Why home birth?

As I am getting closer and closer to the end of this pregnancy, I find it good to review my motivation for having a home birth.

A little history: I have a back condition that makes an epidural out of the question. I also have a…needle “discomfort.” I can take it if I need to, but I sure can’t relax with an IV in place. Plus, I had never been admitted in the hospital, but it isn’t so much fun! So I started looking at options other than a hospital and found a freestanding birth center staffed by CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives). Although we were a little nervous (and really, what new parent-to-be isn’t?), we decided to go for it.

My first was born in a freestanding birth center after 9 hours of labor and 3 hours of pushing, diagnosed as breathing too fast, and sent to the hospital. It was a rough situation for all, since we had to take a hotel room a few miles away and struggle to balance all the changes with a baby who didn’t seem sick in any way–other than his breathing was a little faster than “normal.” He weighed in at 8 lb 9 oz, was the loudest little one in the NICU, and had so many precautionary wires and tubes running from his poor little body in the first days of his life! It turned out nothing was wrong and he slowed his breathing himself in about a day. Then he started developing a little jaundice–truly nothing serious! Had he been home by then, no one would have done anything, but they kept him longer as a precaution. We started feeling like we would have to break him out of there! 5 days later, we were finally able to take him home.

When I was expecting my second, we were living in another country, but decided to return to a free-standing birth center–although a different one closer to family and in another state. This labor was about 2.5 hours long once it got rolling, and it was a good thing we were nearby–we were staying an hour from it! We had a relatively easy birth, in the water (unplanned), and I was amazed at how good I felt after. The baby was breathing a little fast again, but otherwise seemed fine, so we took him home. Turns out he was fine…about a day later.

For my third, we were again overseas, and due to return around 32 weeks. The birth center in the area was closed, and the others were about an hour away with no traffic, so I didn’t feel comfortable using them. I tentatively set up care with a home birth CNM duo who I found through mothering<dot>com. I wasn’t sure about a homebirth, but didn’t like the nearby hospital choice with its 40%+ c-section rate and lack of naturally minded doctors. It was only about 10 minutes away from the hospital, so I decided it would be good for a back-up and took the leap into homebirth. This babe was my first that was a few days late, but he arrived 90 minutes after I awoke in labor at 8 lb 10 oz. And although it was an intense labor, it was amazing to go back to my own shower, clean up, and get tucked into my own bed with my new son. He, too, was breathing a little fast, but the midwife said, “A sick baby looks sick–they won’t nurse well, are crabby, or have trouble with other things.” I loved that approach, and again, this baby resolved his breathing in about a day. And my older boys got to walk into my room one day and were surprised–“There’s a baby in Mommy’s bed!” 😉

So here I am again, and I’m planning another home birth (please God!). My pregnancy has been low-risk, this babe is doing well, and we are anticipating a quick labor. I did an ultrasound at 20 weeks, as I have done with each child–I want to be sure that all the important organs and body parts are there and functioning.

We aren’t super crunchy people. Really. I love being a mommy, but being pregnant and actually having the baby? We don’t wax poetic about childbirth. It’s an awesome thing, absolutely. But not something either my husband or I are too fond of. If it wasn’t for the cutest toy surprise at the end, I don’t know that I would ever consider doing it or attending one! But since I have to be at the birth, we’re trying to make the best of it.

We’ve just decided that home birth works out best for us assuming everything is still going well. This is for many reasons:

  • Long prenatal appointments (usually 1 hour each) with much more focus on health and nutrition, and inclusion of the kids
  • Much more freedom in labor: ability to eat and drink, move around without continuous monitoring, take whatever position works, use my own things, push in whatever position works, etc.
  • Avoiding hospitals: unnecessary interventions, foreign germs, super-bugs, IVs, unnecessary c-sections, etc.
  • Less disruption for me, dh, and the kids!
  • A history of precipitous births that could mean a car birth or unplanned home birth
  • No laboring in the car needed
  • A general mindset among midwives that pregnancy is not an illness and is something spiritual to be celebrated!

Now, should a hospital transfer be necessary, we will not hesitate to go. If there are doubts or potential problems, we are out of here! But God controls the universe, so I do what I can to make everything as safe and comfortable as I can, and rely on Him for the rest.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Janice Davies on March 18, 2011 at 10:29 am

    I believe in home health where possible and don’t like to take my children to the Doctors for every cough or sneeze being as it can be a very dangerous envirnoment where they can pick up infections. I have used for years on trying to determine the problem myself first before resorting to the doctors. So well done for wanting a home birth, I hope it is a beautiful and natural experience for you to welcome your child!


    • Thanks for your thoughts!

      I believe pregnancy is not an illness, but still needs to be monitored. I also think there should be a balance between taking sick kids in and monitoring at home!


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