The Home Birth of Basha Maple

Posted on May 17, 2015

The Home Birth of Basha Maple

 

BY NICOLE DONALD · MARCH 19, 2015

Our intention for the birth of our daughter was to have a peaceful, low-intervention, home birth on the day that our baby would choose for herself. I previously had one hospital birth and a birthing center/water birth, while my husband had experienced all three of his children’s births at a birthing center—which left us very excited to share our first home birth together.

I had been having intense prodromal labor almost everyday since 36 weeks so we were anticipating our daughter might arrive early. But as the weeks went on it became clear we were going to go past our guess-date like I had with my previous children. In our state there are rules about how long home birth midwives can continue support and I was pushing it. 42 weeks came and went; thankfully measurements from our one ultrasound came up with a later guess-date which offered us some extra time, so I didn’t have to worry too much until I hit 43 weeks pregnant (according to my last menstrual period). I really did not want to induce or get unnecessary testing done; I felt confident that our baby was healthy, just not quite ready to be born.

We reached a point with waiting where I was running out of options. Because of our state’s laws, I knew that I would have to compromise on certain things if I truly wanted the peaceful home birth I had been preparing for.

I eventually had to choose between herbal induction or getting a biophysical profile (BPP) and non-stress test (NST) done to make sure the baby and placenta were handling everything well, in order to continue being supported by our midwife. I chose the BPP and NST to allow our daughter more time to pick her own birthday.

By 43 weeks and 2 days (from my LMP) I was pretty much out of time as my midwife did not feel safe continuing on without attempting an herbal induction. I had considered an unassisted birth in the past but my husband wasn’t comfortable with the idea; I also was not prepared to take that on without careful planning and full support from him. I struggled for a while with this decision, but because my blood pressure had been rising the last couple days leading up to this and I did not want to have a hospital birth, I agreed it was a good idea to try to get things moving. We went to a well-respected acupuncturist the day before committing to the natural induction, who also gave us some chinese herbs that we hoped would stir things up.

Chinese Herbs for induction

Chinese Herbs for induction

I started taking the chinese herbs the night before we were to try to naturally induce. The next morning (Friday, February 6th) I was up at 6 am having mild but steady contractions. These waves felt similar to the many Braxton Hicks I had become used to over the last several months so I didn’t take them too seriously. I drank 5 oz of castor oil first thing, as my midwife had suggested. Right away the castor oil started to work on clearing me out (not fun). I continued sipping on the chinese herbs while taking the homeopathics: cimicifuga and caulophyllum every 15 minutes.

My midwife arrived around 11 am and my contractions had become much stronger, timing between 3-4 minutes apart. She checked me to find I was around 3 cm.

Originally I did not want vaginal checks but since we committed to using “natural” interventions to move things along, I felt it made sense to keep an eye on how my body was responding to everything.

We went ahead and stripped my membranes which helped my cervix dilate to 4 cm. My husband and I went on a walk after, which made my surges pick up in intensity. When we got back from the walk my midwife massaged my belly for a long time; my body responded right away to the energy and intention. During the massage my contractions shifted, they became very powerful and about 2 minutes apart.

My husband and I went on another walk. I felt so connected to him—he was such a sweet, loving and supportive partner which was something I had not experienced during my previous births before we were together.

When we got back we spent some time hanging out in the living room while I switched between pacing and bouncing on my birth ball. It felt good to be able to just hang out in my home without needing to worry about going anywhere. I was still able to talk between contractions but the surges were taking most of my attention.

My midwife and I decided to go ahead and break my water. This decision was a scary one for me because I am aware there is a very real risk of cord prolapse. But the bag was bulging, I was at 6 cm, my baby was totally engaged and I fully trusted my midwife’s judgment. My waters were clear (no meconium) which was good and there were no complications. I immediately felt relief once all that water rushed out; there was a ton! We went on another walk and the surges became even more powerful.

Around 5 pm my partner ran out to get us food and I called for my sister so she would start heading our way. I was communicating with my doulas through all of this but I didn’t want them to come over yet in case my body was still depending on the herbs and homeopathics to progress; I was concerned that too many people around might distract me and disrupt my birth process. Once our food arrived I did tell my doulas they could head over.

While we were eating things turned a corner and I hit transition. Each time I had to drop to the floor and vocalize to work with the intensity of the waves. I knew things were changing as I kept getting super emotional because I was so happy with how supported and loved I felt.

From this point forward things are a bit blurry. I know that my doulas and my sister showed up. People were helping me to feel more comfortable by applying counter-pressure during my surges, this made a huge difference. I remember feeling grunty and pushy before the tub was even filled; I was a little worried I wouldn’t make it to the tub before the baby was born!

My son rubbing my back as I lean on my husband for support.

My son rubbing my back as I lean on my husband for support.

Leaning on my husband helped me feel safe and stable through some of the heavier points during transition. My doulas were super supportive and made sure I had whatever I needed. Even my six year old would rub my back during surges which was really sweet—he was such a love bug.

I was very happy all our 4 boys were home during the birth; the older boys were mostly in different parts of the house but I really wanted them to be present when we welcomed their sister earthside. It was an awesome experience for the whole family.

One of my wonderful doulas :)

One of my wonderful doulas 🙂

image2-1024x683

image3-1024x683

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tub was finally ready! I was incredibly relieved to get in the water. My husband got in too and within 20 minutes of him joining me, our baby was born. I only pushed for a couple minutes. Baby Basha came out covered in vernix. The cord was wrapped around her neck one time which was easily unwrapped. She was super healthy and totally perfect. All 10 lb 6 oz of her!

Baby crowning. My two doulas and midwife.

Baby crowning. My two doulas and midwife.

image6-1024x683

Finally meeting our daughter.

 

image5-1024x683

 

 

 

 

 

 

Active labor lasted about 3 hours. At 43 weeks and 3 days Basha Maple was born at 9:02 pm on February 6th, 2015 in our living room surrounded by her loving parents and brothers, her auntie Lo, my two awesome doulas, my amazing midwife and her wonderful assistant.

Even though I ended up in a situation where I had to compromise and accept several natural interventions that I had previously felt opposed to, I wouldn’t change a thing. I was completely supported the whole time, fully informed and in control of what I gave consent to throughout everything. I was lucky to be able to wait for as long as I did under the circumstances. My body was ready and responded well to all induction methods used.

The birth of my daughter was a beautiful, positive and peaceful event. It was all so amazing and a deeply healing experience for me on many levels. I feel very grateful for how it all unfolded.

All our boys and my little sister meeting Basha.

All our boys and my little sister meeting Basha.

10 lb 6 oz!

10 lb 6 oz!

Our sweet baby.

Our sweet baby.