I had a hospital birth and a home birth, they were very different

Birth is an incredible thing, it was amazing to hear so many different stories last week when I asked people to share their experiences on the Kulalaland Instagram. 

Today I wanted to share my two birth stories. Please remember that just because I didn’t enjoy my hospital birth experience that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it. You need to do what you are comfortable with and have a team that will support you whether that’s in a hospital or at home. It was my hospital birth that ultimately gave me the confidence to do a home birth the second time. 

With my first birth, Leah I had a rather traumatic experience. I’d always wanted as natural a birth as possible. I did a hypnobirthing class to learn how to enter deep meditation to be able to stand the labor pain. I did all that throughout my first pregnancy with Leah and I had a doctor who was well-respected but who didn’t actually spend any time with me. The problem was also that there were three doctors in that practice but you had no idea which you'd end up with on the day of the birth. So Leah’s birth day comes and I ended up having an epidural even though I didn’t want one because epidurals are known to increase the need for a c-section. I didn’t have a c-section but I did tear horribly because of course the epidural stops you from feeling the pain, you push much harder than you could without one. I had this feeling of being cattle. I did have a birthing doula who was great. After Leah’s birth Stephanie (The New York Doula) said I would be a good candidate for a home birth because of the way my labor was going while I was home, it progressed well when I was in our apartment, I was able to let go easily - which is important for a home birth. 

So when I got pregnant again I decided to have a home birth, I interviewed a few midwives and found Kim who was amazing. She came to my house throughout the whole prenatal experience and spent lots of time with me. Instead of going to an office and spending a few minutes with a doctor, she came to my home and spent an hour or so with me each time, it was very personal and intimate. The night of his birth, Noah was almost a week late, and I just felt like I knew he was coming. I felt the first pain and I wasn’t sure if it was a contraction but I cleaned our whole apartment and got Leah to bed and then it started. I was in the living room, I dimmed all the lights. Kim, my midwife and Stephanie, my doula were on their way but I told them not to come up to the apartment yet and I asked Conrad to go away (he just pretended to be busy in the kitchen) so I could be alone. I made it like a cave, we have a L shaped sofa which I put myself in the corner of, on all fours and I just did my breathing the way that I had been taught. I knew now the extent of the pain and that you just need to keep riding the wave. Three and a half hours in Stephanie came up to check on me and she thought it would take a little longer but then my water broke and Noah came out quickly, in the end my whole labor was four hours. Conrad caught Noah and I then I held him while his umbilical cord was still attached so he kept getting the blood from my body for a long time and it was just the most beautiful thing. Noah was really alert and basically nursed straight away. The whole thing took four hours and I slept in my own bed that night and it was just totally amazing. 

Everyone’s story is different. I think the most important thing is to do what makes you feel comfortable and have a support system you truly trust. Definitely talk to a doctor and other professionals before you decide how to approach labor.