Birth, Family, Home, Maternity

March 3, 2021

My Top 3 Reasons for Pursuing a Home Birth

Friends, I feel like I need to begin this blog post by recognizing and acknowledging that my family’s decisions are intimately individual to us. Yes, there are tens of thousands of home births in the US every year, but every one of those families is unique, as is their reasoning behind the decisions they make. Likewise, I know that what is right for me is not right for everyone! There is no part of me that believes every woman everywhere should only birth at home, ever. Honestly, zero part of me believes that!

So, if you continue reading, I hope that you are able to consider that what’s right for your family, may not be right for mine… and that’s ok! Let me encourage you to not allow yourself to feel defensive or insecure about my birth decisions or goals. Instead, be empowered to feel confident and brave in your birth decisions & goals, even if they look/looked completely different than mine. And, if you’re reading this and you’re not sure how or where you want to birth, I hope you find yourself motivated to make your birth decisions uniquely personal to you.

So, if you came here for the highlights, this part’s for you!

My Top 3 Reasons for Pursuing a Home Birth are:

1. My hospital birth experience.
2. Research.
3. The ability to include my family.

I’ve been telling people that my journey towards a home birth started when I was in the hospital delivering our daughter 3 years ago. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to share our whole birth story, at least not today)! But I do have to take the opportunity to gush on how incredibly, wonderfully, amazing my husband was. We really were the best team I could have imagined us to be. I listened to my body & he listened to me, and advocated for me and to me when I even doubted myself. Our teamwork in such an intense and vulnerable experience laid the perfect foundation for my confidence in doing a home birth, although I didn’t consciously consider a home birth until it was time to start pushing.

Sparing the details, I spent a considerable amount of time during labor in the hospital’s “laboring tub.” Being in the tub relieved so much of my pain that I was even able to sleep during active labor. Unfortunately, when birthing in a hospital in Kansas, you’re not allowed to intentionally deliver in water. So, when it was time for me to start pushing I very vividly remember telling Christopher, “next time I’m not getting out of the dang tub.” Ergo, if I want a waterbirth, hospitals are off the table.

Research. I’m an Enneagram 5, and if you are or you know anyone closely who is, you know that means research is my love language. When I was pregnant with my daughter I dug really deep into research surrounding birth. I knew in my heart all along that I wanted to experience childbirth the way God designed it to work, and the research I found supported that desire with logic. Learning about natural, unmedicated childbirth lead me to tons of midwifery blogs and school websites and documentaries. It also lead me to international maternal and fetal outcome data. Did you know that the United States has one of the worst maternal mortality rates among developed nations and is the only industrialized nation with consistently rising maternal mortality rates each year?

Then I began seeking out birth stories from anyone who would share them with me. So often I heard examples of how a single optional intervention* often snowballed into a series of medically necessary interventions to resolve unintended complications. That made me all the more passionate about unmedicated childbirth. If you’re thinking, “but Rebecca, you can have an unmedicated hospital birth,” you’re right, I’ve done it! But the truth is our hospital systems are designed for ease and efficiency. Two words that are absolutely incongruent with childbirth. Even in my experience, you have to be really firm and extremely resolute in advocating for that unmedicated childbirth, whereas in a homebirth (or birthing center) experience, that is the expectation and the collective goal.

Finally, and this one will be short and sweet, I desperately want my family to be part of this baby’s life from the beginning. I experienced a missed-miscarriage with my first pregnancy, which means we didn’t find out that our baby had passed away until our 12-week sonogram when we were informed his heart had stopped beating. Naturally that made all subsequent sonograms quite nerve wracking, even after carrying a full term healthy baby girl. To make it even harder, because of Covid most OB offices in my area aren’t allowing spouses into any early maternity appointments, if any. And that was hard for us.

In my search for a midwife I was pleasantly surprised that almost all of the ones I called encouraged, or at least allowed, family consultations. So, we started consulting and during our second in-person consult I got “the feeling.” I knew I was comfortable and confident with this midwife, and Christopher did too so he jokingly told her, “If you let us listen to the baby’s heartbeat we’ll hire you right now!” Her response alone was perfect. She said we could have done that first thing if she knew we wanted to. {Insert the warm & fuzzy emoji}. But to top it off, she let E press the buttons on the doppler and let me tell you, our girl was so proud of herself for helping us check on “her little baby in mommy’s belly.” And that is how I want our second birth story to start and grow. Our whole family, there, together, connected. Finally meeting each other at home, in our happy place.

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