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Sarah Shahi: How I Handled My Home Birth

03/10/2010 at 06:00 PM ET

Courtesy Life & Style for use on CBB

There was no last-minute bag packing or rushing to the hospital for Sarah Shahi when she went into labor last July. Instead, after realizing that her water had broken, the actress grabbed her purse and her husband and headed out to enjoy their last day as a pair.

“I told my husband [Steve Howey], ‘I want to go, I don’t want to sit around and wait for the labor,’” she tells the February issue of Pregnancy.

After stopping for breakfast, Sarah got the urge to shop. “I was having contractions as I was walking through the shoe department,” she laughs.

“And then we went to American Apparel and we went to the liquor store — I bought a bottle of brandy.”

Calling it a day around 4 p.m., the couple returned home to begin to prepare for the arrival of their baby boy.

“I had a home birth because I really believe in the body’s natural ability to give birth. The medical profession has kind of warped women’s minds into thinking we don’t know how to birth and we need doctors and epidurals and Pitocin,” she explains.

Determined to welcome her son into “the world in a really loving, peaceful, warm environment that we were all very familiar with,” Sarah opted for a water birth assisted by a midwife.

Amidst tunes from Bob Marley and Frank Sinatra, as well as Salt-n-Pepa‘s “Push It,” the former Life star’s vision was fulfilled when William Wolf was born.

“The lights were dim and we had the heater going, so it was nice and warm,” she recalls. “[He] came out into a tub of water and then my husband brought him up for air,” she shares.

As for the new mom, a few extra minutes were needed to completely comprehend the experience.

“I was kind of shell-shocked when he came out. I was like, ‘What the f–k just happened? Oh my God, what do I do?’ And my midwife said, ‘Sarah, you need to turn around and hold your baby.’ It was much easier when he was in my belly.”

Click below for what Sarah wishes someone had told her about delivery and why diaper changes are “epic.”

While Sarah is quick to point out that she wishes someone had mentioned “that it feels like the baby is going to come out of your butt” — a part of the birth she calls a “shocker” — the new mom says the entire experience left her with a sense of utter happiness.

“I never thought I would be one of those wacky chicks who say, ‘I loved my labor,’ but I loved every part of it,” she reveals. “It was the best day of my life.”

The first few months with baby boy, however, were not as peaceful. Up with Wolf “every 60 to 90 minutes to feed him,” Sarah couldn’t help but think, “This is torture in some countries — sleep deprivation!”

Despite the lack of shuteye, the new mom says she would do it again just to see her son, now 8 months, smile.

“Every time he would … do something that would show off a bit of his personality, it was all worth it,” she notes.

“Everything he does is just epic to me. When he poops, I’m like, ‘Yay, you pooped!’ I never thought I’d be so excited about poop, but I am.”

And while the world of dirty diapers and feedings is still new to her, there is no looking back for Sarah.

“I can’t remember my life before Wolf. I look at him and my heart completely skips a beat and melts and time stops and all that stuff,” she raves.

Source: Pregnancy; February issue

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Showing 70 comments

paige procknow on

awww! i love her and steve! they are so cute together!

I♥CBB on

I’m really happy for her! From the context in the interview her and Steve seem to still be together which makes me VERY HAPPY! I ♥ Sarah! She’s so pretty! :)

meghan on

“Push It”! Ha! Love it!!

m-dot on

I dont know her, but nice story. I’d like to do a water birth this summer, so I find this encouraging. =)

Jessicad on

That was a cute story! That’s exactly how I felt right after I pushed my daughter out. I was in shock and just had the craziest thing happen and everyone else was acting as if nothing had happened! :)

Selena on

How wonderful to read about more women choosing home birth! I have had 2 water births (both at home with a midwife). Being from Southern California, where many women are ‘scheduling’ their births with planned c-sections, I am definitely in the minority. Home birth is not something that ‘only hippies are doing’. Kudos to CBB and Sarah for talking about birth for what it is – normal.

Des on

Very cool! I’m LOL about Push It. HAHA

(Another Southern Cali home waterbirther here too!)

fuzibuni on

yey! i love birth stories.
Giving birth is such an amazing event, but we rarely get to hear the details. Usually it’s just an announcement that the baby has been born. but I love to know how the experience was. the more women talk about this, the more knowledgeable and empowered we become. go ladies!

Stephany on

I love Sarah and this was such a great interview!

Sarah on

Awesome! I also had a homebirth with my son and how she describes her birth made me laugh because I can relate so well!
I didn’t realize it would feel like the baby came out your butt either LOL

Great interview ;)

honeybear on

Sorry, but although a homebirth is some women’s preference, it isn’t for everyone. Some people like the safety of knowing a doctor is close by in case of a problem in either mom or baby. I would have died had I tried to deliver my son at home, so I am thankful I chose a hospital for this experience and it didn’t make my experience any less satisfying.

Jaclyn on

Another homebirthing Mama here! Loving that it seems to becoming more openly discussed here in North America – we’re joining the rest of the world and hopefully their better statistics will soon become ours as well.

Laura on

honeybear,

That’s something that I hear said quite frequently (“I would have died had I tried to deliver my son at home”) and I’m always curious for more info. Because it’s true that there are high-risk women who should not birth at home, but for low-risk women, all the data show it to be just as safe, if not safer, than at home. In other words, tens of thousands of women deliver safely at home every year and we are not seeing any statistics showing that more babies are lost that way. Probably because midwives are way more trained to handle emergencies than most people realize (and also that an overwhelming number of emergency complications are iatrogenic – doctor caused – such as when babies “almost die” following Pitocin or other interventions that a woman birthing at home would never have been subject to in the first place).

You certainly don’t need to tell us all the gory details of your experience, and I’m not denying that some women truly medically needed a hospital birth for life/death reasons; I’m just noting, for the benefit of everyone else reading, that it cannot simply be true for every single time I have heard someone say it, or else the statistics would not be as stellar as they are (I once heard someone claim that if their baby was born at home, he would have died, and when elaborated upon, they explained that the cord was around his neck, which they viewed as an obstetric emergency. I had to gently explain that the cord is around the neck in around 30% of births and is something that any midwife knows how to handle).

Some people also don’t realize that the majority of licensed midwives carry oxygen, emergency anti-hemorrhagic meds, and a variety of other safety equipment. Babies born to low-risk mothers *who are not unnecesarily intervened with throughout their labors* have exceedingly low complication rates. And the majority of those complications are a) picked up in plenty of time to arrange a transport or b) managed safely at home, sometimes by things at simple as hydration and change of position.

The babies that have crash fetal heart rate patterns and the like that absolutely require immediate cesarean (think prolapsed cord) are so incredibly rare that no matter where it happens, you are in danger. Most everything else (heart decelerations, dehydration, spiking blood pressure, etc) gives you the benefit of planning-ahead time, at least a bit of it. It’s really not much different than living in a rural area that does not have a 24-hr staffed OR. In those cases, they all work around a 30 minute “decision to incision” criteria for cesareans, similar for how long it would take to transfer a homebirth mom in to a hospital for surgery if the circumstances warranted.

I just hate to see homebirth assumed to be less safe than it is.

katiedear on

I’m glad to hear this fabulous story of her homebirth. As my husband and I are trying to get pregnant, it’s nice to hear such positive birth stories in general – whether they’re home or hospital births.

mamabear on

honeybear, i’m curious as to where it was mentioned that she said homebirths are for everyone.

MontanaMomma on

Thank you Laura #13 for sharing great information about home birth. Those that have experienced home birth first-hand know these facts, but I think there is a huge amount of misinformation out there about birthing at home with a qualified midwife. A lot of that misinformation is propagated by the medical community, unfortunately.

Thank you to CBB too, for being so pro-birth with this post and the one about Gisele Bundchen’s birth experience. We need more of these kinds of stories.

I have had two c-sections and one successful home VBAC. The first and third were both attempted home births that resulted in non-emergency hospital transport and c-sections. My first and third were both presenting asynclitic and their head circumference was very large. I am a small-framed woman, with a smaller pelvic outlet, so perhaps in the days of past I may not have made it. There is a place for cesarean and I am very glad the hospital was there to help me.

My second daughter was an average size (7 lb. 8 oz.) and entered the world after a completely textbook (and very fulfilling/empowering) labor. My local hospital wanted to deny me that experience. The hospital was actually my first choice, however, upon hearing of their VBAC ban, I decided to pursue a home birth. I guess my point is that home birth, when under the care of a qualified midwife is every bit as safe (if not more so in some cases) than a hospital birth, even in situations where hospital transport is necessary.

No way do I believe that home birth is for everyone, but the important part is that we as women have the correct information and CHOICES!

MontanaMomma on

I wrote this in response to a post about Gisele Bundchen’s birthing experience and thought it applied somewhat regarding birth choices, home birth, etc. I know it’s long, and please just skip over if you aren’t inclined! :)

What I want to know is why we tear a woman apart for expressing joy in her birthing experience, yet when a woman has a horrendous birth, we are more than willing to commiserate and empathize? Why can’t we match her jubilation? I think it is rooted very deeply in what birth has become in our culture. More woman can identify with the train wreck birth story than can with a joyous and non-traumatic birth. A pain free birth is virtually unheard of and looked upon with suspicion, where medical intervention and LOTS of pain is accepted as normal.

So many woman are robbed of their potential birthing experience, the full magnitude of emotions, natural body-produced endorphins & hormones (as Dr. Michel Odent puts it, the “love cocktail”). I believe the reaction that Gisele has received in past posts regarding her birth story is a direct result of many of us wishing we could have her experience. Birth will fundamentally change a woman, whether we like it or not. It is something we carry with us in a primal way and it’s no wonder there are such strong reactions regarding something so out of the ordinary as Gisele’s experience.

Who wouldn’t want a pain free natural childbirth where one felt strong and empowered and full of joy? I mean, really…who wouldn’t want that!? Yes, it’s true that women experience birth differently and some of us experience it as excruciating, while others do not even realize they are in labor, however, attitude and CHOICES play key roles in an optimal birth experience. In the United States we generally have a lot of fear and an attitude of escapism regarding birth and our choices are severely limited in the mainstream hospital setting. There are way too many practicing OB doctors that are not open-minded about un-managed birth, let alone homebirth, VBAC, vaginal delivery of breech and twins, etc. Scaring and scarring woman is practically the name of the game.

If we want to improve our situation as birthing women, both in the United States, and all over the world, we need to support one another and celebrate really awesome experiences like Gisele’s and get the word out far and wide that it is possible. We cannot control every aspect of birth. Genetics and your baby have a definite influence, but we can affect attitude, how we take care of our bodies and minds, and increase birthing choices and options. Knowledge is power!

Sarah on

Exactly Laura! Well written :)
I was deemed high risk by the Hospital for multiple miscarriages including one in 2nd trimester. The Hospital midwives would not work with me because I had high blood pressure and previous losses.
I was dumped onto a regular Dr which I did NOT want. I was sent to a Specialist for close watch during my pregnancy as well.. eventually I just backed out and switched to a midwife, I explained my history and she still took me on. We had plenty of things come up, too much fluid, high blood pressure, early labor symptoms but everything was just fine =)
The baby did need to be given oxygen when he was born because he inhaled fluids and was not responding or breathing but my Midwife had oxygen on her and after some scary moments all was well and he finally breathed on his own. I would do it in a heart beat again!
I have such a great relationship with my midwife and you just don’t get that at the Hospital.. in fact, she is coming for lunch this week to visit the baby & I =)

Sadyekins on

I am happy to hear about more and more homebirths, and how more women are looking at that as an option. I am currently pregnant with my second child, and I am considered a low-risk pregnancy. I had my daughter in a hospital, and the second time around I swore I was going to go a water birth. Unfortunately after looking into some options it is not in the cards financially as we would have to pay everything up front and then get reimbursed by our insurance.

But I am happy to hear about another successful home birth!

True on

i gave birth in hospital, the “natural way”, and i would love to have a home birth next time, this was a cute story she seems like a funny person.

Audrey on

I agree with honeybear, I could never take the risk of complications that could happen during homebirth, over the health and safety of my daughter. Even if you have a low-risk birth, anything can happen once you go into labor. Of course the same thing can happen in a hospital birth, but at least I know all the doctors (and/or specialists) and equipment is there, should the need arrive. Of course this is just my opinion, and I am honestly happy for Sarah, and her beautiful son, happy for anyone wherever they have had their babies :)

Lindsey on

I appreciate her honesty. Rare and refreshing… especially for a celebrity.

Honeybear78 on

It’s definitely a personal choice and I would never try to change anyone’s mind about it, as I wouldn’t want mine changed either. It’s true that most births are low risk and can be handled at home, but just try to think of the horrendous feeling you would have if something happened to your child during birth that you couldn’t handle at home.

My story is that I was a perfectly healthy 29 year old with ZERO complications during pregnancy. My water broke and no progress was made in 24 hours. Then, for whatever reason, my body developed a high fever and went into shock in a short period of time. My son was in distress and they had to deliver my baby by c-section in a VERY emergent and quick fashion. As a result of the shock to my body, my uterus couldn’t contract and couldn’t stop the bleeding, so I started to bleed to death. I needed blood transfusions, a second surgery and an open abdomen for 6 weeks following the birth.

My experience is definately not the norm, but I didn’t see it coming and I would never have forgiven myself if I tried a homebirth and my baby died and possibly me too. It’s just something to consider, that’s all because you just never know and there wouldn’t have been time for me to get to a hospital once things got bad.

Kate on

I”m happy to hear mom and baby are doing well. I don’t care, honestly, if any woman has their baby at home or a hospital. Sharing stories is great in both cases. Most likely, I will stop reading the comments anymore after stories like this because it always becomes a home birth v. hospital birth debate, no matter how the comments are worded. People today, myself included at times, are too sensitive when option A is applauded if we in fact chose option B, whatever the circumstance.

klm on

I’d just like to say that it is refreshing to see an open, non-judgmental conversation on this site. Far too often, these boards are full of women bickering and insulting one another. I enjoyed reading everyone’s well written and intelligent comments, so thank you.

Regarding this issue, I am on the fence. I definitely think birth is looked at the wrong way, as something to be ‘treated’ and feared. There is far too much unnecessary medical intervention that most often does more harm than good. However, I also completely agree with Honeybear78 and others. Although I agree that midwives are very (if not more) competent, I would rather be in a hospital with close access to specialists and an OR if a life-threatening situation arose. And when it comes to these situations you never know, so I say better safe than sorry. But I am scared about being forced into having unneccesary interventions when my time comes.

Olivia on

What a sweet birth story. To the commenter who said she “would have died” if she didn’t give birth in a hospital, I think it’s important to remember that CNMs are trained professionals and they will recommend transfering to a hospital if anything is off.

I planned for a homebirth, but when my dilation stalled for several hours my midwife recommended transferring. I had been having back labor and her assesment was that my baby was not in the optimal position. I transferred, labored for several more hours and finally consented to a c-section. And guess what, my midwife was right! My baby was in a really funky position with her foot up by her head, knee bent backwards and not centered on the cervix.

My midwife knew that something wasn’t right and knew homebirth was not the best option for me. We went to the hospital well before there was any danger to me or the baby. We (homebirthers and CNMs) do not stay home at all costs. We know when the hospital is the better place for birth.

I also love Sarah’s poop comment. After my baby had a couple of episodes of constipation, pooping regularly has become a reason to celebrate. We even track her bowel movements on a calendar to make sure she isn’t in danger of getting clogged up again. I never thought I would pay so much attention to someone else’s poop!

Jenn on

I think that most people who ripped on Giselle, didn’t have a problem with what she was saying, but more with HOW she was saying it. Her interviews come off sounding like she believes she is superior to everyone and wants everyone to believe that every second of her life is perfect (at least that’s how it sounded to me). This interview seemed much more like real life. For me there was no way I would do a home birth. I live WAY out in the boonies and if there were major complications I would have to be air-lifted to the hospital to get there in time because it would take an ambulance an hour to get me to the hospital.

Tiffany on

That is a nice story but I wanted doctors and epidurals and Pitocin! Even with all that it was still a beautiful experience and I wouldn’t do anything different!!! I now have a beautiful 9 month old daughter :)

MontanaMomma on

In regard to the comment from Kate #24, sharing birth stories is always great. I think it’s especially important to hear a balance of all types of birth experiences – excellent birth experiences along with difficult ones, hospital births along with home births, medicated births along with unmedicated births, and so forth. The balance of all types of stories is extremely important to getting a balanced view of what birth can be. Women need that to make informed decisions for themselves, rather than fear-based decisions.

While home birth is certainly not for everyone, statistically it is a safe and viable option for low-risk women, and should be offered as such. The more a subject is talked about, the more light is shed for the general public and ignorance begins to dissipate. There has been a lot of misinformation regarding home birth, so it is refreshing to see it spoken of in a realistic and positive manner. I don’t view one way to give birth as superior to another. I want choices for women and information to be given in an impartial and factual manner, by all medical experts, whether doctors or midwives.

Although I attempted three home births and had one successful home VBAC, if I were to give birth again, it would be in a hospital, simply because the odds are high that I would have another asynclitic large baby, and the hospital (with the possibility of epidural, and as a last resort, surgery) is the better option for me.

As birthing women, we both need and deserve options. The more the better. :)

cris on

Haha! This was a beautiful birthing story up until “… ‘What the f–k just happened?” Totally threw me off!! So true though!

ecl on

I wish there were more birthing centers in hospitals. Then people could labor with midwives, but have all the resources necessary right there in case of emergency or a change of mind. Unfortunately, most hospitals that have them don’t seem to use them that much. Most women are still sent to regular Labor and Delivery. I think it has to do with the insurance companies.

momof2girls on

i just wanted to chime in on the birthing stories…while prolapsed cords are rare, they do happen as it happened to me with my second baby..

MontanaMomma on

momof2girls #32, prolapsed cords are extremely rare and very frightening, as you know. They can happen anywhere, in or out of hospital, before or during labor. If you are going to have a prolapsed cord, obviously a hospital is your best bet. However, a home birth midwife is trained to know exactly what to do in the event of a prolapsed cord to transport a woman safely. A midwife will hold the baby’s head off the cervix while the woman has her bottom up in the air (to prevent compression) and a hospital transport is done immediately.

Personally I would prefer to have the aid of a midwife during this process, rather than have it happen at home before a planned hospital birth and not know what to do. Most prolapses happen with sudden breaking of waters before labor even starts when a baby isn’t yet properly engaged (floating). Prolapse risk can also be assessed by a midwife or doctor before labor by determining whether the baby is “floating” (rather than engaged).

I know a woman who was planning a home birth and had this exact experience and her midwife successfully transported her to the hospital for an emergency c-section. It happened at home before she was in active labor (a stage most woman would still be at home, even with a planned hospital birth). The attending OB at the hospital told her point blank that if it weren’t for the skill of her midwife in positioning her correctly (bottom in air & on hands and knees), holding the baby’s head off the cervix, and keeping the cord warm and wet inside her vaginal canal, that her baby likely would not have made it. The bottom line is that had she been planning a hospital birth and did not have proper knowledge of what to do in the event of cord prolapse, she may not have the son she has today.

Ideally we should have a midwifery model of care, whether in or out of hospital, with the option to choose whatever birth we like, but with the close attendance of the midwife style. Couple this with a large body of knowledge about birth and how our bodies function, and we will be equipped optimally for a positive birth experience. OB doctors have created a model where they possess all the knowledge and make many of the choices about your birth. Fortunately, this is beginning to change.

Sara on

momof2girls, they do happen, but in most cases it’s because the bag was ruptured artificially and prematurely. If things are left alone or the bag is ruptured close to the actual birth, cord prolapse is extremely rare.

cris on

MontanaMomma-I was just wondering if a woman could have a prolapsed cord prior to her water breaking or being in labor what would the odds of a midwife being there be? Don’t the midwives usually get notified after the water breaks or before labor even starts?

fuzibuni on

montanamomma, thanks for all your well written and insightful posts. I really enjoyed reading what you had to say. thanks!

MontanaMomma on

cris #35, a prolapsed cord is when the cord falls through the cervical opening ahead of, or prior to, the infant’s head (or in case of breech, feet). It is very dangerous because, as the head is the largest part of the body, the compression created when the head does engage in the birth canal causes oxygen restriction (head, or other other body part, pressing against cord = restricted oxygen). It is usually caused by sudden breaking of waters before the head is properly engaged. The force of the water breaking pushes the cord out of the cervical opening before the head can engage. A properly engaged head does not allow for enough room for a cord to prolapse. In answer to your first question, a prolapsed cord cannot occur without water breaking.

A midwife usually keeps closer tabs on their client than an OB has the capability to do. A lower client load allows for this. A midwife is often intimately aware of their client’s situation and maintains close contact, either by phone or home visit, with their client during the last weeks of pregnancy. Often a midwife is contacted several times in the days before birth, as a woman about to give birth is often full of questions and concerns. Midwives are usually open to coming to your home to assess a situation, even if one is uncertain if they are in labor. I’ve heard of midwives staying at a woman’s home for hours or even days before labor really starts to kick in. A midwife can be minutes away or an hour or more away depending on the midwife you choose and her location, birth schedule, etc. Usually a home birth midwife has a back-up midwife or assistant who may be able to reach you immediately.

In the case of the friend I described, the midwife was local and lived only a few blocks away.

When a woman hires a midwife, depending on her area, she often has a variety to choose from and can make her own decisions about what she is comfortable with (distance, personality, experience, etc.).

Hope this was helpful.

Janna on

MontanaMomma… I think I love you!

MontanaMomma on

Cord compression can occur prior to water breaking. This can also be dangerous, but often is not an issue because the bag of waters creates a cushion between the cervix and the baby’s head which allows for better flow of oxygen through the cord. A true prolapse is when there is no cushion of water and the head or other body part is pressing against a cord that has dropped through the cervix prior to the descent of the baby, causing compression.

A true cord prolapse is every woman’s nightmare. It was my biggest birthing fear. However, one must keep in perspective that it is extremely rare (0.14% and 0.62% of births) and if handled properly usually does not result in infant death. A midwife is trained to handle the situation properly, and in some cases is more readily available when the situation occurs than an OB.

One can attempt to eliminate risks of prolapsed cord by choosing to camp out at the hospital days before birth, or opt for elective c-section (which carries its own set of increased risk). Most hospitals are not going to allow you to camp out days before your birth though!

There are a million variables regarding birth. Some we have control over and others we do not. The important thing is to realize that birth is statistically a safe and normal event. If you are established as a low-risk pregnancy, then there are many safe options out there to choose from. Getting hung up on all the scary statistically very low possibilities is only going to inhibit you from experiencing your optimum birth.

Gain knowledge, stay positive, make good decisions tailored to your specific personality and desires, and go forth! Happy birthing! :)

MontanaMomma on

Janna #38, I love you too! I love all birthing woman, and want nothing more than the best for each and every momma to be out there. (I actually love the whole human race, but that’s not the topic right now). :)

cris on

Thanks for clearing that up for me MontanaMomma! I appreciate your positive, non-judgmental and extremely informative posts! (Have you ever thought of starting a blog (if you haven’t already?))

Guaili on

@Laura and Honeybear

I completely understand where you are coming from, Laura. I know a few people who’ve had all sorts of complications at hospitals even though their pregnancies were 100%. and i swear to you, it all started with an epidural. especially if administered too early, can cause all kinds of problems. in case of Honeybear getting an infection post-water breaking, while it could have been a fluke, it could have also been because of the care received at the hospital. If the water breaks and is left open for a day, it makes everyone more susceptible to infections. the best thing to do is make sure everything is clean and try to avoid poking and prodding while the amniotic sac is broken. Unfortunately, hospitals are one of the least sanitary places that we expect to be sanitary. Honeybear, i wouldn’t be surprised if the problems you had were BECAUSE of you being at the hospital. A hospital will NEVER admit it, however, so we will just never know.

I am going to continue to have my babies at home as long as we are both strong and healthy.

My midwife even had pitocin! But she used it for post-delivery in case of hemorrhaging. it’s a good way to slow the bleeding, especially if you need to be taken to the hospital.

Dolores on

It is nice to read about a celebrity mom who didn’t opt for a C-section, but did it the very old-fashioned way. I had a C-section myself (my daughter was breech and the doc said if my water broke and the baby’s head wasn’t there to block all the fluid coming out, I’d need an emergency C-section) so I am not criticizing women who get the procedure. It just seems some of the famous gals (most notably Britney Spears) go for the automatic C-section just to avoid the pain of labor. It’s not always the case, but I know Britney said very openly she did it to avoid labor pains. Although recovering from major surgery isn’t a walk in the park, either.

Sarah has an Iranian father and a Latina mother and her hubby is very Anglo-Saxon, but her son looks very Persian to me. He’s a real cutie. I figured readers might criticize her “I bought a bottle of brandy” remark, but she didn’t say she drank it that day. She may have been saving it for the day she can finally drink it. :-)

momof2girls on

no, i didn’t mean my comment to be offensive or anything..it is just that at the time, i was trying for a vbac and labored naturally with no pain medications to 7 cm at home and then got to the hospital and all hell broke loose when my midwife found that it was a cord prolapse after my water broke by itself..it just goes to show you that with all that you plan and hope for ahead of time, the baby will come out their own way…*sigh*..i think i was just meant to have a baby by being cut and that has always been and always will be my life’s biggest “what-if”..trust me, i relive the pain of my births everyday :( if i could do it all over again, i would have done a home birth the first time around (as the above posters mentioned, i had complications from epidural in my first birth)

MontanaMomma on

Thank you for your nice comment cris #41. :)

Delores #43, I read your post and, although your birth has already happened, I wanted to offer for the future and for others reading, that many doctors and midwives no long know how to deliver breech babies, or are versed in the additional care involved in breech pregnancy and delivery. Breech birth is, however, possible, and in many instances, very safe (as are twins).

I don’t know your specific circumstances, Delores. Perhaps your doctor was likely correct. It is incorrect, however, to make a blanket statement that if your water breaks during a breech delivery, you will automatically need an emergency cesarean. There is an increased risk of cord prolapse with breech, especially so with footling breech. It all depends on how a breech presents. A frank breech (bottom first) is certainly the safest way to deliver breech, because the bottom is roughly the size of the head (so if that comes out without problems, the head will likely follow in the same manner). A footling breech is probably not a good idea to attempt vaginally with a first time mother.

Some states do allow for home birth delivery of breech and/or twins, and the midwives that are skilled in such delivery are indeed very skilled. I have a friend who delivered breech in Idaho at The Baby Place (http://thebabyplacehome.com/). She had a phenomenal experience that would not have been hers to claim had she gone the route her OB insisted she must for safety’s sake. If properly managed, a safe and healthy breech birth is possible.

Be careful in using one source of information to make a decision about your birth. Use your local library to check out birthing books, talk to women and mothers, interview multiple doctors and midwives, and find out if your community has a chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) http://www.ican-online.org/, which has a plethora of information regarding all types of birth scenarios and alternatives. ICAN’s mission statement is “to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)”. They are a great resource!

MontanaMomma on

MontanaMomma on

Here is another interesting article regarding maternal mortality in the United States:
http://www.helenair.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/article_110f6eb4-a88e-5ceb-8226-ded5d22d5ed9.html

Jane on

Honeybear #23 – my CNM would have transferred you at 12 hours. Any woman who goes 12 hours after SROM without going into regular, active labor with cervical progress gets transferred as part of her protocol because the risk of infection goes up with ruptured membranes. So if you were seeing my midwife, you would have been in the hospital when your emergency occurred.

moose on

momof2girls – you shouldn’t feel dissapointed! I understand your births didn’t go the way you planned or wanted…but please, don’t let it be a “what-if” and certainly not a major regret for the rest of your life. You have two healthy girls. You won the lottery. Who cares how they got here…trust me, they don’t.

fuzibuni on

aw momof2girls, i feel for you! 6 months ago a friend of mine had her first baby and after being given pitocin and having complications with her epidural, she and her baby went into distress and she had an emergency c-section.
She was at a county hospital where they do the single suture instead of the double suture after c-sections. They also warned her that if she ever had more children, she would have to have a c-section.
after getting home, she went through major post partum depression. her baby wouldn’t nurse after being bottle fed at the hospital and she was having a hard time healing from the surgery. one day she cried that she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. she is still recovering from the experience but decided to keep her daughter.
it makes me want to give hugs to all the women who have gone through experiences like this!

Monique on

Love this story! I have just decided, after extensive research, to birth babe #4 at home, after birthing my first three children in the hospital. Hearing stories such as this are very encouraging.

One thing to remember about home births is that midwives are trained to spot any problems and WILL transport to a hospital if anything is amiss. A plan is set in place in case of this situation.

christina on

Give me a break. I’m sorry, but I think she is very wreckless, and lucky to have ended up with a healthy baby. Just last week I was linked to a friend’s blog commemorating her sister’s baby who died in childbirth (AT HOME) and low and behold, EVERY blog on her blogroll featured a baby who died due to misguided parents attempting to go the “natural” route at home…yet all of the parents were in denial that the deaths were due to their home birth. So strange…

Ruana on

I do’t understand why all the comments bash mothers who want to avoid painful experiences…it’s this infatuation with motherhood, martyrdom and suffering pain all being glorified that leads to such negative mindsets for others. What is so great about enduring pain if technology allows otherwise? The “natural” way is great and all but not when it beocmes one of the most painful experiences ver.

Janna on

Ruana…. for some people, childbirth it is not that painful an experience and certainly has nothing to do with martyrdom and suffering. My goodness! Where did you get the idea that anyone is bashing those who choose pain blockers?

I wouldn’t ever begrudge anyone their epidural or pain medication if that’s what they needed and wanted. I kindly expect that they don’t begrudge me my drug-free birth, because it seems like you are the bashing one.

There’s a right way for everyone, and I think ‘healthy baby’ and ‘happy mother’ are the goal for everyone!

MontanaMomma on

Ruana #54, the interesting thing is that when you go through labor without drugs, you can often experience the most amazing natural high you will ever feel. It is truly indescribable. A famous OB named Michel Odent aptly describes it as the “love cocktail”. It is a combination of endorphins, oxytocin, and prolactin that peak after birth and allow you to simply and naturally “forget” the pain you just experienced, as well as induce and optimize bonding and feelings of euphoria. Of course, there are variations and not every woman will experience this “love cocktail” of hormones and naturally secreted chemicals in exactly the same way. Epidurals, spinals, and other drugs given during the course of labor interfere with the body’s normal perception of these hormones and chemicals. This is not to say that in some instances an epidural or other pain medication might be preferable. I have been on both ends of the spectrum!

From my own experience I can attest to the existence of this mythical “love cocktail”. My first and third were born by cesarean, and although I fell instantly and passionately in love with my babies, I did not experience any sort of lasting or profound physical “high” within my own body. My “high” was purely emotional at the sight and touch of my babies. My second child was born without drugs at home, and I experienced an extreme exhilaration, euphoria, and ecstatic “high” that lasted for weeks after the birth. It was truly amazing. It left me feeling on top of the world, as if I could do anything, sort of like a manic state of pure bliss! I completely forgot the pain of labor and would describe it as “awesome” or “amazing”. My friends and family that witnessed the birth had to remind me that I did indeed experience pain during labor.

I think that, biologically, this euphoric state occurs in order to allow for the first few trying (and tiring) weeks and months after birth to go by as easily as possible. That “high” fortifies you for what is to come and induces a calm state of mind. You feel as though you could take on anything because you are about to take on A LOT! :) There is a lot of evidence to suggest women who aren’t able to experience this “love cocktail” are more prone to post-partum depression.

Do the research about all types of birth. Read books (from all ends of the spectrum), carefully check studies, talk to other women, interview both doctors and midwives. Statistics from our country and around the world speak volumes about the safety of properly managed home birth. Criticizing home birth without knowing the breadth of factual knowledge about it, is an unfortunate deterrent for women searching out their options.

There is no “one size fits all” with birth. Let us support one another in seeking the best birth, whether or not it happens to be your best birth. We are all doing our best.

Jen on

I had my son last May and elected to do a scheduled C-section due to medical issues I had during the pg. My doctors said the choice was mine to do a VBAC or C-section and I went w/the later of the two as a preventative measure. I have no regrets and don’t feel like I missed out on the birthing process. For me, going through the traditional labor process wasn’t something I longed to experience like others. But that is my opinion and I know many others consider it very important. I think everyone has to ask themselves what’s important to them, in regards to the birthing process, and then try to plan for that. However they also need to always keep in mind that issues can and often do occur and flexibility is crucial when having a baby. In the end, all that really matters is having a healthy baby. The rest is just a an added bonus.

Jen on

Also wanted to add that I just asked my coworker, had had 2 VBACs, one w/a epidural and the other without. She said she didn’t have any euphoric or high like feelings after having her child w/o the epidural. She said she was depressed after and felt alot of pain. So keep in mind, everyone’s experience is truly unique. Just b/c someone has an amazing or horrible birth experience doesn’t mean you will. Do your own research and consult w/your doctor before making the decison.

Rach on

I really really wanted to have a midwife,but like someone mentioned above, the midwives would not take me, as I was high risk. I wish I did. Now this whole thing has really made me think about birth. I felt as if I was just another number, or another name on the list.They never made me feel a part of my own birth process. I was an outsider, sitting there watching them talk about me as if I wasnt even there. The only people that introduced themselves and were nice were the nurses, the real heros of my birth story was the nurses. The doctors barely acknowledged me or my husband. I didnt even know the name of the doctor that delivered my son, because my dr was away (and by delivering my son, I mean, she came in after he came out and oversaw the residents and nurses and then just left).I had to actually call the hospital to try to figure out who she was. After hearing about so many midwife experiences, I really wish I had one.I know it really depends on the person you get, but for the most part, they all seem so knowledgeale and nurturing. They seem like they talk to you and explain things to you in a way you understand as opposed to drs who explain things to you as if you went to medical school and then they look at you like you are stupd if you ask a question or do not understand.I am all for midwives..I just wish the medical community and esp doctors and hospitals were more accepting of them. For my next child I will see if I can have a care team of dr and midwife, providing the dr is more open and not acting like the midwife is an unqualified quack.

It seems like midwives also empower you to do what your body naturally knows how to do.Much nicer than some dr taking one look at you and forcing a c section down your throat every two minutes.

Lisa on

I wanted a homebirth/waterbirth with my second child but chose to deliver instead at a birth center with a midwife in attendance and no drugs. I was allowed to labor in the shower and just before then baby arrived I went to my bed laid down 5 pushes later out was my son. It was incredible to experience it and be fully aware of everything. My friends who have all either been induced and drugged or had elective or emergency c-sections cannot even comprehend a natural birth- it was like they thought I was an alien and had super natural powers to do what I did even though I feel no, actually ANYBODY who is low-risk can have that kind of birth if you plan properly and stick to your guns! Pain is a matter of the mind and you can overcome it on your own and be rewarded with an enjoyable birth. Choosing a doctor in the day and age will not get you there- midwives are the best choice if you want to succeed with a natural birth and of course a home birth since doctors will not do those.

Jessica on

I agree with HoneyBear above. Though a home birth sounds wonderful and serene and being able to be in your own bed sounds fantastic, I still would never do it. I’d be too scared, especially after my first delivery.

I, too, had a very difficult labor. I’m 28 and my daughter, Lilith, is my first child, and there were never any indications prior that I would have a difficult time. I was 41 weeks along and was induced because they thought I’d had a stroke since half my face was frozen, when in fact I was diagnosed with Bells Palsy. I was induced at 5 p.m. Monday and didn’t deliver until 11:16 a.m. Wedneseday, via emergency c-section. I had failure to progress, and never got past a 4 or 5.

The baby’s heart rate showed she was in distress and I had high blood pressure during labor. I had unexplained pain in my back and pain between my contractions, which, they believe, was when I suffered from Placenta Abruptio, where the placenta detaches from the uterine wall. If this were to happen during pregnancy the baby could die, and could also result in the baby’s death during delivery if not caught in time, since their oxygen is cut off.

They pulled my daughter out and then the placenta, but couldn’t stop my bleeding. I lost a liter of blood and required three blood transfusions over the course of a week. I was anemic. I was in recovery for 2 hours after the c-section with tachycardia. My daughter was fine, if a little jaundiced, but otherwise a healthy 8.1 and 19 1/2 inches in length.

I also have Malignant Hypothermia, an allergic reaction to certain anesthetics, which put the anesthesiology department on high alert my entire visit.

I’ve never been so scared in my life as when I was in labor; I seriously thought I was going to die in that hospital. It was the worst experience I’ve ever had, and honestly, emotionally, I couldn’t really look at my daughter with love for at least a week after the delivery. My body and mind just shut-down and went into survival mode. I hate to think back on that time since it was so hard and I hate to think that that’s the story of her birth. I wish it had been a happier, more joyful experience, but for some child birth just isn’t something that can be done at home.

Jessica on

Ironically, this story was just posted to CNN.

“Doubling of Maternal Deaths in U.S. ‘Scandalous’ Rights group says”

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/12/maternal.mortality/index.html?hpt=T1

Paste and click link

Rebecca on

She’s awesome. What a great attitude and birthing soundtrack!

Elle on

Interesting what has been said about cord prolapse…my youngest nephew suffered a cord prolapse during his delivery. His Mum was very near the end of her labour – maybe a couple of pushes away from delivery when it happened. Apparently the midwife had to hold his head back while they got his mum ready for a double-quick emergency section, so quick mum was told that he needed to be delivered within 10 minutes. So upshot is he would certainly have died had this been a home delivery. Maternal death and death of babies during labour has gone down drastically in the western world precisely because we have fantastic medical care available to us, so girls, please do not knock it!

eternalcanadian on

I think people commenting on this post who are all for homebirths are forgetting the reason mother and infant mortality rates have gone down in the past 100 years is due to the “medicalization” of childbirth. Yes, for thousands of years women gave birth without any medical help, and thousands and thousands of women and babies died in the process.

I think what needs to be done is to accept the wonderful medical knowledge and technology and yet provide special birthing centres that are primarily staffed with midwives and nurse practitioners. It would be a home environment, family and friends welcomed, water births, walking around, kitchens and living roos. Yet down the hall or on a different floor is the emergency help available in those not uncommon occurances the mother or baby are in distress.

I would rather give birth in a hospital just to be safe. Even if I am low-risk, things can suddenly happen in the space of 15 minutes. Not enough time to call 911 and transport to hospital.

Lisa on

Actually, eternalcanadian, Jessica just posted a link showing maternal death rates are RISING, not going down. And Jessica, one word in your story jumped out at me – induced. Being induced automatically increases your chance of C-section by 50%, and I wonder if your baby’s distress during labor (and quite possibly the abruption) weren’t caused by pit to distress. Obviously there’s no way of knowing if a doctor ordered pit to distress, but it sure looks like that’s what happened.

CelebBabyLover on

Lisa- What’s “pit to distress”?

Lisa on

CBL, it’s where they incrementally increase the pitocin dose, whether you’re progressing or not, until you either deliver or the baby goes into distress and they have to do an emergency c-section.

Anonymous on

eternalcanadian: wish that was entirely true! Maternal and infant mortality rates are scandalously high in the US compared to other industrialized countries. I encourage you to research the stats, it will blow your mind.

Kara on

Diabetes is significantly higher in the U.S. And while I see a lot of Dr blame or bashing going around, there seems to be this myth that Midwives are all at and are always at 100% . That isn’t true. There are bad,lazy, and even uncaring Dr’s, lawyers, construction workers, and midwives

miamichic on

thats great that she has that mentality about labor because for me it was totally different. mine was in a hospital and it was my first so i wouldnt have had it any other way.. i had back labor which ive heard is the most painful labor a women can have.im gonna be honest as hell, it was unbearable.. i would have passed out w/ out an epidural. theres no way i could have beared that pain. it was horrible. even after the epidural (and a “bonus” one) i still felt the contractions full blown at one point. luckily, the whole process from registering into the hospital to the minute he was born was about 7 hours only.. so, i was lucky there..i look at it this way… if ur strong enough to bear the pain GO 4 IT!! Theres no way i would not get an epidural next time.. y would i not get something that will make me feel more comfortable?? u wouldnt go to get a root canal w/ out novacaine would u?

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