I lived 32 years on this earth and birthed one child before I really became aware of the fact that going to the hospital, getting hooked up to machines and shouting for an epidural wasn’t the only way to have a baby. Not only that but that it might not be the best way to have a baby.
I’d seen stories about women who gave birth in cars on the way to the hospital but they were trying to get to the hospital.
Yes, I’d heard the odd story of a woman giving birth in a pool with a midwife, but, for the most part, I didn’t pay attention. And that’s really the problem, isn’t it? Many women, dare I even say most of us, don’t pay attention to our choices. We just default to the standard hospital birth because that’s just kind of the thing to do, right?
Then I started writing for Babble. Specifically, I started writing for Being Pregnant and I cannot tell you how amazed I’ve been to read about all the choices out there for giving birth. It got me to thinking, really thinking, about my options should I decide to have a third child. First I wrapped my mind around the fact that maybe I could give birth naturally. No epidural. Then I started considering giving birth at a birthing center with a midwife. Could I do that? Absolutely. Then I thought I could even give birth at home with the help of a midwife.
And then I read the birth story of Courtney Kendrick, better know as C.Jane, the sister of Stephanie Nielson who is better known as Nie Nie. Reading her story is a game changer. For me, for you, for all women.
Courtney decided to give birth at home with only her husband “Chup” on hand to deliver the baby.
On her blog, C. Jane Enjoy It, Courtney writes “It’s a simple story, but highly unorthodox, one that could be misunderstood and misrepresented before thousands of readers. But throughout the entire pregnancy I knew I would write it and post it, only because there might be someone like me out there who shares the same ideas and thoughts about labor and delivery and who would like to hear from someone like me. For that one reader (or more than one reader) I hope this is helpful.”
Courtney starts her birth story on Thanksgiving Eve when she spotted her “bloody show” and realized she was going into labor. A bit tricky considering she had house guests about to arrive and a Thanksgiving dinner to host. But Courtney is kind of crazy like that. She’s like June Cleaver reincarnated into a feisty, empowered domestic goddess of the new millennium. What I’m saying is a little labor and the birthing of a child (at home with no pain meds!) wasn’t going to stop this mama from hosting Thanksgiving. Considering how the births of her first two children went, Courtney figured she’d labor for two days before giving birth and so it was that she continued her holiday hosting preparations.
But she was wrong. That night she realized the baby was coming immediately.
The minute we put the plastic sheets on the bed my water broke. Chup assured me we were getting close, he was timing everything with his phone (of course, we couldn’t have a baby without the Sisterwife’s assistance). I kept telling myself I could start pushing as soon as we could feel the baby’s head. In the meantime, with every contraction I’d kiss Chup and tell him how much I loved him.
When it was time to push I was tired. It had only been over an hour since we had started transitioning, but it had been intense. Up until that point Chup had been with me, with every contraction and seeing to my every need. But this was the place where he couldn’t really do much for me. This was that lonely spot in the process where I had to find all the strength and faith inside of me to push. Another contraction pounded my body and I felt my spirit start to leave my body–a dizzy feeling of losing consciousness. I felt it with Ever too. Part of me had resolved that death is part of birthing life. I had to die a little to get enough courage to cross the line of mortality and bring my baby with me.
“I can’t do it.” I said to Chup and I moved on to my knees, I couldn’t control myself now, the situation was beyond my ability to breathe or concentrate. “Let’s go to the hospital and I can get an epidural. Please.”
When I look back at this point I know how vital Chup’s response was to me. I was in a desperate, comfortless, truly vulnerable place. He could’ve said, “Well, um, ok, if that’s what you want?” But instead he looked at me directly and assured me I could do it.
“You’re almost there, you are doing it. You’re going to have this baby!”
Then with the next gripping contraction I pushed. I pushed with every spark of life I had in me.
And with surprise, Chup said to me,
“I have the head! I have the head! Great job, babe!”
And I fell down to my stomach and pushed again and he caught the baby.
“I have her! I’ve got her! I’ve got your daughter!”
Click over to C.Jane’s blog if you want to read the entire birth story and how she came to giving birth at home, alone, her husband as her sole caregiver.
I wonder if her sister, Stephanie Nielson, who is also pregnant, has a similar birth plan in the works?
What do you think about her decision to give birth at home with only her husband on hand? Could you do it? Would you do it?