My Unassisted Homebirth Story | Ashley Cooper

If you haven’t heard of an unassisted homebirth, it’s where there is no medical professional present. It’s legal to choose this option in all fifty states. A lot of people are praised when this happens on accident, but there are some who prepare for it. While sharing my story may bring negative reactions, it’s a beautiful story and I want to share it with you.

Pregnant woman holding her belly on her due date

Choosing to Birth Unassisted

I did not come to the decision to birth this way until I was in my second trimester. I hired my last midwife again, yet I felt unsettled with the decision. When I went into labor with my fourth baby I was in constant contact with my midwife the day of. My contractions were 10- 20 minutes apart and I was clear that the intensity was increasing. After contracting all day I hit transition and my midwife came through the door in a panic with no assistant. My baby was born about ten minutes after she arrived.

It was needlessly stressful and instead of being directed, we were afraid and unprepared to deliver a baby by ourselves at home. From my perspective I felt ignored and doubted. Could I even go into labor after three inductions? It wasn’t a fantastic experience.

Support and Love

Danielle Hale, who is an amazing birth photographer serving Fort Polk, shared her birth film in a mom group I was in and she answered a lot of questions for me. There is a whole community of empowered women who choose to birth unassisted. I started to educate myself more on childbirth and emergencies. I knew this is what I wanted for this birth. A true unhindered physiological birth.

There is a lot of misconception about free birth. Especially with pod casts and other platforms speaking about this topic. I have experienced trauma, which was a factor in my decision, but in a perfect world I would still choose to birth this way. Very lucky to have a supportive husband. I had to dig in to my fears and truly trust my body. Educating myself was humbling and empowering.

The Night Before Birth

Minimal birth kit. I had a birth pool, and folder for easy access to emergency childbirth notes. My due date had came and went. At 40 + 5 I had finally let go. It’s the hardest part. I was sad and jealous people were having their babies. I was ready, but all the tension that day was gone. Before my husband came home I couldn’t tell if I was leaking a tiny bit of fluid or I peed myself. I can’t be the only one, right?

We went to my favorite restaurant and I just had a feeling. Then I started to contract and I joked about having the baby. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. When we went to bed that night I knew a baby was coming, I just didn’t know how long it was going to take. My husband got a few things ready just in case.

I couldn’t rest even though my contractions were far apart. Just like my previous birth my contractions were consistent, but in long intervals. By 1:00 am I was holding my husband in his sleep repeating my affirmations. They were getting stronger. I then woke him up to blow the birth pool up and he went back to sleep. I wanted to take one last photo of my pregnant belly.

Pregnant woman in labor before having a homebirth unassisted

Getting Closer

A few hours later I knew I needed to rest. Around 4:00 am I woke Jon up again to fill the pool. The water allowed me to rest and I slept between contractions. I continually lost plug and bloody discharge which affirmed my progress. Around 6:00 am I started to begin transition. It was instinct, I knew immediately.

I had to pee so much and ended up walking to the toilet every time I needed to pee. It was so painful and you may have heard it called dilation station. It was true for me. I was silently praying that I had this baby before everyone woke up as the sun started to threaten to rise. My bathroom was right around the corner from my pool, but I couldn’t make it there and back without stopping. At 7:00 am I stopped and sat on my bed. My contractions were closer together now. Jon looked at me and tried to encourage me to get back in the pool. I told him I’d have the baby in the bed if I wanted to.

He knew how much pain relief the water provided and helped me in.

laboring mother about give birth at home

A Son Is Born

My oldest son had been awake and took turns checking in on me. By this time My youngest was watching me intently beside the pool. As the baby was descending my youngest son had woken up from my noise and joined her. We had no idea what the sex of the baby was. It was a big motivator for me to keep going. With my last birth FER (Fetal Ejection Reflex) kicked in and I didn’t need to push. I breathed her out. I was hoping to do the same, but it felt good to push so I did and not long after the head was born.

My husband was so excited and told me to keep going, but I knew this was normal. We had to wait for the next contraction and placed my hand to feel their precious head. With one last glorious urge, my husband and I brought our baby out of the water with three of the kids bursting with awe. Jon cried it was a boy, and I was so overwhelmed with joy and love. I did it! Someone went to wake up my daughter right after. Milo Henry Cooper was born January 11th, 2019 at 7:25 am. It was instant love.

unassisted homebirth in clarksville, tennesee

Birthing Choices

Unassisted homebirth is not for everyone, just as home births with midwives are not for everyone. You deserve to be respected however you choose to birth. I am an inclusive birth photographer because of this. The birth of my son is what lead me to specialize in birth photography. I was afraid of judgement so I didn’t reach out to have my birth documented. I regret it! Your story is important and deserves to be documented.

Sharing our stories can help empower others. I’d love to hear yours! Ready to document your birth? Contact Me!


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