Why I Fell In Love With My Natural Home Birth

Pregnancy is tough for me at best! I love that medicine, combined with science allows me to bring bundles of joy (sometimes two at a time) into my family! I always feel so guilty telling people that pregnancy is hard for me because I get that many people won’t get to experience pregnancy. I also feel guilty because I feel grateful that IVF does work so well for our family! We haven’t had a failed procedure yet.

My first two pregnancies ended at 39 weeks and 36 weeks. My babies all came on their own and I was grateful that I never went over. With Maddox, I was very certain he would come early. Early he did NOT come! I spent the last few weeks crying daily because I was so ready to be done. I am not sure what was up with my emotions because now it seems so silly to be devastated at the thought of going to 41 weeks…but I guess it is the hormones?

With my twins, I had an amazing doctor that was the only person I saw throughout my pregnancy. One doctor and one nurse, that was it. When I moved to Utah I realized it would be a little trickier to find that magic! A friend recommended a certain doctor and I set my 13-week appointment with him. In the meantime, I was somehow brainwashed into doing a birth center. I was okay with doing a birth center because it still wasn’t a “home birth." Being somebody who completely struggles with anxieties, an out of hospital birth was NOT even a possibility for me. There was NO way it was way too dangerous…..or was it?

I saw the midwives at Better Birth from about 13 to 16 weeks. Both times I went in they did an ultra sound and found “problems” that resulted in more ultrasounds. Turns out they were not ever problems and the radiologist was misreading the ultrasounds (THANK GOODNESS). I was also battling a chronic UTI and bouncing from doctor to doctor to get a prescription. I tried every essential oil and natural remedy in the book no to avail and was on several antibiotics during my pregnancy. It was getting really frustrating. Come to find out, I never had UTI’s and it was a bunch of false positives from contaminated cultures. I can’t make this stuff up.

During this time, I decide that I would try out a home birth midwife. I met the LOVELY Sherri Price and I knew she was the perfect match for me.

Let me introduce you to Sherri.

^ Have you just totally fallen in love with Sherri now? Yeah, I thought so. She's incredible.

Richard was totally sold on the idea of Sherri and gave me the green light to do a home birth. He had previously told me there was NO WAY we were EVER doing a home birth. She had a strong personality and a passion for safe home birth. I saw her twice and due to my relentless UTIs, I switched to the midwives at Orem Community. I know, I know, it was like I was jumping from boyfriend to boyfriend. Sherri was super supportive and told me that she would come as my doula and that if, on the day I went into labor, I decided to do a home birth she would turn back into my midwife.

Basically, I was tired of the UTIs and trying to find random doctors to prescribe me meds. So finally I landed with the Orem Community midwives. I saw them from weeks 20-38. I felt so much like they cared more for their own agenda than mine and almost every one of my appointments was rescheduled. Every time a problem happened, I ended up going back to Sherri.

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At 38 weeks, I had decided that I felt good about home birth. I got my list of items needed for a home birth and I packed up my box and had it ready. She even came for a visit at my house. It all felt SO right! I was so excited to have a baby at home. Until he wasn’t coming.

I was having a daily crying session and Sherri kept telling me that he would come but that I was probably going to go over. She even went as far to tell me that she thought I would have him Saturday the 14th.

Enter 2:30 am on the 14th. My water broke! I was sleeping and I felt a GUSH! My water had never broken on its own before but I definitely knew that this was my water. I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I called everybody in my family and told them he was FINALLY on his way (at a whopping 5 days late..I know, I know he wasn’t really that late).

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I called Sherri and told her that my water had broken and that I was super excited. She arrived an hour later at about 4 am. The first thing she asked is if I would be having the baby at home or at the hospital. I STRONGLY SAID, “AT HOME and don’t let me change my mind!" She immediately started diffusing Wild Orange and Peppermint to help keep me energized. 

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I was having little contractions that were indeed the start of labor but it wasn’t anything unmanageable or serious. She came and checked me and told me I was still at a 3 and 80% effaced (same as two days before) and she went and slept in the basement while we waited for things to begin.

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At 6 am my twins woke up and we called my in-laws. My contractions were still super manageable but not overly fun. My in-laws came and I would run into my bedroom every time I had a contraction. Sherri came back up at 6:45 I was at 5 cm. I could tell that it was about to fly from here on out.

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At 7 am the other midwives arrived and I was definitely managing labor okay but it was hurting. They pulled out Deep Blue to help with said hurting--such a welcome relief at this stage of heavy laboring.

I learned that I do NOT like laboring in the tub or sitting down unless it was on a birthing ball. I literally HATED sitting down. I went from my room to my bed and my sitting room. I loved being able to munch on apples during labor. So nice and refreshing.

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^ I love that Sherri pulled out my Rose essential oil. Rose is really important to me and helps promote feelings of calm in me like nothing else. I remember just being able to talk myself through wanting to give up and saying, "I can do this. I can do this. You're okay."

At 8:25 am I was at an 8 and was so worried I would get stuck at an 8. Fortunately for me, I was at a 9 at 8:38 and then a 10 at 8:59 am. I know many don’t like having their cervix checked but I am a goal oriented gal and I like knowing EXACTLY where I am at all times.

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This was my first natural labor. Everybody in my family (who, by the way, have ALL done natural birth) told me how amazing it was to push because there was the strongest urge you will ever feel in your life and it is so relieving. Um yeah, about that urge…..it didn’t exist for me. She told me I was a 10 and I couldn’t tell the difference in pressure between a 3 and a 10. BUT I pushed anyway and OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH! Pushing without any urge was excruciating. I found myself wanting to rest peacefully through those nasty transition contractions.

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At 9:15 am I was feeling like I had made ZERO progress. (I had pushed my last baby out in 11 minutes with her twin brother following 4 minutes later.) I BEGGED to be transferred to the hospital. I am SO grateful my midwives told me no! They told me that I would end up having my baby in the car.

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I screamed like a wild banshee and yelled out how I couldn’t do it. The pain was absolutely UNREAL every time I would push. It was like I was pushing AGAINST the pain not with it and wow…I was almost having out of body experiences.

As you can see from the photos, I was really having a hard time catching my breath. My team used Breathe to help open up the airways and get the oxygen flowing. 

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So grateful for my midwives.

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At 9:40 the baby was crowning.

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At 9:53 he was born!

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WOW AN HOUR of pushing. It was absolutely exhausting to push and by the time I had him I was done. I literally just laid there while my husband held this MASSIVE HUGE BABY next to me (he was still attached to the cord).  

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How To Have A Natural Birth, jennoldham.com
Are Essential Oils Safe For Newborns, jennoldham.com
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As soon as he was born, Sherri applied Breathe to help him open up his airways too. Apparently we were both having a hard time catching our breath. She also applied Balance to him as well--my favorite grounding oil. It just helps promote feeling of calm; it soothes. Birth, I think, is traumatic for everybody. I'm sure Maddox was like, "What the heck just happened to me? I got squeezed through a really tiny tunnel." lol Lastly, she applied Frankincense to him. It's just so great on a cellular level. I mean, if it was good enough for Baby Jesus, it's probably good enough for Baby Maddox, right? ;)

My placenta found my uterus to be a super comfy home just like by 5-day-overdue baby and did NOT want to come out. It took a good 45 minutes. I honestly remember next to nothing other than the midwives telling me that I was bleeding more than they liked to see. You guys, here is the amazing thing though, they handled it like champs using herbs, which was incredible. One of the midwives was a CNM, and had drugs like Pitocin that could stop the bleeding should it become heavier. The amazing thing was that is stopped on its own very quickly. I love that they went to herbs first. They didn't use any essential oils, but Helichrysum would be one of my favorites in this situation. It promotes healthy healing especially after the placenta is delivered. Sherri did use a little Clove in my nether regions when she was stitching me up. It helped promote numb feelings during such an uncomfortable time...but then again, I was really distracted by this adorable baby and his adorable sister and dad loving on him. 

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After the placenta was delivered I hopped in the bathtub with Maddox and we had a nice bath. I loved being at home. My midwife had her assistant go and get me some of my own food from my own kitchen and it was refreshing! It isn’t that I don’t love hospital food….well….wait, nope, never mind, I don’t.

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After I hopped out of the bathtub, I jumped into my OWN BED! I can’t even describe how good it feels to get into your own bed after having a baby. It is amazing! I sent my kids away for 3 days and enjoyed a peaceful, quiet house alone with Maddox and Richard.

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One of the comments I get the most when I tell people that I had Maddox at home, is that they wouldn’t want to clean up the mess and that home birth is so dangerous.  Well, the beautiful thing is that the midwife and their assistants are INCREDIBLE at cleaning up the entire birth. Like I don’t even know where they hauled the trash to after they cleaned up. I never saw a single remnant of afterbirth or blood spot ANYWHERE.

How To Weigh A Baby At Home, JennOldham.com
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As far as the safety of home birth, you are right, it isn’t an operating room where a C-section can be performed within minutes…however, midwives are VERY well equipped to handle emergencies and transfer if needs be. There is definitely a need for good doctors and hospitals and I was grateful to have that there if necessary. However, we managed just great at home.

I realize that home birth isn’t for everybody, but I loved my experience. I figure that since I don’t get the luxury of creating my babies at home in my bed (or wherever seems the most fun at the time) I at least want to have my babies at home.

Why I Have My Babies At Home, jennoldham.com

My postpartum was definitely NOT without its struggles. I literally cried daily and felt hopeless and depressed for a good month. I had the WORST breastfeeding struggles EVER and yet I wasn’t willing to quit. It about sent me over the edge but thanks to my emotion blend oils, a good IBCLC (master-ninja breastfeeding consultant), an amazing hubby and friends, I made it through.

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Maddox has been an amazing addition to our family and the last two years has been our best two years!

We are so looking forward to doing IVF again and adding to our family one more time. That's right! We are officially starting the process again! We feel like our family is not yet complete and look forward to another amazing birth experience.

Photo Credit // Susan Monson

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