It took me some time to write about my homebirth experience. It has absolutely helped in closing the last part of the emotional wound I had left from my first (traumatic) birth experience. I am very grateful to the universe and absolutely proud of myself for succeeding in what I believe is the most transcendental and empowering experience a woman can have.
I will start where I left off in my last post. I had been having lots of contractions for many weeks, but very irregular ones. On the last night of July, I brought my first daughter to bed at about 10 p.m., and in bed, I started having pretty regular contractions. When I came out of the bedroom, I told my husband and asked him if he could time them. We nervously sat on the sofa looking at the birthing pool, and after about an hour we could conclude that the contractions were only 3 minutes apart. We let the midwives know and told them they didn’t have to come yet. I was feeling calm and it wasn’t intense yet. I had to poop every 20 minutes, which I knew was one of the signs of labor. My body wanted to make space.
Andy and I were just sitting around talking, sleeping when we could, and dancing through contractions. At around 2 AM they started getting a bit more intense. We decided to start filling the birth pool and around 3 AM Andy asked the midwives and the doula to come over. I was sort of still in disbelief that I was actually laboring. The midwives set up their equipment and then sat quietly on the terrace. My husband and doula Alba stayed with me during these hours, massaging me, pressing special acupressure points and I just remember falling asleep in between contractions. At this point, I did vomit during some more intense waves. I predicted this, so we had already prepared some buckets haha. Around 4 AM I got into the birth pool. The water was probably a bit too hot and it lowered my blood pressure. The contractions slowed down and I fell asleep in there. I woke up from one intense wave and tried to get into a comfortable position, but basically just hated it in there. Who would have thought? Me, loving the water so much, I felt utterly uncomfortable. As soon as I came out contractions got going again, and I just breathed through them. I really needed to stand while going through one, so I would hang on to Andy and just dance a bit. This helped so much. The hypnobirthing breathing came very naturally and definitely made a difference.
Around 7 my daughter woke up, a bit surprised for us being in the living room. We explained what was happening and she understood it completely. She was very calm and gave me my space. She found it hilarious to find the midwives sleeping on the terrace. It was as if my subconscious was waiting for Mia to wake up. During the whole pregnancy, I said I wanted her to be present for the birth of her little sister. At this point, contractions got very intense. The midwives continuously checked the baby’s heartbeat, and at that point, they stayed with us. My husband made Mia some breakfast and they played together while I was laboring. One of the midwives suggested I go pee, and that is when I just stayed on the toilet. It was for me definitely the most comfortable position. After some time, they noticed I wasn’t coming out. The feeling of being in this little room was just too comforting. I explain this in my doula sessions, the mammal instinct wanting to be in a small and safe space and now I was actually living it. The toilet is a place where we go daily to relax and let go.
The contractions got very intense. My doula held my hands and with one big contraction, my water broke like a balloon. Everyone heard the water splash and Alba was completely soaked. She had to get a shower, and we all laughed hysterically. It was definitely a moment we will never forget. The midwives started bringing warm water compresses for my perineum, this felt great. After a while the midwife Rocío asked if she could check my cervix, and I was 7cm dilated. But my cervix was a bit inflamed. They first suggested I get off the toilet and move to a different position. I hated every other position so I just ended up going back to my cave.
By the way, I was still vomiting with the big contractions, drinking coconut water, and falling asleep in between. I felt completely stoned. This must have been the oxytocin and endorphin high. I didn’t see my ancestors or anything similar. My birth planet was peaceful but also filled with insecurity. I was still in disbelief. Worried everyone came for nothing. As if I was not in labor.
At this point, the midwife Estela suggested putting ice-cold compresses on my perineum to reduce the inflammation of the cervix, and it worked immediately. I was completely dilated and Leah was very low. I told Rocío I couldn’t do it, and she assured me I was already doing it and that I was a goddess. During the transition to the active pushing stage, this is very common. I actually knew this, so I just kept consciously breathing and moaning. The sensation completely changed, and my body was pleading with me to push. The midwives took a mirror and told me; “Look at the hair on her head”. Andy and Mia came to look as well. I was flabbergasted. She was there, and I was pushing her out. They reminded me to only push during the contractions, and they were both there protecting my perineum. I really needed to push; it was an inevitable sensation. Seeing a glimpse of her head was the motivation I needed. I felt like I could do it, but was afraid her head would go back and forth, as this happens in many labors. I actually really liked this part; the sensation of pushing was amazing. I needed to release her. I don’t know how much time went by; I was still falling asleep in between waves. But it didn’t feel long. Rocío told me; “Honey, we need you to stand now” and called Andy and Mia to watch. I gladly agreed and pushed the head out. I was completely in shock and Leah was completely awake. From there, I didn’t do much anymore from this point. She turned her head, and I actually felt her pushing her legs inside me. This proved to me that it is definitely a mom-and-baby teamwork. When she came out, the midwives helped me put her on my chest, I walked to the sofa and just laid down with her. I was so happy; I had done it. I had birthed my baby, with no intervention at all. I had no tears, my family was present, and I was in the comfort of my own home and surrounded by the birthing team I chose.
Leah latched quickly, and so did Mia. This got the oxytocin flowing and my contractions started again. I knew I was about to birth the placenta, so I took Leah and went back to the toilet. Not before they quickly put a bucket in there to catch it. I just sat with my legs up and the placenta flew out. It was important to keep the settings the same. Birth ends when the placenta is born, and not before. No photos, no calls, not even a message. Just calmness. We were still covered in blood but stayed quietly on the sofa for some hours.
The midwives checked my vagina while Andy started cooking lunch. I only had some small lacerations. After some hours they cut the umbilical cord and took some stripes of placenta membranes. They put this on the lacerations as natural Band-Aids. I will explain this in more detail in my postpartum blog post.
Leah was fine, I was fine, we all felt great. It went exactly as I dreamed. And subconsciously I knew I needed a small space to do it. I could not be more grateful to have been surrounded with such amazing people. I want to thank the midwives and doula, you all made it possible for me to have the birth of my dreams. You don’t know what that means to me. You were my guardian angels, and you will be forever in my heart.
And to my husband, my unconditional support. You never questioned any of my decisions or wishes. You listened and understood everything I needed to birth our baby. I am so happy you are my life partner and couldn’t imagine having done this without you. You are my everything and the best papa for Mia and Leah.
Last but not least, I want to thank myself. To have been brave enough to trust my instincts this time around and not compromise when making decisions. To have been strong enough to face my trauma and do everything possible to heal it through this experience. I have never been stronger, and I couldn’t be prouder of myself. Every woman deserves to live their birthing experience positively, and no one should take it away from us. For all the women who feel they were robbed of their labor and birth, this is for you. Know that you too are powerful, you are made to birth and you are the best mother to your babies. I didn’t only do this for myself. I did it for every mother I have ever encountered who also felt like she was robbed of her labor and birth. You were all with me the whole time.
My healing started by reading and hearing about positive birth experiences. I hope reading this will do the same for you.