Written by Katerina • Beaverton, Oregon
This was our third baby. First home birth. I always wanted to have a family, and the birth itself was an important component for me to value.
To prepare for labor, I did breathing exercises and took lots of naps.
I woke up at 11pm in early labor.
I had two false labors with this baby already, so I was nervous this was another one.
I waited a few hours before calling the midwife and Natalie.
Luckily things progressed further than previously, so I was excited to finally be meeting our baby.
I had thought that the baby would come out in the 9th, but my due date was the 19th. The 9th came and went, as did the 19th.
She wasn’t born until the 29th, so we waited for a long time!
This labor got scared easily, so when Natalie and the midwife came to our house, the contractions slowed again for a couple of hours and I had to be alone with earplugs in so that the labor could come back and continue.
This didn’t totally surprise me, since I prefer to be totally alone during labor anyways.
We had two midwives, my birth photographer Natalie, my husband, and my sister and niece present.
My sister and my two midwives, Sharon and Sarah (Vivante Midwifery), in the living room giving me space.
It was October. It was a nice change to have a few weeks of cooler weather at the end of my pregnancy.
My internal focus only came from me, and the silence that everyone provided.
My sister and my niece were also present.
We had a chiropractor present to check on me and also to check the baby after birth.
My mother-in-law was in the house with our two other girls, so they were nearby when the baby came out.
Contractions felt like I remembered, but after having two other babies in under 3 years, my body was tired. I mostly wished for more sleep during early labor!
The hardest part of labor was the duration (12 hours!) and the fact that I was so tired.
There were a couple humorous moments: when I kept pooping and kept asking the midwives to wipe it away.
And then at the very end when I was standing to birth, and my husband was holding me up from behind by my torso, and he leaned on me for a moment in between contractions to take a break and I yelled at him “don’t lean on me!”
I pushed for maybe a bit over an hour. The baby wasn’t descending as quickly as she could because my belly hung out so far. So in the end the midwife has to push the baby into my body so that she could drop all the way and come out.
My husband was a key component to the birth itself, which I think was neat for him. He has always been fearful during labor because he doesn’t like seeing me in pain and he can’t do anything about it. So this was a time when he could help the process tangibly.
High points were that we did it at home successfully, and that Mae was born while I was standing.
I hadn’t expected that, and it was really pretty neat.
When I saw her I said, “wow that’s a big baby!”
When I held her for the first time, I remember thinking, “oh good this baby has some red in her hair”
Immediately after birth, I mostly remember that I was tired and wanted to lie down. It was several hours later that I cried at the enormity of the birth.
The best part was probably that there were so many new things we experienced all at once.
What didn’t I like about my birth experience? It’s not very fun having a baby and the same day worrying about what the other kids are having for dinner!
I didn’t know what to expect with a home birth, and keep assuming the labor would be the same as my second, even though I know that all labors are different. This labor was longer than I expected!
Mae • 9lb 10oz • 21”
Natalie Broders is a birth photographer, birth filmmaker and birth doula located in Portland, Oregon. She lives on a farm with her husband and 2 kids. They raise chickens and love to garden. Natalie loves babywearing, cloth diapering and is passionate about her work as an advocate for birthing people. She had one of her babies at a birth center and her second baby was born at home, in water.