Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adventures in Birthing at Home

**This post is may be a little TMI for some and is quite personal. Please keep that in mind while you are reading and possibly sharing our story**

If you haven't heard already, we welcomed our newest family member into our home Thursday, February 28th, 2013, at 6:58am. And yes, when I say "into our home" I literally mean it.

Ben and I had been planning a home birth, and well, we got one! At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Thursday morning I began noticing that my abdomen was quite tight and beginning to hurt. It was worse lying down, so I got up and tried to do other things. At first I really didn't think much of the minor contractions I was having; I had read that braxton hicks can be more noticeable in the second pregnancy, and false labour was also normal. Plus I had another two weeks until my due date. Around 4am the contractions began to become stronger and closer together, so I ran myself a bath in hopes that it would help as it did with my first pregnancy; no such luck. I eventually called Ben in for some moral support and to call our birth attendant. I wanted him to call our birth attendant (BA) so that she could tell me how far dilated I was, but I didn't communicate this to Ben.
Ben was under the impression that I was in false labour and somehow missed my sense of urgency and the fact that my contractions were becoming stronger and closer together were a sign of real labour. By the time 6:00-6:30am came along everything was quite intense; my back pain was the biggest part of the intensity I was experiencing. Everything was moving along very quickly. At this point Ben was apparently still in the dark about the fact that we were going to be having a baby that morning. We also still couldn't get a hold of our BA, which can be quite frustrating for someone who would like to know a little bit more of what is happening (dilation mainly). Quite close to 7am I had the urge to pee, and so I made my way over to the toilet, 'peed' a little, and then water gushed every where with the breaking of my water and our baby girl's head came out. One push later and our baby girl was in the toilet I was squatting over.

Interestingly enough Ben still had no idea I was going to be giving birth until he actually saw the head coming out, and he also couldn't get a hold of the BA (he tried to call her just before I was squatting over the toilet).

Up until this point Ben was the most calm, encouraging, supportive, birthing coach one could ever ask for. He would let me squeeze his hand, arm, whatever, as hard I needed to; he talked me through my contractions with positive reinforcements; when my contractions & back pain were nearly unbearable he would do his best to keep me focused. To keep myself focused I would tell myself out loud that my body was "made for this" and "designed for this" and the like; when I wasn't able to get it out, he would tell me those same things. Seriously, Ben is THE. BEST. BIRTHING. COACH. EVER. I couldn't ask for anything better.

Then he saw the head. Then he saw the baby in the toilet. Then he scooped her out and panicked. Which in turn made me kind of panic. And he told me to call 9-1-1. Repeatedly. He thought she wasn't breathing, but she was, and she was just fine. And I was ready to just relax, not go into panic mode because much to my relief my back pain finally subsided, and my baby was out.

The paramedics took no time at all to show up, and thankfully they were very nice and polite and just so kind and helpful. One was quite pushy and really tried to get us to go to the hospital, which would defeat the purpose of the home birth in my eyes. Our birth attendant did show up, and she did everything that they would have done for us at the hospital.

Ben went to wake up Adelynne when there was still some commotion going on so that she would be able to know that something was happening. And he "prepped" her before they came into our room. And she was so so excited to meet her little baby sister. And she still does really well with her; she seems to have adjusted quite well so far with our new little bundle.

So, yes our birth attendant didn't show up until after the birth. And yes Ben had a moment of panic, which resulted in paramedics. But we wouldn't have done it any other way. Being at home allowed the freedom to do what I felt my body needed to do. Yes my back pain was incredibly painful, but I was able to kneel on all fours without having the pressure of some nurse trying to get me back into bed. And I was able to actually squat, not be "gently coaxed" to lie down on my back. And let me tell you, squatting to push a baby out in comparison to lying on my back was a 1000x better/easier/more comfortable. I didn't even feel when the placenta came out, where as I felt like I had to push another baby out with the first one! We were able to just relax, and all fit on the bed! And we were able to keep things somewhat 'normal' because we could just carry on at home. It truly was an amazing experience. It was perfect.
And so is our new baby girl.

Lexianna Florence Schartner

*The only downfall of having a home birth is no nurse to take the first family photo!


  1. So proud of you Schartner clan!! Way to go. She is lovely!! I hope you are feeling better real soon Rebecca. Hugs to Ady :) Blessings all around....Love you guys tons T

  2. Hi Rebecca:) Danielle told me you just gave birth to baby #2 so I had to come and read your story for myself(I don't know if you remember me, I moved from Chilliwack to Nova Scotia almost 4 years ago now). Congratulations on your new little girl and the wonderful birth. I'm sure it wasn't what you were expecting but it sounds like everything went beautifully! I also gave birth unassisted, although we planned it that way(with #4 who is now 15 months old). Happy babymoon!

    1. Jenny, I do remember you! Danielle keeps me somewhat updated on you & your little family :) Thank you for the congrats! Doing it unassisted isn't as scary as most think is it?! Did you still have a midwife or doctor throughout your pregnancy? I'm thinking our next one we might do a planned unassisted one :)

  3. So excited for you! God bless you and your growing family. She is so precious. I am not surprised that you and Ben managed to stay fairly calm and do it the way God intended.

    1. Thank you Lori :) I'm glad to finally hear someone wasn't surprised!! Most are quite shocked at how involved he is :)

  4. It's an amazing story Rebecca. I absolutely love it. Thanks for sharing something so incredibly personal. Your testimony to the full experience of pain yet allowing your body the freedom to figure out what worked best to make your delivery easier, better and more comfortable in order to do what it was wonderfully designed to do is both appreciated and an encouragement. Congratulations and you are a strong courageous woman.

    1. Thank you for your kind words!!
      And I know you too will do an amazing job when your time comes :)

  5. Good job girl! happy it worked out so well for you (even though a bit unexpectedly)I give you props for having the courage to do it all on your own!!! amazing!

    God Bless you guys and hope to chat soon,

    1. Thanks Sheryl :) yes it'll be nice to chat soon
      (also, the night I went into labour it was your email that I was trying to finally return haha) xo

  6. Congratulations! What a great story! What an absolutely gorgeous baby!(love her name too) Did I miss how big she was? She looks very healthy. Way to go!!