Saturday, April 7, 2012

Value of choice

I've had so many questions about our homebirth since Evie was born, that I want to take some time to thoughtfully write them out, along with some clarifications of my birth story, which you can read here.  If you have any more for me, I would love to answer as best I can.  Just leave a comment below.

And a little disclaimer:  this is my account and opinion.  I'm not judging or dictating how anyone else should  or shouldn't do this, ok?  Ok!  :o)

1.  Is it safe to have your baby at home?

This is probably the question I get asked the most, or it's the question I believe is on most peoples' minds.  The answer is, yes.  But it's not just an automatic yes.  There's a lot that goes into preparing for a homebirth.  Homebirths are safest for women with low risk pregnancies.  Working with a skilled, competent midwife is essential, in my opinion.  She takes great care in assessing our unique needs, and works with us to make sure that a low risk pregnancy stays that way.  Her number one priority is the safety of both mother and baby.  Period.

Midwives are highly skilled, professional, and well prepared.  They have a passion for what they're doing.  As my midwife said, "Midwifery is a calling."

Their intuition is second to none.  They are so in tune with the mother and the baby that most potential "hiccups" are avoided completely.

Midwives come equipped with everything but the kitchen sink. This includes but is not nearly limited to oxygen and anti-hemorrhage injections.  Truly, there are very few things that would catch them by surprise.

They value a mother's choice.  Though they will advise and guide a mother using her knowledge and skill, there is absolutely no bullying or forcing.

And if it's necessary to transfer to a hospital, it's done.  Like I said, her priority is mother and baby.  Period.

2.  What are the benefits of having a home birth?

Personal care.  My amazing midwife came to my house for my appointments.  She did all my prenatal exams from my living room couch, where we talked, joked, and really got to know one another.  I think the majority of my visits were about an hour and a half long.  Gone were the days of waiting half an hour for a doctor to march in the room only for him to seem anxious to get to his next patient. 

Support.  I knew that after having two epidural-assisted births, that I was going to need a great deal of positive energy to get through a natural labor.  She was a huge, essential part of that.  Her knowledge and experience put all my fears aside.  I knew I was in very good hands.

Being in YOUR space.  I know many people who become very anxious when they're in the hospital.  When you combine that with birth, you often see women tense up and have a difficult time "progressing" in labor.
You use your own bathroom, cuddle under your own blankets, and you get to walk around like you own the place.  Haha!

Your husband can be involved.  Now, I'm not saying that dads can't be involved in the hospital, but I found that in my experience being at home allowed my husband to feel comfortable in his role as "protector," as well as feeling comfortable really comforting me.  If you all know Luke, you know that he can be somewhat reserved (though that isn't the perfect word to describe him).  He was RIGHT there with me, wrapped around me, supporting me as I brought our baby into the world.  Amazing.  That is bonding at it's finest.

Financial.  The cost of having a homebirth is often well below the cost of having a baby in the hospital.  And  in my opinion, the care you receive is worlds better.

3.  How do you get through the pain of natural labor?

Support, love, instinct, breathing, midwives, husband, and prayer.  You just do.  I wasn't sure I could.  I did.

Ok, now I want to address some things you've read in my birth story.  This is VERY important.  Please, if you've read this far, don't stop now.

1.  My midwife explicitly told me that I could call her at ANY time.  She wouldn't be annoyed in the least if I wanted her to come see me out of our regularly scheduled appointments, or as labor began, if I called her in too soon.  It's really important to call when you think you need her or want her to ease your mind about anything.  She came on a number of occasions to check on me because I had the stomach flu four times in the last two months of pregnancy.  I'm so grateful for that.

2.  Cotton root tincture.  I should have included this in my birth story:  DO NOT try to take this stuff on your own.  Cotton root tincture is safe when given under the care and company of your midwife.  She was there while I was taking a "prescribed" dose.  I wasn't literally "throwing it back." 

3.  My midwife allowed me to make my own choices throughout my pregnancy and my labor.  She advised me to take my prenatal vitamins, and when I remembered to, I did. ;o)  There's a part in my story where I said that I "begged her" to let me get back in the birthing tub.  Not literally.  I'm talking in the same sense that the tub "begged" me to get in it.  You know what I mean?

4.  This one's kind of funny when I read it now, but the part where I said that my midwife provided a moment of calm after a few minutes of yelling?  Just to clarify, that was ME yelling, not her!  Lol.

5.  And lastly, as it's been pointed out to me, the ONLY reason I fainted in the bathroom was because I refused to use a bedpan.  I don't remember that part very well, but that sure sounds like me!  Free will can sure bite you in the butt, can't it?  ;o)

I found that the first few weeks after having Evie, when people asked me how things went, I had a hard time explaining it.  And it is hard to articulate.  And sometimes I can't do it accurately.  There are things that I remember a certain way, that aren't entirely how they happened.

But here's how I feel:
I feel like I can do anything.  I feel wildly blessed to have the people in my life who supported me.  I feel SO fortunate that I met and hired our midwife, who helped make all of my hopes into a reality.  I feel stronger and more fierce as a mother, and feel brave enough to be unapologetic in doing what I know is right. I feel privileged to have had choice. 

So, would you do it again?



  1. Thanks for sharing, Cati!! I am 100% in agreement with your "choice" to labor and deliver at home!
    I wish, wish, wish I had chosen a home birth for one of my four. You are blessed! So glad the experience was a wonderful one. I knew it would be!!

  2. Beautiful! 4 of mine were at home, and another one I labored at home as long as possible! :) All great experiences!