Homebirth… despite the podcast name, Happy isn’t the only adjective that can be used to describe it. No, my friends. Birth experiences vary so widely, and things do not always go perfectly easily.
Today’s story is one of those tough births, but wow. Our guest, Sophia sheds so much insight and through her struggle brings so much encouragement to us all. There’s such a balance. Of course we want to be positive about childbirth and understand that it can be beautiful and peaceful. But we also need to recognize that birth is untame and raw. It is such a thin-veiled experience. Today’s interview leans into the raw experience of Sophia’s homebirth and postpartum experience. I encourage you to embrace the intensity, but you know that I also like to be up front about these episodes so that if you are nearing your birthing time and concerned about hearing any difficult stories, you can save this one for a later date.
Okay, let’s jump into our interview. Please remember that the opinions of my guest may not necessarily reflect my own and vice versa, and neither one of us are acting as medical professionals, so continue to see your doctor, midwife, or if you’re like me your Chiropractor.
Sophia has always found herself on the more natural side of things, so she knew that when she became pregnant, she would prefer to have her baby at home.
Her husband grew up in a more medically minded household, so before they even became pregnant, she and her husband went to interview local midwives. This put him at ease and was a great way to remove the pressure around the situation.
Once they began the process of trying to conceive, they became pregnant immediately.
Sophia was seeing a naturopath before her pregnancy to make sure that her hormones were balanced, and she continued this through the first four months.
She was very in tune with her body, and felt her baby’s first movements at 11.5 weeks.
At 37 weeks Sophia fell forward on ice. Luckily all was fine, but she hoped she’d stay pregnant for a bit longer for her bruises to heal.
After 8 days of contractions, right at her due date Sophia felt stronger contractions. She felt a wave of grief that her pregnancy would soon be over, but joy at the same time of it being over and time to meet her baby.
As contractions began, while her husband was still asleep, Sophia went to their prayer corner and prayed for this to truly be labor. And truly, it was!
Soon, her contractions were one on top of the other, and she was so engrossed in them that she was not remembering to hydrate or eat.
During her labor, Sophia experienced a sense of hyper awareness, but a haze at the same time. She could hear everything, even her midwife and husband talking in the other room.
Sophia was so prepared for labor that she thought she’d handle it easily and comfortably. Instead, she had moments where she truly felt fear.
Once Sophia had been feeling the urge to push for a while, her midwives noted that she had an anterior (front) cervical lip. She moved to the bed where they asked her to lie on her back. After a while she moved to the birthing stool, where she thought so deeply about her mother and her mother’s strength.
After having felt out of body for so long, Sophia felt she returned to normal for a bit as her husband began praying for her. She began praying with him, and she could tell this was incredibly meaningful for him.
Sophia moved back to the bed for a bit, and finally when she went to the toilet, she begged her baby to come out. At that point, Sophia began crowning. She moved to the birth stool.
Once her baby arrived, it was determined that she had a nuchal hand (very likely causing the 4 hour pushing difficulty and overall strange labor pattern).
Her baby was white and not breathing, so her midwives began rescue breaths. After 5 breaths, her baby had still not come around, so her midwife began trying to help Sophia remove her placenta so that they could move the baby to do more resuscitative measures. They did give some cord traction, and the placenta plopped out. Sophia then lost 4+ cups of blood, and almost immediately passed out.
Sophia finally came to a while later, having no understanding of what had happened. She didn’t know where she was or that she’d had her baby. She then saw that her husband looked terrified, which is very out of character for him. He later told Sophia that he was terrified that he was about to lose his wife and baby.
Sophia and her baby both eventually did come around. Sophia’s midwife put a piece of placenta in her mouth to help stop the bleeding.
Unfortunately, this all led to a very difficult postpartum experience. She was weak and exhausted, and did not feel the overwhelming oxytocin rush due to the circumstances. But she knew that she loved her baby. She knew that she would do anything, endure anything for her.When nursing troubles began, Sophia sought help and learned that her baby had tongue and lip ties. Once again, Sophia endured and continued to fight for a bond with her daughter.
Now, Sophia feels the bond that she hoped she would experience immediately. In fact, she feels that her bond with her daughter is even stronger because of the difficult experiences they faced together in the beginning.