Gin & Zin

Interview with Janelle on Home Birth

This week’s interview features our sweet friend Janelle. She was kind enough to open up about her experience with home birth. Enjoy!

Mama Janelle

Describe yourself~

I am a very passionate mama to my first baby girl who loves to cook new recipes and veganize old favorites! I love to hike with my husband, baby girl in her back pack and our rescue greyhound, Eleanor. My husband is a loving and extremely passionate man from Argentina and I met him on a blind date almost 10 years ago. We speak a mix of English and Spanish at home and our little girl will grow up learning both languages. Our family means more to us than we could ever put into words. I have a masters degree in infant mental health and I’m an attachment parenting, baby wearing, co-sleeping, home birthing, vegan hippy mama 😉

What is your biggest strength as a mom? 

My biggest strength as a mom is being able to recognize the emotional waves that I (and believe we all) experience and know that when I’m feeling overwhelmed, it’s just temporary and it’s totally normal. I love my baby more than anything but I try not to feel guilty that I don’t love everything about being a mama i.e. Smelling like baby barf for the first 4 months of her life 😉

How do you love to spend your time away from your baby? 

I haven’t spent too much time away from my little one yet as she’s only 9 months and is still pretty attached to the boob 😉 but when I do spend some time away, I love to indulge in a pedicure with my mama or girlfriends and get a cocktail.

Why did you choose home birth?

I chose a home birth because I did a lot of research on birth and trusted my body and my baby to know what to do. I found an incredible midwifery team that was extremely educated and experienced and can’t imagine doing it any other way. I feel that here in the US, we see a pregnant woman or a woman in labor as having a medical condition when in fact, it’s the most natural and biological thing we go through. I know there are special circumstances and would of course take proper cautions if my midwives or I didn’t feel it was safe. But, being in my own environment, surrounded only by the people with which I wanted to share this sacred experience, was the only way I would have wanted it. I guess I just wasn’t scared. I knew I could do it and I trusted my body and my baby to do something that I felt was so natural.

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Did you get a lot of support from friends and family or more judgement?

I would say I got some of both. I’m a pretty opinionated and outspoken person about things that I feel passionately about so people who thought it was a bad idea or that I was “crazy” didn’t exactly say it to my face 😉 The majority of people were very supportive and trusted me to know what was best for me and my baby. Some people told me how brave they thought I was and I kept thinking, I think YOU’RE brave for doing it in the hospital! Haha as crazy as that may seem I just felt so much more comfortable (especially after I actually did it!) being in my own home. I also went into it knowing people would feel differently than I did about it and I also know people come from very different backgrounds and have many reasons for wanting to give birth in a hospital and I absolutely support that. My whole point was that I wanted women to have the option to give birth wherever they felt most comfortable and to not just out of fear. Women, especially pregnant women! Are so much stronger than they give themselves credit for!! 

How do you feel the prenatal care was different?

It was the most different experience I could have possibly had. I went to my 9 week appointment at my regular doctors office for the trans-vaginal ultrasound and to hear the heartbeat for the first time 🙂 and of course to make sure it was viable… I happened to have my first appointment with my midwife that day too, after the doctor. I literally am in the doctors office, excited, nervous, scared, elated… You know all the feelings of your first pregnancy!! Anyway, the doctor walks in and as my mother in law was with us because she was so excited too, I asked the doctor if we could meet first so I could ask a few questions and then call in my MIL to see the little blip and the heartbeat. This is what she says: “oh, no, we always start this appointment with the TV ultrasound to make sure this is a viable pregnancy because this appointment will go much differently depending on what it shows. And just to remind you, this is only a 15 minute appointment so there isn’t much time so let’s go get her now.” Wow. Ya, don’t worry because I don’t have any questions or anything as this is only my first pregnancy and I wasn’t already thinking of names or who this little person is going to be so if it’s not viable no big deal… It was awful. And I’m sure it’s very standard and I do understand. And I’m sure there are pleeeeenty of docs who are much more sensitive etc etc… Immediately after, we drove to my midwife appointment and they welcomed us into a warm cozy room, offered us tea and were literally as excited as we were about this new little life (that at this point we knew was viable… Thanks, doc.) We sat there with them for at least an hour to ask questions, talk about how we were feeling and just get some general info on what I could expect and then we listened to the heartbeat again and I didn’t once see them look at a clock or feel like we needed to leave. It was the most wonderful experience and solidified our decision immediately. 

Set the scene of the birth~ 

It was 11 days past my due date. I woke up to pee for the 124,573rd time and as soon as I laid back down I felt like I had to poop… By this point every time I went to the bathroom I would look for any sign of a mucous plug or anything really! And what do I find?? My mucous plug!!!! I texted my midwives to let them know and went back to bed. I had a very light labor through the night and we slept as much as we could (my husband and I) because I knew I would need as much energy as possible. We got up around 6-6:30 and then by 7:30 I had to get in the zone. It was time to focus. My husband called the midwives and they were there with the tub filled up in my living room around 8:30 and that was the best feeling in the world… Getting into a warm tub of water when you’re going through labor is incredible. My mom got there shortly after 10 and by 12:30, when I was pretty sure I was going to die 😉 my midwife helped me out of the tub and over to my bed to help me get the baby out. I wanted a water birth more than anything, but at this point, I wasn’t fully dilated and my midwife could see I was losing my energy and told me she could help me get the baby out, but I had to get out of the tub. As I’m sure many of you mamas can relate, I was willing to do anything at this point to get this baby out! So I had my butt hanging off the side of my bed with one foot on one midwife’s chest and the other foot on my other midwife’s chest and she slowly helped me get that baby out. By 2:42, little Lucía was born and we finally found out we had a daughter 🙂 it was by far the most magical moment of my entire life. BUT. This little miss of mine got the hiccups right before she made her grand appearance and inhaled meconium. She was amazing throughout the entire birth and tolerated the contractions perfectly and the last 10 minutes changed it all… So she had to spend her first few nights of life in the nicu unfortunately but everything turned out perfectly and she’s amazing 🙂

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Would you do it again?

I know people might think it’s even crazier or irresponsible to think of doing it again with the ending the way it was, but I would do it again (and plan to!) in a heartbeat. I believe 100% that she would have gotten the hiccups no matter where we were and the ending wouldn’t have changed if we had been in a hospital. Labor and birth was literally by the book, we just had a little hiccup at the end 😉 I’m so happy I had a home birth and her having the problem she did and the outcome we ended up with proves that the system works. My baby and I made it out perfectly healthy, happy and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Well, I suppose being able to be in MY bed with my brand new baby the first week after she was born would have been ideal 😉 but she had a different idea for her grand entrance.

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Thank you for being a part of our Village Janelle!

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