A mum from Ohio in the US has shared her experience of having an unassisted birth at home with her 2nd child, after feeling ‘harassed’ and ‘bullied’ giving birth in hospital 5 years previously.
Marissa Heckel even refused the assistance of a midwife at her home birth as, she said, “I simply do not like anyone trying to tell me what is best for me or my baby.”
Also confirming her decision was not a financial one (it costs around $3,500 to have a baby in hospital in America), Marissa spoke about her decision on Facebook, saying this:
“Going unassisted was more of an opportunity for me to prove to others that God made our bodies to birth – that hospitals were never the norm. I delivered my son in my bathroom after a 36-hour labor.
“The exact amount of time I laboured with my daughter. Throughout the night of active labor I sought relief in the shower and bathtub but was unsuccessful.
“I chose to endure the pain standing up against the wall. I just kept telling myself “the pain is only temporary”. In the early morning I began transition. Not exactly sure how long it lasted but it seemed to be a few hours.
“When the contractions and the pressure came my husband was bedside holding my hand. It was actually romantic although I was practically roaring at this point. Somewhere during the time period my water gushed all over our bed. Five different times.
“When I felt the urge to push I attempted to stay in bed but felt much too “unnatural” for me. I told my husband about my urge to push and asked for assistance to the toilet. I let my body do the pushing.
“I just sat on the toilet. My husband was worried I’d been pushing too long so I had to reassure him in between contractions that I could feel his head descending (the beginning of the ring of Fire).
“Finally my husband said he could see his head. He encouraged me to keep going. He also expressed concern that our son would hit his head on the toilet or fall in (haha). I then told him to help me up and that I was going to deliver the shoulders standing up.
“My husband looked at me like I was nuts but helped me anyway. I stood up, held onto the towel rack and let my body do one last push and he was finally out. My husband stood there in shock taking all the pictures. I’ve never felt so powerful and accomplished in my entire life.
“Our bodies truly are amazing!! My placenta delivered itself after about twenty minutes. Our son was 9 pounds 8 oz. 22 inches long with a 36cm head. He’s no average sized baby as my husband is so tall (6ft7).
“So if you’re afraid or thinking you can’t do it, YOU CAN!!! Do not fear, our bodies were made for this!)”
(Edited to add: “If you’d like to use my photo for inspiration all I ask is that you cover my sons privates in doing so. Thank you!
❤️ and thank you all for your support!!”)
Here at MFM HQ, we have to say this story really got us talking. Though some of the team liked the idea of a home birth (none of us has had one), we couldn’t quite get our heads around the idea of doing it there with no medical staff on hand – just in case.
And the experts would agree that unassisted birth can be a risky business. Maggie Blott of the The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) tells us:
“Those women who give birth without a hitch on their own are very brave, but also very lucky that obstetric problems did not arise during their deliveries.”
The RCOG also states that there is no reliable research regarding the safety and success of unassisted childbirth, and that women should be aware that mums may need to have quick access to care during emergencies.
What do you think?
Would you ever consider having an unassisted birth? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook
Image: Mariah Franson / Marissa Heckel on Facebook