Choosing your baby’s birthplace

For some people this is a huge decision, others don’t give it a thought. For my family, it was a HUGE decision that we researched and talked over for months. Here is how we made the decision to have a home birth…

When I was pregnant with my first daughter we spent the first 7 months working with nurse midwives at our local hospital (nurse-midwives nurses who work in a hospital and receive further training in order to catch babies in the case of low-risk pregnancies. They can provide more personal care as they often practice in groups of 2 or 3 so that you will know the nurse attending your birth.) They also tend to have a policy of actually attending your birth (versus having a variety of nurses attending with a doc dropping in and being present just at the end).

The process of making the decision to have a home birth was excruciating, made especially more so because my family was dead-set against it. A few things helped to sway my decision:

One, we took a tour of the hospital and had an awful experience. The rooms were decorated in dorky dusty baby prints (that kind of thing makes a big impression on me), you had to walk down the hallway to get to the tub, they made me sign a consent for an epidural before they would even give me a tour…on and on. It was not an encouraging or comfortable place for me. (What matters of course is how the hospital feels to YOU. For some people seeing all of the complex machines there to help you if you need it would be comforting…for me it was the opposite)

Two, we read everything we could get our hands on. Studies, books, articles, birth stories, horror stories, everything. Reading the studies showing the increased chance for a healthy baby and mom with a planned home birth versus a hospital birth made a huge impact on me. Likewise, Ina May’s books on midwifery and her collections of birth stories let me see the potential for what a home birth can look like.

Three, we loved our house – in the woods, on a river, surrounded by baby deer, bears, and hummingbirds

Four, we took a birth class with the woman who became our midwife. She spoke in one class about how people compare an un-medicated birth to getting your tonsils out without pain meds. This is such a sad comparison to make, robbing the mother of the true meaning of giving birth. It is in no way comparable to a routine dental procedure! Birthing is a transformative journey, it means letting yourself go all the way to the edge and bringing a new life and spirit into the world. You become a mother, either for the first time or all over again. You are transported to another state- there is no talking or reason, you are purely primal, birthing, bringing in life-your own child enters the world. It is spiritual. And it hurts, yes, very much. Being a mother involves suffering and pain and loss and struggle. It is not something to avoid as a matter of course, it is part of the journey. Being a mother is wonderful, too, but so is birthing wonderful. Euphoric. Amazing.

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