After experiencing some complications while delivering her daughter in the hospital, Marissa Heckel, a mom from Columbus Grove, OH, knew that she wanted to do things very differently for her second pregnancy: by having a totally unassisted home birth. And after Marissa’s friend shared a photo of Marissa postbirth on her Facebook page, her story quickly went viral.
Marissa told POPSUGAR how she and her husband agreed to have their son in the comfort of their own home:
“I had a not so great experience in a hospital three years ago when I delivered my daughter. I was bullied for not wanting an epidural and was harassed throughout my labor about getting one. I was also forced to lay on my back during delivery and was told to ‘push’ against my body. I ended up with a second-degree tear and some stitches. My husband and I decided that an unassisted birth in our home [would] be much more peaceful and my research guided me to show it was the right decision. I was never afraid throughout the entire process.”
Despite being two weeks overdue, she wasn’t panicked about her home birth and let her body do its thing. “I couldn’t wait to go into labor. I was just so excited! My relationship with my body is what kept me positive. I knew even after being two weeks ‘overdue’ that my body would decide when the time was right and it would do everything for me.”
She ended up laboring for 36 long and emotional hours and admitted to learning a lot about her body and how much pain it could withstand in the process. “Throughout the night of active labor I sought relief in the shower and bathtub but was unsuccessful,” she said. “I chose to endure the pain standing up against the wall. I just kept telling myself, ‘The pain is only temporary.'”
After what seemed like forever, Marissa finally was able to feel herself transitioning and prepared to start the delivery process. “Not exactly sure how long [the process] 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,” she said. “Somewhere during the time period my water gushed all over our bed. Five different times.”
But that was only the beginning. Marissa still had some pushing to do:
“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. 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.”
Although Marissa’s birth experience was as tiring as you’d expect, she’s also never felt more empowered before in her life. “The experience itself was exhausting and at the same time gave me a powerful feeling. I trusted my body and it did what many people today forgot it could do.”
Congratulations to the proud mama!