share your homebirth

Contribute to building Maine’s homebirth community by sharing your own homebirth video…or written story, photos, artwork…music?

At Home in Winthrop

There are several ways to share your birth story. In the “Reply” field below:

* If you have an account/channel with an online video platform, copy and paste the embed code for your video–be sure to include a brief description of your film–and post. If your videos are not online you can set up an account/channel with blip.tv, vimeo, youtube or other online viewing platforms.

* Copy, paste and post a URL link to your video, photo album, blog and/or music file.

* Copy, paste and post text of your birth story.

OR go to At Home in Maine’s Facebook page and share there!

Thanks for sharing!

12 thoughts on “share your homebirth

  1. My first child was delivered via cesarean, and my desire to avoid an unnecessary repeat cesarean in a climate of current obstetric practice unsupportive of VBAC (except under restrictions and requirements that would render it highly unlikely in any case!) eventually led me, at 30 weeks’ gestation with my second child, to the practice of Jill Breen of St. Albans, on the recommendation of someone I knew who had homebirthed with her.

    Happily, Maine does not impose legal restrictions on women with previous cesareans, which would have forced me to birth either at home unassisted, or else in the hospital under conditions quite hostile to natural birth of any type, but especially VBAC, so I was able to enjoy the personal attention and care of a homebirth midwife with vast and longstanding experience in normal birth, even in women with previous cesarean.

    The day after the ultrasound-adjusted 40 week mark, and nearly 2 weeks after the LMP-based 40 week mark, I went to bed with mild cervical cramps, and slept through them until they woke me around midnight, at which point I went downstairs to the sofa, in case my husband still needed to go in to work that day, if this was not the Big Day.

    I tried to sleep on and off, and by the wee hours, was merely relaxing the best I could. I called Jill around 4 or 5, and she timed me, and said she’d be there around mid-morning. When it was finally a decent time to rouse the family, I got everyone up, told them the news, and took advantage of my excitement and energy rush, to bustle about making breakfast and washing dishes, setting things to order for the arrival of the midwife and assistant midwife, and the doula.

    By midmorning, I had put a turkey to roast in the oven, and was pausing to groan through contractions with my forehead on the counter, knees slightly bent and spread, fanning them back and forth, and then resuming my activities in the decently long space between. At some point I ran a bath, and enjoyed settling in, but my husband’s anxiety was affecting me, so I sent him out with a shopping list, and he took our 3 year old daughter. The space of time in which I labored blissfully alone, showering and listening to music that moved me, was a primal, private epiphany of self-knowing, and a memory to cherish.

    Eventually my husband returned with our daughter, and the doula and midwives arrived (not sure in what order) and my labor seemed to take a pause while I became socially expansive and chatty. The atmosphere felt festive, and I asked my husband to turn the turkey between contractions. At some point, not sure when, I asked for a cervical check, partly driven by the fear instilled in me from my previous cesarean, that my body might be defective somehow, and the offhand comment by the CNM I had during that induction, who assured me that not making it past 4 cm on Pitocin at 38 weeks did not surprise her, that she thought I might not be able to dilate due to my sexual trauma history. I feared that the level of intensity I was feeling then, would again be a disappointing lack of progress, but nearly cried with relief when my midwife cheerily announced that I was 7 cm, and definitely having this baby today!

    By the time the labor and birthing pool was ready in the kitchen, I was more than ready for it, though the soothing relief it offered initially, had me joking between contractions. Our 3 year old daughter was stroking my arm through contractions, smiling and saying reassuring things, and very interested in what was going on.

    At all times, one or another of the 3 women attending me kept me fed and hydrated, such that I was hardly aware of my needs being met before they even became an issue. The doula offered counter-pressure and emotional support as well, and like everyone else, respected my desire to accept or decline any touch.

    Then rather suddenly, things changed, and I went from joking and talking, to snapping at everyone to “Shut up!” which they did without question, knowing that this was another good indication of my progress. Someone checked me with the dopplar, inobtrusively. The intensity was now taking all my focus, and any touch or distraction was unwelcome. At one point, I almost enjoyed declaring “I can’t do this!” even though I didn’t genuinely fear I couldn’t, it felt good to complain like that, and when they replied encouragingly “You ARE doing it! You’re doing a great job!” I distinctly remember feeling peeved that they would say that, when at that point, I felt that all
    I was doing was keeping on because there was no way out except through!

    Very soon after that, I felt the first pushing urge and with it, my body taking over, doubling me over. I had to change position, but hands and knees, which felt right to me, couldn’t be done in the pool comfortably so I rose from the pool, dripping and completely unconcerned with body-consciousness.

    The midwives attended me like the finest Maitre D’Hotel, anticipating my needs and comfort while remaining inobtrusive, never hindering my volition, and I went through the house in an altered state, scanning the living room, knowing it wasn’t where I wanted to be, then heading up the stairs, pausing several times to push while they trailed behind and under me with cloths spread in case.

    By the top of the stairs, I was barely aware of anything or anyone outside my concentration, and told myself, “just one more is all” with each ferocious gutteral growl and bent-over push, and finally made it to the foot of my bed, where they hastily arranged the exercise mat so I could lean on the cedar chest and kneel on the floor.

    The pushing was quite intense then, and my husband was offering his hand, which I dimly registered as somewhat of a distraction, knowing that he was being led by cultural norms that I was supposed to need him during this time, and that I was being led entirely by instinct, going to a place where no one, not even my husband, could follow or partake in. Solitude was what I needed most, and thankfully, the midwives understood this, and my husband was puzzled yet respectful of that need.

    Someone guided my hand to feel the large, firm, glassy ball of membranes protruding from me, still unbroken. My free arm went around my belly, instinctively lifting and squeezing as I pushed, feeling nearly hoarse by then with the powerful, deep thundering growling and groaning I was doing, which helped. I felt like a mother lion. At one point, I bonked the bridge of my nose on the cedar chest and had a nice red swollen lump like a prizefighter, after, but it barely penetrated my awareness at the time, except to recognize and put aside that sensation in favor of the more important work at hand.

    The first talking I was aware of was my 3 year old daughter squealing “I see the baby’s head!” and that brought my interest forth from Laborland somewhat. Someone was murmuring in wonder about this being an “en caul” birth. (We have some graphic photos of a large baby emerging en caul, for those interested in a rare phenomenon)After that things went faster, and there was some additional intensity when my midwife assisted the nuchal arm out, and very soon after, the rest of my 10 lb, 2 oz, 21 inch, healthy pink son emerged, already striving to push himself along with one foot, still trailing the cord beneath me, and demonstrating a powerful set of lungs!

    No one rushed in between him and me. Still in an altered state, I scooped him up from the pool of amniotic fluid in the Chux pad beneath me, and brought him to my chest, and slowly rose, midwives supporting but still not interfering, and felt very heavy as I lumbered into the bed with him.

    Things are sketchy at that point… I think they helped clear his nose, as I had attempted to nurse him immediately in response to his “very effective cry”. After that, I wasn’t aware of much except my newborn son in my arms… I was mildly surprised that they already had the placenta and were praising it, in the bowl, already, as my sense of time was suspended, but apparently the placenta came fairly quickly.

    At some point came the weighing and measuring, and I wondered why I hadn’t felt the need to cry with joy at the birth, and a little disappointed that I hadn’t, but also realized that I was too tired for that yet, and enjoyed instead, the sense of triumphant accomplishment of my body’s normal function and full range of ability, much like a mountain climber might feel too tired, upon reaching the summit, to stand and holler, but might instead collapse gratefully at the peak, knowing that she DID it! and feeling that more boisterous celebrations could wait.

    My son was, in addition to loud, amazingly alert and aware, with a surprising degree of organization to his motor skills and physical strength, and continued so through his first few months and years. I often wonder if his unusual alertness and abilities would even be unusual, if the majority of babies were also born undrugged and without the disorganizing effects of infant/maternal separation.

    It was only 1:41 in the afternoon, and I had been in active labor only a few hours and pushed for less than an hour, and we all ate turkey and pie, to celebrate the best Early Thanksgiving, ever.

    1. Meg, I love your birth story! Thank you so much for sharing. Your story is so well articulated, so clear and so powerful that it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing. I am so glad you got to experience a homebirth with your second child. In many ways, your story reminded me of my own. I so wish more women–and their families–could have this experience.

      1. Thank you, Nicole!
        I’m very impressed with your work, and have no doubt that as more women feel empowered about their own babies, bodies, and births, and learn about their rights to medical autonomy and bodily integrity, which pregnancy does not abridge, stories like mine will become commonplace enough not to merit comment. For the sake of my daughter and her choices in life, I hope so, and will strive now, to ensure her rights to make her own decisions, are protected as a woman and mother in her own time.

  2. Beautiful birth Nicole. Thanks for sharing. I too saw Jill for my last birth. She is such a caring, beautiful lady. What a blessing to all birthing Mamas to have a woman such as her to assist in that most important of times. My work as a doula leads me to get to work with many women such as her. In fact, she has said that I may be able to accompany her on some births this Spring. I can’t wait. Someday I hope to be a midwife of her caliber.

    1. Jill is such an important part of the midwifery scene in Maine. We are lucky to have her!

      I hope you get to attend some births with her. I went to a prenatal visit with her recently and was impressed by both her wisdom and amazing combo of strength and gentleness. She is also a true professional–in a very relaxing kind of way.

      I hope to be able to film a birth she midwifes at!

      Nicolle

  3. I am loving this site!!

    I had my son, Finn, at home on Halloween morning in 2009 with a great team of midwives/doula supporting me through the entire joyful process. Here’s my story from my blog: http://dluthyceramics.com/blog/?p=477

    And I’m currently 6 months pregnant with baby #2, hoping everything will go smoooothly for a healthy happy home birth again!

    Keep up the great work, Nicolle! If you’d like to come to BC, Canada to film another home birth this August- let me know! 🙂

    1. thanks for your comment, dori, and your interest in at home in maine! your birth with finn looks beautiful–i’m looking forward to reading the story in full.

      hey, i’d love to come to bc to film your birth! just need a special “film your birth” fund to tap into…

      seriously, i am hoping to use the model i’ve developed with at home in maine to extend the project and create a cross-cultural perspective of the homebirth experience. what this translates to is filming homebirths in other countries, including canada. i’ve got some peeps up there in the midwifery community. so, any creative ideas you might have for facilitating this kind of connection and filming births in your neck o’ the woods would be great!

      congrats on your pregnancy with your second babe. i hope you are having a beautiful, healthy experience!

      look forward to staying in touch…

      nicolle

  4. Our first son was born 4 weeks preterm in an easy, calm, and natural hospital birth. We had researched our options thoroughly and prepared a 4-page typed birth plan, complete with a sign for the door of our hospital room which instructed anyone who entered that they must read our birth plan before coming in. The resident OB read it first and laughed, commenting that “It never happens the way you want it to.” but we were about to prove him wrong. We fought really hard to give our son a peaceful passage into the world, in a quiet, dark room, avoiding touch by anyone other than my husband or I unless absolutely necessary. My labor was easy and short, and his birth almost orgasmic. (That same resident OB stopped me in the hallway a few weeks later, while I was returning a rented breast pump, and told me, “I never imagined a birth could be like that, you were amazing, so calm and quiet.”) My husband “caught” our son bare-handed, but not without protest from the attending OB (“He didn’t wear a ‘glove’ to put him in there, he doesn’t need gloves to take him out.” I told the doc). Then, when my husband placed our son on my chest, the OB immediately clamped his cord, in keeping with the typical medical model but against the orders of our birth plan. We knew there had to be a better way.

    Three days later, we met Dr. Sarah Ackerly, a naturopathic physician and certified professional midwife. We had previously arranged the meeting to interview her as a potential pediatrician, but with Rory arriving early, that meeting turned out to be his first appointment. Having been born at 6 pounds, 19 inches, I remember sitting in Sarah’s office with his tiny, yellow, 5 pound, 7 ounce naked body snuggled up to my breast, in front of the window, as the bright October sun came through the glass. She was so very loving, kind, and gentle with him – and us – a stark contrast to the care we had received in the hospital during and immediately following his birth. We knew that we had found our place.

    Two years later, under Sarah’s care, we embarked on our homebirth journey for our second child. Every night as we tucked our son Rory into bed, we talked to him about his early birth and how tiny he was, and we would pray together for our new baby to grow “big, healthy, and strong”. Although the course of my pregnancy was much like that of my first, the care that we received was so very different. Sarah’s approach was respectful of the natural process, and she understood so very well how a mother’s intuition works. She cared for me, for us, as a whole family. We knew we wanted to birth at home on our own terms, and we knew that we didn’t want to fight so hard for that peaceful passage. Yet, it wasn’t until our home visit at 37 weeks that I realized just how peaceful that would really be. As I sat on our bed, in our bedroom of our home, with our midwives going about taking my blood pressure and measuring my belly, I realized just how relaxed I was. It wasn’t really until that moment that I realized all of the other reasons for choosing a homebirth. It was no longer just about avoiding the medical model of a hospital birth, it was about being in our own space, in our own element, the very intimate and familiar and sacred place in which we created this little being.

    On the eve of our “due date”, in the sweat of the late July heat and being quite certain that we had achieved the “big, healthy, and strong” goal of baby-growing, I asked God to help the baby come that night. I repeated that prayer at least a dozen times, then drifted off to sleep. At about 3:30am, the exact time that I had envisioned in the preceding months that my labor would begin, I awoke to a gush. My husband prepared the candles and birth supplies while I took a warm shower. Then he called Sarah, and she arrived a short while later along with our other midwives, Morgan and Maggie. We also placed calls to our parents, requesting that they make the middle-of-the-night journey to bear witness to our birth. As a side note, when I first told my father that we were pregnant, he said, “I prayed every day last month that you would conceive.” My father is not a very religious guy, but we had miscarried a set of multiples before conceiving this baby, and I felt that somehow he had a special connection to the pregnancy. His only first-hand knowledge of birth was that of my own, via c-section, and I knew that I wanted to give him the gift of knowing how birth could – and should – be. My mother had never witnessed a birth before, not even her own c-sections, so it was a very special opportunity for her as well.

    Much like it had been the first time around, my labor was easy and short. As with my first, this baby was also posterior, and having the freedom of movement and natural instinct to guide me I found relief on my hands and knees. Nobody told me that my babies were that way, I just knew. Nobody told me to move like I did, I just knew. Natural labor is a powerful and amazing experience, transforming and euphoric, and our midwives tended to my needs while respecting my body, my baby, and our birth experience.

    Shortly before 7am, with a warm ray of sunshine coming through the window and Rory peering over Daddy’s shoulder, our big, strong, 10 pound, 4-ounce baby made his peaceful passage into the world, and like his brother, was welcomed by Daddy’s warm, bare hands. Surrounded by family, in the quiet intimacy of our master bedroom, exactly as we had dreamt for all those months, Ryder was born. Shortly after my husband announced his gender I announced his name, Robert Caldwell Ryder, after my father, Robert Caldwell. I sat with Ryder snuggled to my breast, and we rested. We didn’t have to tell anyone not to touch him, or not to clamp his cord. We didn’t have to put a sign on the door, or refuse the blinding pharmaceutical eye goop, or wear plastic bracelets. We wrapped him in our own soft, warm blanket and snuggled together, a family of four, in our own familiar bed. In the hours and days that followed, as I recovered from birth and reacquainted myself with nursing and diapering, it felt so very good to be in my own familiar surroundings. It was an easy, peaceful transition to new parenthood for my husband and I, and a smooth transition to siblinghood for our older son. He had the all-important task of cutting his brother’s “belly cord” as he called it (with Sarah’s help) but this time it was an hour after birth, not seconds. The experience of giving birth at home was gentle, full of peace and joy, and respect both of and for the human experience.

    A few days ago we celebrated Ryder’s second birthday. I stood here in our bedroom that morning, a little before 7am, with both of the boys fast asleep on our bed and a warm ray of sunshine peering through the window. There is a special presence here, a familiar feeling of peace and fulfillment and joy that I experienced in the most transformative and yet the most basic act of human existence. In that moment, in this space, together as a couple and a family, we gave our son the gift of a peaceful birth.

  5. My two children were born at home with Open Circle Midwifery and I will be forever grateful for the unbelievable generosity of those women, Robin and Deirdre and Hannah. SUCH care, such support, and such a feeling of comfort AND safety resulted in a confident mama, involved and proud Daddy, and healthy wondrous kids (and some fun stories that will last a lifetime!) I’m of the mind that, given the situation in the US today (culturally, politically, medically) it’s safer to birth in a place of trust and with less risk of interventions that tend to snowball into unwanted scenarios. Since we can achieve this while still maintaining (or exceeding) the levels of “safe” medical care, why would we not choose the homebirth route? Anyway, I’m a huge supporter of homebirth for low-risk pregnancies, and feel fortunate to have had such capable care providers in Open Circle Midwifery. A lot of birth stories, including the birth of my first child, are posted on their site here: http://www.opencirclemidwifery.org/birth-stories/

    1. thank you so much for sharing your story, michelle–and for the huge thumbs up for homebirth! it sounds like you were in good hands with deidre and robin. i’ve worked with robin before and know her to be a professional, warm, compassionate and super-intelligent woman. lucky you! after having a homebirth myself, it’s hard for me to imagine ever doing it another way. it is just such a superior mode of care for mama, baby and her family.

      thanks also for sharing the info about the birth stories on open circle midwifery’s site. birth stories are how women share their wisdom about birth. it was how i learned about birth and how i came to recognize that what i wanted was a homebirth. i’m glad that the internet is making it possible for more women to learn about this choice.

      thanks again for your post!

      nicolle

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