After her first childbirth experience — an induction at the hospital — author Tristina Wright decided to give home birth a try. Tristina took a quick break from revising her young adult manuscript to talk to us about her birth experience.
As far as inductions and first labors go, Tristina’s first experience wasn’t bad. Due to sciatica and being 6 centimeters dilated, she was induced at 39 weeks gestation. Her induction began at 7 a.m. and she had her daughter seven hours later. “The actual birthing wasn't bad,” says Tristina. “The hospital staff was very nice. They let my mom, mother-in-law and husband be in the room with me. My midwife was very laid back and cool.” It wasn’t until after delivery that Tristina felt discouraged by the hospital setting.
Despite having a healthy baby and uncomplicated delivery, Tristina was kept at the hospital for two days.
“We were interrupted a lot with nurses coming in to check on me,” she says. “Especially at night. My husband had to sleep on this really uncomfortable narrow couch. I just really wanted to go home and be in my bed and eat my own food.” The stay in the hospital also had frustrating financial consequences. In the end, Tristina and her husband had racked up an out-of-pocket hospital bill of nearly $30,000.
“When I got pregnant with our second child, I broached the topic of home birth with my husband,” says Tristina. “We talked about it at length, he did some reading on his own, and we decided to go for it. We found a local midwife we absolutely fell in love with and I had a wonderful, healthy pregnancy.” During her pregnancy, Tristina’s prenatal appointments took place in her home and at her midwife’s office, a loft with comfortable couches and plenty of toys for her toddler daughter. “Really informal,” Tristina says.
After several nights of false labor, Tristina woke up with contractions that felt productive. When Tristina’s water broke at 5:45 a.m., her midwife headed over. Tristina delivered her second daughter just shy of 6:30 a.m., only 10 minutes after her midwife arrived. “It was super fast and my body pretty much just took over,” Tristina says. “I didn't even realize I was pushing until my midwife told my husband we didn't have time to fill up the birth pool.” Alaia Claire was born in the middle of Tristina’s living room. “She came out with one arm wrapped around her head. The midwife said she would have come even faster if that [arm] hadn't been there.”
”My recovery was, by far, the biggest difference between the two births,” says Tristina. “With the hospital birth, I was tired and weak for a while afterward, with taking longer than six weeks to fully heal. With the home birth, while I was tired from being up all night, I had energy and was walking around within a few hours. I was far more alert, not shaky at all.” Tristina had fully recovered about a month later. ”In spite of the intense and excruciating pain of the birth, I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It may not seem like it at the time, but the pain is such a tiny blip in the grand scheme of everything.”
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