It all started while I was sitting on my couch folding laundry. I was about 16 weeks pregnant with my second son and thinking about the birth. I was contemplating a homebirth but had never spoken those words out loud to a soul, not even my husband. Even I was thinking how crazy I was sounding. Within a few minutes my mind went from thinking it would be nice but it wasn’t for me to “I’m gonna do it.”
I spent the next little while looking into homebirth midwives. I knew from others that the closest ones were in another town 1.5 hours away. Nevertheless I wanted to call. I thought I would at least meet with them and see where it went.
The next move, the phone call, was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I kept telling myself it was just a call. It didn’t mean I was having a homebirth but even inquiring about it made me shaky and sweaty. I had to build up my nerve.
“Hello, this is Kate. “
“Hi….. I’m calling because I’m looking into homebirth.”
“When is your estimated due date?”
“Ooook. Here is the thing. I can’t take anyone due after June. There is an issue with NY State and Midwives cannot practice after June”
She explained further and my heart sank. I went from undecided, to decided, to excited, to dead set, to crushed. There was no way I could homebirth because all midwives were banned from practicing.
Suddenly I was obsessed with homebirth. Being told that I couldn’t have one didn’t deter my research and longing for it. I happened upon a post in an AP group I belonged to asking for support for the new Midwife Modernization Act that they hoped to pass. I did my duty and wrote to my congressman and crossed my fingers. I assumed it would either not pass in time, or not pass at all.
Months went by and I still hoped for that homebirth. When I closed my eyes and pictured the birth of my baby it was in my house, in a birth tub. I never once imagined myself in a hospital. Those daydreams really kept me going. I kept up to date on the bill and crossed my fingers.
Things started happening quickly and I began seeing a bigger push to pass the bill. There was a march at the state capitol and more letters and calls were being made.
Then, it happened. The Midwife Modernization Act passed! I was 32 weeks pregnant.
I had a mix of elation and sadness. I didn’t think a midwife would accept me because I was so far along. In fact, on that fateful day I spoke to Kate she informed me that she would be on sabbatical in October. And 1 month prior I met another Homebirth midwife at an event and she was going to be out of town around my due date. My hopes were crushed. All signs pointed to no.
There was only one Certified Nurse Midwife left to call.
“Hi, this is Monica.”
“ummm….. Hi. I’m calling because I am hoping for a homebirth and I just heard that the MMA passed.”
“Yes, when are you due?”
“I’m 32 weeks pregnant.”
Somehow I managed to talk the midwife’s ear off for over an hour. I poured out my fears to her about a hospital birth. You see- I had Gestation Diabetes for the second time. With my first son it was well controlled by diet but my OB wanted the baby out before I was 39 Weeks. We scheduled an induction because I believed it was safe (my doctor said so, after all.) Nothing catastrophic happened but now I know it could have very easily ended with a C-Section. Even though I was seeing a Midwife this time she would still have to follow similar rules.
The midwife let me know that she might be out of town around my due date also. My heart sank again. But. BUT. If I were willing to see her and her back up midwife jointly, and if her back up agreed, me might be able to make it work.
I hung up the phone with very high hopes. My homebirth dream was looking a little more possible.
It took almost 2 weeks of phone tag to get our plans in order. I would see Monica and her back up, a Certified Midwife, every week. I would alternate between the two in order to get to know them in the very short amount of time leading up to my due date. Have I mentioned that I had yet to meet either midwife?
At my first appointment with Monica it was peaceful. No waiting room, no baby heart monitors beeping in the background. We worked out our plans and I knew it was going to work. My husband hesitantly agreed (that is an entirely separate post) .
The weeks flew by. I saw both midwives at their offices, and sometimes Sue- the Certified Midwife- came to my home. We had our 36 week home visit where both midwives toured our home and made sure we had everything we needed. I had ordered the suggested birth kit. I planned for a water birth. We ordered a birth tub as well.
40 weeks came and went. I walked like a crazy person in order to try and jump-start some contractions. This worked but they died down and nothing came of it. I had really hoped to have the baby on my due date because this was 10-10-10.
Then 41 weeks arrived and I was still pregnant.
I was actually being very patient. Despite passing my “due” date I knew this baby was safe. I was very comfortable for a 41 weeker. It was an easy pregnancy and I was in no rush for it to end. In fact, I was enjoying my last few days as a mother of one. It was bittersweet. My son was not quite 2 and no longer my baby.
10 days past my “due date”, on October 20, 2011, I heard my son yell “Mama!” He woke at around 1 am and needed me. I snuggled him back to sleep and laid back in my own bed. I couldn’t fall back asleep. At 2 am my first contraction came. Then another. I got up, labored on my birth ball, and decided it was time to call in the troops.
After 4 hours and 45 minutes of labor my son was born into water in my bedroom. It was 6:44 am. At 6:55 am my first son walked into our bedroom rubbing his eyes. He was greeted by mama in a bath tub, in the bedroom, with a tiny baby on her chest. I’ll never forget that moment- the one where we went from a family of three to a family of four.
Having my son at home was a well-researched decision that I made- one that I am thankful for every day. I had two qualified midwives attending my birth, one doula, one photographer, and one scared shitless husband. My birth was relaxed, peaceful, intuitive, and empowering. If more women understood the option of homebirth, and the power they hold within themselves, the world would be a more joyful place.
– written by guest blogger, Kim Rosas
Kim Rosas is the mother of a 2.5 year old and her newest baby born 10-20-2010 at home. She runs www.dirtydiaperlaundry.com and www.clothdiaperfinder.com. Her family resides in Central New York where they are all dreaming of Summer and berry picking.