Editor’s Note: This is Part 6 in a multi-part series asking families to share in their own words why they chose home birth.
The hilarious way our family chose home birth went like this:
Me: “Honey, we’re about 9 weeks pregnant, I think. ‘Ya think we should we get some prenatal care started or something?”
Husband: “Do we have to have our baby in a hospital? Can’t we just be home and have our baby right here?”
Me: [Furiously Googling “Home birth midwives in Minneapolis”] “Oh my word, there’s like loads of families already birthing humans in homes all over the place here!”
The spiritual way our family chose home birth was that it chose us. We choose spaces of health and love and beauty to conduct our living which, in our experience, is never the space of a hospital. Hospitals are a fine option in which to get care when sick so that is where sick people may very well get better. But we were pregnant, not sick, so a hospital birth felt jarring to our desire to be surrounded by beauty, love and health. I also loved the thought of having my baby at home and being right there. Right in our love sphere. Right there with all our germs we’d share with our new person. Right there with my own bathroom. Right there with my pillows and my socks and my robe. Right there and not having to climb into a car or pin my baby in a plastic car seat 48 hours after ushering in a planet-altering spirit. For us, choosing a home birth was a matter of claiming the sacred in a powerful way.
It was comforting, too, to choose a path that is tried and true: home birth is a mainstay for expecting women. Hospital births are the newfangled location for where to push out new people and frankly we were unimpressed with how our culture strays from the positively remarkable that is home birth to the dangerously unkempt which is hospital birth. As a linchpin, home birth is just smart birth. And even though we always assured the skeptics in our life that if our home birth plan went awry we were exactly one mile from a major emergency room, our quiet inner focus was that we were meant to engage the home birth experience, and that we would.
Dream vs. Reality
Well, we actually did visit a hospital when I awoke in a small pool of blood one morning during my 36th week. After monitoring the baby, experiencing the first and only ultrasound of our pregnancy and feeling the contractions intensify, we left the hospital. It took all my gumption not to wave at the slack-jawed delivery nurses watching a 36+ week pregnant woman, walking out of the hospital to continue her plan have her baby at home. There are few triumphs in life and we relished it because we were given the opportunity to, once again, choose home birth and most literally walk away from what a hospital professed it could provide in a better way.
The reality was different because our water birthing tub didn’t get organized in time and our birthing kit arrived via UPS 4 hours after we met our son in our bed. I think what all of that meant is babies don’t need much help to get here. When my midwife told me during labor that I wouldn’t have to ever push if I didn’t want to…that my body would do all the work on its own albeit perhaps slower than desired I realized the depth of creation…that creating doesn’t require effort but energy. And there’s a big difference between the two.
The genius of home birth is there just isn’t access to all the shenanigans and numbing potions and whatnot at the ready as in hospitals. Thank goodness. If there is anything more devastating than being numb to a powerful experience I’d like to hear it. Feeling deeply, in my opinion, is full of wonder and shouldn’t be feared. Isn’t this what it’s all about? Isn’t this the point of life? Live it. Feel it. Get in. Dig in. Lean in. Bear down. Get in touch. This is it. This is powerful. Women especially create all these outside ways in which to numb themselves and this world from knowing their truth (make-up, fronts, hair coloring, to name a few). For me it was time to get in deep and know myself and where my body could go, where my mind could visit for a time.
I wasn’t particularly impressed with what came from my mouth when laboring during my home birth but I was acutely impressed with what came from my body: Harold.
For our family, meeting Harold after he was born at home was a staging ground for the ways we have moved forward since that time. Because he was born at home we’re all in touch with the wonder of his entry. We tell the story again and again. We reminisce about this spot on the tub or that set of sheets or the smells and the sounds and the moments. And I was there for it unencumbered by machines or electronic beeps or swirling drugs in my blood or needles, straps and fluorescent lights.
There was one moment in the hospital that is a quintessential way of hospitals approach their patients. When drawing blood for testing it was discovered that I need more hydration. The nurses started preparing to hook me up to an IV bag of saline solution in order to rehydrate me. I pulled back from the needle and asked if I could drink some water from a glass instead and the nurse cocked her head to give that a thought and said, “You could do that, but you’d have to drink a whole glass!” So instead imploring me to drink a tall glass of water or two like a normal person, the hospital staff jumped to pumping a hydrating solution into my body in the most unnatural of ways. It made us wonder how they’d approach, say, the birth of a baby, so we left for home and never looked back (in all senses of the phrase).
We actually had a relatively nice natural hospital birth with our first, but desired a more relaxed atmosphere for our second birth. Plus, it’s saving us about $2,000 over an insurance covered hospital birth.
Melanie Turner Corbett
I chose home birth because I know that my body instinctively knows how to give birth and with a healthy pregnancy and excellent prenatal care with fabulous midwives, I wasn’t in a position where I was ill and needed a hospital. Home was the healthiest and safest place for me and my babies.
I chose home birth because I believe in the normalcy of birth, but to be a part of that trust being played out has changed me very much. To let go of all of the trappings of hospital birth and suspend myself in the loving warmth of my home and my midwives- with whom our family has a deep, personal connection- and just. birth. my. baby. was profound. It changed me very much.
I chose a home birth because I couldn’t picture it any other way!
I live in my home and I give birth as I live.
I chose home births because home is where I felt safe, supported, and able to give birth on my own terms and in my own way. I am so grateful to my husband and our midwives.