A few months ago my husband and I found out that we are expecting our second child.
With a few years of experience, we now realize certain aspects of parenthood that we would like to change this time around. One key aspect is to have a midwife and a home birth for this baby.
The idea of a home birth seems to be a divided issue these days—either highly supported (a natural, freeing way to experience birth) or deemed old-fashioned (“Just give me the pain killers!”). But of course, as with all aspects of parenthood, we all make different choices for different reasons. None more right or wrong than the other.
For us personally, the first time we dealt with childbirth decisions we were naive, we lacked experience, and were uninformed about what we wanted or how we felt about specific issues. We were new, first-time parents. This time, having done our research and reflected together on our feelings, we are more confident about our preferences and decisions in regards to this issue specifically.
Here are our top three reasons for planning for a home birth—
We are eager to work with a midwife
During my first pregnancy, I read a couple of books by Ina May Gaskin, a Tennessee midwife who has been practicing midwifery for over 45 years. I always give credit to her book and how much it helped relieve my fears about labor and delivery. I tell everyone that there is no way that I could have given birth—let alone without medication—if I hadn't read her Guide to Childbirth.
As I continued to educate myself on her philosophies and knowledge, I found that I began to agree with her about the type of natural approach to health, pregnancy, and birth she discussed. This approach included, for example, the use of certain maneuvers to help get the baby out, the importance of low intervention rates, and the overall process of allowing the woman's body to naturally adapt and change as it prepare to give birth.
Therefore, when we found out that we were expecting our second child, we knew we wanted that kind of knowledge from an experienced midwife. We wanted a face-to-face, personal relationship with a provider who would offer years of experience, a plethora of education and resources, and commitment to our specific needs.
Since our first meeting with her, our midwife has been tremendously helpful. She shares nutritional information specific to my vegetarian diet, is respectful of our budget when making suggestions for supplements or gear to buy, strives not only to help deliver baby but take care of mom too, offers a free library of resources on a variety of topics, gives ultrasounds on hand, and doesn't charge for individual visits or phone calls but rather encourages them. All of this is done in the comfort and convenience of her office.
We want to experience a more comfortable birth environment
No matter how cozy a birthing suite may be, let's face it: a home is a more relaxing and inviting space than a hospital delivery room.
We had a positive hospital experience with our daughter and I was glad to have experts around, especially when I had to figure out breastfeeding. However, I wasn't too keen on having a male resident enter my room as I was going through labor (awkward), not to mention what felt like constant checkups or the fact that the OB that I had been seeing for 10 months wasn't the one to deliver my baby. After delivery, the two days in the hospital were full of frequent visits from doctors to technicians to photographers all while I was trying to bond with my baby.
Besides, with our midwife, we get all of these expert people rolled into one—and with someone we have met before and feel comfortable with.
Also, health-wise, as our midwife informed us, we are already immune to the air in our own home and not vulnerable to foreign particles that might be found in a hospital. Just another reason we opted for a home birth—for the safety of mom and new baby.
We had a smooth birth the first time around
We are not against hospital births. In fact, our experience the first time was good overall and mostly welcoming. Indeed, my husband and I worked through it together mostly on our own, I didn't use medication, and the laboring was relatively easy. By the end, this is precisely why we felt it wouldn't be a far stretch to do a home birth.
We are aware that complications could arise or that things might go differently. While we obviously cannot prepare for “the worst,” we will do our best to be as prepared as possible. Knowing our midwife's experiences as well as her limitations, we feel confident in our decision even with all the variables. After sharing her personal midwifery stats and stories, as well as the knowledge that she has attended thousands of births, we are more trusting of her and her capabilities.
Choosing home birth has given me peace of mind. My husband and I are not overwhelmed with the process this time (maybe just because we have done it before), but instead are letting things just naturally progress. There is less stress, knowing that we can call our midwife at any time to address a question or concern, or if we just want to say hello to our baby on the ultrasound screen.
We cannot wait to say hello to our little bundle in the comfort of our own home.