Many people have asked to hear my birth story – here it is eight months later – my amazing home birth…

Before my husband and I even started trying to get pregnant, I knew I wanted to have a home birth. Being an acupuncturist who focuses on fertility and pregnancy, I’ve heard so many stories of women who have ended up with undesirable birth experiences that they attribute to being in the hospital. This inspired me to choose the less conventional home birth route.

My midwife was incredible from the day I first met her. Part of the beauty of midwifery care is their commitment to making sure their clients make truly informed decisions. This meant that I could take as much time and ask as many questions as I wanted at each appointment. When I hit 40 weeks, I felt totally prepared and super pumped for the birth experience.

When I arrived at 40 weeks plus 3 days, I was feeling REALLY ready to have the baby. I was having trouble sleeping, my back was sore, and I was peeing every 10 minutes (at least that’s what it felt like). I went for an appointment with my midwife, who asked if I would like her to check my cervix – up until then I had declined any vaginal exams as I didn’t feel they were necessary, but on this day, I was curious, so I said yes.

It turns out I was already 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced – must have been the amazing pre labour acupuncture protocol! She asked if I would like her to do a stretch and sweep. I happily consented. It was totally pleasant – not painful at all. She was very gentle. Afterward, I had mild cramping and bleeding but nothing unmanageable. When I got home that night, I informed my husband that I needed his sperm because I wanted to have the baby that day! We made love and an hour later, my contractions were coming 5 minutes apart.

I was a little disappointed because my plan was to bake cookies and drink wine during my pre labour stage… No pre labour for me! Right into active labour…

I called my midwife and she listened to me breathe through a few contractions over the phone. She asked me to take a hot bath for 30 minutes to see if they would slow down and then call her back. I did as she said and the contractions continued to come at that interval, so when we called her back, she said she would come over. I called my doula at this time as well.

Labour was difficult but I felt very safe and determined. My doula and husband took turns putting pressure on my lower back and hips during each contraction. I found labouring while standing up to be the most comfortable. I laboured in the shower for a while and on the birthing ball. My doula, who is a Naturopathic Doctor, gave me homeopathic remedies and acupuncture to help things along.

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I became very tired. I noticed that I was actually starting to nap a little between each contraction. This was not a good sign. My midwife checked me and I was 7cm dilated. She informed me that my labour was slowing down because my water hadn’t broken yet and it was preventing the baby’s head from putting proper pressure on my cervix to encourage full dilation. She suggested breaking my water to get things going again. The other option was to have me get into deep squats and walk up and down the stairs a bunch of times… yeah right!

At this point I really felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I expressed that I might like to go to the hospital and have an epidural because I was so so tired. In hindsight, I am so thankful for my husband and my midwife. Though I felt that they respected my decision no matter what, they were still very firm with me that I really wanted a home birth and that I could absolutely do it!

I decided to press on. The midwife broke my water and then things REALLY got going. I laboured on the ball and on the bed and on the toilet. I moved around a lot.
Then I began to get this incredible urge to push.
My midwife checked me and said I wasn’t dilated enough yet and that my cervix had a little lip that still needed to completely open up. They had me labour on all fours with my hips in the air to try to encourage further dilation without such a strong urge to push.

At this point, the secondary midwife arrived and brought the nitrous oxide (laughing gas) with her. Glorious glorious nitrous oxide! It was amazing. It took the pain from 12/10 to 9.5/10 – just took the edge off. I still felt everything but it was totally doable.

Finally I was ready to push. I pushed while on my back, on the bed. My midwife coached me on how to push properly and how to manage my breathing as the baby was crowning. I liked this stage because I could really tell how things were progressing. I could tell there was an end in sight.

My husband said that as soon as the baby’s head emerged, she opened her eyes and looked around, while her body still had yet to be born… I can’t even imagine how that must have looked!

My daughter was born at 11:17am, crying at full volume, after labouring for 13 hours start to finish.

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She was put on my chest immediately and we delayed cord clamping.
She latched onto my breast and I fed her for a while before the midwife did the newborn exam.

My midwife delivered the placenta after a quick shot of Pitocin in my leg – she had some concerns with not letting me bleed too long as my iron had been borderline low throughout my pregnancy.
Then she examined me and was pleased to announce I had no tearing and didn’t require any stitches or repairs!

My husband held the baby on his chest for some skin to skin time after the newborn exam was complete. I went to the bathroom with my second midwife to get cleaned up.
When I returned, the team had changed the sheets and made the bed – we were all so ready for sleep..

I put my sweet daughter in her bassinet and the midwives tucked my husband and I into bed for a nap. As we were drifting off, he kissed the back of my neck and said “I love you so much. That was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen”

The whole story sounds so lovely and romantic and believe me, in hindsight, it was. But it was really hard. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – up until that point at least – actually parenting the baby is a whole other level of hard. Labour hurts. A Lot. It’s a lot of work. I screamed my head off for 12 hours straight. I made noises that I didn’t know I could make. And I couldn’t have done it without my awesome birth team. My midwives, my doula and my wonderful husband.

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Leah Christine Kapler – 8 months

Michelle Kapler
Michelle Kapler
When I’m not working, you can find me knitting socks, writing for my blog, eating oysters that my husband has lovingly shucked, creating and co-creating meals for loved ones or hanging out with my Herbal Medicine Textbooks and and a very specifically pulled espresso.
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Comments
  • Kat McMorrow

    Beautiful!! What a fabulous story. Love!

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