Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Road Home - Our Path to Home Birth Part II

{In response to various questions regarding our decision to have our baby at home.  For Part I, click here.}

When I became pregnant with our fourth, I was ready for that next step on our road home.  My husband was reluctant at first, but after meeting with a few midwives and having some fears cleared up, he came around.

I feel the need to stop here and say there are definite reasons NOT to choose a home delivery - circumstances with which I absolutely believe the safest (and sane-est) place is in a hospital.  If I were of advanced maternal age with pre-eclampsia, attempting a VBAC of pre-term twin footling breech babies, it would be (in my opinion) a bad idea to have babies at home.  In fact, any one of those reasons would be cause for caution in choosing homebirth.  You would be hard pressed to find a midwife to deliver you at home in the above scenario, anyway.  As it happens, I am in perfect health with a history of uncomplicated deliveries and healthy babies, right smack in the best years of my life to be having babies.  There are people who are safer delivering in hospitals, but as my OB recently said, "there is no reason why you shouldn't birth at home."

My most important reason for wanting a homebirth was to avoid the stress of trying to avoid interventions after birth with my newborn.  When I had my third in the hospital, my attention was more focused on explaining (ad nauseum) my preferences to various staff than on those blissful first moments with my baby - something I did not want to miss out on this time around.  Other reasons I wanted a homebirth included:

  • Having my midwife with me all during labor, instead of being attended by a nurse I had never met before until the OB showed up to do the delivery.
  • Choosing the people I wanted around me during and after birth - and not having to explain to every new person in the room why I was choosing to avoid various interventions for me and the baby.
  • The ability to deal with labor on my own terms, without being tethered to  IV or fetal monitoring equipment.

And so, after interviewing a few midwives, we found our perfect match.  I instantly connected with her and was impressed with how capable and self assured she was.  Over the course of my pregnancy, both my husband and I came to trust implicitly in her as our birth expert.

We had our homebirth in March 2009.  It was wonderful.  I remember my own mother coming over afterwards and commenting on how peaceful it was there - just me, curled around my baby in my own quiet bedroom.  No bustling hospital.  No nurses in and out.  One of my favorite parts of recovery was that my husband was my "nurse."  In between my midwife's visits to check on me and the baby (plenty of them, by the way.  We were well looked after.), my husband was the one who brought me anything I needed, helped me to the bathroom, made my meals.  It was a very precious and intimate time for us.

This time around, home birth was the natural choice.  After such a wonderful experience before, I knew I wanted to be home.  As with each one of my previous pregnancies and births, I have already learned more this time around.  I am thrilled that I have not only a midwife this time, but an OB as well.  While our state does not license homebirth midwives (my midwife is a Certified Professional Midwife), the OB that I worked with during my previous hospital births has been incredibly supportive of my decision to have a baby at home, and has even signed on to be my backup in case of a transfer.  I have been most thrilled to have "the best of both worlds" this time around - a midwife who isn't anti OB or hospital, and an OB who is more than willing to work with a homebirth midwife.

And so, if I knew 8 years ago what I know today, maybe I would have chosen homebirth from the get go...but I don't think so.  It took 8 years and four very different births to come to where I am now.  I can look back at each of those experiences with equal appreciation, knowing that they were each exactly what I needed at the time.

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1 comment:

  1. I think it is wonderful that you are choosing another home birth. Really, it wasn't that long ago when there was no choice but to have it at home. After a 5 week stay in the hopsital with my last pregnancy, I learned very quickly it is The Last place to get some peace and quiet! Being in your own home, bed with just you and your newborn sounds absolutely heavenly. (unfortunately, since I married into a big (physically, I mean) German babies have all been well over 9, even 10 lbs, and thus C sections. It would have been nice to have at least one serene, calm birth experience! My beautiful, natural birth plans went out the window rather fast, but they are all healthy to this day, and that is what matters most.


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