10 Reasons I Had TWO Home Births
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
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My journey to motherhood began long before the home birth of my son in January 2017, but today I want to talk about the pure joy of having a home birth and why perhaps you too, should give it a second thought. Or maybe a first thought! Often I feel like we just go along with what everyone else is doing. I challenge you to open your mind to the idea. When I tell friends and family about my experience, I am often met with surprise, fear, looks of disbelief, and many questions. I hope that this post helps bring to light what some might consider my crazy logic. EDIT August 4, 2020: Now you may be considering home birth because we are living through a pandemic! Let me reassure you friend, you will find comfort and some positive stories here!
1. Home Birth is completely safe for Low-Risk women
"Weren't you scared? What if something went terribly wrong?" These fearful questions are usually how most of my conversations begin about home birth. I want to clarify that in order to have a home birth, you must be considered "low-risk". This means that mom and baby are healthy and there are no indications that labor and delivery won't go smoothly. High risk includes multiples, medical conditions such as preeclampsia, and diabetes. Through the normal course of prenatal care at my midwife's office, one ultrasound at twenty weeks, and various blood and diagnostic tests it was determined that I was one of the 92-94% of women who are considered low-risk. I am really proud of my midwifery group, Gentle Birth Care. They have excellent statistics listed directly on their website, which include low transfer rates to the hospital. Midwives don't just waltz into your home when you're about to deliver your baby, they bring along everything needed in case of an emergency or a transfer to the hospital (ie oxygen, Pitocin, etc). All of this is discussed well beforehand.
2. Having a home birth basically makes you royalty, a celebrity super model, and in the 1% I say all these things jokingly, but the Queen Elizabeth II, Gisele Bündchen, Beyoncé, and Mayim Bialik (a neuroscientist!) are just a few of the women in a long list, who have chosen to have home births. It's reported that Beyonce spent up to a million-dollars outfitting her home for the birth of her twins in 2017 but ended up with a high risk pregnancy that included twins and preeclampsia and ended up delivering in a hospital. It is also rumored that Meghan Markle wanted a home birth. Although U.S. home births have increased by 30% in the past few years, less than 1% of American women give birth at home (MacDorman et al., 2012). This means that for every 100 of your friends and family members who get pregnant and have a baby, 99 of them will birth in the hospital. How cliché! If these women are deciding to have home births...there has to be something to it, right? This is how I felt after both my home births:
3. Home birth is cheap! (Unless you're Beyoncé)
The cost is low, the satisfaction is oh so high. Yes, the midwife group I worked with accepted insurance but even out of pocket, they only charge the low, low, cost of $5,000 which included all prenatal and postnatal care. Depending on your insurance, your deductible, and if you end up having any interventions or a c-section in the hospital, your bill could be $10,000+ before insurance.
4. C-Section rates and interventions are much lower for home births
Home births in the U.S. have a cesarean rate of 5.2%, a remarkably low rate when compared to the U.S. national average of 31% for full-term pregnancies. Please read this recent study for more information!
5. You call the shots in your home.
You want to move around? Labor and deliver in the tub? You want to eat all the food from your fridge and have a drink? Sleep in your own bed afterwards? With a home birth, you can do all of these things. I drank Pedialyte on ice while in the tub. It was quite refreshing. I did not feel hungry during my first six hour labor but did have some fruity chews that marathon runners use. After my son was born, my husband and I climbed into our king sized bed with our bundle of joy and there was nothing sweeter. With my daughter, the labor was only two hours from start to finish. My mind told me, "GET TO THE TUB NOW", the midwife was surprised I had filled it myself and made it there. If I had a hospital birth, I would not have made it to a tub and the resulting contractions would have been much more painful for me.
6. No driving or waiting to be admitted until you're dilated enough. The midwife comes to you!
I don't know about you, but the last thing I wanted to do while in labor was to get into the car. I don't care how close the hospital is! The idea of potentially getting the car messy or maybe even having my baby in the car on the way to the hospital (rare I know) then walking into a room full of strangers and waiting to be assisted just sounds...well, terrible. Now I can't say from experience, but if they were to check to see how dilated I was, then turn me away/ tell me to come back later...and I had to do a trip back home and another trip back to the hospital I think I'd flip my lid. The midwives even come to your home at 36 weeks to review your birth plans. With my son I was only checked once, with my daughter, I was pushing when the midwife arrived, there was no time to delay!
7. Water Birth is the Bees Knees.
Personally, having contractions on land for me was excruciating. It helped me understand how women chose to have an epidural. The few things that brought me comfort were my doula, Hypnobabies, and the bath tub. Some of my least favorite memories of my first birth were when I was asked, "would you like to have a contraction on the bed?", "would you like to have a contraction standing up?", "on the toilet?" NO. NO, I would not. Hence why I spent almost all of my six hour labor and delivery in the tub with the jets on. You can also choose to rent or purchase an inflatable tub with a liner and birth in whatever room you like. I originally had dreams of a fireside delivery in our bedroom with the January cold, but ended up not wanting to leave my master bathroom tub and jets. Some hospitals do have rooms with tubs that you can labor in, but actually delivering in the tub, is a horse of another color. So make sure to ask the hospital or birthing center how many rooms they have with tubs or if you can actually deliver in the water, if you are interested in a water birth!
8. No rush to push.
When I began researching home birth, I started by watching a documentary called The Business of Being Born. I watched it alone, then wanted my husband to watch it with me, and have since purchased it, because I love it so much. In the documentary, it portrays both hospital and home births and their histories. I highly recommend it. In the documentary and in speaking to other women about their hospital births, I got the impression that it's quite common to have someone tell you when to push. For me, this didn't make a lot of sense and was something I wanted to have control over. When it came down to pushing, I remember quite vividly the moment my body started to do it on it's own. I looked at my doula with surprise like, "WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!" to which she responded, "your body is pushing". Later on, when my son was very close to being born, I loved the instructions I received. "Do not continue to push after the contraction is over, rest". And when it was time to push, I didn't really feel like I did much of anything, I felt like my body just did it for me. It reminds me of the stories you hear about women in a coma - whether you like it or not, that baby is coming out! With my second, it was so fast I felt like my body was pushing her out on it's own again, it happened so quickly.
9. Labor and deliver in the position you choose with intermittent fetal monitoring.
I chose to labor and deliver in the water in various positions. To actually give birth, I was on my hands and knees in the tub (both births) and it was a miracle to have my husband catch our son and daughter. To see my son be passed to me below the water and up through my hands and onto my chest, was something I will never forget. I can't imagine being stuck to a constant monitor or being in a bed. The midwives used a fetal doppler to check their heart rate as needed to make sure everything was going smoothly.
10. Delivery and labor nurses and doctors are choosing home birth over hospital births for themselves!
One more documentary to check out! Why Not Home? follows labor and delivery doctors and nurses who decide to have their babies at home. "Why would doctors who attend birth in hospitals choose to have their own babies at home? What do they know about birth that others don't?"
11. 2020 Bonus Reason: There's a global pandemic
At the beginning of the pandemic, midwives phones were ringing off the hook. Some hospitals were not allowing spouses or visitors into the delivery room. In the months that have passed restrictions have been lifted after outcries from expecting parents. Before the pandemic, I was asking myself why I would birth somewhere a large number of sick people were. I understand that the maternity ward is separated, but now with a pandemic, it is scary to think of birthing anywhere near people with a deadly infectious disease. I am lucky that I did not have this additional situation in either of my births but I hope that this post has helped make the decision easier for anyone going through this difficult time. Here's a great source of info https://evidencebasedbirth.com/covid19/
References and Recommended Reading:
I hope that you have enjoyed this post. I would love to hear your birth story or why you made the choices you made for your birth in the comments! Would you ever consider a home birth?
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