*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.
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!
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.