All On My Own: An Accidental, Unassisted Home Birth

by Laura A. Lord on February 12, 2016

A little background about my previous births:

In January of 2011, we welcomed our first born son Earth-side in the water at Family Beginnings Birthing Center (Miami Valley Hospital). I labored overnight at home and arrived at the hospital not long before he was born. Trying to recall from almost five years ago, we got to the room, got in the tub, and a few short contractions later he was born. In December of 2012, our daughter was born on land, though we wanted another water birth. We did not give the hospital enough notice before our arrival to get the birthing center room switched over or even a portable tub set up on the labor and delivery side. I was practically ready to give birth in triage. In September of 2015 I welcomed our youngest son at home, alone in our empty bathtub.

It was the day after my due date. I woke up and got myself and my children ready to attend MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). I was having some “pains,” but I couldn’t decide if they were labor or Braxton Hicks. I call them Braxton Millers; GO BUCKS!

I took the kids to Nana’s house after MOPS for lunch. I often make or pick up lunch for my partner. He is a letter carrier and comes home with the proximity of his route, so I asked to leave the kids with her.

I made lunch for my partner and we talked about the “pains” I was having. They weren’t very regular, and only some of them made me stop and take notice. He advised me to start timing these feelings, go pick up the kids, and walk around a local park. I did start writing my pains down, but I decided to stay home by myself and try to rest, in case it really was labor.

I went upstairs and ironed my Girasol Ring Sling for the hospital bag and scrolled Facebook on my Kindle. My “pains” were about ten minutes apart for an hour, and maybe every other one was actually anything to notice where I had to stop whatever I was doing and breathe through it.

I called my partner and told him I was actually in labor. He was about two hours from finishing his route, so I told him he could finish working.

Then I called my care provider and we spoke about my contractions being ten minutes apart. They wanted them to be five minutes apart before I came in. I reminded the nurse my labors were fast and I had already spoken to the midwives about wanting to come in earlier this time and actually get to labor in the hospital, use the birthing ball, and Jacuzzi tub. She said if I wanted to come in, just call back and let them know.

Ten minutes later, I was having another bigger contraction. I changed positions from side lying to hands and knees and felt very uncomfortable. I remembered from the birthing classes to give a new position a chance, because it likely wouldn’t feel great at first, but I felt like I had to use the bathroom bad!

I made it the short walk down the hall and onto the toilet. I remember wanting my contraction to end so I could relieve myself, but then I realized I was trying to go during my contraction.

I’ve never had my water break prior to birth, so I thought that might be the pressure I was feeling. I reached down and felt a bulging bag of waters…and the head. Two more steps into my bathtub and then what felt like immediately after, my son was born.

I tried to sweep my son’s mouth and realized the sac was covering his face like some alien membrane. I peeled it off and he started to breathe. I had brought my phone in the bathroom with me, thank goodness, so I was able to call my partner. All I said was, “You have to come home right now.” I hung up.

I called my care provider back and said, “Remember how my contractions were ten minutes apart and I shouldn’t come in? Well, I accidently had my baby.”

They were like, “What?” Once they realized what I was saying, the nurse said I had to call the ambulance.

“You mean I can’t just get in the car and…”

“No! You have to call the squad.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll hang up and call.”

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I called 911 and had an ambulance on the way. The dispatcher, bless his heart, was reading off of some prompter, I’m sure. He told me to find something like a shoestring to tie the cord.

“Um, No.”

“But you need to find…”

“No I don’t.”

“But it says…”

“We’re good. I haven’t delivered the placenta yet. He’s breathing; we’re good.”

I even went as far to say, “It’s called delayed cord clamping.”

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Shortly thereafter, my partner got home and I told the dispatcher I was going to have to let him go. He started to say something else and I just said, “I’m going to have to let you go, thanks.”

My partner heard I was on the phone upstairs. He looked in our room, our children’s’ rooms, and then the bathroom. The shower curtain was partially obscuring me, so he didn’t know why I was in the tub until he came all the way into the bathroom.

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I said, “Sorry.” He saw I was holding our child. I told my partner to go get my big Pyrex bowl. I primarily used it for popcorn. I’ll never look at it the same again.

As my partner was coming back upstairs, the paramedics arrived and he escorted them inside.

I delivered the placenta into the bowl and my partner cut the cord. I splashed some water on my legs, wrapped a towel around me to make it to the gurney, and nursed my newborn in the ambulance ride to the hospital.

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I’ll say this much, your body knows what to do. Everybody’s labor and delivery is unique and special to them and their baby. This is definitely not what I had planned, but it is my story and I own it. Our bodies are made for this!

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