My Unplanned, Unassisted, Home Birth
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Dr. Alayna Pagnani-Gendron is a chiropractor, wife and mom in Houston, Texas. She owns and operates her own practice, HealthPro Chiropractic & Acupuncture, where she delivers chiropractic care to the entire family. Her specialties include pregnancy, pediatrics and acupuncture. Her passions are helping families, including her own, to live healthy and happy naturally.
As my son’s second birthday is quickly approaching I am reflecting on his unplanned, but awesome home birth.
I had an easy, healthy, low risk pregnancy, which made me a great candidate for a natural birth center birth. I prepared hard for my birth by practicing yoga, taking hypnobirthing classes, squatting regularly, and eating a high protein diet. But, of course, I would slip in some chocolate chip cookies here and there! I also got chiropractic adjustments regularly to keep my spine in good alignment and the baby in the ideal birthing position.
I remember the day I went into labor so clearly. My plan was to labor at home and head over to the birth center to push out my baby. However, my son had another plan.
The day before my due date I saw my midwife. I was tired and crampy, but felt like the baby was never going to come out. I did all the tricks to try to induce labor: massage my feet, walk, and eat spicy foods. It was about 8pm when my husband, mom, and I knew that my son’s birthday was finally here. My mom suggested we try to get some sleep because we had a feeling we would have a long night ahead. At 11pm my contractions started. I immediately put in my headphones and listened to soothing music. I labored in my bed for a bit, switching sides and positions. My mom massaged my back, made sure I was moving around enough, and helped me get through each contraction. I remember she suggested that I get up and let gravity work. Although this was the last thing I wanted to do, I knew she was right. The best position I found was holding on to my husband and letting my body sink down with each contraction. At about 3am I moved on to the tub. This was the most soothing place for me to labor. I kept the lights dim and ran my essential oil diffuser. At this point I was having contractions about four minutes apart. As I labored in the tub and my contractions progressed, there was a moment I said, “I don’t think I can do this.” My mom looked me in the eyes and gave me the best advice, “Alayna, focus, you can do anything for 30 seconds.” This totally resonated with me and with every contraction I would count, which gave me something to focus on.
It was about 5:00am when my husband spoke to my midwife over the phone. She suggested we meet at the birth center at 6:00am. My husband said we needed to get ready to leave, but I could not even bear the thought of leaving that tub and walking down the stairs of my three-story townhouse. Then, suddenly, I had a big contraction and heard a “pop.” My water just broke, and my mom, being a labor and delivery RN, knew that we could not wait until 6am to get to the birth center, we had to leave that very moment.
I got out of the tub and screamed “the baby is coming!!” And I was right, my son’s head was crowning. My mom remained very calm, but I knew inside she was freaking out. We had no way of monitoring baby, no gloves, and no supplies. I remained calm and allowed my body to do what it needed to do. I go into a squat position using my husband for support while my mom was ready to catch the baby. I remember the urge to push was completely uncontrollable and unavoidable, and that gave me a feeling of relief and excitement. My son was a good size and he decided to come out with his hand on his face. That made it a little harder to push him out, but with six good pushes, he was here. I delivered a healthy 8lb 4oz 20in baby boy in my bedroom, no interventions, no monitoring, and no midwife!
This was the absolute best outcome and my dream of having a natural home birth, but what made it even better was my mom being there to help me along the way.