Zoey’s Home Birth

Posted on in Pregnancy by Dr. Marie Battaglia


You are probably reading this because you are curious for one of a few likely reasons: you have had a home birth yourself and love sharing in others’ stories…. you are thinking about having a home birth and are curious about what it’s like… or you think I’m absolutely nuts and can’t imagine why anyone would want to have their baby at home!

For whatever reason you choose to read this, remember that I am in no way saying home birth is for everyone. This is just my own personal experience that I am willing to share with you.

Did you always know you wanted to give birth at home?

Today, the majority of people assume that all babies are meant to be born in hospitals. But not too long ago most babies were born at home. I know my parents were, maybe yours were too. You should find out where your grandparents were born.. I bet it was at home!

It wasn’t until my early twenties that I learned about the very interesting history of childbirth (you should look into it sometime if you’re curious), how it’s evolved, and what modern day options there are. It clicked instantly: our bodies are so extraordinary that we can form a fully functional human being from two microscopic cells in give or take 40 weeks. Why would our body all of a sudden not know how to give birth to that baby?

Humans are animals, and animals don’t have animal hospitals with animal doctors to have their babies. They just instinctively know what to do.

When you think of a hospital what instantly comes to mind? Based on my experiences I think of being sick, drugs, surgeries, and mostly negative emotions. For me it wasn’t the ideal place for what I anticipated to be one of the most amazing and positive experiences of my life.

If you think of safety, comfort and calm when you think of hospitals, then you are probably better off being there. But for me, safety, comfort and calm was in my own home. Most of the time, birth is perfectly normal and requires minimal to no help, just no interference. I did everything I could to ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible. I prepared myself extensively for the birth experience (if you’re interested in what I did, email me). I was ready to have my baby at home, but I was also ready to go to the hospital if the need arose.

How did it start?

I woke up several times during the night of January 14th. I considered myself lucky because for the previous 41 weeks I slept right through the night without needing to get up and go to the bathroom. So this felt weird. I had cramps for most of the morning, not sure if it was from the cabbage rolls I ate the night before or if it was labour starting!

It wasn’t until Graham came home at 1:30 that things started to pick up and I was sure that our baby was coming. By 5:00 pm my sensations were pretty intense. I closed my eyes and remembered to breathe. I kept thinking of the end result and meeting our baby for the first time. It wasn’t until later in the evening that my water broke.

Where did it happen?

I moved between the bathroom and the bedroom, looking for a “comfortable” position… I don’t think I ever found one, but the freedom to move around was what I found to be most helpful. We had the lights dimmed and the heat turned up nice and warm. It was very quiet for the most part, except for when Graham played guitar for us. The birth pool was set up in the bedroom at the foot of our bed.

I eventually lost all perception of time so my recollection of the rest of the process has no timeline until the very end. I got into the birth pool and being submerged in the water felt amazing. I spent the rest of the time there.

What did it feel like?

Because epidurals are so readily available in hospital births many women probably don’t know what it felt like to birth their baby. I would never use the word “pain” to describe my experience. I associate pain with tissue injury…a message from your nervous system to your brain that damage has been done somewhere. Everything that happens during a natural undisturbed birth is meant to happen…it is not an injury. I never once felt the need for an epidural or any other pain medication.

Surge after surge, I just kept my eyes closed and thought about my baby moving down and emerging safely. Graham reminded me to control my breath when things got really intense and I got off track.

I remember hearing our birth attendant say, “Pretty soon your sensations will start to feel different” …. it must have been the next one that I felt our babies head descending. With new energy at this point I spoke out loud about what I was feeling. Graham told me after he didn’t believe me at the time.

With the next wave of sensation I felt the head come down farther. The next one allowed her head to fully emerge. With the last surge her shoulders and the rest of her body flowed out into the water – she was looking up at us with her eyes open. I brought her out of the water and onto my chest…yes, I “delivered” my own baby. She took her first breath instantly. It was 1:18 am on January 15th.

What happened after?

We had been anticipating this moment for so long. I brought her away from my chest and announced “It’s a girl!” … a few moments later I checked again just to be sure 😉 We made it a few steps over to the bed, got under the blankets and the three of us cuddled… for quite some time. There was lots of skin to skin contact, delayed cord clamping, and privacy to spend our first emotional moments together as a family of three. We were ecstatic.

Zoey was checked and adjusted within hours of being born – one correction at C1 on the right. A clear nervous system to perceive the world was the first gift we were able to give our daughter.

What do you think made your home birth experience great?

I am blessed to have Graham by my side as a spouse, business partner, best friend, birth partner, and now as a parent. His presence and support was vital in the outcome of our birth experience. Our birth attendant’s caring presence, her calming voice and encouraging words were sometimes all I needed to get through each sensation.

Having a home birth was an easy decision for me to make because it aligned perfectly with my values. It was a logical step to take based on how I live my life. I was well prepared physically, mentally and emotionally. I had a perfectly healthy and uneventful pregnancy. I had the utmost trust in my body… that it knew what to do. My body was designed to give birth and I reminded myself of that every day of my pregnancy and throughout my labour. My spine and nervous system were as clear as possible as I was checked and adjusted throughout my whole pregnancy.

Do you have any questions for me?

Email me and I’d be happy to answer them! drmarie@eastcoastchiropractic.ca

Zoey is a super healthy, bright eyed, strong and beautiful baby. I am proud of the way that I brought her into the world and I know that this experience has had a positive impact on her life. We’ll never know how large that impact is – but the possibilities are endless!

Dr. Marie

I’m Dr. Marie and helping moms be more effective, happy, and healthy humans is my passion. I love working with people to create a holistic plan that leads to more energy, less pain, better sleep, happier pregnancies, smoother births, better post partums, and healthier babies and families. Dr. Graham and I are life partners, business partners, and parenting partners to our two daughters, Zoey & Eloise. It definitely keeps life interesting but we wouldn’t have it any other way.