I'm an Appleton, WI based family photographer that loves capturing genuine moments with laid-back playfulness.
My second daughter turned 20 months this week and pretty soon we’ll start counting how old she is in years and not months anymore. It’s the most bittersweet thing in the whole world to watch your babies grow up. I always feel like I want them to grow up and be more independent, but also stay little forever so I can always protect them. Something I have been wanting to share, but never took the time to write about was her homebirth in Appleton, WI.
I love reading birth stories, like really love it. Before my first was born, I bought a book filled with natural birth stories to try to prepare myself. (Like you can ever really prepare yourself for birth…oh so naive). So here’s mine. It only took me 20 months to write. #secondbabyproblems
Daphne Jo was born February 26th, 2019 and every part of me thought she would be a March baby. I was in NO WAY prepared for her to come a week early. Her older sister came 5 days late, so I was positive my body wouldn’t have a baby early. Turns out my mama intuition was way wrong. I should’ve known I have no intuition when I thought for sure she was a boy up until our 20-week ultrasound.
I originally planned to see my family doctor who also delivered babies and delivered my first. She stopped delivering babies a little while before we decided to have number two. I chose to see a midwife in a clinic and hoped to have another natural birth in a hospital. Things were going really well until something inside me changed. I have never been one to be “crunchy.” I’m not sure I’m even using that word correctly. Sure, we cloth diapered our first and breastfed and all that stuff, but I never considered having a home birth until a good 28 weeks into my pregnancy with Daphne.
I had hoped for a better experience with a midwife than my family doctor and while it was better, I realized I would still have the restrictions of a hospital setting. I wanted more freedom during labor. I remember vividly with my first asking to deliver on hands and knees and the nurse needed to check with the doctor first. Like COME ON! I’m the one in labor. Shouldn’t that have been MY decision and not what was best for the doctor? I had a natural birth with my first, but I could see so many more benefits from being home and having freedom during labor to move, eat, and be in control.
So at 28 weeks, I switched my care to Birthwise Homebirth in Appleton, WI. The care I received there was above and beyond anything I had ever experienced before. I never felt listened to as much as I did there. Every decision was my decision. I felt extremely cared for which was so important to me while going through pregnancy and motherhood without my own mom here anymore. I genuinely miss seeing Sara and Jill for care after birth. They are extremely knowledgeable, patient, and caring.
At 39 weeks, I had my weekly visit with my midwife, Sara. Everything seemed normal except for the fact that I was beginning to have small, short contractions. I didn’t believe Daphne was coming even as we were sending my oldest to my dad’s “just in case.” My contractions were on and off until 1:00amish. All of a sudden they were much closer together and more intense. I called the midwives and they came over. My husband filled the birth tub with warm water. He put on calming music while I labored in the tub. My birth photographer arrived. After 12 hours of labor and 12 minutes of pushing, Daphne was born into my arms in water. I got to lift my daughter up myself and place her on my chest. That feeling is unlike anything in the world.
Almost her entire labor I completely doubted myself. Even though I had done it before, I had so much self-doubt about doing it again. I remember having a hard time letting go and accepting the contractions. I am so thankful my husband was there. He was a huge support. For the most part, the midwives gave us space and checked on us only when needed. I found out so much of what was done in the hospital wasn’t necessary for me. I got to eat a banana during labor which was amazing! I actually had energy to push her out.
After she was born, I got to crawl in my own bed and snuggle my newborn baby. I didn’t have to leave the house for a whole week. The midwives came to us for the newborn screening. I strongly believe for my body, having a water birth was a huge reason why I felt so good post-birth. I remember thinking, “I can’t believe I can feel this good after giving birth.” It was better in so many ways.
I know a homebirth is not for everyone. Every woman and baby is different and has different needs. For me, it was 100% the right decision and I would have a homebirth again if I ever have baby #3. Not likely, but you never know! The fact that I can look over in my bedroom right now and see where my daughter was born is very special. I also had such a better recovery with my homebirth compared to my hospital birth.
I think the most important factor is that as women we have choices and do what’s best for ourselves, our families, and our precious babies. Feeling empowered no matter where you choose to give birth and having a support system is everything.