Marisa, a 5.0 Bump Squad Mama, finally gets the home birth of her dreams — with her third baby.
When I had Torin, it was my third planned home birth. I’ve had quite the experiences when it comes to my births, so I was excited to ground down, and really live the vision I had intentionally set for this third birth.
My first birth was a home water birth but I was transferred to the hospital immediately for a postpartum hemorrhage. Postpartum was pretty brutal. Two blood transfusions, a 2nd degree tear, breastfeeding and latching struggles, a brain MRI to rule out Sheehan’s Syndrome, and finally, realizing I had retained placenta 8 weeks postpartum left me feeling pretty defeated. Luckily, it wouldn’t be long before I got to try again when we found out I was pregnant with our second!
We planned another home birth, and I took a Hypnobabies birth course (highly recommend) to help elevate my mindset around childbirth. Then at 37 weeks my water broke and I didn’t go into labor. Like, zero contractions. So after 2 bottles of castor oil and a ton of homeopathic remedies, it was time to head to the hospital — because in the state of Florida, you have to transfer to a hospital 24 hours after your water breaks if there is no sign of labor.
The doctors were great, the on call doctor actually asked me “What do YOU want?” And I literally almost started crying. I was put on Pitocin and nearly 19 hours later I caught my second son while the doctor was running down the hallway — I really wanted to catch my own baby so this was literally the best case scenario for me!
Despite being transferred twice after planning a home birth, I decided that we were going to give it another go! Crazy, I know. I re-did my Hypnobabies course, I sought out counseling to heal my old birth stories, and I created a safe, aligned vision for my birth. I created birth affirmation cards to look at during birth. There were so many pivotal birth professionals I utilized that made a world of difference — I saw my chiropractor, acupuncturist, pelvic floor physical therapist all throughout pregnancy (and many on the day I gave birth!).
The day I went into labor, I felt intense, consistent contractions (seriously, 40-50 seconds long at 3-5 minutes apart) but it wasn’t progressing. I saw my chiropractor, ate a spicy breakfast burrito, had my hair braided by a friend, and went to see an acupuncturist to see if we couldn’t get labor to progress or at least let up so I could get some relief. When I got home I did a maneuver from Spinning Babies and felt a huge shift in baby’s position. I called the midwife and laid down for a nap.
At around 6pm or so the midwife came and I was having pretty significant contractions. I was dilated 5 cm (I wanted the data so I asked, even though it isn’t necessary) so I asked Jeremy to fill up the tub because momma needed some relief if I was going to be laboring for a while. The tub was filled up around 7:30-8pm and I slid in — It was the most glorious feeling ever. Our big boys were asleep so I just grounded down in the tub and had my birth photographer read me birth affirmations during each surge. My sibling doula showed up just in case the boys needed anything. It was game time.
I was smiling and chatting with my birth crew (Jeremy, my mom, two midwives, a birth photographer, and my sweet friend and sibling doula, Liza) when one of the boys started crying. Liza took point and snuggled him in his bedroom. Shortly after, I felt a weird “pop” and knew my water had broken. I felt baby’s head in the birth canal (yup, I checked) and in the next two contractions he was in my arms. No pushing, just an involuntary release. It’s definitely not a sensation one can fight. My body and this baby worked in perfect harmony and it was pure magic.
We didn’t know the sex of the baby (sex, because gender is a social construct) so that was the most fun surprise getting to find out on my own! I delivered the placenta in the birth tub and was able to get out and lay down in my own bed. My birth photographer ran out to get me sushi for my first meal postpartum (yuuuuum), and my midwives assisted in a post-baby shower! It was glorious. We nursed, I ate sushi, and my brother (who had been recently exposed to COVID-19) met the baby through our bedroom window!
It was a beautiful, magical, and transformational experience. I couldn’t have envisioned it any other way.
I did have to go to the emergency room and was admitted for an infection about 4 days postpartum. After a crazy amount of antibiotics and 24 hours without my newborn baby I was able to go home. That experience gave me the gift of empathy during this COVID-19 pandemic. My partner couldn’t come with me, the baby couldn’t come with me. I had to pump and we had to supplement with formula while I was away. It was hard and sad. Yet, I’m so thankful for emergency medical intervention when necessary. My heart goes out to all the mama’s who are giving birth in hospitals without birth support, who have been separated from their babies due to COVID.
I’m so grateful for all of my birth experiences. They have given me the gift of empathy, strength, and trust in myself. I know I am the best advocate for myself and my baby. And even when things don’t go as planned, I know that it is all happening for me.
Looking for more? Follow Marissa on Instagram here.