by Mother, Alanna Farmer
My husband, Brian, and I were both so excited when we found out that I was pregnant with our second child. With our first daughter, Kassidy, we went to UCSD Medical Center for their birthing center. We felt the experience was better than the average hospital, so we called them again to make our first prenatal appointment. As the weeks went on I kept thinking that when I went into labor and gave birth, Kassidy would only be able to visit us while we were in the hospital and would be forced to leave after visiting hours. We wouldn’t be able to stay together as a new, bigger family. I didn’t want her to feel left out or not feel as special as the baby. After looking online for different options, I came across Michelle’s website and knew instantly that I wanted to do a home birth.
After a few months of seeing Michelle for my prenatal visits, she asked us if we had any plans about what we were going to do with Kassidy while I was in labor. Michelle mentioned that she had information on siblings and birth and gave us her recommendations. She has quit the collection of pregnancy materials: books, binders loaded with articles, and movies! With Kassidy being two and a half, my plan was to have my mother-in-law come and watch her during my labor and then after the birth Kassidy would come in and meet her sister, but I was interested in other options so I took the binder home to look through it. In the midst of looking through the information, I came across a video online of a gorilla giving birth and watched it with Kassidy, not really thinking much of it. The little clip of the gorilla birth was so intriguing to Kassidy she wanted to watch it again, and again. One of the suggestions in the binder was to show the child videos of calm births to see how they respond to it. So that’s what I did. I went to Youtube and did a search, and sure enough there were calm birth videos to watch. I picked a short one, turned down the volume (just in case) and watched it with Kassidy, explaining everything that was going on. After watching a few more birth videos that she requested, she understood that her baby sister was in water, how she was going to come out, and that when it was time for Kayden to come out, it would hurt me, but that it was a good hurt because it was getting her out. Throughout the pregnancy Kassidy would occasionally bring up the fact that Kayden was in water, where she was going to come out of (I had to tell her in Target that we only talk about this at home) and that it was going to be a good hurt for me.
My labor started at about 3 in the morning on January, 24th. After being a week overdue and having Braxton Hicks all month long, I wasn’t fully convinced I was in labor. After a few hours of labor, and realizing it was the real thing Brian, called up Michelle to let her know I was in labor. Since the contractions had woken me up so early, I went in my room to lie down, trying to rest. Once it was time for Kassidy to wake up, Brian went to get her letting her know I was in labor. Kassidy came in our room, got up on our bed, and gave me a long but gentle hug. During the contractions, she would hold my hand and rub my back. She told me she loved me and would give me encouragement through contractions, copying whatever Brian was doing. She was never worried that I was in pain; because of all the talks we had, she knew ahead of time this was how my labor would be. After my mother-in-law came over, Kassidy left the room to go get breakfast and play, occasionally checking in on me. During one of the times she came in I was in the bath, enjoying the effects of the “auqadural”. She took the cup that was on the side of the tub, scooped up the water, and poured it on me; it was a simple gesture but showed that she wanted to help. After blowing me a kiss, she went back out to play with her grandma. When it was time to push everyone came in, even Kassidy. Being held by my sister or mother-in-law, Kassidy watched intensely, her face beaming with curiosity and excitement.
At 2:01 P.M. Kayden made her debut. We finally got to see our little baby girl, and Kassidy finally got to meet her baby sister. Kassidy was in awe, never taking her eyes off of Kayden. After Kayden was wrapped up, the girls had a little gift exchange. Kassidy was so excited to give Kayden her very first stuffed animal, and quickly started using the gift Kayden gave her, a doctor’s kit. After watching Michelle for the past few months, Kassidy knew exactly how to use all the tools! She made sure I was nice and healthy. While Michelle and her helpers were packing up, and I was sleeping, Kassidy left the room again to make a birthday cake for Kayden’s birthday.
Choosing to have an at home birth was one of the best choices Brian and I have made. We were in charge of our own birth and we got to stay in the comfort of our own home, never having to worry about when to leave for the hospital or how long we’d have to stay there. We didn’t need to leave Kassidy behind, she was able to help during the labor, and Kassidy never felt left out. Kayden’s birth wasn’t about excluding who could be there, as it would have been in the hospital, but involving everyone in the most beautiful and loving time in our family’s life.