What happens when you’ve desired and planned for a homebirth for a decade… but then you’re faced with a long, intense exhausting labor? How do you cope with what you’ve wanted, yet what you’re experiencing?
This week we’re speaking with Caitlin Ackermann, who met her midwife in her high school health class. She’s experienced two vastly different births, and she’s going to share them both with us today. Caitlin’s stories show the two extremes of labor, so you know there will be so much to glean from this one.
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This is a fantastic podcast and goes through lots of different pregnancy and labor/birth stories. Very empowering and educational at the same time. Thanks so much ilovepodcastsrrkkrr, I’d love to send you a happy homebirth podcast sticker, so email me at email@example.com
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Alright, let’s jump in. Please remember the opinions of my guest, and this show is not meant to prescribe or treat- it’s an educational tool, so continue to take empowered responsibility for your health and your family.
- Growing up, she loved the book “A Child is Born” and wanted to be a “baby doctor.”
- In high school, her best friend’s mom had homebirths
- In health class growing up, her health teacher had a midwife come speak. She felt the midwife was incredibly calm and nurturing— She knew immediately she wanted her to be her midwife one day.
- In college she watched The Business of Being Born and was completely on board
- Her husband, whom she met at 17, was always on board as well.
- They became pregnant immediately after beginning to try, which was unexpected for Caitlin.
- She was so excited to finally call her midwife, Bonnie!
- She loved the flexibility of her midwives. She doesn’t eat white sugar, so her midwives allowed her to do gestational diabetes testing by eating a pancake breakfast with the correct amount of maple syrup
- When she was 6 months pregnant, she had severe back pain for 6 weeks that made her think she’d never want to have children again. Luckily it did go away.
- She was due 10 days before her best friend’s wedding- she made it to the wedding!
- The next morning, she had a membrane sweep, which she felt was the culmination of midwifery care: It was done comfortably and gently at her midwife’s.
- The night she went into labor, she was awake until 2 am— she decided to take a Tylenol PM to get some sleep… and then at 3am labor began
- “I wanted to be prepared for everything but not set on anything”
- She began throwing up at 5am (after 2 hours of labor)
- Caitlin labored in the tub for 8 hours- her body stopped regulating temperature, so she got out.
- At 1 pm, her midwives came and she was 6 cm
- At 5pm she was feeling very tired
- By 7 pm the midwives mentioned the baby having a heart arrhythmia. They chose to wait 15 minutes to see if it went away or to transport
- She honestly wanted to transport— she was exhausted by that point. But her husband reminded her that she wanted this homebirth, and he asked her to take it hour by hour. She needed the reminder that she wanted it and could do it.
- At midnight she was 10 centimeters, she got in the shower, squatted and gently pushed, but he wouldn’t budge
- Suddenly, everything changed, his head came down, and he was out within 2 pushes
- This baby was born with a tongue tie, and breastfeeding was very painful. Her midwife caught it immediately and clipped it, but it was still very difficult
If you’re in Vermont, you’re definitely going to want to hire Caitlin to be your doula, right? She’s experienced so much, and she is so insightful. In today’s episode roundup I’d love to discuss a few of the aspects that she so brilliantly brought up.
- It was so much fun hearing how Caitlin and her midwives chose to replace the traditional glucose test with a maple syrup test. Talk about individuality of care. And that’s what I love, and what I bet you love too, about the midwives model. This is your pregnancy, your birth and your baby. In the ideal midwife client relationship, You make the decisions, and your midwives support you. They tailor their care to you. I love that Caitlin felt empowered in her second pregnancy to do even less testing and be more lowkey. Not because there’s anything wrong with wanting tests— if you do, that’s great!— But because she clearly felt the confidence and power to choose for herself. And that’s what I want for all of you.
- Favorite quote award goes to: I wanted to be prepared for everything, but not set on anything. And this…. This is why Caitlin is going to make such an incredible birth worker. This is wisdom, my friends. Take note of it. Rigidity in birth can be cause for dashed dreams and sadness, even when everything goes right to the outside world. This concept— of being prepared for it all, but being accepting of what’s to come— this is it. This is what it’s all about. If you can adopt this frame of mind, you can give your birth the credit it is due, no matter how it unfolds. That’s not to say that you have to think it was perfect when it was hard— obviously, Caitlin is a great example of that. But I feel strongly that this attitude can greatly cut down on the feelings of “my birth wasn’t good enough because…”. Thank you, Caitlin, for putting it so eloquently.
- I also want to bring up what Caitlin mentioned about her postpartum. It was hard having visitors. Gosh, it can be so tough turning people away, especially with your first baby. You’re proud, and you know your well-meaning friends and family want to see this sweet new life. But when you’re in the throes of learning your newborn and learning the skill of breastfeeding, it can be all too much. Inside of Happy Homebirth Academy we talk about this in depth— setting those boundaries prenatally so that you already have a plan to stick to postpartum. I was the same as Caitlin— It took me learning through experience the importance of being alone as a family in those first special days and weeks. I pray you can learn through our experiences, those of you who are preparing for your first— and set the boundaries the first time. You won’t regret it!
- And finally, let’s end on the reminder that sometimes things go “wrong”, even at home. Caitlin’s second son took 7 minutes to really perk up and come around after birth. But Caitlin, when sharing this part of the story, was calm. She was calm in the moment and felt confident in her team. This speaks to two things: 1. The fact that midwives are skilled workers and have the necessary techniques to handle these types of situations and 2. Caitlin did a wonderful job at selecting her midwives. Women she trusted and had great confidence in. This is so important. Not every midwife is for you, and it’s important to feel confident in both your midwife’s skills and demeanor.
Okay, my friends. What a beautiful episode. I’m going to go finish my coffee with maple syrup… and that’s all I’ve got for you today. I’ll see you back here next week.