Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Don't Try to be a Hero"---humbug

*** Reader beware, there are some semi-graphic photos of childbirth here. No crotch shots, just goo and possibly some cleavage.

Dear blog,
I thought I would tell a little bit about my pregnancy/birth experience. I am in no way trying to brag or stick it to the skeptics or say my birth was superior to others. If anything, I want women to feel empowered because I certainly did. And I am just still elated with my birth and honestly look forward to the next. Having a home birth was the most awesome thing I've ever done (surpasses my wedding day [a close second], as well as my semester abroad and Peru trip, though they all are at the top of the list).
The night before

So why did I decide on a home birth? My mother had 3 of her 5 children at home and I was one of them. For as long as I can remember, I knew that I too wanted to have my children at home. I pictured "normal" birth at the hospital because that's what I saw on TV and everyone I knew besides my mom had births there. But for some reason I never envisioned my birth(s) at the hospital. And that means I've never envisioned using drugs.

When I got pregnant, I knew immediately that I wanted a home birth. Heath and my in-laws were hesitant but with persuasion (and education) Heath felt comfortable with a home birth and my family was kind enough to let us do our thing. I was so excited and was happy to tell just about anyone my plans. I got a lot of grief from people. "Isn't that dangerous?" "What if something bad happens?" "What if it's an emergency?" "So, you can't have an epidural???" I even got a few eye rolls. The worst was "Don't try to be a hero." It was like they thought I was so naive. I felt like David against Goliath, but I wasn't scared. I worked for an OB/GYN for 2 years and I still knew that a home birth was for me. I also did my homework and I knew home birth is a safe route to go for any low-risk woman. If anything, they were naive.

At the beginning of hard labor between a contraction

Close to pushing time

Between pushing contractions - I was tired

When I woke up that morning on December 1, 2009, I thought it was like any other. I did have cramping but I had cramping for the previous 2 weeks. I drove to my appointment and by the time I got there I felt like the baby was coming soon, possibly the upcoming weekend. When I got home I was getting ready for school/work but I didn't feel well so I called in sick. I didn't believe I was in labor yet. My lovely sister Jill kindly came over and helped me completely unpack the house (we moved 6 weeks earlier). I needed it to be clean and organized and I wasn't capable of doing it all myself and Heath was super busy. The afternoon rolls around and Heath is at work. My cramping is getting very regular and I begin to think little Juniper is coming sooner than I previously thought. I call Heath and he gets home around 5pm. At around 6pm, Jill leaves, my midwife arrives and this is where it turned into real labor, intense labor, getting progressively more intense until she was born at 11:56pm. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. It was much more intense than I thought it would be (some women find it easier than they thought it would be, but I had my mom's example of 1-3 hour labors. She made it seem like cake!). I remember thinking that women in the hospital have it so easy, relatively easy that is. They get an epidural or a c-section, those lucky dogs! But I am so happy those methods weren't even available because I didn't need them and in the end it was absolutely worth every contraction. And to compare the amount of joy I felt afterwards and how long it lasted (still going strong) to the pain of those 6 hours has made me think, over and over again, of a scripture: D&C 121:7 "My son (or my daughter), peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment." And was it ever small!

I like this picture because you can see the cord is still around her neckBringing her up to me so I can hold her


7 lbs 4 ozShe looked just like Grandma KerriProud Daddy

It is true that medical intervention is necessary at times and that the epidural is a WONDERFUL option for pain. I was blessed to have a short labor but others aren't as lucky. There is no doubt of the feat a woman accomplishes in giving birth no matter the method. But I believe my drug free home birth was the single most empowering thing that I've ever experienced. It erases all the doubt, shame, discouragement, embarrassment in myself that I've had in the past.

Still have my "fullness"

When I posted some of my labor pictures on facebook it was obvious I was at home. Some of the comments were flattering. I was even called Wonder Woman! Haha. But I'm no different from any other woman. Anyone can do it. If you are one of the many women who have fear in childbirth: fear of pain, tearing, healing, becoming a mother, or anything, I plead with you to realize your strength and power of being a woman. That you were made for this. If you needed help, that's OK, it doesn't make you any less of a woman because you still did it! Mothers who have lost in pregnancy or after birth, you still did it! Mothers who have adopted, you still did it! And I truly believe that.

Sincerely Your Cosmic Sister,
Emily Wilcock

Together at last


  1. What an experience for you! Glad everything went so well. :)

  2. I think I cried the whole time reading that! I love you Smems and I think that everything you said is so true to every woman. Thank you for sharing the pics too! It brought back memories of Jocelyn arriving so fresh and new!!

  3. Absolutely beautiful! It all sounds so amazing. I love it.

  4. proud is not a strong enough word to describe my feelings for you as my daughter, emily. you wrote an exquisite account of a miraculous experience. thank you for being a wonderful mother AND daughter!

  5. I, too had a natural childbirth, but it was in the hospital. i had "complications" but i truly believe they were brought on by the stress of the hospital atmosphere. i didnt have a nightmarish delivery... most of my struggles happend the 10 months after. thank you for sharing this. it reminded me of my experience, and all the beauty, pain, and joy that implies.