Paul and I are so excited to have Asher here! After 39 weeks of preparing for his arrival I was honestly excited to begin labor. I don’t think I started this pregnancy journey wanting anything extraordinary. I knew I wanted to have a healthy baby and avoid as many unnecessary procedures throughout my pregnancy and birth as I could. Little did I know what this journey would start…after countless hours of research we decided a hospital birth was the last thing we wanted. Not that I am saying a hospital birth is necessarily a bad thing, it has its place. However, I do not believe that the majority of births REQUIRE a hospital. In our case a hospital was not required. Nor were many of the procedures routinely done in a hospital. That is right, Asher hasn’t had an APGAR test, any shots, eye drops, been circumcised, or been taken away from us since he was born. Guess what, our baby is happy (except for diaper changing time), healthy, and a great eater. He was born at home. There were no doctors, bright lights, or loud noises. In fact my labor was exactly what Paul and I wanted. From talking to other mommies this seems to be rare. Some don’t seem to know there are other options, some are afraid of the going outside of the hospital, or trying anything different and very few are genuinely happy about their birthing experience. So while I understand this may not be what everyone wants, here is Asher’s birth story. For us, it was perfect.
11:00pm Sunday: I had been so sleepy all day, and had been having light contractions the past 2 days. It turns out my body was indeed getting ready for labor, my water broke when we were about to go to bed. I was beyond excited; finally the day I had been waiting for was here! I fully expected Asher to be born Monday. We called our doula, at that time my contractions were about 6 minutes apart. She decided it would be best to wait until the morning to come to our house with the midwife. Paul set up the birthing tub before we went to bed.
I slept as much as I could, but between contractions and excitement it wasn’t much.
7:30am Monday: Mi-Yeon (our doula) and Danica (our midwife) arrived at our house. My contractions were about once every 3-4 minutes. Paul and Mi-Yeon filled the tub and I got in, convinced it would only be a matter of hours before Asher was born! You cannot imagine how disappointed I was when Danica told me I was only 2 cm dilated. The good news was Asher was low and my cervix had thinned. Now I just had to wait for it to dilate, that couldn’t take too long right?
After about 30 minutes in the tub I got out so labor wouldn’t slow too much. The next day is so much of a blur. I had no sense of time. I tried to sleep but my contractions kept coming pretty regularly. Monday afternoon Mi-Yeon and Danica decided I needed to go outside and walk to see if that would speed labor up some. The contractions had slowed to once every 5 minutes. This was the most difficult walk I have ever taken. I felt like running a marathon would have been easier than trying to go on a walk while I was in labor. It was really a beautiful sunny day so we walked along the hiking trail behind our house. It has a pretty steep hill and when I got to the top I felt Asher drop even further, all I could do was sit down on my knees. I didn’t feel like my hips could stand the pressure anymore! All I wanted was to be back in the tub and be warm. Unfortunately, by the time we got home the water had cooled down to much so instead I opted for the shower when I got back. The water was so relaxing! Paul got into his swimsuit and stood in the shower with me for what I can only guess was about 30 minutes. The rest of the night I felt a very intense pressure on my hips. I had only dilated to 3 cm so it wasn’t nearly close enough to push. Thankfully Mi-Yeon shared a secret with me: 1-5 cm takes the longest after 6 cm it goes quickly and Danica said at 9 cm I could start pushing. I cannot tell you how much I needed to hear that! I had a goal, and I was over half-way to the almost done part. I spent the next few hours lying on the couch trying to watch any funny TV show we could find. This is the part of my labor I don’t know if I would have gotten through without my doula. The pressure during contractions had moved to my lower back, for the next 5 hours, whenever I had a contraction Mi-Yeon would rub that part of my back and help me breathe through the contraction. I don’t remember a lot during this part of my labor, it was the most difficult part and is mostly a blur. I was having trouble keeping much down. Danica and Mi-Yeon would feed me chocolates and ice because I couldn’t stand the thought of eating anything else and I drank a lot of coconut water to stay hydrated. Unfortunately, only about half of it stayed down so I did ask for an IV. I am so thankful I was not in a hospital and Danica only left the IV in for about 30 minutes. While it was in I had to stay lying down and if that was how I would have had to spend my whole labor I don’t think it would have been a natural birth. Once she took the IV out I was able to labor leaning on the couch rocking my hips which felt good, at least for a while. I think it was about an hour later that I was able to get back into the tub. The water felt so good, there wasn’t nearly as much pressure and I was able to relax better through contractions. I was finally able to start pushing!!! Pushing felt good. I didn’t feel like I could push as well as I needed to in the water, and I was exhausted so I moved to the bed to try and rest. My bed had never felt so comfortable. I dozed in and out of sleep between contractions for 20 or so minutes. It was what I needed though, and when I got up I told the midwife I was ready to push again. I pushed in bed for a few contractions and then moved to the bathroom. I found it easiest to push while I sat on the toilet. I had two very strong (not painful at all, but just an overwhelming urge) sensations to push and Asher had crowned! They wanted me to move to the living room but just standing up was enough so I ended up on my hands and knees on the bathroom floor. I was able to see and feel his head, and it was so amazing to think in a few more pushes I would be holding my baby! Once his head was born it was very difficult not to push so he would be born slowly, but it was so worth it since I didn’t have any tearing.
moved from the bathroom to the bedroom once Asher was born. There I was able to lay in my bed and admire my precious baby! I had been seeing Dr. Chung throughout my pregnancy and I was thrilled to find out he had driven all the way up to our house (about a 1.5 hour drive) to check on Asher and me! After a couple of hours everyone left and we were all able to get some great rest. I feel like having Asher at home helped us to adjust to life with him.
Now, less than two weeks later I am going back to the gym, Paul has taken to being a dad, Izzy is back to sleeping (only getting up on occasion to check on Asher). Life is great! I can't imagine Asher not being here.