My Second Birth Story (Home Birth!)

Everything they say about the first vs. second pregnancy is true. My first one I knew what week it was, the size of the baby, upcoming tests, etc. For this one, I was so out of it I got the due date wrong by 1.5 weeks lol. It's not that I didn't care - don't get me wrong - I was super excited to have this baby! But we were busy with my daughter, and I was really trying to get Fatskn going before having the new baby. So maybe I was a bit in denial with how soon he was coming? I don't know. I'm an avoider and a procrastinator so do with that what you will. 

Anyways. I was back with the same midwives at Birth Partnerships. It's wonderful: if you've already had a baby with them, they leave spots to be able to accommodate second-time mothers with the same midwife team. I skipped the Centering classes this year (they were virtual and I'd had enough Microsoft Teams at my O&G job) and Birth Partnerships has an awesome online portal with all the extra resources and info you need. 

We had toyed with the idea of a home birth our first pregnancy but were nervous first timers and decided on the hospital "just to be safe". 

Well. If there's one thing I've learned in the past year it's that the hospital isn't necessarily a "safe place" if you're a healthy person. 

So around the third trimester and 9 months of constantly changing COVID rules and regulations, we decided to play it safe (ironic?) and have a home birth. My logic: the more that I could control the circumstances of my birth and not have to worry about whether this week my husband would be allowed to be in the room for my labour, the lower my stress would be. 

My first daughter turned two on December 15th. I had two concerns I needed to deal with with her: moving her into a bed and potty training. We decided to split it up (bed, then new baby, then potty train). Her transition to a Montessori floor bed went so smoothly. She never even stayed up to party and enjoy her newfound freedom lol. 

Around Christmas I ordered everything needed for a homebirth online: plastic shower curtain for the bed, went for the bulk pack of puppy pee pads, made my lovely witch hazel padsicles, stocked up on red raspberry tea. I was certain my due date at this point was January 14th. Still lots of time to make a bunch of freezer meals and time for my husband to get closer to finishing the renos.....at least in the bathroom. I also planned to get my e-newsletter started, write a bunch of blog posts, schedule a bunch of social media content, and do my corporate taxes. But I was leaving that literally til the last week. I am what I am.

Saturday, January 3rd: Went to bed with some Braxton Hicks. Nothing to see here, I'd been having them randomly for the last month. Around 11:45, I was drifting off to sleep finally when it felt like I got kicked in the vagina and I felt a trickle of something. Alarm bells went off in my head, accompanied by "no, it's too soon, I'm not ready. It's impossible." Well, the fluid was a continuous trickle and pinkish so I gathered that my water had broken (it hadn't the first time around). The Braxton Hicks were stronger and for a while I just sat comfortably on the toilet while I frantically scoured the midwife website for what to do. 

There's something called the bath test - if you get in the bath and relax and the contractions lessen, then go back to bed and get as much rest as you can. I still favored the toilet at this point and the few times I tried to move into the bath I wasn't enjoying it. The contractions weren't subsiding. 

I got in the shower. When I finally came to grips with the fact that I was going to have a baby soon, I went and woke my husband up. It was 12:30. He got the shower curtain under the sheets and tidied up the house to make room for the midwives (did I mention we are renovating?). He started timing my contractions. I was very comfortable swaying back and forth in the shower. When I needed the step stool to lean on, he called the midwives. It was 1:30am on Sunday. 

By the time Helen and Elise got there 20 minutes later, my body was telling me to push. The pressure just changes and you can feel it. It's pretty cool. I got on the bed, on my back, and started pushing. I felt more confident this time because of the time I'd spent with Hilary, my pelvic floor physio, working on the angle of the push (aiming for where the wall meets the ceiling). 

It seemed like it hurt more this time. I worried that that was because it happened so fast and I wasn't fully stretched and I kept thinking I was just going to rip V to A. I touched his head when it started to poke out and that helped me keep going. He got a bit stuck with his shoulder under my pelvic bone (or something) so - mid-contraction - they told me flip from my back onto all fours (with a baby head and shoulder half out). I said no lol but we got me flipped and he just slipped right out. It was 2:30am. 

My daughter had been 6.15lbs. He was 9.4lbs. Almost 22 inches. Hairy. Good news was I hadn't ripped V to A: in fact, it wasn't even a second degree tear and the only reason they put a stitch in was because I have a toddler and couldn't be expected to lie in bed for three days. We ended up doing the Vitamin K shot because his head was bruised, but no eye ointment. 

The midwives cleaned me up and my husband helped with the rest. They left about an hour later and my daughter was still fast asleep in the other room. (I still can't believe she slept through it all. I was NOT quiet!)

I'll finish this post here, with the birth. I highly recommend a home birth if you are deemed low-risk and it's something you're considering. Don't worry about a crazy mess: get your supplies and there's nothing to worry about. I've got another post coming about how rough Day 1 with the new baby was and some more thoughts on avoiding the hospitals if possible.....thanks for reading! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or feedback. I glossed over a few things because it's maybe more detail than most people need, but more than happy to discuss privately. 

 

- Caitlin


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