Meet Staci Freed a mom, wife and local fitness trainer in Athens, Ga.
Meet Justin supportive husband and father who recently helped catch his own baby at home. A very empowering and life changing moment for both of them.
Allow me to backup just a moment, introduce myself and share how and where I fit into this story. Baby #1 for Justin and I, was baby #2 for Staci, as she had a 12 year old daughter at the time they found me and came to the farm for a two hour labor workshop. Staci had expressed she had a miserable first baby experience in which she felt terribly misled and disappointed by her epidural experience. She shared her lack of education and knowledge of how to best manage labor with as few medical interventions as possible left her feeling powerless. With baby #2 she wanted to do things differently. I had informed her based on her choices of what she desired for her birth she wasn’t at the right practice or birth place to be best supported. Near term she received the failure to thrive speech and really felt in her gut her baby was just fine. She would come to later agree, but she did move forward with the medical induction despite reservation. However, she did accomplish an epidural free experience, but last minute IV narcotics being administered by a nurse at Piedmont Athens, instead of natural birth support through her transition phase, left her feeling powerless yet again just minutes before her baby was born. The narcotic meds made her feel as if she couldn’t even hold her eyes open, let alone properly push a baby out and she couldn’t understand why the "medwife" (a medically inclined midwife) wasn’t offering any instruction on how to best get through this overwhelming few minutes, nor any coaching suggestions as she continued to endure strong contractions back to back. She felt disassociated from her own body while yelling and screaming a baby out. I mean she had been administered IV drugs which led her to believe she would be able to rest, sleep and calm herself for pushing. There was nothing calming about this late labor experience. She still had to push a baby out shortly after the administration of narcotic meds. Although, she was happy she did not cave into an epidural last minute before push phase, she still felt as if she was very misinformed. Staci definitely did not feel as if she had been properly "Informed" regarding use of such mind altering drugs.
Now in the staff's defense, labor and push phase is NOT the time to be learning "how to best manage labor pains"... it is also not their job to educate you in the natural process. She also later come to understand why a two hour workshop on childbirth is just not quite sufficient for most people. With baby #3 she came to understand she needed to learn more and it just made sense to “TRAIN for Childbirth!” I asked Justin and Staci to share how they made the decision to have a home birth, how the experience enhanced their relationship, along with other tips and suggestions. Okay hang on here we go....
For my second pregnancy a year earlier, I knew I needed a birth class of some sort and I thought I’d be good with a 2 hr workshop. Pam was great and packed as much useful info as she could, but the truth is lady’s, if you don’t do your homework and practice you may not be prepared for a natural birth. My hospital "medwife" was not really in alignment with a truly natural birth. On December 31st, she advised me to go straight to the hospital for an induction 2 weeks early, because Audrey’s weight was measuring 5lbs, give or take a pound. She was worried the baby might not be getting enough nutrients. After the whole thing played out and my daughter was here, I realized that all of the worrying was complete nonsense. My daughter was born 1/1/2020 at 5:22am, measuring a healthy 6lbs. I felt I let myself be manipulated. I realized the hospital and their staff knew nothing about natural child birth, only medical intervention. I will spare you the “movie scene worthy” hospital birth with screaming and cursing.
I decided on a natural home birth after my less than desirable experience with a "medwife" in the hospital. This being my 3rd full term pregnancy, I was looking forward to doing everything different. A home birth was really my only option anyways since the hospitals were locked down with masks and minimal visitors and the medical community having lost their ever-loving minds with the plandemic.
When I got pregnant again I didn’t even go to the doctor until I was 6 months. I instinctively knew that I didn’t need a “practicing physician” to monitor my growing baby considering my active and very healthy lifestyle. This time around I secured a four week YBH training, and also choose the YBH 8hr package for doula support during labor and birth. The training and exercises (physical and mental) were so important. Learning about the reproductive system and the uterus being a muscle really struct a cord with me. Exercising and stretching were an absolute must to be physically ready for the demands of labor. Pam also referred me to the best prenatal chiropractor, Dr. Anthony-Puckett. She had my body in alignment and I literally went into labor the same day as my last adjustment.
I had been experiencing Braxton Hicks for probably a couple of weeks, but there was nothing that really stood out as far as consistent measurable contractions, so my husband and I weren’t really prepared when labor started. Labor came hard and fast promptly at 9pm and lasted for exactly 3hrs and 33mins.
I honestly couldn’t think straight until Pam arrived and started reminding me of everything we had learned in her training. The slow deep breaths made all the difference.
It was painful, but only when I stopped focusing on slow deep breathing, and it helped tremendously to also add in a deep sound when breathing out. This birth was by far the best experience I’ve ever had and if another child is in our future I will most certainly be having a natural home birth again and again and again!
Lastly and on a side note regarding morning sickness- I am a naturalist and opted for smoking cannabis in place of anti-nausea pharmaceuticals. I smoked “cannabis” almost my entire pregnancy, but transitioned to CBD about 30 days before I gave birth. The CBD was far more efficient without the side effects of sleepiness, feeling foggy, and overeating! CBD also made it possible for an amazing recovery. What I’ve learned about CBD is that it begins to bring the body back to a state of balance through the endocannabinoid system. CBD works synergistically with any healthy measures one is engaging in and actually speeds up the body’s healing process. It’s also an amazing tool to aid in weight loss. If you are interest learning how, check out my blog on CBD for exercise and weight loss> https://fitmomonfire.com/my-blog/f/cbd-for-exercise-weight-loss
I had taken Staci to the bathroom to empty her bladder. Justin said she had not used the bathroom in the last hour or so. Although she could not go, she did not want to get off the toilet. She found the contractions much more manageable there. Her midwife had to drive to north Ga from Atlanta and had not arrived and well, I heard vibrations in Staci’s voice during her exhale. This is a sound I am very familiar with as the uterus commences trying to expel a baby. I asked her was she pushing. She said no I don’t think so. I took my cell phone and snapped a photo downstairs to make sure, because she didn’t want to get off the commode. As a doula, I don’t intentionally catch babies and I needed to know for sure. When I looked at my phone I was like Justin (who was on the phone with midwife trying to assist her with directions as it was dark & no street lights) tell your midwife I have about half the head peeking. After the next contraction, we moved quickly back to the bed for Staci to labor down and if baby should be born before her midwife arrived I would walk Dad through catching his baby safely on the bed. Their midwife Simone made it just in time. The first question she asked was when is the last time you emptied your bladder? I smiled and Staci said she wasn’t able to. Her midwife asked her to try again. Basically, she had just enough time to walk to the bathroom, sit down and try again when the expulsion contractions commenced. After a few more contractions back to back, the midwife asked her did she want to try to shower? Staci stood up took a step into the shower and baby proceeded to emerge. I called out to Justin to help catch his baby. At this point the midwife is on the bathroom floor and Justin quickly bent down and extended his arms to help. Justin came to realize babies are quite slippery. Dad did an excellent job helping catch and we captured the power pic of Staci, baby and her placenta which was also born in the restroom. A very empowering moment! Something tells me they probably reminisce that moment often. I was just ecstatic Staci did not break my #1 YBH doula rule, “NO TOILET BABY“ BIRTH... shower birth sounds way better! LOL
I asked Justin to share from a man’s perspective answers to the following...
As a man do you feel you had a preconceived idea that you weren’t needed in the labor and birth process and why?
In a way I felt needed, but more for support rather than hands on, because I’m used to and knew only the ole fashion, if you will, “birth process in the hospital.” 👎🏻
As a man speaking to another man, what do you think men need to know to be better prepared for labor/ birth whether In hospital or home?
To better understand the whole birth process. Knowing what “mom” is dealing with internally regarding the body changes and making room for the baby to the wife(mom) that will be irritable, but that’s understandable and you have to be more supportive than you normally are. Strong stomach 😊 will help! Also really understand contractions and listen to “mom”.
How would you compare your experiences with Your Birth Helper training & doula support: from a two hour workshop and hospital birth to more in depth understanding of the coaches role and a medical free natural experience at home? And, from a man’s perspective, why was it worth your investment of time and money?
Hands down HOME BIRTH with your birth helper/Doula over hospital birth! It was the best experience we had. It was an experience you definitely won’t get in a hospital room. Free range of your house and comfort knowing you’re at home to get comfortable however you need to. It’s definitely worth everything you put in. To trusting your birth helper and doula to getting the knowledge you need to be prepared for labor and birth. You can google things, but nothing compares to your birth helper/doula and the hands on learning, going through the motions and actually connecting with your spouse through this process versus rushing to the hospital and laying in a hospital bed hooked up to all these machines and doing what is asked of you. I would encourage men to both educate and be open to mom’s choices of how she desires to “give birth” and where. Consider risks and benefits and make the decisions best for you guys and your baby. Of course, more options come with being healthy and low risk. That is how to avoid medical interventions. Pregnancy in itself is not an illness. Explore your options.
Again, congratulations on your latest addition 😍 such a beautiful family! The pleasure was all mine! Couples are sure to be empowered and encouraged from your journey from first baby being “delivered”(epidural use) to second baby (IV narcotics) feeling completely out of it in a hospital setting to an empowering educated and trained mom and dad experiencing a peaceful home birth for baby number three! What a fabulous redemption birth story. Thank you for transparency and honesty with our readers. It is so rewarding for me to see you both come to appreciate the JOY of giving birth naturally.