Georgia’s home birth story

by renegademama

I’ve been meaning to finish this.

On August 4, 2010 I was four days past my due date and not digging it. I seemed to go into labor and then stop, every day for about two years. Or maybe that was weeks. I was done in a way only a 40+ week pregnant woman can be “done.” I met with my midwife and explained that my daily visualization techniques and heart-to-heart talks with my uterus were oddly ineffective and she was going to have to do something. She suggested castor oil, told me it would only work if my body is fully ready (so I shouldn’t get excited), and gave me a milkshake recipe I can’t wholeheartedly recommend.

It took me about 37 seconds to get the ingredients, send the kids to my mom’s, and drink the milkshake (actually it was 6pm). By 9pm I was feeling contractions but tried to ignore them since they had faded out so many times before. By midnight they were still coming and I was having to walk around through them and breathe to manage the pain. I figured if I woke Mac up I’d jinx the whole deal, so I let him sleep until about 2am, when they were becoming pretty difficult to manage. He woke up and started filling the birthing tub and setting up various other things (heating receiving blankets, putting things out for the midwives, calling grandmothers, etc.). He was nervous and kept suggesting we call the midwives. I kept telling him “no” because I was still in denial that our baby was coming. My mom arrived around 4am. I got in the tub about 5am because the pain was really intense. About 3 minutes later I declared that the midwives could come, and they showed up about 5:45am. I labored in the tub and around the house, moaning and sighing through contractions, leaning on Mac, wondering in lucid moments why the hell I ever signed up for this again. At around 7:30am the contractions slowed way down (a sign I was moving to the pushing stage) and I started feeling the urge to push at the peak of each contraction.

This is when things really began to suck.

Now you must understand that with Ava and Rocket I pushed for about 15 minutes each. It was quick and easy (if such an ordeal could ever be “easy”). With this baby, though, I was pushing with all my might and nothing was happening. Just excruciating pain. Really, nothing was happening and I knew it. I kept trying but my attempts seemed ineffective and all the strength I could muster seemed wimpy in the face of what I was trying to do. I was genuinely terrified. This was not in the cards. I’m a super birthing machine. I really felt that I couldn’t do it and I shared this information with the midwife. She calmly informed me that I was the only one who could do it. I wanted to hit her in the face. The other midwife started mumbling something about breathing in light and love to my baby and I considered drowning her.

There are absolutely no words to describe the feeling of the two hours I spent trying to push that baby out. I just couldn’t do it. And yet I had to and I was trying so hard but it wasn’t enough but it had to be enough. But if the needed strength just isn’t there, what is one supposed to do? I can’t just make it materialize out of nowhere. The pain was so great I just wanted it to end but I could not make it end. I begged for relief. There was none.

Let’s take a little break so you can fully appreciate the humor in this little ordeal. You may have noticed that little word “home” in the title…yes, this was a planned home birth.  I had my other two kids in a hospital, with midwives, without drugs. My son was a water birth (I’ll tell that story some other time). I’ve had no traumatic hospital experiences…so why would I choose such a thing? Well, there are a lot of reasons, but mine are simple: I like to give birth without pain medication and without  intervention (if possible), and the easiest simplest way to do this is at home. But oh lord did I have some plans involving this birth. I had a vision. I’d been reading a lot of Ina May Gaskin (Spiritual Midwifery) and other hippie natural birth books – and Rocket’s birth was exactly like what they were talking about: calm, serene, painful but not excruciating, textbook progression – culminating in the quick birth of an 8 1/2 pound perfect, pink baby boy with an Apgar of 10. I figured that since I was at home, this birth would be even better, more intuitive, more beautiful and glorious. I saw myself cruising around with some angelic smile on my face, swaying softly to the music in my mind, the ancient rhythm of a thousand birthing women, my body whispering what to do and me like a graceful swan, dancing my baby out, as my older kids and husband watched peacefully, glancing at each other with little grins of happy, fascinated anticipation. It was all going to be very spiritual.

And it was, if growling and screaming the word “fuck” repeatedly and acting like a hyena on crack is spiritual.

Okay so anyway there I was, pushing and acting like a psycho with NO SUCCESS and I’m absolutely freaking out. Fits of yelling, fits of tears. Terror in my eyes. Veins popping out. I’m unhappy. My kids were absolutely horrified. Not my first priority. After two hours of this hell, I hit a wall. I realized that the only way out of this horrid situation was to do the one thing I was the most scared of. The one thing I couldn’t do. The midwife was right. I had to do it. So with the next contraction I got angry. I simply got insane. I roared and screamed and pushed with all the strength I had and all the strength I’ve never had and will never have. And I didn’t stop. I thought my body was tearing in half. But the midwife said she could see dark hair, then the forehead, ears, the head…and I became encouraged and kept working, really hard. A few moments later I felt the greatest relief of my life and I heard the midwives tell Mac “pick up your baby.” He had to find her in the cloudy water. A second later he lifted up the most beautiful little baby I’d ever seen. I was overcome with joy. My tears were of ecstasy. The cord was around her neck twice and she was blue, so they quickly rolled her over a couple times and we watched the miracle of her body flooding pink — from her chest out to her tiny fingers and toes. It was 9:28 in the morning .

Somebody asked me if it was a girl or boy — I looked and said with a smile “a girl, of course” (since I always new she was a girl, even without an ultrasound). I spent so many months trying to imagine her face, and I couldn’t see it, but the moment I laid eyes on her, I knew her perfectly. “Oh right, there you are.” I was in heaven. Elated.

everybody examining the baby - notice the swollen head...that's cause she came out all FUNKY

Turns out the baby was in a position that makes a natural delivery extremely difficult – essentially the wrong part of her head was presenting. The midwives explained that most women with a baby in that position end up with a Cesarean delivery, and that doctors would have told me it was “impossible” to vaginally deliver a baby in that position. Useful information AFTER THE FACT, huh? Plus she was ten pounds. Whoa. The midwives seemed genuinely impressed and I must admit I felt like something of a bad-ass. I suppose the battle of it ultimately made it the most “spiritual” of all my births – realizing that my body was failing me, being forced to pull from deep inside my soul, deeper than I had ever gone, to find a power I never knew I had. Doesn’t get much more spiritual than that. (well, in my opinion).

9 lbs, 14 ounces, 21 inches long

So our baby girl was born and she was lovely and we all crawled into our bed and cuddled. And I had my perfect home birth. They examined and weighed her right in my room.  We sang happy birthday to her,  dressed her after a few hours, spent hours examining and kissing her perfect little self. In fact we’ve been doing just that ever since.

happy birthday little one

Sweet baby Georgia, welcome.

29 Comments | Posted in Sometimes, I'm all deep and shit..... | February 13, 2011
  • Shan

    This was the best! I laughed with tears streaming down my face.

  • Franki

    As one of the grandmothers mentioned here, I’m still amazed and in awe of the strengths; physical, mental and emotional that it took to birth baby Georgia… Mom and baby are incredible. Thank you for bringing her safely into the world.

    • renegademama

      Ah, Mom. You make my eyes tear. You’re the one who whispered under your breath “get tough.” Saved my life, and Georgia’s I bet. most likely. I love you.

  • AnnaCatherine

    What a great story…planning a home birth in about six weeks and looking for stories that aren’t all blissed out Ina May stoned hippie tales of home birth. I’m scared and excited. thanks for sharing.

    • renegademama

      Thank you! Laughed out loud re: the “blissed out” comment. Perfection. Just subscribed to your blog – great stuff. Please email me anytime if you’d like to discuss homebirth. Can’t wait to hear about your experience. Thanks for stopping by. Cheers.

  • Cara Lyn

    Best birth control inspiring story. Ever.
    Fact. You’re amazing.

    • renegademama

      Fact. I adore you. And yes, it is pretty good birth control.

  • anastasia mcdonnellism

    Thank you for sharing this loveliness. I will be welcoming #3 via home birth sometime next month. The way you summed up ‘why’ – I wish I had read that before my girls’ night on Sunday because I sure got quizzed on why the heck I’d choose this route. You put it perfectly. Thanks for the inspiration & way to find your inner lion (though lion doesn’t seem big enough…tornado?)!

    • renegademama

      Absolutely. Tornado. Awesome that you’re having a home birth — AND it’s number 3! (we’re clearly sisters from another life). Indeed people think it’s very, very odd to birth at home. I usually don’t even try to explain it beyond what I stated above. The worst is when people get vicious, indicating either directly or by implication that my choice is putting my baby in danger. And these are always people who haven’t actually READ about home birth, checked out the actual statistics or discussed it beyond a cursory chat. Pisses me off. that’s why I avoided it in this story — this weekend I was at a party and two COUNT EM TWO women leaned close to me (after talking about a very rare birthing emergency) and said “THAT’S WHY YOU DON’T HAVE A HOME BIRTH, JANELLE.”

      Because I am a rock in the fucking stream and all zen and shit, I just smiled.

      No really, I did. I actually shocked myself with my restraint.

      • Jillian C

        I commend your rock. I, on the other hand, have not perfected that particular trait. People who judge home birth piss me off and every damn statistic comes pouring from my womb. I am particularly slated to give such a lecture.

        I am a registered nurse – and I despise the obstetrical community.
        I teach – giving the new generations of nursing students a lot to think about in regards to good nursing support during hospitals deliveries

        I gave birth to my son, at home, safely.

        Fear should not be the driving force behind women’s decision where and how they give birth. It should come from a place of power and strength, excitement and nervousness. Not fear. To all the renegademamas who refuse to give in to the sociatal fear surrounding birth – bless you and your bellies.

  • Jolie

    I love reading birth stories, so thank you for yours. I met you at the “catch class” at Tosi’s when we were both expecting. I subscribed to your blog shortly after I saw that Rachel did, and I man oh man, I have laughed so hard reading some of your posts. Every once in awhile I peruse past posts and tonight I came upon this one. It brought me back to birthing my second little boy–and my first, really because he came out all cattywampus too with a cone head jetting out of one side of his forehead.

    Thank you for your honest stories of motherhood.

  • dlmoore

    you rock momma! loved your story and your telling. i had two babies persistent posterior (of course, i selfishly assume the world revolves around me and my interpretations – assuming your baby was the same). they are very similar. one was in the hospital and one was a hospital transfer of a homebirth with a side order of partial placental abruption. fortunately the transfer went well and the doctor and nurses were supportive and understanding about how i felt….however, at one point i looked at the doctor and reminded him “this is why pioneer women died during childbirth – screaming and holding onto the wagon!” yeah, pretty sure that was somewhere in transition. mommas find it somewhere buried inside to get those stubborn big stuck in the wrong position babies out, didn’t we. does yours ever want to put a turtleneck shirt on the wrong way just for kicks? yeah, kinda like that, huh…keep writing and rocking it real

  • tonya

    i love this! this is how you really feel home or hospital. i had no choice but to have hospital for both mine. well i choose to on the first i was over 42 weeks and had to be induced never had any braxton hicks or anything and had comps so i’m happy we did decide to and the second i was on hospital bed rest and she came at 30 weeks. but i am so for home birth and midwives. they rock but you could strangle someone being in that much pain and them telling you to calm down and breath. or just push..

  • Sarah

    Incredible, I gave birth to my first naturally in that position (they call it posterior) it was a hospital birth and somehow no one had a clue until she was coming out that she was that way, i’m so glad they didnt know because i wanted to do everything possible to avoid intervention.

  • Yvonne!

    Just came across this thanks to someone who posted it on fb – had to check it out as I’m about 28 weeks along with MY Georgia! I’m now off to devour your entire blog, I love your writing style 🙂

  • Gemma Nash

    Too funny I was crying with laughter when I read this. I too decided to have my 3rd baby at home for all of the above reasons! I screamed the street down to get her out and turns out she was back to back when she did arrive. Amazing what you can accomplish when you have no other options! But still not an experience I want again in a hurry. Thank you for sharing your wit and wisdom with a brilliant, inspirational and raw birth story xxx

  • Carolyn Hastie

    What a wonderful story! Someone posted the link to this blogpost today! So Sweet Baby Georgia is nearly two years old! Congratulations awesome woman. I loved reading this, your honesty is delightful and very important. So good for other women to read what birth is like in all its forms. Thanks for sharing your full-on experience. Makes it real.

  • Melissa

    Haha, I feel ya! 10 lber. 2 hours squatting in that damn tub, growling “Fucking MOVE already. COME OUT.”

  • Julia

    Thank you for this awesome, encouraging post!
    Living in the Netherlands, homebirth is a more common thing. Unfortunately more and more women choose for the hospital.
    I gave birth to my first at home, in 2,5 hours (from water braking to holding him in my arms), very non spiritual and overwhelming. I did however prepare through haptonomy and reading tons of midwife fairytales, trying to get in touch with my inner hippie.
    Now I’m facing the birth of my second in a few weeks. At home, normal. And I’m freaking scared because the first time was so good and easy and this time I don’t get all that preparation time to search my inner birthing super spirit. My 2 year old first born somehow can’t relate to that.
    So thank you! For convincing me again that doing the normal thing will be ok. No matter what, I’ll get in touch with my inner tornado in time.

  • Jocelyn

    Okay you are one COOL chick! And probably my favorite new blogger! LOVED LOVED LOVED your birth story. So raw and real and powerful!

  • Amanda

    So… this brought tears to my eyes as did tour post about new mothers. I had my beautiful baby boy back in July… much of why I cried reading this was I had it all planned out likea dream… my first baby. I hated hospitals, bad experiences… convinced all Docs wanna do any more is throw a long laboring woman into surgery. Being my first child and not wanting to give birth in our tiny rental, we chose a birthing center. Loved everything about it. Water birth nice quiet peaceful rooms etc. My contractions came and stopped for about a week before the intensity picked up. Hadn’t slept good in days, I was 11 days past my due date and ready to be done. Long story short… midwives had me come in at 2:30am, after so long I let them break my water, got into the birth pool pushed some nothing was happening. Ended up being taken to the hospital via ambulance where they gave me drugs and let me labor more before it all ended in a c-section at 12:44am. My little boy was perfect 8.49lbs (nurses said he was huge) I was exhausted and glad it was over. Mine didn’t go any where near as planned… I never did dialate past 8… but my gut tells me there was more to it so I wonder now what position he was really in. Gonna shoot for all natural in the hospital next go round. 🙂 your story is very encouraging.

  • Kristi

    I love reading birth stories. Must’ve read hundreds while pregnant with my first (& only). So glad I did too. I learned alot. For me, things started around midnight on a Friday, but went very slow. Finally, on Saturday around 6pm, called my mom. Wasn’t sure if I should go to hospital yet. I was trying to wait as long as possible to avoid any unnecessary interventions that I had read about so many times. Mom said you better go now. Contractions were 3 mins apart. I had been so calm up until then, but then fear set in. I was dilated to a 7 when I arrived at the hospital at 7pm. They offered the epidural. I took it. Hadn’t made up my mind if I would or wouldn’t until then. Glad I did! Even though it didn’t take completely. Don’t know how you mama’s do it w/out. Wow! By 10pm, it was time to push. My son was born at 10:22pm. He was a big boy, 9lbs, 21″. Especially big for little ‘ol me (5’2″, 110lbs pre-pregnancy). By the way, I gained darn near 50lbs during my pregnancy. I looked like I had a beach ball under my shirt, not a little ‘ol basketball! Thankfully, all went well for me & my son.
    Not that you asked, but thanks for letting me share my birth story. I loved reading yours & I love your blog!

  • Katie

    Wow. Yes. This. A little over a year ago, I gave birth to my son in the hospital without interventions (except for the damn IV fluid they forced on me that made me puke – I was SO pissed!) I was TOTALLY all about how I was going to zen the shit out of my birth. And I was pretty zen (if by zen, we mean screaming my head off laboring on the floor of a hospital shower, but GETTING IT DONE), UNTIL I said I had to push. First of all, the stupid nurse bitches told me, straight up, NOT to… which I get, they weren’t feeling what I was feeling, but it’s ridiculous to assume that because only 4 hours had passed since I got there at 1 cm dilated that I could not possibly be 10 cm dilated now (I was.) Onto the bed I went for pushing… sure, no problem! Except, totally problem because I had to push for three fucking hours straight. My adorable little bundle of joy came custom-made with the hugest head ever (ok, not probably really, but it was a pretty big fucking head.) Your comments about digging deep to impossible strength reserves resonates fully with me… I was SO scared because I was absolutely POSITIVE that I COULD NOT DO IT… and I had talked SO MUCH SHIT to EVERYONE about how I was having a natural birth etc… Near the end, I started skipping contractions and totally pussing out until they said that they were going to give me an episiotomy… NO FUCKING DEALS! I told them hell no, dug down deep to an I-don’t-know-where-the-hell-it-came-from reserve of strength and pushed that little fucker out… without tearing, thank you very fucking much, you asshole of a hospital-birthing midwife. OMG, he’s so beautiful, cry, cry, nurse, love, sob… 2 points were brought to my attention later. #1) One nurse was COMPLETELY blown away/ offended by my completely-appropriate-and-not-overusage-at-all of the word fuck. #2) My yelling scared the absolute pants off some husband walking his early-labor wife around the ward…every time I yelled, he apparently hugged her closer and closer to him and turned white. Not that you asked for it, but that’s my story…

    tl;dr – labor is hard and it hurts.

  • Sara

    Wow this sounds almost exactly like my daughter’s birth. Except it was 4 hours of pushing and being transferred to hospital from the birthing center. She finally made it out without any intervention. The doc was SHOCKED she didn’t have to cut me our use forceps. She also told me later that day that since the baby was already so low there was no way she would have done a c section but if I had started laboring in hospital that’s what most likely would have happened. My daughter was presenting nose first. It’s called Angel presentation in the literature. Seems to fit her quite nicely.

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