Moment of fear: a couple’s second home birth is not as easy as their first

Moment of fear: a couple’s second home birth is not as easy as their first – Birth Stories

When my husband, Brent, and I woke on the morning of Jan. 27, we knew it was the day that our third child would be born, as I’d had contractions throughout the night. Brent and I, as well as our daughters Sahara, 10, and Eden, 2, eagerly anticipated the arrival of a baby boy or girl.

This was to be our second home birth (Eden was born at home in 1999). I was 10 days past my due date and had tried to start labor the day before: After walking up and down stairs for hours, I finally went to an acupuncturist. She put needles in different parts of my body, excluding my stomach, and pressed her thumbs into pressure points on my shoulders. I had a contraction right away and several more at regular intervals through the night.

That morning, I settled into a rhythm of walking around the house and dropping to the floor or leaning on Brent during contractions–which felt stronger and more painful than I remembered. To combat the pain, I chanted and moaned to elongate my outward breath. When my contractions were about four minutes apart, I had Brent call our doula, Colleen Rubito, to have her come over.

By 1 p.m., the contractions were closer together and I could barely regain my breath and focus between them. By the time Colleen arrived an hour later, I was almost 10 centimeters dilated.

The pain was so intense, I cried. I just wanted someone to hold me and make the pain go away. Brent called our certified nurse-midwife, Kate Boland, and she called her assistant, Donna Brown (also a certified nurse-midwife). They were on their way.

Suddenly, my water broke. The baby’s head pushed down on my cervix and caused 15 minutes of back-to-back contractions. I had never experienced pain like that before. Brent and Colleen squeezed my hips and applied pressure to my lower back to help ease the pain. When Kate arrived at 2:15 p.m., I was fully dilated and ready to push.

For 45 minutes, I tried pushing from every possible position: hands and knees, side-laying, squatting and sitting on the birth stool. Finally, the baby started to move down the birth canal. Everyone cheered and urged me to keep pushing. But the baby’s heart rate suddenly slowed, and the midwives commanded me to push the baby out right away. I summoned up strength I never knew I had. I pushed with a huge rush of energy and felt the immense relief of my child being born.

Kate placed our daughter on my belly with the umbilical cord uncut, but the baby did not begin breathing; her cord was wrapped around her arm and had been compressed while passing through the pelvis. Every method of stimulation (rubbing her back and belly, ticking her feet and suctioning mucus) failed to get her breathing on her own. We were terrified.

After about a minute, Kate placed an oxygen mask over the baby’s face. Soon, we heard the sputtering and crying that told us that Violet Belle was truly here.

Looking back, I’m still happy that I had Violet at home: I was able to keep her with me constantly instead of having her taken to the nursery. A home birth was the best choice for us.


Gretchen’s tips for a home birth:

1 * Interview several childbirth professionals before deciding on one. Check credentials and make sure the person is educated and qualified.

2 * Consider hiring a doula. He or she can help you have the type of birth you want, whether you deliver in a hospital or at’ home. For information, call Doulas of North America at 888-788-3662 or visit

COPYRIGHT 2002 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group