On Friday, December 3rd, at 8:57 p.m., we welcomed a brand new little bundle of BOY into our family! Dallin Matthew Tait was born...weighing in at 7 lbs. 12 oz, and measuring at 20 3/4 inches long. We were so ecstatic to finally meet him!
Since that time, many friends and family have asked me to share my birth experience, as it is somewhat atypical for women to give birth naturally nowadays. Primarily, I think the biggest question on people's minds is "Why?". Well, sometimes it is easier to understand something by knowing what it is not.
So let me start by listing the #1 top reason that is NOT why we chose to have this baby at home.
1) To Save Money. A lot of people have the mistaken notion that I had this baby at home to save money. This is most definitely not the case. First off, I don't even clip coupons! So, the idea that I would take such extreme measures to save money is just silly. Granted, an assisted home birth is way less expensive than a hospital birth - but in my eyes (and my husband's), that is just an extra special bonus that goes along with a decision we had already made.
So, now that that's out of the way....here's how it all went down.
On Sunday, November 28th, my "due date" came and went. This was a little bit of a let-down for me (to say the least) since Ella was born 10 days early. So, I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday....these may have been the longest days of my life! Every night I would have very strong contractions, but they never evened out, and always went away in the morning as soon as I would get out of bed.
On Thursday night, the contractions were very, very strong. So strong in fact, that I would have to hold David's hand and breathe through them. They were so intense, but still very sporadic. I was sure that these, too, would probably go away by morning. I was so frustrated, convinced that my body was doing all this work for nothing. The contractions lasted throughout the night, and into Friday morning, but still never evened out! They were 10 minutes apart, then 12, then 7, then 15! It was all very, very frustrating.
Throughout the day on Friday, I would try to walk around and get things going, but it was no use. My contractions were all over the place, and I was really tired anyway from not getting any sleep the night before. At about 11 am, I showered and got myself dressed. David decided to stay home from work and help me with the girls. Mostly, he played with them outside while I rested inside. When I would have a contraction, I would close my eyes and really shut out the rest of the world. David would have the girls be still and quiet during my contractions so I could focus on staying relaxed. I could hear him whispering things to them like, "Your mommy is working really hard right now. We need to be quiet so she can relax." The girls seemed very aware of how important this was.
At around 4:00, I was getting very impatient and frustrated that "nothing was happening". My contractions were still very unpredictable at this point. So, we called Dr. Swan...mostly to ask her what we should do to turn this bout of "false labor" into real labor! She agreed that she should come over just to check things out, and she would let us know what to do from there. I said not to rush, because apparently I was going to be in labor until Christmas.
It seems that the minute we got off the phone with Farra, my contractions started evening out (finally!). They got down to about 6 minutes apart, more or less. Dr. Swan made it to our house at around 5:00, and did a quick exam. "Well, my dear...you are at a 6! Looks like we're having a baby tonight!" Sweeter words have never spoken. I was so shocked! This was actually it!
David quickly helped Farra get her supplies set up. He also took Ava and Ella down to our friends house down the street, where they would stay until Grandma and Grandpa came to pick them up for the night. Meanwhile, I actually started walking from room to room, trying to tidy things up. I quickly realized this was not the best use of my energy, so I retired to the bedroom and planted myself on my warm, cozy bed.
For the next few hours, David stayed on the bed next to me, helping me breathe through the contractions, and helping me focus on staying calm and relaxed. Just being around him - touching him, hearing his voice - has a calming effect on me. Unfortunately for him, this also means he had to do things like holding a bowl and tying my hair back while I threw up three times. But he didn't seem to mind at all. He just quickly and quietly did exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it. He really is the best labor coach in the world.
Then, some time later, Farra told me to let her know when I was ready to push. I figured that walking around a little bit, or at least sitting upright, might help. I walked into our bathroom and sat on the edge of the bathtub for a while. A while later, I felt the urge to push! I sat on the birth stool for a bit, and tried to stay focused on the task at hand. At this point, I still could not believe that this was really happening! Our baby was actually coming!
Pushing took longer than I expected (again, comparisons to Ella's birth were not productive...Ella was born with literally one push). I pushed for about 30 minutes, which felt like forever. On top of that, I was beginning to feel the effects of not getting any sleep the night before. I was getting really tired. David kept feeding me spoonfuls of honey so I could gather some energy. Keeping my eyes open seemed just too difficult, and even keeping my head upright was a challenge. Sitting on the birth stool got uncomfortable after a while, and I decided to try and stand up so my legs wouldn't fall asleep. As soon as I stood in a half squatting position, I could feel so much more progress being made! With a few more very intense minutes of standing up and bearing down, and with lots of encouragement from Farra, her assistants, and David...I gathered all of the strength I could muster, and baby Dallin was finally born! YAY!! I was so happy....and just so relieved to have it all done.
Immediately after Dallin was born, I felt a surge of adrenaline. It was as if I had just ingested 32 ounces of Jolt cola. Tired?! Who was tired? Not me! But I was COLD. I was shaking and shivering like crazy for about 20 minutes after he was born. I couldn't have enough sweatshirts and blankets on. Kai (Farra's assistant) reassured us that this was a normal response due to the rush of hormones my body was experiencing. But I already knew that. This was the one and only thing that was the same as my experience with Ella's birth.
So there I was. In my bed, with my husband, in our dimly lit bedroom, holding our brand new, totally healthy, sweet baby boy. There are no words for that kind of joy.
So, now, let's end where we began. Let's answer that question that everyone wants to know but no one really wants to ask.
Reasons I Chose a Home Birth
Having the baby at home just made sense to me, considering I was blessed with a very normal, very healthy pregnancy, and had already had Ella with no medical intervention. Natural childbirth is not something new, and definitely not something unique to the Tait family. It's been done many, many times before, by countless numbers of women across the world.
I didn't see the need to rush off to a hospital, as I was not sick, or in need of surgery. I think there is a time and place for hospitals and medicine, but for me, that time was not during the birth of my child. That being said, I have never been crazy about hospitals anyway. The awful smell, the harsh florescent lighting, the sense of taking a number, getting in line, and having your baby on an assembly line - and let's not even TALK about the gowns (lol)....a hospital was just not the ideal place for me to meet my new little man.
I believe that the female body was brilliantly designed for childbirth by a loving Father in Heaven. I believe that all too often in this day and age, we tend to underestimate the capacities of the ever-so-amazing gift of the human body. Natural childbirth is an especially fascinating process to me, and one that I am honored to be a part of. There are so many ways that the human body rises to the task at hand, if one will simply let "nature take it's course". There is also something so wonderfully comforting and special about having a baby in your own home. Having experienced a hospital birth and a home birth, I've got to say, I'm never going back.