"I Think, I Might Want To Think About A Home Birth"

After my c-section --- actually, no, even before I was ever pregnant ---
if anyone told me they had had a home birth, or that said that they might like to have a home birth,
I thought they were really intense and super over the top. Oftentimes I got the impression that home birth was somehow this elite club that only the strongest, most perfect, and most natural of hippies could join if they were crazy enough to try.  AND I thought that these home-birthing women thought everyone should do it.

After moving to an area where I only felt safe VBAC-ing at home, I came to change my mind about home birth.
But even after my very healing home birth experience...
I personally don't think you "haven't lived" until you've done a natural home birth, nor do I think I became "the ultimate birth-er."
AND I certainly don't take away a single solitary ounce of credit from any birth experience, based off my VBAC (which just happened to happen in my home.)
I also would never make blanket statements about how people should birth --- I don't think everyone should do a home birth.

There are plenty of reasons why someone could not do a home birth.
As well as plenty of reasons someone would not want to do a home birth.

And if you know deep down to the very core of yourself that you would never want to do a home birth, then smile and be on your way down your totally credible path.  Don't let your decision make you feel weird around anyone who chose a home birth, and please try to give them the same grace of acceptance.
I really do think we should be birthing where we feel comfortable and safe.  And if you would not feel comfortable and safe at home, your experience would not be emotionally healthy --- and often times our emotional well-being can affect our physical labors.

If any part of you thinks about home birth for yourself, a little bit, sometimes, just for a moment, on rare occasion
it's just that... you have concerns and feel too nervous to go any further than the occasional thought,
then I wanted to share this post with you.

I myself was totally freaked out by home birth, yet I did have a teeny, tiny, eensy, weensy, draw towards the "romance" of home birth, especially after my c-section.  But first of all I didn't think I could home birth after a c-section --- I thought I was disqualified from it.  Additionally, I didn't think it was safe to home-birth in general.  I don't think I would have ever gone past those thoughts if I hadn't moved while pregnant and been really unimpressed with my hospital VBAC options.

I think a lot of times, the real issue with the hesitance towards home birth is a lack of knowledge which is filled in by assumptions.
I know I just assumed a lot before I looked into it.
I thought that there would be no pre-natal care.
I kinda just thought these pregnant women were going on blind faith that everything was okay.  And then someone who didn't really know what was and wasn't okay came over to be there as you birthed, and something terrible was narrowly avoided.
I also assumed that there was no medical equipment available.  Just the "torn up bedsheets and boiling water" from those prairie movies.

What I learned during my second pregnancy is that home birthing midwives provide great prenatal care, bring medical equipment to your birth, and are VERY smart.

And I also learned that well trained home birthing midwives are very aware of what can go wrong and that they are especially wary during your pregnancy, looking for any symptoms that would make a home birth a bad option for you.  If they see these symptoms, they know when to say you should be sent to a doctor at a hospital.

My home birthing midwife was very good at this.  She cares very deeply about her patients and their children, so she would never want to endanger them.  I came in with a very low fever at 37 weeks, and she was prompt to tell me she would not allow me to birth at home with a fever (if I were to go into labor while sick).  If she was that on top of a low-grade fever, I know she would be even more careful with something more threatening.

And during labor, she was just as good about keeping her eye out for symptoms of anything out of the ordinary well before it were to become an emergency.
Both the lives of the people that she cares for, as well as her professional name are on the line.  She does not push the envelope just for the sake of everyone being able to say it was a home birth.  She wants the best for everyone.  And she is very well trained and experienced in how to gauge that with time to spare if a transfer to a hospital is needed.

She also brings oxygen, pitocin (for postpartum bleeding, not induction purposes) and some more medicines, fetal monitors, as well as what she would need for any stitches, and lots of good stuff like that.

It is a lot more controlled, monitored, and safe than I had realized.

(In fact, I've personally come to the conclusion that the monitored situation of a home birth is probably safer than laboring at home as long as possible before going to a planned hospital birth because, during a home birth there is someone there checking on the baby throughout your labor, instead of just once you show up at the hospital.  If something was going wrong during the middle of your labor the midwife could get you to the help you that on your own might not realize you need.)

I'm sure I've not yet sold you...
(I couldn't have sold myself on just that either.)

Perhaps I made you think for a moment,
but I'm sure you have more concerns.

I know that there are many thoughts like these that come up ---
I've had them myself, and heard other women state them to me ---
the reasons we just don't think we could do a home birth:

  • This is my first baby, I just don't know how I will birth, so I'd feel safer at a hospital.  
  • I had a really bad experience with a previous birth, I don't think it would be safe for me to not deliver in a hospital.  
  • I have a certain condition that makes it so I can't deliver at home.  
  • I don't think I could do it without an epidural.  
  • I've heard a really scary home birth story...  
  • I've heard horrifying hospital birth stories, if they had happened at home then...  
These are all totally valid points.  (I myself had most of these questions and concerns myself.)  And I'm not going to tell you that you are wrong for thinking them, or that you 100% are the right candidate for a home birth.  But, if there is a little tiny voice in you somewhere hoping for a home birth, I hope you will do yourself the favor of taking your concerns to a home birthing midwife near you and speak with her about them all --- your thoughts, hopes, fears, concerns, scary stories, whatever you can come up with, even if you are not expecting at the time.  There is nothing to lose and a lot to gain.  

My midwife let me come in, free of charge, before ever seeing her for prenatal care, and let me ask everything I could come up with.  I had like 10 pages of printed paper, full of questions.   I found my midwife to be very honest and thorough in her answers --- no sugar coating the truth. She didn't try and oversell anything. Never promised what she couldn't deliver. But in our conversation she alleviated so many fears, taught me a bunch of stuff, and shed some amazing light on my past birth experience all in about 20--30 mins.  

The worst that can happen in the conversation is that you find out that home birth isn't something you want to do, or can do.  Then at least you can say, "I looked into it, and it wasn't for me" instead of always wondering or wishing.  
If you wind up intrigued by what you heard in your conversation with the midwife, but you don't feel like that* midwife is right for you, or she doesn't feel comfortable with your situation (for me, not all midwives will do a VBAC at home, or some wouldn't travel as far as my home) then you can always interview someone else.

*Please don't fall in love with a Homebirth so hard that you would be willing to use any profession regardless of their credentials. You need to ensure that a homebirthing midwife is equipped to handle serious situations should they arise. Make sure you do your homework both directions.

But what I think is really cool about taking the plunge and going in to talk is the possibility that you could be freed up from some fears, and possibly come out highly informed on some great pregnancy and delivery points --- regardless of where you ultimately end up birthing. You might be totally surprised (like I was) by what you learn.  (And it might be super helpful stuff that you would never learn anywhere else -- like what happened in my own experience.)

There is something incredibly empowering about looking an option straight in the face and assessing it for your own self.  

If you don't know how to locate a home birth midwife near you, a great resource is a local experienced doula. That's how I found my midwife. I had just moved to a new state and I would have never been able to find my midwife on my own, since her business is all word of mouth. By getting in touch with a nearby doula who has been in the business for 15 years, I was made aware of all of my (VBAC) birthing options.
Local ICAN chapters are also great resources, even if you have never had a c-section, they can point you to great local providers.

So if home birth is something you give occasional mental glances towards, I really truly hope you will find a home birth midwife and just get her thoughts on it. I know it changed my life, and I will never regret it. In fact, I will cherish it forever.
Even if you ultimatly chose a different place to deliver, I think this process of investigation can be just as life changing in some amazing ways for you. 
I really do.
I hope you go for it.

My heart sends out continual silent prayers for your births. 
I hope it finds you well.


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