The Birth Interview Project consists of 17 simple questions designed to help mothers process their birth story & share it with others. All mothers are invited to take part in this project. Born out of Joy’s desire to help women discover, process and express the feelings surrounding their birth experiences, The Birth Interview Project strives to offer a platform for mothers and readers alike to share and be heard, to search and to discover, to identify and to heal, and to exhort and remember. The views and opinions expressed here are unique to each woman who takes part in the Birth Interview Project and may not always reflect the values of the blog author.
Please give a brief description of yourself, and what number baby/birth you’re sharing with us.
My name is Jody and I’m a 31-year-old vegetarian who lives with my long-term boyfriend. We worked from home as artists and designers doing screen printing and selling handmade goods on Etsy, but when our son was born my boyfriend started working at a factory so I could stay home and devote my time to our son. This is our first baby.
What was your due date, and what was your baby’s birth date?
My baby’s due date was December 12th and my baby was born on December 3rd.
What was Henry’s weight and length?
6lbs 6oz and 20 inches long.
Please give a brief, one paragraph synopsis of your birth.
I had a natural home birth. Henry was born at 7:44am. My labor was 12 hours from start to finish with maybe an hour or two of pushing. I didn’t find it to be painful but it was all-consuming, powerful, and INTENSE! I didn’t want anyone to talk or to look at me while I was having a contraction. I labored in my living room, in my bed with my boyfriend laying on one side of me and my mom on the other, then during transition in a birthing pool. I pushed my son out on all fours on our bed.
What did you do to prepare for your labor and birth? Did it help?
To prepare I read many books and watched videos on natural child birth. My favorite book that helped to put any small lingering doubts or fears to rest was Ina May Gaskin’s Spiritual Midwifery. I also spoke out loud to my baby often and one of the topics we covered was how wonderful and peaceful our birth experience would be. I had also wanted to take a natural child birth class but we were broke at the time and couldn’t. I also ate healthy and took good care of myself during pregnancy.
What did you like about your birth experience, if anything?
I loved many things about my birth experience. I loved the giddy excitement and coziness of returning home to tell my boyfriend I thought I was in labor and being alone with him before my midwives and mother arrived. I loved being part of something much bigger than myself. I loved experiencing something so real, human, and spiritual. I loved the loving support from my mom and boyfriend. I loved how knowledgable my midwives were and the trust I had in them. I loved not having to choose when to leave the safe comfort of my own home to drive to the hospital. I loved feeling my baby being pushed out of my vagina. I loved the way he wriggled like a fish in his last burst to break free. I loved holding him warm and gooey against my stomach for the first time. I loved that he was never taken away from me to be examined. I loved the homemade raspberry crepes my boyfriend made me for breakfast after I was done with my hard work! I loved everything!
What did you not like about your birth experience, if anything?
When my dad stopped in to drop my mom off and pick up my dogs. I asked everyone not to speak while I was having a contraction and he spoke loudly and attempted to crack sarcastic jokes while I was having one. I also wish I would have had more help for after our baby was born. It was a hard adjustment period and I wish I had someone to clean the house, do the laundry and cook healthy meals for me and also someone to support me while I was learning to nurse.
What surprised you about your contractions/labor?
I don’t think anything really surprised me. I didn’t know what to expect from labor and birth because I had never experienced it and I had decided before hand that I was just going to go with the flow and not put expectations on it.
In reflection, would you do anything differently before the birth, during or after?
I would like to line up a good support system and help for after that babies born the second time around. I’d like to stay in bed for longer and do much less around the house. I’d like to just lock myself up with the baby and rest and enjoy our babymoon and learn how to nurse. I didn’t get to do that with my first child.
What do you remember the most about your birth?
I remember everything! What stands out to me is that it was not just physical but a battle deep within myself to have faith, remain calm, give in to something bigger than myself and not be afraid.
How was your birth experience different from what you imagined it to be?
I never really imagined it to be anything. I just knew it was going to be amazing and nothing I would know how to imagine so I didn’t try.
What were your immediate emotions about yourself and or your birth experience after the birth?
Elation! My boyfriend and I were just so extremely happy, excited and proud. I felt as though I had went through the ultimate rite of passage. I felt like a woman, I felt like a mother.
How would you describe your recovery?
I needed a few stitches for tearing. It felt weird to poop for a while afterward. I wasn’t very sore. I wanted to get up immediately and be doing things and going places.
How has your perspective of your birth experience with Henry changed in the last 13 months since the first week of having him?
My perspective has never changed. I still feel as much pride and joy when I reflect on my birthing experience now as I did the day I had him. I can’t wait to do it all over again!
Did you learn anything about yourself through this experience?
I don’t know if I learned anything that I didn’t already know somewhere deep down. I just came away from my experience with more self-love and respect.
Would you recommend having a natural childbirth or medicated childbirth to other women?
I would recommend natural child birth. I feel like women are getting ripped off. Our society paints a negative, scary view of child birth when I see it as the most beautiful and empowering thing a person could experience.
Any further thoughts, comments or advice you would like to share?
YES you are actually being nutty when you re-wash the window screens 4 times the last couple months of your pregnancy! Spend less time nesting and just rest and prepare yourself mentally and emotionally. I spent more time planning a nursery (which my son rarely used for any reason because we co-slept) than I did learning about breastfeeding. Try to get some breastfeeding support and read as many books as you can and watch videos of babies latching! Breastfeeding is natural but there is a lot to learn and the support is needed!