Our path to Toni began when I couldn’t find a doctor who would help me have a VBAC for our third child. I had already decided that I simply would not be having an unnecessary surgery and so it began with simple research into natural and home birth and it ended with a total change of attitude and worldview.
Contractions began at about 11:20 pm on Friday the 11th of February. Contractions were about 8 minutes apart at the beginning and I was only feeling them in my back and wondered if maybe it was just the 5-W prep herbs I was taking causing some light contractions… but in only a couple hours they had progressed to just 3-4 minutes apart and about 45 seconds long. The contractions were intense enough to wake me up and quite painful while lying in bed–so I piddled around the house until 2:30am when I decided I needed my husband’s coaching. We didn’t have a chance to take a Bradley course and were relying entirely upon Toni and what we had read in books. At this time I called my parents to get them headed over and I called Toni. After the phone calls I had started to feel like I should have called people sooner cause my parents had to travel 2 hours to get there and they were supposed to help with our other two children while we birthed… and Toni lived about 45 minutes away and she needed time to wake up. Not surprisingly though, everyone arrived quickly and in plenty of time for some chats while I labored away.
This was our first home birth and wasn’t sure what I’d like to do while laboring or any of that and it was nice to have the security of my home to do whatever I pleased. I just walked around and moaned with each contraction while everyone set things up in the bedroom for delivery. I took a couple showers and that felt nice… At one point I tried to fill the bath, but was out of hot water and didn’t really want to boil anything so I just gave up on that and stayed on dry land. I was getting discouraged through all this (although not telling anyone of my doubts) because my contractions never seemed to get any closer than 3 and 4 minutes apart… and they never seemed to last longer than about 45 seconds. I thought it was never going to happen, like it should be getting harder. I had Toni check my dilation and effacement and, happily, I was at about 9cm with just a tiny little lip… I didn’t think I was anywhere near that! After this, I began to feel a little more hopeful. We ended up using the birth stool and although I never really felt a strong urge to push, it certainly felt much better when I decided to give it a try. Toni’s coaching and suggestions were so helpful and her guidance was indispensible.
The entire pain of labor was in my lower back. I never even once felt tightening in my stomach… it was very strange. I pushed a few times and it seemed as though nothing was happening, but very quickly there was intense burning and then Olivia was here. She was born around 10:30 Saturday morning. She went straight into my arms and my husband and I instantly knew that we would never choose to birth in a hospital with a doctor again.
Unfortunately, I had neglected to do proper perineum preparation and required some stitching which Toni took care of quite effectively. But other than that, everything went just perfectly. I really loved that during my prenatal care, that only herbs were mentioned to help anything I was having trouble with such as constipation or anemia. Toni’s care and skills as a midwife are something that you just won’t get in a doctor’s office or hospital.
After it was all over, I was in shock that I had been able to do something like this. My mother had birthed my brother at home, but after several years working in and studying medicine, my mindset just refused to let me fully embrace the fact that homebirth with a midwife is more natural than anything. It took time for me to let go of the assumption that prenatal appointments were supposed to be short, rushed, and impersonal. Thankfully, I was able to finally let myself make a real connection with Toni and that relationship is truly what made our homebirth so comfortable. We have such faith and trust in Toni and her talent and hope that we will still be living close for the birth of our next child so that we can meet with Toni again.
Since the birth I have felt more like a mother and more like a woman. I feel empowered and strong after having accomplished something so special. This homebirth gave us the option to choose how we wanted things to go and to chose what treatments we wanted and which ones we didn’t. It was such a relief not to be told by a stranger what was going to happen, how things would go and to be treated like the next product on the assembly line.
The only thing I would change about the birth—is that I would have made it our first instead of our third. I wish I had been of the mind to have given something so special to each of our children, but at the same time I’m thankful that we found Toni and that we were able to finally begin our homebirth saga.