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Why Choose a Home Birth?

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Home Birth

*Disclosure: You are about to read an article about home birth. Please note that I am NOT a medical professional. All opinions are my own.*

Anytime I tell someone that I decided to have a home birth with each of my babies, I get “the look.” Then, if they have children themselves, often times they tell me how, had their baby not been born at the hospital, he or she would have died. Then they say, “you’re so BRAVE!” I’m sure, half of them are thinking inside, “you are insane, you are risking your child’s life, you are risking your life, you’re an idiot, etc”.

You know, that’s okay, because I’m thinking inside, “well, had you not gone to the hospital and let them start doing all those interventions, your baby might have never gotten to the “almost died” point to begin with!…..but that debate is for another time!”

I didn’t give birth at home to prove anything to anyone. I didn’t give birth at home because I’m some kind of hippy (although, I must admit that my home birth has led me to make more and more choices for our family that are natural/organic/green).  I didn’t do it to make anyone uncomfortable or to be unique.

I chose to have a home birth because, as someone with low-risk pregnancies, who follows a healthy diet, having a home birth was just as safe, if not safer for me, than giving birth in a hospital.  It certainly meant that my risks of intervention where much less. Whoa, what a minute–did I just say that?! Yes, I did! Don’t believe me? I know, I know, I’m just a blogger.  Check out this article about home birth safety published at CBS Atlanta. There are more studies just like this.

Now, hear me out. I’m not saying that giving birth is not dangerous. Woman do die, every year, all around the world, while giving birth. If you have a high risk pregnancy, than giving birth at the hospital is most likely your best option for a safe delivery. However, woman die giving birth in hospitals too. Sadly, it just happens sometimes. Birth is not without risk at home or at the hospital.

But, maybe you are like I was and you are toying with the idea of a home birth. You see, from the moment I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Maggie, almost 8 years ago, I thought about having a home birth. The thought crossed my mind and then left quickly after. I thought, “I have no idea where to look for a home birth midwife,” and “my husband will never go for this!”

So, I searched out hospital-based midwives and started to see them when I was a few weeks into my pregnancy. My experience was nothing like I had hoped or imagined it would be. To put it lightly, it was a nightmare. I felt like a nameless face walking through the office each time. The nurses did not know me, the midwives did not know me, and I did not know them. One week they lectured me on not gaining enough weight, the next time (a mere 4 weeks later) they told me I’d gained too much, too quickly. One more visit like that and I thought my husband might start swinging at one of them!

I knew I needed to look elsewhere when I asked a midwife if she could point me in the direction of Bradley childbirth classes. She commented that she didn’t know where there were any locally, but that the office offered childbirth classes. When I told her that I wanted the Bradley method because I planned to go all-natural she chuckled and said, “well, if you want to go natural, you better find SOME kind of classes to take then!” It was crystal clear to me at that moment that I needed a different plan! She was not going to encourage or back me up for the natural birth that I wanted.

I found myself some Bradley classes and signed us up. As fate would have it, our instructors had already had 2 home births and they were able to share the names of a few home birth midwives with me. I won’t say that it didn’t take some convincing of my husband to let me pursue this avenue, but after reading over studies, he was open to visiting with the midwives.

It only took our initial visit–he and I were both sold on home birth and moving forward. From that moment on, my pregnancy experience changed. I looked forward to my prenatal appointments. I was no longer treated like some animal in the herd. I was an individual. I had ladies who were fully supportive of my decision to have a natural childbirth and they cheered me on while I worked to maintain a healthy pregnancy. My care level was so much better and entirely different.

home birth

When my first daughter was born, at home, in a birthing tub, it was the most amazing experience of my life. A few months later, while at a Christmas party, I ended up talking with a nurse who mentioned that she worked at the practice I had originally been seeing. One thing led to another and I gave her an abridged version of my birth story. When I mentioned that my water broke before labor even truly began, her eyes grew wide. Then I continued to say that my daughter was born less than 12 hours later. Her response was, “thank goodness, cause you would have needed to go in for a c-section if it had gone past 12 hours.” I walked away with a smile on my face. THAT is exactly why I left that practice, and truly, thank God that I did! I fully believe that if I had stayed with them, there is a good chance that I could have ended up with a c-section.

I hear so many horror stories from women having horrible birth experiences and it breaks my heart. No, home birth is not for everyone, in fact, if the thought of giving birth at home scares you, I wouldn’t recommend it. I do recommend that you know your options and your rights, no matter where you choose to have your baby. If you are pregnant and unhappy with your current medical provider, it’s okay to switch and find someone new! I switched around 30-32 weeks (it’s hard to remember now!). Find a provider who is fully on-board with your birth plan. It will make all the difference!

home birth

If you are considering a home birth, I would certainly encourage you to look for a home birth midwife in your area and have a consultation. You don’t have to be a hippy to have a home birth; you can be a normal girl, just looking for a natural birth, like me.

I have now had 4 wonderful home births and I’m in the process of planning my 5th home birth. You might enjoy reading Maggie’s home birth story, Jacob’s home birth story, Zellene’s home birth story, and Gideon’s home birth story. My husband also wrote a nice blog post on home birth from the dad’s perspective.  That’s a great one to let your husband read if he’s a little concerned about considering a home birth.

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Hailey Kirksey

Tuesday 14th of April 2020

I am 34 weeks along and my husband and I knew we wanted a home birth straight from the beginning! but, that was only because I had been introduced to the idea shortly before getting pregnant!! So far I have enjoyed seeing my midwife and feeling like I have a lot of control over what I want to do. Unfortunately all this Covid19 crap has made the midwives act extra cautious and we have limited prenatal schedule now. BUT she is still on call 24/7 and is willing to answer any and all my questions/concerns so I am very thankful for that. I am very healthy and active, and I eat good food and get sunlight daily, I am not worried about this virus at all! everyone around me is freaking out, but I am doing my best to not let it get to me. My baby will be here, pandemic or not! Anyway thanks for sharing, I am looking forward to reading your birth stories :)

Jeanine Carlson

Friday 21st of June 2019

I never even considered having my children at home- only because that wasn't "in style" then. It's much more recognized now. Having said that, I bet you faced more than your fair share of naysayers!

Alice F

Saturday 1st of December 2018

I love the idea of a home birth! While it may not be for everyone, I am thankful that option is open to those that want as natural a birth as possible.

Amelia Bayless

Tuesday 9th of January 2018

Thanks for sharing your experiences! I delivered in the hospital with my first and will with my second in about a month. I have an incredible doctor and had an amazing experience with the staff at the hospital, but I know that’s sadly not always the case and have heard some crappy stories from friends. I, funny enough, would be less comfortable at home in a birthing tub than at the hospital. So glad there are lots of options!

Jen

Monday 8th of January 2018

I also took a Bradley class that led me to choose homebirth. Unfortunately, my midwife risked me out of her homebirth practice at 1 week overdue due to low amniotic fluids. After a long, difficult induction in the hospital along with many interventions, but no epidural due to a lot of support from a doula and my homebirth midwife who was now my hospital midwife, I was thankful to have a healthy baby boy who was in no way negatively affected by my low amniotic fluid. But a side effect of the induction was a postpartum hemorrhage which resulted a more difficult recovery, breastfeeding problems, etc. I was so thankful to move to PA and find a more experienced midwife for my next 2 homebirths. I always have low amniotic fluid as I approach the birth. My last and 3rd child was even born 15 days past my due date. But the way I've felt physically and emotionally, the way I've bonded with my babies, and the easier recover of homebirth have been very different from my hospital experience. As long as I remain low risk, I will always choose homebirth!

Janessa

Monday 8th of January 2018

Thank you for sharing your experience! I'm sorry you weren't able to get a home birth the first time around that you wanted, but so happy to hear about your other 2 births. My last baby (Gideon) was also a 42-weeker! I'm hoping this next baby does not stay comfy in there for so long this time!

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