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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Home Birth

Seven weeks have passed since the home birth of my second child. After two days of 10 minute contractions, my midwife, Misty Ward, calmly mentioned that my mine was officially a “dysfunctional” labor. I was already 2 weeks passed my due date. I had just had an ultrasound completed to check baby and placenta health and amniotic fluid levels when contractions began. 24 hours later, Misty drove the hour to my house to check my progress and found I was 3 centimeters dilated.

Progress seemed promising and yet by day two, alternative methods of moving things along seemed needed. It started with 1 ounce of castor oil. After 30 minutes, I moved on to 15 minute intervals of taking cotton tree root and the homeopathic versions of blue cohash, and black cohash. I was a bit skeptical, but followed the regimen for 2 hours. At that time my contractions had moved to 5 minutes apart. Misty decided to head out to the house again. How grateful I was, because shortly after my phone call with her, contractions became 2-3 minutes apart and by the time she got here, I was ready to get in the birthing tub and start that age old tortured process of pushing.  Long story short – Jabel Alexander was born a healthy 9lbs 2 oz and 22 ½ inches long.

This particular birth got me thinking about all the people who have told me that they couldn’t have had a home birth because of different complications. I read something like 85% of births need no medical intervention. I would be surprised if 2 in 10 mothers I have talked to who had hospital births had no intervention. The rate of cesareans in the United States is around 33%. In the western world we have one of the highest infant fatality rates and also one of the highest intervention rates.

If I had had an OB/GYN attending my birth, there would surely have been some “necessary” medical intervention; My late date would have required labor to have been induced chemically; My long labor would likely have ended with a cesarean; The weight of my baby may well have resulted in numerous blood sugar tests being administered. And yet, here I sit, holding a beautiful healthy baby boy, and I know that our decision to have our baby, without medical intervention, is one that I wouldn’t change for the world.


  1. Bravo! Love this post! I would so love to have a home birth! wish I could redo Ayden's birth although everything went well with no one getting in the middle of things ;o)So glad you started a blog! :oD

  2. You have two beautiful, health and happy children; that's so important!

  3. What a great blog, Shannon! I too chose to have a home birth. Unfortunately, my amniotic fluid started leaking (2 weeks prior to due date) and Texas law requires the baby to be out within 24 hours. I did all I could to get the birth started, but had to give in and go to the hospital to get induced:( It was absolutely the last place I wanted to be. Fortunately, my midwife took me to a hospital with midwifes on staff, which I am sure saved me from a c-section. The pushing stage took 3.5 hours, 1 hour more than a doctor allows. I hope, if I am blessed with another child, that next time will be different.

  4. Helen, thanks for sharing your experience! That final week before labor I was just waiting to be told by my midwife that I needed to go to the hospital. I think I tried every suggested natural method to start labor including a bumpy truck ride and cooking some famous eggplant parmesan recipe. I was desperate! I'm so glad you were able to avoid c-section and you and your baby are healthy. Congratulations!