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Florence tells us about her birth at home surrounded by two midwives and her spouse
Florence felt quite early the urge to give birth at home in the comfort of her home.
She was interested in the subject even before the desire to have children.
She will explain to us how she prepared to welcome her baby into her home. What are the tools that accompanied her during the 9 months of her pregnancy to prepare for her delivery. She will also tell us with great emotion the story of the birth of her little girl surrounded by her two midwives and her spouse.
How did you choose to give birth at home ?
To be honest, I’ve been thinking about it for years. I had this curiosity even before the desire to have children.
I had done some research on the subject, but I did not know anyone except my grandmother who had given birth to my mother at her home. And then, to be honest, I didn’t even think it was possible right now.
I didn’t want to put pressure on myself, maybe I would want something else when I had a baby in my belly. I always told myself that I would see when the time came, when I was pregnant.
When I finally got pregnant, this desire was immediately confirmed, I wanted to give birth at home.
I felt the need to be an actor in my delivery. Without wanting to make judgments or generalities, I had this fear of being guided too much at the hospital.
I also have a reserved personality with difficulty asserting myself, I feel more comfortable at home. I wanted to be in my intimacy to live this unforgettable event of my life.
It is a personal choice and all women should be able to choose how they would like to give birth.
How did you actually prepare ?
When I had to choose the person to monitor my pregnancy, I turned to liberal midwives who notably accompany home births.
You should know that there are very few. To give an idea, I live in the region of Voiron and the only midwives I found were more than 40 minutes away from my home. They cover a huge area. I have noticed that unfortunately, home birth is not yet sufficiently democratized and that midwives who wish to accompany women to give birth at home have a lot of obstacles in the way.
My midwives are truly inspiring. They offer several courses and workshops for childbirth preparation. The one that struck me the most and which also helped me a lot during my delivery was the one on sounds and vibrations.
Midwives taught us to make sounds that we can reproduce on the day of delivery. These sounds will help transcend the pain. For each contraction, there is a sound and you have to push it with your voice all the way, the midwives and the participants do it at the same time, it creates a beautiful atmosphere full of joy and confidence.
Otherwise, as I said above, I have been interested in physiological and home childbirth for quite a long time, so I had already read a few books on it. The one I recommend to all women is Lucie Gomez’s “Birth in Comic Strips”. It is a superb comic that tells the process of physiological birth. My sister gave birth in the nature room at the maternity ward and he also helped her a lot with her delivery (she has never taken a childbirth preparation course).
I find that this book gives you (re) faith in the power of the body to give birth. It comes to boost the confidence in you and in your own body.
I also read a few books by Maïtie Trélaün (a midwife who co-wrote books with the famous gynecologist Michel Odent around physiological childbirth).
These books helped me understand how our collective unconscious has shaped the image of childbirth in a painful and trying facet that makes women suffer. These books talk about birth in a positive light and address with awareness how under normal conditions the female body is designed to give birth.
I also took a few classes with a midwife who works with the Gasquet method, and a few yoga classes (my teacher had given me sequences that could be done to help during labor).
How did the famous D-Day go then ?
When labor begins, the midwives should be notified quickly, even if it is not necessary for them to arrive immediately. Depending on the medical progress of the birth, we always have the possibility of changing our minds and giving birth at the maternity ward.
For the technical side, I had rented a swimming pool for childbirth in an association in Grenoble called “Bien naître et grandi” and which supports families in their home birth and parenting project.
My baby girl was born at term at more than 5 days. Every two days, I had to go for an ultrasound and monitoring.
On the other hand, at D+4 of the term, I had an experience that left me with a bitter taste. During the check-up at the hospital, I accept the examination of the cervix to see if a detachment of the membranes is possible (he had already proposed to me at the appointment before and I had refused, but now , I wanted to try to speed things up to avoid an outbreak that involves giving birth in the maternity ward). After examination, it is not possible to make a detachment, but following this examination, the midwife makes a test which indicated the tiny presence but presence nevertheless of amniotic liquid. She said it was tinted and that it was a sign of fetal distress, following that, the obstetrician on duty insisted that we stay in the maternity ward. (actually, I believe it was the mucous plug).
The problem seemed to be that the pouch was cracked, but as my mate rightly pointed out, that’s part of the birth process, and if the pouch had cracked at home, we wouldn’t have set out to maternity.
I had to call my midwives who reassured and comforted me. If the liquid was not green (in this case it is that there is meconium and there it is annoying) everything was under control and I could go home with peace of mind to give birth at home.
On the other hand, at the hospital they were not of this opinion, they did not want to let me go and they made me wait a few hours without eating, without drinking in a room, when I began to feel slight contractions. . I wanted to welcome them but I didn’t know if I should let myself go here or if I was going to be able to go back, I was waiting. I heard a woman giving birth in an adjoining room, and she seemed to be in so much pain! It was really very exhausting a few hours before my delivery. As the caregivers are overwhelmed, I couldn’t see anyone, so I was waiting for them to pass, but I think they were all mobilized since I didn’t meet any of them. My partner and I were writing a note to explain that we were going home when the obstetrician arrived with a waiver to fill out. We signed it, knowing that she would give us an appointment the next day for an induction if the delivery had not taken place by then. We went home but this experience cooled me down a bit just before I gave birth. The context did not help me to let go.
So, you gave birth at home a few hours after that experience at the hospital ?
Yes, back home around 3 p.m., the contractions at first discreet, very gradually intensified. I let myself be carried away by alternating phases of pain and sleep, in an unusual state of consciousness, while my companion watched over me. My spouse informed the midwives so that they would join us at the appropriate time. I was also lucky to have a visit from my mum who stopped briefly on her way to work and I was happy to be able to share some of this important moment with her (which would not have been possible in the maternity ward).
Around 10 p.m. the midwives arrived and I entered the pool. They settled around the pool with my spouse.
I got a lot of help from the sounds I had learned during the workshops during the contractions, everyone accompanied me by making a sound at the same time. I felt supported, surrounded, protected.
I could also walk around my house when I felt the need to get out of the pool. I must say that the sound, the hot water, the postures that I had learned, the massages that my partner gave me and the midwives by my side with confidence and without intrusion made everything come together for me to let go taken and that I let myself be carried by my body to give birth.
The Midwife regularly pressed the monitor to listen to the baby’s heart, she did this very discreetly, I almost didn’t realize it.
Looking back, I tell myself that it’s as if I wasn’t present, I was in a totally different perception of things, in a daze, an animal state where I let myself be totally guided by my body.
My baby finally came into the world in the pool and I was able to take it on me immediately for skin to skin.
We were so absorbed in this encounter that we didn’t find out it was a baby girl until 15 minutes after she was born. The midwives did all the necessary care for me and my daughter (checks following the delivery of the placenta, blood pressure measurements, my daughter’s weight, etc.) then they left us in our bubble. They came back the next day in the morning and every day after the first week to take care of the baby and check that everything was fine.
Thank you very much Florence for this powerful story. Do you have any advice for future mothers who would like to give birth at home ?
I don’t have any great advice to give. The only thing I can share is that you have to want them, they have to listen to their needs. If this is their wish and they have no contraindications or particular pathologies, I really advise them to respect their choice.
For me, everything was so natural that if I were to get pregnant again, it is certain that I would like to give birth again at home. If there are still midwives to accompany me, which is not won given the current context…
Thank you to the midwives and especially those who accompany home births. Thanks to them, the birth of my daughter was a moment that I was really happy to experience. Their work is remarkable, even if I only have a partial vision of what their daily life can be like, and the difficulties they encounter. I was able to experience the time of pregnancy, the rejection, the incomprehension due to the lack of information that many caregivers show on a daily basis vis-à-vis the AAD. Thank you also to the health professionals who do not place themselves as judges.
References cited in the article
- Lucile Gomez “La naissance en BD”
- Maïtie Trélaün « J’accouche bientôt, que faire de la douleur »
- Maïtie Trélaün – Se préparer en couple à l’accouchement
- Ina May Gaskin « La Naissance Naturelle »
- Dr Marie-Pierre Goumy – « Tu accoucheras dans l’extase » (ce n’est pas un livre sur l’accouchement orgasmique !)
- “Bien naître et grandir” à Grenoble http://bien-naitre-et-grandir.com/