|Kerry's oldest daughter cut the cord|
My Amazing Homebirth
For my previous two births, I prided myself in choosing an OB affiliated with a large Boston teaching hospital. And when there were placental complications (one major) during both deliveries, I was convinced at how “lucky” I was to be in that large teaching hospital with that experienced OB.
It wasn’t until I was entering the third trimester of my third pregnancy that I came to my senses and realized that the complications I experienced in my previous deliveries were a direct result of the unnecessary inductions and medical interventions of OB-orchestrated, medicalized births. After much researching and soul-searching, I realized that my body could birth a baby without incident if I just let nature do what it was meant to do.
I was very lucky to meet Audra Karp randomly at a toddler playgroup prior to my “epiphany” about the potential dangers of medicalized, hospital births. As the weeks passed into my third trimester and I finally arrived at my decision for a natural homebirth, I was thrilled to have Audra as my midwife. Her knowledge, reassurance and calm demeanor were the key qualities that led to my amazing homebirth.
At 41 weeks, I happily went into labor on my own and my contractions quickly progressed from 10 minutes to 3 minutes apart. Audra, her student midwife, Catherine, and Audra’s partner midwife, Tara Kenny, arrived in the middle of the night and prepared their supplies while I labored in my living room. The early part of labor was much more tolerable than I anticipated. Having had two prior inductions with early epidurals, I was apprehensive about what real labor would feel like. Fortunately, it was nothing like Pitocin contractions and it was so nice to be able to walk freely through my home and labor as I needed to. As the contractions grew stronger, I gravitated more toward the bedroom where the midwives were located. I had no desire or need for a shower or bath but as the labor intensified and I got close to pushing, I was thrilled to use Audra’s birthing stool.
Prior to labor, I was worried that I would lose control at some point in the labor and think “this was a mistake,” or “I need an epidural,” or “I can’t do this.” Fortunately, that never happened for me. I feel like during the most intense part of labor, I went into the natural labor “zone” where it’s easier to block out external stimuli. It was just as intense as I thought it would be, but I never felt like it was more than I could handle. Audra and her partners were unbelievably supportive. They provided constant care and attention—at my request—and reassured me when contractions were most intense with calm statements, like: “That’s just your baby,” and “You’re fine, your baby’s fine, you’re doing great.”
At labor’s peak, I remember thinking, “someone please help me!” And when it became clear to me that I was the only one who could help me, I pushed the baby out! I had a slight hemorrhage after the baby was born, which Audra quickly stopped with a Pitocin injection. The placenta was ready to be delivered, but I think given my previous hospital-birth baggage, I subconsciously couldn’t push it out until after awhile Audra reassured me that the placenta was detached and everything was fine. When I ultimately pushed the placenta out, I sobbed and sobbed, filled with such relief that all was fine, anger over my previous births, and joy at my amazing, perfect homebirth.
I truly wish I had known in my earlier pregnancies what I learned in my third: that homebirths are safe, beautiful, empowering and truly the way that nature intended for babies to be born. Thank you Audra, Tara and Catherine!