When we first found out we were expecting, we didn't plan on doing a home birth. I had been reading a lot about birth, watched The Business of Being Born, and even researched area birth centers and midwives. I still felt that I'd be most comfortable birthing at a hospital with the goal of "going natural." But after my first couple of appointments at the OB, I felt more like a number than a person. We decided to birth at home. I am so glad we did.
I know home birth isn't for everyone. Every birth is as unique as the woman giving birth. I know not everything always goes as planned and unexpected emergencies can require alternatives. My hope is to celebrate birth in all its forms because it is a true miracle. Here are eight things I celebrate about my home birth experience.
1. I knew who was going to be at my birth.
I didn't have to wonder who would be on call or who would birth my baby. My wonderful midwife, Sherry, who had been with me throughout my prenatal preparations would be with me at the birth. In addition, my friend Meredith (who had two of her three beautiful girls at home) acted as my doula. Heather (who is training to become a midwife) was also part of our amazing birth team.
Special shout to my mom and sister who left in the late evening to come to the birth and were gracious when my husband called them to let them know I was so far along and "in the zone" that I'd changed my mind and wanted them to arrive after.
2. I didn't have to pack.
As far as making sure we were "ready," all I had to do was be at home. I didn't have to worry about what to wear or what to bring, because all I had to do was bring myself!
Now, we did have our birth kit and other supplies ready and organized at the house. It does take some preparation, people. :)
3. I had a birth pool.
If you haven't heard of a birth pool (I hadn't until BBB), it's basically a spa for pregnant people! As soon as I got into the birth pool I told Marcus, "This was worth every penny." The warm water was just what I needed in the early stages of labor.
4. I moved around during labor.
I moved from the bed to the pool, from standing to leaning on Marcus. Whatever I needed to do, I could do. I wasn't limited to one position or confined to lying down. This was a huge relief for me. Looking back, I can't imagine what it would have felt like if I had been told that I couldn't get up. I was even encouraged by my birth team to move around more often!
5. I took my time.
No one was rushing me. I didn't have a clock visible during the birth. I never asked what time it was. Time wasn't a concern for my support people either - or at least they never showed it! As a personal choice, I didn't ask for updates on how far dilated I was. My midwife knew and that was good enough for me.
My labor ended up being about eight hours (started at 5 p.m. and ended just after 1 a.m.), which is short for most first-time moms. "Yay!" for basic nutrition, light exercise, Gentle Birth, and good genes from my mom, whose labors with my sister and I were also short.
6. I felt empowered and supported.
All throughout the birth I was encouraged. Whether it was Marcus telling me I was one step closer to meeting Jaxson, or my midwife saying all I had to do was get through one more contraction - I had a great support team. I even heard the girls say things like, "She's a rock star." "I can't believe she's doing this well for a first-time birth." Even though they weren't talking specifically to me, I could hear it, and it gave me more determination.
7. I let my body do the work for me.
One of the strangest things I heard said to me during labor was, "Let your uterus do the work for you." What? I had to avoid the urge to push until I could not help but push. Harder than you may think! Anyone who looks at my skinny self knows that there is no other way a 10lb. 2oz. baby came out of me without the help of God and a strong uterus.
8. I held my son immediately after his birth.
As soon as Jaxson was born, he was placed in my arms. Marcus says my whole demeanor and tone completely changed. Thinking back at that moment, I just remember feeling waves of relief. He was here. He was such a cute chunky monkey. We did it. I wouldn't trade those first moments of his arrival for anything.
Would I do home birth again? In a heartbeat.
Have questions about home birth? I'd love to help you explore it.
I'm a lover of words. Sometimes I edit, cook, craft, or sing. I'm also a wife and mom.