Editor’s Note: This is part 8 in our series asking families to tell us why they chose home birth. Please read through the other entries on the blog!
“…safe to move, vocalize, waiver in my resolve, flounder and succeed”
Birthing at home as both an HBAC (home birth after cesarean) and an African American woman allowed me to birth in safety; I was safe from the provider’s fear of being a vaginal birth after cesarean, I was safe from the racism inherent in so much of health care but especially in birth, I was safe to move, vocalize, waiver in my resolve, flounder and succeed. For me it was the only safe option for birthing my children.
“I was born at home, my siblings were born at home…”
I chose home birth in much the same way many women choose a hospital: it’s what I knew. I was born at home, my siblings were born at home, most of my friends from when I was really young were born at home. It was just my norm. I grew up with my mother rolling her eyes and scoffing whenever “TV birth” came on. I didn’t really think too much about it. By the time I was pregnant with my 2nd, it was more of a conscious decision, but I had already had a home birth, and it just seemed silly to change something that had already proven to work.
When I miscarried with my third pregnancy, the only people to show me compassion and actual care were people from my home birth world; the hospital world was scary and unkind (with one very notable exception – my nurse once I was admitted, and she holds a very special space in my story). My 4th pregnancy/3rd baby’s birth was really with my dream team. One thing I love about the whole idea of home birth is knowing who will be at your birth. That is rare in a hospital setting. I knew every single person who set foot in my space. There were no cleaning people, or cafeteria people, just people who loved me, even if only for that moment in time.
Rebecca Bolton Steiner
“I just knew in my heart that home was the way to go.”
I gave birth first in a hospital with midwives, and even though it was a very natural birth without interventions, I still felt that the transition from home to hospital was really disruptive to my concentration and unnecessary, and I hated the lack of privacy at the hospital. When I got pregnant the second time, I’d never spent a night (or even more than a few hours) away from my first child, so I also liked that by birthing my second child at home, I wouldn’t have to traumatize my older child needlessly by having to separate from him or drag him to a strange, uncomfortable environment while I gave birth. I just knew in my heart that home was the way to go.
“At a hospital, I’m just a number…”
I chose home birth because at home I have complete freedom. At a hospital, I’m taking a huge risk. I don’t know if the doctor or nurses in charge are going to be in a good mood, bad mood, hurry, etc. At home, I am working with one or two people who care about me personally. At a hospital, I’m just a number, just a patient.
“Our hospital birth seemed like it was something happening TO my wife…”
Initially I chose home birth because I just wanted to support my wife, but then after experiencing it I realized how much more I was able to participate in the birth and how much better the birth seemed to go, compared to our hospital birth. Our hospital birth seemed like it was something happening TO my wife and the home births felt like something that we were doing ourselves.
“I was traumatized by my hospital experience during my first birth”
I chose home birth because I wanted a non-medicalized experience with my second birth. I was traumatized by my hospital experience during my first birth, particularly by a 6 hour separation from my baby after delivering via c-section. I lost trust in the hospital system and therefore felt a home birth after cesarean (HBAC) was the best option for me. HBAC was a very empowering experience– from first prenatal visit to birth– for both me and my partner. We felt our voices were really heard by our midwife and we never felt coerced or pressured, only guided. It was a wonderful experience.
Kylie Bickel Kuhlman
“I wanted to be heard, cared for, loved and cherished by my home birthing team.”
I’m a citizen of India and am extremely distrustful of the American healthcare system, especially since 90% of the patient care, especially mother-child care, is based on the health insurance the patient has. Since I work for myself and buy my own insurance, and the fact that I’m a foreigner, left me with little doubt and confidence that my choices would be respected, let alone cared for. It has been my personal experience that when people in the healthcare service industry first hear my Indian accent, they automatically assume that I don’t know what I want, despite me being specific (I’m a writer, so I like to write my instructions down on paper just in case people don’t understand what I’m saying due to my accent).
Not wanting to be patronized, I (not my husband) opted for a home birth simply because I wanted to be heard, cared for, loved and cherished by my home birthing team. I was extremely lucky to have a midwife team go above and beyond the call of duty. It is extremely important for a young, first time mother to feel loved especially if her parents are not around (mine are in India) and if it’s a new experience for the father of our child. I know that my husband was very grateful to have the birth at home as hospitals freak him out.
“…much calmer and less urgent”
We are choosing home birth because my wife wants to birth at home. I find that the whole experience is much calmer and less urgent. The idea of rushing out of the house to the hospital just seems like the opposite environment I want to put myself or my family into. Finally, as a man, I feel that in a hospital situation I will lose all say and involvement in what’s going on.
“…the best start for my baby in this world.”
I chose home birth because I knew it would be the best start for my baby in this world. No unnecessary intervention or pokes or prods. And we all got tucked in together where we should be to rest and heal and grow. I trusted my team and I knew that we were close to competent and expert care if the situation changed. I didn’t need doctor Justin Case.
I will choose home birth when I have kids because it’s more comfortable at home for both mother and baby.
“…the kind of whole-woman care I needed.”
I chose a home birth because I knew that home birth midwives would provide the kind of whole woman care I needed. In my case, nutrition help/support to help combat pre-eclampsia and avoid having another preemie. I was induced with my first two babies, the second at 29.5 weeks. It was an isolating and traumatic experience, to not experience my third trimester, to have him spend 53 days in the NICU and not inside my womb…
When we wanted to have one more baby, we didn’t even attempt to see a doctor. I knew they would scoff at me, or tell me I would get pre-eclampsia again. I made dietary changes and found a home birth provider who supported me and believed in me. Absolutely one of the best decisions of my life! Completely healing, as well: little miss came on her own time, in our own comfortable space, at 39 week
I chose home birth because of the gentle, nurturing atmosphere that I needed for birth and that I wanted my child to enter the world into.
Heather Heefer Dart
“…as good or better outcomes than in-hospital birth, throughout the world”
I chose home birth because I had an unnecessarily interventive hospital birth with my first child (albeit better than most due to my midwives and doula). I started doing research into home birth at med school. I had free access to the Cochrane Database (best meta-analysis resource for well designed studies in prenatal/birth care) and I discovered that when given these 3 things:
1. healthy mom
birth out of hospital has as good or better outcomes than in-hospital birth, throughout the world. I switched over to a home birth plan for my second and third births.
Rachael Rapacz, MD
Check back tomorrow for another post!