If you would have asked me 2 years ago where I plan to have a baby when I get pregnant, I would probably mention one of the hospitals that my friends used. I honestly didn't even know there were other options. Since I had never been pregnant, I never had a need to look into such things but once I did have those choices ahead of me I started to do some reading.
I first learned about working with a midwife and doing a home birth in the first pregnancy book I read, The Natural Pregnancy Book. This book really opened up my eyes to the world of natural pregnancy and childbirth and led me to then read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, The Complete Organic Pregnancy, The Kind Mama, Hypnobirthing, and I never touched those "What To Expect" books that talk about all the things that can possibly go wrong and instill fear. To me pregnancy and birth was a beautiful natural part of life, nothing fearful about it at all so I avoided anything and anyone who was spreading horror stories and fear.
After reading these books and watching the documentary The Business of Being Born, my husband and I were able to overcome all of our fears related to childbirth and actually be excited about having our son at home. Once we reached this point, it was clear that our society has a very strong fear of childbirth and we are taught from a very young age that it is a scary painful experience that must be dealt with by professionals in a sterile safe hospital. I can remember many scenes from movies and television during my childhood that depicted childbirth in this way and I did not have anyone around me share their positive experience outside of a hospital. Can you relate?
It felt liberating and thrilling, as though we had this big lie we were told all our lives and now we had lifted the veil and could see the truth. Birth is an empowering, beautiful, and life changing experience!
I wanted to have all the feelings. Experience what my body was meant to do and do it how I wanted. Whether that meant to labor in the birth pool, in the shower, or while dancing around to Bob Marley! It was up to me and it felt great to be able to have that choice. I quickly found a very deep real sense of trust in my own body and my baby to know what to do and when to do it.
Being present in every moment of my life is very important to me and bringing my child into the world was not going to be any different. I wanted it to be a warm, nurturing, calm environment that was only filled with the things and people I love. I did create a written birth plan for home so everyone knew my guidelines and knew that if they didn't follow it they would be asked to leave. No one was allowed to speak with fear, carry any anxiety into my space, or pressure me.
(Of course I had a backup plan that included a hospital bag, hospital birth plan, directions and gas in the car, just in case! This was my first child so I really didn't know what to expect. I simply prepared myself and put myself into the right mindset of calm positive.)
The other wonderful part of doing a home birth meant that I got to work with a midwife instead of an obstetrician. She was kind, gentle, and took her time during my appointments. Each visit with her was at least an hour. We would talk about my diet, feelings, fears, expectations, what to expect in the next few weeks, and things to consider regarding the birth. She was always gentle and kind and very helpful. She knew I was educated on pregnancy and she respected all of my choices such as:
- Declining the nasty chemical and food coloring filled glucose test; instead I managed my sugar levels with healthy whole food meals and avoided all processed foods.
- Declining the antibiotics for testing positive for strep B before birth, instead we used an antibiotic rinse and I doubled up my dose of probiotics and food to support immune health. (Baby was perfectly healthy and never had any sign of illness after the birth.)
- Multiple blood tests; instead I had one at the beginning of the pregnancy to establish baselines if we ever needed to retest for anything. But we never did. I only had 1 blood draw my entire pregnancy!
- Ultrasounds. Until recently there has been very very little study of the effects of ultrasounds on a fetus and my instincts told me there was no need. We did one scan at 18 weeks to study our babies anatomy and ensure he was growing well and that was it. Even this was optional. There was no need, no warning signs, no high risk, no reason to do any other ultrasounds or scans. He was a perfectly healthy baby growing inside me just as he was meant to do, just as millions of babies have done since the beginning of time. I trusted in evolution to take care of my baby.
- 1 pelvic/vaginal exam the entire pregnancy. I have heard many women say they received these invasive exams at every OB appointment they had. If there is no medical reason for it, then you can decline it. My midwife did one exam at 36 weeks to see if I was dialated yet and to do the swab for the strep B test. This was optional and I said yes, but I could have declined and she was perfectly okay with that.
Choosing a home birth for my first child was not scary, it was empowering and beautiful; it helped me find my voice as a strong mother and woman. I got to make this decision for myself and my child because I knew it was the best thing for us.
This was my personal story and I hope it helped to give you some information while you consider your options as a mother. I am in no way making medical recommendations or diagnosis. Please speak with a medical professional to decide if home birth is best for you and your baby. Thank you for reading and feel free to share with other pregnant mothers you know!