HOMEBIRTH VS. HOSPITAL BIRTH: MY EXPERIENCE

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I’ve always wanted to sit down and write the story of my children’s births. They both mean the world to me. But I am so unsure how to share the stories without sounding like I am favouring one over the other. Because I want to scream at the top of my lungs,

“HOME BIRTHS ARE AMAZING!”

and let the whole world know that if they have the opportunity, honestly, do it up!

Okay, you’ll have to wait for the reason why, cuz I’m going back to the beginning of my story.

It was 2005 and I had just left my boyfriend in Ontario. We had moved out there to go to school and to be “grown ups”. I was 19 years old and although I was only in Ontario for 2 months I felt incredibly homesick. I hated our cramped apartment and I hadn’t found a job yet. I called my best friend one day and she wasn’t doing very well. She had gotten in with a bad crowd after breaking up with her boyfriend, and was doing hard drugs and felt depressed. That, to me, was my call home. I broke up with my boyfriend and took the night flight back to my hometown.

I had a fresh new start. I was single. I was jobless. But I was back at home, literally living with my parents again, and could do anything I wanted to. I got the keys to my car back and was off – hanging out with friends, going to parties, drinking and I started smoking. I actually hated smoking! But forced myself to do it because all of my friends were, until I got addicted and HAD TO have a smoke every 3 hours. I started dating an old boyfriend of mine (who I dated for 2 weeks in high school). We would party non stop and just have fun.

I got a job in the Bakery dept and within weeks this happened:

My best friend called me one day, saying she thought she was pregnant. She had missed her period and wanted me go with her on her lunch break to buy a pregnancy test. I said I would, of course, and I hung up. I brought our other good friend with me and we went to the store so she could “pee on the stick” but she didn’t want to do it alone so I went into a stall and peed on one too. Gotta support my best friend. I asked my other friend, “Hey…what does it say on the box about the + symbol?”

“The minus means you’re not pregnant…and the plus means you are pregnant.”

My friend in the stall beside me said, “Oh thank God mine says minus. Omg I was so scared.”

I panicked and said, “So if it’s positive it means I’m pregnant?”

….silence…

I opened the stall and took the box from my friends had and read the box. My heart raced. The pregnancy test that I had just peed on had a little + symbol on it and I could not wrap my brain around it. My friends just looked at me in shock and their eyes filled up with tears. My best friend had to go back to work so my other good friend went with me to the walk in clinic to take a real test. Pee in a cup and wait. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life. Waiting to hear the results. Total torture.

The doctor sat down and told me that yes I was pregnant and that I had to call the number on the card to get it terminated (because I was so young and all). I didn’t even say anything. My mind was in shock. My body was in shock. How? Why? When? Damnit.

I called my boyfriend, who I had broken up with not to long ago, and told him and he didn’t believe me and hung up the phone. We didn’t talk for 5 months.

I told my best friend, while she was at work and she cried and cried. Her boss was not happy that I bought the news to her while she was standing behind the cashier counter. Woops.

I told my mom, who wanted me to consider adoption options. I said no. This baby was mine. Even if I was the only one who wanted it.

I turned 20 years old. I worked 40 hours a week until I was 7 months pregnant, then left on medical leave for hurting my back while lifting boxes of frozen pastries, and ate so bloody unhealthy. I lived off pepperoni sticks, cheesecake, plain potato chips with sweet onion dip, and cream cheese bagels and I was still living at home.

I went to the doctor often and did everything he told me to. I got blood taken when he got me to, I got shots when he told me to and he never once asked me what my lifestyle was like and I never thought to ask if I should change anything.

One of my friends passed away and I smoked cigarettes for 2 weeks – so ashamed to even say that but it’s true!

I also had kidney stones while I was pregnant – that was horrific.

Oh and I also went to the bar and went out dancing 2-3 times a week (even with my big belly) and I drank energy drinks so I could stay up later and not one person told me they were bad for me or my baby.

I didn’t know the sex of my baby. Everything was going smoothly. I was 10 days overdue and so I went to the hospital to be induced. I went to the hospital at 7am. They induced me and I went back home until 12. Then they broke my water and we went from there. I remember one nurse told me, “If you yell or scream during birth I will walk out of the room. You better not yell or scream or swear. Understand?” Grouch!

I had contracts for 9 hours before my body started to push on it’s own. I was standing in the shower and wanted to push him out right there and then, but the nurse told me to hold him, lay on the bed, and wait for the nurse. When I laid down my contracts were so bad that I had to push. My doctor came running in just in time. I pushed for 10 minutes and out he came. At 9:17pm, on May 31st, 2006, a cute little dirty-blonde haired boy was born. I named his Seth Jordan. Seth because I LOVED Seth Cohen from the OC and Jordan because I just always loved that name. When Seth was born there was a total of 10 people in the room. Me, my best friend, Seth’s dad, the doctor, my mom, dad, sister, two nurses and Seth. Party or what!? I had just given birth naturally, without the use of any drugs, just a bit of laughing gas. It was an amazing, yet scary experience.

Seth was so adorable. Weighing in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces, he was the love of my life. He was healthy and I was so lucky to have him. And I was soo incredibly lucky that he was healthy, even though I hadn’t made the best choices with my diet.

I knew right there and then that if I hadn’t of gone with my best friend to pee on the pregnancy stick I wouldn’t have known I was pregnant for quite a while and I would have continued to use drugs and drink alcohol and Seth probably wouldn’t have been as healthy as he was. It was a blessing in disguise that I found out that way, even though on the day I was scared shitless.

Seth’s dad did the best he could at that time. We were both still young and still wanted to party and hang out with friends and whatever. He worked, went out late and didn’t come home, and I had enough. I stopped doing drugs, but I smoked and drank, and then one day, around 3 months in, my milk supply dried up and I started baby Seth of formula and mixed it with cow’s milk – thinking I was doing the right thing. Did I mention I was 20 years old?

As Seth got older his diet was chocolate milk, apple juice, and baby food. Then sushi, Kraft dinner, and baby carrots. Then pizza pops, Mr. Noodles and McDonalds. I loved to cook but wasn’t the best at it.

I was 25 lbs overweight, Seth and I were constantly sick and he had developed eczema all over his body. Years past and I still loved drinking, partying, smoking, and then being a hard working mom on weekdays. But I was depressed and was self-conscious, and felt-unloved, and didn’t know where to turn.

This is when my husband comes into my life. Dun-dun-dunna!

We fall in love, he introduces me to his healthy lifestyle, I become inspired, I change my life and Seth’s. We wanted marriage and babies and the whole shebang and it happens!

But, yes there is a but, I couldn’t get pregnant for 8 months. The moment I said I give up. We aren’t trying anymore, we got pregnant. Of course, right!?

My health was dramatically improving, so much that I was noticing huge results with my menstrual cycles, with my skin, with attitude with life in general, and I felt fit and in control! FINALLY! And same with Seth. With a change in his diet and by removing the toxic household products and swapping in cleaner/greener ones, his eczema started to fade! We felt great!

I went to my doctor (who had delivered Seth) and right away he could tell I was thriving and excited! He told me I was healthy and he was happy for me, but he couldn’t deliver my baby. I was so upset! But again – blessing in disguise – I was forced to find another doctor. That week I heard about a great midwife in town, so I decided to give her a call and she took me in no prob bob! This experience was life changing. She actually cared about me, and my health, and my diet, and my physical activity, and my likes and interests, and wanted to support my natural childbirth! Who is this woman and how had I not heard about her sooner? She is an angel sent from God to help women have awesome pregnancies and births! She’s not even human, that’s how blinkin amazing this woman is! She told me about all tests that are done in western medicine and are done for whatever reason, but that I had the choice; to do them or not to. I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t want to do. I didn’t have to go for the first 8 week ultrasound, I didn’t have to do the nasty gestational diabetes test, but I did had to get a shot because I am Rh-negative, but didn’t have to get the vitamin K shot, the antibiotic eye cream, and the hep B vaccination at birth (which I did not know they did to children in the hospital WITHOUT telling the parents – to all children born in hospitals here in Canada and the US). Holy moly – mind is blown!

After reading an awesome holistic book, written by a doctor (I might add), I decided to do a home birth. The thought at first was so scary but the hospital is only 2 blocks from our house and the midwife office is 1 block from our house so I felt pretty safe. I had a great birth with Seth so my midwife said it was a possibility.

I took a prenatal vitamin that was made from real vegetables, not synthetic vitamins and minerals and took the best quality probiotic I could find.

After getting my first ultrasound done at 20 weeks, our midwife said our baby was in the smaller percentile and wanted to do another ultrasound, which I did not want to do. But she felt it was for a good reason and I was a bit worried so I did. This time I had placenta previa so I had to get another ultrasound done before the birth. My placenta had moved thank goodness but our baby was still on the smaller side so we had to get a specialists’ opinion. He took one look at me and then looked at my husband and said, “Well you are a small person, and your husband is a small person, so you’re going to have a small baby. I think it’s safe to say that you can have a home birth.” YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Good to go!

Our baby was due March 7th, but on Feb 24th we had Tod’s parents over for dinner. They bought veggie burgers and I was so full. I remember I ate two! Chloe looked at me and said, “I bet you a dollar you are going to have your baby tomorrow, and it’ll be a girl!”

“You’re on!” There was no way I was having a girl. I checked the Chinese horoscope and it said I was having a boy. Plus, we had been calling my belly Beaumont (after Tod’s grandpa) for months. Tod and I both felt as though our baby was a boy. But both Tod’s mom and Chloe thought it was a girl. And also, Seth was 10 days late, there was no way my baby was going to be early.

Tod went to bed early and I sat down, right here – exactly where I am sitting now, and I started my blog. I wrote for a whole hour sharing our wedding day story. Then, without warning, it felt like I peed myself. Liquid went everywhere, so I ran to the bathroom as felt as I could and tried to pee, but nothing came out. My heart started to pound and a huge grin came to my face….THIS…IS…IT! I ran to the bedroom and opened the door and said, “Tod! Wake up! I peed myself. You gotta wake up. I think my water broke! BABE!”

“Are you serious?”

“YES! GET UP AND CALL THE MIDWIFE!”

And he did, and she came. And then she checked to see if I was dilated and I wasn’t. At all. So, she told me to go back to bed. Seriously? You want me to sleep?

I slept maybe 4 hours, until 7 am came and I was starting to have stomach cramps, which felt like nasty period cramps, but the only kept getting worse and worse, and closer together.

Tod called our midwife again around 10am. She asked me if I wanted some tea that would speed things up? I said sure. I jumped in the shower and Tod made me the tea. I took two sips and BAM. I was high as a kite. My hormones and whatever else had kicked in and I was having full blown contractions. Tod was massaging my back as I sat in a chair but I just wanted to relax so I laid in bed. WORST. DECISION. EVER. My contractions turned into 1 long on-going contraction. I was in so much pain. And this time there was no end to the contraction. It kept going and going and going. My arms and legs were shaking and my mind was saying I’m going to die. I’m going to die. I felt as though I was high on ecstasy, plus pain, plus shaking. I was scared so I told Tod to call the midwife. She came in minutes (it was now around 11am) and she said, “Get off the bed and go into the birthing pool” (Yes, we had an inflatable birthing pool right in our bedroom) so Tod helped me off the bed and I gently sat in the pool. And…..nothing. I sat in the warm pool and looked around the room. My contractions were gone. I smiled. I was high as a kite and was comfortable. My midwife looked at me and I just smiled back. She was probably thinking “Okay contraction…where are you?” but nothing. Was this a bad thing? So, I faked a contraction, over and over, until she told me, “You have 1 more push and then I’m taking you to the hospital.” I thought EF THAT and I pushed as hard as I could. I thought I sounded like Bella from Twilight, when she was turning into a vampire and she was moaning and freaking out. Ya that was me. But it worked! She came out and our midwife placed out baby on our chest. I looked up at Tod and smiled. He looked totally amazed at what had just happened. She looked at her clock and said, “It’s 11:25am, Feb 25th, 2013. What is it?”

What it is? It’s a baby!

“What is it?” She asked again.

I just looked back at her confused. Then Tod reached past me and lifted up our baby’s leg and said, “It’s a girl! She’s a girl.”

“Of course she’s a girl.” I said back. Of course we were both wrong. Chloe was right. and not just about that, but about the time of the baby’s arrival as well.

I held our baby, who we named Kyrsten Constance, and I moved onto the bed, where I pushed out the placenta and held my baby for half an hour before giving her to Tod. She totally pooped on his chest! It was hilarious! That first nasty tar poo! All black and sticky. Lol omg! We laughed so hard. In bed. Together. We weren’t in a hospital we were in the comfort of our own home. And it was bliss. Later our midwife weighed Kyri in an 6 lbs 7 ounces (she may have weighed more at birth – when she hadn’t pooped yet), while I had a shower and cleaned up a bit; brushed my teeth and my hair and changed.

Instead of the vitamin K shot (which she would have gotten at birth), we gave her vitamin K orally, with a syringe. I think it was 2 or 3 doses over the first week and it went great.

We did get her foot pricked and blood taken to see if she had any “illness” and such. Her test results came back clean.

During breastfeeding, she had a hard time latching on properly, which left my nipples raw and painful, but other than that, everything was gravy baby.

We even got my placenta dehydrated into capsules, for me to take. There were so many health benefits we couldn’t not do it! It prevented hair-loss, postpartum depression, gave me and the baby extra nutrients and hormones and it made me feel so good! Did you know that in nature, the female animal eats the placenta after she gives birth?

Later on we realised that Kyri was born on my Great Auntie Frieda’s birthday, who had passed away RIGHT when I became pregnant with Kyri. So trippy! I know she knows and is super excited that Kyri was born on her birthday!

Right from the start Kyri had a healthy life. Since the moment I was pregnant I changed my diet and tried to live the best life I could, for her! She was breastfed for 2.5 years and was fed homemade baby food and smoothies as her first foods. After she got teeth she was fed all the healthy veggies that we ate and she loved things like sprouted buckwheat and sauerkraut. I decided to share her story on my blog and I called it My Natural Baby Series and made updates every 6 months, until she turned 3. Now I do them every year.

She has grown into this beautiful wonderful child. And so has Seth. Dure Seth’s birth and upbringing was so much different at the start, compared to Kyri’s, but that’s the beauty behind it all. I know both sides of the story – the holistic side and the western medicine side. And I am proud to know both sides. There is a part of me who wishes I was healthier when I had Seth, but it was a lesson we both had to go through, and now we truly appreciate where we are now. And then there is Kyri, who was just so spoilt since birth, to have such health conscious parents!

For those of you who are wondering what type of diet I followed when I was pregnant with my second child, I did this:

For liquids, I drank herbal or green tea with unpasteurized honey and purified water. Those were the only liquids I drank.

For food, I ate a gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free diet (just like in my first cookbook) but I did eat meat (grass fed and organic) sparingly – around twice a month and stuck to brown rice, brown rice/quinoa pasta, sweet potatoes and yams, all veggies, all fruit, nuts and seeds, beans, legumes, fermented foods, and took a Mega Foods pregnancy multivitamin with probiotics on the side.  I added chlorella, spirulina, raw maca and a green blend of alfalfa powder, wheatgrass powder, moringa leaf (and more) to my smoothies. I took cod liver oil daily too.

I liked to indulge in a bit of raw dark chocolate once in awhile. I also ate coconut milk ice cream as a treat, which happened weekly. Oh, and we had organic popcorn with grass fed unsalted butter and celtic sea salt as a snack almost every evening. But no regular ice cream.

I workout out, did Zumba, up until I was 8 months pregnant. And did prenatal yoga. I took our dog for walks every day and I worked 40 hours a week, until I was 30 weeks pregnant. I went on mat leave early just so I could rest, nest, and chill and be present in my life and appreciate that time, with Tod and the kids, before I gave birth. Plus, my job as a bridge designer as a bit stressful and so I could not wait to get outa there, not gunna lie.

With my pregnancies, I think I gained around 25-30 lbs with Seth and 17-20 lbs with Kyri. I have very low blood pressure, and when I saw low I mean LOWWWW. My midwife was surprised I wasn’t fainting when I stood up fast! But that’s how I’ve always been. It didn’t affect me in anyway.

And now we can’t wait to have another.

My brain is full of new knowledge on how to really fuel my body so I have the best pregnancy, not only for my baby but for me too. Being pregnant is not easy. Your hormones are super wacky and you have cravings, but you just need to learn what your body is telling you. It is craving minerals and vitamins and healthy fats and all the good stuff! So keep feeding it food from natural and give it love! That was the one key element I was missing in both of my pregnancies. Self-love. But now I have it. I practice it. I love it. and I will keep using it!

Can’t wait to see what the future has in store!

I am so blessed to have both kids, and to have my step daughter as well. Tod and I are the luckiest parents in the whole world (and if you have kids, you are lucky too)! Sometimes they make me go crazy but I am just so in love with them and our life. Even the bad, hard, awful times are wonderful because they teach me growth and they teach me to appreciate my life. My kids teach me new things all the time. Like how beautiful and precious the present moment is. How healing play is. How fun dancing and singing is! And how cool the imagination is! They make me believe that there is so much more to this world that what meets the eye. They are my loves… and I would do anything for them!

♥♥

But before I end this, to get back to why I think home births are so amazing…it’s because Tod and I were able to be present and comfortable in our own home with our new born baby. We didn’t have to worry about where she was, what unhealthy nurse was holding her (I’m sorry but it drives me nuts that nurses are allowed to smoke on their lunch break and then go back into work), about what was being injected into her body without our consent, and being in the hospital environment with sick people, germs, harsh cleaners, and weird smells. We were safe and had access to everything we needed. My midwife came by everyday until we were good to go, and then it was weekly visits until we didn’t need her anymore – that was a sad sad day. But still, a home birth, was so amazing, and even if I couldn’t have one with my next baby, because of complications or anything, I would be grateful that I had that one experience. I will never forget it. Just going from the bed, where I had that awful, ongoing, painful contraction that made my limbs shake, to being in the pool where I was so calm…it was like night and day… a totally different experience. It makes me wonder why the main birthing position in hospitals is laying down…? WTF! When being in the pool was like heaven. If every woman could experience a water birth they wouldn’t be afraid to FEEL during natural child birth (in my opinion).

Bam! Mind blown! I really, really hope I get to do it again one day!


 

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