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MY HOME BIRTH

My Homebirth As A Plant Based Medical Medium Lifestyle Mom, Compared To My First Labour In The Hospital.


When I was pregnant with my first son, 13 years ago, I had no idea about homebirths and the only option I knew was a hospital. But now homebirths becoming more and more popular, espescially after lockdowns. When I heard about homebirths years ago, I liked this idea instantly, as it felt more natural to me than a hospital birth. On the January 5th 2024 we had our baby Eric at home and I'm gonna share this expirience with you in this blog post.




Why I Decided To Have A Homebirth


My first labour, that took place in the hospital, wasn't bad at all, I had a very supportive midwife and my mom with me. And it was the best day of my life when I met my first son Tymofii, who I love so much. He is 12 years old now (soon will be 13) and he is a very handsome and clever boy. He taught me to be a mom that I'm today.


My first son was born in Ukraine. I haven't had any interventions or complications, it was a normal birth. The first stage of labour was 10 hours and the second stage was 1,5 hours, it was a normal duration for the first time mom.


But there were a few things that I knew I would like to do differently if I'll ever have another baby. One of them was that I wasn't eating or drinking during labour. I don't think it was prohibited in that hospital, I just never thought that it can be helpful! So maybe some light source of glucose could have helped to up my energy levels - as I did felt exhausted.


Another thing that I wish I've done differently is not pushing on my back. Even back then my intuition (and logic) told me that the upright position would be better, but it wasn't supported by the medical staff, so I ended up pushing on my back. I also was coached on how and when to push, which is not something that can be effective in the normal labour process. So this I also wanted to avoid next time.


I also wanted to try to avoid tearing and try to delay pushing. It's not the tearing itself that hurts, but the healing process can be very unpleasant and inconvinient, espescially if you had stitches. I also had a general anestesia for stitches as I was completely wiped out after giving birth and didn't wanted to expirience any more pain. And this was also something I wanted to avoid the next time.


In the United Kingdom, were I live now, all of this can be easily achieved in the hospital, so it wasn't necessary to have a homebirth for that. The reason I wanted to have a home birth was that I wanted it to be calm and gentle for my baby, no intervention (the rate of interventions is much lower for homebirth), no medical staff coming in and out of the room. I also believe that birth is not a medical event for a healthy pregnancy. There are other advantages of home birth too, like safety, the risk of infections is very low (it is much higher in the hospital). And also convinience, if you are choosing a homebirth you don't need to rush to the hospital, and you don't need to travel back home after you give birth, you just can relax in the comfort of your own bed. And everything you need is on hand! So if you have a healthy pregnancy home birth can be a great option for you.




How Was I Preparing For The Homebirth


Books


If you read blog post about my pregnancy, you already know that I like to be prepared! If you haven't read it go and read it now, because there I'm also writing about all things that I've done in my preparation for the home birth.


I read some good books about pregnancy, midwifery and home birth. This helped me to refresh my memory about birth (my first labour was 12 years ago at that point!), and this also added new knowledge about pregnancy and birth. In this books I read in depth about the physiology of the birth process, different tactics and possible complications that can happen during labour and how to deal with them, this was something I based my birth plan on (but I haven't had a chance to print it and handle it to my midwife before labour has started 😅). My goal was to educate myself to that point where I don't need anyone's help at the labour, so I don't rely on anyone and can make my own decisions. But of course I planned to have midwifes with me for safety concerns and their expirience. Skilled midwife will see any signs that you need to be transferred to the hospital in advance.



Books that I read in preparation for the pregnancy and birth.



Hypnobirthing classes


This time I decided to try a hypnobirthing and found an amazing teacher Laura from Rise & Glow Births. If you live in South East London I would highly recommend Laura's classes and she has online workshops too! Hypnobirthing is teaching you about physiology of the birthing process and the best tactics on how you can support it.


We went to hypnobirthing classes when I was 31-32 weeks pregnant, but I started listening to the hypnobirthing tracks long before, as I already read a book about hypnobirthing and I just love listening to meditations. Even after reading a book, I still had some questions about this method, and I had them all answered in our hypnobirthing class with Laura. I really enjoyed taking this class in person and connecting with other expecting parents. It also helped my husband to feel more relaxed about the idea of the homebirth and in general less scared of the labour. Laura's classes also helped him to be an excellent birthing partner, he did great!



Food and supplements for birth


For the active stage of labour we had melons, watermelons, papaya and coconut water as sources of good quality glucose (for energy) and hydration. But before that, when contractions only started, I was eating my normal food, like steamed potatoes, avocado and salads.


This is me having my celery juice on the day the labour started. I had no idea yet! So grateful I was eating Medical Medium way my whole pregnancy. It made the whole pregnancy and labour healthier and gave me a healthy baby.



I prepared 3 supplements for after birth: B12, Magnesium Glycinate and Lemon Balm. Higher dose of liquid B12 immediately after birth helped me to protect my adrenals and not to feel crashed after giving birth and recover faster. Magnesium Glycinate and Lemon Balm both can help with painful contractions afterbirth (they are very string if it's not your first child).



Chiropractic adjustments


2 months before my due date I started visiting a Webster technique chiropractor, the one that specialises in working with pregnant women. I wanted to make sure that pelvic bones alighned perfectly and that there is no ligaments twisting, so baby will be able to come out without any issues. It's a good thing I went as I did had pelvic bones misalighnment, and it was corrected in a few sessions. This also relieved pelvic girdle pain and clicking during pregnancy.


 

Eric's Birth



Two days before labour started I noticed that I was having some random irregular but quite noticable contractions, that made me stop and wait for them to be over before I can walk again. It was only a few contractions a day, mostly when I walked our dog and I didn't payed much attention to it, as I thought I still had a week or two before our baby arrives. Mostly because I haven't finished all the preparations for the baby and we had plenty of unpacked boxes around the house, as we just moved into the new home, so I was hoping I still have some time!


Tip: Don't plan your pregnancy and moving home at the same time! 😂 No it's not easy, and no you won't be able to do packing and unpacking with a big belly!


Then two days later at 14:20, after I walked our dog, my waters started leaking. So I called my husband and told him that the most likely we are going to meet our baby soon! After that I started having some light irregular contractions.


20 minutes later my midwife called me to confirm my ultrasound appointment and I updated her on the sitiuation. After that the perception of time changed for me completely, it went by very fast.


After I did last preparations for the labour and had dinner, I went to the bedroom to listen to my hypnobirthing tracks and to relax to allow the flow of oxytocin - the birth hormone. At that point contractions still were irregular, roughly 5 minutes apart and mild, so we decided to have some sleep as it was late already.


After 12 hours since waters started leaking, at 2:46 am contractions became more intense, but still irregular, it wasn't active labour yet, but I knew I was going to give birth that day, so I decided to call my midwifes.


They arrived at 3:53, checked my blood pressure, oxygen, mine and baby's heartbeat and confirmed that everything is good and that we can stay at home. We waited a little bit more and then we decided to set up the birthing pool, because at this point contractions became even more intense, yet still irregular. Technically I wasn't in the active labour yet, although it felt like it! But anyway I decided to get in the pool now, because contractions was very strong.


I though I knew what to expect, because I already gave birth once, well I was wrong. You might heard it too: that all subsequent births are faster, then the first one. I didn't expect mine to be fast, as it's been 12 years since my first labour, so I never give it much thought.


But, as we learned in our hypnobirthing class, in order to give birth, some amount of work should be done by the uterus. If it spread in 10 hours, like my first labour was, than the each contraction is less intense, but if it's taking only a couple of hours than it's probably means that you need to squeeze all that contraction power in these few hours and it must be more intense. Right? This is just my thought anyway:)


So I was caught by a surprise with the intensity of contractions that I had, and I felt a bit confused. It wasn't the active labour yet, it wasn't the back labour too, but it was so intense. For a few hours I forgot everything that I learned about birth and all hypnobirthing techniques, that I was planning to use. I was just trying to survive that intense contractions that I had, but it wasn't very successfull.


After I spent some time in a pool, mine and baby's heart rates went a little bit up, but below concerning levels. Even it wasn't too high my midwifes were very cautious and suggested for us going to the hospital. This was based on the fact that we haven't had any ultrasounds during the whole pregnancy, we had one planned in three days, but baby decided to be born earlier. Because of the lack of information about baby's health and the position of placenta they suggested it's better to go to the hospital just in case there is an infection or anything else.


I did not liked the idea, but completely understood their concern! I was calm, as I was prepared for things go wrong, and after thinking for a few minutes, I suggested that I get out of the pool, as it felt a bit too hot to me (although the temperature was fine), I knew this could cause a higher heart rate. Also I decided to stop sipping watermelon juice and have more water, because it can be very detoxifying. The detox process can rise the heart rate too and you certainly don't need to be detoxing while in labour. After we made these changes our heart rates calmed down within 15 minutes and we stayed at home and continued labour in the bedroom. We spent some time in there and then I decided to give another try to a pool, by that time water cooled down a little bit, so it was more comfortable.


While we were in the bedroom I remembered about the letter that Laura, our hypnobirthing teacher, gave us to open on the baby's birthing day. The letter was so sweet and reminded me that I'm able to work with my body to go through this intense expirience. When I was back to the pool I started trying different positions for contractions and found what felt good and allowed baby to move downward easier. When I changed the position I felt better during contractions.


Another tip and gift from our hypnobirthing class was a little wooden comb. You can hold it in your palm and it would press the acupressure points that should help with the intense sensations during contractions. I don't know if it was helping or not, but I held that comb like crazy 😆 I don't know if it was acupressure or I just wanted to hold something in my hand, like a lucky charm, but I didn't wanted to let it out of my hand, and held it all the way until Eric was born. My midwife joked that I should frame the comb 😆


The active stage of labour started at 7:49 am on 5th of January. Now contraction became regular and even stronger. Some time later midwifes were changing their shift and two other midwifes took their place. All four midwifes were so kind and helpful, I'm happy we had them with us. At this point I already was in my own zone and wasn't paying much attention to other people. And this is funny, because when I was planning the birth of my baby, I thought other people in the room will distract the flow of the birthing process, but it was unstoppable. Lol 😂 I wish it stopped for a few minutes to take a break to be honest!


Because I had one baby before, I was expecting this labour to be somewhat similiar, I was expecting to feel the same kind of sensations and to see the same kind of scenarios. Non of this has happened. It was completely different, contractions felt different, scenario was different. And because of that I wasn't quite sure that everything is progressing. And I don't remember anyone telling me that I was in the active stage of labour already, they might did. I had no idea what time was it and where in the labour process I'm. Because in between contractions I felt absolutely fine and as my usual self, and during my first labour it wasn't like it, the whole labour process was like in a haze. So even though contractions were so strong I wasn't sure I was really in labour as it wasn't like my first labour, and I wasn't timing anything myself. But of course it wasn't, I was different, pregnancy was different.


At some point I felt exhausted and started doubting myself and my choices, I needed some reassurance that everything is progressing, that I'm actually in labour. I decided to ask midwifes to check how dilated I was, I knew that there was a risk of infection and that examination can disrupt the labour process, but I felt it would not.


And this is something I was completely open too: to change my plan and preferences on the actual birthing day, depending on how everything will unfold.


It was 9:58 and I was at 7 cm. Even though it was a lot, I was still discouraged as I thought it will take a lot longer until I reach a full dilation. I was wrong, it didn't 🙃 Next contractions were even stronger and at some point I decided to try gas and air, but I didn't believed it can make something, and it didn't, I just tried it once and maybe more out of curiosity. Maybe it's helpful, but it certainly wasn't for me.


At some point my midwifes suggested to listen to my body, and I did. It wanted to scream, and I thought what the heck 😂 I will try it! I knew that making some certain noises can help with cervix dilation, as your throat and your cervix connected. Well it did helped, a lot! I would say I felt 70% better! Should have done it sooner! It also helped to let our neighbours know that we are in labour. The next day we recieved a greetings card from our lovely neighbour upstairs 😅😆


I wanted this baby out faster, I felt I was exhausted. It was probably because the last 3-4 weeks before my labour started we were moving home and we had to do so many things, packing, unpacking, cleaning, moving. I was so busy, I wasn't eating enough and I wasn't sleeping enough. Now looking back, I regret I didn't took better care of myself.


1 hour and 9 minutes later, at 10:49 I reached full dilation and I was in the second stage of labour. It only lasted 6 minutes, Eric was born at 10:55. He slid out so fast, head and the whole body in one push, right into the water. We were so happy to finally see our baby! He was so perfect, I nstantly felt inlove with him. I remember I was impressed by how perfectly his head was shaped 😆, it was so round and cute ☺️ Eric was born healthy, this was the most important!


I was happy with how everything went and I never had even a thought that I needed to go to the hospital, I knew I had a healthy pregnancy and that I can do it at home. I trusted my body. Of course I think I could have prepared better, but in the end birth is not something that you can do perfectly, or something that will always go according to the plan. Birth is unpredictable and no matter how it went, was it vaginal birth or a C-section, used you an epidural or hypnobirthing, were you at home or in the hospital, the most important is that it was how you wanted it to be and that in the end you have your baby in your arms!


Please share your thoughts or ask me any questions in the comments below! I hope that my story was helpful and if you want you can share yours in the comments too! 😊




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