I figured I should start this blog off by first introducing myself. My name is Stefanie Weber. I am the mother of two beautiful amazing little boys! I have to say that I have definitely come a long way as a mother. My first is now 7 and I was 23 when he was born. I was in the US Navy at the time and I questioned nothing. I did what was told and followed societies norms. I will say that I had little sparks of who I am today shine through back then. In the Navy, I had the option of a group of OB/Gyn’s providing my prenatal care or a single midwife. I opted for the midwife. I also believed whole heartedly in breastfeeding. I gave myself no other option. However, beyond that, I was the typical American woman. The idea of a birth outside of a hospital, without medical equipment, without the watchful eyes of those who are “experts”, was not even a thought in my mind. An epidural was the only “sane” way to go, saying to myself that I will go as long as I can, but for sure want the epi when things get intense. And circumcision was not even open for discussion. My son was going to be circumcised because isn’t every male? I was young and naive and ignorant.
Now I don’t want anyone to think that the birth of my first son was negative. The day he was born was amazing in all aspects. My water broke at 6:30 pm at home on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. Being a FTM, I didn’t know any better, so I went straight to the Naval hospital. My first contraction (cx) was at 7:30 pm. I was hooked up to machines and an IV. I asked for my epi when cx became unbearable and received that at 11:45pm. After that, I was able to go to rest and get some sleep. At about 4 am on Thursday morning, June 23rd, I felt the urge to have a bowel movement (as all moms know, that’s the sign of it being time to push). I pushed for 12 minutes and at 4:25 am, out came my perfect 6lb 14oz baby boy, Maddox Stephen! He latched on right away and there were no complications. We spent 24 hours in the hospital with him never leaving my side, except to be circumcised of course. And that was that. The midwife said I had “text book” labor. I had a great experience with no issues and for years I thought, “What more could a girl ask for?”.
Fast forward 6 years later, I was 29 when I became pregnant with my second child. I was no longer in the military and really had all the options available to me. In those 6 years since having my first child, I had noticed a trend. That almost everyone having babies around me were having cesarean sections. I felt like no one was “giving birth”, they were just cooking the baby and then on a specified date, having the baby surgically removed.
Now I know, a lot of people will argue that it was an “emergency”. For the sake of today’s post, I will spare you all of the statistics and what makes such emergency c-sections emergencies in the first place and save that for another post. Honestly, I can’t remember what was my push to even start researching. I just remember that once I did, it was like a snowball effect. One article would send me on a quest for another. I researched the hospital I was going to be giving birth at’s statistics and was shocked to see their csection rate was 42%!!!!! I then started researching other options for my birth place and looked them up in my insurance network. I started reading natural birth advocate websites and really learned about this growing problem in the US of labor and delivery. I really started opening up to the idea of having this baby out of the hospital. I remember mentioning it to my partner and how at first he thought I was a little crazy, lol. I find it funny because I see how far he came. I asked him to watch “The Business of Being Born” with me. Before people jump down my throat, I am very aware that the documentary is biased and one sided, however, it did open my eyes to how strong I really am and that I CAN do this. And in my opinion, I couldn’t deny that there is something wrong with the “baby business” we have in this country. After that, my partner was on board 100%. He supported my desire completely. So we interviewed the closest birth center in my network, Heart2Heart Birth Center, and decided that we were going to go against the norm. We were having our baby in a birth center!!! Now, I can’t say that i wasn’t scared or didn’t doubt myself. I am a product of my environment just like everyone else. I was nervous. But I also knew that women have been giving birth for centuries before western medicine started getting involved. So I thought, if they could do it, so could I.
The fact that I had already experienced one birth, I did learn how important a birth class was. With my first, I opted to just “wing it” because I really didn’t know what I was in for. This time, I KNEW I needed to learn coping techniques and not that ridiculous breathing/panting technique showed on TV. So I started researching birthing classes. I was looking into Hypnobabies, HypnoBirthing, or The Bradley Method. After careful consideration, I decided on The Bradley Method. Only reason being, it’s focus on your husband/partner/birth coach, whoever it may be. I believed for me, that if I was going to do this, I was going to need that person outside of my head and body to support me and if my partner wasn’t prepared then there is no way he was going to help me. Now price wise, I was leaning towards the other two, but in the end I wanted to get a natural birth out of it and I just believed that the Bradley Method would get me there. I let my partner know what I wanted to do and again, he was totally on board. I am truly blessed to have such a supportive partner!!! So we took our 12 week Bradley class, the best $400 we ever spent!! It prepared us for what was to come on the most exciting day of our lives!!
On Mothers Day, May 13, 2012, at 3 am, I woke up because my water broke. I woke daddy up to let him know that it had begun!!! He called my midwife to let her know. She told me to try to go back to bed because it could be 24-48 hours from then. So I tried to lay down but I was so pumped and excited, this mama was not going to sleep! About 30 min after my water breaking I had my first cx. Now the birth center had a 5-1-1 rule. You go to the birth center when you have cx that are 5 min or less apart, lasting for at least 1 min, and for this to be going on for 1 whole hour. So Daddy started his cx app to start timing (got to love the iPhone). I also called my parents to let them know since they were going to be coming over to be with Maddox. So as soon as my cx started, they were lasting about 30 sec but were coming on every 5 min or so. Since I couldn’t sleep I ate a sandwich and drank a gatorade. I hopped in the shower and took a nice, relaxing, hot shower. After I finished my shower, I rocked on my birth ball. During this time, I continued to have cx and I was informing Daddy every time one would start and end. He soon noticed that my cx had been about every 5 min for an hour, but most were not lasting a whole minute. I was also completely calm and relaxed during every cx. Nothing was intense… Yet! The midwife said that they need to be at least a minute long and again for me to try to go back to bed. I decided I wanted my parents to get to our house sooner rather than later, just in case… Best decision I ever made!!! Once they got there, I was still fine. I was able to talk to them in a normal conversation. I did have to pause during cx, but again, nothing unbearable.
Daddy and I soon decided to go for a walk with our fur baby, Gage (our chocolate lab). We made it 2 houses down and I had already had two cx that were gaining intensity. I had to stop and do the baby dance for each one. We decided to go back. When we got back, I went into the bathroom and had the strongest cx up to that point!! I couldn’t even let Daddy know it had started. I came out of the bathroom and told him. I got on the bed and another one began. This one was crazy intense and the only position comfortable was on all fours. This cx wouldn’t stop. Daddy kept asking me if it was over. He soon realized that this was not a normal cx when we started hitting the 9 min mark so he called the midwife again.
At this point, I became disconnected from my surroundings. Half way through this cx, the sensation went from the discomfort of a cx to my baby descending! My body was pushing and my baby was coming!!!! Right now!!!! On our king bed!! I told Daddy this. I told him to take my pants off because our baby was coming! He took them off and said that the midwife said it was just pressure and that we needed to get in the car to go to the birth center (Later I found out that was a lie. She really said she had never heard of someone having a 9 min cx and to get there immediately.) I told him we weren’t going to make it. My body was pushing and I couldn’t stop it!!! He basically carried me to our Chevy Tahoo and got me in the front seat. I could not sit due to the fact that it was extremely uncomfortable since my baby was descending and was basically right there. So I sat on my knees facing the drivers seat. The ride there was a complete blur. Every time I would have a cx, I would bend over to a more all fours position. I had about 3 cx in about 15 min when I began to feel a new sensation. I reached down with both hands and to my surprise, I was touching my little Cash Ronan’s head crowning! I said, “Baby, he’s right here. I can feel him!” I quickly changed positions to a squat so daddy, who was still driving, could see. He was shocked and within seconds I had my next cx. With this cx, my body pushed Cash out right onto the front passenger seat of our Tahoo!!! Daddy was able to reach out and stop him with one hand so he didn’t fall to the floor of the car.
That was it!! I was done!! Cash Ronan was born at 6:15am!!! Only 3 hours after me waking up to my water breaking. I quickly picked him up and immediately attached him to my breast where he began to nurse perfectly! We continued to drive the rest of the way to the birth center which was about 15 minutes away. When we got there, the midwife was waiting outside for us. She clamped the cord while we stayed in the car and Daddy cut the cord! He took Cash while I climbed out of the front seat. Once inside, I got positioned on the bed, with Cash reattached to my breast and within 15 min, I had delivered the placenta. Cash was 8lbs 1oz, 20″ long. I had no tearing with absolutely no issues. After relaxing, eating breakfast, and having my Bradley orange juice, we were released to go home. We walked baby Cash in the front of our home at 11:30am!!!
This birth by far was easier and faster than my first. I tore with my first who was a smaller baby. I truly believe the speed of Cash’s delivery and the lack of tearing was due to the fact that from the time my labor started, I was moving!!!! Up and walking or bouncing on my ball. Also, the entire 2nd stage of labor was either on all fours or squating. Both positions allow gravity to work with me vs against me as it does in the laying down position. So with Maddox, even though he was a smaller baby, my body had to work harder to get him out!!! Causing my body to strain and tear. One would think a medicated birth with pain meds would be by far easier than an unmedicated, crazy woman birth… But from personal experience, my drug free birth was cake compared to my hospital birth. And above all, my unmedicated natural birth gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment and empowerment any women could ask for!!! Whenever I doubt myself, I now say, ” Stefanie, if you can give birth to your child without assistance from drugs or a medical staff, you can do this!!”. It is by far my greatest accomplishment and I will never step foot in a OB/gyn office or hospital to have a baby again unless of course there truly is a medical need to do so. In fact, I decided that the next one, we might as well just stay home…
So here I am today…. A baby wearing, breastfeeding, cosleeping, cloth diapering, AP, natural birth Mom!