. I cleaned the house and made breakfast. My contractions were coming about every 8 minutes and lasting 30 seconds but they weren’t too painful. I barely felt them if I was on my feet.
At around 10:30am I decided that I should let my midwife know so she could be ready just in case my baby decided to make an appearance. I was getting excited. I was really huge and very anxious to meet my baby. I bled a lot during this pregnancy and at one point thought I might lose this baby so you can imagine my excitement. I had made it to full term and was possibly meeting her in a few hours!
Our plan was to labor at home as long as possible and head on to the hospital to have my baby there. I told my midwife that I was feeling fine and didn’t need her here yet. She asked me to keep her posted. At around noon I was wondering if I should have my midwife check my dilation or not. I sent her a report of my contractions, which were coming between 5 to 8 minutes apart and lasting between 30-45 seconds. She told me to let her know once they were 5 minutes apart or once I felt uncomfortable or if I felt that I needed her support here.
By then we had asked my mother-in-law to come so she could watch our toddler. We were all just hanging out and talking. We had lunch and my contractions weren’t that strong yet. As long as I kept myself active they didn’t seem to be really painful.
Suddenly at around 2:30-3pm I felt my contractions pick up. They were coming closer and a little stronger so I told my midwife to come over. After all, I wanted to make sure we would make it to the hospital. However, while we were waiting for my midwife to come, my contractions started getting more painful. I asked my husband to rub my lower back during each contraction which felt so good. I was induced for the birth of my first child due to preeclampsia without an epidural, so I was waiting to feel those really awful painful contractions again. So far they weren’t that bad though. I was still able to joke and talk in between them.
They started getting more painful, and my husband called my midwife to ask her where she was. The plan was that she would check how dilated I was and we’d figure out if it was time to go to the hospital. At that point my mother-in-law thought we should go to the hospital but I’m a stubborn person and I decided to wait to be checked by my midwife.
Things suddenly got real and they got real pretty fast. My midwife was on her way and I was feeling like maybe this baby would come soon but I wasn’t still in that much pain so I thought I probably had a while to go… I just wasn’t sure if I was getting close to birthing so we told our midwife to hurry and not to park the car since we might have to rush off to the hospital, which was 30 minutes from home.
By the time my midwife walked in, I had a feeling we weren’t going to make it to the hospital. I told my husband that if I was 9cm dilated I wouldn’t leave because I didn’t want to have this baby in the car. My midwife didn’t think I was in transition yet because I was joking and didn’t seem to be in that much pain…but sure enough, I was 9cm dilated when she checked me. My husband tried to convince me to go to the hospital, and I told him we wouldn’t make it. After debating for a few minutes we realized this baby was coming soon and we were having it at home. Luckily our midwife is a home birth midwife and she had a birth kit in her car. She ran downstairs to grab the kit, and we sent my mother-in-law to park her car. We were running out of time.
My midwife started setting everything up, and I felt I had to push. She told me to jump in the tub if I couldn’t wait, but I waited until she was done setting up because I didn’t want to have my baby in the tub. She set up a birthing stool in our living room. I had never seen one before; it looked like a chair with a hole in the middle. I sat on a birthing stool, pushed 3 times and our beautiful baby was born. Those 3 pushes took me about 10 minutes – she came quick!
She was 9lbs 4 ounces and almost 21 inches long. She was bigger than her sister, but this time I didn’t tear at all. I didn’t even need a single stitch. I was so surprised. As I held her in my arms I couldn’t believe she was here, and I couldn’t believe I’d had her at home.
This labor was overall less painful than with my first – I didn’t get an epidural with either labor. My contractions this time never got too painful and pushing didn’t hurt as much either. For this labor I didn’t need to get induced and I think that’s what made such a huge difference. I also think we didn’t make it to the hospital because I kept waiting to feel the pain I felt the first time around, but it never happened. It definitely was a much, much easier labor than my first.
My husband and midwife helped me walk to our bedroom since I’d had my baby in the living room. I laid on the bed and held my baby. It was just perfect. No distractions, no one to bother us, it was just us. It was so intimate, and we were just in a cloud of shock and love.
After labor I had bled a little more than my midwife liked so she gave me a shot of Pitocin which stopped the bleeding. She decided she would stay with us the rest of the day because of this and because she wanted to make sure I was hydrated. She’s also a pediatrician so she had to do all the newborn testing to the baby anyway. It was really nice to be able to do this at home because the last thing I wanted was to move.
Eventually it was time to pee and I passed out while peeing, twice! Luckily my midwife was expecting that this might happen and she and my husband took me to the bathroom both times. I actually had no idea I had fainted until I saw my husband’s freaked out face. Apparently I was only out for a few seconds each time, but enough to scare him. Luckily I didn’t need to go to the hospital so I got to enjoy my baby girl at home, surrounded by the ones I love. It was so magical!
I never thought I would have a home birth but now that I had it I can’t imagine having babies any other way. It was so peaceful, so beautiful, with so much love and quiet… It’s hard to describe in words how magical it was. It was just perfect. No one was coming in and out of the room, it was just us enjoying our new little addition…and just like that we were a family of four.
Carolina King: Former entrepreneur turned stay-at-home mom of 2 amazing little girls. Surviving parenthood thanks to coffee and cuddles. Carolina is a writer at Mama Instincts where she blogs about her life as a mom, attachment/gentle parenting, non-toxic products, organic living & fun kid stuff. She has a passion for traveling, loves to babywear and keeps a hidden stash of chocolates in her pantry. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat.