Parent’s Names: Michael & Stephanie Chan
Baby’s Name & Birthday: Kai-Lin Chan, October 10, 2014
This baby was your first baby and first home birth
Why did you choose to have your baby at home?
We chose to have our baby at home because we felt that our wishes for a natural, intervention free birth had the best chance of happening while at home with skilled midwives. We also felt deeply that birth was natural and generally not a medical event. Bonus: Being un-insured, it also saved us money!
Describe your labor and birth:
On Friday, October 10th at around 5am I awoke to a contraction (or “surge”) that was different that the Braxton Hicks I had been having for a few months. It was stronger and had a more intense type of uncomfortable sensation to it. I had another 20 minutes later. This continued every 20 minutes until around 11am when I realized they were now coming every 10-15 minutes. I called my husband at work around noon to let him know these surges were continuing on a regular basis and that I would like him to come home early today because I didn’t want to be alone if this was the start of real labor and not just “practice.” It was finally week 39 and with this being my first baby, every one told me to expect to go over 40 weeks, so I kept doubting this was “the real thing.” I found it most comfortable to be sitting on the exercise ball while watching TV at this time. I felt the need to run to the bathroom several times and I remembered reading this can be a sign of labor. I was excited to have another sign this was the really happening. By 2:30p we contacted Patrice and Barb because surges had escalated to 5-7 minutes apart. At this point I had only had some very small amounts of mucus and my water had not broken but the surges were intense enough I felt maybe getting in the tub might feel better. I was able to relax for a while in the water with my Hypnobirth cd playing but when the water cooled I got back out and wanted to try to labor while sitting on the toilet. I stayed here for some time with my husband letting me use his arm for support during surges, until I started feeling the need to push around 8:30pm or so. Jennifer suggested that I would need to decide what other position I would like to try because the baby couldn’t actually be born on the toilet. This made me chuckle and I decided I would like to try the tub again. I would turn on the jets at the start of every surge. I think the noise of the jets as well as the movement of the water/bubbles against my skin was a nice distraction. I didn’t want music playing like I planned on. So much for all the Jack Johnson albums I downloaded! I remember thinking the sensation was so much more intense than I could have anticipated. Not more painful, but much more intense. My whole body, every cell, felt like it was activated during the surges. When I started actively pushing I no longer thought about pushing the button to turn on the jets. I went deeper inside myself, like I had read in some of the natural birth books. This happened without trying. I often closed my eyes and would envision energy running up from the earth, through my legs to the top of my head and then rushing back down and out in a J shape helping to move to baby down further and further each time. With some of the surges the vision was moonlight flooding down and out in the J shape. I found it most comfortable to lie on my side in the tub and brace my husband’s arm for support. I kept telling myself to take deep slow breathes during the rest periods. Jen, Barb and Patrice were so helpful in keeping the environment calm and comfortable. Their energy in the room was that all of this new “stuff” I was experiencing, and the situation in general, was just so beyond normal that I never had any fear enter me – which I worried about often during my birth preparations. I remember them being excited that the water bag was bulging out. I looked down and could see it but I didn’t want to touch it. Someone mentioned they could see baby’s head and the hair was floating around in the bag. I was so excited to hear I was making progress and baby would be here with us soon. When she crowned I reached down to touch her head. Time was irrelevant during this active labor stage. I’m glad there was no clock and I could zone out. I also took regular sips of water and juice and even had a few bites of apple with peanut butter to keep up my strength. When my legs began cramping my husband would make sure I was drinking more. This was the longest and shortest 2 hours of my life at the same time! At 10:42pm Kai-Lin decided to join us, kicking her water bag open as she made her grand entrance. I was able to lift her up onto my belly and stare down into her eyes in amazement. We did it!
What was your favorite part of your baby’s birth?
The excitement everyone had about her water bag bulging out as I was working hard was inspiring and was a great reminder while in the midst of everything that I really was making progress and the end was in sight. I also loved looking down at my peaceful, brand new, beautiful baby girl with her eyes wide open, checking out her new world.
What would you do differently if you had another baby?
Next time I probably would not spend as much time as I did sitting on the toilet. I felt comfortable there because of the type of sensations but I think I stayed there because it was easier to just not move rather than actual comfort. Looking back things moved so much faster once I changed positions and got back in the tub. The position of sitting on the toilet may have been preventing her from moving down, plus I really wasn’t all that physically comfortable there even with pillows behind me.
How can we improve our services?
I wouldn’t have wanted to change anything. I felt like you all knew when to talk and encourage me and when to be quiet and let me stay in the zone. I always felt I had privacy and support exactly when needed.