When my husband and I revealed to those around us that we would be having a home birth, the first words we usually heard were, “you’re crazy.” The next words that followed were, “how will you manage the pain?” For many women the thought of a natural birth, let alone a home birth, has sadly become so – unnatural. What was once the norm for how women gave birth back in the day, has now been surrounded by words of negativity. I will proudly say we had a home birth and if we do have another child in the future, I hope to have another one. I had wished to have a natural birth, free of pain medications, a caring and supportive team to push me through, and a pregnancy and labor free of the hospital restrictions and regulations.
Having a natural birth without any pain medications has always been something I wanted to stick to. It had not gone the way I had planned the first time I gave birth to my son. (I will have another post on that). There is always risks to taking Pitocin and having an Epidural done that could affect the baby and you, and therefore I wanted to avoid that risk. For example, some risks to the newborn include slow or abnormal heart rates as well as jaundice, which my firstborn did experience. Seizures and eye problems are also possible side effects, as well as problems with breathing. As for the mother, risks include uterine rupture, hypertension, as well as some others. I will also have a separate post on that. These risks I did not want to take a chance with. Women were naturally created by God to give birth. There should be no shame in that. Because we were created for this, I believe we are able to bear the pain. As scary as it may be to think about it, I did want to experience what God had intended us women to endure. Having already experienced labor pains and giving birth, I knew what I needed to make things easier. With this birth, I wanted to be in control and have my body do what it needed to do. I wanted to experience pushing when my body felt the need to push, not when a doctor told me to. Nor did I want to push not knowing when, which is what happens with an epidural since you do not feel how your body should naturally push. Pushing incorrectly could lead to vaginal tearing, which was also something I wanted to avoid this time around. With the support of my midwives I was able to achieve all of that.
A caring and supportive team is crucial for any pregnant mother, during prenatal visits, labor, and postpartum. The team behind you makes a major difference. I was blessed to have three wonderful midwives who helped me along my pregnancy journey and made postpartum a lot easier. Giving birth in a hospital setting, you do not know the nurses who are assisting. You have to become comfortable and trusting with them during your most vulnerable time. They do not know what you would like, or what you wouldn’t want. They are in and out of your room on an as needed basis. You also do not know what midwife or doctor will be delivering your child. Sometimes you might be able to get your midwife if you give them a notice when you are heading to the hospital and if they are not busy with other patients. My hospital midwife was unfortunately not available for my firstborn’s birth. With a caring and supportive team that you have had the chance to get to know, you are more comfortable in your own skin during this very vulnerable time. I was able to gain trust in my midwives and consider them as my friends. During prenatal visits they gave me the attention I needed, not rushing our appointments and were able to provide me with holistic approaches to any symptoms I may be feeling. I knew I needed a supportive team behind me and wanted to trust the people who would bring my baby into this world. I was able to be in the comfort of my own home knowing I can be surround by those I trust and care about. In a hospital setting, that unfortunately is not always the case.
One of the final reasons that helped me decide to have a home birth was my desire to avoid hospital restrictions and regulations, especially during their COVID restrictions. Some hospitals require Covid testing to be done on the mother and the baby, and if tested positive, the newborn is kept away from the mother. There have been tests that were falsely positive, and I did not want to risk not being able to take care of our newborn right after birth. The first bonding moments are crucial. A lot of hospitals were also requiring wearing a mask while in labor and when holding their own newborn. Wearing a mask already restricts your breathing and wearing one during labor would not be easy and also uncomfortable. Another big concern of mine was having my husband by my side and seeing my son after our child was born. I was due in March (2021) and at that time guests visits were strictly limited, some not allowing even the husband, while others allowing only one person. I did not want to feel more overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious worrying about who can and can not be near me, when I would need the most help and support. Therefore, making my decision to have a home birth was easy for me.
If you asked me a few years back if I would ever have a home birth, I would have probably said no and would also have thought it to be crazy. But, I think now is the time to normalize home births and respect the mothers who choose to do a home birth. If you have no health concerns and no pregnancy complications, a home birth is a great choice. It provides you with a natural birth and laboring techniques. You are in control of your body, surrounded by a caring and supportive team that you trust. You are in a comfortable environment at your most vulnerable time, free from hospital restrictions and regulations. A homebirth is a wonderful and beautiful thing to experience.