Life is full of people trying to tell you how you should live. Let’s face it, there will ALWAYS be critics and there will ALWAYS be someone willing to let you know they disagree. The beauty of being an adult in the U.S.A is that you can do whatever the fudge-nut you want… well, just about.
If you don’t know yet, I’ve made the decision to have my third baby at home. I have chosen to partner with the best licensed Midwife in my area (really, she is! She’s been featured in several articles and outlets and has years of experience! Plus, she works closely with practicing Obstetricians) rather, than put my prenatal care and labor in the hands of an Obstetrician. This may not sound like that big of a deal to suburban women, but where I live, it seems to be.
You see, the norm for us urban, city dwelling women, and even for much of America today, is for you to pick an Obstetrician when you become pregnant and plan to deliver your baby in a hospital, surrounded by trained staff, all the emergency equipment possibly needed, and with access to all the magical meds needed to eliminate the pains of labor. I think all of that is absolutely great, necessary even, and I actually went that route with my first two pregnancies, but that isn’t the only choice there is. That’s ok, great even!
I’m planning a home water birth for when it’s time to welcome my third child into the world. Here’s the thing: it isn’t my first time around this merry-go-round! I know what to expect. I know what it feels like. I also know myself, my body and how it tends to respond to labor. If this were my first time, my first baby, I would not go this route; I would choose an Obstetrician and deliver in a hospital, like I did. That first time is pretty scary. You don’t know what to expect, you don’t know how it really feels, you don’t know what happens or how, you don’t have any reference point. You’re going into that shit blind… excited and hopeful, but blind!
I was young, well, according to modern society’s standards, when I had my first baby and very scared. Less than two years later I found myself in the same place, having my second baby, and I chose to stay with the same doctor, same hospital, same experience. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? I was young, didn’t have any reference points, didn’t know too much about this whole ‘raising a family’ thing yet (can’t say that I know too much more now 😂), and was just going with the flow, with what others recommended. All in all, it turned out great and I can’t complain.
Everyone is different. I never liked going to the hospital too soon during labor and being strapped in to all the monitors, not being able to move about freely, not being able to deal with the pain naturally, through movement. I waited until I knew that I was entering into full-blown active labor to go to the hospital. So much so, that I arrived at the hospital already 8cm dilated with my second. (Look for my previous birth stories on the blog soon!) For me, the pain is worse when you’re strapped in and unable to move. I like to move. My body needs to move during labor. It’s actually the natural way of dealing with labor. Animals move about in nature when in labor. The biggest reason for being strapped in to monitors and IV’s is safety and liability. The hospital staff’s main goal is safety so, they have to take all the safest measures, every precaution, which includes monitoring you and baby constantly, even if everything is going well, because the reality of any situation is that it can go bad… quick! Don’t worry, I’m not even going to get into the whole ‘business that labor has become in the U.S.’ shit! Someone else can tackle that topic!
I experienced back labor with my first baby and regular labor with my second. I think that’s about all the possibilities there are and I already know what they’re like. I admit, once I got to the hospital, was strapped in to all those machines, and I was in the middle of active labor, I opted for an epidural so, I know what that’s like too. I know how absolutely life-changing that magical medicine is! I went from Ogre to Selfie-ready, although, selfies were NOT a thing yet, in less than 5 minutes… literally! My husband loves the epidural more than I do and calls it magical too! I know what I’m missing out on by having a home birth.
I’ve always been a very active and healthy individual. I think all of that, along with genetics, has played a role in how well my body responds to labor. In both previous labors, I was only in active labor for under 5 hours; not all of those 5 hours is excruciating and it does go by QUICK! In both previous labors, baby came out immediately after my water broke. In both previous labors, baby came out quickly and effortlessly. Compared to so may stories that I hear, I think I had amazing labors! I’m so thankful… believe me!
So, here’s why I’ve chosen a home water birth for my third labor experience:
First off, I’m more comfortable in my home, duh! You can’t beat the comfort of home where you know things are clean, where everything is, who is there, and what’s going on. I want to be in my comfort zone.
Secondly, I want to be able to move naturally throughout labor. I want to sway, swing, crouch, squat, lie down, whatever! I want to be able to move in whatever way my body feels like moving, whatever way feels right. I believe in listening to the body and intuition. In my past experience, movement helps to deal with labor and it helps progress the process naturally. I want to move about just like April (remember that damn Giraffe on FB?) did when she was in labor… walking up and down, all over that stall!
Thirdly, it is my experience that water really soothes me! During the last weeks of my first two pregnancies, I often took warm baths and soaked in the tub to feel better, to ease the Braxton Hicks contractions, and all the discomforts associated with that final stage. Water is my thing! Besides being part mermaid (seriously, I was a swimmer growing up and through high school; you couldn’t get me to EVER say no to a beach or pool! If there was a body of water nearby, I was going to end up in it!), I have always found water very relaxing and soothing. There is nothing a long, hot shower or bath can’t make better for me!
Fourthly, like I said before, this isn’t my first time around this merry-go-round. I have a reference point now and I know what to expect. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve experienced the process. Because of this reference point, I also know how my body should respond and I trust it. Because of this reference point, I am very confident with my body. I got this. I’ve also done my research. Anyone who knows me knows that I research EVERYTHING before making a decision! I’ve made a pros and cons list. I’ve weighed my options.
Fifth, I live right next door to a hospital… literally! Listen, I know that just because I had a great experience with the first two, it doesn’t guarantee a great experience with the third. I know every pregnancy is different. I know complications can happen and when they do, they usually happen fast! If I lived 50 miles from the nearest emergency facility, I probably wouldn’t consider giving birth at home. There is no way in Hell that I would put myself at risk, having two other kids that I need to finish raising, or put my baby at risk! So, it truly helps to know that if anything should happen, I can be inside a hospital within 5 minutes… LITERALLY!
Sixth, it is VERY important to me that my children are present when their sibling comes into the world. This was the greatest determining factor. I can’t think of a more beautiful experience for them. What better way to help them feel connected to this baby than to have them there when it enters the world and allow them to help cut the cord? I want them to feel all the feels too! This is their baby too… literally, cause momma is going to need help and they will be old enough! This is our family and they should be there. I want them there with me, with us.
Finally, I’m going into this taking every precaution. I will receive all the typical tests and sonograms that any other pregnant woman working with an Obstetrician will receive. Every precaution is being taken to make sure that home delivery is safe. In fact, I had to meet several criteria before my midwife allowed me to consider home birth and turns out I’m actually a perfect candidate. Along those lines, I am fully prepared to deliver at a hospital if need be. If for any reason, I or my midwife feel it is best to deliver at a hospital, then I have no problem doing that! If baby is breached or a complication is detected, because I will be monitored closely, then to the hospital I will definitely head! No problem! Safety first!
These are just the main reasons why I am choosing to give birth at home this time around. I do have some other minor reasons, but lets be frank, I don’t have the time to keep typing them all and I know you don’t have the time to keep reading!
Believe it or not, this is a safe option, people! It’s not that big of a deal! In fact, women all over the world still deliver in this ancient way… really! Look it up! I completely get how some people might not be comfortable with the idea of a home birth and that’s perfectly ok. However, I’m so thankful that I do have options. Just don’t condemn someone else for their choice when it’s different that yours.
I’ll let you all know how it goes!