I had a baby. At home. On purpose.
Let me start this post out by saying that I believe all births are meaningful. Whatever way you bring your baby into this world is a beautiful triumph. You have to do what is right for you.
What was right for me, was a planned home birth with a Certified Professional Midwife. I knew it was the right choice because I have tried giving birth in a hospital. Twice. Each time, doctors tried to push me towards unnecessary interventions. Unnecessary because my babies were always healthy and so was I. Each time, doctors in triage believed they knew more about my labor than I did. Each time, they were wrong and I was right. I wanted to give birth in a setting where I was listened to and valued.
So at 34 weeks pregnant, pretty late in the game, I decided to have a home birth. At first, Ryan thought I was crazy. I even thought I was a little crazy but I knew I didn’t want another hospital birth. I found my Midwife, Helen Stockton, through a Detroit mommy group I follow. We talked on the phone, met in person, spoke with other home birth families, watched some documentaries and became more confident in our decision.
Eleven days past his due date, baby Sullivan decided to make his entrance into the world. The evening before, I labored throughout the night. It had been this way for at least five nights in a row. When I woke up, just like every morning before, labor just stopped. I cried… a lot. I just wanted him to come so I could start the process of healing and resting my very tired body. Then around 11 am, my midwife came. She checked me to see how far along I was. Not very. I cried… again.
It was close to noon and I waddled my way upstairs to try and rest. I wasn’t even to the second floor when a contraction stopped me in my tracks. When I finally made it up the stairs, I labored down in my bathroom and then moved to laying on my side in my bed. Ryan held my hands, whispered words of encouragement and told me he loved me.
I kept telling myself, I can handle five more contractions. I would breath deeply and count each one as they came and went. 1…2…3…4…5. Then those would be over and I would start again. 1…2…3…4…5… and again… I can handle five more contractions…
Eventually, it was time to push but I could tell he was large and it kept me from giving my all. My midwife knew exactly why I was holding back and she talked me through it. I felt every piece of him fighting to come out. I felt him turn within the birth canal. I felt his arms, I felt his legs. This baby boy was HUGE!
Baby Benjamin Andrew Sullivan was born at 3:53 PM on Thursday, September 10. He was 21 inches long and a whopping 10 pounds. Helen placed him in my arms and I cried. I cried because I was exhausted, I cried from the pain and I cried with love. Oh, there was so much love.
It has been over four months since Big Ben made his arrival and I can tell you he is as sweet as they come. He is a soft spoken observer of the world. He is as happy as they come, sleeps like a champion and thinks his big brothers are just the coolest thing that ever happened. He has a ticklish neck, loves baths and has just discovered he has control of his hands. The hands thing has really blown his mind.
The advantage of a home birth:
- Most obvious advantage is that you are in your own home!!
- I was able to labor where I wanted to and in any position that was most comfortable for me.
- I did’t have to be hooked up to any monitors/stay laying down on a bed. I wasn’t checked again and again. There were not a million doctors standing around my cha-cha scribbling notes. I was left to labor naturally with a supportive team, quietly watching and monitoring from nearby. They would occasionally check baby’s heart rate and mommy’s blood pressure. They listened carefully to me and my body. It was absolutely beautiful. (this feels more like 2-3 points.)
- It felt like Ryan and I were the only two people in the room.
- When baby was born, he was placed immediately in my arms. Helen and her assistant midwife, Nyasia, checked his vitals right there.
- As soon as I was ready, baby and I got into a healing herb bath together. Wasn’t sure what to think about the term “healing herb bath” but let me just tell you, IT’S MAGIC!!
- Helen and Nyasia cleaned up everything. You would never have know there was a birth in my bedroom if it weren’t for the fresh baby in my arms.
- SLEEP!!! My midwife and her assistant left us alone all night. In the hospital they wake you constantly to check you, check baby, check, check ,check, tired, tired, tired. Helen and Nyasia were always just a phone call away and when I called at 1 am to ask a question, my midwife answered right away.
- So much attention. After the birth, I saw Helen and Nyasia at least half a dozen more times. I have called or texted them even more. I gave birth four and a half months ago, but I just spoke with Helen 3 days ago.
So there you have it. Ben’s planned home birth. If I ever have another baby, I will choose this same path again. If you are interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to ask.
With love from Detroit,