The Birth of Zachary Ryan, August 2012
I have had three hospital births. My children are currently 21, 18 and 7 years old. Two of my births were induced with Pitocin and one was induced by the Strep B infection that I unknowingly had. I have never labored at home or had my water break on its own, much less been allowed to move around, get into a tub of water or had my laboring area remain quiet and dimly lit. My home birth with a Quincy and Karen was an incredible experience that is so different from the hospital births that I’ve experienced before.
My alarm went off at 7:00 in the morning. While still lying there, I had my first contraction at 7:10. After having had many, many Braxton Hicks contractions every day for some time, I remember distinctly feeling that this one didn’t feel like it was false. I noted the time and went about my morning. The plan was to get my daughter ready for school, drop her off and head to my planned appointment with Quincy. My contractions were pretty irregular. As I entered my appointment, I told Quincy that I might be in early labor. I told her what was going on, she checked me out and told me to keep in touch. Of course, I didn’t have much activity while I was in her office. I tried to take it easy that morning, even though I was still somewhat in denial about what might be going on. I kept in contact with Quincy, who told me that I could do some pelvic rocking on my knees to get labor to become more regular. I decided not to do that until Matt got home. I finally called Matt at about noon. He answered the phone with, “Are you having contractions?” I said, “I think so.” He followed with, “Are you kidding?” “No,” I responded. He left work, stopping by the store for some “labor supplies” and then got home. He set up the contraction counting app on his phone for me and I timed them as he scurried around, setting our bedroom up to accommodate the birthing pool and getting our supplies ready. I got on the couch on my knees and did some rocking. My contractions were coming at about 4 minutes apart and were hovering at about a minute each. I remained standing and leaning over as this was the most comfortable position. I got into the shower for a few minutes which felt great on my abdomen and lower back. I could have stayed in there comfortably for a long time, but I didn’t want to use up too much hot water (needed it for the pool). As Quincy arrived, I felt the first contraction that was really rough. I remember leaning on Matt as she walked in. Very soon after she arrived, the pool was ready and I climbed in. I remained there during the rest of my labor. Quincy and Karen (her assistant) utilized pressure techniques against my lower back and hips as my back labor was really strong. Matt held onto my hands from the other side of the pool. I tried to get comfortable different ways, but labor was much more tolerable while on my hands and knees. During the end of my labor, they encouraged me to get out of the pool and go to the bathroom. I was a little hesitant because I knew that it would bring on contractions stronger, but I agreed. After I sat on the toilet, Karen told me that if I turned around, she could push against my back, but it was too late, so she held onto me during that one. On the next contraction, I felt the urge to push. They knew that might be the result of me sitting on the toilet. I made my way back to the pool, Matt climbed in, and on the next contraction, I started to push. My water broke. I spent only 9 minutes pushing until my angel was put into my arms. I felt another contraction soon after and pushed the placenta out. In my hospital births prior, the doctors never waited for me to feel the urge to push it out, so I was unfamiliar with that feeling. Soon after, Matt cut the cord and I was helped into bed and the baby placed on my front. Matt lay down and we spent the next hour or so there, just staring at our baby. Zachary latched on in his own time and spent about a half hour nursing and making his own little moaning noises. When I was ready, Karen helped me into the shower. After I was tucked back into bed, Quincy performed the newborn examination right there with Zachary on a pillow on the foot of the bed. She administered the oral vitamin K.
There are so many differences in the experience of having a home birth and the experiences I’ve had in the hospital. During my home birth labor, I was left alone to move how I wanted and go where I wanted. Others were there to assist me, but they let me do what my body knew how to do already. My baby was brought into the world without the harshness of bright lights, harsh medical equipment, loud sounds and a bunch of people that I didn’t know. The experience was personal, powerful, gentle and loving. We were never separated from our baby and he was handled very gently and lovingly. I feel so grateful to have had this experience and grateful for the education and help I received from Quincy, Karen, her assistant, and my wonderful husband, Matt.
The Juillet Family