Friday, February 17, 2012

Lessons learned from my first birth experience

After finally writing out my first birth story I've decided to reflect on some of the lessons learned and how they have shaped my wishes for a home birth.

1. Get a midwife. Thoughts of switching to midwifery half way through my last pregnancy was in the back of my mind but I was too scared to make a big move.  I wish I followed my gut then. This time around I did my research, made sure it was the first thing on my checklist and got a midwife immediately.  I am so glad I did and will never go back now!

2. Labour at home as long as possible. I went to the hospital far too early. If I had a midwife or doula this could have been avoided. I was anxious to get the party started which just led to too many unnecessary hospital interventions that probably could have been avoided (ie. constant fetal monitoring, breaking my water, pitocin through IV to speed up the process, constant cervical checks). This time around I don't need to worry about this at all which is really exciting. Since I am planning a home birth there will be no wondering when to leave for the hospital. I can labour in the comfort of my own home and let nature take it's course without all the hoopla. The thought of this just relaxes me so much more.

3.  Be aware of unnecessary interventions, especially induction. I was certainly a good patient, but I have learned a lot more about the above interventions and how they can have a negative effect on a natural birth. I am lucky that the IV was removed quickly and not needed, but having to sit on the bed and get poked in the arms up to 4 times before they properly stuck my vein was not an ideal interruption during my labour. The constant monitoring kept taking me out of my groove and was an annoying distraction.

4. Stick up for myself during labour. This is something I have already mentioned in my "What I would do differently" post over a year ago. I have learned so much more about directing my own care and not simply taking and following the nurses and doctors unnecessary orders. There were things on my birth plan that were passed by because I just kept going with the flow. This is where a doula could have come in handy for sure and a midwife would have changed a lot of this. It didn't help that Hubby was just as compliant as me.

5. Push on my own schedule.  When I felt the urge to push and told the nurse, that was exactly the minute that I feel I gave up total control. From that moment on, the room became a grand central station. I've learned a lot more about the importance of listening to your body during this pushing phase. I will look to my midwife and Hubby to help me through this phase next time, but will be pushing in the position and manner that I feel most comfortable with.

6. Educate myself more about delayed cord clamping.  This is something that I read about but didn't not look into further. I have now read and watched more about the benefits and this is something that I will push for my second child if circumstances allow.  I can't see this being a problem at a home birth, but unfortunately it was ignored in the hospital under an OB's care.

7. Be prepared and stick up for myself when it comes to breastfeeding.  Immediate skin-to-skin will be natural and not ignored this time.  Not being in the hospital I can thankfully skip all the unnecessary fuss over the baby in the beginning and take our time with tests and weigh-ins, etc. I will not allow my baby to be swaddled and taken away from me unless there is an emergency.

8. Go home as soon as possible. Better yet, stay home. I never imagined I would be here, considering and deciding on a home birth. After going through many of my Mom's birth stories I am amazed with how long they kept women in the hospital after birth. Two days was enough to drive me crazy, I couldn't imagine 5 days.  Having a midwife gives you the choice to go home earlier and birthing at home appeals to me that much more.

These have all been valuable lessons although I wish they were lessons that women didn't have to be faced with everyday. I am extremely grateful and feel blessed to have had a med-free birth and a healthy child and there are so many more reasons why I believe I should birth at home.  I will share more on my decision for a home birth in the coming weeks.


  1. I had a midwife the second time, laboured at home for a day and a half, had the baby at nine a.m. and was home by four. I did end up getting an epidural and oxytocin after being in labour for forty-eight hours and not progressing far enough (my midwife said "it was a good try, but I think we should try this now" so I said okay). It was better in many ways than my first experience.

  2. I think I will write a blog post about the article you linked to in Miwifery Today, if that's ok with you? I have seen so many mothers be disappointed because they had the urge to push, and then were told "don't push, you'll tear your cervix apart!" Then they end up getting an epidural because they think they have so much further to go, and they're tired. It's really disheartening!!

  3. Thanks for your comments Allison. It's always nice to hear positives :)

    Misty, I can't wait to read it!