home birth experiences

My 6th pregnancy, 5th delivery and 4th live child, I decided I had finally had enough of the medical system during delivery. I had experienced 3 inductions, one natural labor beginning 4 epidurals. Finding out I would have to deliver in a military hospital was not what I was going to allow. I was inspired by many mamas and decided my 4th living child would be an Unassisted home, water birth. I continued prenatal care, but for delivery, I planned on staying at home, no matter how much they pushed me to induce over my due date.

At 41 weeks, 3 days I finally started feeling contractions-just after my husband left for the gym-at about 2-3pm. For the next couple hours, i labored, with my kids running around like crazy! Lots of deep breaths, counter pressure and swaying helped me get through this. My husband got home and we started getting the pool set up about 630; my doula friends arrived about 7 and we took a walk around the block. A walk that should have been 10 minutes, took almost an hour. We arrived home and about 830 I got into the water and my water broke during the next contraction. This is when my labor seemed to really escalate; my contractions were intense and it was harder to focus. After less than 30 minutes, I felt my body begin pushing (fetal ejection reflex), and within 2 contractions/pushes, my daughter was born at about 8:55, at home, in the water.
— Heather

Laboring and birthing a baby at home was the best decision we made. Labor and birth is not something to be feared. It is a transformative process that should be supported and celebrated.
— Amanda

Z was born at home about an hour and a half after my water broke with heavy meconium. His heart rate stayed strong and I felt comfortable continuing at home. After my water broke, I continued to labor in the birthing tub and after about 40 minutes began pushing. Just a few minutes later he started crowning and I pulled him up out of the water. He stayed attached to the cord while we encouraged him to breath. Midwives moved me across the room to the love seat and we rubbed on him and did some “blow-byes” with oxygen, but he just didn’t really perk up or take to breathing on his own. He did stay attached to the cord, and I really felt safe and calm the entire time. After about 10-15 minutes without good improvement, the midwives decided he needed to be transferred and cut the cord. My husband drove one midwife and Z to the local hospital, while I stayed, delivered the placenta and cleaned up. All my midwives were at the hospital every single day to care for both me and Z during our 4 days in the NICU. I was so grateful for their support and advocacy!

My story is NOT typical. Z was my fifth delivery and I was healthy all pregnancy, with no history of delivery issues. It was just a rare thing that can happen. I do think I would have been pushed to have a caesarean after my water broke, had we been in the hospital because of the meconium and he did have some decels during contractions, but I don’t think it would have been the best decision. I completely stand by my midwives and MY decision. And I think the peace I had was truly my body and my baby knowing it would be okay.
— Julia

My inspiration to have an unassisted home birth came from my amazing mother who had three unassisted home births herself. I knew I wanted a homebirth but didn’t know If I wanted it unassisted so I interviewed a midwife to hire who ended up telling us to go for our unassisted dream. She believed in us, and I had the biggest support team including two sisters, my mother and my husband who all believed in me. So I educated myself and decided to go for it. We had a successful free birth to our baby boy Paxton Creed on 9/13/14 weighing in at 9.2lbs and born into daddy’s arms on our bedroom floor. He was surrounded by only family and brought into this world in peace and in the comfort of his home. Home birth is an amazing experience. Birth is not something to fear. Birth is a part of life that should be celebrated and woman should look forward to their birth experience. Having a home birth was by far the best decision I could have made for me and my family and I would do it again and again.
— Alana

Chai’s birth was testament to the fact that healthy women are safer birthing at home. It started out easy. My mom and I took my other two kids to the park to feed the ducks while the contractions were still mild, but it wasn’t long before I needed to go home and call my midwife. When she arrived, things were moving along very nicely. Then it just stopped. I asked her to check me, and I was 8 cm dilated, but no contractions. After a few hours, I was getting frustrated, and asked her to break my water.

Before I knew it, I was pushing, and once again, I knew something wasn’t right. He was stuck. My midwife had me do a certain movement to unstick his shoulders, which worked, and a few contractions later, 10 lb 2 oz Chai made his grand entrance. The placenta followed almost immediately, and it was clear before long that I had excessive bleeding. We tried herbs and other means to control it, but I ended up needing injected pitocin. That worked. I’m thankful I was at home not because everything went perfectly, but because it didn’t. At any hospital in town, we would have been a c-section waiting to happen.
— Anna

The Freebirth of River James! I was 38 weeks and 2 days and awoke to finding the pillow between my legs wet. I cleaned up and laid back down, but as I sat on the bed I felt warm water coming out and pool on the sheets. I woke my SO and told him my water broke and he agreed. It was 1am! I was so excited and hopped out of bed and started feeling contractions! I decided to sleep while I could and of course contractions stopped. I waited 2 whole days for labor to finally start. It was almost exactly 48 hours of my water initially breaking. They started off at 7 mins apart and quickly moved to 3-4 mins ,I tried to sleep a little bit, but instinct took over. I got up and prepped my labor space..... My bathroom. Then fell asleep between rushes. I had been in labor since 11pm and I woke up at 4am noticing the pains were getting Stronger and more consistent. I tossed and turned and breathed quietly through contractions. At 420am I thought a shower would be nice, I labored for about 20 more minutes standing up and felt the pressure and my body starting to push. I quickly called my SO on his cell phone to come upstairs because baby was coming. And then I filled the tub. I laid on my side hugging the tub as it filled. My SO came in the bathroom and I told him to wash his hands. By this time my body was pushing, I could feel the head in my birth canal and this was it, I only pushed once, the urge was so strong, my body just beared down and I pushed with it. Fetal ejection reflex took over and he literally crowned and was birthed in all one big push. I was so shocked, It was 5:02 am. I pulled him up and out to my chest, he started to cry almost immediately. No suctioning was needed. I peeked between the legs and saw it was a boy! He weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces and was 18.5 inches long! So perfect :) I couldn’t have asked for a better more calm peaceful birth!
— Hannah
After 43 weeks and 2 days of pregnancy, my long awaited labor finally begun. It did not take long to realize that baby must be occupant posterior (OP) due to the painful back labor. I labored for about 18 hours when my contractions started to become inconsistent and we took that as a sign to rest, and try not to feel defeated. The contractions still were coming strong throughout the next 24 hours, but some were only a few minutes apart while others were much further. By the next day, the baby had seemed to have flipped anterior, however it appeared he was now asynclitic (crooked head in the birth canal).

At this point my midwife had plenty of suggestions for to try to get him in a better position and my contractions to be the most effective. We tried everything from curb walking to the breast pump to a glass of wine to try to sleep. After 3.5 days of labor, very little sleep, and a very inconsistent strong labor pattern we decided to transfer in to the hospital. I agreed to the epi, to help me sleep, and a low dose of pit to help my labor regulate. After 18 more hours of labor, and some sleep, I finally gave birth to my stubborn little boy. This was not the birth I planned for, and I actually felt like my body failed me for a while. However, I am proud that I trusted my instincts and tried so hard and his birth will not sway me from trying again with our next baby.
— Talia

We had a natural hospital birth with my first, and were home 3 hours later. I had my second at home, and although the labour was a bit longer, everything went smoothly. The third was also a home birth, and I purchased a birth pool to have him in. My last labour went extremely quick (2 hours), and it definitely helped being at home and being able to move around how I wanted (walking and remaining upright), while drinking some raspberry tea and sitting on my exercise ball. The next thing I knew I was in full labour and called the midwife. She came and immediately started setting up. She checked me and quickly called for the second midwife. By the time the second midwife showed up, I was ready to push.

I got into my birth pool and after about 2 minutes of being in the pool, baby started to come. It was about 3 pushes, the midwife turned me, and out he came like nothing! I was 120 pounds and delivered a 9 pound baby naturally. I also wanted to have an unmanaged third stage (after researching the pros and cons) so I didn’t receive any oxytocin after he was born. My placenta took about 45 minutes to come after, with minimal bleeding. He remained attached until the placenta came, and then his big sisters came in and cut the cord. It was a wonderful, life changing experience!
— Nikita

Like lots of other homebirthing mamas, I began researching the option after a traumatic hospital birth experience with my first. The experiences that mamas have in the hospital are often a driving force for them to want different, to want BETTER with other pregnancies.
I had a smooth, healthy pregnancy and trusted(trust!) my midwife completely. I trusted my body, trusted my baby. Labor for me began the night before when I took a shower and talked to my baby. I told baby that I wasn’t afraid, that I was ready and he/she could come when they were ready. I went to bed at 40w3d pregnant! My labor started slowly at 3:50 am, and my baby was born at 3:55 pm on 3.30.14 in a pool in our playroom. It was hard work, I am not shy about telling women that. It’s birth. But it was beautiful and perfect, and there is no feeling like crawling into bed with my new baby and my oldest baby and taking a post birth nap. ;) I’m done having children, but if by some miracle I got pregnant again I wouldn’t hesitate a second to have another homebirth!

I feel like my experience could be a way to show women that, if you have the right support and are continually encouraged through your pregnancies that you are POWERFUL, and in control of your situation, you can have an amazing, life changing experience. You don’t need to be afraid. You are beautifully and perfectly made and you are strong.
— Sarah

Azalea's story 

This is a brief story of my daughter's home birth. Besides my son being born, this was the most tender moment of my life. I've never experienced such strong loving emotions of admiration, gratitude, love and peace. 

I had a home water birth and used hypnobirthing techniques which helped me to have a peaceful birth.

The water felt absolutely amazing and I was able to get through each contraction so easily. I  surrendered  myself to each surge, never tensing up my body because I knew that would only make it worse, I relaxed my muscles and just let go and let the surge take over my body. I went deep within myself, totally calm and relaxed, just like I'd practice with my hypnobirthing

Everything was instinctual and on my own. My midwife helped guide her head out because my daughter  had a hand by her face and she didn't want it to flail out and make me tear, but I pulled her out the rest of the way and brought her to my chest.  She was born at 5:58am on May 24, 2014. It was amazing. I was overjoyed with emotion as I brought her to my chest. I couldn't believe that it was over, that I did it. I kissed my baby over and over. 

My husband and I were on such a birth high just looking at our baby in awe, then after a few minutes he pointed out that we didn't check the gender. I looked down and cried "it's a girl!"  

Our society always makes birth out to be this painful traumatic event, but it's really far from that. If you give the mother complete control, birth is a wonderful, joyful experience. I was filled with so much love endorphins and felt so happy,  I was on this insane high vibration of triumph and love. My midwifes were great, they were aware and checked the babies heart rate throughout the labor, but other than that they left me to do what I needed to do. It was so much more peaceful than a hospital as my team  did not feel the need to speed up or micromanage my labor and birth. I felt free to take my time, and move and labor  how I felt was best. I had all control of my labor and birth, and it was amazing.