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Home Birth Story of Joseph Strother Skolos

By September 16, 2020 Motherhood
Childbirth was one of my biggest fears. Facing intense physical pain felt so overwhelming to me! I used to want a scheduled c-section because I thought I could just get knocked out and bypass the difficulties. (I elaborate more about this in Evelyn’s birth story on my blog). But then I learned the benefits of a natural labor and wanted to overcome my fear of pain. I had Evelyn in a hospital, as natural as I was able. I had no epidural which was a big win for me in overcoming my fear. I am now very passionate about empowering women to pursue a natural labor! (if possible, there are definitely circumstances where medical intervention is necessary). American women tend to be afraid of child birth, to think they cannot do it on their own and they need pain meds (epidural) to get through it. But your body was made for this!!! Your body was made to bear children! If I can do it, anyone can!
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I was two weeks late with Evelyn and assumed I would be late as well with my second. To my surprise my water broke Wednesday at 2pm, two days before the due date. Let’s just say I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared! We had just moved four weeks before and didn’t have everything ready. But here I was, sitting at a park table, with water leaking everywhere!!! 🤦🏻‍♀️
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I was with a mom friend, our first time hanging out might I add, luckily at the park that was across the street from our new place. I was wearing a tight blue dress and was too embarrassed to walk home with water pouring out everywhere! She walked across the street to our place to grab me towels. I wrapped a towel around me and waddled to my house. I honestly couldn’t believe it was happening, it felt like a movie!! (It is actually pretty rare to have your water break before any contractions or labor starting, unlike what movies portray.)
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It took hours for contractions to kick in. But this allowed us to get more things ready for the home birth etc. Because we had just moved, I didn’t feel very prepared for labor & a home birth. I asked the Lord for a warning for when I would go into labor and this was definitely an answered prayer! It helped me to mentally & physically prepare for labor and feel more at peace.
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I pre-labored that evening but then went to sleep and for a full nights rest. Contractions came and went all day the following day. I was getting discouraged bc my contractions weren’t progressing very much. My contractions still weren’t close enough to be active labor yet or to call the midwife over. But it had been 30 hours since my water broke so my midwife came to check on me before I went to bed. She wasn’t able to see how far I was dilated since my water broke at risk of infection. When she came, I was having back labor, which is more painful, and means the baby is facing the wrong way. The midwife did all these random things to get the baby to flip sunny side up.
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And then BOOM! it sent me into active labor & transition very quickly!!!! It got very painful super quickly !!!. This got me to the point where I felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt overwhelmed by the pain and thought to myself “I’m never doing this again.” Classic thoughts of a woman in transition haha. Luckily, you really do forget the pain. I prayed for a short labor, but didn’t realize “fast & furious” births can be difficult for your body to handle since your body is doing the same amount of work in a shorter time. I use the analogy to ripping off a bandaid quickly rather than slowly. The pain is short but more intense. I was grateful it was shorter but will say it was more painful than Evelyn’s birth and that birth I had pitocin half way through. Evelyn’s birth I didn’t make a peep, no yelling or screaming. This birth I was screaming & yelling, very primal like, which surprised even myself 🤪
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Things escalated so quickly we didn’t even have time to tell my birth coach/mother-in-law to come over. Luckily, she brought Evelyn over to put to sleep around 9pm, right when I was in active labor. I went in the shower to try to get some relief. They were hurrying to the the birth tub ready. (It has to be a certain temperature for the baby to be born in it) I was starting to have urges to push & was begging to go into the birth pool. Well kiddie pool actually. Because of covid, I could not rent a birth tub from my midwife.
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Finally, they walked me over to the pool & I started to push. My mother in law was my birth coach & was coaching me through the contractions, trying to help me breathe through them instead of panicking. My sister in law walked in as I was starting to push and began filming. My friend walked in later to take photos. They both barely made it in time! Michael woke up Evelyn & brought her out to see the birth.
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I continued to push in the pool. I was much more aware and present this time around compared to my last 18 hour labor with Evelyn. This birth my active labor was only 1 hour!!!!! The baby was finally out. IT WAS A BOY!!!
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Waiting to find out the gender was SO FUN! It was something I said I would NEVER do, but my husband desperately wanted a surprise. Honestly, it was easier than I thought and we will do it again for the next child.gap
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Michael caught him underwater and pushed him up towards me. I turned around and put him on my chest.  He was very purple which my midwife said is normal for babies born in water. It was a lot to take in – I had a son! All I felt initially was relief. I was just so relieved to not be in pain anymore and to be done. It took me a little to soak in what just happened. It takes me a little bit of time to feel emotionally connected to the baby I just pushed out.
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They walked me to my bed where I did skin to skin. Then it was time to deliver the placenta. Which didn’t hurt but felt weird and uncomfortable. I just wanted to be done with pushing things out of me haha. (I didn’t experience this last time bc I had a 4th degree episiotomy so my placenta just fell out haha)  We kept the umbilical cord attached to him for an hour. So when Michael and Evelyn held him they had to hold my placenta in a bag as well 🤣  The hospital cut Evelyn’s cord right away so we didn’t experience that last time!
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(All pictures by Kimberly Hope Photography!)
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I had a 4th degree episiotomy with Evelyn which means I was all scar tissue which doesn’t stretch like normal skin. I had met with a pelvic floor specialist when pregnant to see how I healed up and learn how to prep for labor to prevent tearing. If I tore past a 2nd degree the midwife couldn’t stitch me up and I would have to go to the hospital. So I was determined not to tear too much. & by the grace of God I didn’t tear at all!!! I was so grateful and healing & recovery is much, much easier than last time!
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They left me my placenta in the fridge. It is common these days to encapsulate it to balance hormones & prevent baby blues or postpartum depression. I opted it out mostly bc of cost & I never experienced baby blues. There isn’t much research on it proving its benefits of eating the placenta but some moms swear by it! I ended up throwing mine away. I would have donated it to the midwife (they use it for training and research) but weren’t taking any bc of covid. If you want to get real granola, you can cut it up and put it in smoothies!
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I was SO grateful I chose a home birth this time around, especially with covid. If I had this birth in a hospital I would have only had Michael there. I loved having a birth coach / my mother in law, friends and family documenting it & Evelyn witnessing the birth of her brother. Also, we could have any visitors we wanted after as well. If you want to see my birth video, message me on Instagram and I will send you the YouTube link!!
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Many people ask what I liked about a home birth versus hospital birth. My first birth was at Mission Hospital in Orange County. It was alright. Not terrible, not amazing. (You van ready full birth story on my blog.) but I did have complications with Evelyn’s birth that I don’t think would have happened with a home birth. This was my main motivation for having a home birth this time around. My contractions stopped half way through my labor with my first. A midwife would have waited as long as needed for them to come back. The hospital only let me wait an hour until they gave me pitocin (a drug that makes you contract but they are different than natural contractions.) Pitocin can put the baby in stress bc the contractions are more intense than natural ones. Also, Evelyn was turned the wrong way giving me back labor. If I had a midwife she could position me to change this, speeding up my labor. As I was pushing, the cord around her neck was stopping her heart beat. They had to give me a 4th degree episiotomy and vacuum her out quickly. I personally believe these complications could have been avoided if I was with a midwife at home.
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Other things I liked with the home birth over a hospital birth:
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  • in Covid times: I was able to have whoever I wanted at my birth rather than just my spouse. If I did give birth at a hospital my birth coach / mother In law couldn’t be there, Evelyn wouldn’t have witnessed her brother being born, & my friend and sister in law couldn’t have been there taking photos and videos!
  • Midwives trust that your is made to give birth & empower you
  • You get to sleep in your own bed
  • You don’t get Waken up by nurses every 2 hours
  • No one is pressuring you get an epidural or vaccinate or any additional and maybe unwanted things
  • A midwife stays with you the whole time while doctors and nurses just come to check in / once you’re pushing
  • At a hospital you are hooked up to all sorts of monitors which is a nuisance when you need to go to the restroom
  • Midwives let you opt out of certain things like antibiotics for b strep etc
  • There is a much lower risk for c-section when with a midwife & at home
  • Midwives are trained for natural labors, ObGyn doctors are trained surgeons (for c-sections)
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Now many hospitals let you have a midwife there as well as birthing tub. The hospital I was at with Evelyn now has this option! This wasn’t an option when I had Evelyn 5 years ago. This is a great blend if you can’t decide or are nervous bc it’s your first labor.
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Some downsides of a home birth:
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  • I didn’t realize how much stuff I would have to prep & provide for the home birth (towels and blankets that can get dirty etc)
  • Labor is messy and it was hard for me at times since it was my own bed bc I’m kinda a clean freak haha
  • Resting in my own home was difficult since there was so much to clean & so much laundry to do! (Midwives make you stay ideally bedridden for a week!)
  • Having other children home wanting your attention while in labor & recovering

 

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There is a concept called a pain free birth in some Christian circles. Since, painful childbirth was part of the curse, and Jesus reversed the curse on the cross, some women have experienced no pain in labor! I read the book Supernatural Child Birth when I was pregnant with Evelyn and was hoping for a pain free labor at first. But since pain in labor was my biggest fear and I wanted to overcome it, so I actually wanted to experience pain, which I know sounds strange. Jesus endured so much pain to give us life, I received so much cool revelation experiencing pain to give Evelyn life. We live in a very comfortable society where we want to escape pain or discomfort as much as possible. But painful moments can have so much benefit and teach us so much. I told the Lord this second birth I wouldn’t mind being pain free 😀 But I would have to say it was very, very painful. But enduring the pain of child birth makes you feel like you can overcome anything. Which I think you need going into parenthood!! I am grateful that he answered many of my other prayer requests such as a quick labor,  a “warning” of when I would go into labor and no tearing.
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If you’re worried about insurance not covering a home birth I suggest you check out Samaritan. It’s a Christian insurance. I’ve tried three different Christian insurances that all cover home births (Medi-share, Christian Healthcare Ministries & Samaritan) Samaritan is the cheapest monthly for same or better coverage. One level covers 5K of home birth (most cost $6500-6800) & the highest level covers 100% anything maternity!!
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Lastly, we decided not to circumcise. It was something I thought a lot about. It is now very common to not get circumcised. Which can be weird to hear for some. I was thrown off by it when I first heard my friends choosing to not circumcise.  I went back and forth and asked many of my friends what they decided and why. Both sides had good points to think about. Some of my friends who circumcised were concerned the boy would feel different from his circumcised father. Some parents who didn’t said their kids didn’t even notice theirs looked different. Another concern is since the dad is not circumcised (generally speaking) then it’s difficult for him to teach the son how to cleanse it well. Everyone was circumcised back in the day because there was a high chance of men going to war where good hygiene wasn’t easy and infection could happen easily. Biblical reasons are some people deciding factor to get circumcised. But I learned that back in the Old Testament they cut only a very small slit, where as today they cut off the entire foreskin. But in the Old Testament they would circumcise on the 8th day. That is when the baby has enough Vitamin K to stop the bleeding. In the hospital, they circumcise the first or second day, when the baby doesn’t have enough Vitamin K. But its routine to give them a Vitamin K shot right out of the womb. Most of my friends went to a Mohel, a rabbi or doctor that waits until the 8th day. After much thought, Michael and I decided to not circumcise.
Deanna Skolos

Author Deanna Skolos

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