Hilary Duff recently sat down with Dr. Berlin to discuss why she opted for a home birth.
On his Informed Pregnancy Podcast, Dr. Berlin asked Hilary what swayed her to choose this non-traditional option.
The mum previously had her son Luca in the hospital and said that she had done a lot of research regarding the benefits of home birth. She thought that she would give the experience a try, finding it the best choice for her and her baby.
It’s been ten days since her she had baby Banks - a beautiful, healthy baby girl, and the experience is still fresh in her mind.
The mum had been trying to induce labour for days with natural remedies, including raspberry leaf tea with nettles, daily exercise, primrose oil, and salads made with walnuts and vinegar-oregano dressing.
“I even took salad dressing shots”, the mum laughed.
But the night it finally happened, it was a full moon and she was watching TV with her boyfriend Matt when she began to experience stomach pains.
It was 12:30am and her contractions were coming five minutes apart. Hilary remained calm, alternating between pacing and sitting down.
She even started tidying up the house to distract herself, accidentally breaking a vase in the process. But it was impossible for her to stay still while dealing with the pain.
“I did not feel that kind of pain with Luca”, she said. “It was more intense than I thought it would be. It was tolerable but right way I was like ‘these are real feelings’.”
Her and Matt decided to assemble her birthing team around 2:00am (which included her doula and midwife).
Her labour lasted throughout the night and Dr. Berlin wasn’t even contacted until 9:00am. When he said he couldn’t make the birth, Hilary said she had full confidence in her birthing team.
The expecting mum found comfort in sitting on her aerobics ball, squatting during contractions, and light touches from those present. “Light touch was really comforting. It felt really good in labour”, she recalled.
And when it was time to check her cervix dilation, Hilary was fighting back tears. “It was scary”, she said. “I was so nervous. I cried and was worried about being disappointed [that I wasn’t dilated enough]”.
But luckily, she was and it was time for her to get into the bathtub. “I felt so proud of myself. I was like ‘I got there’.”
Her mum and sister watched Luca downstairs during the birthing process.
Once she was in the bath, things got heated between her and Matt. “He kept telling me to relax and I told him to shut up”, she laughed. “I said ‘you’re gonna die if you say that again. That’s not helpful’.
The contractions got closer and the mum found relief by letting the cold tap run down her back.
“The hardest part is not fighting the contractions. You fight them until you can’t. I had a hard time surrendering and just letting my body take over.
“It took everything I had to push, so I couldn’t hold myself up. They had to hold me up [in the bath].”
And when little Banks finally came, she was blue, but after a few breaths from the midwife she regained colour and had a healthy cry. They also put a small tab in her mouth to soak up the water in her lungs.
Hilary wasn’t worried because the same thing happened when her oldest Luca was born.
“[Banks] reached up her arms at my neck for a hug,” Hilary smiled fondly. “It was amazing. It made me feel like she was saying ‘Good team, mum, we did it’.”
Matt was in awe of Hilary and told her: “I’m so grateful for what you did for our family.”
Luca ventured in afterwards and immediately became infatuated with his little sister, wanting to cover her with kisses.
Hilary credits her successful home birth to a few things. One was that she did copious amounts of research beforehand. She even made a birth-board of inspiration which became her key focal point when she was pushing.
Secondly, she made sure to pick the best team of experts she could find that meshed well with her personality. The experienced professionals knew all the right things to say and do to comfort the mum during the painful birth.
They massaged her, monitored the baby’s heart rate continuously, and told her exactly what to do - let her body naturally take over and trust it.
When asked about the biggest difference she noticed between Luca and Banks’ births, she said that her little girl was a lot more calm.
She believes this is because she was more calm herself throughout the birthing experience and did not have any drugs to dull the pain.
“I felt badass afterwards,” she said. “I thought, ‘I can’t believe I did this’.”
Overall, she felt it was a better experience and preferred home birth to hospital birth.