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Childbirth stories – My journey from hospital to home birth

Childbirth stories – My journey from hospital to home birth

My name is Julia. I am a psychiatric nurse, a teacher and a mother of two beautiful girls. Having worked in the German healthcare service for several years, revealed the inefficiencies of the system in relation to women’s health in particular. I always said that I would rather give birth in the comfort of my own home than in a hospital. I would like to share my story of the first hospital birth experience and my second birth at home with my supportive family. This is a story of difficult decisions, human emotions, strength, determination and courage which will accompany me to the rest of my life.

My hospital birth experience

When I was 31, I got pregnant with my first baby. I wanted to give birth in my own home. Despite the fact I was a nurse at this time, I did not want to give birth in the hospital. I was afraid to be forced into labor induction or pressured to undergo a caesarean section against my will. Since I had no contraindications to vaginal delivery, I wanted to give birth in the comfort of my own home with my husband. However, after talking to my husband about the home birth idea, I realised that he did not feel comfortable about childbirth without medical care. He was simply scared that something would go wrong while giving birth at home and that we wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Honestly, I had never considered how he would feel about home birth before. Therefore, we had to find a solution together that would allow both of us to feel safe on the day of delivery. And that’s when we agreed that our baby would be born in a birth center. In Germany, birth centres are usually placed outside of the hospitals and they are designed to provide a homelike setting for birth. We would still be provided with midwives and health care, but it would be like giving birth in a private home. Sadly, all birth centres in Berlin we reached out to have already been fully booked out. I was really disappointed and sad, because now the only option I had left was the hospital. I researched all maternity hospitals in Berlin. Finally I found the smallest hospital with a maternity ward in Berlin (with only two delivery rooms). We checked it out and we were both satisfied with our choice. My husband felt safe and I felt comfortable enough as well.

I prepared a birth plan with information on what kind of labour I’d like and what I wanted to avoid. It was important to me that every midwife, nurse or doctor knew about my wishes. A couple of months later, 40 weeks and 5 days heavily pregnant, I went to the toilet to discover a mucus plug on the toilet paper after peeing. I was very excited because I knew it was a sign that the birth would be starting soon. In the evening my husband and I went to sleep at 11 p.m. Just two hours later I woke up, because of a heavy abdominal pain. I got up and went to the bathroom. I already felt contractions, but I could still breathe through them. Shortly after my husband got up as well, because he heard me moan. I told him that the contractions were very strong and I fell on my knees. He called our maternity hospital for advice. The midwife told him to stay calm, because it might still take a lot of hours for the baby to come. But at that moment I already had the feeling that I needed to push. I was unable to stand. I was moaning and screaming, because of the pressure and pain I felt. I knew that the baby would be born very soon. So I told my husband that we would have to have the baby at home, because I thought I would never make it to the hospital. 30 min after the first call, my husband called the midwife again. The midwife said she thought it would still take a lot of time, but we could come by if we wanted to. My husband grabbed the hospital bag and took me carefully down the stairs to the car. I wanted to push so badly, but tried not to. In the car I was unable to sit or lay down, so I was actually standing while we were driving through the city to the hospital. And then all of a sudden, nearly five minutes before our arrival at the hospital, my water broke in the car. I had to laugh so hard, because it felt just so funny. My husband was laughing as well. We were so excited.
We arrived at the parking lot and I had to walk with my wet pants to the hospital entrance. When we were in front of the door to the maternity ward, I shouted loudly because of the overwhelming pain. The midwife rushed toward me and took me to the examination room. She said she wanted to check if the cervix was sufficiently dilated. I told her that I felt the need to push, but I had the feeling she did not take me seriously and thought I might be a bit hysterical. When she examined my cervix, she said, surprised, “Oh, your cervix is fully dilated!” Then she quickly brought me to the delivery room. I was kneeling on a bed. I pushed, moaned, and I screamed for just a few minutes. Then I reached down with my hand and could feel the head. I was so full of adrenalin and oxytocin that I pushed two more times and delivered my baby! It was 3:50 a.m.
Everything happened so quickly that the midwife did not even manage to call the doctor or another midwife. My baby girl was lying on my chest. I was so relieved and happy, totally exhausted. So was my husband. He did such a good job that night, he was my rock. After the birth I needed to get some stitches. It wasn ‘t pleasant but fine. About 24h later we went home with our first-born baby. What a ride… Holey moley.

When I look back, I still think it would have been better if I had stayed home and given birth to my daughter there. Getting to the car, driving through the city in the middle of the night and getting from the parking lot all the way to the delivery room was very stressful to me. In addition, the midwife did not take me seriously and downplayed my contractions from the very beginning. I wish midwives and doctors would pay more attention to women in labor and trust their feelings and judgments from the start, instead of forcing their beliefs on them. Despite that, I have a very funny story to tell my girl one day when she asks about her birth.

My home birth experience

Two years later, I became pregnant again. And my dream did come true this time: I had a beautiful home birth that I had always wished for. My second pregnancy was a beautiful experience, but also an exhausting one. I could not wait to see my second baby. We took part in a course to prepare for childbirth at home. We were very excited about giving birth in our home retreat. The expected day of delivery was February 15, 2021. However, when that day finally came, there was no indication of the beginning of labor. I must admit that I was a little bit frustrated because I really wanted to meet my baby as soon as possible. I met my midwife Sandra on that day and she also confirmed that it may take a little bit longer for the baby to arrive and told me to be patient. Two days later, my daughter Ida and I saw the midwife again. Since there were no signs of labor, I was offered a cervical sweep, which was supposed to trigger the labor. I agreed to it happily.
On the way home I called my husband and told him that I want to eat extra spicy Indian food for dinner that evening. Already in the car back home, I had noticed some contractions. I was so happy – the cervical sweep really worked! My husband brought some Indian food for dinner and we all ate together. During dinner my contractions intensified. I stopped eating at some point as I could not focus on the food anymore. I was stroking my huge belly and whispered to my baby, how much we are looking forward to seeing her, that I am ready, and that we will do it together!
My husband brought Ida to bed, while I went to the bathroom to clean my bowels with an enema to intensify my contractions and get ready for the labor. Then I made some tea with a lot of ginger and herbs. My husband and I made ourselves comfortable on the couch. To pitch the oxytocin level even higher, I asked to watch the movie called „The Intouchables“. After 8 p.m. the intensity of my contractions decreased. So we just stayed on the couch relaxing. By 11 p.m. we decided to go to bed, in order to save some energy for later. I knew it would not take long anymore, the pressure in my upper belly and in my hips had already been strong. Later that night, half-asleep, I noticed something wet between my legs. At first, I wasn’t sure if I had peed myself or if this was amniotic fluid. As I could not stop the flowing fluid so it became clear that it was amniotic fluid. I got up and looked at the clock, it was 3 a.m. I went to the toilet. My husband woke up as well. The contractions got more intense in a very short time so I had to focus on my breath.
As previously planned, my husband called his mother, who arrived within 30 min at our house, in order to take care of our first daughter. My husband also informed our midwife that the baby is on its way. At some point, I decided to move to the couch. My husband prepared the towels and absorbent sheets. I wanted to have the lights dimmed to create a pleasant and cosy atmosphere. I tried to stay relaxed. The contractions had been very intense by now. I was sure, my cervix was already fully open. I tried to examine my own cervix but could not feel anything. All of a suddenly I felt a huge bang inside of me. The amniotic sac had popped, my water broke. I knew it was really happening now, soon my baby would be here with us. I am so grateful to my husband for being so supportive. We were truly the best team ever. I felt safe and strong.
I felt the need to push. I tried to move slowly with each contraction instead of pushing. I managed well throughout the labor and I could totally feel where the baby’s head was at all times. I examined myself with the fingers again and this time I could touch the head already. This was such a crazy feeling. I progressed bit by bit with every contraction. My husband could see the head now as well. I began to move gently and then the baby’s head slid outward, so crazy. I said to my husband that now the baby will turn for the next move and this is exactly what happened. After the baby turned, I pushed gently and the Baby went out, catched by my husband. After that, my husband unwound the umbilical cord from the baby’s neck and placed it in my arms. I gently and carefully massaged the baby’s back until she finally began to make her first sounds. My baby girl was born at 4:30 a.m. My husband and I were so taken by this amazing adventure. We just gave birth to our baby on our couch in the living room! Just 3 minutes after the birth, our midwife ran into our living room laughing. She said: „Well, now I really missed it! Congratulations!“

Our midwife examined me and checked that everything was fine with me and the baby. Then my husband went to get his mom and all together we looked at our precious baby girl: Elsie Smilla. We then woke up my older daughter, Ida. My husband whispered in her ear: “The baby is here now”. She got up very sleepy but excited and went downstairs to join us in the living room. When she saw her sister, her eyes lit up and she jumped on the couch right next to me and began to gently stroke her little head. She looked at her sister and said: “I will always take care of you!“ Then she looked at me, put her little hands on my face and said to me: “You do not have to be afraid, I am here!“
We all moved to our bed and snuggled. The baby slept for a while, so did we. My husband sent the news about the birth of our second daughter to family and friends. We were so happy. We enjoyed the first magical hours with our newborn a lot. The smell of a newborn baby is so incredible! I was so proud of us all!
Although no birth is the same, did you also have a similar experience to mine? Did you also give birth at home? Or, like me, did you experience two births at home and in the hospital? If so, which experience was more positive for you? Please share your story with us.

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Meet the Author

Julia Kolbe born in 1986 in Thuringia, Germany. Co-Founder of No Taboo Mom. Married to Robert, mother of Ida (5) and Elsie (3). After working as a psychiatric nurse for couple of years, she began to question healthcare system in Germany. While pregnant and later as a mother of two girls she began to recognize the myriad inadequacies in the health system, especially when it comes to women’s health. As a B.A. graduate, she continued her career as a medical instructor in a nursing school. Her goal is to train the best healthcare professionals with a holistic approach. Today, at No Taboo Mom, she shares her real-life experiences with others and connects with woman around the world.

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No Taboo Mom is a place of kindness.

At No Taboo Mom we believe shared narrative brings people together and leads to a positive cultural shift. Therefore, we encourage you to share your stories with others.

Please notice, the submission of illegal, harassing, hateful or hurtful comments will be deleted from our blog in order to protect our readers and writers. 
Be kind.