Sofia’s Birth Story

Jun 16, 2009 |
Home Birth Stories,  |
Kellie Moeller, CNM |

During my first consultation with Kellie I became very fascinated with the whole homebirth approach she has been using in her practice for years. At that time I was twenty weeks pregnant and the possibility of a gentle birth at home without unnecessary medical interventions seemed very appealing to me.

What attracted me most about this kind of birthing is that I wouldn’t have to leave home for the hospital during painful contractions. I liked that I could labor in any position most convenient to me and not to hospital nurses or doctors; that I could eat and drink anything I wanted; and, finally, that I could choose myself who would help me during labor not having to deal with strangers whose indifferent attitude could inadvertently slow down my progress.

As for my husband Alex, it took him some time to realize why homebirth is safer for the majority of women than birth at a hospital. At first he even exclaimed: “Hell, no! We are in America! Let’s take advantage of the modern medicine we have available here!” However, after quite a bit of arguing and reading tons of literature about the benefits of homebirth vs. hospital birth for the low-risk pregnancies like mine, we finally agreed upon having our baby at home.

First we attended childbirth classes Kellie and her colleague Pat held. They were fun and very educational. We exchanged emails with the other classmates and are still staying in touch with most of them. After the classes were over we still had a few weeks of preparing to labor at home ahead of us.

Among other things we bought an indoor swimming pool as well as hoses and pumps to operate it with. My husband even designed his one-of-a-kind birth swings that we hung over the pool and that was supposed to make it easier for me to squat during contractions.

When we finally got everything ready an unpleasant surprise almost ruined all our plans. During the last 2 weeks of pregnancy, my blood pressure started to creep up. Our concern was that it could become preeclampsia which would cause plenty of bad things to our health, lead to the labor induction, and even C-section. Kellie monitored my blood pressure and blood levels for evidence of preeclampsia. The blood work was all normal but my blood pressure was rising a bit more. Kellie discussed the option of going to the hospital for an induction, but on this day Kellie found my cervix very ready for labor. My husband and I chose to use castor oil and other herbal supplements to induce labor naturally, and this very day my labor began. Thanks to Kellie I didn’t have to go to the hospital that I was very afraid of.

Starting from 2 pm contractions became regular and closer together with each hour. When they were three minutes apart lasting for about a minute each we asked Kellie to come and check me. I can’t say the pain was unbearable at that point. I just felt spasms in the lower back. While waiting for Kellie to come, I was trying to relax during and between contractions, drink plenty of raspberry tea and high-protein milk shakes made by Alex. Although it is highly recommended to eat easily digestible foods during home labor, I couldn’t think of eating at all, I just felt very thirsty. So, those energy replenishing shakes were really a life saver.

At the beginning of contractions I was trying to sit on the toilet or stay on all fours, but it was not very soothing. Then following Kellie’s suggestion, Alex filled up our bath tub with warm water and I was side-laying there on pillows for a while. The water suppressed some of the pain but not much.

At around 7:30 pm when Kellie arrived she said I was 6 cm dilated, which meant I still had 4 cm to go. She also suggested that I moved from the tub to the pool that Alex already filled with water by then. I did it and felt so relieved right away! I was laying there with my arms on the bottom and legs freely floating in the water as if they were weightless. I didn’t feel any pressure of my body weight, which helped my muscles relax even more.

In about an hour somewhere between contractions and right before I felt the urge to push I said to Kellie: “The pain is not that bad actually, not as bad as I thought”. In surprise she answered: "Tatyana, I have never heard any other woman say that at 9 cm dilation, including myself"! As for me, I really didn’t feel enormous pain that I couldn’t tolerate throughout my whole labor. It was manageable one way or another. Being in the warm water was one technique, drinking sweet protein shakes and strong raspberry tea was another. Sometimes I felt the contractions drain my energy, so staying hydrated helped me gain strength and live through the pain for several hours.

At around 8:45 pm I started pushing. First I stayed on my knees holding on the birth swing ropes that my husband previously hung on the ceiling over the pool. I made some progress but not as much as I felt I could. So, I tried squatting while holding on to the ropes and it made a big difference. After almost an hour of pushing I thought to myself: “OK, I will probably need five more pushes to deliver the baby, no more than five”. Funny enough I was wrong. It took only one powerful push, after which the water bag broke and the head came out that my husband got to catch. In a few seconds the shoulders and the whole body slipped into Kellie’s hands. She raised our daughter Sofia out from the water and handed her to me.

When I finally had my baby in my arms I just burst into tears and so did Alex. I guess those were tears of happiness, pride and great relief. I could not believe I did it myself without epidurals, IVs, forceps, and doctors. It was incredible that my baby was here out of my womb after nine months of waiting. We were so thrilled that I delivered our girl in the most natural and harmless way. We named her Sofia. She was born on May 21, 2009 at 10:19 pm, weighed 6 lbs 11 oz and measured 19,5 inches long.

While I was still in the pool Kellie urged me to try breastfeeding Sofia. It took her only nine minutes to latch on properly and start nursing. In a few more moments I delivered the placenta. Still attached to the baby’s cord Kellie placed it in a Ziploc bag. The cord was pulsating and transferring invaluable antibodies to Sofia as she was nursing for almost three hours.

What amazed both Alex and I was that Kellie and her assistant Pam were examining our baby while she was nursing without interrupting her for a second. They waited till she fell asleep and only then helped my husband cut the cord. No other infant I know got this kind of care at the hospital.

Another remarkable healing concept of Kellie’s postpartum care was taking daily warm herbal baths together with baby, which helped the clamped cord fall off in only five days. Sofia and I enjoyed them a lot. Kellie’s holistic approach to almost every aspect of pregnancy and childbirth does wonders! I am certain it prevented me from having my labor induced at the hospital that I feared so much during pregnancy.

On the next morning after Sofia’s wonderful birth I noticed another little miracle. As if to celebrate her birthday red wildflowers on our patio suddenly burst into blossom. It was very unusual because they would normally start blooming earlier that month. So, to me their unexpected blossoming right after my baby’s birth meant a gift from Mother Nature.

Alex and I are endlessly happy that we met Kellie. To us she is not only a Certified Nurse Midwife but also a neonatologist, pediatrician, obstetrician, gynecologist, lactation expert, and a family doctor. Why? We believe her vast professional expertise along with years of medical training and hands-on experience really make her all-in-one health care specialist for mothers and babies. We also love her holistic approach to pregnancy, labor, birth and childcare.

Homebirth is not for everyone. It is not generally recommended for high-risk pregnancies. Most importantly it cannot be a success if only one person desires it. I strongly believe that homebirth should be a mutual decision and responsibility of both parents-to-be. That’s why I am so grateful to my husband who backed me up 100% all the way through. I would have never done it myself without his support.

We both knew what the risks were but we took the full responsibility for our decision and got rewarded with a beautiful and healthy daughter at the end of this exciting journey.

Her birth story will always be a true miracle to us that we feel we need to share with the rest of you. Alex and I hope it will help future parents to choose a gentler way of bringing their babies into this world.

Original Publish Date: June 16, 2009

Blog Posted: Jun 16, 2009
Posted by: Kellie Moeller, CNM
HomeBirth Experience Inc.
(281) 309-8030

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2009 Tatyana Kolchinsky