I learned that when you tell someone you’re going to have a home birth most people look at you like you’ve lost your mind and some will even tell you so. Our son was born on November 16th, 2013 in the comfort of our home. I never would have guessed that I’d have a home birth but I did and we loved it. Here’s our story…
The gears started turning…
I research everything so when we were thinking about having a baby I geeked out on everything baby. I found a documentary called, “The Business of Being Born” and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of birthing babies. I loved the idea that a woman’s body is brilliantly designed to make and birth babies and that in most circumstances we don’t need any interventions to do so. The mothers featured in the film were actually looking forward to their birthing. They labored and birthed their babies without intervention and with grace, courage, and total trust in their bodies.
It was the exact opposite of the portrayals of birth I’ve always seen and what I’d always felt about labor…FEAR. Those women inspired me. Maybe I didn’t have to fear birth but embrace and trust it. I decided then that I wanted to have as natural a birth as I could (safely).
You want to have your baby where?…
The choice to have the baby at home came later. I knew I had to decide where I would be the most comfortable. For me, I knew that was not going to be the hospital. The next option in my mind was a birthing center but the closest one is in Taos. It never occurred to me that I could have the baby at home but that was really the only other option and not much different that being in a birthing center. The idea started to grow on me.
I was really hung up on the little stuff like what happens with the mess and how does it work with the birthing tub. I was also hung up on the BIG stuff like what happens if something goes wrong. We started doing our research and talking to midwives and mothers who had home births and finally after a few months decided that it was the right choice for us.
Have you lost your mind?…
I didn’t realize how many other people were not going to agree with that decision. We spent a lot of the pregnancy defending our choice. That part was hard. I get it though – it’s definitely not common or well understood.
I think I almost gave my dad a heart attack. My mom came around more but couldn’t figure out why “I wanted to poop in my own sheets.” Others were ready to save me from home birth and take me to the hospital. I know I had many people in my life thinking I’d completely lost my mind. Many others were very supportive. I was actually surprised though how many women told me they wish they’d had a home birth.
What I loved about having my baby at home…
- The birthing tub…I can’t believe how relaxing this was. Contractions in the tub were very manageable. I also used a heating pad with the same effect.
- I could use my own bathroom whenever I wanted to. Let’s face it, labor isn’t glamorous. You’re leaking, bleeding, pooping, throwing up, and who knows what else. I loved that I could do those things in the comfort of my own bathroom without being attached to tubes.
- I could eat and drink…and I did. It gave me the energy I needed to get through it.
- I could be in any position that felt good to me – which varied a lot. I labored in 4 different rooms in our house usually leaning over something. I can’t tell you why but that’s just where I needed to be.
- I took a nap (during active labor) in my own bed…Just the fact that I felt relaxed enough to nap in between contractions during the transition phase of labor tells you my comfort level.
- I set the mood (music, low lights, essential oils, attendees)…This was really crucial for me. Music made a world of difference in my demeanor, my diffuser was blowing relaxing lavender scents into the air, and all the lights were kept very low. I didn’t know ahead of time but it turns out I like to be alone when in pain. I was so glad that I had full control over who was in my presence during that vulnerable time.
- I held him from the second he came out…and I didn’t ever have to let him go. I decided what procedures happened to him so he never left my arms and no one whisked him away until I said so. He was nursing within minutes.
- I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and empowerment … I am so proud and empowered by our natural home birth. It taught me a lot about my own limits and left me with a sense of “If I can do that, I can do anything.”
- All my prenatal/postnatal appointments were done at home…I loved this so much. Being pregnant is inconvenient in many ways but my pre- and post-natal appointments were definitely not. My midwife came to my house for all of them and stayed as long as I needed her too. We discussed milestones, worries, and questions all along the way. I felt well taken care of.
In the end…
I would recommend home birth to anyone. Having the comforts of home and the freedom to do whatever I wished during an otherwise very uncomfortable time brought me a lot of peace. My midwife remarked several times how impressed she was at how calm and relaxed I was even into the harder parts of labor – that could only have been accomplished at home.
Being relaxed makes labor easier and quicker. Many women find a hospital as their place of comfort and I can understand that. There is no right way with birth and most of the time we don’t have control over the situation anyway. Home birth isn’t right for everyone and my point is not to say that it is. I wanted to share my story because I had a great experience. You can read about Peter’s Birth Story right here.
What about you? What did you love or not love about your own birthing?