I knew I wanted to have Hudson at home from the beginning. I'd been studying home birth (and pregnancy/labor/deliver in general) since I was pregnant with Ellis. With our first, we both felt more comfortable being in a hospital, since as much as you can learn in a book, you have no idea what to really expect when the real thing happens. Ellis' birth was great, but many things happened in the hospital (and even before the hospital, with being pushed into an induction I didn't want) that I had wanted to avoid. I don't have many memories from the labor, though I know I was really out of it the whole time, and because of that, it was probably much more difficult than it should have been (I'd been given an Ambien the night before, right after they'd started my induction- and silly me, never having taken sleep meds, didn't question why I needed it). This time, from the get go I was determined to have a completely different experience. Damon took a little more convincing. 2 years of med school had trained him to look for every possible thing that can go wrong. Which is not the best way to look at pregnancy and birth. But eventually, he came around. We didn't tell many people we were having Hudson at home, because I didn't want to deal with the judgements of those around us (most of whom had never researched the whole process at all, but still seemed to have big and often false notions of it). I told some people and got looks and weird questions or accusations. I wasn't the kind of person to do that sort of thing. I wasn't a hippy. Why would I want to put my baby in danger (That one made me the most angry- anybody who is a mother would never do anything to put her child in danger, especially just to accomplish something or go against the grain)? What if something went wrong? And of course, lots of horror stories of how if so-and-so had not been born in the hospital, they would have died, etc etc etc. So I stopped mentioning it until closer to the end, to a few people here and there.
My midwife is a great woman, she took a little warming up to- she is very to-the-point and direct and not very mushy, which is really nice, it just took a while to feel completely comfortable with her, but it happened, and I am grateful to her for the care she took of our little family. She is a Midwife/Nurse Practitioner, and she also brought a nurse along to the birth.
One of our biggest tip-offs that labor was coming was Ellis. All day saturday he was so clingy and needy and wouldn't eat, we actually thought he was sick and were giving him tylenol. He wanted Damon to hold him the entire day, from walking around the farmer's market, to just laying on the couch at home. He is never never like this, and I said to Damon that I just knew that if Ellis was sick that I would have the baby, that was just my luck! I also had a real urge to get things done and buy anything else we needed- in case we did go into labor, that way we wouldn't have to go to the store on Sunday (haha, as if it would have mattered in the moment). I went to Joann's fabric and finished a couple of blankets off. I also went to lowes at 8:30 at night to buy things to use the hose to fill my inflatable pool, and cleaned up the house.
I started having contractions around 4:30 Sunday morning. I really had no idea what to expect, since I didn't go into labor on my own with Ellis, and when labor did start, I was zoned out. But I was cramping about every 5 minutes from out of nowhere, so I started timing them on my phone app (isn't technology great). From the get-go, they were lasting over a minute and were anywhere from 4 1/2 minutes to 5 1/2 minutes apart. I was surprised when they didn't go away, and they progressively got stronger and a little closer. I got up a lot to walk around, go to the bathroom, and pace (where during one contraction I leaned on the toilet paper roll holder and broke it halfway off the wall, oops!), and then at almost 5:30 Ellis woke up crying. He never wakes up this early, but like I said, we're pretty sure he knew that something weird was happening. I got up and rocked him, having contractions the whole time. Eventually I needed to just be alone, so I took him and woke up Damon, and they laid on the couch together. I told Damon that I thought today was going to be the day. I ended up calling my mom to come out earlier than planned, because I thought that Ellis might be sick and I wasn't going to be able to send him to any of our friends since they all had children. We looked around flights, and of course none of them would have gotten her to Iowa at any decent time, so she ended up driving.
I stayed in our room and blew through contractions, moving around when I could. Damon and I discussed what we should do with Ellis, and eventually just decided we had to send him somewhere, even if he was sick, because I needed Damon. Our amazing friends Kelsi and Tom ended up taking him, they planned to come get him right before church at 11. Sometime around 10 though, they asked if we were sure we didn't want them to take him early, and we jumped at the chance, cause the contractions were really strong and I was moaning my way through them but needing Damon as well. Tom came and picked up Ellis and I was so sad sending him off, him having no clue what was going on. I took a shower, hoping the contractions would be easier with the hot water, and Damon worked hard filling up the inflatable pool I'd bought, with a cooler! Our hose setup didn't quite work out. I moved all over, and hung out in the pool for a while which was really nice, though the contractions were strong and painful, I could still talk through them. I called the midwife and told her about where I was at, and she thought I sounded too talky in between contractions (though we were on the phone for one and she listened as I blew and moaned through it and thought maybe I was progressing ok). She said to call her back if I thought I needed her there soon, she was out at church. About a half hour later, Damon texted her back saying yes, we wanted her to come. I was so worried that I wasn't as far along as I'd hoped, cause Ellis' labor took a lot longer to progress and I remember feeling a lot more pain (or not handling it as well, I guess) and then being checked after hours and hours and only being at a 2.
Sheryl showed up sometime around noon and checked me and happily announced that I was at an 8. I was shocked, it hadn't really seemed all that horrible, even moaning and making Damon squeeze my hips through the contractions each time. She said she was going outside to bring in her stuff and call her nurse. When she left I told Damon that I thought maybe she'd just told me I was at an 8 so that I wasn't disappointed that I was only a 3 or so, thus slowing down labor more. She came back in and took up a knitting project while I labored on the living room floor, sometimes just laying down and other times leaning over onto the couch. After about an hour she checked again, when I'd been getting a little louder in each one, and proclaimed that I was at a 9. I was again amazed that I was progressing and actually almost at the end! I decided I wanted her to break my water, to get things going cause I didn't want to be doing it much longer. She did so and I again moved back to the shower, then back to the pool. After a while, I started getting upset that I wasn't feeling any urge to push, even though at that point I should have been at a 10. With Ellis, I felt like pushing and after a few minutes couldn't not push, my body just took over and did it on it's own. This time was completely different, I wasn't feeling anything like that. Maybe because of a different baby size or positioning... Either way I was getting frustrated and tired, and Sheryl wanted me to get out of the water to see if I could push him down any more anyways, to make sure that we would be able to stay home. If he didn't progress downwards, the whole party would have had to move to the hospital. The thought of driving in my current state was horrifying enough for me to try pushing a little, though not very well and not really progressing more. Eventually, with everyone's help and direction, I was able to work up to very very veeeerrry small pushes each contraction, until eventually after an hour (Damon says, to me it felt like maybe 20 or 30 minutes tops), it started working and Hudson moved down and out!
I was amazed when he was born, I can't believe we did it again, that we had another healthy boy (he had no issues, I think the cord was around his neck once, but that's common and he had zero decels the entire labor so it wasn't an issue at all) but he was very calm when he was born, he didn't cry much at all, he seemed as bewildered as anyone. We were so happy that we were able to do it all, together and at home.
Kelsi brought Ellis home a little later, and we were so excited to show him the baby. He was interested, glad to be home, and seemed back to his old self. He calls the baby "bob" or something sounding like that. It is amazing to know that we have 2 sons, I am overwhelmed that my Heavenly Father has given me such an opportunity to care for two of His children. I am learning, though it's been probably too easy, since my mom has been here helping so much with Ellis especially, and since Damon has been home every day except a handful of hours in the week we've had Hudson.
Ellis meeting Hudson for the first time
I couldn't have done any of it without Damon by my side. I know he had a much better experience this time also, considering I wasn't a blubbering incoherent mess like with Ellis and could actually get through things more on my own but also could articulate to him what I needed. He was loving and caring and hardworking (lifting those coolers of hot water back and forth to the tub all day!) and I couldn't have done it if he weren't the one with me.
We get a lot of reactions and questions about home birth and why we chose it. The most common ones are:
Wow! You are amazing and so brave/strong/hippy!
I honestly don't think having our baby at home was terribly brave- we had a very experienced and educated midwife, we were well educated on the whole process ourselves, and there was a hospital minutes from home. Sheryl is not a person to ever put a mother or baby in jeopardy (as is any midwife) just to save face, and she would have sent us straight to the nearest ER or OR if the need had risen). Honestly, I felt more at risk birthing in a hospital, with the disease present there, the rates of intervention and the snowballing effects of those interventions. Unless I am seriously sick or dying, I never want to be in a hospital again. I knew what to expect pain wise, because I remember being in a lot of pain with Ellis, so that helped me to realize what was happening and that it would eventually end. I think it's funny that people think home birth and see visions of women laboring in the dark with candles burning and dirt floors and some witch doctor tending her or something... I guess I don't find it super hippy or crunchy to do it at home, maybe cause I don't feel like a hippy or a pioneer myself. After Hudson was born we plopped on the couch with a can of Mr. Pibb and watched the newest episode of the Kardashians. Some other home birthers?? Pam Anderson, Demi Moore, Cindy Crawford, Gisele Bundchen, and even my BYU room mate Chelsey, who's a nurse herself! Pretty good company, none of them do rain dances (that I know of!) or wear home made dresses and no makeup...
Was it messy!?? I think this is what we are asked the most. People want to know if we got blood and guts all over our carpet and bed and had to have a crime-scene cleanup crew come in. Actually, it wasn't at all. We used about a pack and a half of those square hospital chucks and there wasn't a drop of blood left on anything we owned. Even better, Sheryl picked up after it all and the house was actually pretty clean when all was over.
Will you do it again? Yes, I would. It was very easy and calm and I progressed so fast and easily on my own, being able to move around from floor to shower to pool to pacing.... It was honestly great. I am not opposed to a hospital birth if I ever need it. And an epidural sure sounded kinda nice while I was in the middle of pushing. But really, I loved being at home. If we were near a really birth-friendly hospital one day and I could labor there naturally without being so bothered, I would do it- mostly cause I missed the snack room with the fountain machine in it.
*i have enabled the 'no right-click' setting on the blog, to try to protect my pictures (and my babies) a little bit here on the internet. i've had many friends who've had pictures stolen and used elsewhere, and that's not cool, you know? sorry it's super annoying to not be able to right-click links, i'll try to think of a better way of doing things! for now, i'd rather people have to ask for a file than just keep them on the internet for anyone to misuse. i have no problem sending images to anyone interested though!*