Homebirths are traditionally attended by two midwives, but I also hired a doula (birth coach). Most midwives only take a few clients per month which enables them to really get to know their clients. Each appointment was centered around getting to know me, and my other two children (I had to bring them to most appointments), answering any questions I had and asking how I was feeling. I was grateful I could bring my other two children because many other OB/GYN practices were not allowing women to bring anyone else to their appointments during COVID. Each appointment lasted about an hour.
How To Prepare For A Homebirth
The first trimester was rather difficult. I had two other children to run after but felt horribly sick throughout most of the day. During my previous two pregnancies, the nausea subsided once I ate. I had to eat at least every 4 hours. Unfortunately, that did not help during this pregnancy. The couch was my best friend for most of the day. I was grateful when the nausea ended during the second trimester. I prepared for my second and third births in similar ways. I began every morning (when I felt good) with quiet time and prenatal yoga, I sat on a birth ball (medicine ball) drank red raspberry leaf tea, walked on nice days, read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin, and The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland, listened to birth stories, watched birth videos, and visualized my birth. I also had several visits with a chiropractor who specializes in pregnant women. I believe these steps were instrumental in helping me to have a smooth birth.
Four days before my “due date” we had a major snowstorm. I was grateful my mom arrived the previous day as she wanted to be there for this birth. She also was there for my two previous births, which was very special! Both my husband and my mom were incredibly helpful throughout my labor. Around 11 a.m. I was beginning to feel contractions. They were irregular, so I continued to spend time with my family, preparing for lunch. I spoke with my dad and his wife for a bit on the phone. By 2 p.m. my contractions were coming frequently. I went into the bathtub upstairs and the warm water relaxed me. I began timing the contractions and noticed they were coming every 8 minutes. I called my midwife and doula to let them know what was going on. My doula said she thought one of her clients would call that day since the atmospheric pressure tends to cause women to go into labor.
The Day of Delivery
My midwife arrived around 4:30 p.m. She checked me and I was almost fully dilated. We filled up the birth pool. I really enjoyed laboring in the water during the birth of my second child and wanted to use it again this time. There was a period where I felt like I could not do it, but I knew that meant I was close to giving birth. Typically, women feel this way during transition. This time I knew exactly how to push. My daughter was born at 5:17 p.m. in the birth pool. My doula walked in about 5 minutes after she was born. What an experience! This emotion is much stronger and instant in an unmedicated birth. I held her right away. The joy of homebirth is that there is no rush to clean you and your baby. After some time, my doula and midwife helped me out of the pool and then with the help of some herbs and rubbing my abdomen, I delivered the placenta.
If you are interested in privately storing cord blood for your baby or family’s personal use, this is absolutely possible at your home birth. You will need to choose a private blood bank during your third trimester and contact them at about 4 weeks before your due date to receive your cord blood collection kit. Most Midwives are experienced in the collection process and and can assist you.
A New Perspective
I have heard other women say that after their birth they were exhausted, but felt like they could run a marathon. My midwife and doula stayed to make sure that I could go to the bathroom. They cleaned up the birth pool, the towels, sheets and started a load of laundry. The next morning, we woke up and enjoyed our new family of five. My older children fell in love with their sister right away. I have learned so much about my births and enjoy sharing my story with anyone who will listen. I especially love talking with pregnant women in hopes of sharing a positive perspective of childbirth in contrast to the scary, negative stories we are so used to hearing. And it’s perfectly possible to bank your baby’s Cord Blood and Tissue with a Homebirth. Contact us to receive a free info packet and to speak with a specialist.
- Yasminah Respes lives with her family in Central Pennsylvania. She enjoys spending time with her family, she tutors children in Hebrew and Jewish studies, writes a blog: flowerofhope.org, is the founder of Lamed Learning Center, where she teaches about Judaism, education, and leadership. Yasminah and her husband are hosts of the Jewish Education Experience Podcast.