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Asian Birth Story: A Homebirth with Baby Number 3

Laura is a birth doula living in southern Alberta, Canada. She has three children aged 6, 3, and 6 mo. In this interview, she shares about her most recent birth, which was a midwife supported homebirth. All photos and words published with permission.

"From the very beginning, when we found out we were pregnant, I knew I wanted to birth at home. I’ve always wanted to, but it took some time to get my husband on board. After the baby was born, he did skin-to-skin with the placenta still attached and his mind was blown. "

I’m half Chinese, and second generation in Canada. I grew up in southern Alberta, which feels very caucasian and bible belt-y. I was one of two Chinese people in my school growing up. Growing up, everyone was like, “oh, you’re adopted.”. My grandpa always said to me “if someone asks what ethnicity you are, you're Chinese. Your dad's Chinese, you're Chinese. That's what it is.”

My third baby actually was a complete surprise, and from the very beginning, I knew I wanted to birth at home. I’ve always wanted to, but it took some time to get my husband on board.

Everything about this pregnancy was so relaxed. The morning of, I had some contractions but I went about my day, taking my kids to school and got coffee with my aunt. I didn’t want to tell her I was planning on a homebirth because she was against them, so I tried to keep my contractions on the downlow. When we went to the grocery story to get some pineapples, my aunt urged me to get the pre-sliced ones because she could tell by then that I was about to go into labour. I definitely did not have time to cut up the pineapple.

I called my husband and let him know that today was probably the day. “When you come home for lunch today, maybe plan on staying home after.” He came home immediately and started stress cleaning. I got my mom to come pick up my kids and I just spent some time that afternoon laboring in bed with a comb in my hand. When my contractions got to about five minutes apart, I called my midwives but they just told me to call back when I wasn’t able to talk through them any longer.

My doula got into the house at 3:12 PM. By the time she got there, my contractions were on top of each other so she told my husband to call the midwives back and started preparing the bath for me. Before any of that could happen though, I just really needed to push. I pushed once and my water broke. From my previous births, I knew that once my water broke, baby was going to come any minute.

There was a little meconium in the fluid and my husband started freaking out. The doula told him to take a deep breath because she couldn’t help me if she had to deal with him passing out.

He got it together and called the midwives back & they rushed over. In that short time, I pushed two more times. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the baby’s head was already out. The midwife ran into the house, didn’t even put gloves on and on the next push, caught the baby. It was 3:30.

It all happened very quickly but it felt perfect.

Afterwards, I had to get a couple of stitches even though I didn’t really want them. My midwife said that since I had to run around after two other kids it would be helpful for my healing so I said ok. My husband did skin-to-skin with the placenta still attached and his mind was blown.

It felt so nice to just go from the bath to my bed. All my checks were in bed. The midwives were just doing their notes on our kitchen table. It was just so peaceful, no noises, no one bugging us.

When I told my 91 year old grandmother about the baby, she was like “Oh, wait, when did you go to the hospital?” And I was like “Uh, we… did not,” and then she gave me a bit of a lecture in Chinese about it. It was mostly very funny.

I think for this baby, I just went with my gut. I knew the way I wanted the birth to happen, and I just let myself do that. It showed me that I could do really hard things, in just the way I want. For my first two births, there was still a part of me that felt nervous to be out of the hospital but for this one, I felt totally comfortable and relaxed. It was so great, I loved it.


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